Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mr. Miller and the Mysterious Mistress

(Continued from Jessica)

I had no idea what I was getting into.

The recent turn of events had a very unsettling effect. The house seemed to have a creepy, dark undertone. The sun was setting in the distance, and the clouds cast a gloomy shadow on the sky.

Jessica went to the bathroom to freshen herself up. In the meantime, I sat there admiring the posters in the room. There weren’t any, so I finished quite fast.

When she came back, her hair was tied loosely in a bunch, and she looked less distraught. She was also wearing a white shirt underneath a leather jacket, and blue jeans, which I did not mention in the previous post as it was not relevant.

It is not relevant in this post either.

‘Aren’t you even going to check who he is?,’ she asked, looking exasperated, as I tried to finish my lunch. ‘Never mind, I’ll do it. Let's see. He’s roughly 5 foot 11. Well-built. No signs of struggle -- Looks like he was taken by surprise.’

She proceeded to check his pockets for more clues.

‘Expensive-looking leather wallet. Driver’s license states his name as Travis Miller. All the cash is intact. No cellphone. Single gunshot wound on the chest.’

She then started looking for things around the room that might help reconstruct the crime. There was an empty shell casing on the rug. And a handgun. On closer inspection, it looked like there were 2 sets of prints on the gun.

‘I’ll check with my friends over at forensics and see if I can get them to analyze this,’ she said. In the meantime, see if you can dig up anything on Travis.

‘Wait, what’s your interest in Travis?,’ I asked, curious.

‘Part of an undercover job. Can’t talk about it,’ she said, looking uncomfortable.

‘But aren’t you off the force?,’ I said. She flinched, trying to suppress her memory of that incident.

Then there was an awkward silence. Tension slowly built up in the air, as neither knew what to say next. Suddenly, my phone rang. But I left it at home, so I didn’t know this yet.

‘So maybe I had some unfinished business to take care of,’ she finally said, ‘What’s your motive, anyway?’

‘Doing a favor for a friend. Can’t talk about it.’

‘Fair enough. Do keep me posted. This case means a lot to me,’ she said, parting with a half-smile. I nodded in acknowledgement.

After she left, I started snooping around the house for a little while longer. Something didn’t seem right. Why wouldn't the killer hide the body? Why would the gun be left at the crime scene? I made a note of everything that seemed useful, and left, taking a cab back to my hotel room.

By the time I got there, I was really hungry, so I made a stop at the bar and ordered some snacks and a drink. Oddly enough, I spotted Sam at one of the tables.

He looked different from when I last saw him. His face was narrower and skin a little darker. He was in a grey hoodie, loose black jeans, and worn-out canvas shoes. I went up to him to let him know of the latest developments.

‘What’s up, Sam?’ I said, as I thumped my hand on his shoulder.

‘My name’s Joe,’ he said, in a voice that sounded like a cross between a whimper and a grunt. ‘Joe Finch. And I have a job for you.’
I had a strange feeling I'd heard the name before.

‘Huh. How do you know who I am?’ I asked, puzzled.

‘That’s not important. What's important is that I know about the body in the shack and that you are working on it.’

‘Go on,’ I said, now that he had my complete attention, ‘how are you involved? And why do you need me?’

‘My wife thinks that I killed him. I knew that the two of them were having an affair, so I set up a private-eye on him. Somehow, she came to know of this, and now she thinks that I killed him in jealousy, and wants a divorce.’

This just got more interesting.

‘Personally, I don’t care about the divorce. Heck, I’d probably be happier. But I want to get this murder allegation off my head. If you can prove my innocence, I’ll pay you twenty grand in cash.’

‘I guess I can’t really say no to that. I’ll let you know if we narrow down on any suspects. How do I contact you?’

‘You don’t. I’ll get in touch with you when you have the details,’ he said, and disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

‘I guess I've had one drink too many,’ I thought to myself. I paid the bartender and went back to my room.

Once there, I saw my cellphone lying on the bed and picked it up. I’d missed a call from an unknown number. And there was text message from Jessica. The forensics report was back, but something was not right, and she wanted to meet up as soon as possible.


What exactly was Jessica worried about? Where the hell did Joe Finch come from? And can I come up with a third question for the outro? Only time will tell. Stay tuned!

