Here is the short story that began it all; once I wrote this story the world of Jacob Mallory and Pine Bluff Missouri was born. This could have very well ended the Jacob Mallory saga, but the next chapter propels him into a world he is somewhat unready for.
The early morning light sat just under the horizon, waiting for the chance to protect the innocent from all the creatures of the night. Jacob sat at his computer desk waiting as well, but not to protect. He knew that the information he possessed would hurt people. The name that he held in his head wasn’t important to a lot of people, but there were some who wanted it bad enough to pay for it. And Jacob had found himself in the business of selling it.
He was relaxed, well as relaxed as a man who was about to either meet his maker or double cross the most feared crime boss in the city out of a lot of money could be. He sat, sinking into his black English leather chair, the only expensive piece of furniture in the room, but his mind remained tense as he concentrated intently on the baby blue and yellow walls, painted that color not by his choice, but because the room, at one time, had been a day care for the law offices that once occupied this building. Now it had become home to a few artsy new age shops on the ground floor and a café, which made his office smell like bagels and chocolaty mint coffee.
The second floor held mainly dot com offices, which in the past few years have become more and more extinct. The only businesses on the second floor making any money were the two porn sites that sat at the end of the hallway, just beneath his office, which gave him the benefit of hearing sex all day and night.
Jacob Mallory Private Detective Agency sat nestled at the end of the hallway on the third floor, his little slice of heaven. The floor empty except for his small cramped quarters, which he took not for the sex sounds, but because it was the cheapest and it was the cheapest because it sat the furthest from the elevator, which he didn’t mind the walk, and his only view of the city was of a brick wall and an alley that had become the home to junkies and drunks sleeping off a bad night and a few homeless kids that thought life would be better prostituting themselves for ten dollar blow jobs than to stay at home and live by mom and dad’s rules. Teenagers never know how good they have it.
Jacob liked to keep things simple, the only thing in his little slice of heaven, except for the chair and computer, was a cheap oak desk that he picked up at goodwill and paid one of the homeless teenagers, Mike, twenty bucks to help get it up the three flights of stairs. Jacob figured since he was screwing the kid he would give him his going rate. Mike had been the same young man that pointed out to Jacob a couple of mornings ago that he had spotted a man asleep next to the dumpster at the end of the alley, come to find out the man wasn‘t asleep but instead dead. Jacob figured he had more than likely overdosed on heroin sometime in the night. Jacob called the police for Mike because he didn’t want to them find out about his little business he was running out of the abandoned building next door. Somehow Jacob suspected they already knew, but the police never showed up to retrieve the body so Jacob had to get rid of it himself.
Oh, and also on the desk beside the computer sat a picture, a small one, but it was there, of his ex-wife Rachel and his daughter when she was a small baby. Maggie was almost five now, my God, has it been that long since I saw her last, he thought. Oh, well she doesn’t need a father like me in her life anyway. He hasn’t even talked to her in months. Rachel says that he should come home and see her but being a P. I. and catching cheating spouses and bail jumpers doesn’t tend to be a nine to fiver. Now he probably won’t have a chance to see them again.
Deep down he knew leaving them would be for the best. Being a private detective isn’t the life for a family man, but he tried because it was all he knew. After being kicked off of the force for using “unconventional methods”, that’s what the captain called it, Jacob put his skills to better use, breaking fingers was never that hard for him, I can live with the pain, its not mine. But when Andre comes tonight, if he is careful, all that could change. He could be a new man.
Andre’s limo pulled to a stop in front of the boy hookers building. The unbearable smell of the urine and feces wafted through the cold night and invaded his nostrils forcing him to raise his silk handkerchief to cover his delicate nose. His alligator skin shoes hit the pavement of the street as if it were the alligator sliding into the swamp, his long mink coat flowed down and its bottom stopping just short of the putrid street hanging at his ankles. A little over six foot and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle he was dominate yet refined. His skin glistened in the street lights like dark chocolate, his eyes dark and deep, his face long and narrow and he looked as though he should be on the cover of GQ, not a baby killer.
