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Shanghai Sleuth Chapter 1

Shanghai in the 1930s, known as The Wicked Old City of the Orient’s Babylon. Where villains ruled, and exhibitionists danced. A perfect place for a wounded heart like Slade Garrison, PI. Opium was the rage and the booze flowed freely.    

So how did a guy like me end up here? I was a Whiffenpoof (a male Cappella singer) at one time and graduated to misdemeanors before I became a cop. Eventually, I found myself in China after a doomed marriage. Then, after a string of really bad decisions, I found my career cut short as well.    

I was furloughed by the police department. In reality, I was caught with my zipper down, banging the Chief’s wife at his retirement party. It, and a broken nose, became my adieu. I turned in my shield and Smith & Wesson; I kept my backup gun, of course.    

With a bandage across my nose and cotton stuck up my nostrils, along with two black eyes, I knew how opponents of Joe Louis felt after a couple of rounds. I’m not a perfect world but I don’t shit in the street as the crazies do. I’m just a little bit sarcastic and horny as hell.    

Now I’m sleuthing, mostly for missing pets and runaway teenagers. It pays the bills, barely. Because my 1937 coupe was paid for, albeit in need of a new set of tires, I was living cheaply in a room off my office. It wasn’t what one would call luxury. Up three flights of stairs and down a long-forgotten hallway of vacant offices, it wasn’t what one would call, “Putting on the Ritz.”    

I’m an on-again, off-again agnostic, when not in detox. One might say that I am an alcoholic. One might say I am just a fuckin’ drunk. I see myself as somewhere between a Wild Turkey and Four Roses stuck between jobs, reality, and pipe dreams. Knowing my own strengths and weaknesses of opium. At times drifting into the underworld of prostitution’s seediness.    

At the moment, I was on a retainer to find Sadie, a Schnauzer with an attitude, which was missing from my landlord’s menagerie. The little fucker was an ankle biter and I had a pair of argyles with holes to prove it. Also, I think I inherited the mutt’s fleas.    

It was hot in the city and the oscillating fan was just stirring up ashes and dreams as I looked up from the crossword puzzle. There was a beginning of a shadow beneath the office door; the office atop a noodle factory in the steamy garment district adjacent to the bordellos. No one spoke English, including my secretary who had just given me her notice. Leaving with her steno pad and my old Remington typewriter.    

Then a knock. I was thinking it could be my ex looking for her support payment. The door that bore on pebbled glass the following information:    

SUITE 409    

SLADE GARRISON    

PRIVATE DETECTIVE

    What do you think?

    3 Comments

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    1. Ok first off, I like the opening to this story. I also love sleuthing and other things, so I really enjoyed this piece. When will the part two be up?

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