A Sweet Tooth for Danger

25 Feb

Basking in the midday Chicago sun through the window, I heard the knock on the door. Fingering my revolver, I called them in. In walked a Lyle Pipwell, an elderly tub of blubber whose gray mustache shone with perspiration.

“Ted Hewitt, P.I.?” he called.

“Names are like bathrobes. Don’t wear them out.”

“I need your help Mr. Hewitt,” he quivered. “A man my age has certain needs, you see, and my wife Maureen refuses to let me satisfy them.”

Simultaneously intrigued and repulsed, I kept listening.

“I’ve got a little bit of a sweet tooth, Mr. Hewitt, and Maureen won’t let me indulge in anything. I’ve tried bringing candies into the house and she always just steals them from me. Nowadays, I’m forced to get my fix on the street. I went to the place all my friends from golf go.”

I’m a pretty tough guy to surprise, but this news caught me off guard. I’ve met plenty of drug dealers, murderers, rapists, massage therapists, dog breeders, and the likes in my day as a private investigator, and this was the first I’d heard of any new chocolate ring.

“And that’s not the half of it. The boss, a secretive guy, nobody’s ever seen him, some low life name Mr. W. I got a letter yesterday saying if he didn’t get my money in a week, he’d tell Maureen. God, Mr. Hewitt, I love Maureen. I need your help.”

As much as Lyle’s blabbing disgusted me, I knew I had to crack down on this candy ring. Lyle told me about his personal liaison, a gangly, adolescent who reeked of rotten eggs, a boy by the name of Kenny A. When we met on the corner of Eighth Street, his brown overcoat was blurred by the city smog. I walked up behind him, and whispered to his back, “Lyle sent me.”

“Oh yeah?” he crooned in his vagabond drawl. “What can I getya?”

He covertly peeled open the left side of his coat, revealing a venerable cornucopia of chocolate sweets. Eyeing the candy Mecca, I noticed Easter bunnies and Santas, chocolate shofars and a crisp stack of chocolate-coated egg matzoh.

“Gimme two of them shofars,” I said. As he motioned for the goods, I introduced his left ribs to the butt end of my revolver.

“Woah, man! Cool it! I’m jus’ a middleman,” he gasped.

“Take me to Mr. W.”

“The Tubman coffee shop. It’s a front.” The fear in his uneducated voice was obvious.

The Tubman coffee shop is a quaint little café, one that is unassuming to the casual passerby. I walked in on a rainy Saturday morning.

“Hello sir, what would you like?” called the cashier, wearing a green apron. His eyes were dazed and his hair greasy: tell-tale signs of a recent chocolate binge.

“Take me to Mr. W.,” I asked. The attendant gestured toward an employees only stairwell. I eagerly walked down through the mildew-infested corridor. What I beheld at the landing is one of the most heinous sights I’ve ever seen in my six weeks as a private investigator.

Walls lined with Guylian shells. Cardboard boxes overflowing with Lindt truffles were stacked in the corners. In the center of the room was a red velvet throne with brass rivets and mahogany arms. On it sat Mr. W.

Wearing a plastic crown and a lap full of green army men, sat a boy of no more than eight. Despite his age, he managed to suck all of the cheerful air out of the room. The mere thought of making eye contact gave me the willies, but I spoke up.

“Excuse Mr. W., do you happen to know of a lovely woman named Maureen Pipwell?” I called. He did not even look up from his toys.

“Get him out of here! This guy’s trouble,” he squealed, his childish innocence fading before my eyes. In that time I’d pressed the police alert button in my pocket, and I could already hear the sirens. I smirked and said, “Do you have a spelling test soon? Because I bet you’ll have to know the words extortion, bribery, and drug dealing!”

Later that day, Lyle and Maureen met in my office. They hugged tearfully, as I waited for them to thank me. They finally let each other go and turned toward me.

Maureen started, “Thank you for saving our marriage Inspector Hewitt.”

Lyle chimed in, “I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”

Swelling with pride, I replied, “It was my pleasure. You can wire the money to my Bank of Chicago account.”

I watched the happy couple leave my office, and flopped down in my black leather chair.  I grabbed a cigar from the drawer and lit it up. That’s when the next client walked in.

One Response to “A Sweet Tooth for Danger”

  1. Eli February 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Your welcome… I clicked on the link rather than looking at it in my email. ❤

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