June Writing Challenge – John Thomas, Private Dick

June Writing Challenge – 40’s Detective Story 

Subject: Write a story in the theme of a 1940’s Detective Story
Setting: Any
Time Period: 1940’s Theme
Length: Any
Restrictions: None
Due: June

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It was a slow day at the office and no one came knocking. It gave me time to think about the dame that walked in the day before asking me to help find her brother. It was like a scratch I couldn’t itch. Something she said before she left kept bothering me. Like a splinter under the skin too small to remove but just big enough to feel it every time you move. Most likely, it wasn’t really her brother. I refused to help her since she was only wiling to pay me half my normal fee, but with the lack of work, something was better than nothing.

I spent the rest of the day hitting up my usual contacts asking about this “Paul Peterson” the dame wanted me to find. Willy Johnson down on 38th Street had a lead that took me to the docks. He said this Paul picked up unusual packages every other Monday evening. It was a long shot but it was all I had to go on. And by coincidence it was Monday.

I hit the docks just before sunset looking for my mark. I had no idea what he looked like or what to expect. I watched a young dock worker argue with a hot blonde. She was upset and wanted the world to know. After several minutes of her screaming and him standing there like a big dummy, she slapped him in the mug and walked away. This was my chance.

“Hey buddy, got a light?” I asked the man as he stood there watching the blonde storm off.

He looked over at me with a jump. “Sure mister, here you go.”

I need to get familiar with this guy and quick. “So, who’s the babe?” I asked taking a long drag.

“No one, mister,” the young man replied, turning to walk away.

“I know it’s not easy being dizzy with a dame like that, is it.”

The young man paused, turning around. “You have any advice?”

I knew I had him now. I just had to play it right. “I do. Dames like that enjoy the furs and guys who have the bees.”

The young man frowned. “I..I don’t make enough to buy her things like that.”

“I’ll tell ya kid. Let me pass you a sawbuck to help you out. Maybe take her out on the town tomorrow and make up nice,” I said holding out a $10 bill.

The young man’s nose wrinkled. “Why would you help me out like that?”

“A trade,” I said, flicking my cigarette to the ground.

“What do you want?”

“Information… I’m looking for a man named Paul Peterson.”

The young man’s eyes widened. “No… sorry, I can’t help you.”

“Alright, kid. Let’s make it a double sawbuck,” I said taking another $10 bill from my pocket. “Think of the dinner you could have with your dame.”

The young man smiled and nodded his head. “Alright, what do you want to know.” He looked around carefully before taking the $20 from my hand.

“I hear he has a regular pickup on Pier 3. You didn’t hear it from me,” the young man said, walking away.

I couldn’t help but smile. Sure, it cost me some cush on a job I may not even get paid on, but there is nothing like the hunt.

I found a nice secluded spot near Pier 3 where I waited for something to happen. As the time passed without anything happening I was about to leave and hit the local Gin mill when a limo pulled up. I slipped back into the shadows. The driver got out and opened the door. A daisy man in glad rags stepped out and looked around. This has to be Paul. The driver walked around and opened the other side door. There she was, the same dame who walked into my office just got out of the limo. I knew a dish like her was too good to be true. She played me for a fool. My payback was to figure out what they are up to.

…to be continued.

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July Writing Challenge – To Be Continued…

Subject: Continue a story you wrote in the last year
Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: Any
Restrictions: None
Due: July

Pretty simple this time.  Just take a story you’ve written and keep going with it.  It could be moments after the original or years later, just make it continue.

June Challenge Entry – Sinatra’s Last Song

So the first person thing was really hard for me to get a grip on.  I’m not good with telling a story without the dispassionate narrator voice.  That being said, I think I need to keep trying with first person perspectives.  There’s a larger story here, I just don’t have it yet.

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“Look. I’m just here for”

Ouch.

I’ve taken a few hits to the face in my time, but that one really hurt. Probably because I wasn’t drunk for once. The punch landed on my right eye and that only happened because I started to dodge at the last second. If he had landed that shot square on my nose like he meant to then I’d be out cold on the floor. As it was, I staggered back a few feet, both from the shock of the hit and to give myself a bit of distance before he could throw another punch.

I grabbed a bottle of cologne from the table and whipped it at his head as fast as I could. He batted it away with his hand and it flew into Frank’s open closet. The suits softened its flight and it landed in a pile of discarded clothes. The guy just smiled at me and took a couple of steps forward to close the gap.

He threw a wild hook with his right. I blocked it with my left while giving a quick jab to his ribs with my right. It felt like punching pavement and he didn’t even let out a gasp. He tried to give me a pop in the kisser, but I was already using my head. Literally. This guy was built like a brick shit house so punches to the body weren’t going to phase him, so I gave him a headbutt aimed straight at his nose while pushing forward with as much strength as my legs could muster. It shoved him back and caused his nose to erupt in a stream of blood.

