Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Case of the Death Dealer Chapter Three





Alexander Steele and the Case of the Death Dealer chapters one and two










Chapter 3

Glass Houses


After the usual greetings Stan the tallest of the three men decided to get right to it. “So Steele, I see you’re back in the game, huh?”
Steele nodded, “Not by choice brother.”
The usual jovial Philosopher nodded at Stan, adjusted his glasses and gave Steele a serious look. “Well you know how it is, you called and here we are. I know you couldn’t say much on the phone so what’s the deal and how can we help?”
Steele ordered drinks for his friends and a Pepsi for himself. He explained the entire situation to the guys and waited for their response. While the Philosopher sipped his grey goose Steele slid the picture of Doctor D across the table.
When the Philosopher saw the photo he nearly spilled his drink. “Hey, I know that guy; we went to Morehouse together in Atlanta.”
Steele smiled, “I figured you did, that’s why I asked you to come. Dig up anything you can on him, no matter how small.”

The Philosopher shook his head, “That was ages ago and we really didn’t hang that much. Back then he was a pill freak, I see he’s graduated from more than just college.”
Stan briefly looked at the picture then tossed it on to the table as he spoke. “Yeah, he graduated alright, from popping pills to mass murder, what’s the world coming to? Steele, you want me to check this dude out?”
“Not him,” said Steele, “I want you to work your computer magic on the king pin Fat Daddy.”
Steele gave Stan a small piece of paper with Fat Daddy’s real name on it.
Stan nodded, “I’m on it, by this time tomorrow I’ll be able to tell you everything about this guy including what kind of toothpaste he uses.”

As Stan and Steele discussed his plan the Philosopher took out his pen, pulled out a small pad then began writing. He had heard about Sugar Bear’s lack of sympathy concerning the looming mass murder of hundreds. On his way out the door he handed Sugar Bear the paper and simply walked out. It read,
Glass Houses - Life is like a finger print, each one is unique. Until you can duplicate my life's experiences, until you have felt my joy and pain, my victories, and failures you are not qualified to judge me, my decisions, or my lifestyle.’
Sugar Bear thought for a moment, smiled then tucked the paper inside his shirt pocket. At the back of the club Stan noticed something was not quite right with his friend. “Hey man, I know you’re supposed to be retired and all but it’s time to embrace who you really are.” Stan stood with outstretched arms as he looked around the club, “This is Alexander Steele’s playground he proclaimed, it’s a beautiful place,” he sat down across from his friend and continued, “but it’s not who your really are.” Stan opened his hand and placed it on his chest, “Deep down inside you are a private detective, a damn good one, that’s what you were born to do.”
Stan spotted a familiar face near the front of the club and waved him over. Kenny was a tall, dark haired man with a deep dark tan.  Kenny wore an expensive, beige suit. He made his way over with his beautiful, blonde girlfriend in tow.
Stan made the introductions; afterwards Kenny said “It’s a real pleasure to meet you Mr. Steele.”
After a bit of small talk the happy couple went over to the dance floor. Stan immediately turned to Steele and asked, “What do you think of Kenny?”
Steele was dumfounded by the question, “What do I think?” he repeated. “He’s not my type,” joked Steele. “Okay, I get it, you want me to read this guy. I see a happy couple out having a good time.”
“No,” Stan shook his head, “that’s what everyone else sees but what can you tell me about Kenny?”
Steele decided to humor his friend. “Okay, fine, let’s start with the easy part, judging from the pale ring around his tanned finger it’s obvious that he has recently taken off his wedding ring and the fact that he has a deep tan and his girlfriend doesn’t probably means that he most likely took the wife on vacation instead of the hot girlfriend.”
Stan was not easily impressed, “How do you know he didn’t get the tan from working outside in the sun? Maybe in construction?”
Steele burst out into laughter, “With those soft hands” he replied, “He’s more likely to be holding a doctor’s scalpel all day than a jack hammer, and you don’t buy suits like that on a construction worker’s salary. That’s a custom made suit, look at the stitching, it didn’t come off the rack.”
Stan had little choice than to concede that Steele’s observations were right on. “So is that it Steele? Is that all you got?”
Steele laughed again, “Man, what do you expect? I only talked to the guy for five minutes. Okay, he’s not originally from Philly, if you listen closely you could hear a slight Boston accent.   He’s left handed and Jewish, how’s that?”
Stan slapped his hand on the table in amazement, “Damn, how do you do it?”
Steele leaned forward, “He threads his belt through the pant loops from right to left, and he has a little, gold, Star of David on the chain around his neck.” After Stan’s little quiz was over Steele felt the need to get some air.

