Saturday, August 27, 2016

Crime and Gravity Part 3

I took deep breath as the Fairlane made it’s way over to the Century Club. Cherry Azure being involved in the case ranked pretty high on the list of things I did not need. Timothy was waiting for me as I slid out of the car. He must have been practicing the annoyed glare he usually uses on me. It only took a moment for me to realize I was not wanted. I walked straight up to him turning my head up to look Timothy right in the eye. I gave him my best formal tone. “Mister Samuel Sloan to see Miss Cherry Azure.”

Timothy turned his annoyed glare up several notches. “This way. Miss Azure is waiting for you.” I followed tall, dark, and irritated through a back passageway to a small room in the back area of the Century Club that most of it’s clientele did not know existed. Cherry was waiting there, sitting demurely at a table with a bottle of wine sticking half way out of an ice bucket and two empty glasses. I have to give it to her, Chery has style.

Cherry turned towards me wearing a tight dress of deep red that showed off her every curve perfectly. She tossed her blond locks over her shoulder like a woman without a care in the world. “Sam, always a pleasure. Why don’t you close the door and pour us a drink?”

I quickly obeyed, if only for the small pleasure of slamming the door in Timothy’s face. The wine I took my time with, enjoying it’s scent before filling the glasses in front of us. “May I join you miss? Or did you just call me for my services as waiter?”

“Do sit down Sam. Have a drink and then explain to me why you were following my people.”

I took a seat and lifted up the glass in Cherry’s direction. “To your health.” Then took a slow sip, enjoying memories of older times as the smell filled my nostrils. “I only recall following one person. Was he yours?”

“Don’t be coy Sam, it is not in your nature.” Cherry daintily picked up her glass meeting my gaze across the table. “Now why were you chasing James Burke.”

“The usual, a case running though his law firm. One of your informants besides whatever else he may be up to?”

“You could say that. His firm has a few clients I like to keep my eyes on. I wouldn’t call him a valued member of the family, but I would be annoyed if you shot him for anything other than absolute necessity.”

I gave her my best grin. “So you are saying you do not want him killed, but a minor wounding or a couple good punches about the head would be acceptable?”

Cherry shook her head in mock resignation before string right at me. “Sam if Burke is giving away information on my establishment I need to know about it.”

“You know I will not spill on one of my clients. I think I am safe telling you there are some questionable money dealings going through his business. A person of interest asked me to look into it.”

“Fine be mysterious, I like that in a man.” Cherry swirled her drink around staring into the red ripples. “Just let me know if the case gets too close to me.”

“That I can do.” I took a drink using the break in the conversation to think up a change of subject. “Is Asiru finding your employ suitable?”

“Oh that girl is a delight, brilliant and just easy enough on the eyes that no one expects it of her. I may actually owe you a favor for introducing us.”

“Just take care of her, if anything happened to her, that I would take personally.”

“You perfectly know my favorites are well cared for.” Cherry was interrupted by a knock on the door. “Oh what is it now? Enter!.”

Timothy swung the door open. “The mayor has entered and seems to expect a personal audience.”

Cherry gave a theatrical sigh. “Give a man a little power and he thinks I am going to bow to him.” She touched her finger to her chin in thought. “He likes redheads, send Veronica with a drink to keep him busy until I arrive.”

“Yes Miss Azure.” Timothy stepped back outside the door and relayed the lady’s orders.

Cherry rose slowly. “It appears the work of a hostess is never done.” She turned her back to me slowly. “Am I all in place?”

I stepped behind her helping to place a rogue strap back in position. “There, everything in a perfect place.”

Cherry flashed a smile back at me. “A gentleman as always.” Slipping a pair of jet black heels on as she made her way for the door. “For the record if our dear mayor should ever end up on the wrong end of one or your investigations I would not mind at all. I am sure you know the way out.” Cherry then lit up the red lights implanted in her skin and went out to put on a show.

I made my way through the back hallways of the Century Club. Footfalls hollow on the wooden floors as I ran into Timothy yet again, blocking the way out. I stopped just a couple feet in front of him. “Miss me already?”

