Welcome to the continuing adventures of Witt Kepler, Private Eye.
Witt Kepler walked past the remaining blood splatterment on the granite steps of the courthouse. He still didn’t know who the jumper was, or the pusher for that matter, but if he had to hazard a guess – it was no suicide, rather a killing on order from Ivan Vetski. In fact, during the last four weeks, a veritable slew of corpses had been found littered about the Metro area, sometimes two a day, and most all were attributed to either the kingpin mobster himself or one of his henchmen. Yet no arrest had been made.
The walk across the open foyer of the courthouse was uneventful, a pleasant change from the constant turmoil that seemed to always find Witt. A few minutes later, the elevator door opened, allowing Witt to step directly into the plush office of the city’s district attorney.
“Hello, pretty lady. The new guy in his office yet?”
The receptionist gave Witt a crooked smile and a raised eyebrow, saying nothing. She simply pointing down the hall.
“You’re a peach,” Witt replied. “Maybe, if your free for dinner sometime?”
“Keep walking, Mr. Kepler. You’re still not the last man on the planet, so the answer is no, the same as last week.” She did not even give him the chance to finish formulating his request, being all too familiar with the rampant tales of the womanizing rascal.
Witt wasn’t really all that interested in the receptionist; it was more the chase than anything that got his heart pounding. A torturous two hour session with “my daughter the therapist,” Carolyn Peabody revealed that moralistic flaw, and still, he couldn’t help but hit on every woman with a nice pair of legs.
The gold trimmed, black letters on the glass door said “Thurman Ludlow, Esq. – Assistant District Attorney.” Witt could see the young man seated at his desk, staring out the window. Somehow, Witt knew this would not be a happy meeting.
“Mr. Kepler. Tell me, please, that you have something on Vetski. The morning hasn’t started out well, and it could certainly get worse. I need some good news.”
Witt took a seat in the far corner of the room, obliquely facing both the desk and the entrance. The last thing the private eye wanted was to allow someone to approach unseen. “Well, sir, I confronted Vetski last night, at a restaurant, and learned he is sponsoring a woman in a beauty contest. Somehow, he must be making a profit on this venture – he doesn’t seem like the kind of man who values philanthropy.”
“Indeed not,” the young lawyer replied. “He could be skimming profits from the entrance fees, maybe taking bribes to influence judges?”
“Or moving stolen diamonds.”
Both Witt and Ludlow looked up to see who had offered the geological comment. There stood a tall man with dark wavy hair, and a drill sergeant’s hat tucked under his arm. The blazing red uniform, complete with black patent leather belt was unmistakable.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Ludlow added. “Witt Kepler, may I introduce Sergeant Guthrie Oaks, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He’s on loan to the Metro team for a while.”
Witt gave the Mountie the once over. He knew their reputation of unwavering honesty and for being generally tough characters. He hoped this one would be live up to expectations. “So, why do you think Vetski is dealing in stolen diamonds?”
“I have found most of the merchants in the diamond district have been complaining about unsavory lads coming about, demanding protection money. When the old men refused, and they always refuse, the hooligans would simply snatch away a tray of diamonds as payment.”
“Why haven’t they reported this to the police?” asked Ludlow.
Witt chuckled. “Thurman, you gotta realize that Vetski has half the force on his payroll. These guys know that, so why bother.” Turning to the Canadian, Witt asked “Do you have anyone that is willing to give a statement? The DA here can file the charges if they won’t.”
“Had. I had someone coming in to elaborate, however he will not be joining us now. You probably passed him on your way in. Poor lad was kidnapped last night from his home and before I could find him, he took a fall from the roof. I think your Vetski fellow is trying to send out a message – talk to the authorities and see what happens to you!”
The assistant district attorney looked at Witt, asking “You two may be the only people I can trust now. Clearly someone in the building has been bought off, someone with access to the roof, and that could be a number of people, from janitors to maintenance men. Go find out how Vetski is moving those diamonds. If we can prove he stole them, great. If we can prove he is fencing them, too? Even better. But I think there is more to this story, and we need to know.”
Witt and his new partner left the building. Guthrie was going over his list of diamond merchants, gauging how many might testify now that one of their own had been killed.
“We’ve got to figure out what Vetski is doing with those diamonds,” the Mountie said.
Remembering Victoria’s unexpected entry in the beauty contest, Witt replied “I think I know where those stolen rocks may have ended up. Come on, it’s high time we buy our tickets to the Miss Metro Classic.”
“The beauty contest for silly old hags? Surely you can’t be serious.”
Witt lit another cigarette, taking a deep breath, savoring the nicotine rushing into his bloodstream. This adventure was getting better and better.
“Now, where did you park your horse?”
- If you can’t say something nice, just shoot. (djlutz.wordpress.com)
- If Murder wasn’t a Crime (djlutz.wordpress.com)
- Intruducing Witt Kepler, private eye. (djlutz.wordpress.com)