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The stifling heat had finally broken and a storm was descending on New York City. Wincing with pain, I jogged down 53rd and pushed open the door to O’Malley’s. Shaking water from my hat I dropped it on the table, and slipped into the snug. I looked at my bloodied hands. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, not that way, but knowing something doesn’t always help. Anyway, the old couple deserved to die. Period.

I looked around, it was the usual, sad 3 a.m. Friday fraternity. I could have a stake through my heart and no one would notice.

“Hey, Joe!” I gasped, looking at my hand. “Daniels with a twist of lemon.” I reserved bourbon for the bad jobs. When the glass of rye arrived, I dripped it’s contents on my left hand then yanked a 4-inch barbed spine from the flesh of my palm.

“Fuckitty, fuck, fuck!” I muttered, throwing the spine on the fire where it crackled and spat. I pressed my hand down on a beer towel to stem the blood.

“Hey, TT, you better pay for that!”

“I am good for it Joe.”

“I thought you were into ghosts and paranormal shit?” said Joe, looking at my swollen hands. “You been fishing? That looks pretty nasty.”

“Yeah, sort of. Give me another whiskey.”

I grimaced, took the glass from Joe and downed it. The eel juice spread across the back of my throat and fizzed. I saw Joe looking puzzled. Was this the time to detail my work as a Spectral Private Detective? How two dead, spine shedding old people had come to be neatly folded and stuffed into the boot of my Jag? Probably not.

“Mr. Tarakan?” I looked up. Only the NYPD and the IRS called me by my surname.

“Mr. Tarakan, I was told I might find you here, especially at this time.” If angels were leggy ash blondes who wore leather and spoke with plumy English accents, I was in heaven. I wrapped the beer towel around my hand, and offered her the seat next to me. She sauntered over, flashing a dark stocking welt through the slit in her skirt. Large wet, soulful eyes looked me over. I lived by two golden rules; first, never get involved with a client, and second, rules are there to be broken. She definitely came under the latter.

“You look as though you need some help?” she said, slipping out of her leather trench coat and squeezing into the snug next to me. “Let me dress this for you.” She took the bar towel and gently tied it around my bloodied hand. “Keep pressure on the wound until it stops bleeding.” I obeyed without question.

Her sizeable chest heaved as she took a deep breath. “We need to talk…” A pained expression flashed across her flawless skin and her eyelids closed. “It’s, it’s my husband.” It always was. “He’s dead and buried, but he comes back to taunt me.” She paused, her eyes went north and she gave out a mournful cry before taking a black lace handkerchief from her pocket. “You work with the dead Mr Tarakan, I need you to stop him…To give him peace.” Her baby blues flooded, and I dived headlong in. Nothing like a haunting to get me in the mood.

“I’ve been known to commune with the dearly departed,” I said, smugly.

Dabbing her eyes gently and careful not to disturb the rich, black mascara, she fluttered her long eyelashes at me. My blood rushed south. “Care for a drink?” I asked. They always like to drink and tell.

“Thanks. Bacardi and coke, large.” I smiled. She was class—a walking billboard for 50’s retro haute couture. Sophisticated, and from the money side of town. I gave Joe the order. Two drunk barflies were staring at my angel, so we moved to a corner of the bar. She slid gracefully from the snug and I stole another look at paradise.

We sat down, and she spoke about her husband. Clients were usually tediously boring, religious nuts with an exorcism complex, or middle aged losers living beyond their means. This client was neither. She was a mid-thirties bombshell with high cheekbones, and legs that finished somewhere north of Jersey. She paused for a second, and I took control.

“Two hundred a day, plus expenses.” She didn’t flinch. “Cash, up front.” A smile flashed across her face.

“Mr. Tarakan, you come highly recommended,” She oozed. “Let’s speak again in a week.” Draining her glass she produced an envelope from within her coat.

“Two thousand in cash as a down payment, and this is my husband’s resume, and the last five ghostly sightings of him.” I was still opening the envelope when she liberated her leather trench coat, spun on a stiletto and glided from the bar. French heels with thin black seams on flesh coloured nylons—I was hooked.

