Thursday, June 6, 2013

I’d Kill For You by Alan Plessinger (Excerpt)

at 5:00 AM

Chapter 1: In which the Reader finds himself unceremoniously dumped into a Story already fully in motion, and must scamper to keep up.

Charlie De Remer came out of the men’s room and beheld a sight few had seen and even fewer wanted to see: his brother Clyde sitting at the counter with his sunglasses off, bulging hypersensitive eyes naked to the twilight. Clyde was seated on a backless stool facing the entrance, sipping a Styrofoam cup of hot coffee. The steam as it rose only increased the impression of an untamed beast from the Stygian depths. Clyde resembled nothing so much as a demonic bullfrog.

With his sunglasses off, anything brighter than near darkness would hurt Clyde’s unprotected eyes, so Charlie knew better than to flick on the lights in the diner. The only light was from a dimly lit streetlight outside, not directly in front of the place.

Charlie quietly sat a few stools away from his brother and tried to make himself unnoticeable, since Clyde was just looking for something or someone on whom to vent his irritation. Charlie was known to go for more than a few days without a shower, and he preferred not to sit close enough to remind Clyde of his indifferent hygiene, for fear it might set him off.

The two private investigators sat quietly and waited for their brothers. Volatile Clyde and gloomy Charlie were all alone in the diner. Gunpowder and the Cemetery, waiting together.

Clyde picked up a lit cigarette from a butter plate that was doing duty as an ashtray. He took a drag. It wasn’t the first time a butter plate had been so used in that establishment. This was a diner that didn’t mind ignoring New York smoking laws if it could bring in a few extra customers, but they didn’t keep ashtrays in the diner, so that the management could pretend they weren’t complicit if the scofflaw customers were caught smoking by the authorities. Customers who wanted to smoke had to make do with butter plates for their ashtrays.

“Where the hell are they?” asked Clyde. “Did they say when they’d get here?”

Charlie shrugged.

“You are fucking useless, you know that?” said Clyde.

Charlie nodded, though his skills with a lock pick had gotten them into the closed diner for this little midnight conference, away from the prying eyes of the police.

The two private investigators continued to wait for their brothers. Charlie and his four older brothers made up the De Remer Brothers Detective Agency. The firm was taking this time to have a little get-together, to talk about the case they’d just stumbled into.

Earlier in the day, Charlie had been pressed into service as a driver, bringing home from prison an ex-convict named Sam Dooley for a reunion with his wife. Dooley’s friend, a pawnshop owner named Jack Bates, had accompanied them. Bates had managed to borrow his sister’s car for the journey, but he was unable to drive, so Charlie had driven them as a favor.

Sam Dooley, the ex-convict, had done fifteen years for killing his son George. During his time in prison, Dooley had developed throat cancer and was now completely mute.

And now Dooley, just out of prison, had been coming home to his wife, but the reunion hadn’t gone as well as it might’ve done. Sadie Dooley was now lying dead on the kitchen floor, and Sam Dooley was nowhere to be found. The police, who were now canvassing the area, didn’t seem at all disposed to consider anyone but Dooley the killer.

The De Remer Brothers Detective Agency had been hired by Jack Bates to find Dooley, to make sure he was safe and well cared for. Also to find out anything about the case that might be to Dooley’s advantage. Sam Dooley had been a thief, and Charlie De Remer was a former thief himself. That might give Charlie an advantage in finding him. At least, that was the theory. Charlie had his doubts about the theory. Thieves were not a chummy bunch. They didn’t pal around together, they didn’t indulge in passwords or secret handshakes, and the idea of forming an underground railroad to smuggle one of their own to a hiding place would not have occurred to them. But Charlie had no objection to wasting his time, as long as it was paid for.

Charlie yawned. He needed his eight hours sleep. His brothers were able to get by on just four hours, which he envied.

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Genre – Murder / Mystery

Rating – R

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