The Diary of Amy Anderson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
The main character in this action filled story is 27-year-old Amy Anderson who is a private detective in New York City. Amy faces many challenges, but she always defeats the “bad guys”.

Submitted: November 18, 2016

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Submitted: November 18, 2016

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Chapter 1. A New Client

 

At one point of dog’s evolution German Shepherd was a wolf. You don’t need much imagination to concede this point. Let’s take it a step further- at one point of dog’s evolution Chihuahua was a wolf.

Police and army prefer German Shepherds. German Shepherds are intelligent, strong, approachable, confident. The breed is fit and willing to serve as a companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, guardian, or any other role the circumstances may demand. All that said, the dog is as smart as its owner, or the training it gets.

Amy Anderson was scanning the canines at the local shelter. Getting a grown dog has its advantages and problems. In this case, Amy simply didn’t feel the connection with any of the animals. It’s like finding a true friend, you have to test the personality and interests. You have to be lucky to have your paths cross. Puppies are moldable, their personality still developing can take any shape or form, but they require a lot of training and time. Amy was thorough, she also visited the local pet shop. Her mind was set on getting a German Shepherd.

When Amy entered the pet store she knew immediately which dog was hers. A puppy came up to greet her. He was curious, a bit timid. The most remarkable feature about him was his large tender brown eyes. He was not a German Shepherd. He will never be strong like a German Shepherd, he will never be able to take down a bad guy, but they clicked. To Amy’s chagrin he turned out to be the most expensive dog in the store. Money matters nothing when a friend is concerned, she thought.

“You got a Chihuahua?! I don’t believe it. I thought you were getting a German Shepherd,” Lara laughed at her friend and boss. “How is he going to help us with the work?”

Lara was Amy’s new assistant and a friend. The two women had a lot in common, both were 27-year- olds, attractive, ambitious, fit.

“He’ll be fine. He’s a perfect dog for a busy private investigator,” replied Amy watching the Chihuahua happily explore her tiny Manhattan office. Lara gazed at the yellow-orange awkward creature unconvinced.

“Lara, meet Mickey. Mickey, meet Lara,” Amy announced.

“Nice to meet you, Mickey,” Lara grabbed the dog by his hind leg and pulled him towards her for a hug. Mickey retaliated by licking her nose. He didn’t like to cuddle for long, he preferred to move around and explore.

“Did we have any calls today?” Amy asked as she settled behind the large writing desk by the window. There were two desks in the office, and Lara’s was the smaller desk by the door. The new office space was located downtown Manhattan in the office building on the second floor. The same floor occupied three more offices: a photographer, a lawyer and a CPA. The advertisement of their respective businesses was proudly displayed on the hallway wall leading from the elevators. Amy planned to have her own poster decorate the wall soon enough.  

“I’ve booked two appointments.”

“New clients?”

“Yes. One will be here in an hour.”

“How did they hear about us?”

“Reference from a prior client – Michael Romney. The one who is coming today…you’ll love it!”

“What is it about?”

“Somebody is blackmailing him.”

“What’s the second case?”

“A robbery.”

Amy nodded with satisfaction.

 

Mickey was not a big barker. When the new client knocked Mickey went to the door his tale wagging. He growled.

I need to encourage the good behavior. Nobody likes yappy dogs, Amy thought.

“Good boy,” she gave Mickey a jerky treat. He took it greedily and retreated to his blanket under Amy’s desk.

 Lara opened the door and invited the new client in. The man was in his early fifties, about 6’4” tall, fit and broad shouldered. He had intelligent blue eyes and receding blond short hair. He was dressed in a grey golf shirt, a pair of expensive blue jeans and black loafers.

Amy stretched her hand in a greeting.

“Richard Gilet,” the man introduced himself. His grasp was firm and pleasant yet there was a trace of nervousness about his face.

“Please sit down,” Amy waved to the comfortable leather chair across her desk. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Glass of water, please.”

Amy waved to Lara to fetch two bottles of cold water out of the fridge.

“How can I be of assistance?” asked Amy with a reassuring tone. Richard took a long drink of water before he began.

“I didn’t expect you to be…,” he stopped hesitating.

“What?” she asked with a trace of amusement.

“I just thought it would be somebody older,” he confessed.

“Do you want your blackmailer apprehended or you want to chat with somebody old?” Amy asked. Lara giggled. Amy shot her a reproofing glance.

“Yes, of course,” Richard uttered, his ears turned red. “I believe to be successful in any endeavor one must be hardworking and smart. I think you are both.”

“Thank you!” Amy said suppressing a smile. “Let’s start from the beginning. Tell me a little about yourself and how you were contacted by the blackmailer.”

He nodded, cleared his throat and began:

“I own a computer networking business. If you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. I happen to do what I love. I make good money too. But I don’t appreciate when people who are lazy try to take advantage of me. I was at work, at my desk when I received a phone call on my work number. The man with raspy voice I never heard before demanded money. How dare he! He said I must pay $100,000, or my life will be completely ruined.”

“Was there an indiscretion in your life?”

He looked at Amy appraisingly, judging her ability, calculating her odds of solving the case.

“Are you bound by the same rules as lawyers and psychologists? Can anyone compel you to repeat my words in court or any other proceeding?”

“We are bound by the confidentiality rules. Your information is safe with us.”

“Few years ago I had a painful divorce. My wife walked away with half of everything. Well, not exactly half. I hid some money in off-shore accounts. I lied about that money in court.”

“If the blackmailer talks and if he has the sufficient proof, you are facing a jail time and possibly another lawsuit.”

The man’s shoulders drooped, he looked crashed as if the sentence was announced.

“On the other hand, if the blackmailer is identified we have a chance of avoiding all the unpleasantness. But it’s a difficult case,” Amy continued studying her client.

“I will pay you anything you want,” his hand landed on the desk on the top of hers. Amy promptly retracted her hand.

“Let’s behave professionally. We have work to do,” she said sternly.

“I haven’t decided if you’re the appropriate person to take on the case,” he said gruffly.

“Well, in that case I wish you good day. I have work to do,” Amy got up and stretched her hand for the good bye handshake. He remained seated.

“I’m sorry. I’m just stressed out. I want you to take this case,” he said softly.

Amy sat down. “Very well. How many times did you speak with this man?”

