lead colored clouds hovered over the city, suck-ing the vitality out of
it. The stale, sultry air being disturbed by the ceiling fans in the Polish
embassy did little to alleviate the suffering of the buildings occupants.
A weary courier carried his heavy dis-patch case to the office of the
military attaché. He knocked on the door.
The courier set his case on the desk, extracted a key from his pocket,
and, after unlocking the chain that secured the case to his wrist, stepped
back and saluted. The man behind the desk returned the salute.
I have only now arrived, sir, stated the courier formally,
I came straight to your office.
The man at the desk examined the seals on the case. They appeared to be
Thank you, Lieutenant. You may go.
The lieutenant executed a precise about face before march-ing out of the
office. The man sighed as he watched the earnest, youthful officer depart,
wondering if he had ever been that green, or naive.
Someone drummed his fingernails on the frosted glass panel of his office
door. It was the Ambassadors trademark.
Come in, please.
The Ambassador, in his shirt sleeves, stepped into the office.
I understand that the courier brought you another ship-ment, Colonel.
Yes, the last one, Im afraid. We have almost run out of time.
The two men considered each other in silent commiseration. Both knew they
were powerless to influence the events about to en-gulf their country.
When do you return? The Ambassador finally asked.
In three days. I am to be given command of an armored unit.
He shook his head. We have so few tanks antiques com-pared
to what the Germans possess.
The Colonel grew thoughtful. "At the most, three months. The Germans
will attack before winter sets in. Hitler is not a patient man; he has
nothing to gain by waiting until spring."
The Ambassador nodded glumly as he contemplated the case on the Colonels
desk. He felt like crying.
November 22, 1963
The man standing by the railroad fence near the grassy
knoll glanced at his watch. The motorcade was behind schedule. Carefully,
he scanned the street to make certain he could still pick out the zero
point. He hoped that the flake in the building would wait until the car
reached the exact spot. If he did, they would fire together.
Camelot, thats what the press liked to call the admin-istration.
The man spat. It was too bad that none of those dipshit reporters had
ever bothered to read a book; otherwise, they would have known what was
in store for Camelot.
He thought about the months of planning that had gone into his mission.
Everything would have been perfect if it hadn't been for that goddamn
Guzman. He had been silenced, but not quickly enough. Those jerks from
Cleveland only thought they knew some-thing; still, they were an inconvenience
that would have to be dealt with.
He caught the faint shout of a distant bystander.
Here they come!
The man extracted a scoped rifle from its tan case. The case almost matched
his DPS uniform. Pulling up on the bolt handle, he drew the bolt back
less than half an inch; just enough to assure him-self that there was
a round in the chamber. The lead sedan in the motorcade came into view.
He lifted the rifle to his shoulder as he had done hundreds of times in
practice. The zero point was clearly visible in his scope. He shifted
his sights. The head of the youngest man ever to be elected president
of the United States was centered in the cross hairs. The front bumper
of the black Lincoln sedan crossed the zero point.
Remember, pal, nobody ever tells you the entire truth
Lee G. Feathers Polygraph Examiner
Tuesday Your time's up, I thought. The woman sitting
before me was starting to repeat herself. She wanted me to confirm what
she al-ready knew, and was willing to pay me $2,000 to do it. She had
the cash in her purse. I sighed, knowing that I wasnt going to accept
"Mrs. Grey, I appreciate your confidence in my abilities, but I have
already explained to you that I do not accept domestic cases. I'll be
happy to refer you to a competent investigator who specializes in your
Her expression hardened sufficiently to express that she was not accustomed
to being turned down. "Mr. LeBlanc, when we met, I told you that
I had been referred to you by my attorney. That wasn't true. I don't have
an attorney, yet."
My features remained parked in polite neutral.
Seeing that I wasn't going to reply, she continued. "Actually, I
was referred by a close, personal friend, Ted Meyers."
My expression did not waiver, though I swore silently. Ted Meyers was
a valued client who had sent a lot of work my way over the years. A successful
entrepreneur who owned several manufac-turing companies, he dined with
the rich and famous, and slept with their wives and girl friends. His
flamboyant lifestyle had made the scandal rags often enough to make him
a minor celebrity. If Meyers liked you, his generosity was legend; if
you were on his shit list, life could be unpleasant.
I stood up. "Will you excuse me for a moment, Mrs. Grey?"
She nodded, smiling brightly. "Grey is my maiden name. My married
name is Lipscomb." Her dazzling teeth were only slightly marred by
the lipstick on them.
I stepped into my secretary's office, shutting the door behind me. "Karen,
get Ted Meyers on the phone, will you?" Karen twirled her Rolodex,
located the number, dialed it and handed me the re-ceiver. His secretary
put me through immediately.
"Adrian, how are you?" Meyers enthused, then continued be-fore
I could answer. "I was expecting your call. It seems Julie is in
need of a top-notch private eye, so naturally, I thought of you."
"I'm flattered, Ted." I replied, choosing my words carefully,
"You do know that I don't handle divorce work?"
"Who said anything about divorce? Julie has a problem she needs handled
discreetly. Since you're the best in the business at keeping a secret,
I insisted on her calling you. You weren't seriously thinking about not
helping her were you?" I could still hear the smile in his voice,
but his teeth were showing.
