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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-15-2009 14:26

“Ok, so…what exactly do we know about these guys that we’re supposed to meet? Peretti gave you any information?”

“Nah…you know how these guys are: no names.”

“Great!” I replied. “We’re headed to what might be a Tommy guns showdown and we have no idea who we’re facing.”

“Oh well…” he smiled. “I had a small chat while I was in there with Boscorelli. He’s one of his goons and also he ows me a favor, so…”

“So spit it out, whatcha waiting for?”

“He said the booze comes from a guy down in the south. His name is ‘Crazy’ Frankie and apparently he’s got a couple of distilleries somewhere in Trenton. Rough guy, he said. Likes to do business his own way.”

“That doesn’t sound good, Paulie…”

“Well, anyway…it seems he’s not the head of this bootlegging operation. Someone’s behind him, some guy called…George Gatsby or something.”

“George Gatsby you say? Hmmm…the name sounds somehow familiar. Anything else?”

“That’s all he told lad, mate. I’m sorry.”

“Well…” I replied “…at least we know enough to watch our arses carefully tonight.”

After that we stopped speaking. I started trying to remember where I heard that name before, but unfortunately to no avail.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-15-2009 14:26

We stopped by Louie’s and picked up the guns. I grabbed one, checked it out for bullets and placed it barrel down between my legs. Under the current situation I felt quite justified about acting extra careful.

Paulie got back behind the wheel and we drove off again.

“There’s somethin’ Louie told me...somethin’ strange…”

“I do hope you’re planning to share it with me tonight, Paulie.”

“He said to…watch out for the Triads.”

“What freaking Triads, Paulie? Are you nuts? We’re in New York. WE run things here.”

“Well…I don’t know. He said they started to come down in numbers. He don’t know if they’re here for a reason or just they wanna move on our territory. He just said to watch out.”


I didn’t like this job before, but at this point I really started to hate it. Everything was telling me it wasn’t going to be an easy night.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-15-2009 14:27

We reached the storage area in half an hour. The area seemed quiet. It was already close to midnight.

Just as we turned the corner on the street, we spotted two Japanese looking men talking somewhere in the shadows, about a hundred meters away from the gate.

“Hey, check that out, Paulie! Kill the lights!” I whispered.

Pauile turned the lights off and started to drive the car slowly. The two men appeared to be close to the end of their conversation, as one of them handed the other something that looked like some kind of a suitcase and then took off in a nearby car. The man who stayed behind started walking somehow towards the gate that we were aiming for.

“Dumb yellow bastards!” exclaimed Paulie. “They’re trying to step in on our business!”

With this he switched the lights back on a pushed the pedal.

“Wait! Paulie! What the hell you’re doing!?!”

My shouts were useless, as Paulie drove at high speed straight towards the man. He stopped and turned around to the engine’s sound and his last gesture was to cover his eyes as he was blinded by the car lights. A strong bump came. He hit the windshield cracking it and then he felt right in front of the car.

“Now that’ll teach him to mess in mob’s business” proclaimed Paulie with satisfaction.

“Damn, Paulie! What the hell is wrong with you? We don’t even know who he is. He might’ve been just a guy passing by!”

“He looks Triads to me...” He raised his shoulders.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-15-2009 14:28

We both then got out of the car and went to check the body. He was dead. I picked up from his hand the suitcase and opened it up.

“Damn…what the hell is this? A bow? I thought these guys were Japanese, not Indians! What the hell is this fellow doing with a bow?”

I leaned down over him and ripped his shirt.

“Check out the tattoos, Paulie. For once it seems that you were right. This guy is definitely triads.”

“What did I tell you, lad! I smell these guys from miles away.”

“You only smell food from that distance, Paulie. Ok…now let’s see what he’s got inside his pockets.”

After a thorough search all I came up with was a picture: a guy dressed in some kind of a golden skirt with a small nightcap on his head. The man seemed to be African or something.

“Hey, Paulie, check this out” I said and handed him the picture. “Do you have any idea who this might be?”

“Damn!” said him looking at the picture. “Now that’s one ugly fellow in a woman’s dress. What da’ hell do I know? Maybe…his girlfriend?” He laughed hard.

“Keep your voice down and let’s be careful. Let’s go.”