“Only one time.”

“Good. He will call again to set up a time and a date for you to deliver the money. We will try to catch him then. I suppose the number he called from was blocked?”

“Yes.”

“Who amongst your acquaintances and friends knew about the off-shore accounts?”

“Nobody.”

“It’s impossible. When we have a secret we bound to slip now and again in conversation. I need a list of people who may have guessed. Write down all the people you talked to about your business or marriage. You don’t have to respond now, think carefully and contact me with the list of names and addresses.”

“Very well. I will email you the list first thing tomorrow morning.”

 

The second client took Amy and Lara by surprise. He was a heartbreaker, if there was a 10, he was it. He was dangerous. Lara turned to Amy as the guest was sitting down and gave her a clandestine wink. He walked in with a confidence good looks and easy life brings with it. Amy thought her control in the meeting was slipping away from her. Lara was not paying attention to what was said, she was infatuated with the new client. The problem they faced was not as easy to handle as Richard Gilet’s.

 

 

Chapter 2. When It Is OK to Kick Your New Client’s Butt

 

 

Ben Fletcher, a perfect specimen of the male species, was 32 years old, 6 feet tall and had mesmerizing blue eyes. The intoxicating smell of his aftershave and cologne reached Amy’s nostrils. It reminded her of Dave- her old love. This feeling sat uncomfortably with her. Ben had broad shoulders, small waist. His body did not have an ounce of extra fat. Ben had jet black hair trimmed short, except a slightly longer cut on the top of the head, that part was elegantly styled with gel. He smiled to Amy showing perfect white teeth. He was wearing an expensive blue suit. Rolex watch was visible on his wrist- the only jewelry he was wearing.

“How can I be of assistance?” inquired Amy smiling politely to her visitor.

“I heard you’re an exceptional martial arts fighter. I was curious to see if what I heard was true.”

“This is the only reason you’re here?” dropped Amy in disbelief.

“No, there is a job I want you to do for me. Do you know I trained with the same martial arts teacher?”

Amy trembled imperceptibly when he mentioned the teacher. The memories flooded her brain: the small modest dwelling in the middle of nowhere in Florida, wild nature all around her, and this strange man next to her- the Teacher. It was years ago.

“The Teacher said you were his finest! I must confess I was incredulous.”

“Oh yeah? Why?”

“I wouldn’t know where to begin,” he grinned and spread his arms in a prayer like gesture.

Amy winked at Lara, it meant the entertainment begins NOW!

The next thing she did happened so fast Lara and the new puppy Mickey did not see it coming. The movement was a blur and only the final result like by a hand of a great magician was visible to her audience. Mickey’s toy, small rubber ball, met the forehead of the guest. He was stunned. He did not have time, or saw it coming, to block it.

“Your reaction is too slow. If it was a knife you were already dead,” Amy said feeling sorry for Ben.

Mickey barked and joined Amy in the attack biting Ben on the leg. Lara intervened with an apology taking the protesting dog in her arms to watch the approaching fight. Why pay for the overpriced Madison Square boxing match if you can watch your own boss kick ass any time of the day for free! Lara thought.

Ben jumped up, got rid of his suit jacket and loosened the collar of his shirt. He assumed one of those complicated martial arts positions and beckoned 5’9’’, 120 pound Amy towards him with the wave of his hand. Amy estimated he was at least 50 pounds heavier than her, it was 50 pounds of pure muscle. She had to end the fight fast. Amy slowly took off her high heel pumps and adjusted her favorite green mini dress, her legs and arms movement was unimpeded. What does a rich, spoiled boy know about fighting! Amy thought. The plan was to knock him out with the first hard blow and it happened. The man was concentrated on the proper technique, on perfect execution of his sequence of blows. He did not digest all the numerous martial arts styles, he did not make them his. Amy combined with ease different styles, she developed her own martial art. Nobody could anticipate or know her next move. She ran to him, then jumped, her whole body spinning in the air. Her foot landed on his face and he fell to the ground senseless.

“That was fast! You really should make it a little longer next time. I don’t know… make the guy believe he can actually win,” complained Lara.

When Ben opened his eyes he was lying on the small couch in the corner of the office. Lara and Amy were sitting by his side looking at him with concern.

“Good, you woke up. How do you feel?” asked Amy.

“What happened?”

“Who is the president of the United States?” Amy answered with a question.

“I’m fine. It’s Obama.”

“Good. Do you want some water?”

“Do you have something stronger?”

“Vodka?”

He nodded rubbing his red jaw.

Lara went to the fridge and came back with a frozen bottle of grey goose and two shot glasses.

“You are not drinking?” Amy turned to her friend.

“Not at twelve thirty in afternoon,” commented Lara.

When Amy returned to her desk and Ben sat comfortably on the chair across from her, they came straight to business.

“I need your help to find the thief who stole my ruby ring. I need that ring back. It was the last present I got from my mother, before she passed away,” said Ben businesslike.

“I think I will be able to help you with that. When and under what circumstances was it stolen?”

“It disappeared two days ago. It was in my jewelry box, and then it was gone.”

“Who had access to that jewelry box in the last five days?”

Ben laughed:

“You think I’m dumb and don’t know when the ring was stolen. Trust me, it was two days ago. The housekeeper had the access.”

“Is she still in your service?”

“Yeah.”

“I doubt the housekeeper took that ring. I will speak with her nonetheless. Did you have any friends, girlfriends over at your place in the past five days?”

“Why are you fixated on the last five days? I didn’t have anybody over.”

“Do you have a girlfriend,” Lara suddenly interrupted their conversation. Amy frowned.

“No. I’m not interested in a serious relationship,” Ben commented turning to Lara.

“Why not?” Lara did not give up. Amy’s patience began to wear out, but she didn’t say anything.

Ben raised the eyebrow:

“Because I can have any woman I want, any time I want.”

“You’re wrong. You can’t have me. And I doubt very much you will ever have a chance with Amy,” Lara winked at him. “Find a girlfriend and settle down.”

He shrugged. “So, about about my ring,” Ben turned to Amy.

“Did you talked to the police?”

“I don’t want to bother the police. Plus, I want someone I trust on this.”

“I like this case. I’ll take it. A word of caution – my services are not cheap.”

“I’m rich. Don’t worry about the money.”

