The Apprentice With A GlockOctober 2, 2018
Nursing a beer in his favorite dive bar on an early Tuesday night, Adam McGinley was caught up in the latest Ken Bruen novel and failed to notice he had company.
“Excuse me? I said, ‘Would you like to buy me a drink?’”
“Hey, get outta here, Candy,” yelled the bartender. “What’d I tell ya about botherin’ the customers?”
“Yo, Eddie, lighten up,” said Adam. “I can take care of myself; give her what she wants.”
While Eddie was grumbling and making her drink, Adam’s guest reached out to gather up the bills Adam had put on the rail for tips.
“Leave that,” Adam said, grabbing her wrist. “Let’s have a few drinks and talk; I’ll give ya a few bucks when ya decide to move on.”
Eddie set the drink in front of Candy and gave her the stink-eye.
Candy, if that was really her name, drank it down in three quick gulps. “Okay, I’m leavin’; where’s my money?”
Adam took a five out of his wallet and handed it to her.
“That’s it? Five bucks?”
“Five bucks,” Adam said. “You were here for all of five minutes, tops. Works out to be about sixty bucks an hour. Plus the drink. Hey, it’s been fun.”
Eddie gave Adam an “I told ya so” smirk and busied himself cleaning glasses.
As Candy stomped out, Adam put a buck on the tip pile and ordered another IPA.
Adam McGinley loved the Jack Taylor character in Ken Bruen’s Galway, Ireland, books. Jack Taylor was everything Adam wasn’t — tough, fearless, and though ugly as hell, attractive to women.
Adam ran his own private detective agency out of a small office in a walk-up in the South Bronx. Most of his business was following wayward wives or husbands, getting some candid shots, turning them over to the aggrieved party, and collecting his fee.
“You’re awfully easy to sneak up on.”
Adam looked up from the copy of the police report he had been reading to find Candy standing in front of his desk.
“Eddie told me who you were and I found your office all by myself,” she said.
“Well, I’m in the book, if anybody still uses phone books, so finding me hopefully wasn’t that hard. I like it that clients can find me without too much trouble.”
“Oh, I’m not a client,” said Candy. “I’m lookin’ for a job.”
Adam stared at her. “A job? Here? Workin’ for me?”
“Yeah, I’m good at gettin’ people talkin’ and stuff. You wouldn’t believe what men will tell me when we’re, ya know, in bed…, talkin’.”
Adam did the staring thing again. He was thinking that though Candy was definitely a gum chewer, she was kinda cute. And she was aggressive; he liked that.
“Sorry, I work by myself; I don’t have enough income to afford paid staff.”
“I could work on commission,” said Candy. “Ya know, you’d only pay me if my information helped you solve a case.”
“Ya know anything about computers?” Adam asked. “E-mail, WORD docs…, ya know how to use a computer to find people?”
“Everybody knows that stuff, silly,” said Candy. “Hell, I found you, didn’t I?”
“Here, take a look at this report,” said Adam. “I need to find all three of the dirtbags listed as “Persons of Interest.” I’m gonna go get us some lunch. If you’re still here when I get back and you haven’t stolen anything, I’ll give ya a trial run. Okay?”
“Yes, sir,” said Candy, giving Adam a jaunty salute. “We should know just where they are by the time you get back.
A half-hour later Adam came back with coffees and sandwiches to find Candy gone. A quick check in the drawers that weren’t locked told him the only thing missing was the police report.
“Well, so much for that,” he said opening his lunch.
“So much for what?”
Adam jumped and spilled some of his coffee. Candy had once again materialized two feet from his face.
“I’m gonna have to tie a bell on you,” he said. “Where ya been?”
“I looked at these names and recognized two of ‘em,” said Candy. “Ya do know guys like this aren’t gonna have Facebook pages or Wikipedia bios, right?
“Like you said, they’re dirtbags. So I went to a friend of mine, told him I was working part-time for some extra cash and needed to find these guys. He made a couple of calls and gave me the names of three bars they hang out at.”
“Seriously? You did that in a half hour?”
“So, do I get the job?”
“If this info pans out, you get that trial run. Let’s have lunch.”
“So, your files are mostly filled with cheating spouses,” said Candy. “Why are you interested in an armed robbery?”
“Two of the guys, Suggs and Martens, robbed an old man who has a newspaper stand on Sedgwick Avenue,” said Adam. “They pistol whipped the guy and left him for dead. I don’t know what the cops want the third guy for, Bobby Schultz, but if they’re interested in him, I’m interested.”
“So, this old guy a friend of yours, or what?”