We grabbed the Tommy guns and decided to approach the warehouse silently. I felt somehow bugged by the idea that nobody seemed to notice the crash. The forging engine and the bump weren’t exactly quiet...

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-16-2009 12:17

The cigarette smoke in the betting parlor was so thick, Zeo supposed his disguise turned out to be unnecessary, and regretted putting himself through all the nuisance. A horse race was broadcasting in the radio, and everyone listened attentively.

Peretti was most likely in his office. How he was to enter in his current state was beyond him. He then noticed a skinny man toying with a slot machine in the corner, whom Zeo believed worked for Peretti. The guy noticed Zeo staring at him, and he got up, pulling his pants.

“Ey, nice missy! You looking for some fun?” The man said, approaching Zeo. Zeo couldn’t believe he was being hit on the second time in one night.

“Peretti. I’m looking for Signore Peretti.” Zeo coughed in a squeaky voice.

“What da you want? If it’s money you wanna borrow,” the skinny man grinned, “I can arrange something, interest free.” His hands floated towards Zeo’s chest. Zeo grabbed both his hands and squeezed. Hard.

The man grunted audibly, but didn’t dare to yell to avoid embarrassing himself. Zeo said in a high-pitched tone, “Just tell him Josephine Zeoine send regards to his boots. He’ll understand.”

Upon release, with numbing fingers, the man scurried inside the office. Thirty seconds later, the door popped open. Zeo entered.

The slightly chubby, balding man sitting in front of the desk looked at Zeo, eyes widened. “Boscorelli, you may go now.” The skinny man looked at his boss, dumb and frozen. “Scram!” The boss yelled. Boscorelli quickly dashed out of the office, closing the door behind him.

“You dare to show your face in this part of town!” Peretti exclaimed.

“Well, this isn’t exactly ‘my face’, Peter.” Zeo said in his normal voice. “Anyway, there’s no reward on my head, yet. So the losers out there wouldn’t care less.” Zeo peeked through the blinds on the window overlooking into the betting parlor, checking, nonetheless.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-16-2009 12:19

“Eh, those losers are my clients!”

Zeo turned his attention back to Peretti, smiling, anticipating.

“Eight years ago, without you, those crocs would’ve eaten my boots, along with what’s inside them.” Peretti said, looking at his own feet. “Peter Peretti never forgets. Tell me, fratello, what can I do for you.”

“I know what you can and cannot offer.” Zeo said. “I just needed information. The Eastern Triads, are they into assassination nowadays?”

“Those bastards are into anything profitable!” Peretti scoffed, “Those sly snakes would sell their mothers if it rakes in the cash!”

“Would that include killing their lover?”

“If she knew too much, yes.”

“Valentino Yakamoto?” Zeo asked.

Peretti paused. “So, it was true. He was in love with Grace Gatsby.”

“But it didn’t stop him from stabbing her.”

“From what I know, the Triad stole a sacred jewel from Africa, to lure their heir to America.” Peretti said, “It’s very possible they kept it at Yakamoto’s, given he had a decent flat and would be the least suspicious, but you know women and jewelries, you can never hide any from them…”

“So he had to silence her, and find someone to blame.” Zeo understood bitterly.

Peretti sighed. “I know they work closely with a high ranking officer, and got away with quite a bit of things, but sorry, I don’t have any name there for you.”

“What about Yakamoto’s boss?”

“Ah, that I know. The mastermind behind their operations here, a middle aged Japanese men with a toothbrush moustache.” Peretti recalled, Zeo nodded intently. “The name is Edgar Haneke, a literature graduate from Harvard, from what I heard!”

A Harvard graduate, a poet, and a mob boss?

Zeo was intrigued. Peretti told Zeo everything he knew about Haneke. Zeo listened carefully. He knew that to clear his name, he must find out who’s the insider cop, stop the assassination, and arrest both Yakamoto and Haneke - A Herculean task.

Lolita Marinez
Lolita Marinez
Sleuth About Town

Mar-16-2009 17:39

I wasn't happy about having to chaperone Scotty to the Police Station! Dirty little punk had nearly got Zeo killed. But I was glad that I was there to watch him so he couldn't do anything more stupid.

