Episode 2 – Witt Kepler, Private Eye. Written by DJ Lutz.
The bleach blond bombshell strutted her stiletto-heeled self across the restaurant foyer to give Witt the once over, making sure it was, indeed, the private detective. Witt didn’t need to reciprocate; he recognized the distinct southern accent and the penchant for wearing age inappropriate, low cut clothing as belonging to his first and only wife. If murder wasn’t a crime, he could have solved most of his personal problems right there on the spot.
“Victoria, how nice to see you again.” Witt had no trouble lying to his ex-wife now, particularly since she never seemed to worry about lying to him when they were married.
Turning to her dinner companion, she said “Ivan Vetski, may I present Detective Witt Kepler, Metro Police. Witt and I were married, but that was a long time ago, wasn’t it, Witt?”
“I’m no longer on the force, Victoria. I thought you knew.”
Vetski offered a handshake, remarking “Oh yes, Kepler. I knew the name sounded familiar. Such a scandal as I recall, something involving drugs, stolen from the police station and then being found in your home? Did I get that right – Mister Kepler?”
Witt was in an unexpected standoff with one of the most powerful men in the city. The kilo of heroin found hidden in his fireplace had been taken from one of Vetski’s container ships during a raid led by Witt himself. Unfortunately, someone in the evidence locker was on Ivan’s personal payroll and a few days later, a shrink-wrapped package of class four opiate found its way to Witt’s home, conveniently a few minutes before Internal Affairs stopped by with a search warrant; the news media was not far behind. When Witt found no support from his own captain, he put his badge and gun down on the chief’s desk and walked out, never looking back.
“The pension plan wasn’t anything to speak of, and I would have left soon, regardless. So, if I may be so bold to ask, how do you know Victoria? School chums, perhaps?”
“Hardly, Witt,” she interjected. “Ivan is sponsoring me in a beauty contest , the Miss Metro Classic. It’s for those of us women who are-“
“Just over thirty, am I right, Victoria?” Witt finished.
Ivan Vetski smiled at the polite repartee. “Let’s cut the song and dance number, Kepler. I don’t care why you came to my restaurant tonight and you can tell your toady Ludlow whatever you want, his days are numbered just like the rest, but I need a man like you in my organization and I pay a hell of a lot more than any city treasurer. But you only get one chance to join the winning side.”
“That’s funny, Ivan. I thought I was already on the winning side.”
“And whose side is that? Surely not your little District Attorney’s side. I think I have shoes older than him.”
“You probably do,” Witt said. “but I wouldn’t join your side for all the gold in Fort Knox. You’re on the losing team, Vetski, and only losers flock to losers.” Giving a passing glance at his ex-wife, Witt put a fiver down on the bar to cover the tab before heading out the door.
“Mr. Kepler, the offer stands until tomorrow morning. If I don’t see you down at my office by the time I finish my first cup of coffee, I will take that as a rejection of my generous offer.”
“Don’t let your coffee get cold waiting on me, Vetski. I think we are through here.”
“Sleep on it, will you? You may change your mind by morning.” Ivan Vetski seemed very confident that he would prevail.
Witt resisted the urge to reply with gunfire, but was more concerned about that last comment. He wondered what Vetski could arrange on the spur of the moment to scare him into joining felons incorporated. He found his answer by the time he pulled his car into the driveway.
“And who might you be, Miss?”
From the depths of her cleavage, the sultry Ukrainian produced a plain white business card, one with just a name and a phone number.
“My name is Kamianka and you have eight hours credited to your account, but I warn you, the clock has already started. We should go inside, yes?”
“Be careful, I have a vicious watchdog,” he replied, referring to his eight month old King Charles Cavalier puppy named Lord Melvin – about the most friendly dog on the planet.
Opening the door for the young woman, Witt watched as trouble in size two sauntered inside.
Until next Sunday, then. DJ out.