Comer Investigations was a highly successful private eye operation run by Steve Comer and Abbie Brady. Though successful Steve and Abbie decided to stick to their backstreet location so as to keep their operations low key. Their HQ was located roughly half a mile away from the sixth business district. When the cops frequently ran out of ideas they turned to Steve and Abbie to solve the unsolvable cases for them and, in turn, Comer Investigations were paid handsomely. Steve Comer had a well lived in face, a bit like Tommy Lee Jones or that tough guy from Breaking Bad that no one can remember his name(Apologies: I looked him up - Jonathan Banks.....Brilliant actor), lined and craggy but at same time trustworthy and ruggedly handsome which opened a lot of doors especially if they were opened by females. Abbie Brady was petite but packed a real punch, grungy in style but that poorly hid her good looks that were visible to anyone who gave her a second look, which was frequently. Together they formed a formidable partnership and were responsible for solving countless crimes that police couldn't.

The sixth business district murders was the case they were working on. It was proving to be a real tough nut to crack. There had been four businessmen who met their maker over the four weeks and the cops had drawn a blank. They needed help and Simon Farrell, owner of the Oasis hotel, always had the answers.

'How are my two favourite gumshoes? Solved the murders yet?' A jolly Simon addressed them as they approached the bar which Simon, for some unknown reason to anyone, liked to work daily.

'Have you heard anything? No one is talking. It's a wall of silence. Thought it might have been an inside job but that idea bled out real fast.' Steve enquired. He was hoping for a nugget or two from Simon to get them back on the right track. Simon casually dusted the bottles of spirits that needed dusting. He was a tall, smartly dressed man, who never hurried a task he was engaged in, for anyone.

'We badly need something Simon. If you got anything then don't be shy.' Abbie added, hoping to unlock Simon's word on the street info quickly.

'The killer is female and is targeting diabetics. Word is that the cops passed this one to you both because no murders have actually been committed. Forensics have nothing. The men just injected too much insulin and the next thing is they're history.' Simon pitched the curve ball their way.

'They didn't find any other injection sites?' Abbie persisted.

'Nope. Nothing.' Simon answered quickly.

'The killer is being very clever. It's easy to find the injection site, my mother was a diabetic and I've injected insulin many times, always in the belly and I'd guess our killer has experience in this field too. Ok Simon thanks for your help.'

'See you again, whenever you get stuck.' Simon said smirking as the two left the Oasis hotel.

'So what now?' Abbie asked Steve as they made their way downtown.

'Sean. Sean will have some vital clues that have not come to Simon's attention. He normally does his rounds in this laneway.' Steve replied as he sharply turned right into a rat run between the more fashionable shopping precinct and the downtown area. Steve was right as he could see Sean was sweeping up the trash as he normally did at this time. Sean was portly whose body had seen better days.

'Steve and the lovely Abbie. And what can I do for you people today?' Sean's thick Irish accent was unmistakable.

'What's the word on the murders? Anyone let anything slip recently?' Steve said brimming full of hope.

'I hear it's one of those, em, what's the name at all? One of those, God my mind's gone blank.' Sean was struggling to remember.

'Is she a Policewoman? Is she a shop owner?.....' Abbie quick fired at Sean.

'No none of those. Ah it's no use. When I get like this, I can never remember. But I know her name.' Sean replied casually.

'Tell us?' Steve and Abbie said in unison.

'Petra Black: a fine looking lady she is too. She runs through this alleyway most mornings. Always nice to me. Gives me money sometimes.' Sean's eyes misted over. Abbie gave him a peck on the cheek, 'Thanks Sean. I love you.'

'You came up trumps again Sean. Here's a little something to keep out the cold.' Steve said as he handed Sean a small bottle of whiskey. Sean took the bottle gingerly and examined it.

'What a pity I've given up.' He said melodramatically.

'You serious Sean? Well good for you.' An impressed Steve said though not convinced.

Sean clutched the whiskey bottle tight to his chest. 'I've given up not drinking whiskey. Now let me get back to job.' Sean said in an irked voice.

'Better get moving, he's getting annoyed.' Steve said hastily. They walked very quickly out of the alleyway and headed back to HQ.  

Back at HQ they decided to trawl over the new information.

'So the suspected killer is Petra Black and she probably has a diabetic sibling, child or lover perhaps as she knows exactly where to inject the insulin into her victims. In fact she's so expert that the cops are worried about whether they can make the murders stick at all. It's a real mess.' Steve said perplexed.

'She could have medical training. That would give her maybe the skills required. But what about motive? A highly successful bank manager like her, why would she be bumping off businessmen?' Abbie added.

'You looked her up, didn't you? Which bank is she Manager of? Must be crimes of passion.' Steve replied.

'Bank of Geneva, hey what a swanky number that bank is. According to her socials she's happily married with two kids, husband's a stock broker.....They must be minted.' Abbie said throwing her eyes skyward.

'See what you can find out about the husband. She could be taking revenge for his mistakes or maybe those men were going to report the husband over shady practices. Yes that could be it. Whatever it is though we need to find out what is driving her to murder these guys. Start with the husband....' Steve said directly.

