The case was cold and there were not going to be any easy clues to find.
“That’s why I hired you," said the mysterious tall woman in a long dark overcoat.
“No guarantees," I said as I took her cash payment.
“I just want him gone, if you know what I mean."
“Let’s stop right there." I stood up and walked around my desk. My office was small, and my secretary had been out sick for a week.
Her smile seemed to fade though her intensity didn’t.
“I’m an investigator," I said. “Nothing else."
She reached out and touched my shoulder.
“We both want the same thing, you know."
My clients always seemed to speak in a vague manner, intentionally of course.
She unbuttoned her overcoat at the top.
“Your office is so hot," she said.
“It’s the winter," I replied.
“My husband is a cheating filthy animal, and I know you’re good at what you do." She leaned in close to me.
I looked over at the door of my office that led to the small reception area where my secretary worked, and I missed having her there so I wouldn’t find myself standing too close to my clients.
“Just get the job done and I’ll pay you the remainder, if you know what I mean."
She let herself out and I wondered how the city turned so dark all of a sudden.
Down at the police station, I loitered out front and kept an eye out for Officer Keith, one of my only friends left in the department. It was early morning, a short eight hours after my client left me last night.
“You working again?" said Officer Keith after he walked outside.
“It’s a spousal matter," I said.
“I got your message," he said as he handed me some notes, wrapped up hidden in an old newspaper.
“You’ll have your hands full. Watch your back. And we better not meet here any more."
He glanced at the police headquarter windows and then pretended to give me directions to nowhere in particular.
The alley behind the bar was cold and damp and I had time to think and wonder about my life choices. I cursed the night.
A big thug of a man slammed open the back exit of the bar. He was two sheets to the wind, but had his senses.
“Hey, buddy," I said as I walked into the light so he could see my face.
“Not you again.” He seemed grumpy.
I stepped closer and he took a swing but missed. He didn’t miss the second time, so I landed a right cross to his jaw. He punched back into my gut, so I swung an elbow into his forehead.
“I’ve got some side money for you,” I said.
“For what? Tell me."
“David Wakenburg. Look at the photo.”
I held it up to the light.
“Yeah, I seen’em. Three days ago. He parked his old Ford sedan downtown."
“He walked into City Hall and came out with some papers. Then he got all friendly with some copper named Hernandez I think.”
“What kind of friendly?" I asked.
“The kind where they’re up to no good."
I knew he was telling me the truth because he was good with details. Social skills, not so much.
I gave him a handful of cash.
“You need to get out of this kind of work," he said as I headed into the darkness.
“It’s the only life I know."