DPB — Is Paul a Killer?

I was sitting on my deck nursing a whisky.  Shirley was working late but said she would drop by later. At least my relationship was working, nothing else was.  I had a dead client who wasn’t really a client, no case and the five large was gone. Now what?

The phone rang and as I walked to the kitchen there was a knock at the door. I saw Vose through the window in the door, opened it and walked to the kitchen. Bill would make himself at home. I answered the phone”

“Paul Manning.”

“Paul, its Larry. I heard about Linda. Shocking.”

“Shocking, my left foot, you bastard. You lied to me, tried to set me up, and and, well I’m one upset detective .” I was never very good at anger.

“Now Paul, she asked me to go along with the little charade. Just so she could convince you to work for her. She didn’t think you would do the job if you knew everything up front. She said she would tell you the truth when you took the job.”

I was beginning to cool down, but just a little. I don’t like being a patsy and Larry had set me up.

“Paul – there’s someone else involved, and they want you to continue.”

“Let me call you back.” And I hung up, perhaps a little too aggressively.

Bill was on the deck with a glass of Oban. At least he wasn’t drinking my Laphroig 18. I freshened my drink and sat down.

“There’s more to this than we think, Paul. Laura Jefferson is the exwife of Dickey” Jefferson. Does that name ring a bell? ”

“Doesn’t he do something in the movie business.  A producer or something?”

“Director. Linda was in his last picture. Everyone said it was a ‘casting couch’ role but they did get married. It lasted about four years. That’s an eternity in this town.”

“Did he kill her?”

“Nope, he is on location with another film, in New Orleans.”

“Larry says there’s still a job here, that someone else is involved.”

“Larry Bitters? That snake. Surely you aren’t letting him front for you.”

“Oh, Larry’s OK.  He’s a little bent, but sometimes…  Well anyway he says there is another interested party that want’s to hire me.”

“You gonna take it?”

“Dunno — I probably should check it out” Bill finished his drink, gave me a disgusted look and left.

Larry wanted to meet at his office, the back booth at the Brown Derby. This time for a late dinner.  I decided to take Shirely. its a nice place for a drink and she could protect me from any blonds that happen to show up.

He was surrounded by empty glasses and empty chairs.  He spotted Shirley and jumped to his feet. He grabbed her hand and kissed it. Shirley looked like she needed to immediately dip it in alcohol. We sat down.

“Your new client will be here in a few minutes.” Larry had that Cheshire cat grin. Oh boy, what now? A few minutes later a man walked up to the table.

He was about five eight, 160 pounds. He was dressed in a 1000 dollar suit, a silk white shirt and a tie that cost more than my entire wardrobe. His watch was gold, and his cuff links mother of pearl.

“Mr. Manning, William James. I want you to kill a man.”

To be continued.


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