'It's been almost a week since the last murder. Shouldn't I tail Petra? Maybe I can catch her before she does another businessman over? And we know the cops aren't going tail her because there clueless at the moment and are content to leave it to us. I know I can track her movements and prevent another murder. It could solve the case if I can catch her needle in hand as it were then bundle her into your car, you'd be waiting outside of course. We'd bring back here, interrogate her and get a confession. Case closed.' Abbie said definitely, leaving Steve with no wriggle room. He knew that once Abbie had a plan then he'd better go along with it. Steve looked pensive for a moment. He looked at Abbie.

'Let's do it. But you have to be cautious. This lady has killed four men already so she won't think twice of taking you out should you get in her way.' Steve warned. Abbie threw her arms up in celebration.

'Finally I get some real work to do. You won't regret this Steve, I'll wrap this case up pronto.' An excited Abbie exclaimed.

'Make sure I don't Abbie. You better get going. You have a lot of preparation to do ahead of tonight.'

'Catch you later.' Abbie replied as she speedily left HQ beaming.


Pete Jones literary agent sat in a dingy cafe waiting for Jack Mills author to arrive. He looked at his watch and then the door and back to his watch again. Late again. We said twelve last night and it's now One he thought to himself as he sipped his latte. He browsed through Jack's manuscript again to pass the time. Awful stuff, really really bad was his only thought when he spotted Jack coming though the entrance looking like a down and out.

'Sorry about being late, faulty alarm clock. Still when the book sales start to take off then I'll invest in one that works. How are you anyway Pete? Ah good man, I see you got me a latte.' Jack said breathlessly, moving his chair into a better position. Pete gave Jack a watery smile and shook his hand limply. Jack could sense immediately that there was bad news coming shortly and sipped his cold latte as if that would help.

'Better get that heated up. Second thoughts why don't I get us another round. Same again please.' Pete said attracting the waitress's attention.

'I won't waste your time Jack. I know you too well and respect you to be anything less than honest,' Pete said while looking at the waitress fetching the lattes.

'Spit it out then Pete.' Jack said not holding back. The waitress returned with the lattes and Pete quickly paid her and gave her a handsome tip.

'Much obliged sir. If you need anything else then you just let me know.' She said beaming at Pete. When she had gone out of earshot Pete shifted in his seat as if that would make this easier.

'It's horseshit. The whole story is infantile. The characters are boring, the scenes you describe are terrible and the dialogue, OMG don't get me started on the dialogue. We can't do anything with this...' Pete said not holding back.

'Everything else is fine though?' Jack said smiling.

'Nothing is right or good about this so called book you've been writing for nearly two years. We're pulling the plug Jack I'm sorry.' Pete said bluntly

'Don't do this to me. Give me a few more months. I can turn it round. You want snappier dialogue, you want more exciting scenes, well then you shall have it. Just give me a few months.' Jack pleaded.

'I'm sorry Jack. We're out. You want my advice? Just start again. This story will never see a printing press. Do yourself a big favour and destroy it and start again.' Pete said getting up to leave.

'Fine. Off you go. Plenty more publishers out there. There's nothing wrong with my dialogues or scenes or plot or action. Who needs you? I'll find someone else. Plenty more fish in the sea.' Jack shouted finishing up his latte. To the others in the cafe, it looked like the end of a beautiful romance as Jack hastily put on his jacket and left.              


Steve Comer went for a walk to help clear his head. Strangely the city he was so familiar with was fading out before his very eyes. He shook his head in disbelief and rubbed his eyes but nothing he could do made a difference. He continued walking until he saw one building that appeared untouched by whatever the hell was going on. Without giving a second thought Steve entered the building and drone like just walked into a room with a sign on the door which read ANTEROOM. The room inside was totally white, a brilliant almost burning white. There were others in the room that he recognised, Abbie, Simon, Sean and another female who he guessed must be his foe Petra Black. Steve sat down beside Abbie who looked perturbed by the latest change of plans.

'What's going on? I went home and was preparing for you know what,' Abbie said lowering her voice, 'and then I find myself walking out of my place and ending up here. An ideas Steve?'

'Absolutely none. It's was exactly the same with me, I just found myself outside walking and then I ended up here.' Steve replied feeling annoyed that he had no answers. He looked at Simon who looked uneasy.

'Yes one minute I was washing glasses and the next I find myself walking into this, whatever the hell it is, it's so bright in here: anyone got sunglasses.' Simon spoke with agitation and clearly his eyes were giving him grief. They all looked at each other and then Sean spoke. 'It makes a nice change for me to be a clean room and out of cold howling wind so I'm happy and I even have that nice little bottle in my coat pocket.' He then realised he had left his coat behind. 'Ah fuck I'm an awful idiot, I left my coat in the laneway. This is a terrible state of affairs when a man, such as myself, has no access to a little drink.'

'Any ideas Sean about what's going on?' Abbie said to Sean, feeling a little sorry for him.

'I'm formulating my ideas as to what the fuck is happening. You'll have to give me a little while dear so I can get it straight in my head. If only I had some whiskey to help the cogs turn.....'

