The Iron Writer Challenge #158
2016 Spring Open Challenge #6
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
A Francis Raymond, Charles Scott Edwards Greenberg
Write from the pov of any character in this image.
A Surgeon General Warning
A group of automobiles in for repair
Harry Noyels, Private Eye
C. S. E. Greenberg
“The name’s Harry. Harry P. Noyels, private eye.” I took a long drag on my cigarette, flicking ash at the scandalized nurse making angry eyes in my direction. “I bet you’re wondering how a smart dick like me ended up in this joint.”
“Gee willikers, Mr. Noyels! I sure would like to know how you ended up in the hospital.” The messenger’s adam’s apple bobbed excitedly as he bounced in the vinyl chair.
“Well, it all started with a dame.” I blew a cloud of smoke, and I could see it like it was yesterday again.
“I wasn’t a big time private dick, but I’d started getting the kinds of cases that could make me a player in this two-bit town. She walked into my office; legs like silk, red velvet dress covering a body like a coke bottle, and bright blue eyes like a cool drink of water. I didn’t need the Surgeon General to warn me that this dame was hazardous to my health, but she took my breath away like I was a fat kid with asthma in gym class.”
“What’d she want?” the boy piped up.
“Oh, the usual. She wanted my help with a dirty fink who had her over a barrel about some pictures she’d taken, back when she’d had more youth than sense. He’d told her to meet over at McMurray’s garage, over on Fourth, and to bring dough, the kind of dough she didn’t have. So we head out in my Chevrolet Standard. We get out, me in my black trenchcoat, her in the little red number, and she tells me to be careful. I didn’t need her warning; my spine was tingling like black cats were dancing on my grave. I ease my hand into my pocket, slipping it around my Colt Detective Special. From behind a Dodge steps Ralphie “The Wrecker” Mancone, as I feel a pistol pressed into my back. I felt like a mouse taking a bite of that sweet cheese, only to feel a metal bar crashing on my neck.”
The boy’s eyes widened. “Ralphie the Wrecker? Why was a big boss like him mad at you?”
“I took a case recently; ended up putting a few of his men in the joint. Wasn’t his business, but right then I knew he’d taken it personal. He opened his big mouth, and I shot from the hip. The bullet ripped a hole through my trenchcoat and put the permanent quiet on ol’ Ralphie. I turned, catching the gun of the goon behind me with my left hand before he could pump me full of lead, and shot. Suddenly, I felt the dame coolly put two bullets into my side.” I sighed. “I hate shooting dames. Legs like that don’t come around too often.”
“You’ve told me all I needed to hear, Mister.” He pulled out a Webley, small hands barely holding it, and pointed it at my chest. “Jimmy Two Toes says you don’t shoot bosses.”
The kid’s arms flung wide, as my faithful Detective Special roared and gave him one last message to deliver. I frowned. “They’re starting ‘em young nowadays.”
Early Warning Signs
A. Francis Raymond
Classified addendum to report presented to the Surgeon General following the events of April 23rd, 1937.
“I offer this testimony in addition to the report that was already filed by my colleague, Mark Hastings.
“While all the events leading up to how we wound up in the auto repair shop on the corner of 5th and Main in Newark, NJ are accurate, Mr. Hastings’ report is lacking extended details of our encounter with a Mr. Frederick Masters.
“After confronting us, with a claim that he was on retainer by Philip-Morris, the large cigarette manufacturer, Mr. Masters pulled out a gun. He said that he would receive a large payment if he successfully prevented us from filing our evidence that will lead to the Surgeon General issuing a warning on cigarettes. He claimed that his employer gave him leave to complete their request at his discretion, and that he would be well provided for, including any subsequent legal action that he may need to endure.
“Mr. Masters clearly was not experienced with weapons. My partner was able to disarm him without much of a fuss. I stood next to Mr. Hastings while he turned the tables and had the gun pointed at Mr. Masters’ back.
“It was then that Mr. Masters’ breathing changed. He claimed to suffer from asthma, that he wasn’t a threat, and needed to sit down. Mr. Hastings motioned to the car next to him. It was clearly being stripped down, as it had no wheels, nor any doors. Mr. Masters sat on the edge of the front seat, trying to recover his breath.
“It was obviously a trick. He must have seen the tire iron on the floor of the front seat and had been looking for an excuse to get near it.
“My recollection of the next few moments are still fuzzy; It all happened so fast. The tire iron was in the air, over our heads. I backed up, clearly I wasn’t seen as a threat. Mr. Hastings dropped the gun in their ensuing shuffle. It slid near me. Neither of them saw me pick it up.
“We had guns on the farm where I grew up in south Jersey, which is how I knew how to use it. I was simply trying to get them to stop, but the shot I fired hit Mr. Masters in the chest.
“That’s when we left to call the home office and the cleanup crew came.
“Sir, it is my professional opinion that the manufacturers of cigarettes are getting more desperate every year in their attempts to hold on to their business. This incident should illustrate that fact. I thank you for your support in this time and for allowing me to keep my job. Not many women get to have the interesting career I’ve had. Please release your warning sooner, rather than later.
Signed and dated, May 10th, 1937
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