My name is Ellery Ash. I’m a private eye, gumshoe, dick, P.I., shamus, sleuth, peeper, detective, snoop…a freelance private investigator. Don’t have an office, just a phone number, website and my girl Friday, “Trash”, short for Trashondra, who works out of her home. I do all right. I’ve built up a reputation for getting the job done despite being an ex-con. I was busted by the Paper Police peddling smuggled index cards from the back of my ’67 Buick. I got probation but I had trouble finding time to report to my parole officer. A crooked judge sent me to the slammer, hoosegow, joint, pen, cooler, the big house for a year. I was 17.
I’m a loner and I like it that way. Broads just complicate things. They get in your way–distract the hell out of you. Believe me, I’ve been distracted by some real dolls. They’re like birds in the attic–they leave their feathers everywhere. They’re too occupied flapping around a man’s castle to notice that he doesn’t live there anymore. A lot of times, dames fall for the wrong guy and someone has to untie them from the train tracks. That’s where I come in….
It was a Monday night and I had to meet a guy behind “Fists and Cuffs Bar”, a local cop hangout. That sorry-ass, two-faced leech, Pigeon Marcel, claimed he knew the location of the missing dame, Alice van Heusen. I won the investigator lottery and was given the case and 72 hours to solve it. I love a challenge, mostly when it means a big paycheck.
I can track down some skirt real easy but this Alice dame had dough and it was the kind of dough that could buy a lot of hiding places. I had to find her before she skipped the country. Pigeon claimed she was grabbed and being held for ransom. The dame was missing for over three months. Funny there was no ransom demand.
Alice had a face that could launch a thousand sailors. Pigeon claimed he spotted her. He’s an informer, a stoolie, but sings to me instead of the cops when he smells dollar signs. He was sure she was being held by Larry the Stick in the Scallop Hills Apartments on 304th and West Riffraff. The place was a freaking fortress, but Pigeon was sure he could get me inside. I never trust stoolies, especially that cockroach. Stick wouldn’t grab some dame. It’s not his style. Pigeon was working for someone. He was trying to set me up–probably for the Russian. He’d like to see my chalk outline on the carpet of the Fontainebleau’s lobby. I’d settle that one later.
This case smelled like Aunt Betty’s Wednesday lasagna–unappetizing. Alice had plenty of time to get out-of-town. There’s usually a reason a dame sticks around, and that reason was probably some guy. Someone who her family wouldn’t give the time of day. Maybe this guy was married. Find the boyfriend and you find the dame. So, I went to the van Heusen estate to pump her family, but the old man and his old lady were out. I decided to squeeze the staff, in particular the housekeeper and the upstairs maid. Servants don’t miss a trick, especially the maid with the great pair of gams. I was right on the nose about a boyfriend and she even knew his moniker. Time to talk to Trash.
His name was Caleb Worthy and he was a shyster, Shylock, ambulance chaser–a slime ball lawyer. When I caught up with him the next morning, he was anything but “worthy” of Alice. I pushed my way into his office by dangling a hefty lawsuit at the receptionist. I fed the shyster a story with lots of dollar signs and he took the bait. I managed to place bugs around his office, the phones. I even put a bug on that cute receptionist, just because I could.
After I left Worthy’s office, it wasn’t long before he made a call to the missing dame. Trash got the phone number and worked her magic. I drove to the address she gave me and knocked on the door. The van Heusen dame answered it. She’s a real looker but she’s no Einstein. As soon as she opened the door a crack, I kicked it in, slapped the cuffs on her and carried her kicking and screaming to my car. I put her in the trunk and headed for the van Heusen estate.
By the time I got to the estate, Trash had all the dirt on the ambulance chaser. I gave the skinny on the boyfriend to Alice and her parents. Then came the tears and the hugging so I split after telling the old man to put the check in the mail. Case solved with 42 hours to spare. I’m sure Alice will drop the assault and kidnapping charges. Piece of cake.
Inspiration Monday: Paper Police at Be Kind Rewrite
Prompts: Paper Police, investigator lottery, finding time, birds in the attic
Word Count: 817
Thank you, Stephanie Orges, for taking time from your day job to host Inspiration Monday, every Monday, consecutively, without fail. You are my Monday. Please return my cat now.