Crime Mystery Thriller

That’s the thing about this city. You either fit in or you don’t. Either way, you’ll find out faster than a monkey throwing poo at you at the zoo. When she walked in, I could tell that she didn’t belong. With her fancy dress and her fancy hat—donned to the nines. She belonged more at a fancy sorority house than she did in the city. But who am I to judge?

I didn’t say a word. She walked over to my desk and put down an envelope full of photos and then another one full of cash. “I don’t know where you come from,” I said, “but around here usually we talk business first and cash second.”

She sucked on her cigarette and sat down in the chair in front of me. “Are you Mr. Marlow?” she asked. She carried a heavy European accent. It sounded German, but I’ve always been lousy at guessing the nationality of broads that looked like this. I don’t know if it was their sexy shape, or just the fact that I was undressing her in my mind, and it didn’t matter where she was from.

“Mr. Marlowe is my dad,” I said. “You can call me Jack. What can I do for you?”

“It’s my husband,” she said, taking another puff of her cigarette.

I pushed an ashtray towards her as she flicked the ashes on the floor, disrespecting my gesture to use it. “Look,” I said. “If it’s your husband that you want me to find, I can tell you already that he’s probably gone on purpose.”

“He’s not gone, detective. He’s dead.” She took a last puff of her cigarette and put it out in the ashtray. “I need you to find the killer.”

“Why not go the cops?” I asked.

She looked at me with her ocean blue eyes. A tear was welling in one. “My husband was not a model citizen. Having the cops involved would only bring them closer to something they don’t need to know about.”

At first, I was going to tell this dame to leave with her envelopes. But the more she talked, the more intrigued I got. “What kind of business was your husband in? Drugs? Mafia? I just need to know what I’m going to be dealing with.”

“So, you are saying you will take the case, detective?” She crossed her legs, exposing her thigh. For a brief second, I swore I saw no underwear on.

“Yeah, I’ll take it,” I told her. “But I’m going to need to know more than what’s in this envelope.”

She stood up from the chair. “Why don’t you come over to my place tonight? We can discuss the details then.” She walked out of my office and shut the door behind her. I sat there feeling regretful for taking another case, simply because the girl was good looking.

I opened the envelope full of photographs. I immediately recognized the man. It was Sam Mcfeeley, the mob boss of Chicago. The one thing I didn’t know is why the hell he was here in this dirty city of Bakersfield, California. People from Chicago stay away from places like this. I soon realized I was in over my head with this one. That stupid dame played me like a cheap ukulele. I knew if someone wanted Sam dead, whoever was going to look into that murder was also going to find his way six feet under.

*    *    *

As I approached this modest-looking home on a large ranch, I had to look at the address on the envelope again to make sure I was in the right place. It was correct. It just did not look like a place a mob boss would hide out in.

Before I even knocked on the door, Mrs. Mcfeeley opened it. “Detective. Thanks for coming over.”

This time, she was not dressed like she was back in my neck of the woods—the city. She had on jeans and tight tee-shirt. It was obvious she was still trying to sell me on the idea to take this case—she had no bra on.

“Look,” I said. “I know who your husband is and me taking this case is as good as signing a death warrant. You might as well put a tag on my toe and give me a body bag to sleep in.”

She walked over to a tray sitting on the table. A carafe of bourbon and two glasses sat there. She poured a double for both of us and handed me my glass. “Can I be honest with you, detective?”

“Honest? Oh, please. You haven’t been honest with me since you walked into my office this morning. I need you tell me the truth about why I’m here, or I’ll…”

“Or you’ll what, detective?” she interrupted. “You’ll leave?” She sat in her oversized leather chair next to the fire. “You know, as soon as you stepped on to this property, you’ve been being watched.

They know everyone that comes and goes. If you leave, you are still involved and they will follow you, much like they follow me.”

I was mad. “You knew if I came here, I would have no choice but to get involved.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Marlowe. I had nowhere else to go.”

“So you came to me? What did I ever do to you?” I wanted to leave. But knowing I was caught up in this thing now, I stayed. Besides. Seeing her in the tee-shirt sitting next to the fireplace made it difficult for me stand up, if you know what I mean.

“Mr. Marlow…”

“I told you to call me Sam.”

She giggled. “Okay… Sam.” She stood from the chair and sat next to me on the couch. “Now that I have your attention, Sam, I need to know if you’re going to help me.”

“You leave me no choice. You have a dead husband already. Why not a dead detective to go with him,” I said. I was being cynical on purpose. “So, tell me about your husband?”

“I’m going to do better than that,” she replied, running her hand through my hair. She stood from the couch and grabbed my hand. “I’m going to show you where he was killed.”

I stopped her momentarily. “He’s not still there, is he? Cuz that could cause an awful stink.”

She giggled. “No. We moved the body to a secure location.”

“We?” I asked.

“Yes. You don’t think I could move him all by myself. I had the servants help me.”

We headed up the stairs and she led me to her bedroom. She shut the door.

“It was here in bed,” she said. Why didn’t I think that was a surprise?

“How did he die?” I asked. “There’s no blood in the bed.”

“I had the servants wash the sheets. See?” She pulled the sheets back and showed clean white linen. She then removed her tee-shirt and jeans before crawling into bed.

It finally dawned on me who she was. I recognize her from a murder trial two years ago where I thought she was put away for twenty-five to life. I did not know she got out on a negotiation when she gave up her husband as a killer. Now she wanted revenge of me. I decided to play along.

“Aren’t you going to join me, detective?” she said, moving her hands on the silk linens.

“Yes. Yes, I will,” I said as I removed my shirt. Before getting into bed, I had to ask her, “So, Mrs. Mcfeeley. How did you know it was me?”

She looked confused. “What do you mean, detective?”

“I’m the one that ratted out your husband, and now he’s dead. You invited me here only to ambush me. You want me dead.” I did my best to stand close to her until I could figure out where the shooter was.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, detective.”

I stood up from the bedside just as a single shot came through the window. Mrs. Mcfeeley was dead. I looked out the window and saw nothing but darkness.

It was shortly after this incident that the mob boss of Chicago changed hands. No mention to why—it just did.

I now work the cases in San Francisco. I needed to get somewhere where nobody knew my name. That doesn’t mean I don’t get into trouble every now and then. But it does mean as long as the McFeeleys are gone, I get another chance at life.

March 15, 2021 07:39

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