The road and the sidewalk were covered in slushy black snow and the air frigid. Andre found it amazing that people on the streets could still make a living in ten degree weather. Sex knows no bounds, he thought.
As he made his way up the stairs and down the hallway to Jacobs office he could feel a sense of dread, something was going on, he just couldn’t put his finger on it. Something was telling him that it had been a bad idea to come alone like Jacob had asked, but he needed the name and was in no position to bargain. Even as powerful as he was.
As he grew closer to the door he could see Jacob pacing in front of his desk, his office door open. He reached into his coat pocket before he got to the door and began feeling for something. Then he stopped, pulling it out into the light of the hallway, he tapped the envelope on the glass window of the door.
Jacob’s eyes locked on the envelope that Andre tapped on the door. Good, things are going as planned.
“Is that the..” he paused, “The money?”
“Yes,” Andre looked Jacob in the eyes.
Jacob could feel his eyes dart back and forth from the envelope to Andre. He could feel the sweat bead on his forehead and his hand began to tremble.
“That doesn’t look big enough to hold a million dollars,” Jacob said with skepticism. “Because I’m not giving you the name without the money, deal’s a deal.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Mallory, it’s all here. It’s a bank account number set up under aliases. You do your part and the account is yours to do with as you please. Name please.”
“I would like to check the account if you don’t mind,” He took the envelope from Andre’s hand.
“By all means, just hurry I have things to do tonight.” Jacob punched a few numbers into the computer and there it was, a bank in an offshore account with one million dollars in it. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a number that he had written down and tucked in his wallet. He punched in the numbers and hit transfer. The amount went from one million to zero in a matter of seconds. Jacob was a millionaire for a minute at least.
“Are we ready then, my trial starts tomorrow and I’d like to get this taken care of, ya’mean?” He said.
“Sure.” Andre was about to stand trail for the drive by shooting of a little girl on the south side of town, she wasn’t the target but she died non-the-less. Andre wanted the name of the only witness that identified him as the shooter, the prosecution had asked that his name not be revealed until the trail because they felt that his life might be in danger.
Jacob walked behind the desk and slowly opened the drawer, in it lay a piece of paper with a name on it and next to the paper a silver snub nosed .38 which he always carried, and a tan wallet. He slowly slid the gun into his pocket and then pulled out the paper. When Jacob looked up he found himself not only staring into the eyes of a killer but down the barrel of a 9mm. I had a feeling this was going to happen.
“You can put the gun down, Andre.” He said calmly, barely able to move with the vest on under his shirt. I hope it’s a body shot.
One shot to the chest, not dead, but it still hurt like hell. He laid there like he couldn’t move, the fact was that he hadn’t tried, he might not have been able to. He began to hear footsteps until he felt Andre standing over him. Andre reached down and picked up the paper that still lay in Jacob’s hand.
He opened it up and read it. Jacob felt a little laughter building as he looked at Andre’s face as he read the name on the paper.
“I will take the real name to my grave.” He dropped the paper and aimed at Jacob again, but this time Andre noticed that he had the snub nose pointed at him.
He double tapped Andre in the chest and blood flew onto the baby blue walls behind him as he stumbled back a few steps and fell like a tree falling from a lumberjacks axe onto the floor.
Jacob rose to his feet and begun the next phase of his plan. He pulled the dead body out of the closet, put the Kevlar on him and laid him in Jacob’s place on the floor. It had been a good thing the cops never came to get the body. He picked up Andre’s gun and shot the man in the neck and replaced Andre’s gun on the floor by his body and placed the snub nose in the homeless mans hand. He casually walked back to the desk and took out the tan wallet with the mans I.D. He tossed a match into a wastepaper basket next to the desk and watched it smolder for a minute before Jacob walked out the door of the office.
Jacob walked down the wet sidewalk away from the burning building a new man. His only thought was I wonder what Maggie would like her new daddy to bring her.