Timothy placed a hand on my shoulder with a merciless grip. “We don’t need you causing trouble around here again Sloan. Why don’t you do us all a favor and get lost somewhere far away? The moon would be a good start.”

I took a moment to consider the man in front of me. “Just as a word of advice, if you are nursing a crush on Cherry. You are not the first and this is not the way.”

Timothy glared back down at me. I always thought he lacked a sense of humor, and his murderous stare was in full effect today. “If anyone ends up in jail because of your antics, I am going to hold you personally responsible.” Timothy tightened his grip.

I glanced back nonchalantly at the death glare. Trouble with Timothy was the last thing I needed but I was not about to give Timothy the satisfaction of blinking at his intimidation tactics. “So what happens next? You going to be kind enough to step out of the way or would you prefer to kill each other in the hallway.”

Timothy gave me a shove out of his way before continuing down the hall. “Not today Sloan, not today.”

I climbed back into the Fairlane mulling over the latest pile of complications in my mind as I stomped on the gas and flew out of the garage. Much as I try to stay on Cherry’s good side I was not about to let a client go that easily. Timothy also appeared to be very close to causing ten kinds of trouble that I did not need. Botany is a nice career right? Plants are quiet, keep to themselves, and never shoot you in the back. Could even keep schedule by an almanac. As I was not going to trade my fedora in for a straw hat today I decided to return my attention to one James Burke, lawyer and possible criminal scumbag. I turned my attention to the dash.“So what has our boy been up to while I have been making peace with the locals?”

“Mr. Burke has not yet left the Century Club, or at least his car has not.” Sarah’s voice came back at me.

“I am going to clear the area before I make Cherry any angrier than she already is. I doubt he will do anything of interest at the club anyways. If he is going behind her back, he cannot possibly be dumb enough to try it in her club.”

“Haven’t you always said to never underestimate stupidity?”

I set my hat down on the passenger seat of the car. “True, but I think if he was that much of an idiot he would be dead. Keep me informed.” I turned the car in the direction of a halfway decent drink.

“Confirmed Detective.” The speaker went quiet.

After a short drive I decided for a bit of nostalgia with my liquor and quietly made my way into Sue’s bar. The place had cleaned up nice since my last visit and I could not even see the bullet holes anymore. I took a seat at the bar and realized clean might be overstating, but they did clean up the blood.

The barkeep’s hulking form turned at my entrance. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble here for this year?”

I leaned over tossing far too much money on the bar. “Whiskey and my heartfelt apology?”

The big man poured me a double and set it on the bar then pocketed the bills I had offered. “Since you did check on me in the hospital, you are forgiven just this once. As long as there are no gunman following you this time.”

I gave one look behind me. “Just me and a thirst tonight.”

He set a beer on the bar. “Last warning though, you cause one more shootout here and I am banning you.” He turned back to me as his attention returned to his more regular customers.

I made it about halfway through the beer before the call from Sarah came. “Burke is back on the move, looks like he is not quite done for the night.”

I threw a tip on the bar and downed the rest of the beer in one gulp. “Work is never done. Thanks for the beer Sue.”

I just made out the grizzled voice behind me. “Still not funny” as I made way back to the car and reacquired the trail of James Burke. He was easy to acquire and I slid in behind him as he made no indication of even keeping an eye out for a tail. Cherry must have been kind enough not to rat me out. After a direct path to one of the less populated areas of downtown Burke hopped out of his car. Walking around to meet a short brunette in thick framed glasses. The woman didn’t get out of her gray sedan,so I could only make out the outline of her pale features as Burke handed her a small package. I snapped a few long distance pictures in the hope Sarah could clean up the images later. Burke made his way back to the car with a scared look in his eye I hadn’t seen before.

The cars sped off into the night as a splitting scream filled my ear piece. My eyes blurred as communications shifted into emergency shutdown mode and the car went dead. I turned behind me and saw a pair of Midnighter’s mounted on bikes with a military grade EMP device. The lunatics were moving up in the world, as they didn’t come in shooting they wanted me alive, probably. A quick sweep showed at least two more. The upshot is a device that powerful burns out after one shot. At least it was the upshot if I could make it through the next few minutes. I slid the automatic out of my glove compartment and got ready to run.

No comments:

Post a Comment