A BONFIRE MYSTERY

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


Oh yer gonna hate me then deaden me then laugh...mrahahaha

Submitted: May 17, 2018

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Submitted: May 17, 2018

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A BONFIRE MYSTERY

BY

DONALD HARRY ROBERTS

 

A HARD RAIN IS GUNNA FALL

A COLD WIND IS GUNNA BLOW

AND THE FIRE OF HELL IS GUNNA FRY US ALL

A Bit of Jargon About Me

I am on my death bed and no one can save my sorry ass. There will not be a sequel to this story and no story before this one will ever hold water. Besides, I ain’t a writer; I am a Private Investigator about to be retired permanently at 41 years of age.

Mt name is Camp Bonfire. Ok. You can quit rolling your eyes or laughing now. It’s not my fault I had dick heads for parents. They didn’t even want me. They just got hot one night and did the wobbly bubble jump and hump and forgot the latex. I guess there was some talk about aborting me but that didn’t happen and one fine day in May out I popped right into the arms of a nanny. When I was 6 Ma and Pa Ignorant packed me off to a boarding school and that’s where I grew up, with a record for defiance and running away as long as your arm. The school wanted to give me the boot but Ma and Pa paid’em off and so I stayed.

Crap leads to crap and when I was 18 Ma and Pa shared a violent death in a car bombing, which was obviously murder but no one ever solved the case. Personally I didn’t care at the time until I discovered they left their estate to me. Suddenly I had a big beautiful home and sixteen million legal dollars. I had just turned 21, twenty years ago.

I didn’t have to work, ever. I could live off the 16 million tucked away in a safe environment investment plan quite luxuriously. But man that was really frikken boring. But there wasn’t anything I checked out that I wanted to do until one night, so thoroughly bored I had to do something, I read a private detective novel. By the time I finished the scenario I knew that’s what I wanted to be. A gun totting, hard ass Private Cop running around the city saving lives and plucking off the bad guys in the name of justice.

The reality. All I ever really did is play peeping tom to rich people whose spouses were experiencing exciting extra-curricular marital hump and bump activity. Sure I got a couple of missing kid cases which put me a little bit into the good boy light and once I helped the cops get a serial killer, by default but the rest was almost as boring as doing nothing except that it was better than laying around doing nothing and getting fat.

I charged 500 dollars a day plus expenses and got it. I was coming up to my 41st birthday when all that changed and a fellow who called himself Judas Hobbs came to my office and hired me to find his companion.

So here begins my one and only story of any significance about my life and pending death as a private cop.

1

It was a night storm straight outa hell frozen over. The power lines had been blown down by the wind that raged down the city Avenues like a horde of escapee demons. Everything was layered in an inch thick coat of ice and the dead were mounting in the alleyways and roof tops, bums and birds.

I was sitting at my desk with my feet propped up, basking in the light of a fancy oil lamp that smelled like roses, making short work of an expensive bottle of brandy and breaking the no smoking in the work place law. Cigarettes. Someone once told me I smoke because I have a death wish. I never could convince them that I smoked because I liked it and that sometimes I smoked and sometimes I didn’t, and mostly when I am drinking expensive brandy and waiting out a storm.

2

He said his name was Judas Hobbs. He was skinny and tall. His hair was pure white, his eyes were ruby red and his skin was the colour of chalk. Everything he wore was black except for the blood red rose pinned neatly to the lapel of his mourning suit.

The street door banged open blowing in an icy cold wind and two gorillas wearing human masks. Lou Hobbs took one long stride through the door and closed it behind him.

He said, not asked, “You are Camp Bonfire.” His voice was like steel grinding through granite.

“I nodded pointed to the client chair and stubbed out the last half inch of my cigarette I was smoking, immediately lighting up another then poured two brandy’s, one in my plastic glass and one in a real snifter. I gave him the snifter. He accepted the offer of booze and the chair.
 

 

 

 

 

 

3

“I have a job for you and I am willing to pay top dollar.”

“500 a day plus expenses. 5 grand up front, none returnable.” I responded in my most business like tone.

“So be it, but my envelope has ten grand in it, for expenses and I don’t feel like cutting it up.” Hobbs countered and tossed a thick, brown envelope on my desk.

I nodded then asked. “What’s the job? Yer old lady steppin out on yah?” I figured he knew that most of my clients were irate spouses and that’s how he clicked on to me, but why on a night with the worst storm of the years kicking the crap out of the city.

