CHAPTER 3: BIG TROUBLE, BIG CITY PART ONE
The city! Anchor for the working detectives gain…..
The three m’s to investigating crime in the city are: muggings, murders, and mysteries.
Like most private detectives, I am on call twenty- four hours a day……
The larger the city, the greater the crimes. This is the truth of many cities, including L.A…..
My eyes, they’re continually searching my rear- view mirror; enlightening me to fast elimination, of unwanted tails. My long time associate, and a man whom would be known to me as being one of my best of friends, he has been murdered. His last call, a warning, hastily delivered to me.
It’s not all that often, that I receive a commissioned assignment from the departments of law and of order. Only the highest of profile cases do I actually fall into, the list of contacts for the L.A.P.D.
The urgency of the investigation: one bullet to the head execution, a mob- hit style. The job, seemingly done by a professional. The murder, a message for me.
The importance of the investigation, demanding of stealth and of caution. My ride. My pride and joy, my 1946 Chevy Fleet-master Convertible; I had to leave her behind. Suggestion from one: Inspector Jack McIntyre, of L.A’s finest.
The case, it sounds pretty straight forward to me; and to my perspective. Until I am actually present at the live investigation, the scene of the actual crime; I will have to keep my deductive reasoning secured.
“Drop me off right here driver! I’ll walk the rest of the way!”
“You- got it, detective man!”
“….. Is it that obvious?”
“Maybe? Just, to me anyway. The trench coat, even though- weather reports have all indicated, that we may get rain; in a combined outfitting, with- say: the hat? Yeah, I do think it is pretty obvious.”
“You know driver? You may be right! I’ve never actually looked at myself from another persons’ perspective……. Here’s a twenty. Keep it! The hat, and the coat; they’re now yours. Be careful where you wear them!”
“Geese, thanks mister!”
“Call me Rook! I’ll look you up again sometime!”
“You got it mister! Watch yourself!’
I begin to adjust my tie as I walk. The streetwalkers and pedestrians, and the other suspicious- types; with their eyes on me, give me cause for a secondary thought of my easily recognized appearance. Finding myself an unoccupied alleyway, I removed the tie and quickly returned to the walk. Nobody took any great notice of what I had been doing, with- my short time in the darkened alley. Kind of strange;if you think too hard on it. It had to have been, such an odd visual for a persons’ abrupt detour.
I stopped near to a local coffee house, and I caught myself instinctively reaching for a pack of smokes. One thick pack of Juicy Fruit bubble gum where my cigarettes would have normally been. My doctors’ idea, on quitting smoking. Some habits they’re difficult to break. After being known for dodging one bullet to the next, chewing gum; it seems unlikely to the soothing of my nerves.
As not to draw out any unnecessary attention to myself, I quickly committed to the chewing of a single piece of stick gum. I have to admit it, as chewing gums stand in flavor: Juicy Fruit, has got to be the best there is.
Of the suspicious types gathered currently around me, none actively raise alarm to my presence; that is except for the owner of the coffee house.
“Hey, you? Move on out of here you bum! I’ve got a business to run!”
I catch myself instinctively scratching at my full- grown length bearded whiskers in silence. It looks like, on my decision to put off my weekly shave for a couple of months; had been a good idea. Sometimes, the most ingenious of disguises can be found in a change of the individuals’ natural routine, as well as in the way the person looks to others. Me, like I am now; with a full grown beard, without my coat and my hat; only those closest to me would actually be so- quick to recognize me.
Feeling comfortable with my current surroundings, I continued walking on my way to my officially requested destination.
OLD COURT STREET APARTMENTS
The Rook eye-scanned the room, with the proficiency of: a laser guided pin-pointer; out- lining clues, in minded- spotting; of timed probability. His well trained eyes, never once missing even the smallest of detail. The extraordinary precision of his original tactics; have been said by many, to be in comparison of a fictional literary detective, that would remain nameless; except for, by those that would actively make so curious the comparison to him; on The Rook’s behalf.
The scene of the crime, it was on immediate inspection; an old and familiar placement of a classical design mob hit- job arrangement. The body, it was laid out on its left side. The bullet entry- point, the right temple. The bullet exiting the left side of the victim’s head. One bullet hole in the north wall, only about three feet away from the body; the slug removed.
Something was off with the entire scene. Being a private detective for so many years, I’ve seen many such scenes. This one, it almost looked too obvious to me.
“What do you think Rook?”
Sergeant Boots McIntyre, son to one of L.A’s finest (called Boots, due to his over-sized number eleven, and a half feet) has been a valuable asset to my continual work on many such cases.
“I don’t know Boots? Something seems off here. The depth of the bullet hole in the wall. The location of the body……Boots? I hate to say this, but I believe that this scene has been staged.”
“I thought that something didn’t feel right about this one Rook!”
I positioned myself in front of the dead man’s desk. The scene, it has been laid out as if the lone shooter might have surprised the victim while he was sitting alone at his desk. The victim presumably at a deepened state of sleep, or an intense focus of study. No books of any kind of reference, have been laid out upon the desk; and the surface of the desk, it had a nice shine to it; suggesting that it had been recently polished.
The only signs of a visible struggle: a knocked- over desk chair laying near to the body, the seat spun around to the right side; the four caster legs angled slightly upward toward the desk.
This had been my first clue. Taking gravity and weight into real scientific consideration, I checked my suspicions, with a series of mock re-enactment simulations.
“….. The scene, it doesn’t wash Boots..... If the victim had been sitting in the chair, and was surprised from behind; the chair- it would have been wrapped up in his legs, and fallen on top of him from behind.
The shooter? I believe; this person must have been invited in. I believe that there was an actual struggle..... Possibly, as soon as the victim had opened the door….. One shot was fired during the struggle, burying one bullet into the wall…..
During the struggle, the shooter must have stumbled on the desk chair; and the victim overpowered the shooter…..”
“Then this guy?”
“Most likely an assassin..... Someone out to collect on a bounty. Not a very good one, I might add.....”
“That’s not, The Mouth then?”
“No Boots! He’ll be in hiding now. If I’m going to be able to help him, I’m going to have to find out where.”
“What about this guy? Who do you think could’ve contracted such a Boob?”
“…..Boob, Boots? You’re definitely one for the money. Did, he have any real identification on him?”
“Nothing..... All of his pockets, they’re clean!”
“The shirt pocket, you see that? The left side!”
“What? That?! What is that?”
“You don’t play chess do you Boots?”
“No! Never have any time, for games of strategy Rook.....”
“Right..... That pin on his shirt pocket, it’s a Black Bishop.....”
“You mean that piece that can only move crosswise, on the board; right Rook?”
“Right..... Diagonally, in any number of spaces. Many an experienced chess player, they put a lot of faith into their Bishops.”
“Somebody gunning for you Rook?”
“No! Right now, they’re just trying to get my attention. This Black Bishop? He seems to me, the type that would assign others to test his targets before he strikes.”
“Where there is one Bishop, there will always be one more?”
“….. You sure you don’t play chess Boots”