 

 

Chapter 3. How Mickey the Chihuahua Competed with German shepherds and Won

 

 

Victor’s dog training camp is equivalent to Princeton University, it is the best school for dogs. There was a problem signing Mickey for classes – Victor trains only German shepherds for critical missions. Money had no sway with Victor, Amy discovered that soon enough. She decided to go to school and talk to him in person, she will take Mickey with her just in case.

It was beautiful spring Monday morning. Amy, clad in elegant pink business dress, shoved Mickey on the front passenger seat in her white, 2015, 370Z. It will be a fast drive to Long Island, she thought and it was so. Amy loved driving fast. Like all loves it was a weakness. She will fix it later, it was stupid to get all those speeding tickets. 

Amy found Victor like a hound finds its prey. He was sitting on the wooden bench watching one of his young trainers handling a black German shepherd. Victor was in early forties, he had a George Clooney look. He spoke with elegant, barely perceptible Russian accent.

“I thought I was clear on the phone, I don’t train Chihuahuas.” He would have been rude, but Amy was too good looking and he settled for being just grumpy.

“You don’t understand, this is a very special dog. What he lacks in strength he more than makes up in intelligence.”

Victor glanced at the yellow-orange creature with big brown eyes sitting obediently and listening carefully to their conversation. Nobody will ever take this dog seriously. Maybe it could be his advantage, Victor thought.

“You want to ruin my reputation? I will be the laughing stock,” he said aloud.

Amy smiled. Victor needed a little bit persuasion. “Not if my dog will be on the front page of every news paper in town catching the bad guys. Big deal if a German shepherd can do it, but only you can make a fighter out of Chihuahua. You’ll be famous!”

“A fighter out of Chihuahua? You must be kidding me!”

A tall middle aged man with mustache came out from the shed dressed in a long puffy jacket. He had thick gloves and a helmet.

“Attack,” the young trainer commanded to the black German shepherd. The dog barking loudly raced to the heavy jacketed man and clenched the jaws on the man’s well protected by thick layers arm. The man raised the arm and the dog was hanging off it without letting go, growling menacingly.

“Can your dog do that?” Victor ridiculed Amy.

“I don’t know, I never asked,” she stared back at Victor with a challenge in her eye.

“Very well, let’s see what your puppy can do. Michael, please, come here,” Victor yelled to his trainer.

A young Latino man appeared before them.

“Take the Chihuahua. Show us what it can do.”

The young man’s eyes became as large as the saucers.

“The Chihuahua? How about our reputation?” he protested.

“Relax. We’re just assessing the dog. That’s all.”

Mickey was quickly grasping the commands. He was walking with the trainer, sat on command, stood up when asked. He was given a rag to smell and then instructed to find the person to whom it belonged. Mickey passed that test too. Victor looked impressed. Then the heavy clad man again appeared out of the shed and the trainer commanded Mickey to attack. Chihuahua, not intimidated by the gigantic size of the man in front of him, barked and charged in attack. It would be nice to get the big man by the neck, but the dog quickly realized that was out of the question, so he settled for the next best place to bite. Mickey jumped as high as his little legs could take him and clenched his teeth on the the man’s well protected groin area.

“Did you teach him the commands in advance?” Victor turned to Amy who was laughing.

“No, I didn’t have time.”

“I tell you what. We’ll train your dog for two weeks. If he passes the admission test after the two weeks we will talk about enrolling him in the program.”

“Thank you very much!” Amy said with gratitude.

 

Amy has not seen her puppy in two weeks. She missed him. Now she and Lara were sitting together in the audience section and watching with worry and anticipation at the dogs and trainers on the field. There were about thirty other dog owners watching and impatiently waiting for the competition to begin.

“Hi,” a man’s voice rang on Lara’s side of the bench.

Amy glanced at the stranger. He was in late twenties, about 5’9”, good looking, dark eyes, dark hair, a few extra pounds. Amy guessed he was employed as a security officer with some firm.

“Hi there,” replied Lara with a polite smile.

“Beautiful animals! Which dog is yours?”

“It’s my boss’s dog.” Lara pointed to Amy. “I don’t see him. Which one is yours?”

“That big white German shepherd.”

“He’s beautiful. What’s his name?”

“Ocho”

“By the way, my name is John,” the man stretched his hand for a handshake.

“Lara. And this is Amy.”

“Nice to meet you ladies.”

“So, Lara, what do you do for a living?”

“That’s a long sad story.” She laughed looking at Amy. “I dropped out of med school and now I’m working with like the greatest private investigator in the world!”

“Oh yeah, and who’s that?” asked John wondering who might be the greatest private investigator.

“I’ll tell you later,” winked Lara and turned away. The conversation was becoming boring.

Amy clapped when she finally caught sight of Mickey. He looked so tiny and fragile in comparison with those bulky German shepherds. The Chihuahua spotted Amy amidst thirty spectators at once. He stared at her with confidence. He wanted her to appreciate his work. The spectators noted the Chihuahua, some laughed, some made fun of Mickey. The little Chihuahua must be a prop- was the general consensus.

In the first round the twenty five dogs were lined up. They were all German shepherds except for one Chihuahua. The trainer was facing the dogs and yelling different commands, the dogs had to obey. If the dog did not perform the required task it was taken out of the line. After twenty minutes only fifteen dogs were left, including Mickey.

In the second round the dogs faced the “bad” guy in a heavy jacket and had to detain him until the trainer came to take charge of the situation. Three German shepherds let the man get away and those dogs were taken out of the competition. Mickey was last to compete in this round. People in the audience laughed. Amy scowled at her neighbors. Mickey hit the man hard on the balls with his head, when the man bent over the dog got him by the throat, squeezing the air pipe. The man was deprived of the oxygen and dropped unconscious. The crowd watching the competition went wild. Who could have thought a little Chihuahua could render a big man unconscious!

In the third and final round of the competition the dogs were given a rag to smell and had to find and catch the animal whose sent was on the rag. The remaining twelve dogs were competing against each other. All twelve dogs were admitted to school, but the winner of this round will attend the school free of charge. Amy realized it was a very fast brown hare the dogs were chasing after. The hare had a lot of holes and crannies it could run inside and hide where big dogs could not reach it. Mickey, who could not run as fast as German shepherds, used the big dogs to corner the hare for him. The first time Mickey walked into the hole where the hare was hiding it kicked him hard with its strong legs and escaped. The second time the hare got cornered Mickey was prepared. The Chihuahua crawled into the hole and swiftly grabbed the hare by the throat. He dragged the hare out and proudly walked with his trophy back to where the trainer was standing, eleven German shepherds were following Mickey obediently.

