Marco Stokoe read over his files again and again and he still couldn't believe it. His new assignment came with a request by some probably crazy person offering him just a little over 800,000 dollars to find a missing dreidel. And in case that wasn't insane enough, his bank account was already 400,000 dollars wealthier with the first half. He handed them over to Robin Stewart who read them, disbelief stark on his face.
The two had gone for lunch at a local diner they had gone to since they were still riding bikes and saving quarters to play Street Fighter in the arcade two blocks past and had now become a mattress shop. Looking at them and seeing how they interact, no one would have known they had been friends till preschool. They were polar opposites.
Marco was tall and thin with inky black hair and brown skin while Robin was short and stocky with wispy brown hair and freckly skin. Marco seemed cool and brusque when he talked while Robin always spoke so animatedly. Usually they would make jibes about each other or just argue over anything. Yet, they were friends throughout school and even through the police academy before Marco thought he was better suited for being a private eye and get more of the fieldwork through.
"A dreidel." Robin said. "Yeah. Y'know, one of those spinning toys the Jewish play with during Hanukkah." Marco elaborated. "Yeah, I know what it is." Robin replied as he leafed through the files. "Just wondering why the hell a Jewish spinning toy is about to make you like 200,000 dollars shy of being a millionaire?"
Marco shrugged. "Beats me. Could be a family heirloom or something."
"A family heirloom worth nearly a million bucks. Is it gold encrusted? Bejewelled?" Marco shook his head and showed a photograph. It was a normal looking wooden one, however the Nun symbol seemed a bit faded out.
"That's it?" Robin asked in disbelief and shook his head. "Y'know, if it was someone else, they would have just bought a dreidel, buffed the symbol out a bit then sold it off and made a profit."
"Yeah." Marco nodded and grabbed some fries. "Not you though." Robin added. "You're too nice."
"Nice?" Marco asked skeptically. Robin snorted. "Well, not nice. You can be a real dick. But you are just. Gotta give you that. You'd rather go homeless than scam some rich old person." Marco sighed. " Isn't your lunch break over now?" Robin looked at his watch and stood up. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're trying to get rid of me but yeah." He gave his half of the money for the bill and started to head off. "Give Cindy my love!" Marco called out. "Same to Blanca!" Robin called back.
Marco slumped in his seat and finished his fries before paying and arranging his files. He was supposed to visit his client's brother, Elvis Wernen who was suspected to have it tomorrow. Mrs. Goyle nee' Wernen was adamant about that and refused Marco's suggestion to settle it between them. He walked down the sidewalk back to his office four blocks away. The air was crisp and cool but Marco zipped his jacket.
His Agency office was nothing like in the Noir films. In fact, being a private detective was nothing like the Noir films. He wasn't chasing bad guys or dealing with femme fatales who may betray him or cigars dangling from his fingers. Just paperwork, filing cabinets and having to deal with mostly cases of suspicious spouses wanting someone to spy on cheating partners. He put the files down, stretched and went to look up Mr Wernen. It always did good to have an idea of someone you're investigating and possibly interrogating.
Apparently Mr. Wernen had made a name for himself as a financial advisor for SCE, a large insurance company. Marco reasoned this theft definitely had to deal with some familial spat and nothing more and groaned internally. He was polite but sucked at trying to be sensitive or conciliatory, always coming across as blunt. Oh well, he was just going to have to suck it up and deal with it because even though he found the case ridiculous, he still wanted the payment.
Deciding there was nothing better to do, he closed up at 4:00 pm and headed home. That was one advantage over being an officer, he could dictate his own working hours. He headed to his studio apartment which was a brisk walk away, climbed to his floor, took out his keys and opened the door. "Blanca? I'm back!" He called as he entered and was greeted by silence. He sighed and headed to the kitchen. After rummaging in his cupboards, he found a can of tuna and put it on the automated can opener.
As the machine whirred, a white cat scuttled into the kitchen and hopped up onto the kitchen island. "Good to know I still have your attention Blanca." Marco said dryly but scratched behind her ears. He took the open can and poured the tuna into a bowl. As she ate, Marco asked, "Hey Blanca, what would you do if someone gave you nearly a million bucks to find a toy?" Blanca lifted her head and meowed. "Doesn't feel fake though. Imagine if I found it, we could get a better house, maybe even get you those cat trees and scratching posts like on TV. That sounds great right?"
Blanca just meowed again. "You may be a great listener but I could do with someone a bit more chattier right now." Blanca got up and left to probably go shred curtains or knock vases down or whatever she gets up to when Marco wasn't around. He just huffed and cleaned her bowl before wondering whether he should get pizza or Thai for dinner that night.