Posts : 244
Join date : 2015-11-29
Age : 60
Location : Norfolk, England
|Subject: ICE Sun Jan 03, 2016 4:21 am|| |
I've noticed that others post their challenge stories to their threads. December was my first challenge. I always intended the Kid to be involved in this but how could I leave Heyes out? As a token he got a walk on part and one line! Here it is ...
I.C.EHarry Heyes was rocking back and forth in his chair. He was listening to his partner, Christopher Curry, bringing him up to date on the details of the case they were working on.
“The company involved is called the De Vega Land Development Company and it has a motto. Inv…”
Harry stopped rocking. “Say that again,” he frowned.
“It has a motto.”
“No. No the name of the company.”
“The De Vega Land Development Company.” Christopher waited and rolled his eyes. Harry was frowning hard and chewing his thumbnail. “That mean anything to you?” he asked casually, filling the silence and looking at Harry expectantly.
Harry growled and got up. “Back in ten,” he said, over his shoulder as he disappeared.
Christopher widened his eyes. “Ooh Kay!” He sighed and spun his wheelchair round. “I’ll make some coffee then. While I’m waiting,” he said to himself and headed for the kitchen.
Harry Heyes, the eldest son of Hannibal Heyes, had joined the Bannerman Detective Agency after leaving school. He had learnt quickly and had rapidly become one of their best detectives. However, best detective or not, that didn’t count for anything when he was caught having an affair with George Bannerman Junior’s wife. He was fired immediately.
He kicked his heels at home for two months. Then one morning, Heyes fed up with his idle son, stormed into his bedroom one lunchtime. He slapped a newspaper on Harry’s chest, as he lay in bed, still asleep.
“Get a job! That job!” Heyes stabbed his finger, none too gently at a small paragraph and stomped out.
What Harry read when he had collected himself, interested him. The Federal government was setting up a new law enforcement agency, called the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Harry applied and readily accepted.
As the years went on Harry rose up through the ranks of the fledgling organisation. He still enjoyed his job but the higher he rose, the further away he was getting from what really interested him – solving crimes. He missed the thrill of the chase, the danger, the puzzling it all out, the satisfaction of making the arrest. Then there was the paperwork! The endless paperwork! More and more.
No, no more. Harry quit.
With his background, he had no problem in obtaining a private investigators license. The fieldwork he could manage but he needed help to do the background work and run the office. He found his ideal partner. His second cousin.
Christopher Curry had been well on his way to becoming a Doctor of History when he had gone out one night with his elder brother. On the way home, they were involved in an automobile accident. Joshua Curry had escaped with minor injuries; Christopher had not been so lucky. It took hours to free him from the wreckage. His legs were a mess. His parents had to make the agonising decision whether to agree to amputation or not. They decided not.
Although this meant his recovery was slower, in Christopher’s view that had been a good decision. He would rather have his legs even if they didn’t work too well than not at all. He could barely walk more than a few steps with crutches and he was in constant pain, made bearable by daily medication. The accident had been three years ago now and he had accepted that the rest of his life would be lived from a wheelchair. He was just about as good as he was going to get.
Despite the daily medication, his mind was clear. When Harry had approached him, he was eager to help. He had been looking for something to do. Going back to University to finish his doctorate did not appeal. This he knew he could do. He had been a good researcher before and this wasn’t so very different.
So, Heyes and Curry Investigations was born. Over the few months they had been in operation, they had proved themselves a formidable team. They had cracked several complex and, from their point of view, lucrative cases. Currently they had three cases underway, including the one they had been discussing.Christopher was sipping his coffee when Harry came back, clutching a book.
“Where did you go?” he asked, as Harry retook his seat.
“Home. There’s a connection to our Pa’s Chris, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet. I think the answer just might be in here,” he said, thumbing through the book.
“One of Pappy’s books. I thought I’d heard of the De Vega Land Development Company before and Pappy mentions it in here.” Harry read for a moment. “Here we go. I’ll read it to you.“Diamond Jim found an empty office and put up the name of the company on the door. He laid out the office so nothing would appear amiss. When we had suckered Wingate Fischer into our rouse, he and I paid a visit to the De Vega Land Development Company. Jim was good. He gave me a real hard time. But Fischer was convinced and that was what mattered.”
He set the book aside and clasped his hands in front of him on the desk. “I doubt if Wingate Fischer was his real name. Pappy quite often changed names to something that sounded a lot like it. ‘Xpect we could find out what it was if we need to. Pappy helpfully wrote the real names in the margin of the manuscripts. They’ll be at Green Lawns*.”
Harry frowned suddenly. “Did you make me a coffee?” He eyed Christopher’s still steaming mug.
“No.” Christopher shook his head and put his hands protectively round his mug.
Harry grunted, disgruntled.
“So? What are you saying?” Christopher frowned, bringing his partner’s attention back to the case.
“I’m saying that the De Vega Land Development Company isn’t a real company.” Harry nodded as Christopher took that in. Then Harry put his head on one side. “Is the Kid still at Pine Lake*?”
“Yes. He’s not going back to Boston until tomorrow. Why?”
Harry got up grinning. “I think we need to go speak to your old Pa.”
The Kid turned as Christopher wheeled himself into the Kid’s study.
“Hey Chris.” He frowned. “Wasn’t expecting you back until this evening. Everything alright?”
The Kid returned the book he had been looking at to the shelf. He was in his mid-sixties now, grey haired and face lined. The same blue eyes, as always, sparkled mischievously.
“Yes, fine, Father. Harry wants to talk to you that’s all.”
Harry had followed him in and he shook hands with his father’s old partner.
“Harry good to see you boy. Sit down. What can I do for you?”
The Kid waited patiently, while Harry considered what to say. So like his father in that respect. No rushing these Heyes boys.
