Nightmare on Vine Street

No More Flyboys








This job is complicated, so it is encouraging when things turn out for a change. Mr. Dashiell, a special client, refused patently to move along until we had cleared up just what sent him taking the gravity express to the Oakwood Park station. End of the line.

First instincts were right, I should have listened to them (and Henrietta Wilson besides). Face value, that cat at the bank, Jansie, was the ideal suspect. Motive, capability, even a little evidence. But it smelled too clean, and he wasn’t the killing type. The type not to look to hard into his partner’s untimely death, maybe, but no murderer. Too much for a guy with such delicate nerves. These kids nowadays.

Decker, though… Yeah, it was her all right. Tried to pull it off like she just wanted to give old Jim a little jump, and that it turned into a big one. A line, and this fish didn’t bite today. She admitted it, after I pressed her. And then…

I don’t know why I did it. I’m a PI, there are rules. First damned thing I should’ve done is call Benjamin Taffee right then and there, tell him to send some flatfoots around to take their statements. Should’ve put her away for murder one, or at least given Val his crack at her.

But I didn’t. And Pierce can’t figure out just why. I guess it’s because, well, it’s already done with. Dashiell’s dead, so why bother with locking people up? Why put them through it? Is it me that judges that kind of thing? God help me, I killed forty times as many people than that frail did, and some of them were decent family men. I wonder what their names were, if they’re still buried under the red poppies…

Christ, this is why I shouldn’t drink writing these up. I get all sentimental. Poetry next, I bet. Yeah. Sure.

Jimmy wasn’t immediately inclined to leave, even with my generous offer. But between what I offered him and what Charles did, well. Let’s just say he picked the easy way out. I hope he found what he deserved, whatever that may be.

I tipped Decker off that Pierce was gonna run the story on her. I don’t know why I did that, either. I think it was the right thing to do. I hope so. Sundown’s been quiet, he doesn’t have any answers for me. Something tells me…

I haven’t seen the last of Annie Decker.

Wishful thinking.


(Written in pencil, not part of the report)

Bones knows something about these “gates” around town. I asked Sundown about them, once, near that beginning of our partnership. Drank that answer right out of my brain, left in the care of Mr. James Beam. I hope to hell I don’t have to go down there. This old man’s had enough truck with trenches.

Jimmy was awfully talkative about the people in the black hoods. Shouldn’t write too much of it down; this place has locks, but just locks. Suffice it to say it’s more up Pierce’s alley.

The Upjohns had a job for me; open-and-shut missing niece. She eloped to Detroit with her squeeze. They’re generous tippers.



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