I look up and down the narrow, dingy hall, and i see no one. I expect to see a rodent or two but see none. It’s so quiet i could hear a paper clip drop on the carpet. It’s that awful avocado colored carpeting that was popular in the seventies. It gives me the heebie geebies. Who knows when it was cleaned last. Yep, this is apartment #315. The gold number 5 is dangling and ready to fall off. My visa card opens the apartment door easily. Cheap lock. Rent here is $700.00 per month. The place is full. It’s a five story brick building on Sleight Avenue in the northeast of the city. I’m getting paid well for this job, otherwise i’d have told my boss to stick it. This neighborhood scares me, and i don’t scare easy. I need the money. If i get what he wants, i’ll get $1,400.00. Then i can pay my own rent. My building is pretty dumpy, but it doesn’t come close to this. That’s one of the reasons my ex broke up with me, ’cause my apartment’s kinda cheesy. But i like it there. Rent’s low, it’s close to work, and i don’t mind the train going by out back early every morning. That bugged Donna too.. the train. A lot of stuff bugs her. She’s super uptight. I’m sure her side of the story is different, but whatever, man. We’ll meet again sometime. I know it.
So according to the downstairs neighbor, the woman who rents this place hasn’t been seen in almost a month. No one has any idea where she is. She’s pretty secretive according to other neighbors i talked to. It doesn’t matter, i guess. I’m here to find just one thing and take it to Mr. Furney. He’s been my boss for three years. I do different things for him, mostly private eye type stuff. Most of it’s legal. I don’t ask questions, i just do. I think that’s another thing Donna didn’t like. I don’t have a high profile career.
Then i think, geez, this apartment isn’t nearly as bad as i thought it would be. Furniture’s okay. Some of it looks like it might have been in a hotel room at one time. But like i said, i’m here for one thing. It’s a statue. An eight inch high statue of an African Grey Parrot. This statue even has a name. He’s called Euclid. I guess he’s valuable. I’m not sure why. Like i said, i don’t ask questions. Could be that there’s something hidden inside. I don’t have to look hard for the statue. It’s on this woman’s dresser, right next to her jewelry box and a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. I don’t look in her jewelry box. That’s none of my business. I’m here for one thing. Supposedly the parrot really belongs to Mr. Furney’s wife, Emily, Jaynie, or something like that. I grab the statue. I’d say it weighs three pounds.
I’m ready to head for the door when i hear a voice coming from the hall closet. It says, open sesame, open sesame! Sounds like a parrot’s voice to me, and i almost drop the statue. That would piss off Mr. Furney, so it’s a good thing i don’t. Of course, i open sesame the door, and what do i see? Ten stairs going up, and a creepy lavender light coming from the top. Parrot voice says, come up! Come up! Well, what to do but go up, right? This is Twilight Zone shit man. I go up, and a door opens. It’s a heavier one than the apartment door. It creaks. I walk into a smoke filled bar. It’s almost as dumpy as the apartment building. It’s not very big. There are two pool tables in here, and there’s a piano in the left back corner. There are about a dozen people. Two drinking at the bar, the rest sitting at small circular tables. The bar is well stocked. A gorgeous woman in a strapless purple mini dress walks up to me. She says welcome, Max! She knows my name? ….
Whatcha doing with my statue? I want that back! I back away a couple of steps. I’m shocked. She holds her hand out for me to shake and says, i’m agent 40. I work for Sherlock Holmes, and i’m holding that statue for him. My mouth is still hanging open, and i’m sure i look like a doofus. Then she says, your boss, Mr. Furney isn’t who you think he is. You should stay up here with me for awhile. Don’t go back there yet.
By M. Raynes