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Author Topic: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]  (Read 1565 times)

LuckyDee

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The sun has long set on Ashburn, the so-called Pearl of Lake Michigan, on a Sunday night in early June. As usual, though, this means the lights in the office of Saul Bernstein, attorney at law, are exuding a pleasant glow that bathes his office in warm tones contrasting the dark streets outside. With the gramophone softly adding to the melancholy of the last days of spring, the inevitable summer looming over the young metropolis with a shadow that always seems to fun deeper than one might expect, the evening could almost be called perfect. To Saul it is, anyway. Ever since losing his wife to an unfortunate traffic accident so many months ago, he's content with these weekly evenings with his neighbors, sipping cognac or whisky and sharing his treasured Cubans - mixed with the soft jazz they go down so well that he may almost forget how much he misses listening to the sound of Elaine's breathing on mildly stifling nights likes this one. But the more the Light giveth...

He has come too far to let this bother him too much anymore. At least for the time being, he has Desmond and James to keep him company, and with their offices-cum-living quarters all situated on the same floor of the same building on East 23rd Street, it has been easy enough to fill the void of her absence with their company. A little bribery of the intoxicating kind helped grease the wheels, sure enough, but to Saul it's a small price to pay, at least for the time being.


"So," he says in his gravelly voice, further enhanced by smoke and alcohol, "what's been keeping you two busy, if I may ask? The Light knows I love to listen to myself talk, but I didn't get to where I am now by neglecting to listen every once in a while." He smirks to himself, staring into the middle distance for a second or two, after which his gaze falls upon his guests again, genuinely interested.
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dragonfly

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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2017, 00:58 »

James didn't share that thought. He'd be quite happy to let Saul chat away this warm evening. He took one more sip of whisky and said in a quiet voice. "Well sir, I've been keeping myself busy mostly. I've fixed Mrs Robinson's radio and I'm trying to find a steady job. But you know how it is..." The sentence trails off and for a few moments the quiet tones of Jazz fill the room. James stares at his feet. "But if any of you knows something I can help out with, I'm willing to give it a try. And Desmond, what have you been up to?" He asks, finally diverting attention away from him.    
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2017, 07:03 »

"Me?  Nothing much, just closing up that last case involving that guy who made off with a mistress who happened to be some low-level gangster's wife," Desmond replied in a somewhat sardonic manner.  Saul was not his best friend by a mile, but that man sure had that class that he felt he needed after running through the low-life for too long.  Besides, that man has a generous stock of cognac and sometimes would even offer some jobs.

"What about you Saul?  What's keeping you up at night these days?"  Desmond peered at Saul carefully, trying to divine what he was going to say before he did.
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LuckyDee

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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 14:30 »

"My bladder, mostly," he replies with a stern face. As is usually the case, though, he can't resist laughing at his own joke for very long, and the familiar wheezing sound that signifies his merriment soon fills the room. When it subsides again, he resumes "Fortunately, most of the bones they still find fit to throw me aren't much to lose any sleep over. At least, after everything I've seen and heard in my long years of service, things tend to stop surprising you too much. For a youngster like you -" he says, and points to James, "- and I've told you before to stop calling me "Sir", before I start feeling as old as I am - for a youngster like you, there might still be enough in them to start eating at you. You won't wake up screaming in the middle of the night, or even lose any sleep over them, but you'll be dragging their weight around without realizing. And before you know it, you'll have grown older - too old for your mortal coil to betray. Some people can't take too many stories. I'm not saying you're one of those, but the Light knows I wouldn't want to be held accountable for the drain on your spirit that tales of human depravity might inflict."

He sits back in his chair again, having leaned into James during his short monologue, the slightly evil look in his eyes fading again. He lets out a deep sigh. "Sorry for that. I think I'd do well to turn in after this one," he says, peering into what's left of his drink. "I respect you, son. You're a good kid. Sometimes I worry for those that have yet to be tarnished by the extent of human cruelty. Take Desmond on the other hand," he says with a short laugh, "he seems to have made the extent of human cruelty his life. You wouldn't believe the number of times it has already knocked on his door."

And at that moment, you hear a knocking sound - not on Saul's office door, but on one a little down the hall, which could only mean either of yours.

Saul tries to stare straight through his own door, utterly baffled.
"Well, I'll be."
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 00:35 »

"Blechh," Desmond said as he stood up, putting down the snifter of cognac carefully on the table.  "I'd best be checking it out.  I wasn't expecting anyone to be wanting that report till tomorrow, but you know how some people are when their wives are out running around with other people."

Desmond walked briskly towards Saul's office door and threw it open boldly.
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 06:24 »

"It's probably not for me." James thinks while he curiously peers over Desmonds shoulder into the hallway.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 06:28 by dragonfly »
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LuckyDee

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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2017, 14:02 »

As the door leading from Saul's office onto the hallway swings open, the visitor indeed turns out to be standing at Desmond's door. Contrary to his implication though, this one is of the female persuasion. As she turns her head in your direction, obviously startled, her eyes initially stop at Desmond, standing in the doorway. "I... Excuse me... I just..." she starts off stuttering. As she speaks, her eyes fall upon the interior of Saul's office, where both James and Saul are trying hard to mask their curiosity - the former evidently more successful than the latter. As her eyes meet James', they widen considerably. "James? James, is that really you?" The young woman looks pretty haggard, so much so as to hinder immediate recognition, but her husky voice quickly completes the puzzle for you, James: it's your cousin Betty, the youngest girl of your father's elder brother. Last time you've seen her was at her wedding, two or three years ago, and you haven't been in touch much before nor after. The moment her observation truly lands, she bursts into tears and almost launches herself at Saul's doorway, in your direction.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 01:10 by LuckyDee »
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 02:53 »

