Sunday, 18 October 2015

No back up



No back up

I could not believe that a year had gone bye since Joe had died. I had stayed with Tony and his family and they became the family that I never had. Leo even came to visit while I was there and the family thanked me, thinking that I was responsible for his visit.
Leo insisted I travel home with him on his charter plane.

He was the one to put the idea in my head to get my private eye license and he had an office all picked out. I laughed when it ended up in his building. I could not refuse, as the rent was what I could afford. In a way, I felt I was selling my soul to the devil. However, my bank account was getting very low.

I bought everything second hand, file cabinet, desk and two chairs. If I had more than one client at a time, one would have to stand. I brought my computer and printer from home. Leo dropped in and introduced me to a new client. He wanted me to follow his wife get pictures and he would pay me a thousand dollars. He told me he would pay me when I got the evidence. Leo told him money up front.

When I arrived the next morning there were three more chairs sitting at my door along with a bottle of scotch and a coffee maker. Leo was becoming my savoir.   

It took me twelve hours to get proof and pictures of Sally in bed with her boss. 
Then a man came to the door asking if I would help him find the employee who was stealing from his electronics store. He knew he stole but could never catch him.
I became his new employee and within two days I had solved his problem. The man in his forties was strapping product to his legs and walking out of the store. I simply listened at the washroom door and heard the unique sound of duct tape as he attached the product to his leg. I was hoping for something a little more challenging, but I needed to make some money.

Leo dropped in as I was leaving one night asking me to join him for dinner he had someone he wanted me to meet. When I hesitated, "It is strictly business, Meg.”
His name was Gilbert Jenson, he was being questioned in the death of his partner. They owned a multi million dollar business in Spas around the world and Gilbert was sleeping with his partner’s wife. He was the prime suspect. Leo assured me he was innocent as they had been together when the murder happened. Leo laughed that he did not make for a good alibi.
As we walked into the restaurant, a beautiful woman dressed in a black dress, spiked red heels escorted us to a window seat overlooking the ocean. A blond haired man sat looking out at the view as we approached the table. When he turned his hazel eyes bored into me. Then an enormous smile as he got up to greet us. He thanked me for coming.

Dinner had five courses with a different wine for each. I started to ask a question, Leo put his hand on mine. “We will have our coffee in a private room and then discuss business.” A smile widen his face showing his one gold tooth.
As we moved into the room above the restaurant, Gilbert took some papers from his briefcase that sat beside the table. “Leo has told me that you can be trusted so I have written down everything that is relevant to my innocence,” he said very somberly,
"I appreciate anything that you can find out about the murder of my partner, and prove that I had nothing to do with it." He handed me a thick envelope. “If this is not sufficient just let me know.” Leo had not spoken he just sat drinking his coffee, which was unusual for Leo.
Gilbert told me he would always make himself available to me when needed. I picked up the papers and envelope as we finished our coffee and conversation. Saying goodnight, Gilbert was gone.

Leo’s bodyguard was waiting outside the restaurant as we emerged, opening the back door. “Leo I think I will walk home.”
“Better not my dear with all that money.”
I slipped inside the back door, as I had not even looked inside to see how much money there was. Leo the perfect gentleman walked me to my door, “Good night Meg, if you need any information don’t hesitate to call," and he was gone.

Pouring myself water, I opened the envelope and counted out ten thousand dollars in one hundred dollar bills. My hand shook as I stuffed it all into a paper bag, putting it at the bottom of an old suitcase. Then headed to bed to read what Gilbert had given me.

As I drank my morning coffee before heading off to my office, I re-read everything again according to the papers Gilbert and Leo had been in a meeting with some gangsters from upstate New York. The plan was, to take over all the Spas to launder their drug money. The meeting lasted for six hours and Gilbert never left the meeting, so could not have killed his partner who was not involved in the take over. His partner knew and agreed to the plan but did not want any involvement. So Gilbert said.

First on my list was the partner's wife. She lived in a gorgeous two story home with an indoor swimming pool, that is where she met me as she had just finished her morning swim. Her body trim and tanned not one bit of fat even on her stomach. No kids was my guess.
She offered me a drink from her bar beside a workout area with every machine one would ever need to keep in shape. “No thank you.” She opened a bottle of water and sat.
Blunt me started by asking her how long she had been having an affair with Gilbert. She seemed surprised that I knew. Putting down her water, she went to make herself a large vodka. ”Would you join me?” she asked.
“Little too early for me,” I replied.
I really did not get any useful information from Sandra, but knew she did not like me. She was hiding something I just could not put my finger on it yet. I left as her phone rang.

Next was the secretary for Gilbert and Manny, an older women very business oriented and polite. Her files meticulous and she was willing to show me what I asked to see. Gilbert must have prepared her well.
At one point, she had tears in her eyes as she spoke of Manny being a good man. When I asked about his wife Sandra her demeanor changed, she did not seem to like her. When I asked her why, all she would say, she felt she married Manny for his money.” How well did you get along with Gilbert?” I asked.
 “He always treated me well, so did his wife.” Her words catching as she started to cry.

