Things don't always go as you would want them to go. I looked at the dead body of 26 year old Carol Fisher. She had been mutilated by someone. Stabbed a total of seven times and then shot once in the head. The local police knew who the killer was. The problem was finding him. They had a name. They had proof. They had physical evidence that linked him to the crime and witness evidence. It was enough evidence to put him a way for life.
I was worned that he is a master of disguises. He can disapper with the blink-of-an-eye.
Detective Thomas McDonald looked at me when I was finished examining the body. "I heard about your reputation around here."
"What about it?" I asked
"If you can catch our killer, Charles Craig, I can promise a handsome reward." he replied.
I thought about it. Money. I needed money real bad. I was behind on rent for both my apartment and my office. Money is good.
"Fine. I'll take it," I said and I left back for my office. I reviewed the background and case file of Mr. Craig. This wasn't going to be easy, that was for sure. I decided to make a phone call to a few friends of mine to see if they would be interested in making some decent money in helping to find a killer who could blend in to even the smaller crowds.
It was dark and there was nothing I could do for the night. I'd have to start in the morning. So I went home for the night to get some sleep. The next morning, went to my office to make a call to a few friends to see if they'd be interested in making a few dollars in helping to find this killer.
"Brian Flannigan?" One of the men asked. He couldn't have been forty years old yet.
"Yes." Brian said.
"Brian Flannigan.....Brian Flannigan...where have I heard that name before?" He said.
"You got me" I replied with a smile.
After a moment of silence, he snapped his fingers. "I got it!" He said excitedly. "You were that doctor that quit after the mafia tried to get you to rule a murder as a suicide and you refused. It was in the paper. I remember reading it." He said.
Then he stuck out his right hand for me to shake. "The name is Marc Lacrimosa, Private Eye. These here are some of my new friends. I'd like introduce you to Nellie McKinzey, Heimlich VonVictor, and Riza Hawkeye." Marc said.
Brian shook hands with all of them. "Now," he said, "I have been following Billings from New York. I have an idea where his hideout is here in London. I was just thinking of the best way to bust through the door when you all showed up." Brian said.
"Where at?" Heimlich asked.
"Glad you asked", Brian said, "Its right on the other side of the building in front of us. It's a small appartment. I've been watching Billings for sometime and it seems that he's been going in and out of there for quite sometime. Care to check it out?" he asked them.
Everyone nodded. Then they left to check out the possible hide out.
Charlie knew he was only gonna get one shot at this. He also knew Marc and the rest of the gang were counting on him. He walked into the Green Hands London headquarters and came right out with it.
" Cleopatra I need info on Charles Craig, and I need it now." I said letting my frustration out.
" Now, now Charlie dont come in here demanding anything. If I wanna help you I will. If not I wont. Now what can you do for me?" Cleopatra asked raising one eyebrow.
" No, You said you would help me you didnt say I needed to help you first." I stated firmly turning to walk out the door. I wasnt selling out my friends even if they all didnt trust me.
" Charlie! dont go, I'll give you what I know about Craig." Cleopatra blurted out.
" Charles Craig has been staying at a little appartment over off Doyle street. Becareful though he's a very dangerous man." She told me looking worried for the first time since I had first met her.
"Thanks Cleo" I said over my shoulder as I left in a hurry. I knew my friends were already out searching and I couldnt possible find them all in time. I left a note with the Concierge and headed to Doyle Street.
"I would so dearly love to kill you." Jack Billings said conversationally, as if he were commenting on the weather. Molly watched him as he paced in a tight half circle, and she grinned.
"Yes, I can tell. You're going to kill me, woman, with both arms held firmly behind my back...you big strong man, you." she winked and nudged the goons in the ribs as if they were all buddies.
Jack stopped, and looked at her, then motioned for them to drop her arms. She flexed them and winked. "Thanks boys."
Suddenly Jack flung out the hand holding the pistol and smacked her with it. The metal glanced off her cheek and she staggered and swore colorfully. The blow had opened the bottom stitches in her days-old wound, and she could feel something wet and sticky descending over her cheek. Even though it stung, she recognized the need to keep up the bravado and so despite the pain she fixed Jack with an exasperated stare and said, "Really? REALLY?!"
Quick as a snake, she reached down to yank her pistol from its thigh holster and fired at him.
