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Friday, October 9, 2015

Fatal Appraisal

I poured the diamonds on the counter of Philly Frankie Swanson's jewelry store...

His eyes got as large as saucers...

"Bravo Kevin...Bravo...I knew I could depend on you to get the job done..."he said.

"And your thief, Ralph Black is on a slab in the morgue...Somebody shot him..."I said.

"Hah! Who cares? You got my stones back ...and here is your money..." he said passing me an envelope...

"Thank you boss..It was a pleasure doing business with you."I said and shook his hand..

"Unfortunately Kevin...I am going to be leaving Philadelphia...."he said.

"Leaving Frankie?" I asked..

"Yes...I'm moving out West....Los Angelas...Opening up my own shop..hiring my own staff .." he said..

"Wow Frankie...What did you do, hit the number? How are you all of a sudden so flush?" I asked..

"I've put away a little money over the years Mr. Kevin....I'm ready to make my move."he said.

"Well good for you...When are you leaving?"I said.

"In a few days.."

"Oh...Well good luck man.Come back and visit." I said and shook his hand....

"I will...I will.."he said..

I left and headed towards my car....

All things considered...This was a pretty easy case...But I still had some questions....Questions that needed to be answered...

II-
I knocked on the door of Berks Landsdowne's Townhouse...My wife Sepia was already there and I had come to pick her up.....

Inside I could hear yelling and screaming......

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN?? THIS MUST BE SOME KIND OF MISTAKE??" bellowed Berks Landsdowne...

I opened the door and walked in.....I saw him yelling at a white man with glasses....

''Sir...it's no mistake...I have been appraising jewelry for thirty five years...I come highly recomended and that not only is not the California Diamond...Which I have seen many times on my trips to the West Coast...That's not even a diamond...It's a phony...It's glass..."he said.

"THERE MUST BE SOME KIND OF MISTAKE!!" bellowed Berks Landsdowne..
"Mr. Landsdowne...Is this a bad time?  I can come back." said Sepia...

"No Sugar...you stay right there." he said smiling....He looked up and saw me standing in the foyer and bellowed...

"WHO ARE YOU?"

"I'm Kevin Morris...I'm a private investigator and I'm Mrs. Morris's husband..."I said..

"DO YOU ALWAYS ENTER SOMEONE'S HOUSE WITHOUT AN INVITATION??" he snarled..

"Not usually, but the door was open." I said.

"DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" he bellowed.

"OH YES...AND I DON'T GIVE A DAMN EITHER!!!....UNLIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS CITY,YOU NEITHER FRIGHTEN OR INTIMIDATE ME!" I said...

"WELL....uh, well...Uh...Well Alright then....."he said ,simmering down....Like most bullies...When met with someone unafraid, they usually backed down...

"I'm sorry Berks, but you've been had...This isn't the California Diamond..It's a fraud...Somebody sold you a bill of goods." said the man sontinuing.......He was an Appraiser..and he didn't seem to be frightened or the least bit intimidated by Berks Landsdowne today either...

Berks Landsdowne looked me up and down...

"Private Investigator eh?  You think you can find my diamond? I'll pay you handsomely." he asked.

"Oh...I think I know where it is...I came here to ask you some questions about a guy named Ralph Black.."I said.

"Ralph Black?? Who the hell is that?" he asked..

"You just answered my question..I think I know where your diamond is...I think I understand a whole lot right now.."I said.

"What are you talking about man?" he bellowed...

"I'm going and get it for you...Sepia, you done here?" I asked taking her hand.

''Yes baby."she said.

"Come with me....I want you to call Sissy, tell her where I'll be, tell her to bring a few guys..."I said.

"Where are you going?" asked Berks..

''Don't worry...You'll have your diamond back if I get there in time." I said as Sepia and I left..

He didn't like that I was taking her with me too...but that was just tough...

III-

 Philly Frankie Swanson was busy pouring diamonds into a sack and laughing....

He then pulled out "The California Diamond"...A beautiful orange diamond and dropped that into a sack...

I had noticed a taxi outside his jewelry store that was waiting... I told Sepia to wait outside in the car.  I walked in his store and smiled..

"You know ,That thing is said to be bad luck Frankie."I said.

He was stunned...

"Kevin!!!!...What are you doing here????" he asked..

"It was you all along wasn't it?....You killed Ralph Black....You knew he had your diamonds or should I say Mr.Landsdowne's diamonds all along didn't you?" I said.

"I came back in here to switch out the California Diamond...and discovered that he was in here stealing....He caught me...So I said he could keep the diamonds if he agreed not to mention anything about me switching out the real California Diamond..He agreed....Stupid toad...He had no idea how valuable those stones were that I let him steal and he had no way to move them...So I shot him and dropped him in the river...Then I remembered you....You had come down here to get your wife's ring restored the day after I killed him...and I knew you were a private investigator, a pretty good one..So I hired you to get my stones...Which you did very quickly and expertly I might add.......And now....I'm leaving."he said and pulled out his .22 ,with a silencer..

"You're going to kill me Frankie? How long we been friends?" I asked.


