James watched as the brown sedan pulled up to the dock from his vantage point high up on the girders of a building being constructed beside the dock. It was a warm night in the summer of nineteen forty-nine, and James was following a lead. He was the best detective on the Los Angeles Police Force, and, to many, his most distinguishing feature was the smoldering cigarette that always hung out of the right side of his mouth. He was always dressed in a black button up or white button up shirt, usually unbuttoned two of three buttons down tucked into tight black jeans, covered in a light tan ankle length trench coat. In between the shirt and trench coat was a black suit coat. He wore Converse tennis shoes, and to top it all off, he wore a black hat on top of his shoulder length brown hair. It had a white band around the brim, and a short, turned up back, with a long brim that he pulled lovingly over his left eye.
"Right, brown Packard..." James thought to himself, flipping open his notebook. Better take a note on that one, could be important.
"Light brown late 1940‘s Packard, no distinctive markings... other than the usual pomp of a Packard... Looks fast... I knew I should have gotten one of those...”
Just then, he heard the trunk of the car pop open, and he turned his attention from his notebook back to the car. A man got out of the car, and went to the trunk. When he got there, he opened it and took out a large bloody burlap sack.
“Oh, great. They killed ‘im already... That makes my job a lot harder... And I hate hard work...” Moaned James from atop his building. “If they killed him, that must mean they got the information, so they’ll be headed for that hotel.” James said, hopping down from the girder he was standing on and jogging happily to the stairs. “But wait... What if they didn’t get everything they wanted, but killed him anyway...? Then they’d be headed to the... Well, I STILL don’t know where they’d go...” Complained James. “I HATE THIS JOB, I HAVE TO THINK!” He screamed. “Oh, great...” James said, realizing that he had just given himself away. The man down at the dock saw James, and opened fire. “GAH!” James shouted, diving behind a girder. The bullets pinged harmlessly off the front of his girder while James yanked out his 9mm pistol. As the man was firing, three others leaped out of the car and opened fire as well. “I need help with this temper of mine... It’s becoming a health hazard...” Thought James as he waited for a lull in the onslaught. Finally, the pinging stopped as the men reloaded their cartridges. Taking the initiative, James leapt out from behind the girder and let loose with a flurry of bullets. James missed, however, and the men fired back. Before James had time to duck, one of the bullets struck James' beloved hat.
"OK, THAT IS IT!" Bellowed James, throwing caution to the wind, firing madly upon his assailants. Realizing that they had awakened some primeval rage locked deep inside James, the men rushed to the car. James, however, would not let them go without a price. He managed to shoot the man nearest to him in the knee, and he fell with a shout of pain. The other men didn't wait to get him, but drove off with a roar. James quickly descended the building and ran to the man's side.
"Talk." He growled, pointing his gun at the man's head.
"I know you won't shoot me, I'm your only lead." The man sneered.
"Look, Mack, it's been a very, very long day. You'll make both of our lives easier if you'd just talk."
"It won't make my life easier, I'll die if I tell you anything."
"You'll die if you don't, either by my gun, or loss of blood from that knee. I'm not taking you with me, you’ll muss up the upholstery in my car.” James encouraged, cocking his handgun.
“Wha...?” The man faltered. “Y- You wouldn’t kill your only lead!”
“Try... Me...” James growled. The fallen man, seeing that James was deadly serious, began to talk.
“We got the guy to give us an address, but he managed to get a gun and shoot himself. That’s all we got out of him, and we were going to dump the body here, but you showed up.”
“What’s the address?” James asked.
“... Eighteen sixty five, Beverly Hills.”
“Thanks.” James said, putting his gun away and walking away. "Have a nice day."
When James reached his car, a black Cadillac Series Sixty Two, he double checked the address.
"Eighteen sixty five, Beverly Hills. That's it, better go see what it'll turn up." And with that, James drove off into the night. It was about a forty-five minute drive via the main thoroughfare from Santa Monica, but James knew a back route that would take ten minutes off that time, enough to make up for the time wasted at the docks. As he flew down this route, he saw the Packard sitting at a red light.
“Here we go again...” Thought James, crossing his fingers, dropping a gear and flooring the accelerator. The car lurched forward, its advanced engine providing the thrust to get him through the dangerous intersection. The Cadillac swept gracefully past, and the driver of the Packard, seeing James driving, followed briskly. James saw the Packard come toward him and prepared for spirited driving. The Packard was gaining fast, the revs of the engine building like a wave, then the frequency changed as the driver short-shifted and clawed its way towards James.
“I KNEW I SHOUD HAVE GOTTEN ONE OF THOSE!” James roared, swerving in front of the car, cutting it off. The Packard’s driver was unfazed, however, and it rammed into the back of James' car. He cut the wheels hard to the left to stay on course, and while he was in the slide, he saw an opportunity. He up-shifted and flew toward a small side street he had spotted. He shot through it, and as he came out the other end, the Packard rounded the corner and accelerated to try to cut him off, but James was quicker, squirting out of the alley and resumed his ever shrinking lead. Suddenly, gunfire popped in the background, and a bullet smashed into the back glass.
“Blast! Markos, NOW!” Bellowed James, popping his trunk. As he did, a young Latino boy stuck his head out of the trunk, and was greeted by a barrage of bullets.
“Dude!” He screamed, “You said we wouldn’t get shot at!”
“Just shut up and kill ‘em!” James forcefully advised.”
