The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 15
by Shane Migliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 15 Jenkins On The Case
He’d underestimated Kitty Allenby. A mistake Phil Jenkins swore not to make a second time. He went back to the office that night a little shaken. Shaken, yet invigorated. He had the feeling. There was something there. That girl was involved in more then having a good time at clubs and drinking. She had secrets bigger then her parents realized. As he trotted home Jenkins became convinced the one that gave him the warning was Kitty’s little sidekick. The Asian girl.
Back at the office he poured himself a drink. The cat vied for his attention with his glass of Whisky. Nearly knocking the bottle over rubbing against it.
“I love you buddy.” Jenkins said between gulps. Taking the bottle out of harm’s way. “But if you spill this, you’re a goner.”
He sat in just his shorts and T-shirt. The suit thrown over a chair. He was happy to be out of the thing. The night had become humid. As he drank, Jenkins decided on his course of action. As much as he hated the idea, he’d lay off for a day. Let them think he’d given up. Then the next day he’d stake out the penthouse again. This time he’d be more discreet. As discreet as he could be.
Pouring another drink, slumped in the chair. He was kicking himself for screwing up. Should have known better, never underestimate the subject. Jenkins hadn’t felt this low since being booted off the force. He down the glass of whisky and filled it up with another shot. No. That had been worse. It hadn’t only been his pride hurt then. His partner, his mentor had been killed. Jenkins knew it was a setup and nobody believed him. Or they knew and used him as a patsy to cover their own asses.
Gulping down another shot, he held up the bottle. Still a bit in there. Good, it was gonna be a long night.
He woke the next morning on the couch. Hungover. Good thing he was taking the day off. He tried going back to sleep. He woke again later to Roxy was making noise in the outer office.
“Have you feed this beast today?” Roxy banged on his door. “Are you alive in there Philly?”
He sat up, rubbing his eyes. The light stinging them. “No. I’m not.” He looked up at the wall clock. His eyes unable to focus yet. “What time is it?”
“Past eleven. You gonna sleep the whole day?”
His head hurt more with every word she spoke. Each syllable a dagger.
“I plan on it. Could you just be quiet.”
She sighed. “Oh your hungover. I should have guessed.”
Roxy made her displeasure known. Slamming a cabinet shut.
“I’ll just feed your little monster here.”
“Good. Good. Just keep it down.” He said, lying back down. Draping a pillow over his face. His brain swimming in a sea of whisky. Even with his eyes closed his head hurt. That would teach him to drink that much.
When he woke one more, Roxy sat at his desk, setting out some Chinese takeout on plates.
“Hungry?” She asked.
Pushing the pillow aside, Jenkins sat up. He wondered what Kitty Allenby was up to today. He hoped to god she didn’t get herself into any trouble while he was taking a day off. If something happened to her, he had the feeling her mother wouldn’t pay the money she’d promised him.
Jenkins stood, earning a snicker from Roxy.
“Nice legs Philly.”
Damn. He’d forgotten he’d taken his pants off last night. Grumbling, he pulled on the wrinkled pair of pants.
He sat down across from Roxy. Sitting on the other side of his desk felt strange. Uncomfortable. Akin to being in the principal’s office.
“Rough enough.” He said, before digging into the food. “Good food.”
“Shouldn’t you be working today? Or did you solve the case already Sherlock?”
She was right. He should be. And he felt lazy for not being out there on the street today. Following the Allenby. It flew in the face of his instincts. Lying low today was for the best. They’d be keeping an eye out for him. They had to think he’d been scared off. It was the best plan he had. Tomorrow he’d be on them again. This time he’d be ready for them.
That night Jenkins had a restful sleep. He got up earlier then usual. Ready to get back to work. He fed the cat before going out. Leaving Roxy a thank you note on her desk. There was a chill in the morning air. His head felt cold. If only he hadn’t lost that hat. When he got paid for this job, he’d buy three damn hats.
He studied the buildings across the street from the penthouse. He needed a good hiding place. Somewhere he could stake out till they came out.
A department store. A large double window in front with mannequins. Giving him a good view of the building and anyone coming or going. Of course the store manager wasn’t just going to let some slob hangout in their fine, upscale store. Jenkins had a ace up his sleeve that might help him out.
Strolling into Basham Brothers Limited he felt everyone’s eyes on him. This early they’d just opened up. There didn’t appear to be any customers yet. An uptight man in a suit that cost more the back rent he owed on the office, approached him. Jenkins could see the man’s disdain written on his face. A pencil thin mustache covering a disproving smirk.
