Friday, July 6, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 6

Gun by pixie-meat

[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]

Time and place unknown...

“Pull yourself together Dan. Feeling sorry for yourself ain't going to help matters none," I whispered, soft enough that only gods and the dead could hear.

I leaned down and picked up the only sock of mine that wasn't soaked in blood, then picked up the gun that was on the floor. It was a Colt 45 model M1917 revolver [1], serial number 193224. As I had suspected, it was mine. Its brushed blue carbon steel was cold in my hand. I checked the cylinder; one shot spent and there was black powder residue present in the chamber. No visible prints. I'd have to confirm later once I had my snooper gear. I laid the gun on the bed, and took a whiff of my shooting hand. As I feared, it smelled of gunpowder.

"Damn it Dan, you really done it this time." I’d hoped the gods hadn’t heard that.

Set up? Like hell.

This was an open and shut murder case and as it stood, I was suspect number one. Who was I kidding? I was the only suspect.

I already knew the exit wound was sufficient to have been done by a .45 at close range, so I examined the entry wound. Dead center above the bridge of the nose; a professional job for sure, and I was certainly qualified to fill those shoes, at least in the eyes of the court of law.

This was getting worse for me by the minute.

I strode my naked ass over to the window to have a peak outside. I pulled the heavy curtain back just enough as necessary. Even in the dark you can never tell who might be watching. The flashing neon sign out front read `Liberty Motel.' If it was the dump I was thinking of that meant I was in the south side of Chi-town.

How could I have remembered that and not how I got here, or who that dead broad was?

"What the hell am I doing down here?" I normally try to avoid the south side as much as possible, but then again, I was no stranger either. The window was facing another building. I couldn't tell what it was, probably another dump like this one. There was a terrace with a fire escape leading down to the alley below. It looked to be three or four floors down, and no sign of my jalopy anywhere.


I needed to find out who this broad was, so I strolled over to the center of the room to see if I could find her pocket book. No luck. I searched the drawers of the nightstand. Nothing but an empty pad of paper and a Gideon's Bible.

"That might come in handy," I said with a wily smirk. The humor of it lost without an audience to appreciate the irony.

Thinking about her I.D. made me think of mine. I went over to the pile of clothes soiled with blood and took out my wallet. It was all there: I.D., my old police badge – I wasn't supposed to have that of course, but it was a handy tool to have now and then – and money. A heap of it, at least $150 or more. Much more bread than I normally carried around.

Where the hell did I get this?

If this was a setup, certainly they would have taken the cash. Hell, I would have. That was a lot of cabbage just rotting there.

"This doesn't make any sense," I whispered, shaking my head.

A heavy knock at the door interrupted my reverie.

"Open up – police!"

I recognized that voice anywhere. It was "Big Jim" Bradley. Big Jim was Chief of Detectives of the 23rd Precinct, South side Chicago. One of many reasons I avoided South side.

Shit, just what I needed.

"Open up or we'll kick the door in!"

Jim and I go way back. I wouldn't say we were running buddies though, far from it. He's still bitter about that missing girl case I solved a few years back. Found her decomposing body in the tool shed at the house of one of his lieutenants. Sent one of his best men to the hoosegow [2] for a long time. I sure hoped Big Jim was in a good mood, or I just might be joining him.

[1] I decided to take creative license and change Dan's weapon of choice. In the original story my father describes Dan's gun as a .38 Magnum, which didn't exist in 1927. Dan's gun of choice is now the Colt M1917. In 1927 the M1917 did exist. In fact, it was developed and used primarily by the US Army during WWI.

[2] Hoosegow is a word you rarely hear these days, but was a common term used back in the early part of the 20th century to describe a jail, jailhouse or prison. It's an American slang word derived from the Spanish word "juzgado," which means court or tribunal. It's speculated that the word arose from the Southwest when Mexicans and American cowboys began to mingle, and like many of our words in the American-English language, was bastardized to fit our taste.

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

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