 

 

Chapter 4. Almost a Perfect Crime

 

 

When a perfect crime is committed nobody knows about it, nobody suspects anything. The case of a stolen ruby ring was not technically a perfect crime since the owner of the missing ring - Ben Fletcher, was out to get it back and punish the thief. Nonetheless, Amy had to admit the thief was resourceful.

Maria Bolovski was a beautiful, curvy woman in her late fifties with intelligent dark eyes. Maria worked for Mr. Fletcher as a housekeeper for over five years. She let Amy into Mr. Fletcher’s spacious Manhattan loft apartment on W Broadway.

“Mr. Fletcher is not here,” Maria explained.

“I know. Did he mention I will be stopping by?” asked Amy tentatively.

“Yes. He said you want to ask me something. What is it?” Maria looked Amy over. Black mini dress, black high heel pumps, long dark-blond hair and gorgeous brown eyes. Is she trying to be the new girlfriend? What a shame Mr. Fletcher is such a bad boyfriend, thought Maria with sympathy.

“You probably know the ruby ring went missing. Have you seen it?”

I hope you don’t think I took it! Thought Maria beginning to feel exasperated with her guest. “Mr. Fletcher told me he lost it.”

“He told you he lost it?”

Maria considered.

“No, he said the ring is missing from his jewelry box and asked if I saw it.”

“Have you seen it? Do you know what he is talking about?

 “Sure I know. I saw him wear it many times. It was a gift from his poor mother. She passed away.” Maria promptly crossed herself like she was in the church.

“Did you find it?”

Silly girl! Would we have this conversation if I found it? Inept people love to waste other people’s time. Maria sighed. “No. He told me about the ring four days ago. I cleaned the place I didn’t see the ring.”

“Do you know if anybody came to visit Mr. Fletcher in the past week?”

“He had two visitors who came when I was here. But Mr. Fletcher was not home. They didn’t wait long.”

Amy smiled.

“And do you know the names of these two visitors?”

“Sure. One was a girl – Lisa Moran. The other was Mr. Goodwin, Mark Goodwin.”

“Did you tell Mr. Fletcher they were here waiting for him?”

“When?”

“Maybe when you saw him later that day, did you mention they were here?” said Amy in a neutral tone. She was patient and methodical. The more questions she asked, even dumb questions, the more chances she had to catch the interviewee on inconsistency in their answers. This is how the suspect or a person of interest in the investigation is discovered.

“No. I’m always so busy. It didn’t seem important.”

“Did Lisa and Mark come together?”

“No, they didn’t. First came Lisa and the next day Mark came. They came at lunch time. Mr. Fletcher often comes home to lunch.”

“So Mr. Fletcher did not come home to lunch on those two occasions.”

I don’t know what Mr. Fletcher sees in this girl. She is a bit slow. “No,” Maria replied graciously.

“Did you keep an eye on the guests while they were waiting?”

“What for? These folks come here all the time!”

“Can I see the jewel box?”

Maria led Amy to the bedroom decorated lavishly in the modern style. On the dresser there was an antique wooden jewelry box. It was quite large. Amy opened it and gasped. There were so many beautiful rings, chains and bracelets. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds were shining at her from every angle. Amy closed the box in a hurry.

“He doesn’t keep it in the safe?” questioned Amy with surprise.

“Mr. Fletcher puts the jewelry box in the safe only when he has house parties.”

“How often Mr. Fletcher was wearing that ruby ring?”

“Almost everyday. It was his favorite.”

“Did you notice Lisa or Mark go into the bedroom?”

Mary took a second to contemplate.

“If somebody went to the bedroom it could only be Lisa.”

“Why is that?”

“Because Mark spent most of the time in the kitchen drinking beer. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even go to the living room. To get to the bedroom, as you can see, he had to go through the living room.”

“And where were you while Mark was drinking the beer in the kitchen?”

“I was dusting the living room.”

Amy nodded. “And where were you when Lisa was here?”

“I was preparing food for dinner. I was in the kitchen and Lisa was in the living room.”

“Who is this Lisa Moran?” asked Amy.

“I thought she was the girlfriend, but I don’t know anymore with these young people.”

“What kind of relationship have Mark and Ben?”

“Oh, he and Mr. Fletcher were friends since childhood.”

 

Ben arranged a lunch date for Amy, Mark and Lisa. Lisa was a beauty with long black hair and fiery black eyes. She was about 25 years old, 5’10” and 125 pounds. Mark was over 40 years old, about 5’7” and had few extra pounds. Amy felt at once Mark was romantically interested in Lisa. After a brief introduction, as soon as they ordered the food, Amy came straight to the point:

“As you probably know Ben hired me to find the missing ruby ring. The only reason we are having this conversation is because you were in his apartment approximately at the time the ring went missing. Nobody is suspecting anybody, all I’m doing is gathering information.”

“Let’s not beat around the bush, Ben thinks one of us took the stupid ring,” Mark said bluntly.

“Mark, I think you’re exaggerating, like always,” intervened Lisa smiling sweetly to Amy. “Please, ask us anything you want.”

“Thank you. First of all, what was the reason you came to see Ben?”

“I wanted to discuss an investment idea,” said Mark shrugging.

Amy nodded.

“I came because Ben didn’t reply to my texts and I wanted to talk to him about personal matters,” said Lisa.

Mark sneered. “Don’t you see he doesn’t care about you? Let it go already.”

“You’re wrong,” Lisa said in a soft voice.

“How long did you wait for Ben?” asked Amy.

“About half an hour,” said Lisa. Mark confirmed he waited about the same.

“This is not the first time you came and waited for him, right?”

Both Lisa and Mark nodded their agreement.

“Did you go into the bedroom?”

“Definitely not,” protested Lisa.

“I did not go to the bedroom,” said Mark shaking his head from side to side.

“Lisa, I see your relationship with Ben had few problems,” commented Amy.

