Here's a short story I started writing back in grade school. It remains one of my finest unfinished works, in my humble opinion. It is to date untitled.It was a dark, stormy night. I sat at my desk, in my office, (of course) alone. I liked that. The only sound was the faint pattering of rain on the roof. I liked that too. But, being a professional private detective, I had more important matters to deal with, like the dame knocking on my door. I let her in. After she calmed down, the dame revealed her sad story to me, sobbing between sentences. And was it a sad story! Her husband (now dead) had something very valuable, or so some gangsters felt. She didn't have the slightest clue as to what it was, but they did, and wanted it desperately. So desperate, they spilled blood to get it. After killing her husband, and unsuccessfully searching their apartment, they still didn't have it. Obviously, they still wanted it. Really wanted it. The gangsters assumed she had it. They threatened her life. She didn't like that at all. That was the reason she hired me, to protect her, to protect her from the gangsters. I didn't want to do it. I was chicken. But, a client was a client, and I knew I had to take the case. I'll admit it, I needed the dough. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Two nights later, while she was out shopping, the gangsters struck again. Again they tore apart her apartment. And, she had just cleaned the place up, too. Right away, she called me. I was over in a flash. The place was all torn up and it really looked like a dump. Windows broken, furniture slashed and strewn about, clothes everywhere, her apartment was trashed. And I mean trashed. After searching and examining everything in all the rooms, though, I found some fingerprints and some clues. Then I left. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I was hot on the gangsters' trail. I had just dropped the prints off at the station, and here I was, at the end of the line, I was at the railroad tracks. Obviously, the crooks had skipped town on the 4:15. I was climbing into my Packard when something caught my eye. It was an empty matchbook from Bart's, a local joint near the outskirts of town. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I knew I was onto something the second I stepped inside. Maybe it was just a feeling, but I was pretty sure. I paid and entered. The place reeked of cigarette smoke. Looking around, I didn't see anything or anybody out of the ordinary or suspicious. But, I couldn't see much at all, because of all the cigar smoke. I brushed off a table and sat down. The `entertainment' was terrible. The guy was a young comedian, but his jokes were old. Half-listening, I heard such lines as "Take my wife, please" and the likes. Feeling disdain, I stood up to leave. It was then that I recognized someone in the corner. It was Louie McGynne, hatchet man for none other than Pete "the rat" Antonio, criminal mastermind! I saw him just as he saw me. He beckoned me over. "Hey flatfoot, come here," He rasped in a harsh voice. I went over to him. Never know, I thought, it could be a lead. "Let me guess, Ratface wants me," I replied in a sarcastic voice. "Half right," Louie said, as he pulled his gun. "Yes, the boss wants you-dead." "Easy, easy," I was frantic. "Don't shoot. I just want to chat small talk with Pete." "Yeah, yeah, sure. Fine." Louie prodded me with his gun as he led me to a door in the back, near the kitchen. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I was in Pete's `office'. Behind the desk sat Pete, his goons were stationed around the room in the shadows. "Okay, gumshoe, we have to talk business," his raspy voice was recognizable anywhere. "Business?" I tried to stall. "What business?" "Quit stalling, flatfoot." Obviously my attempts were in vain. "I know you're on to me." He pulled a gun from a drawer. "Okay. I'm giving you ten seconds to officially call off this case, or else.." Pete cocked the hammer of his gun. "Or else what?" I shot back. And, I felt I needed all the time I could get. "Or else I call it off for you. Permanently." He started to count. "Ten.. nine.. eight..." I was doomed. Unless... "Six.. five.. four.." There was a spark of hope. Maybe if I played my cards right... "Two.. one.. zero.. Okay, time's up," He chuckled. "Good-bye, flatfoot. Any last words?" "Okay, okay. You got me. I give up, case closed." I started to leave, out the same door Louie had led me in. My escape was not working, not working at all. One of Antonio's thugs blocked the only exit. Worse yet, his gun was loaded and waiting, waiting for someone, something to shoot at. In this case, that someone was me. ... to be continued?
back to the other works