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Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-15-2009 03:31

New York - 1931

I was framed. I did not kill her, but who would've believed me?

Life was getting grimmer as citizens felt the real pinch from the great stock market crash two years ago. My private investigation business was losing a load of clients. Most of them had gone bankrupt, or worse, jumped off the Chrysler Building. Mrs. Gatsby was a loyal client. My only mistake was becoming too intimate with her.

That day, I received a note from her, asking me to meet her in the VIP room of the Astor Theatre. The room was dark when I got there; I thought she was playing naughty. Before I knew it, I was hit from the back, and woke up to find blood all over me with a knife in my hand. Mrs. Gatsby was laying two feet from me, stabbed to death.

I heard the police whistle nearby, and I instinctively ran. Two officers saw me and chased me down three blocks before I loose them. I quickly returned to my office, washed off the blood and changed. I took what was necessary, including my revolver, and composed perhaps my last letter on my prized Remington typewriter. I made some carbon copies, and send the letters to my detective friends before I went into hiding.

They were my final hope.

((Note: I posted this beginning at Shades of Mystery, but I thought it'd be nice to see where it leads in Noir. Hope you'll enjoy it. Feel free to improvise! ))


Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 13:08

“Alright, I think that’s the address, Joey. Pull over behind that truck.”

“You think, or you’re sure, Paulie?

“What da’ hell you mean…‘am I sure’? Were ‘you’ in there with Peretti when he gave us the job? NO, you were NOT! Was I? YES, ‘I’…was with him and ‘you’…were ‘outside’! He said ‘tall brick apartment building across from the bakery’. Well…this’s a tall brick apartment building across from the bakery! So yeah, I ‘think’ this is the place!”

“Last time you ‘thought’ we were in the right place we ended up putting a sorry arse in hospital for three damn weeks and we were two blocks away! That guy never did anything to anybody. So ya, I am asking you if you’re sure this is the right address. Why the hell didn’t you write it down, anyway?”

“I’m telling you it’s here! Pull over the damn car!” He took out a red handkerchief and wiped his forehead. The midday heat was making him sweat like a pig. “And what da’ hell you mean by ‘write it down’?” he continued. “What you think…I work for the yellow pages or somethin’? No mate, ‘Paulie’ keeps everything up here…” he tapped his temple “…Paulie always remembers!”

I doubted he could even remember everything he had for breakfast, considering the size of his belly.

Paulie was the usual low rank mob goon: big…fat in his case and not too bright. We went back a long time…practically grew up together. None of us got anywhere in life up to that point, so we were taking every opportunity we would stumble upon in order to gain some extra dough. Since we were both quite capable of throwing and, more important, also cashing a punch, we became muscles for the local betting parlors.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 13:09

I wasn’t too much into this ‘family’ thing, but Paulie was actually dreaming of becoming a ‘made man’ someday…if the cholesterol won’t kill him first, that is. He had an edge, he thought, by being 100% Italian. I kind of…had my doubts about that, considering his mother’s ’occupation’ during the time of his birth. But anyway, they were indeed throwing him a bone from time to time, a way to make a bit of cash and he was willing to share it with me. That was more than enough as far as I was concerned.

We were there that day on regular ‘collecting’ type of job. The guy we were looking for had felt a bit too lucky at the race track a couple of weeks before and had borrowed quite a large amount of greens from our ‘employers’. It appears that lately he had some troubles finding his way back to the parlor to return his loan, so we were sent there to…’refresh his memory’ a bit. It seems the guy was actually quite in the habit of ‘feeling his luck’, as his name around the streets was Toby ‘Two Fingers’. Apparently his ‘inspiration’ had also let him down before and that time it also took a few of his fingers with it.

I parked the car and we both went inside the building. At the front door we stumbled upon two Chinese guys…or maybe Japanese…I don’t know. In his usual ‘polite’ manner, Paulie’s choice of path was crossing right between them, this resulting in pushing them both aside. One of them, one with a toothbrush mustache and a cane, lifted his hand trying to protest, but Paulie’s ugly look sustained by a deep growl had made the other one drag him back and out the door in a rush.

We went up the stairs searching for apartment 39. Three floors seemed to have been too much for Paulie, who was breathing so hard and noisy that I got actually afraid he was gonna have a heart attack. We stopped in front of the door for him to rest a bit and thus our attention was attracted by some strange noises inside. It seemed like punches or something...

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 13:10

I looked at Paulie and we understood each other without any word being necessary. I pulled out a small blackjack and stepped aside, as Paulie took two steps behind and then forced himself right through the door, slamming it to the wall as it burst open. We had the strangest surprise upon looking inside: two goons were ‘apparently’ softening some guy’s bones. He was tied up to a chair and his face…well…he didn’t quite have a face any more. The goons looked Chinese…or Japanese…again, I don’t know.