“Every relationship has problems sometimes. Me and Ben, we are doing just fine,” promised Lisa.

“When Ben came to my office he said he was not looking for a serious relationship. Is that OK with you?” continued Amy.

“People change their mind all the time. Our relationship is special, we love each other.”

“Get real, sweetheart, Ben loves only himself,” dropped Mark.

“Mark, Ben tells me you were close friends, but not anymore. Your friendship is changing. How do you feel about that?”

“It’s a lie,” Mark exploded and got up. “You’re insufferable and rude. How dare you accuse us of stealing? This lunch is over.”

 

Amy was sitting at her desk in the large red leather armchair meditating. Lara was leafing a vogue magazine.

“All these outfits are ridiculous. Who in the right mind would wear any of these?” Lara mumbled. “Anyway, did you figure out who took that ruby ring?”

“I know who, when, where and why. Take your purse we are going to get the ring back.”

The two women hailed a cab and headed to the Upper East Side. On 63rd street and 2nd Ave they buzzed the door in one of the apartment buildings. There was no reply, but the front door got unlocked. They came in and knocked on apartment 2 C. Mark greeted them at the door.

“Why are you here?” he asked testily.

“I need that ring back. I may be able to smooth it out for you with Ben, but I need that ring,” Amy said pushing him aside and walking into the apartment with Lara. Mark tried to catch her by the arm and redirect her back out, but she got hold of his arm first and painfully rotated it out of the shoulder socket. Holding him in a rather uncomfortable and painful position with his face down, she calmly inquired:

“Are you going to be reasonable?”

“Yes,” he whispered and she release his arm.

He threw himself on the couch, the two young women remained standing. Lara was trailing off looking through his things.

“I didn’t take that ring. I told you,” he stated angrily.

“I know. I also know you are lying. You see Mary, the housekeeper, saw you go into the bedroom. She said Lisa was never near the bedroom. So you see- it had to be you!” Amy poked him with the fabrication of her own.

“She lied!”

“Let me tell you what happened. You knew Mark for twenty years. You became great friends. Both of you came from affluent families and you had the same hobbies. But then as years went by, you career went nowhere and people in your circle began to make fun of you. Ben, on the other hand, became very successful. He was admired by all, maybe even loved. You wanted that admiration for yourself. The final straw was when the woman you loved your whole life – Lisa Moran made a choice to be with Ben. You became so angry, you wanted to punish him. But how? There was only one thing Ben valued more than anything else – the ruby ring his mother gave him before she passed away. So you took it, to make him feel the pain and the loss you felt your whole life. Isn’t that true?”

Mark shrugged went over to his writing desk and pulled out a 9 mm Glock. Pointing the gun at Amy he said:

“Don’t get involved in this. There is a reason he didn’t call cops.”

“Don’t you think you are exaggerating with the gun? Are you going to kill two women here in your apartment? Don’t be ridiculous.” Amy came up to Mark and quickly twisted the gun out of his hand.

“That bastard is just lucky and then he stole from me the only woman I loved. And it’s all a game to him. He doesn’t care about Lisa. I hate him! I knew that ring was important to him, so I took it. I would have given it back, when he learned the lesson.”

“And what makes you think you are the best teacher to give that lesson? You’re confused. You make mistakes left and right,” said Amy calmly.

“You’re right,” Mark laughed bitterly.

“It’s over Mark. Please give me that ring.”

Mark sighed and took the ruby ring out of a drawer.

“Give it to him back. I don’t care anymore.”

“If I were you I wouldn’t give up on Lisa. She may need your love and support one day very soon. A truly loving friend is hard to come by.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5. When Your Friend is a Mobster

 

 

Charlie is not your typical friend. His job choice is a bit unorthodox; he is a mobster. Charlie is the kind of friend once befriended you can never get rid of – like in a marriage without the divorce option- until death do us part. Knowing all that, you might think nobody would want to be Charlie’s friend. But the fact was – everybody wanted Charlie. The advantages of such friendship are numerous. Charlie is a fun guy to hang out with, the kind of guy you will never be bored with. Money is never a problem; Charlie will dine and wine you any time. Nobody can ever bully you. For Charlie you are like a family so anything you want you will get. Knowing Charlie will make your business, or career flourish. There is never a problem to get into the best night clubs without waiting in line or paying, or to get the table at the most exclusive restaurant, or club. The headaches of knowing Charlie are equally enumerable, here are few: when law enforcement, or rivals want to get to Charlie they think it is a good idea to go through you. The presents from Charlie can be taken away from you as quickly as they come in. If Charlie thinks you are about to betray him, he will not hesitate to kill you. If Charlie goes down, most likely you will go down with him. But, people rarely contemplate unpleasant future perspectives when present is so enjoyable.

“I want you to talk to somebody for me,” said a tall handsome man sitting in the client chair across from Amy’s large desk.

“Dan, is somebody bothering you?” inquired Amy.

“It’s Charlie Terrano.”

Amy froze.

“You mean the mobster Charlie?”

“Yeah.”

Amy glanced at Lara who was vigorously shaking her head. Get rid of this client- Lara’s body language screamed. 

“And what do you want me to tell Charlie?”

“I want him to leave me in peace. I want to start a new life in which he has no part.”

“Did you tell him that yourself?”

“I did. He just laughed. He said nobody walks away from him,” the man’s shoulders dropped. He looked defeated and Amy felt sorry for him.

“How much do you know about Charlie’s activities?”

“I don’t know anything!”

“You were friends. Why such a change of heart now?”

“I want to change my life, start a family. I don’t want to worry about my loved ones.”

“How did you meet Charlie?”

“I came to him 5 years ago because I needed the money to start a business. I paid him interests on the loan. He and his friends began to frequent my lounge and the business took off. Suddenly my lounge became the place to meet important people and be seen. The money was flooding. I met my new wife there. But it’s just too much. I told Charlie I wanted out. I sold my bar to him. I thought that would be the end of our friendship, but he keeps popping up places. He keeps inviting me to his parties, and I don’t want to offend him. You know how easily he is offended.”

Amy nodded.

“I’ll talk to Charlie for you. I don’t promise the results though.”

