Choking on his drink gave the game away. Harry didn’t have to answer. But it was not entirely the reason for the giveaway, it was how remarkable Al looked like Sidney Greenstreet’s Kasper Gutman in The Maltese Falcon.
Harry had to blink a few times just in case it was his imagination.
“I thought so. How much is she paying you?”
Not the same jolly voice though. Should he expect to see Joe Cairo come out of nowhere to join them/? And while he was making mental notes, the red-haired woman was no Mary Astor.
Should Harry lie, should he try to make money out of this? Or should he turn around, walk out the door, find the woman and give her the money back?
It was clear he wasn’t the first private investigator she had sent to get evidence. Both Al and the red-haired floozy had bemused expressions.
What had Jennifer Jones sent me into?
I sighed. “Not enough, apparently.”
“I’ll double it.”
Predictable. And worrying. “And if I walk away?”
“You’d be a fool.”
But a live fool rather than a dead one. This wasn’t his first time around. “How many before me?”
“What happened to them?”
He shrugged. He wasn’t going to say, and I wasn’t going to ask. Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. This man had thug written all over him.
“Five thousand,” he said.
“Catch my bastard brother with her. One photo. You’ve got three days.”
He gave me a photo and an envelope. He’d obviously been prepared, and if I was not mistaken, this was a trap he had set for his wife, and she’d fallen into it.
“I’m supposed to get a photo of you two together,” I said.
“Of course, but don’t you think if we were in a more compromising position it would be better?”
True. I hadn’t quite thought the implications of the job too closely and realized perhaps it may have been better if I waited for them, followed them home, and got the photo then, of course, if it was possible.
A lesson learned the hard way.
“Don’t worry. There’s nothing between Miriam and I but air. Jen seems to think because we work together, there’s something going on. I suspect she wants to find something on me to cover her own indiscretions.”
He must have seen my rather bewildered expression.
“”I like you, son, which is saying something given how much I hate investigators, police or private. Now, off you go.”
© Charles Heath 2016-2018
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