The rain splattered down upon the concrete streets, reflecting the darkened skies. There wasn’t a peak of sunshine escaping through the clouds, just the consistent drizzle. Cameron Ace climbed up the stairs, his feet dragging as he walked towards the office door.
“More tea is what I need” he muttered, pulling out his keys. He was early on this dreary day because Cameron Ace was always early. There was no need to change the habit now despite the weather. The weather could change, much like the cases he examined and divulged into daily. Today was going to be different. He could feel it in his veins, and much like the enticement of a cigarette. He felt a strong desire to be at his desk, etching away at the latest debauchery.
He stopped at the door, slightly grimacing as he read the words “Ace and Flake”. His hands wrapped around the door handle, and he felt its cold exterior, which sent a chill down his spine.
“At least my name is first…” he thought, smirking as he searched his grey trench coat for his pack of cigarettes. He walked past the waiting area, spotting his secretary’s desk which was perfectly organized to the tee. He then turned his attention to the unlocked door of their offices.
“Did Flake forget to lock up last night?” he thought.
The room was darkened and damp, which was amplified by the closed shades. He smiled as he found the familiar lump in his side pocket.
He pulled out a single cigarette as he opened the blinds. He was tired, too tired for a dreary Monday. Yet, despite his exhaustion, he found himself feeling a tinge of anticipation. He threw the pack of cigarettes on his disheveled desk, patting his pockets for a lighter. An odd feeling then washed over him, and it nagged at him like the sting of hunger. He clicked on the light, gasping slightly as he saw the form of his partner Alexander Flake with his head down on his desk.
“Didn’t see you there Alex.” Sleeping on the job I see?” He laughed as he lit the cigarette.
“I wasn’t expecting you until later…” he continued, taking a few puffs of his cigarette as his heart rate slowed. He was very thankful that Settie hadn’t showed up early this morning. She was a real champ that one, always taking one for the team when he needed her. It also helped that she had quite a pair of legs.
“Rise and shine Alex.” he spoke as he looked through a few disheveled papers. He took a few more puffs before inhaling deeply, watching the rain fall against the windowpanes.
The silence continued. It was the kind of silence that ate at you until you made a sound. It was as grating as excessive noise. Cam moved closer to Alex’s desk and gasped.
There was Alexander Flake, face down in bowl, which was slightly obscured by his folded hands.
“Alex!” Cam gasped. “Damn it!”
He gently grabbed ahold of his wrist, searching desperately for a pulse. His hands were as cold as ice and the lifelessness in him was apparent. Alexander Flake was dead.
Cam dropped the cigarette to the floor, his forehead moistening as he attempted to gulp down the rising panic. He dared himself to move closer to Alexander, pressing into his neck for any kind of pulse.
“Come on Alex!” he shouted.
This morning would indeed be unforgettable. His eyes then followed a trail of assorted cereal pieces and an empty box of “Fruity Falcons” that sat beside the dishevelment.
Cam coughed, holding back the urge to slam his fist into the wall.
He went back to his desk, sitting in silence as his heart slammed against his ribcage, his eyes trailing from Alex and the phone. His hands reached slowly for the telephone, and his fingers absentmindedly dialed 911.
“Mypartnerisdead…” The words escaped his lips so quickly, he was sure it was incoherent.
“My name is...”
He stopped wiping a bead of sweat from his forehead.
“My name is Cameron Ace…”
“Yes…. of Ace and Flake…damn it could you get down here!” he roared slamming down the telephone. He took out another cigarette from the pack, his hands rattling as he placed it into his mouth. His eyes once more moved to Alex, and he stopped his own breathing.
“Alex.…my partner…my friend…no…I mean he was a hell of a guy, but I wouldn’t give him that title …what did you do to go and get yourself killed? Was it a broad? I told you about all of your night crawling Alex…focus on the case and the case alone…”
The arrival of the police startled him out of his thoughts. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been in that position, his head consumed by numerous thoughts, while his cigarette laid stagnant upon his lips. All he knew was that he couldn’t look in Alex’s direction. No, he couldn’t believe that his partner was gone forever. Not a chance.
Lieutenant Fundy gave Cam a puzzled expression, his hands in the pockets of brown coat.
“What’s with the cereal Cam?”
“If I knew Fundy, I’d tell you…I doubt he was a Fruity Falcon kind of guy.” His focus was completely on a coroner who was now raising Alexander’s lifeless arm.
Cam looked down at the floor, avoiding Fundy’s eyes.
“And you just walked in and found him like this?”
“Yes…exactly like that…”
“Were you and Mr. Flake in good graces?”
“He was my partner Fundy, what do you think?”
“I think every man has disagreements” he said simply as he examined Alexander’s desk.
“Well, there’s one thing we did agree on…” Cam spoke.
“When I say that I Alex wasn’t a “Fruity Falcons “kind of guy, it’s because he doesn’t eat cereal…ever.” “He hates the stuff…” Cam rambled placing a hand in his pocket.
“So, what did he have for breakfast?”
“Who said he eats breakfast?” Cam frowned before grabbing his grey hat from the hanger. “Is that all Fundy?”
“Do you and Mr. Flake normally discuss breakfast?