Next on my list was Gilbert’s wife, a complete opposite to Sandra. She met me at her apartment door, a smile trying to cover up her nervousness.
“Coffee?”
“Thanks.”
The living room was filled with antiques, modern artwork on every wall. The furniture chunky with chesterfields spread throughout, all in a bright red and white.
“Gilbert told me to tell you anything that would help his case.” Her smile was genuine.
“Do you have any idea who would want to kill Manny?” I asked.
“Have you met Manny’s wife, Sandra?” she asked.
“You think she had something to do with his murder?”
“Yes I do and not because my husband was having an affair with her either.”
That surprised me she knew of the affair.
“Then why would you think that?”
“She wanted it all, the business and Gilbert.”
“Have you anything that I can look into in this regard?” asking her for specifics.
“She knew of the merger, Gilbert told her about the meeting, and that it would be a multi million deal. She probably thought if Manny was out of the picture she would get his share for herself then work on Gilbert to leave me.” She then broke down in tears.
“Do you think she set Gilbert to take the fall for the murder?” as I asked the tears ran down her face.
When I left, she asked if I would stay in touch with any news that I found out.

When I got back to my office there was a note from Tom slid under my door.

Dear Meg;
I dropped by to see your new place of work, you must be busy, as I have been by a couple of times. When you have time give me a call. I have something that may interest you.
Tom

I called him at his office, his assistant told he had left for the day. Thinking it odd Tom never left before six. He answered his cell on the first ring. Could I meet for a drink, he needed to talk to me. First for everything, Tom did not drink.
He was sitting waiting as I arrived at the pub where he had said he would be. He smiled as I sat down. “How have you been Meg?” he asked.
“Just fine, I am working on a case and it pays well so my rent is paid for a time, Tom.” I laughed.
Then he looked at me seriously, “I had a call from a friend of ours a few days ago, John at the F.B.I.  John wanted to know if I had heard from you lately.”
“What did he want?” I asked.
“He asked if you had been out of the country in the last six months, I told him I did not think so as you had started your own business as a private investigator.”
He told me one of his agents was holidaying in Brazil, thought he had seen you. His agent also mentioned while he was down there that Mathew Sparks alias Gregory Smith's picture was in the local paper, he had been found murdered at his girlfriend's place.
“Well I guess his past finally caught up with him, Tom.” Finishing my drink, I ordered a second.
I told Tom about the case I was working on, he asked me if I needed anything just to call.
“Be careful Meg, make sure all your tracks are covered. Shall I tell John you are too busy to take a holiday?”
“Tom, Joe taught me well, my passport would show I never traveled to Brazil.” Thanking him, I left him sitting staring after me.

I drove past Sandra’s place it was nearing midnight but her lights were still on. Parking I could see two silhouettes in the window. Then a man emerged from the front door, walking down the driveway, towards my car I slumped down as he went past, He walked to the end of the block and got into a sports car that was parked in front of a house. Why not park in front of Sandra’s place? Not wanting to be seen was my answer. As he passed, I got the license number. Then went home and fell fast asleep.

Leo was waiting for me when I arrived with two cappuccinos. “How is your investigation going dear girl?” smiling while he asked.
“My gut tells me Manny’s wife Sandra is involved Leo.”
“Really.” Was all he said?
“She is money hungry and I believe she is hiding something. A man left her house at midnight last night walked a block down the street before getting into his car. I have a friend checking his license plate, should know who he is before ten this morning.”
“Sounds like you are getting somewhere then.” He laughed.

The license of the car belonged to a Bradley Monk, he had a rap sheet dating back years. Spending five years in jail for attempted murder. I called Gilbert and asked him if he knew Bradley. Turned out he was a distant cousin of Sandra’s.
I drove to the address on Bradley license, only to find an empty lot. I headed back to Sandra’s house. She was not pleased to see me when I knocked, telling me she was busy.
“Busy with Bradley.” I asked? I had passed his car a block away.
That is when he opened the door wider, “What business is it of yours” he snapped.
“Just wondered why you feel the need to hide your car a block away when visiting Sandra like the other night.” Smirking.
“Are you spying on us?” Sandra's voice rising.
“I was hired by your lover to find out who murdered his partner and that is just what I am going to find out.”
“Get the hell away from Sandra’s house if you know what’s good for you,” Bradley yelled slamming the door.
Yelling back, “You just made it to the top of my list, Bradley.”

Gilbert had left a message at the office. The police had picked him up for questioning. If I had anything to report to tell, Leo and he would pass it on to his lawyer.
As I was locking up the office Leo arrived, I filled him in on what I had so far. I would keep in touch. He was upset the police had hauled Gilbert in.
“Leo don’t worry about Gilbert they are only trying to get information or they would have booked him if they had anything to connect him to the murder.”

