Marvin Mattila lived on a dirt road next to the railroad tracks in one of those older prefab homes hiked up on concrete slabs. Wet clothes hung on the clothesline and when we pulled up a woman pushed her way through a row of bed linens. A dog the size of a small pickup loped toward us.
"Nice doggie," Kitty said out loud, then stage-whispered, "holy man, we're dog meat."
Nice Doggie licked his chops and sat down not three feet from where we were standing and pretending we weren't scared almost to death.
"Don't move," I said to Kitty out of the corner of my mouth. "And don't look afraid. Dogs pick up on that."
Kitty sputtered something inaudible.
The woman glanced at the dog then at us, suspicion spread across her face. "What?" is all she said.
"Is that the dog that was downtown Marquette with the boot?" Talking without moving isn't the easiest thing in the world.
She nodded. "That was Skipper."
Skipper decided to lay down and lick his paw. Suddenly, he didn't seem quite so intimidating.
"We were wondering about the boot." I said. "Like who did it belong to and why did Skipper have it." I slowly reached into my pocket and flashed my fake badge. "We're following up on a tip."
"I've never seen you around here before," she said, still unfriendly.
"We were called in special. Where's Marvin?"
"Let me see that identification again. Hand it over."
Kitty and I looked at each other. The game was up, our cover blown.
"Run," I said.
"Skipper, get 'em," the woman shouted.
(to be continued)