“I’ve been gettin’ my morning paper and coffee from him for years. Before I quit, I used to buy my cigarettes from him too. He’s a decent guy; he shouldn’t have gotten hurt. His stand is closed, and he may not ever recover enough to reopen it.”
“So, where’s the money in this case?” asked Candy.
“He has two grown sons; one in Madison, Wisconsin, and one in Topeka, Kansas. I met them when I was visiting their dad in the hospital. They didn’t think the police were probably going to give this incident the time it could use, so they asked me to see what I could find out.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way,” said Candy, “But this case could be a lot more dangerous than your usual Kodak Moment gigs. Are we up for this?”
“Yeah, you and me,” said Candy. “Do you have a piece? There’s a good chance you might need one. I’d like one too if ya have an extra.”
“You’re really somethin’, ya know that?” said Adam.
“Yes, I am, and yes, I do,” said Candy with a smile. “Let’s go hit a few bars. Bring some cash.”
The first bar was a bust. Adam and Candy each nursed a drink for a bit, but after an hour, they left to check out bar number two.
“That’s Suggs and Martens in the booth in the back,” said Candy. “Lets us just sit at the bar and figure out a plan.”
This time Adam had a couple of beers and Candy three whiskey sours. They had kicked around a few ideas as to what to do next but kept coming back to just calling the cops.
“I’d like to wait and see if Bobby Schultz shows,” said Adam. “I’m gonna go to the men’s room. If one of them follows me, just stay here and keep an eye on the other one. If they both head for the men’s, together or separately, then go ahead and call the cops.”
“Got it, my captain,” said Candy.
Candy sat at the bar thinking how a chance meeting had sent her life in a new direction. She liked Adam and thought maybe he liked her.
Coming out of her drink induced reverie she slammed her fist on the bar. “Adam! Damn, he shoulda been back by now!”
She glanced in the mirror behind the bar in time to see Suggs heading for the front door. Looking down the hallway that lead to the men’s, she saw Martens poke his head out the door and look both ways like he was checking to see if the coast was clear.
Candy decided to follow Suggs. She left the bar and saw him get into a late model sedan. He drove a half block and then turned into an alley that most likely led to the bar’s back door.
Adam woke up in the trunk of a car, his head resting on a cinder block. He remembered going into the restroom and then somebody had hit him on the head from behind.
“Candy set me up,” he said to himself. “What was I thinking?”
The car was moving slowly so Adam thought they must still be in the downtown or else getting near their destination. A couple of times he thought he heard the sound of river traffic.
“That’s not good,” he muttered. “I may be headed for a swim in the East River.”
What would Jack Taylor do?
The car stopped, and Adam heard two doors slam.
“Come on, Suggs; let’s get this done,” said one of the men. Adam thought it was probably Martens.
“Wait a second,” said Suggs. “There’s a cab comin’ this way. Let’s let them move on.”
The cab stopped, and its headlights shone brightly into the dark, secluded spot. Suggs and Martens shielded their eyes in an attempt to see who got out of the car.
Candy walked up to them, Glock in hand, and promptly shot them both in the legs before they could draw their own weapons.
“Shit, shit, shit, that hurts! What the hell ya doin’,” yelled Suggs, collapsing onto the trunk of the car, keys in hand.
Suggs only had a minor flesh wound, but Martens had been hurt more seriously, and he fell to the ground groaning, probably going into shock.
The cab did a quick U-turn and took off back into the city.
“Open the trunk, Suggs, or I’ll shoot you again and open it myself,” said Candy.
Suggs and Martens were now both on the ground with their hands behind their backs.
“I hear sirens; the cabbie must have called the cops for us,” said Candy. “Let me do the talkin’, okay? I know some of those guys.”
“How did you get a New York City cabbie to follow a car to the East River at night?” said Adam.
“Well, he turned down my offer of a big tip, so I had to introduce him to Mr. Glock,” said Candy.
Adam stepped closer to Candy and kissed her. “You saved my life, you wild woman.”
Candy moved in and kissed him back—hard. “So, do I get the job, or what?”
“You’ve got the job. I’m thinking you’re more Jack Taylor than I’ll ever be.”
“Sounds good. But who the hell’s Jack Taylor?”
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Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction published recently in Black Petals, Yellow Mama, Theme of Absence, Near To the Knuckle, Bewildering Stories, Flash Fiction Press, The Story Shack, Spelk, Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Roy is currently the submissions editor at Yahara Prairie Lights, which puts him in the enviable position of sometimes being able to accept his own work. That site is at yaharaprairie.wordpress.com