Good. Looks like David might just take down Goliath after all.

The big dummy looked at me with shock. His shock switched to anger and he charged at me again, this time with his arms outstretched, ready to choke me. I dropped to the right of him while swinging my left arm wide. Lucky for me the wild swing did just what it needed to. I hit the big lug right in the family jewels.

He dropped to his knees and that was all the opportunity I needed. I swung a heavy bottle of bourbon from Frank’s liquor cabinet at the back of his head. The bottle didn’t shatter, but he was definitely down for the count. That must be a damn fine bottle of booze. Every bottle I ever bought broke just by slipping out of my hands.

As soon as he went down, two things happened; Frank finished singing “Night and Day” and three more thugs showed up outside the room. They stared down at their buddy, their mouths wide open. For a moment it seemed as though I could have walked out of the room without them knowing. If only I could have been so lucky.

After they got over their shock, they looked up at me. Their eyes were burning bright with the thought of revenge, possibly even murder. I didn’t have a lot of options for this fight. That door was my only way out and I wasn’t getting past these three. For a moment I considered grabbing a chair and rushing them. I might have been able to get lucky and knock one or two of them out of the way. But before I could act, all three came bursting through the door. And just as Frank started in to “Devil May Care” too. The humor was not lost on me.

I crouched as low as I could and used my arms to shield my head. Kicks and punches came from all sides. One goon kicked me hard enough in my left side that I heard one or two ribs crack. Another stood behind me and kept kicking me in the ass, occasionally stopping to slam his fists down on my back. The third one did a number on my skull, smashing his foot down on my head, over and over again. The first one smashed my already damaged nose into the floor. I managed to sneak one of my hands under my face to soften the blow of the remaining kicks.

The barrage continued for about three minutes. It was around that time that the guy kicking my head told the others to stop. He reached down to pull me up by my shoulders. I was battered, I could barely think straight, and I had blood dribbling from my head and into my eyes, but I knew this was my one chance to get out of this alive. I made it look like I was stumbling backwards for a moment, but instead I put my foot against the wall and kicked off from it. The bastard wasn’t ready to catch me coming at him at that kind of speed and he made a sharp yelping sound as I pushed past him.

Once I made it to the hallway, I took off as quick as I could. I could still see, but everything was swimming. The dizziness from the pounding I took made it hard to run as fast as I was without tripping, but I was managing it. I bolted down corridors and around turns as quick as I could. I knew I was better off in the more populated areas, so I was glad to dash through the kitchen. I couldn’t even tell if the goons were following me anymore.

I came out of the kitchen and found a set of stairs to the basement and another path that led to an open doorway into the alley. I didn’t hear anyone coming, so I headed toward exit. My blood was dripping in a steady trail as I went. When I got to the alley, I covered my bloody face and turned back around. I wasn’t leaving without answers, dammit. Not after the beating I just took. I made my way back to the stairwell, taking care not to make any more drops or step in any blood I had lost. I made my way down the stairs and tried to let my eyes adjust to the darkness.

It was storage. This was probably the best possible place to hide out while Frank was still singing. Hell, by the look of things, I could camp out down here. There were some areas that were commonly used, but most of the room was covered in dust. The Riobamba was a brand new club, so why did everything look so old down here? I put the thoughts out of my mind and focused on finding a good hiding spot. There were a pile of cement bags sitting in one corner that looked like a safe enough bet. I carefully stepped between them, making sure not to disturb the layers of dust or cobwebs on top. Once I was backed all the way into the corner, I slid down and landed on my tailbone. A new wave of intense, searing pain rippled through my body. With all of the pain in my face and ribs, I forgot there was only one guy there that really kicked my ass.

I could still hear the music playing through the walls, but it was much more muted than before. I couldn’t even hear Frank singing at this point. I sat there and tried not to focus on all of my pain. I tried to ignore how bad it hurt every time I breathed in or out. I tried to get past the swollen eye and the broken nose. I even tried to forget about the throbbing in my skull and how I probably had a concussion. I say “tried” because nothing seemed to work. The pain was too much. I felt like I was dying.

Then I remembered why I was doing this in the first place. I focused on who I was helping and why and it seemed to make the pain go away. Sitting in that damp, dark basement, waiting for Sinatra’s last song, I felt better simply knowing that I had a purpose. That all of this mattered. That I was doing it for him.

After just a few short minutes of sitting there and focusing on him, my pain started to ease. Or at least I thought it did. In actuality, I passed out. But at least I passed out thinking of him. How all of this was for him.