 

The Curve was a fancy NYC club with a live band playing every night. The doors opened at 7 pm. Well dressed crowd, sexy servers and bartenders surrounded Amy. The band was playing popular hits and the crowd was going wild. The Curve had 3 bars: outside bar, stage bar, and the bar all the way on the back by the VIP section. Amy spotted Charlie at once, he was sitting at the bar on the back with couple of friends. Mr. Terrano was about 50 years old, 5’8” and had extra 30 pounds on him. He was dressed impeccably. He radiated power and importance. People were intimidated by Charlie, they did not dare to approach him, or to sit near him unless they were invited. Amy had no such reservations, she boldly came up and sat at the bar next to the mobster. The men at the bar looked at her with amazement. Amy was a strikingly beautiful woman, it helped.  

“A bottle of Dom Perignon, for my friend over here,” said Charlie to the bartender pointing with his head at Amy.

“Thanks, Charlie,” said Amy with a sweet smile.

“Ah, we know each other!” he said grinning like a school boy.

“Not exactly.”

“Not yet. But we’ll be good friends. I know it,” said Charlie with conviction.

“Dan, the former owner of The Curve, says Hi,” said Amy sipping the delicious bubbly.

“Why didn’t he come and say Hi himself?”

“His priorities changed. He’s a family man now. He wants a quiet life.”

“Yeah, he told me, ungrateful bastard.”

“You know, Dan has a lot of respect for you. But he changed, and he feels you don’t see things the same way anymore.”

“Dan is a big disappointment. He used me, and now that he has what he wants he discards me like a garbage. I don’t like being used,” Charlie said with a trace of menace in his tone.

“Was it a good business arrangement for you? You made good money,” calmly commented Amy.  

“And who are you? Dan’s babysitter?” the men at the bar laughed.

“You can think of me as Dan’s friend.”

“And your name…”

“Amy Anderson.”

The men exchanged glances.

“So, Dan decided to hire a private investigator!” Charlie became grim.

 “I’m flattered you heard about me. All Dan asked me to do is to convince you to let him go.”

“You know what, I like you. Fuck Dan. I’ll do as you ask, but on one condition.”

“I can’t engage in any illegal activities,” protested Amy.

“Don’t worry it’s legal.”

“OK. What is it?”

“I’ve heard you’re undefeated in street fights. I want you to fight against my finest. If you win, Dan is free.”

“David and Goliath type of fight, I hope?”

“No firearms, but you will have a choice of weapons.”

“Tell me where and when.”

“There is no need to postpone the fun. Tonight at 11 pm at the construction sight,” Charlie quickly wrote down an address in Brooklyn.

 

Precisely at 11 pm that evening Amy and Lara appeared before hundred viewers in deserted construction sight in Brooklyn. The projector lights shone brightly on the makeshift ring. Small chairs and tables were surrounding the ring, there was plenty of alcohol. The DJ was blasting music. It was not just a spectacle for the fine NYC crowd which showed up on a short notice to watch the fight, it was a gambling opportunity. Amy was the underdog going into the fight. There were only five people who betted on Amy’s victory. One of those five people was Lara, Amy’s assistant and friend.

Charlie came to the ring and introduced Amy. People clapped with hesitation.  Next came out Charlie’s champion – a man, 6’8” tall, over 250 pounds, big and mean looking like a crazed Pitbull. The crowd cheered him with enthusiasm. Charlie explained that Amy was a sophisticated martial arts fighter and they should not discount her ability, stamina or resourcefulness.

“How much money did you put on me?” Amy asked Lara when they were left alone for a moment.

“Five thousand of my money, plus twenty thousand out of our business account. You better not lose this one,” said Lara with excitement.

“We’ll make a lot of money tonight and we’ll solve our client’s problem,” promised Amy.

“You have five more minutes to make you bets. The fight will begin in fifteen minutes,” Charlie announced in the microphone at the DJ station.

The money was changing hands, the air was electric. Finally people began to settle down at their tables. Everybody was excited and tipsy. Amy was stretching and warming up her muscles in the corner of the ring. Her cold blooded concentration and complete lack of fear contrasted Lara’s nervous anticipation. For Amy everything was moving slowly now, even the DJ’s loud music seemed to drag. She was in the zone.

Amy acknowledged her opponent with a nod. He was embarrassed they made him fight a girl, not even a big muscular girl, but a skinny young girl. This victory meant nothing. If other professional fighters knew of this fight his reputation would take the biggest hit in his career, but he could not refuse Charlie.

The music stopped abruptly. The referee came onto the ring and brought the two fighters together for a quick handshake. Amy’s tiny hand disappeared completely in the opponent’s plate like huge paw. The big man, sure in his victory, waved his option to have a weapon. He would punch her lights out in a second. Amy considered the weapons brought to her: a club, a chain, a whip, or a small hammer. Amy took the hammer.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please give a round of applause for our champions,” said Charlie. People clapped and whistled loudly. “There are no rules in this fight, anything goes. The referee will stop the fight as soon as one of the champions becomes injured and cannot continue.” Charlie slowly walked away and let the referee begin the fight.

Amy’s opponent moved towards her. She saw his lips moving, he was saying something, but she could not make sense of it, everything was slow, even the sound coming out from his mouth. Her movements, on the other hand, seemed to be perfectly normal. She expertly gauged the weight of the hammer in her hand. She threw it up for a moment and caught it in her hand. She was one with the hammer, the hammer was extension of her arm. She hurled the hammer with amazing speed at the approaching opponent and hit him directly between the eyes. He stopped, wobbled and dropped to the ground senseless. The referee rushed to the big man. He was alive, but knocked out. Amy won.

 

 

 

Chapter 6. A Lesson in Blackmail

 

 

Blackmail is never a smart business idea. Granted information is power using it to one’s advantage without lowering yourself to the level of the dishonest creatures takes smarts. Also blackmail is illegal. Amy reviewed her notes in Richard Gilet’s case. The owner of a successful networking business was blackmailed. The blackmailer had the information, or just a guess and a bluff that Richard hid substantial amount of money in off-shore accounts and when the ex wife walked away, after the divorce, with half of everything, in fact, she walked away with only about one fifth of everything. Which, according to Mr. Gilet was still too much money. The court, the people and the wife were deceived.

The blackmailer wanted $100,000 to keep his mouth shut. He called Mr. Gilet with that demand. Mr. Gilet did not recognize the voice of the man. The phone number from which the blackmailer called was blocked.

