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Authors: Nicholas Stanton

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The Gumshoe Diaries

BOOK: The Gumshoe Diaries
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THE GUMSHOE DIARIES
Fortune Cookies Always Lie

Nicholas Sheridan Stanton

****

Published by:

Just Imagine It Ink

Copyright (c) 2011 by Nicholas Sheridan Stanton

****

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights
under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written
permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of
this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the
trademarked status and trademark owners of various products
referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without
permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not
authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark
owners.

Smashwords Edition Licence Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If
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and purchase your own copy.

****

(…the only thing that counts is faith, expressing
itself through love…Galations 5:6)

****

For Tuyet, whose faith in me is beyond measure, you
are my inspiration, forever and ever more

From the deepest part of my heart, I love you…

****

(“nobody told me there’d be days like these”…John
Lennon)

Prologue

Los Angeles
, California, 2009

What you are about to read is a testament to
the proposition that life is chock full of second chances. Believe
me, I should know, as I’ve personally racked up way more than my
fair share of these little Godsends,
‘do over’s’
as my
little brother Chuck calls ‘em. They’re not free mind you, as there
tends to be a fair amount of pain associated with any new
opportunity. But, the man upstairs can be a bit of a softie
sometimes, especially if your ears are on and you’re open to a
little friendly advice.

Richard Wallace Roode, that’s my name,
technically anyway, but most people just call me Whitey, if they
know what’s good for them that is! I picked up that nickname on
account of the blonde mop on the top of my pointed little head.
Actually I was only toe headed as a child but the name kind of
stuck with me throughout the years. Besides, when I was growing up
the short version of Richard was Dick. Why you ask, good question
and one I asked many times of mom and dad for which they never gave
an actual answer, unless of course you count my dad’s standard
“kids should be seen and not heard”
response. So Dick was a
name that I dodged all thru childhood.
Dick Roode,
I don’t
know sounds more like a statement than a name, don’t ya think? For
cripes sake, my poor knuckles were scraped raw by the fourth grade
defending my good name each and every recess on blacktops and
playgrounds spread over five different states (we moved around a
lot, my Dad was a Navy Chaplin).

I was sort of a runt as a kid, and with a
name like
Dick
, well, let’s just say you had to toughen up
PDQ (pretty darn quick)! There weren’t too many choices with a name
like mine; you either went with Dick and all of its less than
flattering rudiments, like for instance,
Dickey the squid, Dick
Dick wanna lick, Dickenstein, and my personal favorite, Count
Dickula
. Or, you went by Richard and got tagged as a momma’s
boy for life. I would have been doomed to live my life as a
perennial nerd had it not been for one of the perpetual battles
with little brother Chucky. Mom had dropped us at the Encino
Theater one Saturday afternoon while she and dad
“went
shopping”
(parents must think kids are stupid), and during a
double feature of “Bandelero” (the requisite weekend western) and
“Bullet” (who doesn’t love Steve McQueen) my Dick days ended. Chuck
and I had snagged two of the coveted seats, center screen and 10
rows back. As usual, we were arguing over who would hold the large
coke we shared and who got to hold the popcorn, when someone behind
us hollered,


HEY
WHITEY
, MOVE
YOUR FAT NOGGIN YOU TOE HEADED FREAK!”

And there it was, handed to me on a silver
platter, a name that every kid in town had just heard me christened
with,
nice!
From that day forward I would be known simply as
Whitey
and just like that my Dick days were over!
Maybe not the most prestigious of circumstances, but it was a good
alternative to reform school, which is where I was headed what with
all the fist fighting at school. Whoever that anonymous voice was
he ended my long streak of playground shiners. Just in time as far
as I was concerned, it was getting pretty old holding a beef steak
to my eye once a week. Not to mention monopolizing an unfair
portion of the weekly grocery budget, a fact that my father shared
often. So, from fifth grade on I never again used my given name,
except of course when dealing with Uncle Sam’s fiscal terrorist
cell, the I-R-fucking-S,
assholes!

My mother thinks I’m handsome,
sometimes
. I’m not too tall, not too short, and heavy enough
to knock most people on their butts if they came asking for it! I’m
a relatively healthy, fifty-something, regular Joe in Los Angeles,
California, the city of angels. It’s been home for me for most of
my adult life, and where still I earn a decent living as a private
investigator. That’s right,
a private dick
, I guess nothing
really changes. It’s sometimes dangerous work, but mostly routine
and somewhat honest work. It pays the bills, and it beats punching
a clock in some factory, or bagging groceries at the market.
The
Alexandria Hotel
, over near 5
th
and Grand, a
seen-better-days
fleabag of a flophouse is where I hang my
hat daily. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s close to the action and the
price is right, translation, it’s CHEAP!

I was a damn good cop for better than
twenty-two years in this city, a detective first grade for the last
twelve. I had a gold shield and everything,
no fooling!
I
had earned myself a solid reputation on the streets, and paid my
dues in sweat, blood, and a broken marriage. I enjoyed the rush
that comes with a job well done, and appreciated the respect of
peers and superiors. Man, life was good,
aces actually
,
right up until the day that my wife, the lovely
Rhonda
Roode informed me that she was changing teams. What
do I mean,
well
; let’s just say that the monthly alimony
check is made out to
Ronald
Roode now. That
little revelation inspired me to book a two year vacation package
to God knows where via
‘AIR BOOZE’
.
Needless to say the department wasn’t exactly supportive in my
choice of therapies. So after a long string of missed counseling
sessions the LAPD and Whitey Roode divorced as well.