The detective/club owner was feeling antsy, it was like he knew something was about to happen but he coulnd’t put his finger on it. It was the calm before the storm. He left the club early and drove past Fat Daddy’s Steakhouse.  

The bright red and white sign above the restaurant was impressive. Next to the letters that read Fat Daddy’s Steak house was a picture of a large, juicy, prime rib steak. Steele was about to turn his car off when he noticed a dark green pickup truck without a license plate pull up in front of the restaurant. One of the two men that got out of the truck looked in the direction of  a red sedan parked on the same side of the street as Steele.
The men dressed in dark clothes lowered the back of the pickup and struggled to drag something large and heavy on to the sidewalk directly at the entrance of the Steak house. Three middle aged women who had just left the restaurant screamed in horror once they realized the object was a dead man’s corpse.
The men in the truck didn’t appear to be fazed by the screams. One of the men watched patiently at his partner poured a bucket of dark, green, slimy, seaweed over the dead man’s body then walked over and tossed a note that read ‘I’m coming for you!’
The screams from the women brought curious customers running out of the restaurant to see what the commotion was about. Seconds after the truck sped off. The sound of its squealing tires was drowned out by a tremendous boom coming from inside the restaurant.

Within seconds the scene erupted into total chaos; windows were shattered by the force of the explosion while those closest to the blast were thrown to the ground. Other were screaming and yelling as they scrambled to drag their friends and loved ones out of harm’s way while flames flickered inside of what was Fat Daddy’s Steakhouse.
In all of the confusion Steele noticed the red sedan speeding off. Realizing that there was nothing that he could do to save those who died in the blast he decided to pursue the man in the red Dodge Charger.
Sounds of the loud, clanging, fire alarms combined with the wailing sirens and squealing tires got Steele’s adrenaline going. He knew that the driver must have set off the blast probably  by remote control. Steele chased the car down back streets, through red lights, across parking lots , train tracks and gas stations. It was clear that the diver knew how to handle a car. The chase came to an abrupt end when the driver turned the corner into a small street and was not able to stop in time.  He rammed into a car that was parked in the middle of the street and was killed instantly.
Steele slammed the gear shift into park and sat on a nearby step waiting for the police.   He thought to himself, ‘The doctor is making his move; it won’t be long before the other shoe drops and many more people die.’

The next morning started out the same as most others, thousands of unhappy people trudging of to spend eight hours or more in a place that felt more like punishment than a job. Steele sat in his car and checked out the dozen or so people standing at the bus stop. He was there to stakeout Fat Daddy’s hoagie shop across the street.
Dressed in black Dockers and a loose fitting blue shirt Steele wanted to be comfortable for the long day ahead. He needed to know for sure if Dr. D. had already made his move. If he had all hell would break out across the city and since his hoagie shop was drug central it would become ground zero.
As he watched and waited he thought about Stan’s clever little stunt last night. The little exhibition that he goaded him into was just what Steele needed to crystallize the reasons why he would need to step out of the comfort of his cushy club to do what few other men in this city could.
Steele had solved tough cases all over the world, it was a dangerous job, a job where he faced death more times than he cared to remember, a job that got him shot not once but twice, but Stan was right, he was good at it.

