Friday, August 29, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 2: Open For Business

I gave the lazy-susan one more spin, but came up with the same results again. Cornflakes. “Cornflakes and beer,” I say to the fridge as I pull it open for a cold one. “Breakfast of champions, once again.” After pouring myself a bowl I flopped down behind my desk, put my feet up, and ate. It doesn’t taste the best but it’ll do in a pinch, and in a pinch was where I was. Between a rock and the proverbial hard place. It had been at least a month since I had a job where my income didn’t all go to bills.

A shadow moved across my office’s smoked glass door followed by a soft rapping. “Come in,” I said looking up from my bowl.

My spoon never made it back to my mouth, but my jaw decided to meet it half way. She was stunning, absolutely stunning. An image that any G.I. would kill for to grace the side of his aircraft. Big brown eyes peered out into the room, darting about with uncertainty. Mouse brown hair hanged below her shoulders, resting on a low cut beige short sleeve shirt. Black slacks ran the distance down her mile long legs. Her body was strong and athletic but with the curves and softness a good woman should have. She would have given Rosie the riveter a run for her money.

“I don’t know if I’m in the right place. My name is Joanne Stanley.” I smiled, introduced myself, motioned for her to sit, and reassured her that she was in the right place. She continued speaking but never once stopped glancing nervously around the office. “I usually can take care of my self, one has to when they live alone and work in a factory with nothing but men, but I need some help. A friend of mine has gone missing. It has been a few weeks now and I have not heard from him.”

“What is his name?” I asked.

“Robert Wallic.”

“What do you think happened? Could he just be on vacation?”

“I don’t think he would go on vacation without telling me about it. I usually watch his place when ever he leaves town, even for a weekend.”

“Do you think something bad happened to him? Was he involved with any illegal activities? Could there have been foul play?”

“I don’t know. I’m just so worried about him and I don’t know where to start looking. I don’t think he was wrapped up in any crime or drugs.”

I nodded and said that I would take the case. After going through my contract and payment arrangements I pulled out a note pad and asked her to tell me everything she knew about Robert. She talked about a wide variety of topics from how they met and became friends to what their plans were for the coming year. I interjected occasionally to brighten up some dark areas of the stories she told. By the time we were done I felt like I had already known Robert for ten years and had some decent leads to follow up. When she left I told her that I would keep in touch with any findings that would come up.

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