“Gumshoe” by BAM
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, BAM reveals no good deeds go rewarded in Chicago.
Bullets zoomed past him in every direction. Detective Crosby ducked behind a barrel in an alleyway near the warehouse. He crouched low, his pistol gripped tight. Shells landed by his shoes.
The brick wall took the hits.
He aimed his gun over the barrel lid, fired, and jumped back behind his cover. He heard one of the shooters groan.
No one fell.
“Reloading,” one of the men said.
Rapid fire followed. Crosby heard footsteps approaching. He leaned over as bullets went flying. The man loading his gun was several inches closer. The detective shot his aggressor in the ankle.
The man crashed to the ground.
Crosby returned to his hiding spot.
“You’ll never get her, dick,” yelled the one he didn’t shoot. “I’ll give you to the count of four to run. Leave the ransom money and scram.”
“There’s no money. Just give the girl up and I’ll let you go.” Crosby hated the idea of a rescue rather than paying. He was following orders though.
Mayor Smitherson’s daughter, Grace, was worth more to him than any dollar. But he ran gritty Old Town, Chicago. If he paid one set of kidnappers, more would follow. And who was to say these criminals would keep their word and let his daughter live?
Smitherson gave Crosby, his lifelong friend, clear orders, too. “Don’t pay. Sneak in on the bastards and arrest the lowlifes. Kill them if you have to. Either way, save her. She’s only sixteen and all I have. You’ll—you’ll be a hero. No one will question your ability as a sleuth again.”
Fuzz detectives called Crosby a second-rate dick because he wasn’t a real cop. He had a license to carry a gun and the certification to take on private cases, but he lacked the know-how to wear the blue. He failed his training and everyone knew.
One officer had said, “We took bets on how you’ll go down. Lieutenant Brock thinks some meek little dame’ll kill ya. A harmless girl will do ya in he says. Sad, right? I’m guessin’ when you’re not lookin’, some unskilled hoodlum will blast you away. My partner believes you’ll kill yourself by mistake. Why? Because you’re a useless gumshoe!”
A bullet hit his arm after the hoodlum on the floor crawled on his hands and knees and opened fire. Crosby snapped back to reality and shot back.
Blood descended from the bullet hole in the man’s forehead.
“You killed Will!”
Crosby heard two bullets, then the clank from the hammer hitting metal.
The detective charged and shot the other kidnapper in the gut.
“Not part of the plan.” The shooter’s limp body met the wet streets as his eyelids sealed his cold blues from the world.
Crosby entered the warehouse—his pupils bobbed side to side. “Grace?”
Right after his voice echoed was when he realized there might be a third abductor. A large man rushed him with a two-by-four. Crosby dodged to the left and fired his pistol. The final kidnapper took a bullet to his ribs, then his head.
Crosby found Grace tied to a chair in the next room. He removed her gag. Her first words to him were, “Why didn’t Daddy just pay the ransom?”
“That’s a fine way to say thank you.”
“What happened to my ransomers? The one in the other room, Frankie, had a nice smile. Tell me you didn’t kill him. They were good to me—really. I don’t have a scratch—a bit of chafing on my wrists from the rope at the most.”
“The nice men who threatened your life are dead.”
Grace pouted her lower lip and pointed her bloodshot eyes downward. “I—I see.”
“What’s that? You noticed my shoulder wound? I’ll be fine. Thanks for asking,” he grumbled while untying her. “Seems you’re ever grateful I risked life and limb to save you. Teenagers!”
Grace moved her eyes in a counterclockwise motion.
She picked up her purse.
The detective slipped a cigarette into his mouth and searched his pockets for matches. “Nuts, no dice.” That was when he saw the gun in Grace’s hands pointed at his face. It must have been in her purse. “What are you doing there, sweetheart?”
“Either I’m about to light your cigarette or shoot you dead for murdering my boyfriend Frankie and ruining everything. Which do you believe?”
Crosby noticed a serious expression on her face, as she pulled the trigger. He thought to himself: some meek little dame.
When BAM isn’t busy teaching children English in Japan, he’s writing stories in several genres including his favorite one, noir. Some of those works can be found within Over My Dead Body! Mystery Magazine Online (Mar. ’15) and Yellow Mama Magazine (Aug. ’15). StoryShelter also included a short of his in their 2015 anthology I Am Here: The Untold Stories of Everyday People. For a full list of projects, visit www.bamwrites.com.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Oct 19, 2015
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