“Fine, fine.” Markos sighed, raising his shotgun. The shotgun was customized by Markos to shoot both its barrels at the same time, and he managed to affix a double clip, holding ten extra rounds for each barrel. He fired his first round, and the lead balls ripped through the Packard’s front, tearing off so much metal that it was barely recognizable. He fired again, and the results were catastrophic. Both the front tires were destroyed and the engine died.
“James! I got ‘em!” shouted Markos, and James promptly slammed on the brakes, causing Markos to fly back into the trunk, with a fiery protest of, “Dude!”
“Quit complaining and get out of that trunk.” Said James as he strode past. Markos climbed out of the trunk and followed James to the car, which had veered off the road and hit the side of a building. James walked up to the car and looked inside.
“Markos you idiot, you killed our only lead!” James hollered.
“It was a shotgun! What did you expect?!” Markos defended. “Besides, what about the guy at the dock?” James, upon hearing this, looked at the car, then at his shoes. “Oh, don’t tell me...”
“Yeah, yeah, just get back in the trunk.” An annoyed James said. When James was back in his driver’s seat and Markos was back in his trunk, they drove off. Finally, they reached the address. James turned off his headlights and killed the engine, and they coasted silently to the curb in front of the house. James popped the trunk and let Markos out and they met on the sidewalk.
“Right, Markos, don’t mess up.” James helpfully advised.
“I could say the same to you...” Muttered Markos. James studied the situation, obviously not noticing Markos' remark. "Hey, James," Markos said. "You're not going soft on me, are you?"
"No, I just don't want to blunder in there like an idiot..." James replied.
"I think you're goin' soft..."
"No! I haven't lost my youth yet."
"I worry about you sometimes..."
"I'm worried that you'll forget your youth and slip into the mellow with all the old caterpillars and monkeys, man."
"Markos...? What are you TALKING about?" James hissed. "I'm the one who needs to be worrying. Geez! "
"You're losing it already..."
“Well,” James said, gathering his very mixed up thoughts. “We’ll move in together...”
“OH NO WE WON’T DUDE!” Shouted Markos, “I don’t wanna go in some creepy house!”
“Shut up!” James hissed. “You wanna get shot at again?”
“Then shut up!” James whispered, taking out another cigarette.
“You’re gonna get cancer from those y’know.” Markos advised.
“I’ll die happy.” James said, lighting it and walking toward the house with Markos close behind.
“Hey James, check out the dog.” Markos said, pointing behind a bush in the yard. James walked over, and kneeling over the large German shepherd.
“It’s been knocked out... It’s not dead, but I don’t know how well it’ll recover.”
“Nooooo the puppy must live!” Moaned Markos. James looked at Markos in a way that asked many questions, then turned without a word and walked toward the house. Markos again followed in his wake. James walked up to the door and tried turning the knob. It was unlocked.
“An unlocked door... In Beverly Hills... At night... Highly unlikely.” James mused.
“What are you saying?” Asked Markos, leaning over James’ shoulder.
“Someone’s been here. Can’t tell when though, but anyways, let’s soldier through.” And with that, they walked into the house. It was a huge house, with a sprawling front foyer, and a grand staircase in the middle.
"Err..." James mused. "What now? Where to start? This place is HUGE!"
"Hey James," Markos hailed. "Let's try following these footprints?"
"Now THAT is a good place to start!" James said, jovially, walking toward the staircase where the footprints led. He followed the footprints up the steps, and into a narrow hallway through an archway to the left. The footprints turned and went under a door on their left. James drew his gun, and moved cautiously toward the door. James turned the knob, and a heavy weight pushed against the door, throwing James back. A cold, bloody body crashed out of the closet, its hand landing on Markos' shoulder.
"WHAAAATT?!!" Markos shrieked, in a key that James previously thought could only be achieved by the plumpest of opera singers. "GAH! GAH!... GAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Markos announced, rolling around on the floor.
"SHUT UP YOU IDIOT MONKEY!!!" James roared. "IT'S DEAD!!!"
"But dude, IT ATTACKED ME!!!" Markos energetically defended.
"IT'S DEAD, YOU CHIMPANZEE!"
"IT HAS POWERS!" By then, the two were nose to nose, shouting and carrying on in a most rowdy way. Suddenly, a bump in the night sounded in the rooms above.
"Someone's still here!" James, who was still holding Markos by the collar hissed. He dropped him with a thump, and ran behind one of the large potted plants at the archway. Markos scrambled into a corner and pulled out his own gun. James stepped out from behind the plant and moved cautiously out into the hallway with his gun cocked and ready to fire. He was walking toward the staircase, when he heard someone thundering down the steps. James, acting on an impulse, ran up the staircase, gun ready. He met the man halfway up the steps. James took action before the man could react, firing once, twice, three times into the man’s chest. He fell back and lay still.
"Come on Markos, let's check upstairs." James said, completely unfazed. Markos on the other hand, looked apprehensively at the body as he went past, never again to trust a dead body’s authenticity. By the time he had gotten to the top of the steps, James had banged open the first two doors that he had encountered, quickly inspecting the rooms inside and moving on. Markos followed carefully in his wake, peering apprehensively into each room. Within a few moments, they had finished going through the rooms.
“Well, looks like the lady that bit the dust was the only one here.” James said, sliding his gun back in its holster. “Let’s get out---“ Suddenly, they head a squeak coming from the last room that they had checked.
“What the?” James said, stepping tentatively into the room.
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