By noon the temperature had climbed to an uncomfortable, muggy eighty nine degrees and there was still nothing out of the ordinary going on across the street. Stan’s call was a welcome distraction from the mundane comings and goings of the few customers that wandered in and out of the hoagie shop. Most of the customers were apparently absent minded and paranoid since very few came out with any food but always looked around before entering and leaving the store.
Stan and Steele talked for a while then agreed to meet at seven that evening. Any private detective would tell you that without a doubt spending long hours on a stakeout was the most boring part of the job. At six thirty he decided to call it a day. Steele loved the energy that came from the busy neighborhood street in the summertime. The radio was set to WDAS and the AC was on full blast but on the outside it was hot and sticky.
Steele turned down the radio and lowered the window a bit so that he could enjoy the wafting aroma’s coming from the neighborhood barbeque grills and listen to the children’s laughter as they played in the fire hydrants. As he made his way uptown he could hear music blaring from teenager’s radio’s as the hung out on the front steps while the old heads up the street shot craps probably with crocked dice.

Showtime in the inner city came to an abrupt halt when Steele noticed he was being followed for the second time in two days. Knowing the car behind him would contiune to follow he drove until he reached a gas station in a fairly isolated area. Steele no longer needed to wonder if the poisoned drugs were in play, if they had been there would be no need to have him followed. Pretending not to notice the car Steele who always dressed in light button down shirts that made it easy to conceal his weapon casually walked into the gas station and pre paid for his gas, he also brought a plastic red cigarette lighter.
When he returned to his car he was not surprised to see a muscular man with a full black beard sitting comfortably on the hood of his jaguar while another played with a large sharp ice pick.
Trying to avoid another confrontation Steele tried to reason with the men, “Look I told your other friends to talk to Trench.”
The man with the white tee shirt had two tattoos a bulldog on his arm and a broken diagonal link chain on the side of his neck. The tattooed man laughed and said, “Why would we wanna do that? Fat Daddy wants to know why you’re watching his place.”
Realizing his mistake Steele quickly shifted to his second plan, attack. When he took off his gas cap and began pumping gas into his car the bearded thug on the hood looked confused but Steele’s lack of fear angered the tattooed man with the ice pick.

The young, male, Asian gas station owner watched from inside to see what would happen next.  In an act of frustration the thug in the white T shirt plunged the ice pick into Steele’s front tire.
The hissing sound distracted his partner just long enough for Steele pull the hose out of the car and douse him with gasoline. Steele had taken him by surprise; he knew that he needed to act fast.
Steele was at the top of his game; he quickly snatched the gasoline soaked man off of the hood and twisted his arm behind his back. The sharp searing pains forced the bearded thug up on his toes winching and screaming in agony.
The man with the ice pick was really pissed; he snarled as he ran toward Steele yelling obscenities. Suddenly, as if some invisible force was holding him back the ice pick wheedling thug stopped dead in his tracks. Steele was holding the cigarette lighter close to the gasoline soaked thug’s shirt. The strong odor of gas filled the air. He moved it side to side taunting the guy with the weapon. In an instant the tables had turned and Steele was in control.
“One more step,” he yelled, “take one more step and I’ll light your boy up like a roman candle on the Fourth of July! Now lose the damn ice pick asshole!”


 The guy flung the weapon away; it made a clanging sound when it hit the ground. Steele released his partner by shoving him toward the angry man them pulled up his shirt to reveal his gun. The thugs didn’t know much but they wasted no time telling Steele that the new shipment of drugs had not come in yet but was expected soon.
Before letting the two go he warned them that it would be in their best interest not to tell their boss about their conversation.
“I’m no fortune teller,” he added “but I am willing to bet that your life spans will be drastically reduced if you decide to tell anyone about what happened here, so keep your mouths shut and get the hell outta here.”


Final chapter next Tuesday







Want more Alexander Steele

Case of the Death Dealer
Case of the Deadly Ring
Legacy of Death

Alexander Steele Murder Mystery Trilogy
Author Larry J
Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

The Alexander Steele Murder Mystery series consist of the first three short stories set in Philadelphia. Philly native Lawrence Johnson aka Larry J. takes you into Philly's neighborhoods by way of his fictional,suave,detective Alexander Steele. The semi retired PI is the proud owner of the Mount Airy hot spot known as the Inner Sanctum. Steele has a problem. He just can't seem to put his past life of crime solving behind him. A seemly endless stream of new clients come to his club each with tempting new cases for the ever inquisitive private investigator.
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Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

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