Monday, 10 October 2011


I started this one here, but didn't finish it. To recap: Based off this picture, write something. 

Now that this one is finished, I can move onto the next one. Progress, and baby steps towards getting in the habit of completing things.


"Same again, thanks sweetheart" I say, waggling my empty coffee cup at the dame in the waitress uniform. She sighed, and came back with a fresh cup of joe. I'd had two already, and a third would mean no sleep for a week, but when you're on a stakeout, you gotta look the part. I slurped off a mouthful and then surreptitiously turfed the rest out in the potted plant. With a generous pour from my hip flask, I refilled the cup with the good stuff... just enough to counteract the caffeine high. In this line of work, you need steady hands. It's not so bad, being a private dick. Sure the hours are longer than back when I was on the force, but I'm my own boss. I don't have to answer to no-one no more.

I notice a twitch at the curtain to the room the mark is in, and like a shot I'm engrossed in the funny pages... head down, just a regular schmoe having a break. This dive of a flop-house is more up market than his usual haunts, so business must be on the up and up. I am sure the boys in blue would be interested in that, but they’d just scare off the big fish. In the reflection of the glass, I see him heading out the door, so I throw down a five spot to keep the waitress sweet on me tomorrow and hoof it after him. I've got a knack at being a subtle tail, after the time I put in down in the Bronx, but a New Orleans Jazz band could be banging and blaring away for all the care he's paying. Can't say as I blame him, as its bucketing down and the wind is making sure that your birthday suit gets soaked.

Down to the wharf, and into a little hole-in-the-wall bar... not his usual stomping ground, so maybe he is working tonight after all. I give the area the once over then head on in. I order a beer and a bourbon, and hunker down at a table with my back to him, but close enough so I can hear what he's saying, and fish out my deck of cards and get all engrossed in a game of solitaire. Our chum is getting nowhere fast with the skirt behind the bar, and I think the evening may be a complete washout. Then bold as brass, in waltzes one of Harvey's boys. So I'm back to earning my keep, as even if these hours ain't billable to my current client knowing what Harvey is up to is always bankable.

Next morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I'm warmly greeted by the dame in the diner. I take a stool where I can see the hotel out the front window, and order the blue plate special. I think I'm gonna haveta linger over coffee yet again, but once more there's the twitch to the curtain, so I shovel the last of the eggs and hash into my gob, and wolf it down. Telling her to keep the change, I'm out the door and after him like a flea on a dog. After last night's conversation, I definitely don't want to lose him so I stay as close as I can, doing my best not to be too conspicuous dodging the puddles. We go by Shanks' Pony over towards Brooklyn and in my head I'm already counting the notes, crinkling that filthy lucre in my fingers and trying to decide if I should pay my overdue rent or splurge.

He darts down an alley furtive all of a sudden, and I worried I’ve blown it. I turn my collar up and keep on walking, only glancing out the corner of my eye. Its not as bad as I thought, he’s just taking a leak on some trashcans. And there was me, thinking I was losing my edge! I lean against a nearby bus stop sign and get busy fixing a smoke. Before long our fine upstanding pillar of the community heads on out, doing up his fly.

We head east, and I for one am getting sick of all this leg work, but there ain’t nothing I can do but grin and bear it. Finally we get to the joint he’s interested in, and I walk on by. I come back a few minutes later and give some scratch to a couple of winos loitering nearby to get the lowdown on the building. The coherent bits of our conversation stink of Harvey all over, so I make myself scarce as he’ll have eyes all over the place.

Sooner than I thought I see him schleping past again so I down my drink and shadow him, all discreet. I figure I can knock off early today, as all he did is buy some hooch and head back to his two-bit flea-pit motel. Back in the office I start going through some paperwork with a few fingers of scotch as lubrication, when who comes knocking but O’Casey. Still drunk as a skunk since they took his badge off him. A damn shame about that kid, There but for the grace o God and all that jazz. I give him some simple shoe leather stuff outa sympathy, but I make sure it ain’t nothing that needs subtlety.

Later still the door bangs open, I holler we’re closed, but it’s the client I’m working for. I wasn’t expecting to see him for a while. Says he’s come to an arrangement and my services are no longer required. I start to protest but he wordlessly dumps a pile of cash on my desk, much more than what I would have racked up even with padding my expense account. It seems fishy to me, but who am I to argue with a big pile of dough? I bow to the logic that the customer is always right, and wave him out as I begin to count it. I only said I wouldn’t report to him, not that I’d lay off my lead. Tomorrow’s gonna be a busy day.

1 comment:

  1. engaging - pulls the reader in; admire that you're making an effort to get into the habit of finishing!