WRATHCHILD INVESTIGATIONS

Fiction detailing the ongoing events on the Homeline and numerous parallel Worldlines.

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WRATHCHILD INVESTIGATIONS

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:43 am

WRATHCHILD INVESTIGATIONS
Arthur Wratchchild
Licenced Private Investigator

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Re: WRATHCHILD INVESTIGATIONS

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:45 am

The cab pulled up to the kerb and I slipped the driver five dollars for the ride as I climbed out.
Instantly the rain pummelled me like a thousand fingers tapping a staccato rhythm on my shoulders and hat. Drips formed from the brim before I had taken more than two paces towards the old brownstone apartment building.
I burst through the doors, much to the consternation of the concierge.
“Mr Wrathchild!” he exclaimed, offering me both admonishment and greeting at the same time. I thought he might have cut a guy some slack given the stair-rods outside. It would have been easy to shoot something back, but I chose not to.
“Morning Aubrey,” I said.
It was then that he noticed the flowers and the brown paper bags I carried. The bags were clearly bottle shaped. I handed one to him.
“Something to keep the chill out,” I explained.
“Why, Mr Wrathchild, sir! Thank you very much!” His tone was different this time, almost conspiratorial.
He slipped the bottle under the counter with a tip if his hat.
I made my way up the stairs, avoiding the elevator. It wasn’t that I disliked elevators, it was more this elevator disliked me.
At the risk of being labelled paranoid or just plain crazy, I was convinced that the damned thing broke down every time I went in it. Chrissie tried to tell me that it just broke down a lot, but I had my suspicions.
So, ignoring the convenience of the lift, I took the stairs up four storeys to Chrissie and Mike Stanton’s apartment and knocked quietly on the door.
Mike answered the door with a smile and shook my hand, taking the offered brown wrapped gift and examined the bottle.
“Shit, Arthur! That’s incredible man, thank you.”
It was a simple thing, but it was difficult to get that brand of cognac here in the States. Mike had been stationed in Europe during the war and had picked up a taste for it. I liked to try and bring him a bottle whenever I went there. This particular one was 50 year aged, a fact that Mike picked up on.
“Hey, I wasn’t here to wet the baby’s head so I hope that makes up for it.”
Mike led me in to their living room.
Chrissie was sitting there nursing their son.
“Wow! You look really well,” I said.
“Gee, thanks!” Chrissie replied in mock annoyance.
“You know what I mean,” I said.
“I’ll err, get a vase,” Mike said pointing at the flowers and taking them from me. He left us alone.
“What you mean is I look okay for a woman who has just pushed this out?” Chrissie laughed.
I chuckled.
“Yep! So has he got a name?”
“Brian.”
“Brian?”
“No. Of course not! There’s no way in hell I’m naming him after my father, the drunken bum.”
I was relieved. Other than siring Christine, the guy was just a nasty waste of space.
“Seriously though,” Chrissie said, “his name is Arthur Killian Stanton.”
“Arthur, huh? That’s a good name. Kingly!”
She laughed.
We sat and talked about the world, life, and general everyday stuff for a while. Mike returned with the flowers in a chintzy vase and a pot of tea.
After about an hour, with interruptions now and then from young Arthur, Chrissie brought up the subject I had so far avoided.
“So have you been into the office?” she asked.
I shook my head. “No. I only got back last night.”
Chrissie smiled. “Well, while you were away I interviewed several lovely ladies for the post. You can thank me later.”
Again she had amazed me. In her third trimester and she’d still managed to make sure I’d be okay when she left.

I hung around for another thirty minutes, Chrissie taking great delight in not telling me anything about said replacement. I kissed her cheek, said goodbye, shook Mike’s hand and headed back out into the rain.

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Re: WRATHCHILD INVESTIGATIONS

Post by Keeper » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:33 pm

It took me a block and a half to finally find a cab.
By the time I entered the lobby of the ten storey office building that was home to Wrathchild Investigations – Licenced Private Investigator.
I shared my floor with a family lawyer, which proved beneficial to us both, a bail bondsman, which also provided a steady stream of work my way, and a homeopathic medicine practitioner which I hadn’t had any dealings with or spent time with to know what the hell it is they practiced.
Ripping people off was my guess.
My office was at the far end of the corridor. Somehow I had managed to secure myself a corner suite which even came with its own bathroom and kitchenette, which was handy as I often needed it to double as an emergency room to patch myself up in! If I’d had to share a bathroom I doubt my neighbours would have appreciated walking in on me stitching myself up when they needed a pee!

As I got to the door I could see there was a light on inside which put the words ‘Wrathchild Investigations’ stencilled on the glass panel into silhouette. The glass was the sort you can’t see through properly.
The door was unlocked so I opened it.
Inside hadn’t changed in the three weeks I’d been away. There was a desk, a couch, a wall full of shelves stacked with reference books I’d bought when a couple of libraries had closed down.
Two more doors led out of the room. One led to the small kitchenette and the bathroom, both off a small passageway. The other led into my office.
There was one thing, however, that was startlingly different that you’d notice from a hundred yards away, and I wasn’t talking about the shiny new, very expensive looking pale blue typewriter on the desk right in front of me.
It was what was sitting behind the desk that had made me pause.
She had to be in her early to mid-twenties, long black hair in that luscious wavy style that was popular during the war. Her skin was dark, indicating her African heritage, but a lighter tone than Francis, a friend I knew in Kenya whose skin was almost the colour of used oil.
She had a small nose which gave her a cute, girlie look. Her eyes though were in stark contrast, a pale vibrant blue almost matching the typewriter.
I stopped in stunned silence.
Not because of the colour of her skin or the startling blue eyes, the nose and not even the smooth skin of her neck. It was the fact that with all that put together she was probably one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen, and I’d seen a lot of beautiful even other-worldly beautiful creatures.
What struck me even more was the fact that she was just a plain old person. No magical aura, no body parts hidden from normal sight or anything else one could get away with calling supernatural. She was, as far as I could tell, as human as they come.
As I’d entered she’d looked up at me with those azure eyes and gave me a slight smile, then after I’d stood there like an idiot, she gave me one of those wide-eyed looks that says “Yeah? What?”
“Morning,” I said eventually, turning to hang my sopping wet hat and coat on the stand by the door.
When I turned back she had somehow managed to maintain that original look at the same time and displaying how unimpressed she was at the puddle forming on the linoleum floor.
“It’s the afternoon,” she politely corrected. “I’m sorry but can I help you in any way?”
I glanced at the stack of bills she had beside the typewriter.
“Looks like you already are.”
She followed my gaze, confused.
I offered my hand. “Arthur Wrathchild,” I explained.
Her beautiful blue eyes widened and she stood up taking my hand.
“Oh, shoot! Good afternoon Mr Wrathchild, I’m so pleased to finally meet you. Chrissie told me you’d be away for several more weeks.”
“I got lucky,” I said and figuring I’d stood awkwardly in my own office for long enough I headed toward my door.
“Erm, is there anything I can do for you, Mr Wrathchild?”
“Yeah, three things actually. First you could tell me your name,” I said.
“Oh darn, sorry! I’m Lachelle Adams, Mr Wrathchild.”
“Well, Lachelle, the second thing you can do is call me Art. And the third is making us both a coffee so we can have a chat.”
“Sure,” she paused, “Arthur, erm, Art! Sorry. How do you like it?”
“Black,” I said hoping she didn’t pick up on the double-entendre.

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