‘The thin man was seated on my recliner in the dark. The reading lamp was positioned so as not to illuminate his face but I could see the dark handgun, on the arm of the chair very well. His two goons had my arms pinned behind my back and had done a very effective job of subduing me and restricting my movement. I think my nose was broken and the coppery taste in my mouth, all too familiar.
“Just so we’re clear” he said softly, “I wanna make sure you understand. You have till the end of the month to get the job done. I’ve got the doll, for collateral purposes, understand.” He reached into the pocket of his black suit coat and pulled out a crumpled pack of Camels, grabbed a match from the container on my end table and struck it with his thumbnail. He cupped the flame and leaned forward to light the smoke. I got a brief look at his face.
Dark, slicked back pomaded hair atop a long, narrow face; sunken cheeks framed a pencil thin mustache over thin lips that looked like they had been carved by a razor. His eyes were large and dark.
He exhaled the smoke, shook out the match and dropped it on my floor. “Hey,” I said. I didn’t finish the admonishment though because my outburst had been rewarded by a sharp punch to the kidney. My knees crumpled but, my new best friends kept me upright. The thin man picked up his gat, stood and turned towards the door. He was tall too, at least 6, 6. “That dame, Lorraine, better hope you care for her. Because if you don’t get this job done, in time…” he shook his head slowly, “well, let’s just say that her days are numbered.”
He signaled to the goons and they dropped me in a heap on the floor. I lay there while they filed out the front door of my apartment and quietly closed the door. I ached all over. I ached in places I didn’t even know existed before they started aching. It gave me time to think.
He said I had till the end of the month; that meant I had 26 days. Not a lot of time.’
Edward scanned to the next page “Chapter 2” it said at the top. He leaned back, set his library card to keep his place in the book and closed it. God, he loved reading these old detective novels. This one was going to be great. The kettle whistled. Edward set the book on his coffee table and headed to the kitchen to prepare his morning tea.
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