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Jack Collier: Private Eye

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

Chapter Sixteen can be found here.

 

 

Chapter Seventeen: Taking Away

 

            I walked back to the apartment, checking myself in the light to make sure that I wasn’t splattered with blood or anything. There still didn’t seem to be anyone around, it was like everyone else was at the ball. There was just Cindy standing in the doorway, she looked terribly young and vulnerable. She reminded me of the last little girl I’d taken away from Cole. If I’d just shot him like she had suggested, when she suggested, a lot of this could have been avoided. However, if I’d done that then I wouldn’t be able to help her now.

 

            “Got your stuff?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah,” she said, and showed me two old beat-up suitcases.

 

            “Where do you want to go?”

 

            “Just somewhere where no one will find me,” she said. “Just someplace far from here.”

 

            In the light, she looked like a scared teenager from the sticks. Her jeans were old and tattered, her shirt had places where the seams had been re-sewn and I would have thrown her shoes out ages ago and I’m a guy. She looked sort of nervous as I looked at her and her bags.

 

            “All your clothes look like that?” I asked.

 

            “Pretty much,” she said looking down at herself and then up at me.

 

            “Okay,” I said. “It’ll do for traveling but we’ll get you some new clothes.”

 

            “I haven’t got much money.”

            “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I’m supposed to be the boss of a big operation so I assume the credit card will get paid.”

 

            “What’ll I do for money?” she asked. “I can’t get a job no where.”

 

            “I’ll get you a job,” I assured her. “And I’ll get you a place to stay. You’ll be okay.”

 

            “Do I have to fuck you?” she asked, and it was so earnest that I found it funny.

 

            “No,” I said and shook my head. “You and I will not ever be having sex. It’s not like that.”

 

            “Why?” she asked.

 

            “Because you’re like half my age.” I said.

 

            “No,” she shook her head. “If you’re not gonna fuck me or nothing, then why?”

 

            “Oh, that,” I said. “I’m making up for something, trying to put right what once went wrong and hoping that each leap, will be the leap home?”

 

            “Huh?” she asked.

 

            “Nothing,” I said. “It’s not about you, it’s about helping you out because the person I want to help is beyond my help. You understand?”

 

            “You’re making up for someone,” she said.

 

            “Yeah,” I nodded.

 

            “Okay,” we walked to the Hudson and she gasped audibly. “Is this your car?”

            “Yeah,” I said.

 

            “Is it going to turn back into a pumpkin at midnight?” she asked.

 

            “No,” I said touching the side of the vehicle. “This car has a different kind of magic. Trust me though, it is a kind of magic.”

 

            She smiled at me and I smiled back. It was sort of a nice moment, and had I been six years younger and her six years older I would have tossed her into the back seat and had my way with her. I wasn’t that young though, and she wasn’t that old, and it wasn’t going to happen anyway because I had enough women to contend with at the moment.

 

            “So where are we going?”

 

            “Up to you,” I said. “Where would you like to go?”

 

            “I don’t know,” she shrugged “Anywhere. I need to find a job and a place to live.”

 

            “I’m supposed to be part owner of detective agency with offices in Chicago, San Francisco and Michigan.” I told her. “We can probably arrange something for you in one of those places. Get you a job, someplace to stay. When do you turn eighteen?”

 

            “October,” she said.

 

            “We’ll take care of you until then, and after that we’ll see about getting you on your own feet,” I said. “Just pick one of those three and we’ll go.”

 

            “Do they get snow in Chicago?” she asked.

 

            “In the winter,” I said.

 

            “I’d like to see snow,” she said.

 

            “It’s almost June,” I told her.

 

            “I can wait,” she smiled at me, and she actually looked like she might be allowing a glimmer of hope for the first time in her life. “If I can see snow, I’ll wait.”

 

            “Yes, well,” I said starting the car. “Let’s wait there instead of here.”

 

            “Okay,” she said as we pulled out of the driveway and away into the world.

 

            We drove to Illinois, I met the woman who manages the Chicago office for Debbie and introduced the idea of keeping an orphan. I couldn’t help but feel like I was dumping a kitten on her, but fortunately Greta took to Cindy as if she were a kitten. While I was there I spent a couple of days looking over the Chicago office and getting to know the people who Debbie had hired while my back was turned.

 

            I must say Debbie has interesting hiring practices. I’m not sure if she’d specifically set out to make an entirely gay private detective office or if it just happened that the people she liked were gay or if she’d personally recruited these people and only asked gays to work for her, but it was certainly interesting that out of the seven people that populated that office four of them were gay and the other three were bisexuals. It didn’t seem to bother anyone on the fairly lengthy list of clients in the greater Chicago area, and I suppose it didn’t bother me, it just struck me as odd was all.

 

            On the fourth day though, there was something of a problem. I was talking to Greta, who had immigrated from Sweden when she was eighteen when the issue arose. We’d agreed let Cindy act as a receptionist, which seemed like it was working out until one call came and caused trouble.

 

            “We’ve got a problem,” Steve, one of the operatives, said as he stuck his head into Greta’s office. “Our receptionist is on the ledge of the building.”

 

            “What?” she leapt up and because she was much fitter and younger than me she got out the door first.

 

            There was a pile of clothing in front of the open window, and Jay and Kevin were looking out the window at something that was along the wall. Steve looked at us, the clothes and then at the window. He looked worried and scared, but at a loss as to what he should do.

 

            “She took a call,” Jay said, “It was something personal I think because she was whining and saying she didn’t want to leave and she was crying when she hung up.”

 

            “And then she took off her clothes and went out there,” Kevin finished the story.

 

            “We’ve called the fire department,” Jay added.

 

            “Get back,” I said waving my arms at them.

 

            I stuck my head out the window, looking at the gray and overcast sky. There was a storm coming soon, but not for a while. I could feel the humidity in the air though, and the cold that told me it was coming. I looked at her, standing naked in the cooling air, her nipples standing erect against the wind. There was a flagpole with the flag waving between us, but I could see what was going on.

 

            Years ago, when I was young and should have been better at this sort of thing, I’d been begged by a woman to save her daughter. That girl had also taken her clothes off and jumped from the top of a building naked, I’d missed her by ten inches. The woman had sobbed for me to save her, and I went out a back exit so I didn’t have to face her in my failure. Now, here was another version of that.

 

            “How long?” I asked.

 

            “A couple of minutes,” Jay said.

 

            “Fuck,” I said climbing out the window.

 

            “Jack?” Greta demanded. “What are you doing?”

 

            “Just make sure everyone knows it was me that went out there,” I said as I started to climb out onto the ledge.  I sort of hoped Tracey would hear of this, wherever he was. It would be nice if he knew what I got up to without him around.

 

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