Chapter 1-The Case
The name's Mackenzie, Andy Mackenzie, private eye. I've been a private eye for over a year now and at first I had a lot of clients but now things are slowing down. I will be honest. I haven't had a client in two weeks, my rent's due next week on the office, I still live with my dad, and I haven't been to target practice in a month.
That's how bad I need a client.
Knock! Knock! I struck my professional pose with a hat on my head and my feet on the desk.
"Come in," I said in my best private eye voice.
A man entered and said, "Miss, can I speak to Andy Mackenzie?"
"I am Andy Mackenzie," I said, annoyed. "Don't you see the name tag, buddy?" People always mistake me for a man because of my name. I shouldn't blame them though. My real name is Andrea but people think I'm Andrew. People are usually disappointed when they find out I'm a girl and not a guy. They expect that a private eye would be a guy and he would have a female secretary.
"I'm sorry, Miss Mackenzie," the man apologized.
"It's okay. How can I help you?" I asked.
The man was cute. He had brown hair, and blue eyes. He was about six foot three while I'm four foot eleven. He had big muscles. You could see them because he was wearing a black T-shirt and black jeans. He certainly didn't look like the type of person who would be needing help on something.
"My name is Jeremy Swanson. My father is Henry Swanson, the billionaire that was murdered last week. You know it looked like a suicide," he said, all in one breath.
"Yes, I remember clearly. But why are you here?" I inquired, curiously.
"My father did not kill himself. His life was good. He had my mother and five kids, my older sister, Michelle, me, Charlie, Danny, and Joey, my younger brothers. He was rich. He had no need to kill himself. I, as well as the rest of my family, believe he was murdered. The police ruled it as a suicide and left it at that. My father was murdered!" he replied. He was upset, I could tell.
"Mr. Swanson, it is alright. Did you father have any enemies that you know of?"
"You mean you'll take my case?" he asked.
"It sounds promising. Besides, I haven't had such a great case in a while. It's usually just lost animals or something. I've never had a murder case. Sure, it sounds fun," I said. "Now, did your father have any enemies?"
"I don't know, Miss Mackenzie. I really don't know," he said.
"Please call me Andy. I don't like formalities when it comes to my name, Mr. Swanson."
"Okay, but then you have to call me Jeremy," he agreed.
"Sure, why not?" I said, smiling. "Now seriously, give me the facts."
He sat down in the chair across from me and started to give me the facts. He pulled out a piece of paper. "Last week on Thursday, my father was found dead in the living room of his house in the bluffs. There was a note lying next to him in his handwriting. It said: ‘To whom it may concern;
I am having problems in my life which I can not explain. My problems are too many to deal with so I am killing myself. If you find M.R.M. you will know of all my problems. Do not release this to he press.
He handed me the note and I looked at it. "What's this in the corner?"
"That's the company's stationery,"he said, without looking. "It's the insignia and address of my father's company."
"I figured that," I said, annoyed. He thought I was talking about the upper right hand corner.
"Then why'd you ask?" he inquired.
"Because I wasn't talking about that corner I was talking about this one," I said.
I pointed to the lower right hand corner. The letters ‘SOS' were printed there clearly but very small.
"What does that mean?" Jeremy asked.
"SOS," I said, aloud, "means ‘help.' He couldn't do Morse code itself but he managed to write ‘SOS' in the corner. You are right, Jeremy. He did not kill himself. He was murdered!"
"So you believe me but are you going to go down to the police station and will they believe you?" he asked.
"No, I will not tell them about my case because I know they will not believe me. The thing is I have a friend at the police station, well, actually it is my brother's wife. I'll go see her now and see if she can find out all the people in Los Angeles with the initials M.R.M. Once that is found out, I can see how many of them might have some kind of connection with your father. But before I do that, I will ask you one question. Do you know anyone with the initials M.R.M. or M.M?" I asked.
"No, no one that I can think of at least for now," he said. "If I think of anyone I'll call you or something."
"Okay. Goodbye, Jeremy."
He got up and left and I followed behind, locking the door. I stood there for a moment watching him walk away.
