Friday, September 12, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 3: First Impressions

I spent a few moments piecing together the few details that Joanne had given me. She had given me a lot of good information about who this Robert Wallic was but there was nothing that jumped out at me. I’ll have to start at the bottom and figure out the basics first. Before I headed out the door I left a note for Beth, my assistant, detailing the outline of the case and asking her to dig up the usual background check on Robert. She had taken advantage of business being slow and had the morning off to run a few errands.

The drive over to the north side of town was uneventful. Traffic only gets to be a pain heading out of town in the afternoons when the downtown business let out and the white collar workers flood out of the down town as fast as kids on the last day of school. I parked the jalopy around the corner and walked a block to Wallic’s place, a drab little bungalow. It could have been real cute with a fresh coat of paint, some landscaping, and a transplant to a neighborhood that wasn’t under the shadow of the surrounding factories.

A quick knock on the door confirmed that no one was home so I started to look for a spare key, unfortunately a key was no where to be found. I made my way around the house and used my lock picks at the rear door. It was only a few moments before I heard a click and the door creaked open.

From the kitchen alone it was obvious that a bachelor lived in the house. There were dirty dishes soaking in the sink and the only contents in the fridge was a case of beer and left over pizza. By the looks of the dishes and pizza it was a safe bet that Joanna was right and no one had been here in quite some time.

My search of the house was slow and deliberate, going through each drawer and closet with care. I made a mental catalog of each item that I found and put the seemingly unimportant pieces back while making a pile of interesting pieces in each room. Although thorough, my initial search of the house was fairly quick. The kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and basement each gave up their own small pile of secrets.

Most of what I found added to the details of what Joanne had told me about Robert Wallic. Books and papers were piled everywhere. Robert fancied himself as some sort of a writer. Notes were scribbled on every piece of scratch paper and a few unfinished manuscripts lay about. A box of receipts showed that he spent a large portion of his evenings at Mike’s on the Lake. I knew the place, it was a tavern a few blocks away that was usually full of factory men no matter what time of day it was. The factories run around the clock and the guys are always looking for an after work brew and sometimes a brawl. It can be a rough place but the Friday night fish fry is decent enough to keep the common folk coming back.

I pocketed the spare key that I had found and left through the front door. The receipts that I had found were all time stamped in the evening. That would give me a few hours before I had to head out to Mike’s on the Lake to ask a few questions of the regulars. There were a few things that I wanted to check up on first so the delay would work out fine.

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