"Any friend of yours is a friend of mine."
"Splendid. I knew you wouldn't let me down."
"By the bye, Ted, what's her husband's first name?"
"As in Harold Lipscomb of Newport Industries?"
"I believe so, now that you mention it."
"You believe so? Ted, I thought you and Lipscomb were mortal enemies."
"Don't be so dramatic. Harold and I are businessmen who occasionally
chase after the same piece of business."
"Anyway, Julie is an old and dear friend. I would take it as a personal
favor if you would help her out."
"Consider it done."
"Good. Give me a call in a few days we'll do lunch."
I returned the receiver to Karen. "How much did I make off of Ted
Meyers last year?
"Counting referrals, over $50,000."
"In that case, we have a new client."
"That's Mrs. Lipscomb to you. Shell be leaving my office in
about five minutes. Find out what she's driving."
"Can do. I'll leave now." With that, Karen stood up and slipped
into the corridor.
Julie Lipscomb was peering into her compact mirror when I reentered my
office. I estimated her to be in her early thirties, though she could
pass for younger. Her well-rounded body was encased in a tightly tailored,
high-priced, dark-red suit trimmed in black. It was not quite tacky. Her
dark hair was expensively cut, as was the large diamond on her left hand.
The woman was attractive, and knew it. It was a good bet she made the
most of her looks when it came to getting her way. Sweet and innocent
were not words I would use to describe my new client. No, I decided, pain
in the ass suited her perfectly.
"Mrs. Lipscomb," I articulated as I sat down at my desk, "would
you please tell me exactly what you want me to do for you?" Her _expression
was both relieved and triumphant.
"I thought I was clear. I want you to gather evidence that Harold
is having an affair. As I told you, he is going to be at our cottage tonight
with that woman." Her stricken mien did not have the effect
on me she was probably hoping for. Julie Lipscomb extracted an envelope
from her purse and placed it on my desk. "I have a map for you with
directions to the cottage. About a quarter of a mile from our cottage
is an abandoned house that burned last year. You can leave your car there."
She went on to detail exactly where I should station myself for the best
view of the cottage and the best shots of people entering and leaving
it. I wondered how long she had been planning this.
"Mrs. Lipscomb, how do you know that your husband is going to show
She smiled a tight, conspiratorial smile. "Harold is such an organized
man. He wrote it in his appointment book. I made copies of it night before
last. It reads "GH, the cottage, 7:00". GH is Gwen Hiltie, his
current slut. She works for him."
My new client rummaged in her purse again before ferreting out a bank
envelope. "There's $2,000 in there, Mr. LeBlanc. Ted told me you
charge a thousand dollars a day. I wish to retain your services for two
days." She frowned as I counted the money. There were twenty crisp
one hundred bills in the envelope.
"My secretary had to leave. Would you like me to write you a receipt
now, or mail one to you?"
"Oh, there's no need for that, Mr. LeBlanc. I trust you," she
breathed, gazing into my eyes. I stifled an impulse to reach for my billfold
to assure myself that it was still there.
"When I'm finished tonight, how do I contact you?"
"I will call you in the morning. You see, I can't risk Harold finding
out that I'm having him investigated."
Julie Lipscomb rose, then dramatically extended her hand. "Thank
you, Mr. LeBlanc. I knew I could count on you." Her hand-shake was
quick and firm. I noticed that she was missing a button on her right sleeve.
I also noticed the ample swell of her chest as she inhaled. I wondered
how long she had been married and how long she and Ted Meyers had been
old and dear friends.
I was sitting with my feet resting on my desk when Karen rapped on my
"Well?" I inquired.
"She was driving a year old Lexus. I ran the plate through BMV. The
car is registered to Ontario Enterprises, Inc., which has its offices
over on Detroit Avenue."
I pondered that information. "You ever hear of them?"
I pondered some more. Karen Koenig is a wealth of infor-mation. She is
a fifty-three year old Cleveland native who has lived and worked in the
Cleveland area all of her life. She had been the executive secretary for
the owner of a long established machining firm that was liquidated when
he died of a heart attack. I hired her four years ago and have come to
depend on her judgment.
"What did you think of Julie Lipscomb?"
"If Harold Lipscomb is really her husband, he doesn't give her a
very generous clothing allowance," Madam Koenig pro-nounced.
"That outfit may have cost a lot of money, but it was at least three
years old and missing a button on one sleeve."
"Her civilized veneer is paper thin, probably only recently ac-quired.
That woman grew up in a rough neighborhood and is trying to put on airs."
"You don't think she graduated from a posh finishing school?"
"I don't think she finished high school."
"I wonder what Lipscomb saw in her?" I mused innocently.
"Ha!" Karen snorted. "I just bet you do. Her manners may
be phony, but the rest is all real."
"So's her money. For $2,000, plus Ted's not so subtle arm twisting,
I guess I can go take pictures of hubby escorting Ms. GH to the cottage."
Karen Koenig pursed her lips. "Adrian, that woman is trouble. You
had better watch yourself tonight."
"Fear not, fair damsel. Ace Investigator LeBlanc is eternally vigilant."
As it turned out, Ace Investigator LeBlanc was eternally stupid.
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