I followed behind and got into my car.
Chapter 2-The Station
When I arrived at the police station downtown, I parked my car, put on my hat, and walked in. I was wearing my trench coat and my best detective hat.
All the cops that were there looked at me and knew that I was there because I had a case. Even the new rookies knew who I was. It was tough not to be noticed. I walked past the receptionist and down the hall. I went into my sister-in-law's office which was the third door on the right.
I knocked on the door and she said, "Come in."
I opened the door and said, "Hi, Sharon."
"Andy, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"I came to find out some information for a case I'm trying to solve," I replied.
"Not another case. Look, Andy, you know I almost got in trouble last time for helping you, but after all I did marry your brother so I suppose I can help you but if I get fired or suspended I will hunt you down and kill you with my bare hands in a dark alley at midnight. You catch my drift, girlie?" Sharon threatened.
"Okay, okay. Hey, think of it this way, Sharon. You help me and I'll help you in some way."
"Okay," she said. "What can I do for you?"
"Alright, Jeremy Swanson, the son of the suicidal billionaire, Henry Swanson, is my client and he believes his father was murdered. I believe this also, but only because of the letters ‘SOS' in the corner of his suicide note. Because of those three letters I concluded that he must have been held at gun point while he wrote the letter and then he drank the poisoned coffee. Since no one was in the house, he couldn't tap out the morse code for ‘SOS' so he wrote it very tiny in the corner. What I need you to do is to find out who has the initials M.R.M. that might have some connection with Henry Swanson," I said, in more than one breath.
"Okay," Sharon said, softly. She started typing in search commands for the initials M.R.M.
On the computer screen the words ‘Search Completed - five people found' flashed over and over again.
"Can I have a printout of those names, Sharon?" I asked.
"Sure." She pressed ‘Print' and waited for the names and information about those people: police records, etc, to print when it was done, Sharon tore it off the printer off me. I took it, thanked her, said that anything she wanted help with I would help her with, and walked out the door.
As I walked out of the police station with the printout in my pocket, someone called my name. I turned around.
"Yeah, what?" I yelled with an attitude because it was Quincy Jones, a tough detective at the police station, who hates me just because I'm a better detective than he is.
He came running up to me and whispered, "I admit it, you are a better detective than me. I need your help with a case."
"Uh, I don't know because I just got a case, Quincy," I said, acting like I wasn't interested. "Sorry." I started to walk away.
"Wait, Andy." I stopped. "Look, I'm sorry for hating you. It's just because you are a better detective than I am and I'm a cop. All I need is your input. I swear to God I will do whatever you want me to do for you. Please," he pleaded.
"Um, I'll think it over, Quincy," I said.
"Please. I won't tell the commissioner about your little trip to Sharon's office for information. I promise not to do that, if you just help me out for a few minutes," he pleaded.
"You plea bargain very well," I said. "Alright."
I followed him down the hall, down the stairs leading to the basement to his office. When we reached his office he opened the door, he flipped on the lights and, "Surprise!"
When all these people jumped out at me and yelled, "Surprise!" I jumped. I mean they kind of scared me.
"Happy birthday, Andy," Quincy said.
It took a while for that to settle in my mind. Then I remembered that it was my birthday. I began to wonder if my case was a big joke just to get me down to the police station to get false information. I didn't say nothing to any of them because I found myself running up the stairs and out of the police station.
I got into my car and drove away. I could hear them calling my name as I drove away, but I didn't look back.
There was a red light up ahead, so I took out the printout and I took a right when the light changed. I was to drive to Manson Robert Mitchell's house on 23rd street.
When I pulled up to his house, I took one look at the house and thought, This guy can't be associated with a rich billionaire like Henry Swanson.
I mean the house looked more like a drug house than a normal person living in the ghetto's house should look like.
I got out of the car and walked up the driveway towards the house. When I got to the door, I knocked and a big, husky man opened the door.
He was ugly. He had not shaved for a least a week and he smelled like he had not taken a shower for two weeks. His hair was greasy and black. He was wearing a white undershirt and black jeans.
