The sound of traffic startled me from my office slumber. Another late night, another pile of unchecked paperwork. Given my tired state the paperwork is of little concern to me and I take a moment to wander over to the window.
A fine fog is settling on the city. Neon signs flash in the haze and street lights roll back the mist. Smoke is rising from manhole covers and car lights plot paths through the dust before disappearing in the gloaming. Shop fronts illuminate the sidewalk peddling their wears fight against the fog. People walk the streets in overcoats and hats braving the inclement weather to enjoy the twilight hours. Looking skyward some office lights are still burning, people working overtime, just like me. Still, even though it looked gloomy out there, it still looked better than the paper work so I readied myself in preparation for leaving the office. Then a knock on the door.
A woman entered.
“Is this the office of Trout Redgrave?”
“You’re a private investigator, correct?”
“I’ve heard good things about you.”
“I have my moments.”
“Well my husband is missing so I’m going to need one of those moments.”
So much for leaving the office.
The womans name is Sylvia Malloy and her husband is Terrance Malloy. Or maybe his name was Terrance. His existence at this point was up for debate. Then began the inevitable and routine questions.
“How long has your husband been missing?”
“2 months? 2 months and now you’re reporting this?”
“Well it hasn’t been reported. I haven’t been to the police, you’re the only person who knows about this.”
“You haven’t told the cops?”
“Corrupt. You know how it is in this town.”
“Right, right…but still 2 months?”
“He goes on business trips, lengthy ones. After a month or so I figured it was more than a mere business trip.”
“Yeah…so any unusual behavior before his absence?”
“He was out more than usual, spending more time at work. Associating with people I had not seen before, and he seemed to have a sudden increase in income.”
“Lawyer. A successful lawyer.”
“So he would converse with criminals right?”
“What are you getting at?”
“Nothing, nothing…oh, one more thing Mrs Malloy, what does you’re husband look like?”
She reached into her bag and handed me a picture.
“Mid 40’s, short brown hair, about 6″0 to 6″2, and he has a scar on his leg from a childhood incident. Fell from a tree and caught his leg.”
“Right, thank you Mrs Malloy. I’m on the case, and I’ll put all my effort into locating your husband.”
“Thank you Mr Redgrave”, she said as she was opening the door, ” I’ll see to it that you will be generously awarded for your inevitable success”. The door slowly came to a halt as Sylvia Malloy left the office.
A missing husband. He could have simply left his wife, got a new job or it could be that a high-priced successful lawyer may have got a little too involved with his clients for his own good. Spending another night in the office.
The city is a unique strata of high and low. Offices, institutions of learning and government buildings exist side by side with diners, dive bars and XXX theatres. By day the city is a busy metropolis with booming industry and constant import and export. By night, the lights come on and alcohol flows. Jazz fills the air and bars fill up with people, all looking for a good time. The seedier elements come out and boundaries between legal and illegal become shades of gray. Although in this city, it goes on in the day aswell.
And yet is this megalopolis it seems that no one knows where Terrance Malloy is. Colleagues, friends and associates have no idea where he is, where he could be and what he could be doing. Apparently he was a very private individual, or at least did not discuss his personal life in any great detail. No clues, multiple leads that go no where and witnesses that are unreliable. A highly skilled lawyer just disappears from existence with all relations to anyone he knew cut off. Quite the case, and its been going on for quite some time.
Need some feedback on this. I am aiming a film noir detective thing and I hope I have got the atmosphere right. I know I need to do some character descriptions and I am working on those. Guidance if you feel you could offer it would be appreciated dearly. Also the dialogue may need some work as well, but I don’t know what needs changing as of now. Again, help would be greatly appreciated.
Also, David Arrowsmith,a friend of mine came up with the detective name Victor Redgrave. I liked it but changed the first name to Trout. Redgrave however was David’s idea and he deserves credit for that. Thank you David. I am working on a character called Victor though.
Again, feedback would be welcomed with open arms. Hope you enjoy this. It will get bigger overtime.