“I hadn’t had a case in months. But here in Rivercity, I didn’t go looking out for trouble. Trouble had a way of finding ‘me’…!” Rick was thinking.
Rick Savage is reading newspaper, sitting on his chair with folded foots over the table. The table is cluttered with newspaper articles and the room is so dark that it is hard to look at even one’s own hand.
Just then, the door thudded.
Rick looked irritated. He folded his newspaper back and put it down on the table, saying “It’s open…”
A blonde girl with beautifully crafted face came inside. She was wearing a knee-length overcoat.
“Are you Savage?” the girl enquired.
“Only until I have my morning coffee… What’s your moniker?” Rick replied.
“My moniker is Monica. But my friends call me ‘trouble’…”
Rick exclaimed to himself “I was right! I had trouble right here at Rivercity!”
Rick asked Monica “What seems to be the trouble, Trouble?”
Monica walked in her own charming way all to the table Rick was sitting at and said “It’s my husband, Felton. I think he’s trying to… kill me!”
Rick got up to his feet in shock and moved all around the table towards Monica.
“What makes you think so, doll-face?” Rick asked.
“This…” Monica pulled out a letter from her coat and gave it to Rick.
Rick opened the letter-
I’m gonna kill you.
Rick walked to and fro in the room for about a minute. And then he turned to Monica and said “This could be a death threat, alright! What you want me to do about it, gorgeous?”
“I want to hire you…” Monica replied.
“That would be 200 bucks…” Rick said.
“… to keep me alive!” Monica added.
“… in advance!” Rick added.
Rick thought “I’m good but I’m not stupid!”
LATER THAT NIGHT-
It was a typical rusty club. Round tables with red cloth on them. Four chairs arranged at each table in perfect order that it seemed that no one’s ever touched them. A piano in the far left corner with an old trembled musician trying to play. The receptionist at the door looked bored of all the guests around and was sleeping standing at the reception. The bar counter was as usual, unattended.
Rick entered the club. Monica had asked him to meet her at that torch-light club, where she was the torch-singer. She figured her husband wanted to bump her off.
“Hey Savage!” A man in his forties, wearing black coat and holding a cigar in his hands came to Rick.
“Well… it’s ain’t good all inspector, Franklin!” Rick commented.
“You’re right. It’s new tenant farmer! What you doin’ here, famous!” Franklin replied.
“I’m on a case, flat-foot!” Rick replied.
Franklin threatened “Watch it, Gumshoe! Or I’ll pull your license, pass you a ticket and clean your cloak!”
Rick was again suspicious and murmured to himself “I got the feeling that he didn’t like me…”
Rick walked to a table and sat down. A waitress in exposed gown came to Rick and said “Hey there, Savage!”
“Well… it ain’t my favourite waitress! How you’re doing, Francie!” Rick talked in his usual suspicious tone.
“What can get you, Savage?”
“Ok…” And the waitress lowered herself on Rick and kissed him.
Rick murmured “The food here stinks, but the service is incredible…!”
Rick pushed her off and said “Not now, Francie! I’m on a case…”
Francie said briskly “That guy over there… He’s creep! I think he’s up to no good!”
Rick saw that man Francie was referring to. He was a dull face, no vigor man in his thirties. He was sitting alone on the last table with his hands on the table. He looked like he was waiting for someone.
“What makes you think so, gorgeous?” Rick enquired.
Francie replied “He’s been here since an hour, and all he’s ordered is a butcher knife!”
“Don’t worry babe! I’ll check it out…” Rick said in an casual tone.
Rick went to that man and said “Hey buddy! You mind telling me who you are?”
“The name’s Mitch. Felton Mitch…” The man replied.
Rick suspiciously asked “You don’t happen to be married to a songbird named Monica?”
“Yes… Till death, the worst part!” Felton replied with a smeared face and rage in his eyes.
Rick walked back to his table and thought “I’d better keep one eye on Monica and one eye on Felton.”
The music started to play. Monica came from darkness. She was looking like a princess of the heavens! She was dressed all white with white fur around her neck. She walked slowly and looked directly at Rick. She was singing a song and her eyes said something, as if she was trying to say something through that song, or may be something important than the song…
Rick saw her with his mouth open. He was dumbstruck at the flawless beauty of Monica… He murmured “To heck with Felton! I’d keep my both eyes on Monica!!”
Monica sung her song melodiously like a bird. She sat on the bar table and tilted against the side poles. All of a sudden, the lights went off. There was a sound of gun-shot! Someone screamed and the lights came back…
Monica lay on the floor, still looking beautiful, but dead…
Everyone ran towards her body. Franklin knelt over her body and checked for her pulse. He instructed two guys to move her body out. Then he turned to the crowd and roared “Alright now! Nobody move… Everyone here is a suspect.”
“Everyone, but me… Rick Savage, Private eye!” Rick said.
Rick continued “Monica gave me a death threat letter she got. And it was signed ‘F’.” He said it with a special stress on F and looking towards Franklin.
“So?” Franklin said.
“That means you’re a suspect too!” Rick explained.
“That’s ridiculous! I’m a cop!” Franklin said in protest.
“Well then… It must be her husband.” Rick moved to the table Felton was sitting and said “Why did you do it, Felton?”
Felton got up from his seat in protest and said “I didn’t kill Monica! I loved her…! I even carved out her initials on the table with this knife! Look!!” and he showed Rick his carvings on the table.
“Well well… Then may be it was Francie!” Rick said moving towards the place where Francie was standing.
“Don’t throw it, Savage! I was in the kitchen when she was shot!” Francie replied in her defense.
The door of the club opened again and a girl came in.
“Hey look! Monica’s alive!” Franklin exclaimed on looking at Monica coming in from the door. She was dressed in a black woolen top and a round hat.
“Well! I’m Monica’s twin sis! Monica called me here to meet her tonight!”
Rick said “Well I’m afraid you’re a little late. Monica just cashed her cheque…”
“Oh no!!” Exclaimed the girl and started crying.
“Lay there gorgeous! You got a name?” Rick said.
“I’m Veronica…” said the girl.
“Well that starts with a ‘V’. So you’re not a suspect.” Rick said.
“… but my friends call me ‘Fun’…” Veronica continued.
Rick was thinking. He looked at the innocent faces of people standing there. His suspects – Franklin, Felton, Francie and Fun! And voila! He suddenly got that who was his killer… Savage has solved another case!
Self-pleased Rick smirked his smile and noted down his pointers in notebook…
Well this piece was taken from one episode from “The Small Wonder” titled “Big J Private Eye”… In the episode following was the conversation after pictorial representation of above story-
Reggie: “Hey! What kinda ending is that!!”
Joan: “Jamie! You can’t let the story hanging like that!”
Jamie: “You all really wanna know who’s the murderer?”
The class unanimously said “Yeah!”
Jamie: “You gonna have to read the book…”