When Detective Slater is given the job of managing the security team paid to protect a priceless sculpture in the local museum, he doesn’t expect the object to disappear in front of him and several witnesses.
Now he must try to stay alive long enough to find out what happened to it, as the answer lies inside a story he finds himself the hero of. And to end it, he must discover who the antagonist is.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1947
There I was, running for my life, running like I had the devil himself on my tail. Because I did.
He went by the name Victor Corman, among other monikers, and he had a trail of dead bodies behind him so damn long that he had more than earned his reputation as the most lethal hitman money could buy.
And on Halloween night, Victor Corman was after me, yours truly, Jake Slater. The money in his pocket was courtesy of my host for the evening. The man who had invited me there that night for a prospective case. Quite a trap for a private detective. I contemplated that as I ran through the night, gun in hand, ears still ringing from the sound of gunfire close behind me.
How the hell did I end up in this situation?
Believe it or not, it all started just a few minutes before this game of death, with me drinking in a bar with my potential employer, swapping stories.
Let me tell you about it from the very beginning. *
I wasn’t in the office that day, leaving my secretary Sue to hold the fort. I was sitting at a table at the Prado, Balboa Park’s finest, with a potential new client, one of San Diego’s richest, who said he had a job for
me. Curiously, we weren’t discussing the job; he insisted on exchanging
stories. Call me a private eye, gumshoe, private detective or private dick. Call
me anything you want, but in this profession, in America’s Finest City, I have my share of stories, so I complied.
“So I had to get off the ledge and… oh, hell… I couldn’t go back the way I came, so I ended up having to go around the clock tower, which meant there wasn’t a ledge to walk on.” “You’re joking?” my host laughed. I shook my head and continued the story. “And so I ended up
hanging from the minute hand right there for all the world to see.” “Like Harold Lloyd?” he said, wide-eyed, pointing at me. “Exactly like Harold Lloyd. But you want to know the damnedest
part?” “I sure do.”
“I get down and for all of that mighty clock-spanning, not a single person actually saw me.”
My host burst into laughter and raised his glass to toast me. “After all that? You might as well have not even done it if nobody was impressed.”
“Nobody was. I was expecting a crowd I’d have to wade through, just dying to meet the daredevil. Nobody. Just… nobody. Not a single person looked up. But, hey, at least I survived.” I laughed and toasted him back.
I sipped my whiskey and winced.
“Oh, good story,” he laughed. “Goddam, do I ever love a good story. My associates and I, well, we just love great stories. We trade them. It’s our favorite pastime. You, sir, are a gem. A story goldmine.”
“Yeah, well, the guy who does my newspaper ads suggested I change my slogan to ‘Always on the clock.’”
My host burst into laughter again. “‘The Face of Justice.’”
I laughed back and toasted him again. “How about ‘Every Minute Counts’?”
“Oh, that’s bad,” my host laughed, then looked back up excitedly. “Hey, ‘you’re in good Hands.’”
We both laughed as I shook my head and said, “Worst one yet.” “Oh, I think I can come up with some more.” “I’ll bet you can,” I laughed and slammed the glass back on the table.
Thank you, J. C. Macek III and Random Things Tours
About the author
J. C. Maçek III is a journalist, novelist, columnist, actor, musician and film producer. He has interviewed the likes of: Aerosmith, Judas Priest, and The Zombies.
The novelization of his movie thriller Cargo was released in 2018 by Bloodhound Books.
He lives in California with his wife and a zoo of pets from greyhounds to rabbits