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Author Name: FreeLen 3 Comments
Date Added: July 09, 2013 15:07:36 Average Score: (Needs 2)
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Category: Mystery/Suspense Add To Favorites | Text Only
Jim Beam ~Double Jeopardy~ *4* ~Twisted Tales and Lovely Twists~

I wish whoever is pounding that base drum would can it. It's giving me a hum-dinger of a headache. It takes a few minutes of clearing cobwebs for me to realize that drum is inside my own skull. While I'm trying to figure out how a base drum could fit inside my noggin, I decide to pry my peepers open, on the off chance they might not fall out of their sockets.

   "Well, if it ain't Rip Van Gumshoe, wakin' up from his beauty nap," comes a voice from the fog. "You and me need to have a little pow-wow, Beam."

   Since my eyeballs didn't fall out, I try making out the shape in front of me. A pin-stripped suit starts to come into focus. I can make out the oily features of one Mario Paloma. I try to bring my paw up to touch my aching head when it comes to me that they're tied behind my back. It also comes to me I'm sitting in a rock-hard, wooden chair.

   "What's with you cheap hoods and your loud, pin-stripped suits?" I ask Paloma. "It's like saying, I have dough, but the fashion sense of an aardvark."

   Mario steps forward and grabs my hair with one mitt, yanking my head back. His tanned puss is just inches from my own. "Fingers told me about your comedy routine with your gat in the hall, Beam. With that twenty dollar Woolworth's special you got hangin' on you, I wouldn't be talkin' fashion, pally. By the way, I rifled through your billfold, funny man," say he. "James R. Beam, Private Investigations, huh? You got sand, James R. Beam. I'll grant you that. Your survival skills ain't nothin' to write home to momma about, though."

   I look into those dark, hard lamps. "I figured you wouldn't pump any daylight into my hide until you found out how much I know about Roberta Mason. I'm still breathing, so I guess I was right on that score."

   "That's the only reason you're still breathin'," the gangster sneers. "That twist took off with somethin' of mine, and I aim to get it back, one way or the other. Before I call the boys in and let 'em play a little paddy-cake on your mug, you wanna tell me where she ran off to?"

   "Funny you should ask that," says I. "A little birdie is paying me three C notes a day to find out the same thing. I was kinda hoping you could fill in some of the blanks. The same little birdie told me you put a dealer on ice for two million clams worth of smack he was packing. I guess your playmate decided to take it on the lam rather than hang around to find out if she was next on your hit parade. I talked to one of her friends, and it seems she has a little gambling problem. The word is, she’s into your crowd for a bundle."

   Paloma takes his fingers out of my hair and stands back, crossing his arms. He gets this little smirk on his thin lips. Then he starts this low, rumbling chuckle, shaking his head like I said something amusing. "Boy, were you sold a bill of goods, gumshoe!"

   He starts to pace around his plush office. "I didn't ice nobody, Beam. You only got one thing right. That broad did take somethin' of mine, but it wasn't no heroin. And it ain't Roberta with the gamblin' bug. It's that movie-star sister of hers, but she paid back the fifty grand she was into me for this mornin'. I was gonna send a couple of the boys over to her digs to shake her down for info about her thievin' sister, but my money says she's the little birdie that hired you. Am I right, or am I right, Beam?"

   I mull this over while Mario wears holes in his red carpeting.

   "Tell you what, pal," I shrug, "normally I don't give out the monikers of my clients, but since you've been such a gracious host, and I don't want your goons tracking mud all over Gloria Mason's classy joint, I'll level with you. Gloria did hire me to track down her twin. Roberta even called her and told her the story of you bumping off a drug dealer and relieving him of two million dollars-worth of powder. She told Gloria she was blowing this burg, but wouldn't say where to."

   "That rich!" Paloma hoots, perching himself on the edge of his desk. "What she lifted was a suitcase packed with two million in cold, hard cash. My contact wasn’t s’posed to show for another hour. The buy hadn't even gone down yet. I don't mind sharin' this with you 'cause my hands are clean, see? There ain't no stiff floatin' around, and I didn't even get a smell of that heroin. Looks like that schemin' dame played the famous Gloria Mason and a not-so-bright gumshoe."

