Bick stopped. There was a body on the stairs, head down, feet up. Looked uncomfortable, even for a dead man.
He pulled out his phone but stopped short before calling. Old habits. What to do? He couldn't leave a body on his stairs. The cops knew where he lived and would be by soon enough, even if they knew him well enough to know he wouldn't kill anyone in his own building. He flipped the phone open and made the call. Ruin his day either way.
He sat down, two steps above the up-thrust soles. Odd perspective to view a dead man from. People always looked at the face of a corpse, looked for some leftover emotion, some clue lingering from life. He had seen plenty of corpses, even made a few. Never bothered to look at the boot-soles before.
A secretary from the style. Fairly well off. Good quality leather, almost new. Bick leaned closer, caught the smell of ink on the soles. Some kind of office worker anyway. Distinctive hobnail pattern on the heels. Crosses, to protect from the devil.
Finally they clumped up the stairs, all two of them. Should be enough. Between the three of them they could muscle the corpse down the three flights and into the wagon.
"Ronald Bickley," said Lieutenant Covey.
"Lieutenant," he replied, nodding his head once. He didn't mind the Lieutenant.
The other cop Bick didn't know. A kid, a new beat-walker. He knelt down for a look at the body, clicked his flash. "Lieutenant. It's an editor. Look at the muttonchops."
Bick jumped. The Lieutenant crouched and stared. "Not a pretty one. Damn it Bick. Something in his hand." Lieutenant Covey spread the paper. "Looks like a query, stamped 'send full'. But why deliver it by hand?"