"I'm going to blow your damn head off, you obnoxious cretin!" she called as he dodged around a pillar, and she took aim. Even though her head was spinning, at least her aim was true.
It was a short walk around the block to Jack Billings' mansion; or as Brian called it, an appartment.
"Brian?" I said, "This is no appartment. It's a mansion."
Brian chuckled. "Sorry mate. I tend to get carried away when it comes to chasing bad guys."
Heimlich let a chuckle as well.
We all approached the gate and opened it. It wasn't a long walk nor a shortwalk up the driveway to the front door. As I approached the front door there was a gun shot. All of our faces dropped.
"That's not good," Heimlich said.
I nodded and we all pulled out our pistols.
"Riza, I want you and Nellie to be the last ones in the door. Heimlich? I want you right behind me and Brian behind Heimlich. I'm going to kick this thing in."
We all got into position. I brought up my leg and kicked the door. Hard. It flew inside the house about four feet breaking the hinges off the door and wall crashing into someone. I entered the house with my .38 special drawn and ready to fire. Everyone entered and that's when we saw Molly fire a second shot barely missing Jack Billings.
"HOLD YOUR FIRE AND FREEZ BILLINGS!" I screamed. Everything seemed to go quiet. One of his goons was trying to pull him self up off the ground when Nellie was quick to kick him in the face. The other one dropped his pistold and raised his hands. Jack turned around smiling.
"Brian Flannigan," he said with a smile, "You almost got me back in New York."
"Almost isn't good enough," Brian replied.
Billings held his smile and said, "You don't seem to have a sense of humor."
"I lose my sense of humor when it comes to murder." Brian snapped back.
"Now drop the gun and put your hands on your head. I'm taking you in, Billings."
Jack laughed out loud. "You'll never take me in alive. I have people everywhere who can come and get me out anytime."
"As we speak, J. Edgar Hoover and his men are rounding up your goons." Charlie said. Billings' smile dropped from his face. He raised his gun placing his finger on the trigger slowly squeezing it.
Billings' leg burst open from a gun shot. He howled and fell to the floor. I looked around to see Molly holding her gun. Blood trickled down her cheak from where Jack had hit her.
"Brian? Before I hand him over to you, do you mind if I have a word with him about the where abouts of Charles Craig?" I asked.
"Go for it," Flannigan said.
I grabbed Billings and threw him in a chair. Heimlich apprached me from behind and stood next to me as I began to question Jack Billings.
"You and I both know that you know where he is. So you better start talking." I said.
"Bite me!" Billings growled. Then he spat in my face. My reaction was quick and I pistol whipped him in the face and he grunted with pain.
"Where is he?" I asked him again.
Billings laughed again. I looked down at his wounded leg and then up at him.
"I'm going to cause you severe pain if you don't start talking," I warned him.
Billings didn't take me serious. Instead, he said "Do your worst."
I did. I doug my thumb deep into his wound and he howled in agony. It was the second time I had done this method of interrogation (See Chase around the world in 80 days).
"Alright I'll talk!" he cried, "no more. Please." he said.
"Where is he?!" Heimlich yelled.
"Craig has a small appartment. It's right off Doyle street. If you're lucky, you'll catch him there." He said with tears in his eyes.
"Brian?" I said. "He's all yours."
Brian shook his head. "Leave him here. We'll come back for him later. Tie him and his goons up so they can't get away." We tied them up. Then we left.
I was setting out in front of the apartment on Doyle Street when I saw my friends come running out of a alley way.
" Hey, over here." I said waving my hands at them. They immediately came over. Molly looked pretty banged up but other than that they all looked fine.
" Ok, my source tells me this is Craig's apartment building. I've been watching it for 30 minutes and no one has came in or left." I said trying to catch Marc up to speed.
" Its your call how do you wanna handle this?" I asked.
Marc looked at each of us then laid his plan out. " Nellie, Heim I want you two to stay at the back entrance detain anyone who comes out." Marc said.
" Right, were on it." Heim replied as the two took off around the back of the building.
"Brian I want you to watch the fire exit if he comes out that way stop him." Marc stated.
" Charlie, Molly you two are coming with me. We go in guns drawn. If you have to shoot try not to kill him unless there is no other way. Got it?" He said.
" Yeah, we got it." I replied. "Molly what happend to you?" I asked
She just rolled her eyes and we took off towards the main entrance.
