Private Investigator – Chapter 9
Frank Francis is a private detective. A private eye. A private dick.
Chapter 9 – What Is This Thing Called Love?
Albert & I headed out to the Lordsburg Horse Track in order to meet with Yuel Schmiel — son of Zusev Schmiel, head of the Jewish mob — to discuss bluesman Slapsie Brown’s missing recording contract money.
“I don’t owe Slapsie nothin’.”
Yuel smiled out over the empty horse track at a stallion rounding the turn on a practice run.
“C’mon, Yuel. The Schmiel Family’s been livin’ high off the hog on record company scratch for generations. Cut the kid a break.”
“Slapsie signed a contract with my father. Not my fault he didn’t read the fine print. But if it’s a real case you want, I got one for you, Detective.”
Schmiel was trying to distract me from my original case with a piping hot fresh new one; and I gotta tell ya: It worked. I haven’t the foggiest what that old case was about. This guy was good.
Yuel led me and Albert out behind the stables to a staggering mountain of stinking, rotting horse carcasses. Albert vomited right on the spot. I swallowed mine; but I didn’t much care for the sight, either. I mean this was just an incredible amount of dead horses.
“These horses were poisoned. I want you to tell me who did it.”
I covered my mouth with a handkerchief. “You mean right now? I usually need a couple days to investigate, so–“
“No, yeah. Not right now. Take a few days, obviously.”
“Okay, good. I thought you were like ‘Pop quiz, hot shot: Who poisoned these horses?’ and I was gonna be all ‘Duhh, I dunno. A horse poisoner?'”
“Just take a few days to look into it and we’ll pay you handsomely if you bring us the culprit.”
“You got yourself a deal, muchacho.”
Albert gripped his hat with both hands and leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Boss, what about Slapsie?”
“Who’s he? One of these horses? I’d say he’s dead as fuck, Albert.”
“No, Slapsie Brown. The reason we came out here in the first place.”
“Oh, Slapsi–hey, you distracted me with a new cas–ah, he left already. This guy’s good.”
“Maybe we could use the money we make off the horse poison case to pay Slapsie and buy out his recording contract.”
“I already didn’t make any cash off your case, since I hired you as my bodyguard. Now you want me to do another case pro bono?”
“It’s the kind thing to do.”
Just my luck, I got stuck with the nicest heavyweight boxer in New Jersey.
“So who do you think poisoned all these horses, boss?”
“I dunno, Albert. But one thing’s for sure: Whoever he is, he doesn’t much like horsies.”
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