I parked in front of my building as I planned to go out again. I recognized Bradley’s car immediately as I locked my car door. As I went to enter my building, Bradley emerged from behind a tree and slammed me against the wall.
“Lady you don’t know who you are dealing with, stay away from Sandra or you might end up like Manny.” He sneered.
“Bradley I know exactly who you are, your rap sheet needed two file folders and I will send you back to prison and it won’t be for attempted murder this time.” His face showed surprise. Pulling away from him I had my gun out before he had moved.”
“Your dead lady!” As he backed down the stairs.
If I had still worked for the police, I could have arrested him for this threat. I would have to deal with him myself.

After four hours I was ready to pee my pants when Sandra’s door open and two figures showed from the back light, Bradley was kissing Sandra she clung to him until he pushed her away. He sauntered down the street, looking like he did not have a care in the world. I waited a few minutes and followed. He pulled up to an old house a couple of miles away. A light came on and I could see him moving around what looked like the living room. The television went on as he pulled the curtains closed.
I had to get in to see if I could find any evidence of the murder of Manny. I would try to get into the house tomorrow while he was out.

They charged Gilbert with murder, Leo broke the news asking what I had found out. I laid it all out even telling him of the threat to me. “I need to get into his house tomorrow Leo to find anything that would connect Bradley to the murder.”
“I will come with you Meg.”
“No, I can handle this Leo. I will call you when I finish,”

Bradley’s car was gone when I arrived at his place. The blinds were open and I could not see any movement in his house. I circled around to the back door, I was inside within a couple of minutes. Joe had shown me how to spring a lock. The kitchen looked a mess, dishes all over the counter and stacked in the sink. The living room had newspapers spread throughout, with beer cans on the coffee table. I headed to the bedroom, not a surprise an unmade bed, an empty bottle of rum laid on the carpet. Wet towels spewed on the floor in the bathroom. Slob came to mind as I searched his closets and drawers. I heard the front door open and footsteps. I slipped into his closet leaning as far back as I could.
He was in the kitchen. I could hear the frig door open then dishes and a pop as he opened a beer. I could hear him turn on the television. His cell rang, ” Hi.” Was all I heard as my cell started to vibrate, turning it off quickly. He was now in the bedroom and he was close. The closet door slid open, holding my breath I could see his hand then his arm reach for a shirt. He smelled of beer and cologne. He hesitated and then pulled a shirt from the hanger. I exhaled slowly, afraid he would hear me. The front door finally slammed shut.

I slowly unrolled my body from the closet, something had been digging into me the whole time I had been curled up at the back of the closet. Pulling at a steel box it was heavy as I slid it out on to the floor. The dam thing was locked. Looking around for something to break the lock, I headed to the kitchen. I had rummaged through a few drawers finding what I needed. As I went to close the drawer it stuck, looking underneath the cupboard I saw it immediately. A  gun taped inside a plastic bag. Taking a cloth I wrapped the gun.
Should I leave now or see what he had locked in the steel box, rushing with his gun in my jacket I struggled to get the box opened. Papers stacked, mostly correspondence from Sandra. Some others that I had no idea who or what they were. However, he must have not trusted Sandra as he had kept proof of her asking him to kill her husband and the amount she was willing to pay for his murder. I had them both.

Leo met me at my office, he would take everything to Gilbert’s lawyer. I told Leo Gilbert would be out by tomorrow. I poured him a drink this time. “Gilbert will have a bonus for you when he is released.” Leo smiled.

As I drove into my parking spot, I was laughing probably for the first time since Joe had died. He would have been proud of me for leaving the force to go on my own. Opening my door a smell hit my nostrils, there sat Bradley in a chair with a gun pointed straight at me. How he had gotten in, I had no idea. My place had been ransacked, a bottle of my good scotch sat on the table, a full glass beside Bradley.
“Lady, I want my gun and papers back now. Hand me your briefcase.” He sneered.
“I don’t know what you are talking about, and how did you get in here.” I yelled.
“Don’t play dumb with me. I know you took them from my house.” His lips curled up.
“I want the briefcase now.” He said.
“I do not have your gun or papers.” I screamed.
“Now!” he yelled coming closer.
I waited until he took another step and threw the case at his head, coming at him with a kick to the groin that sent him down on one knee. He was strong and came at me hitting me hard as I went flying across the room landing on the couch. He had lost his gun in the scuffle. Spotting it laying under a chair, he went for it, as I grabbed for the bottle of scotch that sat on the table. Hitting him square on his temple, blood flowed down his face as I picked up his gun, pointing it straight at him.

I knew two of the police officers that arrived, explained what had gone on, and the lawyer for Gilbert had all the evidence. They thanked me and told me everyone missed me downtown.
A week has passed, Gilbert is free, and I got a hefty bonus. I certainly am making more money than being a detective for the police force.
Leo keeps in touch most days, he seems to have another case for me.
I am beginning to like this man, am I moving towards the other side?

Maybe.




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