“Are you being served sir?” He asked, sounding as if he’d found Jenkins on the underside of his expensive shoes.
He was going to love this. “Actually, I’m here on business.” Reaching into his coat, Jenkins withdrew a wallet. Quickly flashing a police ID. It wasn’t a real one. He’d had a friend with a…less then legitimate lifestyle make it up for him. The man’s face went slack, white. Giving Phil a warm pleasing sensation in his chest.
The man cleared his throat. “How can I help you detective?”
Perfect. This mook was falling for it. “Well, sir, I’ve got a suspect that lives in that there building. Your store has the perfect view of the joint.”
The man visibly intrigued looked around for any eavesdroppers, before leaning in close. “Are they dangerous?”
Smiling slyly, Jenkins answered. “Very.”
“Oh dear.” He took another look around him. “What shall I tell them?” With a nod, indicating the staff.
“Tell ‘em I’m store security or better yet, some big wig from the home office. Sound good?”
The man thought for a moment. “It should work.”
“Swell. Thanks for the assistance, Mister?”
“Neville. Brent Neville.”
“Thanks Mr. Neville. I’ll make a note in my report of all your help.”
This seemed to make Neville’s day. He smiled proudly as he walked away to inform his staff.
Taking up a position at one side of the large window, nonchalantly leaning against the wall. His watch began. Customers came and went. He ignored them. Jenkins eyes were glued to the penthouse building.
How much time passed before he got something, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was his feet and back hurt from standing there when Allenby’s Asian friend walked out of the lobby.
“Hot damn.” Jenkins said to himself. Good. He had a score to settle with this one. Get the drop on him would she? There wouldn’t be a second time.
He exited the store. Nodding to Neville as he left. It was more excitement then the poor guy was used to no doubt. Phil would have to throw some business the guy’s way. Maybe he’d buy his new hat there.
Jenkins held back, keeping the girl just in sight. Following her from the other side of the street. Hands in his pockets, head down. He followed her to Mid-City. If the girl knew she was being tailed, she didn’t show it.
She stopped in a heavy industrial area. She appeared to be watching the lone tenement building in the neighborhood. This case as getting all sorts of crazy.
Jenkins hid in the shadows of one of the factories. Watching a girl watch a building.
He hoped the Allenby dame was going to pay him a fortune for this one.
Again he was reduced to playing the waiting game. Drumming his fingers on the concrete wall. The factory workers ignored him.
He’d turned his attention to studying the cracked sidewalk for a second, when he looked up again the girl was on the move. Jenkins swore. She was walking back the way she’d come. He hugged the wall. Hiding himself best he could.
A young man stomped by him. The kid didn’t notice him. He appeared to be ticked off. His mind elsewhere. Jenkins lingered there till the girl was well past.
On the move once more. Following a girl following a guy. Luckily she had her attention focused on whoever the guy was. Otherwise Jenkins had the feeling he wouldn’t have been able to make it this far. She’d pulled a nice stunt on him the other night. Slipping in and out of that cab. Getting the drop on him. She was good. No ordinary friend or assistant or whatever she claimed to be.
Their procession ended when the kid she was following, entered a classy looking building. Jenkins ducked in the archway of one of the buildings. Peeking around the corner.
He watched as she crossed the street. Checking out the building. The girl lingered there, perhaps a little too long before leaving. Continuing on down the street. Jenkins keeping his distance. The girl entered a diner. Jenkins slipped into an alley across the street. He could see from his vantage point as the girl entered the phone booth in the diner. The only others in the joint were a waitress and a man behind the counter. Then a curious thing happened. As the girl was in the booth, a man in a nice suit entered. Talking to the man behind the counter. He handed the man something, before ushering him, the waitress and what looked like a cook towards the rear of the diner.
Jenkins got a nasty feeling in his gut. This was an ambush. Reaching into his coat, he he felt the handle of his pistol. His heart racing. Was he really going to do this? He didn’t even know this dame. For all he knew they were up to no good.
The hesitation may have saved him. Five men in masks, lead by another in an all white ensemble moved on the diner. The man in white sending to others around back. In his hands, the man held a nasty looking weapon. A Tommy gun.
Frozen to the spot, Jenkins watched it play out. The man redecorating the diner’s interior with a hail of bullets, before lobbing in a smoke grenade. Agonizing minutes later, the remaining men drag the girl out of the alley next to the diner. A car pulled up and the men loaded the girl into the car.
To his surprise, the car turned around, going a short way down the street. Pulling into the driveway of the building the kid had entered earlier.
Jenkins scratched his stubble covered chin. “What the hell is going here?”
back to Thriller