The office is in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. On the second floor of a storefront promising fake IDs and Live XXX, I find the door with Head Investigations stenciled on the tempered glass. There is no receptionist, just the Head-man himself, leaning back in his chair, feet on the desk. He wears a tracksuit that looks more ironic than functional – Henry Head must weight three hundred pounds. He notes my arrival, washing half a Twinkie down his throat with a Snapple. “Brunch”, he explains, gesturing toward a couch splattered with mysterious stains. “Make yourself at home.”
I play it safe, resting my ass against the armrest. A radiator clangs noisily in the corner, pushing the temperature about five degrees higher than conmfortable. It really does feel like home.
“Do you have any idea how many Peter Robichauxs there are in the tristate area alone?” Head asks.
I shake my head.
“Me neither. Maybe someday with the computers and all that we’ll have some way of knowing. Untill then, we got the white pages.” He holds up a weathered phone book.
My internal temperature rises to match the room. “Let me get this straight,” I say. “I just paid you five hundred dollars to skim the phone book?”
“You ever heard of Occam’s razor? The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.”
“Actually, Occam’s razor says the simplest explanation is usually the right one,” I say, drawing on my single semester of philosophy.
“No shit? Then what do you call the thing about the straight line?”
“I think that’s just ‘the thing about the straight line’.”
He holds up his palms in mock self-defense. “I never claimed to be a scholar.”