Hobbs grinned and replied, “My old ladies know better. So no peeping tom stuff this time Mr. Bonfire. The truth is I have two jobs for you though they are connected. First, I want you to find a very valuable set of jewelry, a ruby necklace, bracelet and tiara. The second is I want you to find the woman who was wearing those items at the time they disappeared.”

I nodded.

4

I was about to ask a couple of question but Hobbs answered them like he was reading my mind.

“Her name is Jazel Wild.” He shrugged his shoulders and added, “I would not count on that being her real name. She has bottle red hair with a black streak on the left. She likes her champagne but I never heard her ask for drugs. She was a smart one, quick eyed and quick tempered. I had it on good authority that she danced and did it well but she never hooked up with the clients, until me. We kept company for nearly six months. The last I saw of her she was accompanying me to a fundraiser dinner for a mayoral candidate. She was wearing a purple evening gown with heels to accent the jewelry. Half way through the dinner she excused herself and went to the lady’s room to powder her nose. Five minutes later there was a loud scream then a gun shot.”

5

I interrupted with an obvious observation. “And that was the last you ever saw of Jazel and the jewelry.”

Hobbs grimaced and nodded.

“I assume this is not a moment that you want the police to be involved in.” I said.

“You assume correctly Mr. Bonfire, not now, not ever. I cannot get involved with anything discoloured at this time. Discretion on your part is a necessary prerequisite to the job.”

“All my clients can count on that Mr. Hobbs, but I need to know about your companion and the situation and that means asking questions and questions always attract attention.”

“I understand. Just attract as little attention as possible and avoid bringing my name into it.”

I nodded. “Now tell me everything you know about Jazel Wild, especially how and where you met.”

6

The storm ended. It was the next morning. The sun came out and the world outside looked like an ice palace straight out of a fairy tale. It was one of the few times I thought the city was pretty. Otherwise it wasn’t. At least the melt off was carrying the grunge and grime of the winter down the storm pipes and some of the litter with it.

I stepped out my office door to meet the day. It was a spring day after the last winter storm. For once the air was fresh but it wouldn’t last. The cars would be coming soon.

It was just after six o’clock. I headed for the 24 hour café for coffee on muffins and an internal conflab with myself about Jazel Wild, a long term exotic dancer at The Kitten In The Bed Club strip joint. Sooner or later I would have to go there for a closer look at the life and times of Jazel Wild, but for the moment the hour was too early and my gut was hungry.

7

I put all the information Hobbs had given me about his companion in a big mental bowl then stirred them up like eggs for a cake adding in the things he didn’t say that always get left out of the conversation but guys like me know they belong in the mix. Like Jazel had played the long game and set her mark up, a mark and a job she was going to regret. It made me wonder if I should do the job. I could get her killed. That’s what the Hobbs’ of the world do with pretty little con artists.

I decided to keep going but find a way to get the jewels back and send Jazel somewhere far away and safe. Gems like that were not going to be easy to fence, unless she already had a buyer. It seemed odd that Hobbs, being a dark player in the game of law and order, wouldn’t have a finger on the pulse of the con game and hock shop financial status.

8

At noon I drove across town to the part of the city that harbouRed most of the adult entertainment joints. Those out of the way out of mind corners that only a certain class of citizen frequented, or someone’s idea of a bachelor party. The Kitten In The Bed Club was about as out of the way as you could get, tucked away at the end of an industrial strip mall with all the ear marks of the biker community. I couldn’t help but wonder what Mr. Hobbs would be doing in a seedy, sleazy joint like that. But then, what would he be doing with a concubine and a wife.

I went inside and was surprised to find a clientele about as far from the biker scene as you can get. Most of the gents were the factory blue or the shirt and tie type, each holding their own a zone of the bar and more interested in the dart games than the dancers. I was there for only ten minutes before I figured out that a lot of money changed hands at the dart boards.

9

I got a table and ordered a beer then waited patiently for one of the girls to notice I was all alone. She was leaning over me whispering in my ear in half a shake of a dancer’s fanny. I played along for a minute, gave her a fifty and said, “Dance and listen.”

She nodded, suspiciously.

I gave her a lawyer’s point of view on the situation. She got a worried look on her face and was about to scram but I said quickly. Just tell me Jasel Wild’s real name. Then I’m gone.”

“Sandy Smith.” The dancer answered in a whisper as she leaned into me seductively, then she casually scrammed.

