"I'm sorry Kevin, this isn't the ruby!" said Karl Tanner. I had called Mr. Tanner and the Atkins Brothers to my office the next day and told them that I had uncovered the ruby they were looking for.. Karl Tanner and Lewis Atkins had shown up....Lewis's brother, Lloyd was surprisingly not present.
Lewis Atkins looked at it and said- "This is colored glass...She probably knew that people were looking for her so she swapped it out.." he said.
"Yes..which brings me to my question... Two hoods, Frank Gillette and his associate, "Smiley" also appear to be looking for this ruby...I've had two unfortunate run ins with them." I said.
Both Karl Tanner and Lewis Atkins seemed surprised....
"I don't believe I know them..." said Karl Tanner...
"I know em...Frank Gillette is a fence....Somebody has offered him a lot of money for that ruby...He must not have it.." said Lewis Atkins..
''What is it about this ruby that is so special?" I asked.
"It's priceless...Why a man like Gillette will take it to New York and get a fortune for it....but it's not his...It's ours...We must have it." said Karl Tanner.
Just what was their game???...Tanner was only displaying it in the museum...and Atkins had it at his store...If he was never going to sell it, then why have it at your jewelry store?? It was really none of my business. My job was just to find it...but those questions did twirl around in my mind!
"Alright gentlemen..I'll go back on the hunt.." I said.
"Thank you Kevin." said Lewis Atkins...
"Yes thank you again." said Karl Tanner..
They both really seemed nervous about something and where was Lloyd???
I met Walter "Kool Kat" Jones at The Mermaid Club......He had called me just as my business with Tanner and Atkins had come to an end...
"Drinkin Early huh big man?" I laughed as we sat down at the bar and had two draft beers...It was mid afternoon.
"Livin good Kev" he said...Then he looked at me sideways...
"What you workin on that's got a player like Frankie Gillette so upset?" he asked.
"Wow, no grass grows under your feet does it Kools? I've been asked to find the Bloodstone Ruby...It was stolen from the Art Museum" I laughed..
"That's how I stay alive. By not letting too much grass grow under these feet!" he said..
I laughed and quaffed my beer and ordered another round for the both of us.
"I heard about this Bloodstone Ruby....It aint nothin but trouble for anybody involved with it...Which brings me to Frank Gillette..He's got a contract out on you." said Kool Kat matter of factly..
''Oh really?" I said.
"Yeah...A guy named Sully Sullerson has taken the contract ,Heard of him?" he said.
''Yeah...Who hasn't? He's a legend!!Sully Sullerson?? The Dean of Philadelphia hitmen. I thought he was dead" I said.
Albert "Sully" Sullerson was an old contract killer and gangster from my father's era..He was a legend....It was said that if Sully Sullerson was after you, you might as well take a gun and kill yourself because he'd get you when you least expected it. It was said that Death itself was afraid of him! I had heard this, but I wasn't impressed or afraid...He was a human being like anyone else.
"Hey how do you know all of this?" I asked.
"I keep my nose to the streets man...it's my business to know...Your wife,Sepia is my friend....I don't want her to be a widow...You not ridin tame anymore...You ridin with me and we wearin vests and carrying heavy." he said.
"Okay Kools..Okay, but I think I got this one." I laughed.
" NO...No you don't...Sully Sullerson is still very much alive and still smooth and deadly..He may already be following you,waiting for the right moment to slither out and kill you...He might use a knife or..a garotte, That's his weapon of choice..He likes to snap necks...it's quiet..no mess ..Or a gun...Don't matter, the man is good. Smooth and deadly." said Kool Kat.
''Guess I should consider it an honor to be stalked by him?" I joked.
"Yeah, You got jokes. That rock you lookin for...Somethin you should know about it." said Kool Kat.
"Yeah? What?" I asked.