The sun was crawling across the sky when I got to my apartment. I had packed up the old couple and sent them to the Manhattan Island trash dump. The storm had abated, and everything was covered in a fine mist. I poured a tonic and sat down with the envelope. I needed to think. I felt for reassurance and found it in my pocket. I smiled as I took out the silver snuffbox—a gift from an appreciative client. Its contents helped me focus, and after an unfortunate run-in with a vampire they gave güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri me a much needed boost of iron. I popped the lid. Thirty grams of these tiny creatures kept me on the straight and narrow. Compared to beefsteak these were dynamite. I settled down and opened the envelope. Inside was a wad of black and white photographs of an old man somewhere between ninety and death. A further handful of photographs showed him with a fat man in a garden. Hidden among the pictures were a post card of a strange painting. I looked again at the photographs—I had a nagging feeling I knew the fat man. Tiredness overcame me, and I slept, dreaming of my angel. The next morning I followed up on the fat man. He looked like a gumshoe from the East side, found plugged with lead in his apartment some weeks ago. I called Lieutenant Stalker, my ex-partner. We exchanged pleasantries and I popped the question.

“I need information about the gumshoe from the East side.” Stalker went quiet.

“Which one?”

“How many have you got?”

“How many do you want?”

“The fat one”

“Ate too much.”

“Natural death then?”

“Nope.” It was like pulling teeth. Stalker was clamming, and I knew why.

“Feds interested?”


“O’ Malley’s, at three.”

“No problem.”

The Feds only got interested for a reason. My hunch was the fat man had found something, and my angel’s husband had been involved in something important.

The heat was rising as I walked into O’Malley’s on fifty-third. Stalker had his back to the exit sitting crouched at table thirty-three. A man of annoying ritual, he had sat at table thirty-three for the five years I had partnered him. I took the seat opposite and he nodded while nervously checking out the three mid-afternoon diners. The waitress threw menus on the table and waited, chewing her gum like a ruminating cow.

“Black coffee, eggs easy over, hash browns and two blueberry waffles?” I looked at Stalker, waiting on his reply.

“You remembered!” Each day for five year’s he had eaten O’Malley’s artery choking shit. It wasn’t rocket science to assume, looking at the overweight lard that nothing had changed.

“Why the nervousness?” I asked, looking at the sweaty, fidgeting mess opposite me.

“The Feds are all over the fat man case.”

“Why you so bothered?” His scanning of the room was beginning to irritate.

“He was working on a case for a New York Congressman. The Congressman disappeared, and we may have…Well, killed him.”

I felt for reassurance. I popped the lid and sat back. “So, New York’s finest killed a Congressman!” Stalker saw me smirk, and frowned.

“He was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” He looked up, his mouth awash with shit, “It’s complicated.” I raised an eyebrow.

“Know anything about his wife?”

“Why you ask?” Said Stalker, getting defensive. I pushed a reassuring clip of George Washington’s across the table.

“Can’t find her. They divorced months ago, she lives elsewhere.”

“He’s definitely dead?” I asked.

“As stiff as a board.”

“There’s more if you get me her details.” I looked at Stalker, who nodded, forcing another mouthful down and chasing it with a swig of coffee. And what do they say comes from the mouths of babes and fools?

I was opening the door to my office when the phone rang.

“Mr Tarakan, we should meet. Metropolitan Museum at three?”

The blonde’s silky voice washed over me. I looked at the pile of final demands on my desk. “No problem.”

I arrived at the Museum early. The rain had gone, leaving New York City hot, the kind of stifling heat that wraps itself around your throat and slowly chokes you. I sat some distance from the entrance with a broadsheet and waited. At three precisely, the doors opened and in strolled my Vargas Girl, moving with the fluidity of unfurling silk and wearing the shortest of flared skirts. Deep within my chest, the slow rhythmic tapping of her high spiky heels reverberated, rippling to my crotch. I stood up admiring the gentle, tapering curve of her thighs. She turned, and undulated toward me.

“Mr Tarakan, good to see you.” She offered a leather glove. As I took it, her musky perfume washed over me—I was putty in her hands.

“Shall we walk?” I nodded. She took off her gloves and paused. Standing close to me, she unbuttoned her jacket and looked into my eyes.

“I do so like the Met. It was my husband’s favourite too.” The raw silk slid provocatively from her shoulders, revealing a translucent chemise. “It is so damned hot!” She sighed, as her upper body rippled and her unrestrained fleshy breasts undulated in agreement, inches from my face. Like the plastic dog that sits on the back shelf of a car, I bounced along with them.

“This is my favourite gallery,” she said.

Feigning interest, I pulled my eyes from her chest and looked around. Seventeenth century tit and ass covered the walls. I was about to make a witty comment when she moved to the far wall güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri and stood with her back to me looking at a painting of Hitler and a skeleton by some guy called Otto Dix. I walked slowly, admiring the voluptuous hourglass. The last time we met my angel wore leather. Today it was raw silk, light pink and creamy. Similar French heels, but now the pencil lines were dark grey on white.

