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Jack Mackerel and the Case of the Perished Pianist

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Conclusion

©2018 by S. Seifritz

I knew it was payday because my mailbox was empty. If I didn’t get a case soon, I’d have to eat my other shoe, which wouldn’t be so bad except I stepped in pigeon dung on the way to the office.

Little did I know, my luck was about to change…

She walked into my office dressed to kill. She had on a short black number with a bandoleer over her shoulder and a buck knife strapped to her waist. In her hand she held a snub nose .38 with the dangerous end pointing my way, and by the way she was holding it, I could tell she wasn’t here for my beer-for-guns promotion.

“I’d ask if I could help you,” I said between drags on my cigarette, “but you look like you can help yourself.”

“I hope you can,” she said coolly.

I took another long drag on my cancer stick. “What say you point that thing away from me, and I’ll see what I can do,” I said.

“Oh, does this make you nervous?” she asked with a devilish grin on her face.

“Listen, sister, nerve gas doesn’t make me nervous. In fact, in my line of work, a dame with a gun is like a nightcap before bedtime — relaxing.” I leaned my head back and took another long drag of tobacco.

“So, if you’re not nervous, why are you smoking an unlit cigarette?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” I said.

“You could, but I’m not smoking.”

“Apparently, you don’t own a mirror.”

She pulled up a chair and lowered her piece. Upon wiping the sweat from my eyes, I realized that she was even more attractive than I had first thought. She had long red hair which she wore hanging from her head, and she had curves in all the right places.

“So what’s a beauty like you doing packing heat?” I asked.

“It’s a long story,” she said. “I’ll tell you everything once you agree to take my case.”

“Well,” I said, “before I can agree to anything, I need to review all the facts and then decide if your case warrants my services. Plus there’s ethical matters to consider, as well as time constraints and my other obligations. I don’t take just any case.”

She raised up the .38 so I could admire the bore of the barrel.

“I’m your man,” I said.

I tipped my hat in her direction. “I’m Jack, Jack Mackerel. You’ll have to excuse me for not standing up, but I’m not wearing any pants.”

“That’s OK, neither am I,” she said as she crossed her slender legs, causing her dress to ride up her thigh. “I’m Suzanne, Suzanne Dare. So, Mr. Mackerel, do you always sit around your office without any pants on?”

“Only when I’m polishing my revolver.”

“I see,” she said, and I could tell from the way her big green eyes followed my every move that she wasn’t kidding.

Who is Suzanne Dare? What’s her case? What does Jack mean by “polishing my revolver?” To be continued tomorrow!

On to Part 2