"That Bloodstone Ruby belonged to a Free Black man named Samuel Mosely...He said that it was an heirloom that had been in his family since they'd come here from Africa...He was going to donate it and some box connected to the Ruby to the Museum in 1878, the year after the Philadelphia Art Museum opened...Only he was murdered and the Ruby stolen! The Ruby was worthless actually, but it was connected somehow to this treasure chest which was in the basement of the museum....Only thing, nobody knew that at the time.The police found the thief and the likely murderer, A white man named Jack Standings.....He was killed in a gunbattle...The Ruby vanished though...It showed up again in 1930 in New York City....
The Philly Copper who stole it lost it in a crap game and a guy named Wally Palmer , a Black man had it in his posession....He was found strangled in Brooklyn and the Ruby vanished again....It next showed up in the home of Roosevelt Tanner....about 1948, Tanner went mad and wound up in a nursing home....
The ruby was given to his great grandson...Some cat named Karl Tanner and then he lost it in a crap game in 1976....Last I heard, some Black guy named Malik Underwood of New York City...A collector had it...Then ,sometime last year...He lost it..Stolen...Now it's rumored to be here in Philly and you lookin for it." said Kool Kat.
"I'm amazed at you...Knowing all this stuff..." I said giving Kool Kat the side eye and laughing..Karl Tanner is the guy that hired me to find it....He and Lewis Atkins." I said.
"Groovy Lou is mixed up in this?? Oh Hell...He somehow must know about the treasure chest and the link to the Ruby...They want whatever is in that Treasure Chest...See nobody knew where the chest was until now...It's been in the basement of our art museum all this time." said Kool Kat.
"And you know this because?" I said.
"Because people been talkin about that ruby for years...It's supposedly cursed....It's called the Bloodstone.That chest is said to contain millions of dollars in cash and jewelry." said Kool Kat.."When I heard you was lookin for it...I knew I had to come pull your coat. Plus...I read the newspapers." he said.
I looked at my good friend and I smiled, thinking about how much I underestimate him sometimes.
"That and the fact that there is a contract out on me?" I said.
"Sully Sullerson is nobody to play with....He's good..." said Kool Kat.
"Okay man, thanks....We ride together on this...I didn't see this as such a big deal,that's why I didn't call you or any of the other guys." I said.
''When Frankie Gillette, Smiley and Groovy Lou Atkins are involved in a caper....It's a big deal." he said.
"Groovy Lou??" Never knew that you called Lewis that." I laughed...
"He's a jeweler by day...a fence by night...He's a big time playa from the Himalayas." said Kool Kat.
"Okay Kev..I'll wait for you." he said.
The Mermaid Club was a dive where a lot of unsavory cats hung out...but it was kept up very nice...It was clean, new wooden floors...Nice stylish bar, flat screen tv's..the works...Joe Neptune had done a great job with the place....
I finished my business as they say and was washing my hands when the stall door slowly opened...I saw a big hulking figure in a dark suit slither out....before I could turn and dry my hands...the man had a garrotte around my neck and was squeezing hard....It was Sully Sullerson!!!!...an old time playa from back in the day...They say he'd killed more men than he could remember and had only done time once ..A ten year bid for manslaughter!! I'd heard of him, but never met him...I had never planned to meet him like this!
He was my father's age, but strong as hell..He was squeezing the breath out of me and practically lifting me off of the ground...I took what strength I had left and kicked him in his groin as hard as I could...He grunted, but he loosened up his hold just enough for me to elbow him in his jaw, snapping his head back and sending him flying...
I didn't have the time to catch my breath before he was heading toward me....He, like Smiley was silent, didn't waste a lot of time talking..I liked that.
I landed some good lefts and rights to his body, but he was equally good with his hands...he landed some good lefts and rights to mine...I countered and landed some lefts and rights to his face, but he equaled me with some well placed lefts and rights to mine...
