Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, June 27, 2011

River Rights, River Nights Chapter 1/2 Draft 1

It was a Thursday when she walked through my door. I should have known that dame would bring me nothing but trouble, but I was fooled by that pretty face of hers. She said her brother had gone missing. "So what?" I thought. In this town hundreds go missing. What made the case interesting is what her brother was doing when he went missing.

The dog was a reporter sniffing around the largest company in the city, hell maybe even the state. The woman said he had made a phone call late last night, told her he had found something big. She went to his place in the morning to see what he had found and he wasn't there. At first she just thought he was working but after a few days he still didn't show. I told her I'd take the case. Idiot.

If I was going to do this and not end up choking on my own blood at the tail end of some back alley I was going to need to team up with my old partner Mickey. Problem with that is we had words. We hadn't talked in nearly a year. The old goat had settled down, found a decent living and a decent house. I heard through the grapevine he had even got hitched. I needed a way to get him back into the game.

I rode Sheila, my 1971 GTO convertible, up ol' Mickey's driveway and honked. I can't say I was expecting a warm welcome but his face was cold. Damn cold. I offered him a smoke.

"Mickey, I got a case."

"The hell does it have to do with me!"

"I need you. It's big. I'm sorry about all the shit I said before you left, but right here, right now I need you."

"It's a dame's big sparklies isn't it, sucker."

"What if it is?"

"You're getting soft Rick, too soft for me to ride 'round with you like the old days. Hell, I am too. I know I don't have it anymore and I doubt you do either. You had done the job too long even before I left, but now?"

I swallowed. That was a low blow from Mick. Sure most of the cases I worked even back in the day were of jealous husbands, but this was one of the rare ones that could get hairy. I was pissed at the insult, but I couldn't tell him he was wrong.

"Yeah well that's why I need you. You were always the best at getting the intel."

"That's not going to work. The only way you'll get me on this case is a 70-30 split in my favor."


"So what's the take."

"I haven't negotiated it yet"


First thing me and Mick did was head to the precinct. The girl had filed a missing person report for her brother. We wanted to see what the cops had picked up on the case. We weren't expecting much. Too many folks go missing in this town. It's no secret that if you turn the wrong corner, see what you aren't suppose to, you'll find yourself belly up in the river.

The cops hadn't really looked into it, but hell we thought there might be something in that report she hadn't told us. Her brother was a reporter all right. He was Harry Klien. Klien was a freelancer. He didn't have one paper he worked on, more like a consortium of editors. He would find out what the papers knew and wanted, put together a piece and sold it to the highest bidder. It was all high quality work too. The man had a lot of enemies. We figured we should follow his trail, and that meant talking to the papers. According to the report three were interested in the story and gave him the whiffs the dog needed to start hunting. The Star, The Press, and The Liberator.

We decided to start at the Liberator. The metro editor, said he had talked to Klien on the phone about two weeks before he went missing. Jerhico Motors, the company Klien was looking into, was mostly known for producing consumer cars, but they also had military contracts. Big whoop what large company didn't. What made this different was that the military vehicles were failing in the field. A source was leaking that precious piece info to every paper in the phone book. Nobody knew exactly who the guy was but they thought that what was said was at least worth a look. The Liberator had their own guy working on it, but the editor said that he thought Klien probably would have done a better job.

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