Every week, discover the tremendous adventures of the private detective Zaitzev.
This story, written in 2002-2003 was a production of our higly esteemed member : [WPC] Atomic.
Each and every Monday, discover this feuilleton here!
The Teddy and the Dragunov - Chapter I
I was sitting at my desk, drinking cheap vodka out of the bottle and reading over old case files when the dame walked in. I looked up from the notes and took a glass out from one of the drawers, "Drink"?
The lady took one look at me and sat down. The expression on her face told a thousand stories and from the looks of her, none of them had happy endings. I leaned back in my chair and sighed.
"Guess not," I said before proceeding to fill the glass for myself. "So, what can I do for you?"
The woman in front of me took a file out from under her arm and threw it down onto the table, "Pictures," she said, her tone all business. I took a swig of vodka from the glass and slammed the half-empty container back down. Opening up the file, I saw various images of a middle-aged man fooling around with someone a lot younger; someone he obviously shouldn't have been fooling around with. The file was packed full of them, but I only needed a few seconds to get the gist of things. Closing the file, I prepared the line I'd given a hundred times before, "Listen lady, I'm a P.I, not a divorce counsellor. I don't do this kind of stuff."
She shifted in the chair and looked at me carefully. Damn, she was beautiful! even in the dull light of my dingy office her eyes sparkled like sapphires. "Mister?"
"Zaitzev's the name", I said with an air of confidence, reaching into my pockets and pulling out a pack of cigarettes.
"Well, Mr. Zaitzev, it seems you've got a lot of vices there. Smoking and drinking. Need a light?"
I frowned at her and leaned forward, "No one asked you, lady. And yes, I would like a light." The dame chuckled and brought out the lighter, its dim flame temporarily bathing the room in a pale glow. "Thanks."
"No problem. Look, Mister, I think you've got the wrong idea here. The man in those photos may be my husband, but I'm certainly not looking for a divorce counsellor," she said, picking up the folder from the desk, "Will you hear me out?"
The smoke from my cigarette was acting as a blanket, hiding her face from me. Still, I could tell from her voice now that she really wanted my help. A million thoughts ran through my mind as I emptied my glass of vodka and picked up the bottle again. It was empty, much to my annoyance. "Sure, I'll listen. But first, what do you say we get out of here? I know this great little bar a couple of blocks from here?" I said, keeping my poker face steady. I figured there was no harm in trying, and I really wanted a drink.
The lady eyed me suspiciously, trying to figure out just what I was up to. One of those uncomfortable silences followed, and a moment of decision. "Sure, I'll have a drink," she said apprehensively.
"Right," I said, getting up from the chair, "Just give me a moment to get my stuff together." Slowly, I moved to the cupboard at the other side of the room, the woman in the chair watching my every step. The cabinet contained the three items that I never left home without my trench coat, my fedora, and my dragunov sniper rifle. Reaching into the open container, I could hear the lady getting up and moving over to me.
"That's a fairly unconventional weapon you've got there, Mr. Zaitzev," She said playfully.
I donned the aforementioned items, tilting the hat rakishly. "It never hurts to have protection," I replied dryly. Outside the sound of police sirens howled through the night; nothing out of the ordinary in this town. "Listen, we'd better get going."
The woman nodded, "My name's Kristy, by the way."
I smiled in acknowledgement and moved for the door, rifle in hand, "Ladies first." The door opened with a creak; Kristy walked out. Before I could follow her though, I was interrupted by the sudden sound of glass shattering on the other side of the office. I quickly let go of the door and steadied my rifle. Bits of paper were flying everywhere as the wind blew in through this new hole in my window - I'd been meaning to start redecorating, but this wasn't what I'd had in mind.
A quick search revealed the offending object; a brick with a piece of paper tied to it. I untied the lace and unfolded the note as Kristy moved toward me for the second time, having re-entered the office. "Do me a favour and check if there's anyone outside, would ya?" I said coolly.
"You don't seem particularly shocked by this," she replied, stepping over the shards of broken glass and looking out of the window.
"It comes with the territory. You?re not exactly running around screaming yourself either, though," I said, trying to make out the handwriting on the note at the same time. It was all scribbles, obviously something someone had done in a hurry.
Kristy said nothing. I moved to join her at the window and threw my cigarette out of the broken window. "Listen, can you read this?" I said, passing the note to her. She squinted, trying to make out the words in the moonlight. It only made her appear even more beautiful.
"We have something you want. Warehouse - midnight. Come alone - from what I can tell," she said, passing the piece of paper back to me.
I sighed for the second time since she'd entered my office, "Do you know what time it is now?"
"About nine thirty," she said, glancing at her watch. One of those gold, expensive numbers that you only really see in shops but no one ever buys. It made sense, really; everything about her screamed "class." "Right, that's plenty of time," I said, heading for the door, "I'm going to the bar. You coming?"