The Case of the Little RiverOr, Une Petite NoireChapter 1
- The CaseChapter 2
- The River
The dauntless dame hadn't given me much to go on, but I knew it was time for a walk by a river. I'm not the type for nature walks, in fact I'm rather more partial to the kind where at least two people end up dead and justice is served as a nice appetizer. Little did I know that it was, in fact, one of those kinds of walks. Though maybe with a couple less deaths than usual, and a different kind of justice.
There I was, mindin' my own business by the side of the riverbank. Not a very big river, mind, more of a large stream. Hard to find spots like that in the big city, especially nowadays when the river has all manner of debris in it, not unlike my lungs after too many cigars to count. I was mulling over the case, or trying to anyway. My mind was wandering like a drunken souse in the small hours of the morning. All of the sudden, it hit me like a flash of lightning. An insight, and a 10-pound rock. When I came to, I was slouched on a bench with a bump the size of the hills on my noggin. Next to me was a note, in some near-unintelligible scrawl. I peered at it with squinted peepers, and made out:
Stay out of the river investigation, or the next thing to hit yer head will be a .38 caliber bullet.
That wasn't no coincidence right there. I felt for the pocket where I kept my trusty colt when I'm out and about. Much to my chagrin, my little lady was gone. A pang of sadness jolted through the fog of my awful headache, and hardened into firm resolve. I'd find the perp who did this, and make sure they learned what kind of justice I give to the guys who mess with my lady. And maybe figure somethin' out about this French chicken along the way. I needed some clues, and not ones tossed at my head from the streambed.
The capricious clientelle had mentioned another fellow, some jack who she'd been out on the beach with. A lover, if you asked me, but what did I know, he could be her brother. I needed to get the scoop on this guy if I was gonna get anywhere with this case. She'd given me her address, so I sauntered back to the office to lick my wounds and clean up a bit. When I got there, it was a sorry sight.
My ordinarily neat and tidy maple desk was taking a nap on its side, and its papery guts were spilled all over the floor. Shards of glass from the broken lamp were strewn across the floor alongside like bits of gravel in a river, and books on the shelf were all askew. I scanned the room, and sighed with relief. My guilty pleasure, an odd lil' book with the some nonsensical title, was still in its place. I halfheartedly straightened up a bit, then figured I could deal with the mess later. I left a note for my pretty little secretary, a ginger doll with a heart as fiery as her hair, telling her I was out and would deal with the mess later. Then I remembered she'd quit not 3 days before, and crumpled it up. My reverse psychology never worked on her, anyway.
I stopped in front of a window on the way out to straighten my hat in the reflection. The raindrops on the window twisted the view of the outside, but I saw a blue humdinger of a car sitting lazily on the other side of the street. I shrugged, spat on my hand, smoothed down my hair, winced a bit, and then left. Next stop, the client's place. And boy, at this point, I was really desperate to find something, or I wouldn't be able to afford the gumshoe business much longer.To be continued, in Chapter 3 - The Break