"Are you Manson Robert Mitchell?" I asked.
"Yeah, what's it to ya?" he said. "And who are you, girl?"
"I am Andy Mackenzie and I'd like to ask ou a few questions. I'm a private investigatior," I replied. I could tell it was going to be hard to convince this guy that I wasn't going to take him in to the police or something.
"I ain't done nothing so there ain't no @#!@#!!! reason why you should be here," he swore. I hated when people swear, especially to my face. I don't like it when they swear at me because my parents used to swear at each other and fight all the time. My parents then got a divorce and my mom moved out leaving me with my two brothers, my sister, and my dad.
"I know, sir. I understand that you haven't done anything. All I want to know is if you have any connection, personal or business with Henry Swanson," I replied to his swearing.
"Who the @#!@#!!! is that?" he swore.
This time I winced. "That is all I wanted to know. Thank you for your time, Mr. Mitchell."
I got back into my car and drove away. I looked at the list and saw that I had to go to 2121 Maple Drive. The person I was to see was Maple Rose March.
Twenty minutes later I pulled into Mrs. March's driveway. I got out of my car and walked up the driveway to the house.
I rang the doorbell. This was a good neighborhood and this was a nice house.
"Come in, Marge! I'm in the kitchen!" I heard someone call.
I opened the door and said, "Mrs. March?"
She popped her head out the kitchen door and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were my sister, Marge. Come on in."
I walked in and went down to the kitchen. "Good afternoon, Mrs. March. I'm sorry to bother you but my name is Andy Mackenzie. I'd lke to ask you a few questions, Mrs. March," I said, calmly. I was on my guard even though this lady looked nice and everything, I was scared that something might happen because of what had just happened at the first house.
"Are you a police officer and am I or my husband or children in trouble?" she asked.
"No, I am a private investigator. I would like to know one thing. Do you have any connection personal or business, with a man named Henry Swanson?" I asked.
"Oh, is that that poor man who had so many problems that he took his own life? I have only heard of him, Miss Mackenzie," she said. "I'm sorry that I can not help you with your case."
"Thank you very much, Mrs. March. That's all I wanted to know, ma'am," I said, softly.
"You're welcome," she replied.
She showed me out and I got into my car and drove away. She had been nice and I believed that she was telling the truth.
Number three-Micheal Roger Mipp, age: 37, address: 2015 East Kewaskum Road, unmarried.
East Kewaskum Road was on the other side of town and I knew that it was going to take me a while to get there. I glanced at the clock. It was 2:00 and I finally realized how hungry I was. I began watching for a McDonald's or Burger King so I could eat.
I saw a McDonald's to my left and pulled off of the road. I parked my car and went in.
Before I ordered I made sure I had money in my pocket. Fortunately, I did. Usually I forget my money at home or I order my food and I don't have any money at all. I ordered a plain cheeseburger, a small fry and a medium Mello Yello to go.
I went out to the car annd ate on my way across town.
When I reached East Kewaskum Road, on the other side of town, I started to look for 2015 which would be on my left.
I drove slowly down the street and kept looking at the mailboxes until I saw it 2015 - ‘The Mipps.'
There were a lot of cars parked in the driveway and I thought, Oh great, a party.
I parked my car in the street and walked up the driveway past all the cars and up to the house. I rang the doorbell.
A young girl came to answer it and said, "Can I help you?"
"Is your father, Micheal Mipp?" I asked.
"Yes, I'll go get him." She ran into the house and about five minutes later, a man came outside, shut the door and said, "I don't want my family to see this." He held out his wrist waiting for me to slap cuffs on them.
"Sir, I'm not a police officer," I said. "Mr. Mipp, all I would like to ask you is one question. I'm Andy Mackenzie and I'm a private investigator. Do you mind?"
"Oh, well, Ashley said that you were a police officer. Sure as long as this question doesn't get me in trouble," he said.
"I hope it won't," I muttered. "My question is: do you have any connection personal or business with Henry Swanson, the billionaire?"
I was hoping he did because I really didn't want to have to go to these other people's houses.
