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Abba Da Gooch

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I didn’t know his real name. To all the men at the club, he was Abba Da Gooch. Da Gooch was a colourful character. He’d hang around the poker table for hours until he’d decide to sit in on the game in progress. He played quietly, and sometimes won a bit, sometimes lost a bit. Nobody knew where Da Gooch got his money or what he actually did with his days.

Like a character out of a Damon Runyon novel, he slouched around in loose fitting striped trousers that were crumpled onto his well-worn penny loafers. His shirt was plaid flannel; very out of place in the poker club. His mustache was too long, and his hair was a black, greasy-looking mess under a stained, pork-pie hat.

Da Gooch was something of a mystery among the players. All of the players were what we called ‘rounders’; guys who got around the city, doing various kinds of business, usually for cash. I don’t think they were criminals, just street guys, taking care of business.

I had a job as a courier. One day I get called to a pickup from Templeton Cosmetics. At the Templeton office I am given a small, gift-wrapped box, with instructions to deliver it to Morris Gross, with an address in a very expensive part of town. It was the same as any of a hundred calls, until I got to the large, splendid home and knocked at the door.

A uniformed maid answered the door. I told her why I was there, and she asked me to step inside. She called out that it was for Mr. Gross. The maid walked away, and I stood waiting. After a minute, Mr. Gross came down the wide staircase. My eyes bugged out of my head; Mr. Gross was Abba Da Gooch. His hair was carefully combed, there was no hat, and he looked good.

It was like Da Gooch was another guy. He wore a silk robe in black, with a gold crest on the right breast. His slippers were polished black patent leather. He called me kid, said he didn’t know I was a courier, and took the box from me. He called out for Lorna. A beautiful teenaged girl in jeans and a T-shirt entered from the next room. Da Gooch handed the box to his daughter and asked her to go try it on.

I turned to leave, and Da Gooch stopped me. He said that I was the only one that knew of his double life, and his real name. I assured him it was just between him and me. He slipped me a $20 tip and ushered me out the door. I wonder which life was his real life, the character at the poker club, or the elegant man in the splendid house. And how did he earn his money? Only Mr. Gross knows.

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In The Dark When It’s Quiet

November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

If not for the pieces of moonlight that filtered through the overhead foliage, Percy would not be able to see the walking path through the suburban forest. He had just hopped off a train a few hours ago and set about finding a place to sleep. He saw the forested park when he emerged from an older residential neighbourhood.

Percy turned off the path and pushed through some foliage until he came to a smooth place among the tree roots. The ground was covered with leaves from previous seasons and made a soft, dry mattress. He shrugged off his backpack and laid out his sleeping bag. The night was warm and clear, so he didn’t need any more shelter.

He lay back on his sleeping bag and just looked at the sky. Most stars were obliterated by the glow of the moon, but many were visible close to the horizon.  Percy reached into his backpack and fished out a sandwich and a bottle of water. While he sat on the ground snacking, he heard footfalls coming on the path. He saw to people jogging by. He knew from their voices as they chatted that one was a man and the other a woman.

A short time later, another jogger passed. Percy assumed it was a man because of his size. Every minute or so, a jogger passed. He lay down in his sleeping bag and set himself to sleep. Sleep eluded him as he found himself lying awake listening for joggers. He wondered how much time had passed. It seemed to him that it must be past midnight. He heard another jogger approaching and he climbed out of the sleeping bag and stood up to see over the bush behind which he’d been lying.

The jogger was a slender young woman. As Percy stepped over the bush he startled the woman. She reacted instantly, jumped back and pulled out a nine millimeter Remington automatic and shot him in the face. He just wanted to ask the time.

The (Drudge) Lady of the House

May 1, 2017 Leave a comment

We all knew that Claire’s home would be perfect, as always. I confided in Lois that it was difficult to understand her horrible personal taste in clothing, considering the flawless design and colour pallet. Her home is the epitome of aesthetic perfection, yet her wardrobe seems to be made of dishtowels and drapes.

“I suppose it takes all kinds,” Lois said

“Some kinds of aesthetic decisions should be stopped,” I said.

“How could one do that?” Lois said. I paused a moment.

“I’m going to confront her with it,” I said. “I’m going to ask her why her home is so perfect, yet her fashion sense is lacking.”

About ten days later, after I had confronted Claire about her aesthetically perfect home and less attractive garments, I phoned Lois.

“What did she say?” Lois said.

“She dropped her clothes off, right there in the kitchen,” I said. “Then she said, ‘What do you see?”

“What did you see!” Lois screamed into the phone.

“I see a stunning body, a gorgeous face without a speck of makeup, flowing black hair and legs that are long, and beautifully shaped, as is all of her. That’s what I told her. She said that she used to dress in fashion, with good aesthetic designs and fabrics. Men would not take her seriously, nor would they leave her alone. She shows herself to men that she chooses, and the rest of the time, she lives her life unmolested.”

The Black Lion – act 1

June 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Malibu Beach is exclusive, but lately it seems not as exclusive as the rich and powerful residents might prefer. One mysterious murder in the beachfront community set the pot to simmering under the local homicide authorities. A second homicide along the same stretch of exclusive Pacific Ocean shoreline set the stew to bubbling. When the third victim showed up, we had a rolling boil bubbling fiercely as the California Bureau of Investigation was called in.

The community was stirred up, and when this community gets stirred up, officials act. Along this strip of prime real estate are homes that belong to dot-com billionaires, movie stars, producers, directors and a few writers. There was the question of connection among the victims, and there certainly was, from several points of view. One thing is obvious to all: each victim was very wealthy and powerful. That’s the only kind of people who can afford to live there. Each victim was a white male and owned a self-earned fortune. No inheritors or lottery winners among the three. One thing that might be involved is that each was known to have lived with black women for several years before eventually marrying white women.

I was following the cases for The Malibu Story, a local cable news show. My name is Angel Cooper and I want to be a major crime reporter. I graduated journalism at Tulane at the top of my class. I chose to work on a small cable show because it’s Malibu Beach with all the special people. I hope to someday work for a major network. These three murders on my territory might be my ticket to ride. I look right with my café au lait complexion and fairly Caucasian features. From the neck down, I have nothing to worry about for visual appeal.

I was among the mob of journalists when the Chief of Police made his statement about the murders. They were quite certain they’re connected with each other, he said. As usual, they gave out as much information as they thought they safely could. They always hold back a vital piece of information, so if a suspect mentions the holdback fact, they know they’re looking at a participant in the homicide.

In this case, the holdback info was much more interesting than usual. In this case, every victim was found face down on his bed. Each was completely naked, with his mouth filled with his own underwear and gagged firmly with duct tape. I was the only person other than the police that knew all the details of all three murders. Most interesting of all, each had been branded on his right buttock with a silhouette of a black lion.

Autopsies revealed that each had been branded with a hot branding iron before he was killed. That explains the overstuffed mouths taped over to muffle screams of agony. Obviously, the perpetrator intended to inflict a lot of pain before ending the victims’ lives. How do I know all this if the police didn’t release the information?

(to be continued)