la la la la stormy rainy night in the grim part of town la la la la
(forgot my words, vaguely remember: Wheel Rolling Down and Cigar...)
The rain fell hard upon Goodwin's fedora.
His eyes shifted constantly towards the road ahead of him like a seagull eyeing up a young boy's ice-cream. So many years of work had led to this moment. So many months of sifting through the thousands of police records, so many long nights of trailing dimwitted wannabe gangsters, so many wasted interviews for the sake of the most minor insight into this man's whereabouts.
Even then this old-time detective couldn't shift his doubts. Everyone had told him to drop the case, warning him that it was an eccentric pursuit. People had been whispering behind his back that he'd finally lost it. That there was no man capable of what Goodwin suspected the mysterious "D" was responsible for. But he wouldn't let it go. He couldn't.
Every case Goodwin had ever had seemed to link to this mysterious man. Screw it. Every case he'd ever seen had some kind of connection to this elusive figure! Sometimes it would be a slight slip of the tongue referring to "D-man" or "Mr D" but more often than not, it was that blurred figure lingering in the background of oh so many police photographs. Watching over a poker game before things turned ugly. Lingering and watching from afar on the CCTV footage as a poor girl gets dragged into a alleyway by the monstrosities of humanity. Never changing. Always the same relaxed stance with one hand holding a cigar to his out-of-focus mouth. He had something to do with them all. Every single one. He must have.
This man was the big cheese. Tonight Goodwin may just meet the man. He was slightly conflicted about such a thought…
This was it, the bar that the slime ball he'd interrogated last night mentioned. The only place to ever recur in their tall tales. "Stinky Pete's…what a name" he thought, though it really did smell. It's smell seemed to be a perfect summary of the place as a whole. The door seemed to have been broken-into to the extent that it could never truly be shut, and beyond it was a rickety staircase leading to another door in perhaps worse condition. Above the outer door was a flickering green and pink neon sign portraying who Goodwin assumed to be "Pete" grinning with a half-full set of teeth whilst visible gasps of foul air wafted around him in a vivid green. It became apparent that Pete, truly did stink.
He was almost too distracted by the in-every-way crude front of the bar to notice the soft crunching of the ghostly car's wheel against the sodden tarmac that drifted towards him and the entrance to Stinky Pete's. The car was a jet black Cadillac Eldorado which blossomed pink and green shimmering flowers on it's bonnet as it drew nearer to the influence of the uninviting sign. Goodwin's gut clenched as he felt that this could very well be the moment he'd been waiting for, he had to play this right.
The black tinted window rolled down, sucking away the enchanting neon reflections and revealing a harsh nothingness. Abruptly the nothingness struck a match, indicating a likely something-ness. The match was held to a face and lit a cigar, which then pulsated alongside the presumed respiration of it's holder.
"What are you doing out here? This doesn't look like your kind of place buddy." said a weatherbeaten voice from the darkness. The clichés seemed to be coming thick and fast.
"I'm lost i'm afraid, I was trying to get to Mercy Street." his voice faltered only a little, he knew that fear would be expected.
"You don't look lost. You look like you know exactly where you are." Goodwin shuddered, the lack of a face made this meeting far more intimidating than most of his past encounters with over-the-top gangsters. After all, maybe this was the man he had come to meet…"In fact, you look like you've come here with more of a purpose than the every day scum that flock here. In fact, you look like a pig!"
The air tightened around the old detective, he'd been swimming in shark-infested waters without a harpoon. He couldn't afford for things to get dicey. "Fraid not, my father was though. This is his Fedora actually." He tilted the hat off his head, "I really am lost."
A fierce arm shot out of the darkness from the Cadillac and wrenched at the scruff of Goodwin's neck, "I know why you're here detective." growled his captor, spitting Cigar ash into his face, "You think I wouldn't know the man that's been harassing and stalking my guys? Do you think i'm an idiot?" Ash managed to get in the poor man's eyes, causing him to blink uncontrollably, he could barely even focus on hearing the question, let alone answering it. He knew that he'd found who he was looking for, and for some reason wasn't feeling as satisfied about it as he'd expected he would.
"No" he winced.
"Then don't lie to me son! Now get in. We're going for a ride." The hand loosened and from below the window appeared a small silver creature. Had it not been the nose of a handgun it would have perhaps seemed quite endearing.
The door clicked open as the cigar and handgun retreated as the man shifted to the other side of the car. Goodwin obediently sat down in the smoky abyss, trying to find the humour in how warm his captor had left the seat for him. In that moment, without thinking he giggled, then the thought became too much and before he could stop himself he was bursting with laughter in the back of the Cadillac Eldorado.
"What's he laughing at?" Said the man to the driver.
"I dunno boss, maybe he's a crazy." Said the ridiculous and fat sounding chauffeur, spurring Goodwin on like no tomorrow.
"I'll show you what to laugh about!" another small shiny creature appeared from the darkness, this one seemed much flatter and a little less passive than the last, given the persistent stinging and biting that followed.
Goodwin suddenly felt that the moment had slightly lost it's humour and that maybe the creature wasn't ever going to stop, "Please….stop D….D….stop…" he rasped through the pain firing away from his chest and stomach.
"Who the hell's D?" called the driver.
"Fuck do I know?" screamed the man without relenting from the vicious task at hand.
Goodwin's eyes widened as the Cadillac jolted to a stop. The door opened and the driver (who most certainly lived up to his voice) grabbed him gingerly, trying not to get red on his lovely XXL uniform, and dragged him onto the wet pavement.
The wheels screeched as they rolled away from behind him. The rain dripped and dropped around Goodwin's damaged body, soaking into the already drenched coat. He squinted upwards to see a luminous Pete stinking away, unable to bare such a stench of a sight he kept his eyes to the glistening stone slabs between him and the war-scarred entrance to the bar. Relating more to a door than he'd ever previously thought possible. Unexpectedly the entrance swung open, revealing two remarkably polished black shoes calmly moving closer to Goodwin's face, step by step.
About 3 feet closer than Goodwin could handle, the feet stopped. A cigar stub fell to a shallow puddle beside them, splashing water and glimpses of embers. One shoe then lifted and slowly crushed the butt deeper into the ground than it surely deserved. His heart began to fail, perhaps because of his overwhelming empathy for the cigar and it's cruel end, perhaps because most of his blood had upped sticks and left his body, he'd never know. Images had started shimmering now, the two shoes became fidgety black rats. Unable to see more poor creatures get hurt, his eyes looked upwards to see a man lighting another cigar, starting the sadistic ritual all over again.
The shimmering man looked down towards Goodwin, looked him dead in the eye and said, "You shouldn't have tried to find me Goodwin. I knew you wouldn't get along with the people i associate myself with." He drew a long draw of his cigar and the flames danced around his face like demons, "Oh well, too late now I guess."
D picked up the fedora that had rolled a few feet away from Goodwin. "Nice hat." he chuckled as he gave it a shake, placed it on his head and vanished into the hard falling rain.