10

The name was almost generic and came too easy but sometimes you need a little easy in a case to get it rolling. I headed for my office grabbed up my lap top and went to the 24 hr café again and hooked into its wifi. I typed in Sandy Smith. The screen filled up with rows of Sandy Smiths. I narrowed the playing field to Canada. The screen was still full so I narrowed it by province, eliminating the ones with pictures that didn’t even remotely resemble the description I had for Jazel or the ones I could account for by location and profession or job. Six hours later I had it narrowed down to seven, but not one was a red head with a black streak down the left side.

11

I had eight coffees, six muffins and a ham and cheese sandwich in my belly by the time I left the café. Two of the seven possible Sandy Smiths lived in the city. I had their addresses. There was no info on what they did for a living. An hour later my search was over. I found the really Sandy Smith with the bottle red hair. At that moment I was wishing I hadn’t. I was also hoping that I would find the jewelry as well, take back to the owner and disappear Sandy unharmed. Wishes seldom come true and dreams vanish in the light.

 

 

 

 

12

I told her who I was and why I was there and she looked at me like I had two heads.

She said. “I have no idea what you are talking about. Who is Judas Hobbs?

At first I thought I was barking up the wrong tree but then I caught that look in her eye that liars get when they lie.

“Ok kid. I get it. You pulled a fast one on a mark and you are playing it cool.” I said, but as the words eased past my lips the door opened wider and a fellow who looked like a 300 pound zombie stuck his face out at me.

“You want your head twisted off like a ketchup bottle cap buddy?” It was corny but it was also effective.

13

“Look pal.” I started to say but the sentence got stopped by a fist about the size of bowling ball, ten pin that turned my face into mashed potatoes. I should have gone down but I didn’t. Instead, I grabbed the red head and used her as a shield.

I know. I hear you. You are saying, “What a coward you are Camp Bonfire and maybe you are right but then maybe not. I was trying to save the girl’s life which turned out to be a dumb idea and the reason I am lying in this bed dying.

“You better listen to me or your girl friend t] here is going to an early grave if Hobbs gets his mitts on her.

14

“Are you that dumb gumshoe?” Hobbs doesn’t give a crap about her or jewelry. This is and has been all about you and your guilt.”

“I don’t get it.” I replied. “What guilt?” I asked but I knew exactly what he meant. What I did not know is how this zombie and the girl knew it too.

I let the girl go. Holding on to her would serve no purpose. Then a truth emerged from the horrible depths of my own memory. A memory that was twenty years old and buried so deep I had forgotten all about it.

15

Like I told you. The murder of my parents had never been solved and no one really spent much time trying to solve it. For a good reason, on that Mr. Hobbs felt was necessary. I suppose if I had known who he was before all this began certain truths would have fallen into place sooner and maybe I would not be laying here on deaths doorstep. I could be home relaxing, having a beer, eating pizza, having a blast. But instead I am here writing the minutes of the last few beats of my heart.

The girl disappeared for a minute then returned with the jewelry. I stared in horror.

16

“Where the hell did you get those?” My voice was a mash of fear, hatred and anger as the memory of them flooded into my brain. “Those belonged to my mother. She was wearing them the night she died.” I cried out.

Unexpectedly the girl handed me the jewels. “I suppose you should have these even though they will be ill gotten.”

I took the gems then turned to walk away only to find myself standing face to face with Judas Hobbs. He was standing there with his arms crossed daring me to try and get past him, at least that is how I perceived his stance.

He said in a harsh tone. “Camp Bonfire. It ends here or you die.”

17

I guess you figured out my response since I have already told you I am about to die though I did not think it was going to take forever. I have been lying in my death bed for two days, dying, in pain so intense at times it seems unbearable and the tiny moments it eases off its ecstasy and exquisite, but when it returns it comes back with a vengeance.

Many times I became delirious with pain and thought it was going to end but instead I was cast into a nightmare, watching my parent’s car explode and them burning to death, even though I was not even there when the bomb went off. I was miles away, but I knew the precise moment the explosion occurred. I was watching the clock in anticipation. Then I settle down with a drink and a book to wait for the police to arrive and give me the news.

18

I have decided to get out of my death bed. I put myself here so there is nothing holding me here, except of course myself, thinking I am dying. Though I am in pain most of the time I have not once felt like I was dying.

I may be back, or I may not. If I can leave this hellish place I will get back to something resembling my life. Maybe I will after all. Come up with a sequel to this mess.

Wait. Something this way comes, a scraping on the floor outside the door of my death room.


© Copyright 2018 Donald Harry Roberts. All rights reserved.

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