Prattler

11. october 2013 at 0:01 | Thalia Contostavlos
I really have missed writing stories, so I've sat down and wrote this little story. It doesn't really have any point but I had fun writing it :)
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable characters

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......Fourteen minutes after three o'clock in the afternoon found me mounting the steps to number 237 on West 52nd Street and praying that nobody was home. I rang the doorbell, waited half a minute, rang again and after another minute repeated the process once more. When I was content no one was really at home, I put on my leather gloves, pulled out a key and innocently unlocked the door. I bated my breath, listening intently to the slightest sound of movement in the old brownstone, when I heard none, I slowly proceeded into the hallway and tiptoed my way up the stairs.
......I looked around, committing to memory the layout of the wooden furniture that adorned the rooms around me. I was looking for one piece in particular, an almost hundred year old oak cabinet that was supposedly stolen from our client. There was a chance, of course, that our client is a mere liar and the precious piece of furniture is not his at all, but Wolfe's working theory for now is that Mr. Morgan is telling the truth.
......I've just finished with what seemed to be a spare room and was on my way to go next door, when I heard a slight noise. I tensed, listening for another sound, trying to determine whether what I'd just heard was a person or the old house itself, and when it didn't come, I pulled out my revolver and inched out of the spare room. I went from room to room, searching the whole floor for any sign of life, all the while hoping I find none. Little did I know how true will my wish turn.
......Once I arrived in the master bedroom, I saw something that made me curse in such a way that I never even repeated it to Wolfe. There in the middle of the room, bleeding through a very expensive carpet was our client with a gaping hole in the middle of his chest. I quickly searched the rest of the brownstone and when I found no one else, dead or alive, I returned to examine Mr. Morgan. He was already getting cold, so he was lying there for a while. I looked around, searching for any indication of what he might have been doing here or who might have killed him. When I was satisfied I've seen everything there was to notice, I went to make sure I didn't leave any trace of my presence in the house and left quickly to call Wolfe.
......Wolfe wasn't in a good mood. "What is this, Archie? A flummery?"
......"No sir, it's a real deal, our paycheck is lying stiff dead on the carpet of our only suspect and I can't even notify the police, because I would have to admit I stole into the house."
......Wolfe went silent for a minute, very likely pursing his lips in thought, and then completely unnecessarily barked out: "Come home, I'm in the plant rooms."
......I didn't grace that with an answer hung up.
......It was twenty-seven minutes after five when I entered the plant rooms and thirty-two after five when I was finally acknowledged: "You didn't kill him, did you?"
......I shrugged. "You tell me, did I?"
......Wolfe tsked, probably realizing the absurdity of his question. "And you're sure it was Mr. Morgan?"
......I nodded. "Yes, looking a bit paler and certainly more perforated but it was him."
......"We can expect Inspector Cramer paying us a visit after the body is found. He keeps track of our client since that Jameson case very carefully."
......Jameson case was a double murder that Cramer had gigantic problems solving only because he wasn't aware one of the victims' mother was our client. It even went as far as him almost being sacked for incompetence. Needless to say, once he found out, he closed the case in two hours without needing any assistance and kept his job.
......And true enough, at exactly two minutes after eleven the following morning, the red-faced inspector rang the doorbell. He was in a mood good enough to answer my bidding of good morning but not enough to let me take his coat.
......"You'll not be eating any pigeons this month, Wolfe," he began before even sitting down, "your client is dead and he took his paycheck with him."
......Wolfe raised his eyebrows. "Sit down, Mr. Cramer, I like eyes at a level."
......Cramer took in a calming breath and sat down. "Do you deny Mr. Morgan was your client?"
......Wolfe told him no without shaking his head.
......He was found dead yesterday night at number 237 of West 52nd Street."
......I couldn't help but ask: "Shot?"
......Cramer shot me a glare. "Yeah, how do you know? You did him in?"
......I shook my head vigorously. "No but when I was burglaring that house yesterday, I saw him bleeding on the floor."
......The inspector scowled. "Yeah, right. You talk too much, ever been told that before?"
......"Never, I'm sure."
......Had Cramer taken a lesson from the barbershop case last year as well, he would have remembered not to discard everything I say as a lot of bollocks. As it was right now though, he thought I was lying and I wasn't about to say otherwise. I pouted for a show and turned to Wolfe: "Any chance his mother will hire you?"
......My employer looked at me in slight annoyance. "She's a woman, Archie, how am I supposed to know? What is your opinion of her?"
......I shrugged, completely ignoring Cramer's glare. "She's a bit tight-fisted, that's true, she loves her son though. I give it fifty fifty."
......"That's not much."
......I smiled. "Alright, I give you forty to sixty."
......"That she'll call?"
......I shook my head. "That she won't."
......Wolfe nodded hesitantly. "I'll take that. Mr. Cramer," he turned to the inspector, "do you need our assistance or did you come to interrogate us?"
......"Neither, I don't want your assistance and I know I won't be able to interrogate you. I just came to have a normal conversation. I gathered from your dialogue that you didn't expect this turn of events, did you?"
......Wolfe smiled slightly. "Had I known it, Mr. Cramer, I would've demanded the check beforehand."
......Cramer snickered. "I would imagine you would've. So you know nothing about his murder, I take it?"
......I wanted to repeat my jibe about burglary but decided against it in case Cramer would remember the barbershop matter, when we had two suspects he was looking for in our kitchen, told him and he didn't believe us.
......Wolfe inclined his head. "We know nothing more that in what matter Mr. Morgan came to us and that is a confidential one."
......Cramer's face went a bit darker shade of red but he didn't seem too angry. "Come on, Wolfe, you're client is dead, where is the confidentiality?"
......"Mr. Cramer, you know my principles. As far as I know, we are not withholding evidence and unless you give me reason to doubt that, I don't have to tell you anything."
......The inspector huffed but didn't comment on it further. He stood up, offered Wolfe his hand and then looked at me as if to say I was to show him out. I grinned at him and maneuvered him out of our front door in less than a minute and still managed to be polite. When I returned to the office, Wolfe raised his forefinger at me.
......"Archie, if you'll keep saying these things and they'll keep turning out to be true, you will lose your reputation of meaningless prattler and people will actually start believing the things you say."
......I grinned at him. "Honestly, sir, what are the odds of that?"
 

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