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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

August 7, 2008

Part 2

A Spike Slammer Mystery

I went down to the jeweler's district that afternoon to ask
around to see if anyone had seen anyone resembling Schlapp. Jewelers are
a pretty insular bunch, and they know all the players in the game, the
ones on the level, the ones on the take and the ones on the lam. A stone
cutter named Narrischkeit owed me a favor. Business involving his wife,
his brother-in-law, a midget and some non-kosher blintzes. If I heard it
once, I heard it a thousand times...

Narrischkeit had a small shop in the center of the district. He
saw me at the door and buzzed me in. "Spike, how long has it been?
Come in!"

"Thanks, Moishe. I'm looking for information. Seen any
Germans around here lately? Stocky gimp with good manners?"

"A German with good manners? Now that would stand out! Now
that you mention it, Durkhfall had a customer, a German who wanted to
sell some diamonds. Good ones, but Durkhfall was suspicious. I mean he
looked like a choshever mentsh, you know, respectable, but he something
wasn't right. The guy said to call him at the Hotel Fardross if he
changed his mind."

"Thanks, Chaim, I owe you one." I left his place and got
into my Desoto. The Hotel Fardross was a flop about four blocks away.
Nice and private, someplace where no one would look for you. I staked
out the place and sure enough Schlapp came out around 5:00. He was
stocky, had a limp and dressed with class. He looked nervous and
clutched his case to his chest like it was Angelina Jolie and he'd
just done six years in solitary. I followed him to a coffee shop on
Wiltshire. I decided that a direct approach was best. I went into the
cafe, picking up a bread knife from the counter. I sat down across from
him, looking directly into his dingy yellow eyes.

"You Schlapp?"

"Ja, Johann Schlapp, diamond broker. And you are?"

"Name's Slammer. I'm a shamus and my client says you owe
him some scratch."

"I don't understand. I'm supposed to owe someone money?"

"You got it. I hear you run a diamond scam. I bet you've got
a load of hot merchandise in that satchel. Mind if I have a peek?"

He was reluctant to give up the case so I drove the knife
through his left hand. When your hand is pinned to a table you tend get
cooperative real fast. I took the case and unsnapped the flap. Inside
was a blue velvet bag with enough diamonds to give Elizabeth Taylor a
stroke. There was something hypnotic about the glittering gems, almost
enough to make me forget Schlapp's screaming. I got back to business.

"You took some green off a guy named Zaftig in Misthaufen,
remember? Smacked his casaba with a sap and dashed with the

"I sell diamonds! Okay, they don't have paperwork, but I can
sell them cheaper that way! My clients don't complain!"

"That's because they're face down in the street. It's
bad enough you're selling blood diamonds, but you have to cheat the
marks, too? That bratwurst don't cook, Wolfgang! I tell you what, give
my client back his money and I won't finish the steak knife

"I have no money! Take the diamonds, they're worth more than
what I took from Zaftig!"

"I picked up the bag and stashed it in my pocket. I walked out
and flipped the waitress a rock the size of a cue ball. "This should
induce amnesia when the cops arrive, right, doll?" There was no
argument from her.

When I got back to my office Zaftig was waiting for me. I told
him what happened and unlocked the door. When I turned around I was
staring into the muzzle of a Luger.

"I'll take those diamonds, Herr Slammer."

I was putting two and two together and any way you did the math
I was a goner.

"I knew you'd lead me to Schlapp. So predictable, you Americans!"

I handed him the bag, spilling some of the diamonds onto the
floor. When he looked down I flicked a diamond that I had palmed into
his face. That was enough to get him to flinch, and when he did I
grabbed the gat, spun him around and sent him sailing through the window
in a hail of glass and gemstones. It was three stories down; when I got
there Breeks, my old partner from the force was waiting.

"Look at all these diamonds, Spike! When they hose 'em off I
bet there'll be a million bucks worth!"

I snapped open my Zippo and torched a Camel. "Gives new
meaning to the expression 'blood diamonds', eh, Breeks?"

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Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11