In a shabby, poorly lit office in an abandoned building in midtown, a man was sitting behind his desk. When he looked at the clock three minutes ago it was showing five. From eight in the morning when he came to his office until now, all he had done was solve two crossword puzzles and drink four cups of black coffee.
He had also received three phone calls. First one was from his elderly mother in Florida who in response to his request for a loan had told him: “Son! You must be ashamed of yourself. You are 28-years-old and still depended on me. I am an old woman living on the government's financial aid and can not keep giving you pocket money anymore. Get a decent job and stop being a bum. Do you understand me?”
And before giving her son a chance to tell her about his new career, she hung up.
The second call he received was from an insurance salesman who had finally convinced him that a successful professional like him must protect loved ones after passing on. He finally had sold him a life insurance policy for a monthly premium of $150.
And the third call was from his landlady who warned him if she did not receive the rent by end of the week, he would be evicted and his belongings thrown out on the street.
As he was cursing his bad luck for the seventh time that day, the office door opened and in the doorway stood a tall beautiful brunette in a red dress, dark chestnut eyes, and a body of all the right proportions. The scent of her perfume lifts the detective to his feet.
“What can I do to you? Oh! I mean what can I do for you Mam?” asked startled young detective mesmerized by the seductive beauty of the stranger.
She pointed her finger at him before entering the office, and with a very intimidating gesture asked: “Are you a private investigator?”
“You know, like those suave detectives in the movies. The ones that can solve any mystery in an hour?”
The young man charmed by the beauty, adjusted himself in his chair and retorted defensively: “No Mam. That's just in the movies.”
“I thought so,” the woman continued in a condescending voice. “Only good-looking guys can solve problems quickly. Your attire speaks for itself. Let's cut to the chase. Have you ever cracked a murder case?”
“Well, you could say that, um… how do I explain this…?”
“Tell me this,” she said impatiently. “Have you ever had any previous training in this field?”
“Uh not a formal training,, no Mam.”
“You do have a high school diploma, don't you? ”
“Kind of. I am working on my GED.”
“You look like the guy who used to deliver pizza to our home.”
“No Mam. I have never a delivery boy,” he responded, insulted. “I happen to be a reputable private detective.”
“Oh! So you are a pro. In that case, tell me, have you ever killed anyone in the line of duty?”
“No! Not yet. But I have no problem killing people if duty calls.”
“Oh my God! At least tell me that you've been shot at. Bad guys tried to take you out of the way?”
“I should say so, yes Mam. Yes I have. I am sure you have heard of the great Chase Manhattan Bank robbery. During my involvement in this operation, I was fire at. Yes, I have been shot at more than once, but as you can see, I am still alive and well at your service.”
“Wow! Are you telling me professional bank rubbers actually aimed at you? Look me in the eyes and tell me the greatest outlaws in this country were shooting at you.”
The young detective who was mesmerized by her magical gaze, cleared his throat, “Well! I was in middle of the crime scene. I heard shots with my own ears. Honest to God. I am not lying to you.”
The woman sighed in disbelief. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you were almost killed in the line of duty?”
“No, actually I was on my way to the donut shop when I heard the shots. Bullets where flying everywhere. But I jumped under a hot-dog stand and heroically dodged the bullets. Oh Lord, the sound of the shots are still in my head.”
“I see. You were in a wrong place at the wrong time.”
The young man was now sweating and didn't know how to escape her brutal attacks. He was looking at his fingernails ashamed of his accomplishments when the beauty took a pack of cigarettes out of her purse and grabbed one. The young man suddenly jumped out of his chair and stroke a match and lit the cigarette for her. The woman inhaled a strong puff and blew smoke in circular shape into the air and gave the detective a sweet look.
The man flattered by this sweet gesture gained a little self-confidence and took a deep breath. The woman then said in a seductive tone, “Do you like murder mystery or true crime books? Do you watch Altered Hitchcock or Agatha Christie movies?”
This was the first friendly question she had asked so far. The young detective sensed the warmth and emotion in her inquiry. They were connecting. In hope of further intimacy, he responded sincerely. “Not really. Murder mysteries always confuse me. I watch a movie for two hours and still can not figure out how they solved the case.”
As he was wishing for another heart-warming gesture from her, she took another puff and shook the ash on his desk and said: “Let's review your resume here. You are a high school drop out interested in crossword puzzles. You have never solved a murder case in your life. Actually, you have never been involved in one either. You have neither shot nor have been shot at. Not to mention that the sound of bullets scares the hell out of you. In addition to all this, you are baffled by murder mystery cases even in the movies…”
Crushed by the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, the young detective held his head between the palms of his hands and cried in agony: “What do you want from me? Please leave me alone! Why do you torture me? I can not take this any more. Why? How long do I have to tolerate this suffering?” And as he was mopping his nose with his sleeve, he cried in desperation: “I am a professional.”
The woman sat on his desk and seductively crossed her legs and moved her erotic lips close to his ears and whispered: “Well, I am convinced. You are the man I was looking for. I have been looking all over New York for someone like you. I want you. I want you to take my case.”
The detective, astonished by the words he was hearing. gasped for air and waited submissively for further instructions.
“I need you to help me and in return I will compensate you handsomely. Here's the story. My husband has been missing for weeks, and his wealthy family wants me to hire the best detective money can buy. But I just have one month — you have one month to find him. If you don't, he will be presumed dead. I am truly blessed to have found someone with your expertise. Help me please, I need you. Take my case, don't turn me down. Money does not bring happiness to a lonely widower. I have always been infatuated by self-confident and intelligent men. I beg you, help me find my missing husband. But remember you just have one month. Only one month my dear.”