"I wish I did have a connection with him. That would be so cool," he said. "Why?"
"Because I'm on a case for his son concerning Henry Swanson's suicide." I wasn't going to say anything else becase of client confidentiality or something like that.
"Oh, well, goodbye. Sorry, I couldn't help you with your investigation," he said.
"That's alright," I mumbled as I walked away towards my car.
Number four: Mary Ryan Matthews-3015 West Highland Street. That was across town from where I was. I thought, Just great and I'm low on gas, too. I suppose I'll have to find a gas station now.
I got into my car and drove towards the nearest gas station, only two miles away from the Mipp house, and it was another twenty three miles to the Matthews house.
When I got to the gas station, I filled up on gas, bought a soda and a candy bar and asked the lady at the counter which road to take to West Highland Street.
She replied, "Take Maple Avenue to Hwy 140 to Elm Drive to West Highland Street."
"Thank you, I think," I said on my way out.
I got in my car and took Maple Avenue till I got to Hwy 140 to Elm Drive and finally to West Highland Street. I began to look for 3015. After looking for five minutes I found it. The house was a run down building. The grass was at least as high as my waist, maybe even higher. I walked up to the porch and was sort of afraid to step on the step when one of the neighbors came over and said, "You looking for Mary?"
"Yes," I replied.
"Well, you ain't gonna find her here because the only place you can find her now is in the cemetary. She was murdered last week by her own husband. She was beat to death," she said.
"Oh, that's terrible. I didn't know," I replied.
"I don't remember ever seeing you around here before," she said, suspiciously.
"That's because I am a private investigator and I was going to ask Mrs. Matthews one simple question about this case I'm on, so I suppose I'm going to go now," I said, quickly and quietly.
I walked away with the neighbor watching me carefully and suspiciously. I got in my car, wrote a note on the paper and looked at the last name.
Number five: Michelle Rose Micheals, 3021 West Arbor Drive.
That, luckily, was only a block away.
I drove to West Arbor Drive and found Mrs. Micheals' house.
When I parked, I went up to the house and rang the doorbell. Mrs. Micheals came to the door and said, "Can I help you?"
"Yes, my name is Andy Mackenzie and I was wondering, if you-," I started.
"Oh, you're the detective Jeremy hired. I'm Jeremy Swanson's sister," she said.
"Oh, hello. I guess I really don't have to be here then and I can leave. So goodbye," I replied.
I was tired and I just was not getting anywhere with this case. I didn't know what to do. Just as I was walking away, Mrs. Micheals yelled, "If you are wondering about the note, I can help you but not here. Meet me at Dock B at 7:00 tonight. I'll see you there!" And with that she went back into the house.
Chapter 4-The End
I got into my car and drove back to my office. It was 5:00 and I was starving so I ordered a small pepperoni pizza. By the time I finished half of it, it was nearly 6:00.
I had another hour, so I took a nap in my chair. I woke up five minutes to seven and thought, Oh great now I gotta really hurry.
I ran out to my car, took the parking ticket off, shoved it in the glove compartment with the rest of them and drove to the docks.
When I arrived I yelled out, "Mrs. Matthews!" and the next I knew I was being choked from behind. I could hardly breathe or think but I had enough guts left to grab my gun out of its holster and clunk my attacker on the head. The next thing I knew was that the police were coming, Jeremy Swanson was on the ground, and Michelle Micheals was walking up to me.
She said, "I saw my brother force my father to kill himself. I watched as Daddy drank the poisoned coffee and listened to Jeremy's horrible laugh. Jeremy started to threaten to tell the police that I did it but I started to set him up. That note that Jeremy gave you was not the note the police found. Jeremy was trying to incriminate me because I confronted him with what I had seen. I told you to come here because I knew that Jeremy was meeting me here tonight and then I called the police."
"Why didn't you just tell me?" I asked as the police read Jeremy Swanson his rights and arrested him.
"Because I couldn't. Thank you for helping me, Miss Mackenzie," she replied.
With that I got in my car and drove off into the sunset.
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