We just stood there looking at them in surprise, as they…basically did the same thing. I guess none of us expected this. The man in the chair was looking at all four of us. I guess he wasn’t expecting guests either.

Upon about half a minute of studying each other, the two goons finally woke up from their astonishment and decided to take action. The jumped on us screaming as if something was on fire. Well…not exactly on ‘us’, as I was still outside and Paulie’s size was fully filling the door’s opening.

They both started hitting my ‘partner’ at the same time. I raised my blackjack, but then I realized there was no point to get myself into that fight, as practically the two Chinese men…or Japanese, I don’t know…appeared to be just a couple of mosquitoes compared to Paulie. Their punches and kicks didn’t seem to have any effect on him.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 13:11

For a while, Paulie handled them as a grown man would handle children playing an attack simulation. He just put his large hands on their heads, keeping them at a distance. At some point I guess he got bored, as he suddenly grabbed one of them by his collar and smashed his face onto the door frame. He just dropped on the floor unconscious. Paulie then grabbed the other one straight by his nuts, put one hand into his neck, lifted him up in the air and threw him right into a wall. Upon hitting the bricks, the goon fell on a nearby couch. Paulie grabbed a phone dropped somewhere on the floor, pulled hard on it to brake its cable, then humped over the goon’s chest and started hitting him with it in hard the face. The poor guy had passed out long before Paulie decided it was time to stop.

Our eyes then turned towards the tied up fellow, who was still looking curious at us.

“Alright…” said Paulie, rolling up his sleeves and taking position in front of him…” let’s see if we can talk same sense into this guy’s head.”

“You really think he needs more…’persuasion’?” I asked looking at his already blood soaking face.

“Well…” replied Paulie without turning his head…”that was ‘their’ point of view.” He pointed towards the goons. “I need to impose my own now, no?” He had his back turned to me, but I could feel his smile. He fixed his feet onto the floor and started practicing the direction of his punch onto the man’s face by miming a hook several times.

I remained in the door frame to watch the hallway. We wouldn’t want to get interrupted by the eventual ‘friends’ of the goons we had found inside. Throwing a look around, something strange draw my attention regarding the metal numbers on the apartment’s door. I touched them slowly and I noticed one of them was loose. It then came to me: it was a 6, not a 9!!!

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 13:11

“Damn!...” I mumbled. “We’re in the wrong place…again!” I quickly turned my eyes towards Paulie…”HOLD!”

Too late. He already applied a punch to the man, knocking him down along with the chair he was tied up to.

“WHAT!” barked Paulie turning towards me.

“We’re in the wrong apartment! This is 36, not 39. The number on the door is loose.”

“You for real, Bane?” He looked really disappointed.

“I think so…Check his fingers. How many he’s got?”

Paulie looked down at him and started counting.

“Well, Paulie?...How many?...Paulie…Paulie….PAULIE!”

“TEN! You’re stressing me, Bane!”

“Took you 2 minutes to see he’s got all fingers on both hands? Hell, Paulie…what have you been drinking lately?”

“Cut it off, Joey! Let’s go…This lad’s already done. Need a fresh one.”

Paulie rolled down his sleeves and exited the door, heading for the real apartment 39.

“Yo, Paulie…shouldn’t we untie this guy?” I asked looking at the man on the floor. He was still awake…tough guy. I never seen anyone able to receive Paulie’s right hook and not pass out.

“Nah…leave him there…” came Paulie’s voice from the hallway. “He’s somebody else’s business…”

I slowly closed the door behind me, grumbling only for myself…”I hope we’re at least in the right building…”

Lolita Marinez
Lolita Marinez
Sleuth About Town

Mar-12-2009 13:19

Sneaking back down the fire escape, I went around to the front door. Pulling out my gun I knocked loudly and then stepped to the side of the doorway. One of the goons opened the door and when he couldn't see anyone he stuck his head out. A quick hit with the butt of my pistol and he went down with a thud. Jumping over his unconscious body I raced in to the apartment and pointing the gun at the other goon I told him to step back. Keeping him in my sights I got a knife from the kitchen and freed Zeo.

Thanking me gratefully, Zeo took the pistol off me and walked towards the remaining goon. If I didn't know better I might have thought Zeo was going to shoot him. Suddenly Zeo's hand shot out and he punched the goon right in the nose. Blood streaming from his nose the goon went down to his knees. Joseph punched him in the side of the head saying "How do you like it?" then turned on his heel and stepping over the prone body in the doorway, we left.

