Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Crowded Streets, Part 1

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The following entry is dated Saturday, March 16th. Rocky Stone, following service in the military during World War II and a stint as an investigator in the District Attorney's office, has set up his detective business in the Bunkles Building, a dreary block of offices on the east side of Los Diablos, California. It has been two weeks, and so far, no clients have come knocking on his door.

There was no reason to be in my office other than just plain stubbornness. The rain from the previous day had subsided and the sun reached out to Los Diablos with all the intensity of its brightness and none of its warmth. I watched the passers-by from my window as they walked along in their coats, hunched inward to keep what little warmth existed to themselves, and hoped that one or two would get the idea to come up to my nice, toasty office. No one did.

I turned away from the window and thought it might have been a mistake to come here this early on a Saturday morning. Maybe it was a mistake to leave the D.A. in the first place. After all, this office was a pathetic example of humble beginnings: a desk, two chairs, and a filing cabinet were all I could manage for furniture, and although I had tried to dress it up with a couple of framed second-hand prints of old masters and a calendar full of bikini girls, it still looked like what it was, one man's feeble attempt to strike out on his own. I sat down at the desk and thought about the money I didn't have left in bank account and the words that I had been saying to myself every day since I had started this venture: Two clients every month and I stay in the black. Rome wasn't built in a day. A stitch in time saves nine and all that mess.

Hollow. It rung as hollow as an accountant's heart. And top of everything I had been having trouble with metaphors and while I was trying to think about what that meant a figure appeared on the other side of my pebble-glass door. A less-than-confident double knock, and the figure opened the door, accompanied by a quiet, feminine, “Hello?”

She was the red-head some men dream about, tall with just the right amount of curves and a cute, freckled face that spoke to her tomboy roots. Her milky skin made the bright blue dress she wore a knockout punch. I'm partial to brunettes myself, but I was willing to make an exception in her case. Still, I thought, no sense getting into all that right away when there was rent to be paid and a mouth to be fed. “Rocky Stone. How do you do?” I said, for lack of anything better.

The red-head smiled. “Well, thank you. My name is Wanda Marcellus. I wasn't sure anyone was in. The door was unlocked but there's nothing in that outer office, so I thought...”

“I beg your pardon. I'm new to this office and I'm still getting used to the larger space.”

Wanda Marcellus scanned her surroundings from one side to the other, resting finally on the calendar and the girl pictured on it, a black-haired angel in a red bathing costume who had been the only friendly face to greet me in the past two weeks. “It looks to me as if you're just starting out,” she replied.

“You read me like a fish,” I said. Another bad metaphor. I needed to watch my head. “Please, have a seat, and tell me what I can do for you.”

Wanda Marcellus did so, in the seat across from my desk that no one had used up until now. She crossed her legs and it was hard not to look and admire. “Are you familiar with the current Congressional race in the 14th District, Mr. Stone?” she asked.

I was. “Howard Dixon is up for re-election this year against George Wilson. Fat chance he's got, too.”

“I'm glad to hear it,” Wanda replied, raising her eyebrow. “I've been working on the Wilson campaign since last year. That's why I've come to see you.”

I sat down in my chair and leaned forward on to the desk. At last, it looked like my first customer. “What do you need me for, Miss Marcellus?”

She uncrossed her legs and re-crossed them on the other side, but this time I managed to keep my eyes to myself. “Congressman Dixon has been very bad for this city and this country, Mr. Stone. I have worked on campaigns before and usually it is my policy to focus on the benefits of the candidate I am serving, but matters have come to my attention that have made me alter my stance. I believe Howard Dixon is lining his pockets with government money. I have done some research myself, but it's not really what I do. I need someone who knows the system, who can bring this information to light. Can you help me?”

“I can,” I replied, and smiled at her nice and pretty, “for thirty bucks a day, plus expenses.”

Of what does Wanda Marcellus accuse Congressman Dixon, and what can Rocky do about it? Find out in the next episode of The Adventures of Rocky Stone!

Go to Episode 2: Learning of Corruption

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Post a Comment

The Adventures of Rocky Stone. Design by Pocket