The return of James
It was the year nineteen fifty, and there was a serial killer loose on the streets of Los Angeles. He had evaded every effort that the police force had thrown at him, he was always a step ahead. Hence, in a plain room in the police headquarters, a man with shoulder blade length hair sat, smoke drifting around him and his long brimmed hat pulled down over his face. He had one leg thrown over the right leg of the chair, his brown canvas trench coat flowing around his relaxed body. He looked across the table at the door, waiting for the DA to walk in. At last, the door creaked open, the cheap blinds swinging and clattering against the glass in the door. The DA looked over the table at the man through the yellow beam of light that the overhead lamp cast on the table, and said,
“James, so glad you could make it.” Inspector James smirked, the cigarette hanging out of his mouth bouncing up and down a little, a few small ashes breaking off and falling to the floor.
“A pleasure, as always.” He said, rubbing his scruffy, unshaven chin.
“So, anything I should know that the newspapers haven’t already blurted out?” The DA’s face flickered unpleasantly for a moment, but then said,
“We just have a few reports with classified info. The press has covered the basics…”
“I see.” James said, standing up, “I’ll just grab a paper on the way home.” He finished, brushing silently past the DA and exiting the room. The DA shook his head and smiled at James’s antics. He might be eccentric, but now that he was on the case, it would be closed in a matter of days.
James slid into his car, a nineteen forty eight Tucker Torpedo, and sank into the comfortable leather bench seat. He turned the key, and the engine purred to life with a small shudder. James pulled out of the parking space, then set off toward the nearest newsstand.
When he was nearing his penthouse apartment, James spotted a drugstore that was still open. He turned over to the side of the street and stopped in a no parking zone. He shut off the car and leapt out, humming a Frank Sinatra tune and jingling some change around on one of his many pockets. He waltzed into the drugstore and bought that day's edition of the paper and a cherry cola. He tipped the clerk the change, and walked serenely out of the store. To see his car being towed away.
“Oh for the love of—“ He said, the noise from the tow-truck drowning out the rest of his oath. James thought quickly, his precious flame orange car was starting to roll off behind the tow-truck, its fate to be melted down as scrap. James ran after the truck, stuffing the cola and paper into a pocket, and with a flying leap, caught hold of one of the rear windowsills of his car, which he had fortunately left down. He scrambled inside the car and landed on the backseat, his mind whirring madly to come up with an idea for saving his car without paying a fine. He rummaged around in his coat, but came up empty. He growled in frustration and went back to his figurative drawing board, scribbling madly with his figurative chalk and his figurative eraser. It hit him all at once, he had a toolkit in the trunk of his car. He dove into the front seat and pulled the trunk release and the hood popped open.
“Yes, now we’re getting somewhere!” He said, hanging his torso out of the window. His chain-cutters were just within reach, if he could just stretch a little further…
“Oh yes!” He said, his right hand grasping the handle of the cutters. He drew them quickly back into the car and snapped them playfully a few times before crawling back to the backseat. “Right. Here goes nothing.” He said, climbing out of the window. The truck was on a highway now, clipping along at fifty some miles per hour. James had to tread carefully. He hooked his feet behind the B and C pillars, and swung under the car, within easy reach of the chains that bound his precious Tucker. With a mighty squeeze and a loud snap, the chains holding the right side of the car were severed. James smiled wildly and pulled himself back in the car. He looked out the rear window and saw the operators of the truck looking back. They had felt the jolt when the chain was cut. James had to work fast now, the truck was already slowing down. He dove out the other window, barely catching himself and cutting the last chain. He forgot that the car was suspended in the air, and he barely had time to pull himself back in before the car crashed to the ground. The tow-truck driver was seriously laying on the brakes now, the huge tires squealing and the putrid smell of burning rubber filled the night. James leapt into the driver’s seat and started the car with a roar, its headlights blinking on menacingly. The truck was turning around now, and James stomped on the gas. The chase was lost for the tow-truck crew when James shot off into the night.
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