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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! ))


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.........

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Mar-17-2009 22:14

The little Japanese restaurant Mikasa was situated on a quiet street in the central district. A single red lantern with Asian writings on it was hanging on the wooden porch. According to Peretti, the lair of Haneke’s Triad was hidden on the second floor apartment.

Zeo went to the side and peeked into the restaurant. A few customers were having their late dinners, with soup noodles and what seemed like raw meat. Gross.

The detective found a drainage pipe at the back and ascended quietly. A window on the second storey opened into a room full of people. Zeo stayed outside in the dark listening to their conversations, at least what he could make of them.

“Yes, our best shooter will be waiting there tomorrow before dawn… yes he knows about the sudden security change, yes, to Pier 54… we have handed him the photo of the Prince. He will make it look like it’s done by their own people… by poison arrow…” Zeo could hear a smirk in Haneke’s voice. The man then hung up the phone.

Someone spoke to Haneke in Japanese, both of them were hidden from Zeo’s view, but the detective could see, from his angle, the door into the room. A knock, an answer, then it opened, with two muscles entering the room. They both bowed in the direction of Haneke.

Surprisingly, people began to converse in English. Zeo couldn’t tell these Asians apart, but he supposed at least one of those goons were not Japanese. “Finish Yakamoto. Tonight. You found knives in that Joseph Zeo’s apartment? With his fingerprints?” One of the goon nodded, with gloved hands he showed them a knife. “Use it. Don’t apply too much force. Make it look like the thin detective did it.”

Zeo froze. Not another one!

Just then, one of the goon approached the open window lighting a cigarette. He saw Zeo immediately. The goon yelled something in Japanese.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-18-2009 09:47

*back in Woodridge, in front of the pickup warehouse*

The large metal gate was closed, yet it appeared a light was on the inside. We both came close to a small door that seemed to lead into the courtyard. Each took position on a side, holding our weapons prepared.

I tilted my chin shortly towards Paulie. He took a short step back and barged his foot onto the door, slamming it on the wall as it got open. We jumped inside ready for action, but suddenly a light blinded both of us.

“Now hold it right there, tough guy” a voice came from somewhere behind me and then I felt the cold barrel of a gun glued to my neck, below my ear. I raised my hands, still hanging on the Tommy and Paulie did the same.

“Frankie?” he asked, attempting to protect his eyes. “Is that you? ‘Crazy’ Frankie?”

“Paulie?” came a man’s answer from the shadows.

“It’s me” answered him Paulie. “Now what da’ hell is this welcoming party? Suddenly you don’t trust us anymore, or what? We’re here to do business, mate.”

I was astonished by the fact that ‘Crazy’ Frankie and my old friend Paulie knew each other, but I decided to stay silent.

“Hey, boys…lower the guns. It’s safe. I know these lads” said Frankie.

The lights turned off and then I noticed that they were coming from a truck, most likely the one we were supposed to pick up. I counted 4 men inside. They all lowered down their weapons, including the one from behind me, who then advanced into the courtyard.

“Sorry about all this guys” Frankie continued “but we had to make sure that it was you. We also heard a strange noise outside. What happened?”

“We…ran into a ‘friend’ of ours, so to say…” answered Paulie.

“You got the cash for all this booze?” reminded us Frank about why we came.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-18-2009 09:47

It was just then when it suddenly stroke me: if we were here to pick up a truck, we also should’ve been given cash to pay for it, but…I didn’t remember Paulie ever mentioning something like this, nor seeing a different envelope on him.

“Oh yeah…” Paulie replied “…we have it all right…HERE!”

With this he raised back up his Tommy and started bursting a continuous round. The men were caught with…their pants down, so to say. They all felt one by one under the heavy fire, including ‘Crazy’ Frankie.

I froze. Couldn’t believe my eyes.

Upon emptying the machine gun, Paulie reloaded and then started checking on all the corpses. He shot another short burst in each one. Just as he was about to head towards the last one, I noticed the goon getting up and taking aim. I just reacted then, filling his chest with slugs.

Paulie turned startled towards him, then looked at me.

“I guess I owe ya’ one, Joey.” He stepped towards the goon and shot another round into him just to make sure.

I finally managed to get my thoughts together and I exploded.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Paulie!?! What was this? He you gone suddenly insane?”

He slowly pulled a deep breath in his chest, then lit himself a large cigar.

“Don’t sweat it, Bane. ‘This’…was the job…” He smiled.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-19-2009 10:05

It took me a couple of minutes to gather my thoughts together and understand what he was saying.

Apparently Peretti had a grudge on Frankie, about a broad the ‘Crazy’ stole from him. He wanted him dead thus and also he wanted a message sent to anyone who would consider producing booze anywhere in his neighborhood. He had his own distilleries and wanted full coverage of New York. We were not sent here to pay these guys, but just waste them and bring the merchandize in.

“Have you gone nuts, Paulie? Since when are we the mob’s hit men? Running shipments for them is fine, stealing for them…well, that’s fine too, but KILLING for them? You do realize that if someone’s gotta go down for this it’ll be us, now don’t you?”

“Keep it down, Bane. Paulie’s got an idea.” He smiled. His face and voice told me I haven’t seen the end of all this situation. When Paulie spoke about himself using third person, it usually meant he had been thinking and came to the conclusion that he discovered something smart.

“Let’s hear it, then” I replied thus, looking at him conspicuously.

“Well…the mob knows that the Triads are in town, right?”


“And…we have one of them dead outside, right?”

“Right…” I didn’t like where his reason was going.

“And…no one knows what went down here, right?”

“I do hope you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, mate…”

“What if…we take the truck and blame it on the Triads? We can present the dead one as being left behind at the scene. I know some guys in Cleveland that will pay us good money for the booze.”

“Well now…Paulie…I do admire that you grew a brain, but…YOU’RE USING IT IN THE WRONG WAY!!!”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

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