What I had in my favor was that he was older and I could feel him getting winded...I cracked him hard in his jaw and saw blood trickle from his mouth...I cracked him again and saw the sweat fly off of his face...I hit him in his stomach and he bent down in obvious pain..I landed some more lefts and rights to his jaw which sent him into the wall...and down on the bathroom floor..He lay there for a minute...still conscious and breathing heavy...I was holding my neck and still gasping for air...
I stumbled out of the restroom, trying to catch my breath and trying to run down the back hall when Sully Sullerson came out with his gun, a .45, drawn and aimed at me...I pulled my .38 smokeless out and spun around..I got down on one knee and aimed...and fired!
Kool Kat stepped into the corridor just then and aimed his .44 magnum at him.. and fired also.We unloaded a total of ten shots into him...He tossed his gun up in the air and jerked furiously...then he fell up against the wall...He looked at me, then he looked at Kool Kat....Stunned! He managed a weak smile, then fell to the ground with a thud...
"Ugggggggghh...I-I-I don't believe it...I've been.....shot! Awww lawd...I sho done stepped into it now...you young niggaz done killed me..ohhhhhhhhh..lawdddddd." he moaned as he fell dead to the ground...Now he finally says something. His hot pistol by his side.. and his garrotte too..In all that comotion , not one person walked into that back hall and with all of the noise in the bar...It appeared that nobody heard the shooting.
"You were taking too long...I figured something was up." said Kool Kat...
"Good Lookin out buddy." I said...Kool Kat nodded his head, took his dark shades off.
Joe Neptune came running back into the hallway.....
"Oh My God... Oh My God...That's Sully Sullerson!!!!!." he said.
"He tried to kill me." I said, holding my neck....
"No Doubt...That's what he does..." said Joe..
"Kevin, Kool Kat...Get out of here...I'll have some of my guys dispose of his body....It's all good." said Joe Neptune, the head bartender and owner of the Mermaid Club.
"Thanks Joe." I said.
"Man...He was one of the classics....Classic hitman...Guess he hung around in this game too long." said Joe Neptune.
"Yeah man, they don't make em like Sully anymore.A real gentleman,you know?" said Kool Kat.
" Yeah...Tipped well, always courteous.. You'd never know what he did for a livin..I didn't even see him come in here."said Joe.
"That's how he was man...Smooth and Deadly..He'd get a contract and immediately start shadowin a guy and before the guy knew it..He was dead." said Kool Kat.
"Yeah man...real quiet..clean.." said Joe Neptune.
I was standing there amazed at this mutual admiration society for a man who had just tried to kill me. A man who had killed so many people, he couldn't even remember the total..A psychopath!!!! I just shook my head...
"I guess I should be honored." I said sarcastically.
"Kev man, the guy was an artist...Top of his profession."said Kool Kat..
"Yeah man..You took down one of the greats." said Joe Neptune.
I shook my head..
''Wow...Does that mean I'll be on the cover of Sports Illustrated next week?" I said.
''Come on man, I'm taking you home." Laughed Kool Kat.
"I love ending a day like this..." I said...
"I do too...Guess you closed that case huh?" she said. I forgot that I hadn't seen her in a couple of hours..
"Nah, the girl palmed a fake one off on me...I'm still huntin..." I said.
"Those two goons give you any trouble?" she asked.
"Nah...They're probably some place pissed off and mad." I said.
I rolled her over on the bed and pulled her nightie off... She slipped my pajama bottoms down...
"Ummmmm, enough shop talk" I said.
''I second that." cooed Sepia as I gently entered her and began to move slowly and softly inside her warmness and wetness...
"Ouuuuu baby this feels soooo good." she moaned as my thrusts began to get faster and harder...
"Yessss...Yesssssssssssss." I moaned as the bed began to squeak and the headboard began to softly bang against the wall...
"Ouuuuuuuuuu baby,I love you soooo much...ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." she cooed..
We made sweet love like that for hours...both of us coming together and falling asleep in each others arms...
The nude body of Albert "Sully" Sullerson was found floating in the river the next morning.. The police ruled it a mob hit!
(Definitely To Be Continued...)