Never one to pass up an opportunity when it presents itself, I quickly rifled through Curly’s pockets, like a fat man stuffing his face at a free all you can eat buffet; collecting a bank roll of cash, and the keys to his car. In the watch pocket of his under-vest, carefully folded and tucked away for safe keeping I found a scrap of paper with nothing more than an address, and a couple of numbers printed in block letters across it.. It read 124 State St., #389, I wasn’t sure what it meant but hoped it would lead to another clue.I slipped out the door, amid the chaos, hoping I wouldn’t be fingered for the prick’s death. They was no time to waste, I needed to catch up with the suit. I followed the droplets of blood down Broadway, past Summer St. where I grew more confident of where I though he would be headed. It wasn’t long before I spied him, weaving heavily like a man who dipped into the sauce one too many times. I watched as he ducked into the alley that ran along side Johnny O’Shea’s speakeasy. If I was right, he would make his way to the back door of old Doc Massey practice, and seek out help.Doc Massey was a veterinarian, known by many of the locals as the go to guy, someone who would give ’em a quick patch job, and send them on their way with no questions asked. He was the kind of man the mob appreciated having on the payroll, especially when a hit went down, and didn’t turn out the way it was planned. I followed the blood trial into the dark passageway, knowing it wasn’t the smartest thing I should do, but I needed to confirm my suspicions.It was around 11:30pm when the back door opened; almost a whole two hours since the shooting took place back at the hotel. The dimly lit alley made it nearly impossible to identify anyone from where I stood, hidden in the deep stairwell across the street. I waited as four figures made their way out onto the main street. Doc Massey was the first one to emerge from the gloom. He was a short man, as tall as he was round, with a long white beard. He always reminded me of Santa Claus, if you believed in Santa Claus that is.. Next was the suit; his arm still hanging to his side, like a bird with a broken wing. In the light I could see his grimacing face, it was Spider McGee. Following close behind him were Jackie Long-Legs and Lefty Leary two of Rocky Malone’s gang. I stayed put until I watched them disappear into the night, each going their own way.This case was getting as thick as a tangle of briers. A few days on the job, and my main suspect had just been taken out. Murdered by Rocky Malone’s right hand man. The same Rocky Malone who hired me to find out who his daughter was running around with.I decided to go back to the hotel and search Curly’s car, maybe I could find something useful. By the time I got back to the hotel, the coppers had cleared out. The dame with the big knockers, whom I shared a moment with earlier, in Room 5 was out on the stairs having a smoke. I asked her what her was.. “You can call be Delores Bigcans” she said in a soft seductive voice. I figure her name was a play on the size of her chest; didn’t matter I guess, she was one gorgeous doll. Too bad, she couldn’t find a better line of work.
“You see anything go down before you hear the shot” I questioned..
“Just some guy, handing the dead man an envelope, and some money exchanged” she said.
“Did you see what he looked like” I continued.
“Yeah, he had a limp, and wore a gray over coat, with a fedora, kinda grubby looking” she answered.
“Stubbs” I thought to myself. I knew he wasn’t there to get his knob polished, probably saw the opportunity after collecting a little cash for the contents of the envelope. He could never resist the ladies. “It’s gonna be his downfall” I muttered to myself, especially after seeing him earlier that evening with some dame’s head bobbing up and down in his lap, his eyes closed and his gun out of reach. Indeed his downfall, I acknowledged in a silent nod.Whatever was in that envelope now belonged to Spider McGee, and Curly laid dead at the city morgue.I pulled out the keys to Curly’s car, and started my search. I popped the glove box for a quick look see and didn’t find much. Above the visor I found a letter scratched on the outside of a brown envelope.
“Meet me at Mason Hotel, 9 o’clock sharp, bring the cash. I’ll hand over the lock box number where you can find the negatives. No funny business, or the deal is off. signed: TS”
Under the driver’s seat, I found a .38 automatic. “Too bad” I thought to myself, the arrogant bastard could of shot his way out of this messI had no doubt it was Stubbs, he fancied himself as a cracker jack photographer.