Update - Click here for the sequel!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I remember it like it were yesterday.

It began like any other Tuesday morning. Mild in temperature, sunny in climate, and slightly windy in wind. I was taking a stroll in the backyard, looking at what my neighbours were doing minding my own business, when I heard the slow tinkling of music, which meant that the mailman had arrived.

No, wait. I guess it was an ice-cream truck. Also, maybe it was a Saturday. I don’t remember clearly.

Irrelevant little detail.

What was relevant was that I found an unusual looking letter in the male mail. It was from an old friend. It seemed to be an emergency, and he wanted to meet me immediately. I don’t know why he sent a letter if it was really that urgent. It must have been really important, I reasoned, so I quickly got dressed and headed downtown.

He mentioned that he wanted to meet up at Johnny’s. It was a shady local bar. Not like the ones in movies, though. This one was under a tree, and so it blocked most of the sunlight.

His name was Jack. One of those generic names that are usually made fun of a lot. Jack of all trades. The thing-that-is-used-when-changing-tyres-jack. Jack-knife. Jack of hearts. Butter-knife. Yeah, I remember he was the butt of all jokes in school, the poor guy.

He was already there when I reached. He looked stupid. And worried. But mainly stupid. He was wearing a crisp printed cotton shirt underneath a cardigan-like-thing that only someone named Jack would wear.

‘What’s up, Jack?,’ I asked.

‘My name is Sam,’ he said, rather huffily. I guess it was the taunting at school that made him so grumpy.

‘So what’s the problem?,’ I asked, as I signaled to the barkeep to get me a beer, whilst admiring the woodwork and stools and such.

I don’t know why Sam thought I was disinterested. He was a weird guy. He spake of his tale in a slow, grim tone.

'You look as sad as Joe Finch in the middle of a divorce,' I said, as I lit a cigarette with a lighter I found at the back of the bar.
'Who the hell is Joe Finch?'

'I dunno. But I'm sure as hell he would look just like you'

'But why would he be sad during a divorce?'

'Did I say sad? I meant happy. Typing mistake'

'What??,' he asked, with a dumbfounded look. ‘Never mind. It’s the Smiths again. I don’t know what they are up to this time, but I reckon it's something terrible. I heard gunshots coming from their apartment the other night. So I thought I’d give you a heads up’

‘You what?! And you decided to send me a letter?? Wow, sometimes your intelligence scares me. Lucky for you, I came right away, huh?’

‘Actually, it’s been 9 days,’ he said.

At this point I just freaked out and left. I don’t remember some of the events that followed, but somehow I ended up in a rusty looking shack. It reeked of something noxious. It also leaked of something dihydrogen-oxious.

Good thing I packed enough food for 3 people.

The place looked like it had recently been refurbished. Some knick-knacks were out of place, and most of the furniture looked chewn-up in places, but overall, it had a pretty homely feel.

I rummaged through the things in various rooms, looking for clues as to why I was there, but to no avail. I almost gave up hope as I made my way into the last room, where I was shocked to see someone already there -– Jessica. She saw me too, but didn't say a word. This was strange.

Jessica was not usually this silent. This was probably due to the duct tape plastered onto her mouth. I asked her why she didn’t do something about it.

‘My hands are tied,’ she said. And indeed they were. Literally.

Also, she didn’t really say this, as her mouth was taped. Pay attention.

It was a pity, really. Whoever did this to her was either keeping her hostage, trying to extort some information, or simply felt that she talked a lot. That reminds me – I did. She did talk a lot.

I undid the tape, in spite of myself. Fidgeting with the curtains was beginning to bore me.

‘This is a setup!’ she cried, ‘I’ve been framed!’

‘Framed for what?,’ I asked, rather indifferently.

‘For this!’ she sobbed, pointing in the general direction of a dead body lying nearby.

‘Oh, I never noticed. Hmm. Well, this complicate things a bit. What are we going to do with all the extra food??’


Will Jessica be able to prove her innocence? And what of our mysterious hero? Will he be able to recount all the gruesome tales of that day? Or will an unknown third party ruin everything?

Stay tuned to find out. 

Update - Click here for the sequel!