On the drive to the Police Station Scotty started talking. Apparently all he ever wanted was to be a cop. His dad was a cop killed in the line of duty. Lots of the guys at the station treated Scotty like he was their kin and he had grown up wanting only to follow in his fathers footsteps. But an accident at school football had put him out of commission. A busted leg meant that Scotty couldn't run. Prison guard was the closest he was ever gonna get. I started to feel sorry for him. He apologized again and told me he really did believe Zeo was innocent.

We arrived at the police station and Scotty escorted me in the back way. We went to visit Sergeant Jack McGinty. Scotty told me that the sarge was like an Uncle to him and would be able to help us.

We walked into his office without knocking............and there stood a little Asian man with a toothbrush moustache. An envelope in the Sergeants hand told the whole story. Shock on both their faces soon turned to anger and I was glad that I was behind Scotty. I shoved him hard in the back and he fell forward into the little Asian man and they both hit the desk. I turned around and ran back the way we had come in. Shouts followed me down the hallway. Cops were coming out to see what the commotion was. Ducking past a couple of them I could see the stairs. I dived and rolled. I hit the door at the bottom of the stairs with my feet and busted through. Jumping up I started running.........straight into the arms of 2 big Asian goons. Crack! A thump on the back of my head and I was out cold.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-17-2009 02:10

Zeo returned to Scotty’s shack only to find it empty. ‘Strange,” he thought, “They should be back by now…” Zeo changed back to his usual shirt and trench coat. It was dark enough outside that he wouldn’t need a disguise. Anyway he had enough about that stupid damned costume.

Zeo decided to brave the police station himself. He knew he was foolish but he couldn’t risk leaving his friends in danger. When he passed by the back alley behind the station, he overheard two cops talking, about poor Scotty being locked up! Zeo was shocked. He sneaked around the perimeter of the building until he reached the back of the holding cells. He could see various prisoners through the tiny barred openings on the ground. The jail cells in the station were partially imbedded in the basement. Zeo finally found Scotty’s cell. The boy was burying his face into his palms.


Scotty looked around.

“Here, by the window.” Zeo whispered.

“Mr. Zeo!” Scotty looked up and exclaimed, noticing that he spoke too loudly he lowered his voice, “You’re right, Sergeant Jack McGinty is liaising with the Triads, but it was his words against mine. I couldn’t believe it! ‘Uncle’ Jack actually accused me of taking bribes!” Scotty was close to tears.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-17-2009 02:14

Zeo found out from Scotty that upon running into their ‘transaction’, Sergeant McGinty grabbed hold of Scotty and claimed the money the Japanese man gave him was discovered in Scotty’s jacket. The Japanese man had long disappeared by then, along with another Triad goon who was supposed to be locked up. McGinty accused Scotty of releasing that Asian goon and hence explained the bribe. That ‘evidence’ money then went straight back into McGinty’s pocket, whereas Scotty headed right for the cells he usually guarded. Scotty was devastated.

“Don’t worry son, I’ll get you out. I’ll clear both our names.” Zeo promised.

“But there’s no one to back my story up!”

“Where is Lolita? She was with you at that time, wasn’t she?”

“That selfish chick pushed me right into the room so that she could get away.” Scotty grumbled. “I have no idea where she is now.”

“Well, she was smart, otherwise you both would be caught.” Zeo replied. However, at the back of his mind, he wasn’t sure if Lolita really got away. She would’ve rendez-vous at Scotty’s if she did.

Zeo had no idea where to look for Lolita. He decided to check out the lair of Haneke, the Japanese mob boss, of which the location Zeo had found out from his Italian friend.

Lolita Marinez
Lolita Marinez
Sleuth About Town

Mar-17-2009 08:06

I awoke to find myself tied and gagged. Certainly not what I was expecting. I had been expecting a jail cell...........moving my head gingerly I looked around.

Suddenly there was an Asian man standing over me. He grabbed me by the shoulders and sat me up. It looked like I was in some sort of storage room for a Restaurant. I could hear what sounded like cooking noises, pots and pans and plates rattling. While I was trying to get my bearings a door behind the goon opened and I could see a stairway, probably leading up to an apartment above the restaurant. The second goon that I had run into jerked his head at the stairs without saying a word as if to tell the first one that he should come upstairs.

The first goon picked up a dirty rag from the floor and gagged me securely. They both disappeared through the doorway.........

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