James startles. "Betty? Is that really you? Why... I haven't seen you in years. How's the married life suiting you?" He takes a step forward, crowding the doorway. He sees his cousin standing in front of  Desmonds office and then realisation hits him. "You weren't looking for me at all were you? We're you looking for Desmond? Are you in some kind of trouble? I'm sure Desmond can help you though." James is switching glances from Betty to Desmond and back.   
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LuckyDee

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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2017, 08:09 »

The young woman all but rushes towards James, tears starting their downward path across her smooth skin and her red hair bounding its way around her head. She slips past Desmond and collapses into her cousin's arms, flinging her own around his shoulders. That's where she stays for a couple of moments, sobbing. Then she raises her face towards James' and says "It's Jack - her husband, to the best of James' knowledge - he's gone!" Again she lowers her head onto James' chest, and now the sobs turn into full-fledged moans.
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2017, 08:29 »

"Now, now, I know this is hard," Desmond started, his air turning professional in an instant. "But can you try to start from the beginning?"

Desmond drags the chair he was sitting on and gestures towards James to guide her into it.

"I can't be of help if I have nothing to go on, right James?"
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2017, 02:10 »

"Right you are Desmond!"James gratefully looks at Desmond and slowly walks Betty to the chair. "Take a seat Betty, how about I'll get you a glass of water and then you tell Desmond and me about Jack." James walks to the kitchen and fills a glass with tap water. He hands Betty the glass of water and then looks at Saul and start apologetically: "I'm sorry Sir... I mean, Saul! I hope we don't inconvenience you too much. You see, this is Betty, my cousin and she would be here if it wasn't important..."
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LuckyDee

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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2017, 13:20 »

At this point, Saul seems to regain his senses. "I, er... sure, be my guest!" he starts, a little flustered. "But  imagine Miss Betty might prefer a more... secluded atmosphere in which to elaborate on her... situation."
Betty, meanwhile, seems to have a little trouble taking it all in. She takes the glass of water and proceeds to just stand around, dumbfounded. Her mouth opens and closes again, two, three times, before she can manage in a subdued voice
"You were right, James. I did come to see Mister Desmond. But I'm glad I found you here." A wry but sincere smile crosses her features at that. She looks from Desmond to James and back again as she asks "Could we...?" and looks back towards the hallway.
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2017, 08:11 »

James looks at Betty, Desmond and finally his gaze settles on Saul. He shifts his balance and gestures awkwardly to the hallway. "Saul, it looks like we have an early close to our little get together. I hope you don't mind... Desmond, would you mind opening up your office even though it is late. Betty you can stay the night at my place. That is, if you don't have anywhere else to stay?" 
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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 10:27 »

"Why, of course!"  Desmond said, ever the professional when it comes to being a private investigator.  He looks at James, then at Betty, before stealing a glance at Saul, who just shrugged his shoulders.

Desmond walks confidently through the hallway towards his office, unlocks the door, and flicks the light switch, his eyes darting quickly through the room -- it was a habit that he had found useful for the many years of operation he had.  Satisfied with what he [didn't] see, he strides back to Saul's office and, stood at the door frame itself, and addressed both Betty and James.


"Miss... Betty, would you kindly allow James to escort you to my office?"
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LuckyDee

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Re: Hunter's Moon - The Case of the Wayard Spouse [IC]
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2017, 12:33 »

At that, Betty detaches herself from James' embrace and, hanging her head, makes her way to Desmond's office. Saul gets up from his seat - the ravages of age slowly starting to show in his movements - to close the door behind you, and nods the both of you goodbye.

As you reach the neighboring office, Betty slumps down into one of the chairs, almost appearing catatonic. Then after a couple of seconds, as the both of you are taking position she starts talking in a subdued, slightly monotonous voice, still staring into the middle distance:
"A little over a year ago, Hank landed a job at Hughes & Romanov. It was a junior position, but we were over the moon - they're a law firm dealing in tax legislation and from what he told me their star had been on the rise for a couple of years. And it seemed he was right: before long we could afford a move from the shabby apartment in Brunswick to Elysium," - definitely an upgrade in terms of neighborhood - "to a house the size our parents could have only dreamed of. We had it all planned out; he would have his den, I my conservatory and we'd still have rooms to spare for the children we'd always wanted. He started putting in a lot of extra hours at work - he always said he want to make sure we got what was coming to us. He just seemed so happy with it all."

She pauses to grab her cigarettes from her purse and lights one with a hand that softly trembles, belying her apparent composure. Tilting back her head and exhaling a large plume of smoke towards the ceiling, she continues: "His hard work started paying off soon enough, too. He was promoted twice well within that first year and he seemed to grow with each instance. Of course, this meant even more hours and more effort and I got to see less and less of him, but it didn't matter. When we were together, it all made sense. His love for me was growing with him - I could feel it in every fiber of my being - and I could only reciprocate. Those moments more than made up for the time we lost when he was immersed in the cases they fed him."

She allows the memories of better times to distract her for a moment, but it doesn't last long. After a few breaths her face contorts and the calm leaves her again. "And now there's this to tell me I've been wrong all this time!" she exclaims as she reaches into her handbag and slaps a piece of paper on the desk.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 12:45 by LuckyDee »
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