“Does the De Vega Land Development Company mean anything to you?” he asked, finally.
The Kid widened his eyes. He sat back and laughed humourlessly. “Now there’s a name I ain’t heard in many a long year!”
“What can you tell me about it?”
“Not much,” the Kid shrugged “But Heyes must of written about it?” he frowned.
“Yeah he did. Hard to Go Straight Volume Two.” Harry held up the book with a grin.
“Sounds about right.” The Kid held his hand out for the book. He looked at the page bookmarked.“Ah, Clementine!” he sighed. “I wonder what happened to you?” he mused.
“You didn’t keep in touch?” Harry asked.
The Kid shook his head. “Nope. I don’t think she forgave your Pappy and me for getting married. Neither of us to her!” He rolled his eyes and smiled, handing back the book. “Why are you asking about the De Vega Land Development Company? It’s just a name as far as I remember. Invented by Diamond Jim Guffy.”
“Oh! That makes sense now.” Christopher patted his pockets until he found his notepad. He flicked through a few pages until he found the one he wanted. “I thought I was missing something but hearing you saying that Father, I don’t think I am. It’s fully registered as a legitimate company. Even has a motto. Investment, Commercialisation, and Exploration. It files its annual accounts. It pays its taxes. It has ten employees on the payroll. Head Office in San Francisco …” Christopher pursed his lips, shaking his head. “Nothing amiss. Except …. I couldn’t find any evidence that it’s ever developed any land!”
Harry grinned broadly and patted the arm of Christopher’s chair enthusiastically. “Just enough information to satisfy a casual check. That’s it, Chris, old boy. Our client … is the mark!”
Christopher glanced at the Kid and then back at Harry. “So what do we do? He’s our client.”
Harry pursed his lips, sniffed a deep breath, smacked his lips and lifted his eyes to the ceiling.The Kid put his head down, smiling. Harry may look more like his mother but some mannerisms he had definitely inherited from his father. That being one of them.
“Uncle Kid,” Harry started, grinning Heyes’ most disarming grin. The Kid smiled amused. He had been on the receiving end of that before and he knew what was coming. “I don’t suppose … you know … who might be … using the De Vega Land Development Company these days do you? By any chance? At all?” He stroked his chin, thoughtfully.
The Kid laughed falsely. “Harry my boy what on earth makes you think I would know?” The Kid looked at him innocently. “I’m a respectable business man these days.”
Harry narrowed his eyes and chewed his lip. “Okay. I’ll rephrase. If … you were to just happen … to know … who was behind the De Vega Land Development Company these days … would you tell me? As a … favour … to the son … of your old partner? Say?” He smiled pleasantly and looked hopeful.
“I don’t know.” Harry didn’t look convinced. “Really I don’t know!” The Kid pointed a finger at Christopher. “When you tell your mother ‘bout this make sure you tell her. I don’t know!” he said, sharply. “Don’t want her thinking I’ve backslid after all these years,” he grumbled.
Then the Kid sighed and clasped his hands on the desk in front of him. “Look, Diamond Jim had a big network. I don’t know any names and if I did, I don’t remember ‘em. Any one of his former colleagues could be using the name. If you wanna know more, you’ll have to run ‘em down yourself. I can’t even put you in touch with any of ‘em. I’m sorry boys.”
Harry looked at Christopher and nodded. “Okay. Thanks Uncle Kid.” He got up.
Harry stopped and turned back. “Oh! Pappy talks about a Wingate Fischer in here.” He patted the book. “Can you remember his real name?”
The Kid puffed. “You’re asking me about summit that happened …thirty-five years ago!”
“I know. Just a thought.” Harry turned to go. Christopher wheeled out after him.
The Kid settled back in his chair. “Wingate Fischer, Wingate Fischer, Win … Win… Oh!” He laughed. “I’ve got it!” he called.
Heyes and Curry junior returned. “Winford Fletcher!” The Kid grinned broadly; pleased he could remember the name. “How could I forget? We ran into him again a few months later.” He shook his head. “Thought we’d really lost the amnesty that time. We nearly HAD to go to South America!”
“Well you didn’t. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Christopher grinned.
“No. As usual Heyes came up with a plan.” The Kid grunted, smiling at the memory. “It’ll be in there,” he said, pointing at the book in Harry’s hand.
Harry smiled and saluted the Kid with the book. “Thanks Uncle Kid.”
“I must read those books of your father’s,” Christopher muttered as he wheeled himself out again. Harry right behind him.
They had barely reached the hall when they heard chuckling and they looked back again.
The Kid was stroking his chin, thoughtfully. “Investment, Commercialisation and Exploration, huh? I. C. E.” he said, spelling out the acronym. He grinned at the junior Heyes and Curry. “In this case I think it stands for I Can’t ‘Elp!”
“Yes Father,” Christopher smiled indulgingly and looked up at Harry who was chuckling too.
“Good luck boys and keep in touch. If there’s anything else I can do …?”
Outside Christopher looked at Harry. “So what do we do now?”
“Well I get a list of Diamond Jim’s known associates from my contact in ‘Frisco PD and you find out what happened to them.” Christopher rolled his eyes at the division of labour Harry was describing.
“Then we’ll talk to our client and see if any names ring a bell. And then … I’ll go a visiting to find out why they are setting our client up.” He paused.
“The Kid might be able to open a few doors in that respect. If he’s willing. If not, I’m sure I can get round it,” Harry grinned and then chuckled gently. “Either way I think I.C.E stands for I Can ‘Elp!”
Christopher wheeled away, shaking his head. “Dunno who’s worse!”
Green Lawns – the last house Heyes lived in and where his widow and their twins still lived.
Pine Lake – the western home of the Curry family where Christopher had insisted on coming to recover. Their main home was in Boston.