Cam froze as his thoughts trailed to his own bitter guilt that was surely showcased on his face. “He was talking about his broad Eva…and how he just couldn’t stand her cooking and such…”
“Mrs. Flake is our next stop…” Fundy paused in thought. “And the door was just…unlocked.”
“Yes, Fundy…” Cam muttered. “Is that all?”
“Hold it Ace…we need more information...”
“Yeah…what about? I’ve told you all I know”
“Maybe but who would leave an empty box of cereal next to dead man?”
“A man who’s either hungry or a madman.”
“Cam…what is going.…” Settie stopped as she spotted Fundy and Alex’s body being analyzed. The color drained from her face as she pressed her body against the door frame. “Cam…” she said breathlessly.
“Easy angel…” Cam moved over towards her, and she nearly collapsed on his shoulder.
“Oh, Cam what’s happening…”
“Miss…Marine…” Fundy sighed in impatience. “It appears that Mr. Flake had some…difficulties.”
“He means he’s dead doll face…” Cam deadpanned.
“Oh Cam!” Settie gasped.
“Hey now…” Cam gently slapped her cheeks. “Breathe in nice and deep…especially in front of the cameras.”
Settie took a deep breath, her body shaking against his as the tears flowed from her eyes.
“Do you know anything about it miss?
Fundy had now grabbed his notepad, scribbling bits of information down.
“No I... left at my usual time at 5....and this morning I didn’t get here early…because…because” Settie sobbed gently. “Because my shower took forever to get hot.”
Cam frowned gently patting her shoulder.
“And what about a cereal called…” Fundy peered at the pad for a second. “Fruity Falcons”?
“Fruity Falcons?” Settie blinked in bewilderment. Her eyes went down to the floor before she bit her lips, avoiding Alex’s direction.
“I brought a box to the office once…because I get so hungry and I...” Settie broke down in tears.
“Easy there Settie…dry those tears.” Cam frowned as he watched two men move Alex’s body. “You should get out of here…take the rest of the day off angel.”
“Yes Cam” she stuttered, wiping away her flowing tears.
“If you’re done examining my partner, I’ve got work to do…” Cam frowned.
“Cam if you interfere in this…”
“Don’t worry your little heart out Fundy…where your work ends mine begins.” Cam took one more look at Alex before walking out the door.
“Say Ace!” Fundy shouted at him. “What exactly do you eat for breakfast?”
Cam turned around as a smile crept upon his lips “Scotch and French toast…”
“Who would want to hurt Alex…it’s not like he had enemies…. I’m the one with the enemies…” Cam thought. He was now at home staring at a blank writing pad, with a blank expression. The clock behind him ticked consistently, counting down every minute of his failed attempts. He had nothing. Nothing but a world a trouble. He placed a cigar in his mouth, contemplating his next move.
He clutched his fists, glancing at the door with suspicious eyes before rising out of his chair.
“Who is it?”
“Cam...” The voice was low and as sweet as honey. Cam nearly bolted to the door, opening it quickly and pulling her inside.
“Eva…what the hell are you doing here!?”
She was wearing all black, with crimson lipstick, a combination that was due for a woman in mourning. Her softly curled brown hair was covered with a black hat and her face was obscured by a veil.
“Is that any way to speak to a widow…” She dapped her eyes with a napkin. “Cam you’re hurting me…”
He released her arm instantaneously. “Widow yes…a widow!”
“The only real tears anyone would get from you is with a pail of water to the face…”
“It’s not right for you to treat me this way!”
“And it’s not right for you to throw suspicion my way…” Cam placed his hand on his forehead. “How did I ever get mixed up with you anyway?”
“I wouldn’t have come if it wasn’t important…”
His face softened as she pulled off her hat and veil. Her green eyes were tinted with redness.
“What is it, Eva?”
“Fundy questioned me this afternoon…I need to know…” she paused as her eyes went to the fireplace.
“Did you kill Alex?
Cam’s eyes widened as a wave of anger rolled through him. “Did this broad just say what I thought?” His anger was soon replaced with shock, and before he could stop himself, he began to howl in laughter.
Eva watched him, her eyes widening as she he bent over, unable to contain his breath from his laughter.
“Oh you’re…really something Eva…!” he gasped.
“This isn’t a laughing matter Cam! Did you do it!? Did you do it because you love me?”
“Love you…sweetheart…no one ever said anything about love…”
“You’re acting so cruel Cam!”
“What were you expecting doll face...did you expect me to grab you into my arms like I used to…’ he stopped. “This grieving widow act suits you just fine…”
“It’s not an act…”
“You didn’t love Alex any more than I loved you…he was just a toy you could play with…”
“No one plays me Eva…if you killed Alex…I’ll come after you just like all the rest.”
“You heard me…”
“I didn’t kill Alex I swear!” Eva broke down into tears, clutching her heart in the process.
Cam sighed as he walked towards her “Come here angel.”
Eva wrapped her arms around him, nearly wailing as she held him. “Oh, Cam this is a nightmare! Oh Cam!”
Cam tuck a strand of blonde her ear before kissing his forehead. “You’re a fool Eva…if Fundy knows you’re here I’m as good as gone…”
“You know how much I like risks…”
He pulled away from her slightly, looking into her eyes. “As much as I do” He then pressed his lips against hers passionately, letting the cigar fall to the floor.
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