The first payment demand is usually not very high to get the victim into the mindset and habit of paying. The real money is made with the subsequent demands. Like any bad behavior blackmailing must be nipped in the bud. The blackmailer will not get any money and the blackmailer is going to jail.

Richard emailed Amy the list of all the people who might have guessed, or known about the off-shore accounts. He assured her, he did not tell anybody about them, except of course for the people who set up the accounts and shell companies. There were twenty names on the list, after getting more information on those people Amy reduced the list to three potential suspects: the tax accountant Mr. Black, Bob Lynch who was a close friend of Richard’s and Monica Allard another close friend. Amy instructed Mr. Gilet to make an appointment for her with each of those three individuals, and to explain that she was investigating an information leak in the company and having to question everybody had few questions for them as well.

Amy came to see the tax accountant Mr. Black with her entourage: Mickey the Chihuahua who just finished the dog training school and Lara who wanted to be more involved in investigative work. Three of them were sitting in the waiting room of the tax accountant. Mr. Black’s secretary promised he will see them in five minutes.

“Did you know ex Mrs. Gilet?” Amy asked the secretary with a polite smile.

“Yes, she came here few times. Very nice lady.”

The door to Mr. Black’s office opened wide and a short man in mid forties, about 5’7” tall and overweight appeared with a big smile.

“Please come in,” he invited the visitors in. Mickey came up to the man and sniffed his leg. It was obvious Mr. Black passed Mickey’s test.

“This is my assistant, Lara Johnson,” Amy introduced Lara. “We don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I come straight to the point,” said Amy as she and Lara sat down on the comfortable sofa across Mr. Black’s desk. “There was an information leak and Mr. Gilet hired me to investigate. Please be honest with your answers and don’t worry, you will not offend Mr. Gilet as long as you speak the truth. Mr. Black, you have been Mr. Gilet’s tax accountant for over ten years, in your experience do you think Mr. Gilet is a big spender?”

“Well, Mr. Gilet makes a lot of money, he invests a lot of it back into his business, and he does spend a lot on himself too.”

“Was Mr. Gilet ever audited by IRS?”

“No. His situation is straight forward he doesn’t take advantage of the system or possible loopholes. He makes good money and he pays his fair share in taxes.” Lara was busily typing Mr. Black’s answers on the laptop.

“Are you and Mr. Gilet good friends, or is it just business?” inquired Amy.

“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Gilet, but we are not close friends. We are both busy professional people.”

“Well, you’ve answered all my questions. Thank you for your time,” said Amy getting up. Mickey reluctantly left his post by Mr. Black’s side. Amy noticed Mickey was not one of those dogs who shamelessly hump everybody’s leg. He was not sexual at all. Amy wondered if that glimpse of noble attitude was a Chihuahua thing.

 

The next on the agenda was the interview with Monica Allard. Amy, Mickey and Lara joined Monica for a walk in Central park. Monica came with her dog – big orange Border Collie. Mickey was not impressed by the Border Collie or its owner. Monica was a plump middle-aged woman with small gray eyes and pouty lips. After exchanging pleasantries Amy proceeded with the questions:

“You are a close friend of Richard Gilet’s so you know him better than most. Is he a generous man?” asked Amy.

“He is OK. Not too generous, I guess,” Monica said watching her dog.

“Were you or him ever interested in each other romantically?”

“No, not really. Besides I’m dating somebody.”

“Did you know ex Mrs. Gilet?”

“Yes, she was not a good person, I can tell you that!”

“Did she treat Richard badly?”

“Yes, she did.”

“Is Richard dating anybody?”

“Why are you asking me that?” Monica looked at Amy with surprise.

“I thought you might know,” Amy shrugged.

“He has few women he is interested in. I don’t know how serious it is.”

“Monica, what kind of work do you do?”

“I’m a party planner.”

“Well, thank you for your time. You were very helpful.”

 

The appointment with Mr. Lynch was at the Café degli Artisti, Amy was famished. Bob Lynch was a very handsome man in late thirties. He was 5’8” and had a perfect body. He shook hands with Amy and asked:

“Be honest with me and don’t worry about hurting my feelings. This way you’ll get the most of this meeting.”

“Thank you,” said Amy with a friendly smile.

After they finished with the pleasantries and as soon as they ordered the food Amy came straight to business:

“How much do you know about Richard’s networking company? Do you talk about business?”

“Frankly, I don’t know much about his company. Me and Richard never discuss business or women. We go to the gym together, play golf, watch football, hang out with guys… we do that kinda stuff.”

“What kind of job do you do?”

“I’m a chief engineer with the air defense company.”

Amy nodded.

 

Richard called Amy that evening, he was excited.

“I got the second phone call! The blackmailer knows about you, and wants you to go away, or he will release the information to the ex.”

“Did he tell you where you are to meet?”

“He said he will call me tomorrow morning at 6 am with the instructions.”

“Good. When he calls tomorrow tell him I’m not investigating this case. Record the conversation with your iPhone. And text me where and when you are to meet.”

“Do I have to take $100,000 in cash?”

“Prepare a bag full of paper. The blackmailer is not getting that bag anyway.”

The next morning Richard was instructed to place a black garbage bag with the money on the curb by the black van on W 26th street between the 8th and 9th Ave exactly at 8 am.  Richard obeyed. He placed the bag by the van and walked away without looking back. Amy noticed Richard was followed by a man all the way from his Manhattan apartment to W 26th street. It was a woman though who picked up the bag with the money. Amy appeared before her in a second and grabbed her by the arm.

“Good morning, Monica.”

She woman shuddered.

“What are you doing here? What a lying son of the bitch he is after all!” Monica said with disgust, she opened the garbage back and her face went pale.

“Not smart, Monica. I knew it was you. It’s over now. You committed a crime and you’ll go to jail for this,” Amy said taking the bag with paper from Monica.

“Fine. I’ll go to jail, but everybody will know how Richard lied and stole. He’ll go to jail too.”

“It’s not enough to accuse somebody of something, you have to have a proof. And you don’t have it.”

Monica’s face twisted in ridicule. “Richard was very drunk one night and told me everything. I wrote it all down: the names of shell companies, the accounts, everything. I’m sure it will not be hard with this information for authorities to track the money back to Richard. His ex wife will be very interested in this information!”

