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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 13:11

“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.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-13-2009 12:45

It took quite a bit to convince Scotty that the real killer was Valentino Yakamoto, one of Grace’s toy boy. I showed him the photos of the suspects to the theft of the Crown Jewel of Zimbeeta.

“The fact that they hide from the press the discovery of the Jewel on Grace’s finger, that in itself speaks volume.” I induced. “Call me paranoid, but I believe framing me for the murder was only the tip of the iceberg to a much bigger conspiracy. Why would the Easter Triad spent the effort to steal the jewel, only to return it to the police?”

“From what I ‘eard,” said Scotty, “The delegates from Zimbeeta are comin’ to Sleuthville to retrieve the Crown Jewel. I believe the crown Prince is takin’ the opportuniti to visit New York on this occasion as well.”

“What did you just say? The Crown Prince? All the way from Zimbeeta? Do you know how much his head is worth? At least 100 times more then that stupid rock itself!” I exclaimed. It was all coming clear to me; the phone call Val made in my flat, about the hitmans in place… The Triad intended to take out the Prince!!

“Scotty, can I trust you?” The kid nodded. “I need you to return to the police station to find out who was their inside link, who is helping the Eastern Triad. It’d be someone pretty high up, so you be careful! Lolita, can you go to the station with Scotty? You charm and experience with people would be of great help to the kid.” I assured Lolita that Scotty was trustworthy, now that he knew I wasn’t the killer.

To clear my name, I needed to find out everything. I decided to go to some of my Italian connections. They were the arch enemies of the Easter Triad, and may know a few things about this big plan of theirs. First, I needed a disguise. I looked around and saw the wig... oh no...

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-15-2009 14:23

I was smoking outside, leaning myself on the car, waiting for Paulie to come out. Peretti had sent word to us that we were needed for another job. The sun was already setting when we arrived to his parlor and considering the rush we were called in, I assumed it was something we needed to do that night.

I didn’t like last minute jobs and even less the kind that needed to be done under the cover of darkness, but I wasn’t going to be picky about it. After all, they paid good cash.

As usual, Paulie had gone inside to get the details. He had been in there for over half an hour now, so I was getting a bit nervous. He finally came out, smiling.

“Hey, Joey, we got ourselves a nice and easy one tonight!” He was rubbing his hands. “They even paid us half ahead.” He reached into his chest pocket and pulled out what seemed to be the corner of an envelope and then he pushed it back inside.

I didn’t really like the jobs that were half paid ahead. Sometimes that meant whatever we would have to do was dangerous enough not to survive it.

I threw away my cigarette and opened the car’s door.

“Move on the othe’ side, Joey. I’m driving.”

“You sure about this, Paulie? Last time you drove you almost crashed into a crowd!”

Indeed, Paulie was the worst car driver ever. I wasn’t just the fact that he had no speed limit and no reflexes, but also that the steering wheel was usually practically stuck onto his belly, which made it quite tricky for him to take a curve.

“I’m sure. Get in. I’ll tell ya’bout it on the way. We need to hurry.”

I nodded and then got into the passenger seat, making sure I had something to grab onto and we drove off.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-15-2009 14:24

Just as we made our way out of the back yard of the parlor, Paulie noticed what seemed to look like a…strange woman, hanging around the front entrance.

“Now dat’s a yummy looking broad” he said and then pulled over near her. “Hey babe, how ‘bout you give good ol’ Paulie here a lap dance?”

I pulled his sleeve. “Yo, mate…what the hell are you doing? I thought we have a place we need to go right now?”

“No worry, Bane. Just let me work my charms a bit here.” He smiled. Now that was a truly disgusting smile.

He turned back his attention to the woman, who looked at him with a somehow puzzled expression, as if she didn’t know how to respond. He seemed though to have all the words he needed.

“Say, shuga’…Paulie’s a bit busy tonight. Now ya’ just go inside, but don’t fall in love with anyone tonight, ya’ hear? Paulie’s gonna be back and he’s gonna play all night with dat tight behind of yours…hehehe.”

He reached out the car window with his hand and swiftly pinched her on the butt. She jumped behind and it seemed to me she closed her fist to punch him, but then she stopped. That was a strange move for a woman, but hey…if I was in her place I probably would’ve had the same instinct.

“Charming…” I said as we drove off.

“Yum-myyy!” came Paulie’s answer, laughing hard.


Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-15-2009 14:25

Upon managing to make his way up to a wide road, Paulie felt safe enough to concentrate on talking.

“Alright…” he started “…here’s the deal. We’re supposed to go to some storage house down in Woodridge and pick up a truck full of booze.”

He stopped here as we reached a large crossroad, two cars coming on each side in our direction. I had to stick one hand into the board panel and then grab on my seat with the other as Paulie took the…obvious decision for him: he drove off right between them, making the hit their brakes hard.

“DAMN, Paulie! You could’ve killed us!” I shouted.

“Don’t worry, Joey…I know what I’m doing.”

I sighed defeated and then just relaxed. After all, I knew what to expect of him.

“So…” he continued “…we need to stop by Louie’s and pick up some Tommyes on the way.”

“Tommyes? Guns, Paulie? Now what the hell kind of job is this? I thought we were just transporting the stuff!”

“Well…seems these guys Peretti’s dealing with are new. They’re expanding their business out here, so we should be prepared for anything, ya’ know…”

“Why the hell aren’t ‘his’ goons doing this? What are we? Cannon meat?”

“Don’t sweat it, Joey. This might be the brake we’ve been waiting for. If we pull this out right we might just be accepted in.”

“In…’the family’ you mean? You stupid, or what? We’re just being sent there because they don’t wanna put their arses on the line, Paulie. And quit already with this ‘family’ idea. We’re just a couple of muscles and we’ll never be anything more than this, you hear?”

“I got my plans, Joey…I’m gonna be a ‘made man’. If you don’t want to, fine. But don’t ruin my chances here…”

I let it drop. No point in arguing about an idea that has been so long stuck into his head. I thought a little and started inquiring him.

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