Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 5

Snuff by O-onoes

[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

Time and place unknown...

I decided the need for quick cash out-weighed any suspicions I might have of Mrs. Gladys, so I took the job. Pretty dames and the devil's currency are every man's weakness. Even a seasoned veteran like myself isn't totally immune to their powers.

We shared a few more drinks and conversation that night, and that's the last I remember of that evening… 


I woke up suddenly to find myself in a small, dark room. The sound of the furnace kicking in woke me from my sleep. My head was pounding, and I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. A red flashing glow was streaming across the bed from the only window in the room, providing some faint lighting. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed a clock on the shelf that read a quarter after six. Was it morning or evening, I thought. Hell, it was hard to tell this time of year, even if I could see outside.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 4

Final Gun by Lucri

[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

1927 - Chicago – West Side – Late Evening [continued...]

That kind of bread could help a man out of debt, this man in particular, but I needed some more information before I went and got myself into something I wasn't prepared for. Gladys seemed overly convinced that her husband had been murdered, yet according to her, the cops saw it as an open and shut suicide case. There had to be more to it than this dame was letting on.

"Before I give you an answer, Mrs. Gladys, I'd like to ask you a few more questions if you don't mind.”  I made sure my eyes were focused on her and not on the wad of cabbage rotting in front of me. Her finely tuned chassis eased my torment.

She nodded while casually exhaling a plume of smoke into the air. "I'll do what I can to help you, Dan," she replied. Although her words sounded promising, her demeanor seemed reluctant.

"Why are the cops dead set on this being a suicide case?"

"They found a note," she said, then took another draw from her gasper. "A suicide note, in his coat pocket."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The United States Constitution: The Man behind the Quill

Madison, James Madison by Vertazontal
James Madison is often sited as the “Father of the Constitution” though, even in his own words, the constitution was not "the off-spring of a single brain," but "the work of many heads and many hands.” It is largely accepted that Pennsylvania representative Gouverneur Morris wrote the preamble and Jacob Shallus, Assistant Clerk to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, actually pinned the United States Constitution. In truth, there were many great men and patriots responsible for the framework of the Constitution, some of which were not even present at the time of its construction; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine chiefly among them.

However, James Madison rightly deserves his title as the “Father of the Constitution.” His in-depth and prolific research prior to the Philadelphia Convention, noted by Historian Douglass Adair, as “probably the most fruitful piece of scholarly research ever carried out by an American,” and his authoring of the Virginia Plan, set the groundwork for what was to become the United States Constitution. Even though Madison exhibited tremendous leadership, organizational skills, and heavily participated in the key debates that would define our country’s finest document, his greatest contribution to the creation and acceptance of the Constitution likely had nothing to do with its construction or authorship.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 3

Flapper 2 by Hyllna
[background] [Part 1] [Part 2]

1927 - Chicago – West Side – Late Evening [continued...]

I had to think about Mary. She was widowed with three hungry mouths to feed. If this dame proved to be a reliable client, I could throw some much-needed cabbage Mary's way, and by the looks of it, this broad wasn't short on cash. I wasn't the type to go around taking wooden nickels, but hell, I didn't have anything else better to do, especially since Jack stood me up. I figured I should at least hear her out.

"Well you're in luck doll. It just so happens you've caught me in good mood," I said, forcing a smile. It was a lie of course. It was more out of desperation than anything else. This broad wasn't the only one who could put up a good front.

"Thank you Mr. Swagger, I was…"

"Uh uh… not so fast doll," I cut her off. "I'm willing to let you punch the bag [1], but on two conditions. First, your name, and second, you remove that squirrel cage so that I can see that pretty puss of yours." I won't lie, I wanted to see if her face matched the rest of her impressive chassis, but that wasn't the only reason. More so, I wanted to see her eyes. You can learn a lot about a person through their eyes. Any dick worth his weight has developed the skill of reading people’s eyes.

She hesitated.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 2

1920s Photo Shoot3 by Jun TAN
[background] [Part 1]

1927 - Chicago – West Side – Late Evening [continued...]

"Thanks doll-face," I said to Lucy, lifting my empty glass in a mock-toasting manner.

"Don't thank me Sparky, I ain't the one trying to swoon you," she quipped.

"And why the hell not?"

"A girl gots to have her standards," she returned with a sly grin and a tilt of her head.

"Ah hell Lucy, you really know how to charm a fella don't `cha?"

Truth be told, I wasn't looking my best that night. Oh sure, I had my on my regulars – a grey suit and black tie, white cotton shirt pressed with heavy starch, and a pair of black patent leather walkers – but I was looking rough. My suit was in need of pressing and cleaning, and my shoes lacked the shine and luster their quality and make demanded. Not to mention I was in desperate need of a bath and a shave; even more reason to be cautious of this broad.

I put out my already smoldering choke stick, grabbed up my newly acquired swill, and sauntered over to the damper-doll, keeping my eyes focused on her getaway sticks. I figured a dame willing to lay down a fair amount of cabbage for a drink for a man ought to buy her a moment of his time at least. Besides, I wanted to find out what this dame was all about. Perhaps my luck was about to change for the better.