“OK. You have information on Richard, and I have a proof of your blackmailing. Richard recorded your conversation on the phone and my assistant is making a video of this conversation as we speak. So, my question is - do you want to go to jail, or we call it even and move on?”

Monica smiled bitterly.

“I knew you would be a problem. OK, have it your way. I don’t need his stinky money. I don’t need him.”

Amy nodded. Richard Gilet’s problem was resolved.

 

 

Chapter 7. A Portrait of a Predator

 

 

Anywhere, in any situation there are vulnerable and unprotected, there are also unscrupulous people who are willing to take advantage of the weak and less intelligent. Predators are not smart, for if they were, they would realize it is always better to give and take in equal measure.

There are few situations when it is critical to identify the person you are dealing with immediately. You are on a job interview; you are sitting across from your future boss. Are you listening to what she or he is telling you? Ordinary people listen, but rarely pay attention. If the perspective boss wants to work you into the ground, make millions and pay you as little as possible- run, you are dealing with a predator. When Lara applied for the position with Amy as an assistant, both women benefitted equally in the arrangement, everything was open for negotiation. Amy read people very well. She did not care for a predator type employee, one of those litigious characters who only wants to get hired to take the new boss to the cleaners.

Amy clad in sweat pants and a loose T-shirt was jogging late at night. She was passing a bar on Houston St. when a man dressed in jeans and dress shirt began to run next to her.

“Hi. Where are you going, beautiful?” the man drawled. He was intoxicated.

“To the police station,” said Amy blankly.

“How about my place?” the man said without paying attention to Amy’s words. She began to run faster, the man by her side was getting winded. Suddenly he jumped on her and grabbing her from behind stopped her.

“You must be the unluckiest human being,” Amy dropped, hitting him hard with the elbow in the stomach. Instantly, in pain the man released his catch. Amy turned and faced him.

“Are we done here?”

The man looked around, there was not a soul on the street.

“Bitch, you’re not going anywhere,” the man pulled out a knife and charged in attack.

It was not a smart idea to go into a fight when inebriated. As a matter of fact, when drunk you should not make any important decisions. Amy coolly stepped aside and let the man fly by her, as he was passing on her right she grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back. The knife fell to the ground. The man whimpered in pain. Amy pulled out her phone and called 911, the predator belonged in jail.

When Samantha Rogers appeared on the door step of Amy’s office she was a pitiful sight. Mickey came up to greet the woman, but she pushed him aside.

“Maybe she prefers cats,” Amy patted Mickey.

“My boss pressures me to have sex with him,” said the woman lowering her eyes ready to break down in tears.

“I’m a private investigator, not a therapist. What do you want me to do?”

“Talk to him, please. Make it stop,” begged Samantha.

“If I talk to him, he might retaliate and fire you.”

“But then, if I go to court, you will be my witness.”

“I don’t deal with these types of cases. Why should I get involved?” asked Amy studying her visitor closely.

“Because you are a woman. Because what he is doing is wrong.”

“OK. Tell me more about your situation. What kind of job is it and how did you get it? You must be 100% honest with me. If I catch you lying you will never see me again.”

“I understand. I work as a server at this high end restaurant. The owner, who is also a manager hints that if I don’t give him what he wants he will change my schedule and I will never make enough money to support myself and my child.”

“Where is the child’s father? Does he help you financially?”

“He was gone when Rob was six months old. I never saw a penny from him.”

Amy sighed:

“How hard is it to get a job at a different restaurant?”

“Why should I? I love my customers and people who work with me. Why can’t he just stop bothering me?”

“Is he treating other women employees in the same way?”

“Phillip is playful with women, but I don’t know how intimate he is with them.”

“Did you tell him you are not interested in sexual relationship and want to keep it professional?”

“I did. He shrugged and asked me if I like my job.”

“Fine, I’ll see him tomorrow. Please write down the address of the restaurant.”

 

Amy, Lara and Mickey came to “Ristorante Verdese” for lunch. It was an elegant place designed in white and black with high windows and long white silk curtains. Amy put Mickey in her large dog purse so only Chihuahua’s adorable head was peeking out. Seeing two beautiful sophisticated women, Phillip rushed to greet them and offered them the best table. Phillip was a very handsome man in late thirties with live black eyes. He was over 6’ tall and had a supple, beautiful body. He was dressed in expensive blue jeans, black high quality Italian loafers and a dress shirt. Amy perceived Phillip was interested in her, he did not touch her, but she felt his passionate black eyes on her body constantly. Phillip presented an interesting challenge. Amy was attracted to him, but womanizers had a character flaw she could not tolerate. After indulging in exquisite Italian cuisine and paying the bill Amy approached Phillip.

“May I speak with you in private?” she asked.

Phillip grinned.

“Sure, let’s talk in my office.” He let her down the long corridor and opened the door for her leading to the cozy office.

“Did you enjoy the lunch?” He asked coming closer to Amy. She smelled the enticing sent of his aftershave.

“Very much. Thank you. I wanted to talk to you about Samantha Rogers.”

Phillips face became disinterested and distant.

“What about her?”

“Is she a friend of yours?” asked Amy.

“No. She is not a friend.”

“She values her work here, but feels you are pressuring her into a sexual relationship in which she is not interested.”

“It’s not true. She was after me from the day one. But I’m not interested in that woman,” said Phillip. He looked sincere.

“Is Samantha a good employee?”

“She is OK.”

“It must be hard to work with someone who bothers you. How do you deal with it?” asked Amy.

“I ignore her advances.”

“Why not just tell her you are not interested in sexual relationship?”

“I told her I have a girlfriend, but it doesn’t deter her.”

“Did you consider letting her go?”

“I don’t care about that woman. I have two managers; they deal with her. If one day my managers tell me she needs to go, we’ll let her go.”

“Well, thank you for that delicious lunch,” Amy said with the warm smile.

“Why did you ask me about Samantha?”

“Nothing special, she is a friend of mine. I wanted to meet you and try the food.”

“I hope to see you again,” he said seductively.

Amy nodded.

 

Next morning when Samantha came to see Amy there was a surprise waiting for her.

“Samantha,” sternly began Amy. “You are not to contact me again. I’m not taking your case. You lied to me. I’m done with you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Julia Adams. All rights reserved.

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