Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (IV)

Tom Felis rocked back in his custom chair, a chaos of paper and photos strewn around his desk. Assorted detective items were placed willy-nilly, and his wall was covered with plagues and awards testifying to his decade-long service to the community. He took a sip from his steaming cup of joe, and then hissed at me: "Whatya mean our boys didn't do a good job at the scene?"

I pulled the key and piece of purloined pelt from my pocket, and tossed them on some unfinished reports piled on his desk. I didn't know if Tom was going to reprimand me for affronting his officer's work or charge me with removing evidence from a crime scene. But I could see in his amber eyes that he was concerned. He picked up the key with one claw.

"First Feline Federal. . . hmmmmm. Must be where he kept his lock box. I'd need a warrant to check the box, although I may have a contact there that could slip you in. Marjorie Morningpuss. You remember her? I think if you chat with her she might let you have a few minutes in the safe. But don't tell her it was me who told you. She is still a little angry at me."

Indeed I did! And her name had nothing to do with her attitude waking up, if you know what I mean. But that is another story. "But isn't FFF a front for the Panthera gang?"

Tom grimaced. He had been fighting the Pantheras forever, chipping away at their soldiers and supporters but never getting close to the bigwig, Jay Gur Undi, but almost everyone called him Wabo. Slick, even beautiful some say, but a sneaky devil with a cold heart. He ran all of the the town's illicit gambling and cathouses, and dabbled his claws into anything that might make him a buck. He was a deadly adversary, and I wasn't surprised that there might be a potential link. Clearly I had to get a look into that lockbox. "What do you think of the fur?"

He picked up the baggie. "Domestic short hair. Looks like  the tip of an ear. Orange tabby, I think. Old guy gave them a fight, didn't he?"  Then his eyes clouded and his brow furrowed. I knew he was thinking. "I seem to recall a bit of muscle employed by Wabo. Big orange tabby, bad attitude. Tough. Runs numbers when he isn't pummeling people to pieces. Not bad with a gun either. Be careful with this cat."

"You hear anything on the street about a onyx statue?"

"Nope. Can't think of any reason it would cost the old guy his life. Is it really valuable?"

I paused to mull that over. Wasn't sure how much I wanted to let him in, just yet. "Not sure. I can't help thinking there is more to that piece than just art. In your, well, 'investigation,', did you come across anything interesting?"

His eyes narrowed again at the slight, but he decided to let it pass. He could handle a dig every once in a while, especially when he knew there was some truth to my charge. I called them as I saw them.

"One of the guys said he could smell Chanel in the room. Kind of odd for an old guy." My mind started to whirl. Why hadn't I noticed? Oh yeah, there was someone there with me who already smelled of Chanel. I'd have to ask my doll when she last visited her dear old dad. "And there was some residue of cocaine, which seems odd. No evidence from the autopsy that the old guy used any drugs, so it must have come in via the assailants or  some other source." The pelt thickened.

"Thanks old chum.  I need to ask around. I'll let you know if I find anything that can help you."

"You do that. And remember, you still owe me $20 from poker night."

I grinned as I quickly slipped out of his office and back on to the trail of mysterious misdeeds.

[Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]

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