'That's ok Sean. We're not exactly pushed for time or have anything better to do.'

'Ah you're a lovely. I'll work on it extra hard for you darling.' Sean replied brow furrowed in thought.

Steve turned to Petra. 'What do you know about all this?' Petra gave Steve a look of distain.

'My part was holding together nicely. The silent assassin working expertly. I targeted my victims and just killed them with no fuss, only precision. I left no clues. I made no mistakes. I was happily going about my business with stealth and professionalism. The reader was intrigued, fascinated, hooked. And then you show up with you blowhard lines and your little sidekick. Cliche after cliche after bloody cliche. You do realise that you and the kid have blown it out of the water?' Petra told it like she saw it. Steve could feel his fists coming to life. He was raging but he would never hit a woman. He whispered to Abbie, 'Sort out this piece of trash'.

'I have it, I have it. We're all just characters, figments of some writers tormented mind. Pawns on his chessboard. Lambs to the slaughter.' Sean said quite poetically (maybe he should give up the drink).

'Even the most cliched of us all, the drunk Irish street sweeper gets it before the great Comer investigations. Beaten to the punch once again by a drunken Irish bum. Thank you, to both of you for turning what could've been a good story into the story from hell destined for the garbage heap.' Petra said with venom directed at Steve and Abbie.

'But we can't be characters, we can't. I feel so real.' Steve said looking at the others. Then he summoned up his fighting spirit once more. 'I'm off to give the writer's hippocampus a damn good kicking. He will write better dialogues, he will write more believable characters. I will save the day' Steve tried to leave the anteroom but it was hopeless, it was locked tight. Steve disappeared first and the one by one all the other characters disappeared leaving only Abbie and Petra alone in the anteroom.  


Abbie Brady sat patiently waiting for Petra Black to arrive. She looked around at the plush fixtures and fittings of the Bank of Geneva. The thick carpeted floors along with the deep mahogany filing cabinets and mahogany desks left her with only one opinion: this bank was doing well. A door opened down the hallway and Petra called out, 'Abbie Brady, I can see you know.' Abbie casually walked down the hallway and into Petra's office and quickly took her seat.

'Let me be brief Abbie.' Petra said immediately. 'I've been impressed by your tracking skills, in fact, you almost had me the night before last.'

'What gave me away?' Abbie countered, not willing to be a passive bystander.

'I'll let you know a little later. Moving quickly on, we can work together you and me. You have a pile of debt built up for one so young.' Abbie nodded wondering how she knew but deciding to let her continue, 'Debt grows very quickly Abbie and pretty soon you're drowning. Here's what I propose Abbie: I buy over Comer Investigations, pay off all your debts and we work together. Seem fair?' Petra sat back in her chair observing Abbie carefully.

'And in return?' Abbie asked.

'In return you forget about this case. Look Abbie we both know that you'll never catch me. Any recording devices you're using now are scrambled by our security system at the bank. And there's a lot Abbie that you don't know and, believe me, are better off not knowing....' Petra said coolly.

'What do I not know? Tell me now. I know that you're a cold hearted killer. So tell me Petra what the fuck do I not know?' Abbie's temper was rising to the surface. She looked coldly at Petra but Petra's eyes portrayed nothing but warmth. Petra reached for a folder that was positioned at the far end of her enormous desk. She handed it to Abbie who leafed through it before putting two and two together.

'Okay they're disgusting perverts but you can't just kill them....' Abbie said quickly choking the oxygen from Petra's latest salvo.

'They had got away with it for way too long. Look no one would have held them to account for their actions except me. Do yourself a favour and join me. There's twenty more in a different file just waiting to be brought to justice. Ok Abbie. Just consider it carefully and we'll talk later.' Petra retorted. Abbie rose and without bidding her good day she left Petra's office with plenty to think about.


Jack Mills picked up the phone and dialled Pete's number. 'Hello Pete. Jack here. Listen sorry about the other day, I was way out of line. Good news for you. The story's back on track.'                                       

July 28, 2023 14:41

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Lize-Mari De Bod
13:17 Oct 11, 2023

This was really interesting. In the beginning I was a bit lost to how these two stories connected and then realized these are characters arguing about their worth and importance. Very original idea!


Kevin Keegan
09:31 Oct 13, 2023

Thank you so much for your nice comments. The prompt was cryptic and lent towards an imaginative approach to this story. It was quite difficult to write and sometimes it was a bit like riding wild horses, the story had to be tamed😊 Kind regards Kevin.


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Chris Miller
09:12 Aug 03, 2023

It's a good idea, Kevin. The first section must have been fun to write. I imagine Steve and Sean are still stuck in the anteroom sharing the bottle.


Kevin Keegan
15:23 Aug 03, 2023

Thanks Chris for your comments and likes. Yeah the first section was enjoyable and I enjoyed writing the whole story. Yep Steve and Sean are partying in the anteroom😊


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Mary Bendickson
15:53 Jul 28, 2023

Write what you know. Good use of characters being characters.😏


Kevin Keegan
09:38 Jul 29, 2023

Thanks a million Mary for your very nice comment. Very much appreciated, Kindest regards, Kevin.


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