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Dick Oakes: Night Detective

October 20, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
Dick Oakes, Jr.: Detective

Dick Oakes    Night Detective

The Lankville Daily News is lusciously delighted beyond measure to present a new feature by Dick Oakes, Jr.

I pulled into the lot as the sun was going down. Just about everyone was gone. I went up the back steps.

Bingaman was up there. He always wore black suits, buttoned just above his round, pumpkin-like stomach and he had perpetually watery eyes. He never sat in a chair but always rested half-assed on the side of a desk. He tossed a folder at me and mopped his brow. It was hot as all hell.

“We got a possible suspect I need you to bring in– on that Saffran case. You’ll find the details in there. Take an extra cartridge though. Might be a bunch of hillbillies in that house, might not.”

I drove on out there and parked in an ancient, weedy alley around back. Several efforts had been made to pave the thing and then abandoned. Farm detritus was everywhere. There was a thick grove of trees and then an open expanse in darkness. I crossed it low to the ground. The house up ahead was dark.

They had sectioned off the part of the field nearest the house as a sort of backyard. It was full of seemingly pointless holes and there were shovels strewn about, all different sizes, some were strangely angled. There was an old banner strung between two trees that said, “HAPPY EASTER, LES”. It looked like it had been plugged full of holes.

What the hell kind of guys am I gonna’ find here I thought.

I reached the back door and waited awhile. Not a sound. I kicked it in. Somebody was right on me. He got a couple of good rights in but he was real weak on the left and I got him pinned to the floor. There was an extension cord on a sink in the kitchen and I got him tied up good and tight to a dining room chair. I leaned down.

“You know who I’m looking for. Let’s have it.”
“Rance’ll kill you.”
“Let’s give him a shot at it. Where is he?”
He didn’t say anything for awhile. I gave him that. I took out a flashlight and popped it on the dining room table. It was covered in dusty bound circulars for an appliance store. I knew the place.
“This must be where I’ll find Rance,” I said, holding one up.
He spit on the floor.
“Says his name on the bottom,” I noted.
He dropped his shoulders. Asshole I thought. I dragged him upstairs and shoved him into a hamper. He seemed to go somewhat willingly.

I made Tri-Town Appliance in fifteen minutes. It was closed– a dim light from somewhere barely illuminated the showroom floor.  There were lights on upstairs though.  I crept around to the back.  There was a rickety wood staircase that led up to a back door. There was a beach towel hanging out to dry– it had a graphic of a red bulldog encircled with the legend, If You Cannot Run With the Big Dogs, It Might Be Better to Remain Seated on the Porch.  Second time in an evening that I’d had to figure on the kind of man I’d find behind this door.

"I made Tri-Town Appliance in fifteen minutes."

“I made Tri-Town Appliance in fifteen minutes.”

I kicked it in.  He was sitting in the kitchen in his workshirt, a bare light bulb dangling above his head.  On the table in front of him was a gigantic book with a series of color diagrams pasted in– different lines and arrows drawn all over the place connecting the shapes.  There was a dog-earned binder nearby that had a label attached that read My Enzymes.  I held the .40 on him.

“You Rance?”

He stood up and came towards me.  He was old but strong.  He got the .40 up in the air and for awhile, we rolled around on the filthy kitchen floor.  I kept noticing that the workshirt had patches of different appliance brand names and a patch over the breast that said RANCE.  That’d do for identification purposes later.

He gave a good fight but in the end I came out on top.  I spun him around and cuffed him.  He started crying.  “I wanted the people to say that Ol’ Rance– he died in his sleep,” he said.  “Ol’ Rance, he died while pursuing his favorite hobby, making graphs of his own enzymes,” he said.  He was getting senseless.  I jerked him to his feet.  “Will they?” he asked.  “I don’t know, man,” I said.  But I couldn’t look him in the eye.

I put him in the backseat of the cruiser.  “You want a washer/dryer combo?” he offered suddenly.
“Skip it,” I said.

We drove the rest of the way in silence. I pushed him up the back staircase and propped him up in front of Bingaman, who was moving some bagels around on an enormous tray.

“Well…this Rance on the Saffran case?” he said. He kept looking back at the tray for reasons unclear. His eyes were watering again.
“Look at the patch,” I said.
He studied it carefully. He didn’t say anything but he nodded his head and gave a little smile.
“You know what to do.”

I took him downstairs. Might be a break in the Saffran Case, might not.

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