Private Investigator – Chapter 5
Frank Francis is a private detective. A private eye. A private dick.
Chapter 5 – Deep In A Dream
Olivia St. John descends a spiral staircase of smoke, her silken dress clinging to her body. A look of want is in her eyes as she comes closer, leans down, parts her lips and a pair of headlights fill my vision.
“Whoa, Olivia. Let’s slow it down.”
I’m shaken awake by Albert in the passenger seat. I’ve got a cigarette burnt down to the embers in one hand and my other hand on the wheel as I steer my old boat of a car back into the right lane. A milk delivery truck blares its horn and the driver flips me the bird as he passes.
“Same to you!” I yell out the shut window, my lazy comeback falling on deaf ears. Hey, I just woke up.
“You’ve been working this case too hard, Detective,” Albert says. “You fell asleep at the wheel.”
“That’s funny,” I reply. “‘Cause I didn’t think I was working this case hard at all. Maybe I was mistaken.” I wasn’t.
“Did you say Olivia in your sleep, Detective?” Albert asks in the manner of a concerned boyfriend who could pummel me with one swing of his hammer fist.
“No, I said, uh, Bolivia. That country is in turmoil, Albert. Show some respect.”
We were meeting Izzy Pearlman, a connected yet legitimate businessman with a chain of department stores in the tri-state area. We met in a cramped dressing room in the back of the Hoboken Pearlman’s. The three of us couldn’t even lift our hands over our heads, the room was so tight. So there’d be no funny business.
“Listen, Izzy,” I said to the legitimate businessman, my nose pressed against his cheek. “My boy Albert here says an associate of yours Tommy Dorsey had him throw a fight and never paid him. Now I want the straight poop, capiche?”
“Detective,” Izzy muttered with what I could only assume was a smug grin, as he was staring at Albert and couldn’t turn his head in the cramped quarters. “I’m an old man. I’m goin’ up against Macy’s and J.C. Penney’s and Filene’s Basement; the big boys. I can’t be meddling in the seedy underworld of fixing boxing matches.”
“Albert, was he giving a smug grin while he said that? I can’t see his mouth.”
“It was pretty smug, Detective.”
“So you’re tellin’ me it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Dorsey to pull this type of baloney, eh Pearlman?”
Izzy gave a knowing smile, but how the hell was I supposed to know that.
“What’s he doin’, Albert?”
“Knowing smile, Detective.”
“You sonuvabitch, Pearlman. You tell me what you know or so help me I’ll have the man who shoulda been champ batter you into Bolivia.”
Albert’s eyes narrowed. “And that country is in turmoil, so show some respect.”
Albert and I shared a nod.
“Talk to the guy who was closest to the action,” Pearlman finally spilled.
“Me?” Albert asked.
“Me?” I asked.
“What? No. You weren’t even there.”
I craned my neck stiffly to Albert. “He’s got a point.”
“The ref,” Pearlman further spilled.
Albert nodded. “Yeah, he was pretty close.”
“Knew you’d come through, Pearlman.”
We attempted to shake hands, but just ended up jamming our hands into each others’ genitals and we all exited the dressing room awkwardly.
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