   "If what you say pans out to be on the level," I frown, "I got no beef with you. I don't care much about your business deals. I was just hired to track down Roberta. If I find her and she has your two mill, I'll even return it to you, minus a five percent finder's fee, natch."

   For about a half a minute, Paloma just stares at me. Then he throws back his head in a jackass-sounding belly laugh. He points his manicured finger at me. "Like I said Beam, you ain't too bright, but you do have sand. Here you are, trussed up like a Christmas pig on my turf, and you're cutting deals with me. I gotta admire that, pally."

   He plants his dogs back on the floor and strides over to me. The mobster pulls out a pearl-handled stiletto, pushing the button on its side. A six-inch blade pops out, right under my beezer. Instead of slitting my nose, he reaches behind me to cut the ropes on my wrists.
   "If you find my dough before I do," he starts out, "you get your five percent, but if I find that two-faced broad before you do, she's disappearin' for good, if you catch my drift."

   Paloma steps back as I stand up and rub the circulation back into my abused wrists. He walks back over to his desk and tosses me my hat. "I got another offer for you, Beam." Paloma’s gaunt face goes hard. "I'll pay you twenty percent of that two mill, if you get back the mazuma, and hand that female snake over to me."

   I stroll over to the door and put my hand on the brass knob. I look over my shoulder at the hood. "Nobody ever accused me of being a boy scout," I smile, "but I draw the line at murder. If I should find out that you caused Gloria's sister to have a fatal accident of some kind, it would be my civic duty to make a bee-line to the nearest copper clubhouse and spill all your dirty laundry on their doorstep." I open the door to see the two goons, still guarding the door.

   "That sand of yours is gonna get you croaked one of these days, Beam," Mario says. "If you and me weren't lookin' for the same broad, you wudda been dead ten minutes ago."

 "I appreciate the favor," I shoot back
   The goon with my rod pulls it out from his waistband, looking inside the doorway to his boss for permission to hand it over.

   "Give him his piece, Fingers," the mob boss barks, "and shut the damned door! I've got me some thinkin' to do."

   The hired muscle slips the .38 to me, which I tuck into my shoulder holster.

   I start ambling down the hallway toward the lounge room and hear some sweet Jazz piano. I enter the noisy room, thinking, this caper has more versions than a hop-head's alibi."

   As I weave through the room, I look up on stage and see the guy who was laying down those sweet notes sitting at a baby grand, tickling those ivories just the way I like it. I walk over to my reserved table and take a seat.

   Just then, my redhead comes running over, all-concerned. "Glad to see you made it back!" she says.

   She gets a pretty frown on her face. "I just realized, I'm stepping out with a strange man. I don’t usually do that.”

   "And I don’t usually let some knockout redhead pick me up without at least knowing her handle,” I smile.

   "Well, Mr. Beam," says she, "my name is Thelma W. O' Conner. The W stands for Willing.

   I straighten the knot in my tie. "Well, Thema, it looks like this night just might turn out pretty jake after all."

Author's Notes:

"Like I always say, even a bad day can turn-out OK.”

James R. Beam

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'Jim Beam ~Double Jeopardy~ *4* ~Twisted Tales and Lovely Twists~' Copyright © Leonard Wilson
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Comment By: FreeShe Whispers on July 13, 2013 06:05:19 PM Report
Goodness I am so behind in your stories my time so limited now.... As always you put the word thriller in each epic..enjoyable... Bare with me when I have time I will read more... great story.. Love ya~ India
Comment By: PremiumLindaM on July 11, 2013 06:46:29 PM Report

You certainly know how to spin an exciting tale. This story is a wonderful diversion daily life as I follow

Jim Beam, PI extraordinaire  as he once again faces the mob head on in this great whodunit.

Each chapter is more fun than the last.


Comment By: FreeTomahawk on July 9, 2013 06:10:39 PM Report

Looks like ol' Jim's gonna get him some trim. 




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