She turned to face me. “My husband was impotent Mr. Tarakan, for all the tea in China he could not raise a smile.” I took the paper from under my arm and casually moved it downward—I was starting to grin.

“Mr. Tarakan, what about my husband?”

“The man in the photographs with your husband, he died a week ago. Murdered.” She was un-phased by my comment.

“My husband was a voyeur Mr Tarakan, this may help you find his spirit.” She produced from her Gucci clutch bag a DVD. “He liked his DVD’s. You have another week Mr Tarakan.” I watched her leave. It didn’t need a scientist and a brace of dogs to explain the effect she had on me. She was hammering my bell big time.

The DVD looked promising. I kicked off my loafers, unhooked my glock and laid it on the table. On the DVD was the same man in the photographs. He was walking in an ornamental garden. He moved behind a hedge and the camera followed. In the distance, a woman walked toward the camera. It was my angel. Then the screen jumped and we were back to the old man in the garden. I reversed the DVD and slowed it where it jumped. There was something odd about the segue—I called my geek.

Every Private Detective in the twenty-first century employed a techno geek. Mine wasn’t a spotty college whiz kid you threw a few bucks at to perform miracles. No, mine was a 55-year-old Russian called Dmitri Premagenev, or ‘Prema’ for short. A bald, bear of a man—a bit-part actor, a gypsy troubadour, a magician. Part insane, part genius. He had worked at a space facility in Kazakhstan, then for the KGB hacking into US industrial companies before being retired to a gulag for, ‘Behaviour incompatible with a Soviet Citizen.’ He had learnt his English in Russia, watching smuggled Humphrey Bogart movies. He spoke like Bogart, with a heavy Russian accent and modelled his life on Bogart’s pulp fiction detectives, Sam Spade and Robert Marlowe. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he fled to America.

Prema was his usual obtund self. I agreed to leave the package with him. He wanted time to work on it and I needed sleep. Two days later, my cell rang. It was 4 am, and Prima was on the line.

“Why so early?” I growled, clinging to the sandman.

“Bogey, was no lover of convention so why should I be?” he retorted. Prema always dragged his hero in to answer for him. We agreed to meet at my office.

‘Tobias Tarakan S.P.D.’ The lettering on my office door was peeling back, dog-eared, and looking tired. Annoyingly, the door was open. It was not the first time Prema had let himself in.

“Doors are locked for a purpose,” I growled. It was hard to scold an excited Russian bear.

“So, I break in?” He said, whistling loudly, occasionally flying into incomprehensible song, and ‘Bogart’s’ as he called them—snippets of wisdom allegedly spoken by his detective heroes.

“Here, six photographs!” he trumpeted, spreading them on the table. His eyes twinkled, “I work better with 30 grams.” I poured, he drank.

“These were placed at each segue.” The video-captured pictures were grainy, but there was no mistaking the ash blonde in a variety of carnal positions, with a different cock or dildo between her legs—none belonged, or were attached to her husband.

“There is only one frame for each picture, surprised you saw it.” I looked at the bald, arrogant Russian and smiled. Soak them in vodka and they think they can run the world.

There is something else on the DVD, but I need specialized equipment.”

I looked at Prema, “Cost?”

“A thousand bucks,” He said, sucking air through his tobacco stained teeth and draining his glass.

“Seven hundred?” I countered.

“Done!” He took my hand in his large paws and squeezed. Done I was—another victory for nouveau Russian capitalism.

As Prema left, I sat back and looked at the pictures. I was taunted by the same question; why does a beautiful woman, who clearly enjoyed enacting the complete works of the Karma Sutra, give me a DVD cataloguing her infidelity then ask me to find a dead husband, who wasn’t dead, and pay me good money to do so?

Prema wasn’t answering his cell. I checked my messages. The blonde’s voice flew from the machine.

“I am in room seven at the Grande, there’s been a development. Can you come to me?”

On my way to the hotel, my cell rang. It was Prema.

“Where have you been?” I asked angrily.

“We must talk.” He was drunk.

“Not now, I’ll call.”

“But…” I cut him off.

The hotel was just around the corner so I jumped in my car. I tapped on the hotel room door and it opened. It was my angel, güvenilir bahis şirketleri her eyes ablaze.

“Oh God, I am so glad you came!” I stepped in. She was different, very different. Her hair was now jet-black and cut into a severe bob. I was about to engage in small talk, when the lights went out, and I folded. Slowly, consciousness returned and with it the throbbing reminder I had been coshed.

