If Roger had been my first born, he would have been an only child (sigh). He’s always had his own way of doing things, which is fine—but he was always looking for an angle, too, which wasn’t. Once, when he was ten, I told him he could not go out and play with his friends until his homework was done. Half hour later, I heard voices inside the house. When his father and I went to check, Roger had his friends inside his bedroom, and one of them was doing his homework for him, at which time he pointed out that I said he couldn’t go out but never said that they couldn’t come in. And apparently I didn’t explicitly say how the homework was to get done. Do you see why he would have made a good lawyer? I spend a lot of time praying for that boy and his father—may he rest in peace—well, he spent a lot of time shaking just his head.
Then Roger went and married that Sheraline woman. It always struck me that there was more to that one than meets the eye but he was besotted and she did have good child-
But for now, this private investigation thing seems to make him happy so I guess there’s nothing I can do but keep praying he stays out of trouble. Thankfully, yesterday he said that his next client is in Holetown—the West Coast!—so it must be someone fairly elite. I mean, the
(Look for ‘No Damn Good’)
I was hired to handle the paper work and as office security. Petite womendon’t look particularly intimidating but that’s the whole point. In just the first few weeks, though, I realized that my job at Good Investigations included making sure we weren't evicted or that the electricity wasn’t cut off.
I don’t understand my boss. He finds missing property, gets corrupt businessmen to come clean; he has even uncovered killers. But when it comes to women, his brain slows right down and either he can’t figure out a damn thing, or it takes him forever to do it. I have a bet going with myself how long it will take him to discover how his ex-
As for the ex-
For a minute, I considered a direct appraoch—following her outside, getting her a
Besides, I haven’t done that sort of thing in a couple years. For all I know, I could be losing my edge.
My mother always says that every argument has three sides and only one of them is the whole truth. Well, the truth is that Roger and I would still be married today if only he would have gotten his head out of the clouds and tried living like a grown-
People who knew him back when he was at
Three years after we got married, after busting my butt to support him during two years of law school, Roger suddenly announced that he was dropping out to become a private investigator. I’d let it slide when he furnished our apartment completely with second-
Anyway, word on the street these days is that he’s good at what he does, so I might have to start watching my back. The last thing I need is for him to come snooping around and capsize this great boat I’m sailing.
Good afternoon, come on in. Please, have a seat. So, you’re here because Ms. Sisu has decided to start writing down my little exploits and you want to hear some of it straight from the horse’s mouth.Well, I don’t like talking about myself but since you came all this way, I’ll oblige.
Can I offer you a drink? Water? Coke? I …uh…have a little something in the desk to flavor the Coke, if you know what I mean. No? Okay. Then straight down to business.
Why did I become a private investigator? Shh, not so loud! My mother strolls in here sometimes like she owns the place and we don’t want to get her started on the subject!
The truth is that I started out studying criminal law but dropped out two years in. The classroom just wasn’t for me. But I liked the… intricacies of the law, the insight into human nature, and the ways the girls used to look at me when they found out I would be mixing with a dangerous element. I ended up here as a compromise, you could say. The pay isn’t all that, but I’m my own boss.
Doesn’t my family worry about me?
My mother is too busy reminding me that Daddy is rolling over in his grave because I didn’t become a proper lawyer and complaining about wanting grandchildren to worry. My ex-
Anyway, I don’t need anyone to worry about me. I can handle myself . I have a licensed gun, of course, but what I like to say that words are often more powerful than weapons, and a man who knows how to wield his words can get himself out of hot water time and again. Out of a lot of hot water.
But, of course, if the situation leaves me no other choice, I shoot the bastard.
"I counted to twenty then hit the intercom button on the phone twice.
Seconds later, in walked a vision: medium height with bounteous endowments where I appreciated them most—at top—and no wedding ring. I noticed the rest afterward: medium brown complexion, v-
I pointed to a caned mahogany chair that kept up the rustic theme of my décor—a complement of seasoned, second-
"Montelly. Miranda Montelly," she said in a broad, eastern seaboard accent as she dropped down into the chair so that it shifted slightly under the impact. Her shoulders slumped as if under a burden and there were worry lines bracketing her mouth.
"So, Ms. Montelly, I understand that you need a Good Investigation?" I liked to use the clever gambit to break the ice but she didn’t give it the reaction I thought it rated.
"Mr. Gooding, my cousin, Amanda Rice, disappeared a little over two months ago and I can’t find out what happened to her. I’m at my wits end."
It felt like she’d jumped right to chapter two and I frowned, confused. "Your cousin came here on holiday and disappeared?"
She flapped a hand. "I’m sorry, I’m not explaining properly. Amanda is Bajan, living here. In early February, she sent me an email saying that she was coming to New York on holiday and wanted to visit me. She even sent me her itinerary so I’d know when she would be there and we could plan to meet up. I was excited because I haven’t seen her in a long while, you see. Then the day for her arrival came but I didn’t hear from her. When her three weeks passed and her return date, too, I called every number I had for her to find out why she hadn’t got in touch when she was in the US but she never answered. I sent her emails all through March. Nothing. I even contacted people here that we both knew and no one had seen or heard from her either. I finally flew in myself three days ago and it’s like she disappeared into thin air."
I set my elbows on the desk and steepled my fingers together, hoping I looked like I was thinking profoundly professional thoughts. And I was—kind of. It was the end of April. That meant that Amanda Rice had been out of touch for over ten weeks and, as unwilling as I was to send the first potential income in a month back out through my door, I had to ask the obvious question:
"Why not just go to the police?"
Ms. Montelly gestured elaborately. "I did. A few weeks ago, I called them from the US and told them my concerns. It was only yesterday, in person, that they finally informed me that immigration records showed Amanda checking in for her flight to JFK on the date she’d planned but her name isn’t on any return flight manifests, so they figure she’s still in the US and there’s nothing more they can do."
"And the police in New York?" Thanks to television, everyone knew that America had slews of high-
"I tried the NYPD even before the Barbados Police Force," Ms. Montelly said darkly. "They said that there was no record of Amanda ever landing at JFK or any other US airport for that matter so I should check back here. Each side is saying that it’s the other side’s job which is why I ended up here."
I dropped my posturing, picking up the scent of a real puzzle—and, more importantly, real billable hours. I took out my notebook from my pocket, snatched a pen from the chipped clay mug on my desk, and jotted down the highlights thus far…"