Driving around the city I told Zeo about my deductions. "I think Scotty is in this up to his neck. Scotty ratted you out and now Val and his crony say that they can get the evidence from the police. I think we need to check Scotty out."

Zeo agreed so we headed over to stake out Scotty's place. We watched Scotty's place for quite a while before anything happened. Then finally a woman arrived. She didn't even knock. Just walked straight in as if she knew Scotty well.

Zeo's jaw dropped. "Give me the photo's back Lolita" he said. Pulling one out he handed it to me and said "Recognize her?"

He was holding out the photo of a woman kissing ugly George! Looking closer I turned to Zeo and said "Doesn't she look like Scotty? A sister maybe?"

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 15:32

As I was heading down on the hallway to ‘the second’ apartment 39, I suddenly realized my vision was getting blurry. Paulie was already knocking at the door. With each step I took forward, the sound of his knocking was fading…and fading…and…fading…and…

“Hey, Bane! Wake up, lad!”…I felt someone shaking me strong. “Yo, now don’t you make me take your arse to da’ doc now, you hear me? BANE!”

I slowly opened my eyes and found Paulie looking straight to me.

“Damn…your breath stinks, mate…” I pushed him away and took a look around. Apparently I was in a street café, sitting at a table…well…actually sleeping with my head on it.

“You disappoint me, Joey…” said Paulie grabbing a seat in front of me. “What da’ hell is happenin’ to you, lad? I took you for man who can hold his liqueur…Oh well…maybe you’re getting’ old.” He laughed loudly and took another sip from his glass.

I was still looking around somehow astonished. My eyes felt on the half bottle of Jameson on the table. I raised my hand to my forehead and rubbed it hard.

“What the hell happened, Paulie?...How did we get here?...What happened to Toby ‘ Two Fingers’?…and that man?”

“Joey, you’re starting to scare me. What da’ hell do you mean? What man? Toby who? We’ve been drinkin’ our arses here for about 2 hours now and at some point you just passed out. You must’ve been dreaming lad!”

I shook my head.

“You mean…I dreamed about all that? About the two Chinese men?...or…Japanese, I don’t know…”

“Don’t understand anythin’ you say, Joey.” He took another sip. “Maybe you should lay off the booze…I think it’s starting to mess with your mind, lad.”

I finally broke and decided it was all in my sleep. I poured myself a shot and gulped it thirsty. As I threw my look out in the street, something drew my attention about a car that was passing by. There was a woman in it and…’the man from my dream’?!?

“Damn”…I mumbled…”I really SHOULD lay off the booze. I’m start

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-12-2009 15:33

...I’m starting to see things…”

Lolita Marinez
Lolita Marinez
Sleuth About Town

Mar-12-2009 18:45

***profuse apologies for mucking up the story. I wrote it in the post box and just pressed send. Joey must have posted his while I was writing. we go with Joey's version and skip the last couple of posts including mine or do we now go with the dream? Sorry.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-13-2009 12:44

"Scotty doesn't have a sister." I said as I threw my cigarette butt on the floor and snuffed it out with my shoe. "Let's check them out." I took out my revolver and cocked it as we dashed for the tiny shack.

Scotty left his door unlocked, as a habit, I supposed. We quietly entered; it reeked of dirty laundry and molding pizza. I guess Scotty’s ‘sister’ wasn’t taking good care of him. The closet door opened and some household noise was coming from up stairs. We climbed up to the second floor in stealth, and saw the lady in a bedroom. She was taking off…. A wig?

“Hold it right there!” I ordered. “What the heck is… Scotty?” I ask the woman/man who ‘looked like’ Scotty. Scotty was shocked to see us.

“Zeo! Watcha doin’ in my house?” Scotty in a skirt and make up exclaimed.

I interrogated Scotty and got the full story out of him. Scotty was ordered to watch George Gatsby for some alcohol bootlegging business he was into. The kid decided the best way to get close to the old sleezy man was to pose as one of his mistress. Personally I thought that was sick and slapped the kid for his deceased parents, and punched him a couple of times for ratting me out. However, I must commend on the kid’s sense of justice though. He really thought that I killed Grace Gatsby and that’s why he informed the patrol.

“So you don’t know anything about the Eastern Triad’s relationships within the station?” I asked.

“Geez! I work’in the jail house, I’m only a prison guard. Getting’ to tail George Gatsby was my big’est break ever, and I was doin’ everythin’ I could to make sure I git the job done well.”

“I can see that…” I paused, looking at Scotty’s ugly blouse. I sighed.

“Please turn yourself in, Zeo, there’s no point in runnin’.” The kid still thought that I murdered Grace.

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