My angel’s face came slowly into focus. I tried moving, but my hands were cuffed behind a chair, and my ankles strapped to the legs. But for my boxers, I was naked. Suddenly I was fighting for breath, she was collapsing my nose. I gulped air, and she dropped four pills into my mouth washing them down with bourbon.

“What the fu**?” I spluttered, gasping for breath.

This time my angel’s voice was measured and calm. “Nature’s little helpers, Mr. Tarakan.” She bent over and whispered, “angel dust.” It figured.

My head was clearing. She was stretched cat-like along the bed, semi naked in sheer nylons, a corset and slip. My angel had grown horns and a tail.

“Those years of pro-football gave you a good physique.” With a riding crop, she deftly opened my shorts and lifted my limp penis. “It will do very nicely.” She slowly sat up, languidly stretching her long balletic legs before stepping delicately into her stilettos.

“Do you remember Otto Dix, Mr. Tarakan. At the Met?” She stood for a moment, her scarlet nails glided lasciviously across her nylons before meticulously checking her straining garters.

“I am talking to you?” Her eyes blazed again.

I tried the friendly approach. “Call me Toby.”

She sighed, “Don’t bother with the pleasantries, Mr. Tarakan. You and your camarilla are scum. Making money from people’s seven deadly sins.” She turned, her tight ass undulated and wiggled as she flowed on pencil thin stilettos toward the drinks tray.

“You are lustful, Mr. Tarakan.” She was inside my mind. She pointed with the riding crop. “From the moment I walked into that dingy bar, you have lusted for me.” Mea culpa I thought, guilty as charged.

“You are my finale, the last one…The seventh.”

“The Private Dick in the whiskey vat?” I inquired.

She giggled. “Oh yes! The alcoholic…That was easy.”

“The fat man, you fed him to death?” She simply nodded.

“Why kill?” I was confused.

“Oh, Mr Tarakan, it is all very simple. Insatiable wife with rich, ageing, impotent congressman husband, meets virile chauffeur, gardener, pool boy, and the occasional maid.” She stopped, and slowly licked her rich, red lips. These were not god praying lips. “You do understand.” I did, and my crotch was catching up fast.

“Why me?”

She laughed, “Pure chance, Mr. Tarakan. I researched seven New York City Private Detectives. You happened to be the lustful, fuckable one.”

“But why Private Detectives?”

She returned with a tumbler of whiskey and ice and sat on the end of the bed, slowly crossing her legs with a long, drawn out rustle. I was stiffening quickly.

“My dear ex-husband, bless his cotton socks, was very rich but could not satisfy me. I needed real men.” Pausing momentarily, she ran her tongue along her glossy upper lip and winked, “and women.” Rigidity had set in.

“In the beginning it was easy. I simply fucked the staff. They feared to kiss and tell for losing their jobs, but then I got careless. I screwed my husband’s campaign manager. Within a year of being married, I was cut from his Will and left with a derisory pay-off. I lost millions, all because a Private Detective discovered my infidelity. My ex had to die.” She leaned across and looked me in the eyes, the riding crop pressed hard under my chin.

“So you see Mr. Tarakan, you and your slime owe me big time.” She was clearly psychotic, but she had a point. If I had lost millions, I’d be pissed.

She released my chin and sat back. “I got the idea of revenge from Otto Dix.”

“The painting in the Met?”

“Very good, Mr. Tarakan. And why that painting?”

I had thought little of it—It was ugly. Hitler, riding on the back of a skeleton, and a pig in a wig. Not my taste. I am more of a dogs playing poker kind of guy.

“You liked it enormously?” I mused, trying to be positive.

“No, Mr. Tarakan!” Exasperated, she stood up and looked down on me, the way a teacher does to an annoying pupil.

“Your are not the sharpest pebble on the beach are you Mr Tarakan. The painting is called ‘The Seven Deadly Sins.'” As she spoke, she released her silk and lace slip, letting it slide gracefully to the floor before stepping aside. “It is allegorical. For me, it represents the seven sins your profession feeds upon.”

Despite her deathly intentions, I had to admire her. Her body moved among the pages of top shelf men’s magazines, and her style, clothing and demeanour walked straight from the pages of Vogue. She moved to stand above me, hands on hips, her legs parted. Shimmering black stockings pulled taut and secured high on her upper thighs. Her body trussed inside a black and gold brocade corset. Her sex, inches from my face was smooth shaven. The gentle curve of her pubis broken only by two pouting folds of glistening pink. She was my dream girl, a beautiful seraph with attitude, a woman to die for. Unfortunately, she had chosen me.

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