Marc checked out the ledger on the clerks desk " Room 117" he said with a smile as we headed up the stairs....
Molly had her pistol out, and she squinted against the incessant pounding in her head.
"He's a cowardly little bastard." she said to no one in particular. "Who hits a girl with a pistol?
She ascended the steps irritably, then another floor up she said, "if Charles Craig is not in his room I swear to God I'm going to scream and shoot someone. Not necessarily in that order."
They surrounded the door, and Molly took the position in front of it, knocking. In a perfect imitation of a rough cockney accent she bellowed, "Oy! Oo open up een there! 'Ealth code eenspec-shun!"
She grinned at the others and then cocked her gun and raised it as the door slowly opened...
"DON'T!!!" Vulkie yelled and suddenly,a blast erupted from room 117,which knocked Molly,Heimlich and Marc away. Nellie and Riza ran towards me when I yelled and the rest was too shocked to see me.
"What are you doing here?" Riza asked and I sighed. "I was following you all the time. When I saw you entering this building,I "interrogated" the clerk and he laughed,saying that "Craig" had a small surprise upstairs,which would give you a nice "bang-up". 1+1 is 2 and I figured out what he meant." Vulkie replied.
"Just then,you "almost" entered the room and the blast was enormous. But luckily,you are all ok.." Vulkie said.
"Ehmm,Vulkie? Not everyone is alright..." Marc said,as he pointed to Heimlich,who was breathing heavily.
"No... No... Not you Heimlich. Not you!" Vulkie yelled. She dropped her gun,ran towards Heimlich and hugged him tightly. "Ouch.." Heimlich said,while he continued with breathing heavily.
"He needs to get to a doctor at least..." Nellie said and I nodded.
"You go after Craig. I'll take care of Heim.." Vulkie said and the gang left,a bit shocked.
"Heimlich..." Vulkie began,but Heimlich stopped her from saying what she meant to say.
"I know what you... you did was terrible... But... but why?" Heimlich said.
"I was working with the FBI Heimlich.. I... I couldn't tell. But now,a burden has been off my life... Please.. forgive me..." Vulkie said,as she pulled Heimlich up and helped him "limp" outside the hotel.
"I understand..." Heimlich said, "but I can't forgive you for what you did. What you did was terrible... you betrayed... us..." Heimlich said.
"I know... Once I get Craig,he will pay for what he's done.." Vulkie said and so,she hauled a "cab" and went towards an old family friend of hers,who was a doctor...
The group and I headed out the door. We were off in search of Craig once again. That guy was slippery, and it was getting on my nerves. Not only had he bumped me, but he had seriously hurt one of my friends. Unacceptable. I wanted to kick his ass, and I wanted to do it now. The others knew to stay away from me when I was in this kind of mood, so I walked slowly behind the others, my hand clasped so tightly around the pistol in my pocket that I was cutting off circulation to my hand.
As Marc was crossing an alleyway, I heard Molly gasp. Everything happened in a split second. Suddenly my eyes shot up and I saw what she saw: a hand holding a gun, about to pull the trigger and blow Marc’s brains out. Craig! Molly tackled Marc to the ground as I raised my pistol and fired at the hand. There was a grunt and a scream. The grunt came from Marc, who had had the wind knocked out of him. The scream was what brought a smile to my face. “Bull’s-eye!” I thought to myself.
Craig took off running down the alley, with all of us hot in pursuit. This time it was easier to follow him because he left a trail of blood. And then, suddenly, the trail ended. We looked around. There was no one. And unless he could fly, there was no way out. Molly took a deep breath and screamed profanities while Nellie stood there looking stunned. People stopped by and looked to see what all the commotion was about. After a few minutes, Marc turned to us and said resignedly, “Let’s just stick to the main streets from now on,” and proceeded to lead us down the block.
"Are you %&*#ing kidding me? What the %&*# @)*)@ @@)#*(@)$&$*@ @$&@(#@&??" Molly demanded of the sky as they lost him once again. With a scream of rage she turned on her heel and stalked after Marc, limping slightly after she had tackled him to the ground.
She looked down at the smart suit she was wearing, now riddled with holes and dirt and grime.
"When we finally catch this bastard," she said darkly, "I'm fleecing him for the cost of this suit."
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