Now, as an educated man, I do have an
advanced degree in criminology, you would have thought that I would
have been able to avoid such an obvious pitfall, right? Well you’d
have been wrong! What the hell, I was hurt, pissed, and feeling
sorry for myself, you know the drill. My mom used to say,
“don’t
cry over spilled milk!”
It turns out that she was right, and
eventually things changed, for the better sort of. I used to beat
myself up over that dark period of my life, but you know what,
fuck ‘em,
sometimes you just need a good cry!

So, after being
encouraged
to leave
the employ of the LAPD, two years shy of a full pension mind you, I
found myself sitting at my mother’s kitchen table late one Sunday
evening. We were sipping cheap scotch together, eating fish and
chips reminiscing about the
good old days
as she called
them. When, out of the blue, she smacks with a healthy dose of
Irish wisdom in her thick Gaelic brogue. It was typical of the sort
of thing you would expect to hear from anyone in my family, and it
went something like this,
“sonny, life’s a bitch, and then you
die…”
Frankly, I decided to take it as sign that things could
only get better. Good words to start over on, don’t ya think?
Anyways, I’m hoping it was more than just the whiskey talking; but
then again my mother has always been a bit of a drama queen!

What’s this mean to all of you? Nothing I
guess, just setting the mood for what you’re about to read. OK, now
we’re properly introduced so let’s get to the good stuff. This case
is actually pretty interesting, and it all started like this…

****

(“tell me why, why, why, why you cried…and why you
lied, lied, lied to me”…Lennon & McCartney)

Chapter One

Little Tokyo, Los Angeles California,
Monday, Feb 16, 2009…12:30pm

Her name was Sally November. At least that’s
what the mailbox said. Truth be told her given name was Mei Li
Teng, that’s what the INS
downtown
said when I checked her
out on the way over here this morning. Such a beautiful name I
thought, almost lyrical. You know, I’ve lived around the Asian
community in this city for better than twenty years, and the
practice of choosing English names for their children has always
perplexed me, I don’t get it. I suppose it’s one way to fit into
the neighborhood, who knows? It was a shame though; Mei Li probably
fit this girl much better. Actually, this whole thing was going to
be a double shame, because now I had to go back and tell her Uncle
Lu that I had found his missing niece. It was going to crush him, I
knew that for a fact; as I have listened to him go on and on about
her for years, ever since she was a tyke.

Lu Rong, his
life partner
Jay Lai, and
I go way back. All the way back, to when I carried a gold shield as
one of LA’s finest. They were more friends than associates, I mean
really, how useful are snitches named
Rong
and
Lai
anyway (pronounced
‘wrong’
and
‘lie’
)? Think about
it, it’ll come to you. They are a pleasant little homo couple
though. They run a Jewish Delicatessen,
yes
,
I said Jewish
, in the financial
district on Wilshire, you know the white collar side of town. It
had a catchy little name too,
“SHO-M-U-LYKE-M.”
I know what
you’re thinking, cops and queers, strange bedfellows, right? Well
don’t be too quick to judge. Go shake your own family tree first,
you may be surprised!

Anyway, Lu had asked me to see what I could
see after his niece was a no-show at LAX a while back. She was
supposed to be a passenger on an inbound Boeing 747 from Taiwan,
and in fact the manifest confirmed that she had boarded the plane
in Taipei. But when Uncles Lu and Jay arrived to pick her up, guess
what, no Mei Li? Lu and Jay had bankrolled her trip to the States
where she was supposed to attend USC majoring in business
administration with a minor in finance. That was six months ago and
now here she was, at the Biltmore Hotel, a run down bastion of
yesteryear, quite literally across the street and down the block
from my own digs at the Hotel Alexandria. That doesn’t put my
skills as an investigator in a very good light, but in my defense
all I had was an old photograph and unconfirmed starting place to
work with. For all I knew she never actually got on that plane in
Taiwan. Nevertheless, here she was, and she was dead. Mondays
always suck!

From the looks of things she had traded USC
for the school of hard knocks, and decided to go into
business
for herself using her tuition money as venture
capital, courtesy good old Uncle Lu. As businesses go, her choice
proved to be an ominous one that included some pretty serious
risks, and I’m not talking about the fiscal kind. Sally was young,
twenty-five years old, or so her dossier read, and she had big
dreams according to Uncle Lu. He said that she had come to the US
from Taipei to pursue a career in advertising. Well, she was
advertising all right, and her clientele was apparently on the
dangerous side.

Her skin was olive colored, smooth and
flawless, a veritable walking billboard for the cosmetics industry,
the
make me beautiful people
. She was runway model
beautiful. I shook my head with a
tsk tsk tsk
look on my
face as I stared at her corpse. She was dressed in pair of pink
silk jammies,
well
, the bottom part anyway. Her shoulder
length hair was pulled back stylishly into a ponytail that started
high on her scalp and arched downward, just skimming the nape of
her neck. She was drop dead gorgeous, no pun intended, a real China
doll, with a look of childlike innocence that immediately squelched
any impure thoughts I might have associated with her chosen
‘profession
.’ I could feel tears welling up as I studied her
with the eyes of a father, an uncle, or a brother. Except for the
long silk tie wrapped tightly around her neck, she appeared to be
only napping, as if she’d wake up startled by my presence at any
moment. But of course, she wasn’t sleeping, she was dead, and that
turned my heart to mush, like it would anyone witnessing a mess
like this.

BOOK: The Gumshoe Diaries
11.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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