"A long time Kevin...A very long time...but I can't trust you not to tell the police I killed Ralph Black and stole the California Diamond..I worked for this rotten nasty bastard, Berks Landsdowne for five years,five of the worst years of my life...I've had to put up with his insults, his ego, his nastiness...His stinking cologne...Ohhhh... a man with his money buying cologne that smells like urine...Ouuuu...Now ...I've got enough here to never have to work again and I can't let you or anyone stand in my way Kevin."

Before I could make a move...Berks Landsdowne burst through the door...He had a .38 bulldog revolver...

"YOU ROTTEN LOUSY CROOK....I SHOULDA FIRED YOUR INCOMPETANT ASS YEARS AGO!!!" he bellowed and fired a round hitting Frankie in the shoulder....

"ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! SON OF A BEEETCH...I DON'T BELIEVE IT....I'VE BEEN SHOT!!" he screamed and fired three shots from his twenty two..One hit Berks in his shoulder...One hit him in his chest and a third one hit him in his side..

"ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! YOU THIEF!!! YOU SHOT ME!! I DON'T BELIEVE IT...I'VE BEEN SHOT...ARGHHHHHHHH!!!" he screamed...

To my horror, both men fired at each other again........Berks was hit between the eyes..the bullet exited out of the back of his head...He fell to the ground...dead before his portly body hit the ground!!!...Frankie was hit in the forehead...He tossed his gun up in the air and fell against the wall, then slid to the ground....He was also dead!!!

Sepia and the cab driver ran inside the shop...

"Holy Mackerel!!! What the hell happened  in here??" yelled the cabbie...

"Looks like you're not going to get a fare." I said deadpan....

"Ya Think?" he said looking at the two dead bodies....and all the blood.

Sepia ran to me and held me...

"You alright baby?" she said ,kissing me passionately and hugging me...

"Yeah babes...I'm fine.....I'm in better shape than either of them!" I said.

IV-

 Lt. Sissy Van Buren arrived shortly afterwords......She looked at the carnage and shook her head...

''My goodness Kevin...What a mess."she said..

Blood was everywhere... Berks Landsdowne lay face up in a pool of blood by the counter,Frankie Swanson lie slumped in the corner...blood still running out of him...Eight shells scattered around the office floor..

"I was wearing a wire Siss..I got Frankie's confession on tape..he killed Ralph Black and he stole Mr. Landsdowne's diamonds...including that orange one over there...The California Diamond. Before I could even talk him into surrendering, Landsdowne burst into the shop and started blazing away..."I said.

I pointed to the .22 lying by Frankie's body...

"I'm sure you'll get a ballistics match for Ralph Black's murder from this."I said.

Frankie's bag of diamonds had spilled on the floor..On top of them was the beautiful orange California Diamond...

"Look at that Siss, aint it a beauty...Imagine if a guy gave you that?" I said.

"It's beautiful, but I wouldn't accept that...It's cursed ,according to the legend.."she said..

"Yeah"I said staring at the carnage..."It didn't bring either one of these clowns any good luck!" I said.

 The portly body of Berks Landsdowne was removed.......

"I certainly won't miss him. He was nasty and arrogant and obscene.." laughed Sissy...
"Me neither.He tried to hit on me, Even after I told him I was married...He just would not take no for an answer.."said my wife...


"Girl he didn't care about that...He wasn't used to being told no by anybody....Good riddance.."said Sissy...
"Yess!" said Sepia...


I watched as they wheeled Philly Frankie Swanson's body out....

I would miss him....He had been quite a charactor...

I suppose that California Diamond was bad luck for both men who were fighting over it..

EPILOUGE-

 A WEEK LATER-VENICE BEACH, CALIFORNIA-

 Brian Sway sat in the bar with his good friend Paulie...

"Hey Paulie..Remember that rock we boosted for that guy from Philly, Frankie Swanson?" he asked.

"Yeah...The California Diamond..The cursed rock." said Paulie..

"Well it's lived up to it's name....I heard Frankie and the guy who paid us to steal it got to fightin over it and killed each other." said Brian Sway...

"No kiddin?" said Paulie...

"Yeah.... Shot each other to death in the jewelry store...You of thought they was beefin over a broad."laughed Brian Sway.

"So where is the rock now?" asked Paulie.

"It's in San Francisco in the Museum we stole it out of..." said Brian Sway...

"I won't be visitin that joint no time soon...Be just my luck, the day I'm in there the joint catches on fire." said Paulie..

Brian sway busted out laughing and slapped his thigh....

"You got that right....Me neither pallie...Me Neither!" laughed Brian Sway....

FOR SLC

 

9 comments:

James Perkins said...

Great Story all the way around...I really enjoyed this!

Grover The Playboy said...

This was the closest you've come to writing a Kevin story like the original ones...Loved it!

Swaggie said...

With the exception of Sissy and Hazel being in this...This story could have been written in 2010...Great story!

Toni said...

You did it again...Another good story!

Angie B. said...

Epic ending...The shootout in the jewelry store...Loved it!

Sunflower said...

Much mayhem...but a good story overall!

Lisa said...

Loved The entire story!

Halo said...

Epic ending!

Vanessa said...

Cool Story all the way around!