I'm told I have a suspicious mind. I prefer to say I have a healthy dose of cynicism with a spot of paranoia. Though it is true, I am suspicious. Crime is all around us. Every day someone gets robbed or killed and the police can't find a clue. That's why a guy like me is necessary.
Bill Sussman, Private Eye.
My career started in the second grade when little Myron Golden lost his marbles, twelve of them, plus an Aggy. Someone stole them from his coat pocket at recess. I found those marbles. Who but me would have thought that Vera Teigler was capable of such a heinous crime? And at such a tender age.
From there, I progressed to bigger things, each case more impressive than the last. In middle school, I uncovered the gang responsible for the graffiti on the bathroom walls. In high school, I uncovered a term paper forgery business by posing as a football player in need of a grade fix. None of my discoveries made me very popular with my classmates, but sometimes a man has to do the tough jobs whether he gets extra swirlies or pantsed in gym class.
Let's not forget my biggest case to date, the Japanese Sumo Wrestling Pornography Ring! Okay, so I was wrong that Mr. Sato had a porn studio in back of his sushi shop. But he was fronting for a bookie, so my suspicions about illegal activity were correct.
Things have been a little slow lately, so I've been taking any case that comes my way. I'm not proud of the fact I'm doing car repos or following deadbeat dads, but it puts food on the table.
So imagine my surprise when the blonde walked in. My suspicious nature kicked in the second she opened the door. Trouble had just entered my office. She was a real babe, tall, thin, willowy - like Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep. Dressed in silk and smelling like Chanel No. 5, she stood across the desk from me. My knees were weak as I stood to greet her.
"Please, have a seat, Miss?"
"Oh, Mr. Sussman, you have to help me!" She burst into tears.
I handed her a box of tissues. She nodded her thanks and cried like crazy. Not many babes can cry like that and not move their makeup. Bill Sussman's suspicious nature stood up and said hello.Any woman who's sobbing like her heart is broken is gonna leave tracks. Her eyes go red, her face turns puffy. Not this chick. My professional mien descended like a lead zeppelin.
"How may I help you?" I tried again.
"I'm so sorry," she gulped and sobbed, looking just as perfect as when she walked in.
The tissues clutched in her well manicured hands were dry as a bone. She kept her head down and her hands in her lap. I moved around to the front of the desk, leaning against the edge.
"It's me, Bill. Vera Teigler. Don't you recognize me anymore?"
"Little Vera Teigler from second grade?" My smile nearly split my face in two. "How ya been, Vera?"
"A little of this, a little of that," she said with a funny smile that made me very suspicious indeed. "A lot better than you, you low life creep!"
And suddenly I'm looking at the business end of a snub nosed pistol. I figured I had two choices, grab the gun or put up my hands. Bill Sussman ain't a hero, dig? My hands flew up and I got real nervous.
"Hey, Vera. I'm sorry about the marbles, okay?"
"This isn't about the marbles, you freak! It's about Andy!"
"Andy? Andy who?"
"Tucker. Andy Tucker, my boyfriend. Don't you know anything?"
"Come to think, that name rings a bell or two."
"You were following him because his wife hired you to find out who he was seeing on the side. He was seeing me!" She screamed at me. The gun wavered in her hand.
"Well, sorry about that, Vera. Didn't mean to put a dent in your love life."
"She shot him, you idiot! Shot him dead! You killed the only man I ever loved! I hate you, Bill Sussman!"
My choices had just narrowed to one. I leaped at her, grabbing the barrel of the gun, pushing it out of my face as she pulled the trigger. I felt the bullet whiz past my ear, the sound of the explosion loud in the small office. I got the gun away from her, holding it carefully so my prints wouldn't get on the grip.
"It's over, Vera. I'm sorry about Andy, but business is business."
"Yeah, well, he was a pretty lousy boyfriend. Sorry about the gun." She brushed her hair out of her face. "So, Bill, you seeing anybody?"
"No," I grinned. "So, Vera, want to go out for a cup of coffee and talk about old times?"
"Sure," she said, taking my arm.
I smirked. Yeah, life comes at a guy fast, but sometimes it tosses in a hell of a ride.
© Dellani Oakes
For more of Dellani's books, check out Indian Summer, Lone Wolf and The Ninja Tattoo on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.