On the Street Where You Die
This is a work of fiction, and the people in this book are fictional. Any resemblance to any real person, living or dead, is coincidental.
On the Street Where You Die. Copyright 2012 by Al Stevens. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form, in whole or in part (except as provided by U.S. Copyright Law), without written permission from the author.
Thanks to Joy Seymour for her suggestions and corrections to this story.
To the memory of Frederick W. Stevens, Sr. who might have made it to 100 if he would have quit smoking.
Books by Al Stevens
Stanley Bentworth Mysteries Omnibus Books 1 - 3
Diabetics Behaving Badly
On the Street Where You Die (Stanley Bentworth mysteries: Book 1)
A Dead Ringer (Stanley Bentworth mysteries: Book 2)
Clueless (Stanley Bentworth mysteries: Book 3)
The Rat Squad (Stanley Bentworth mysteries: Book 4)
White Collar Murders (Stanley Bentworth mysteries: Book 5)
Fugitive Warrant (Stanley Bentworth mysteries: Book 6)
War of the Singularity
The Shadow on the Grassy Knoll
Confessions of a Cat Burglar (free book, referenced in A Dead Ringer)
Off the Wall Stories
Golden Eagle’s Final Flight (with Ron Skipper)
Ventriloquism: Art, Craft, Profession
Politically Incorrect Scripts for Comedy Ventriloquists
Welcome to Programming
Teach Yourself C++ 7th Edition
…and many other computer programming and usage books.
Table of Contents
From the Author
On the afternoon when all this trouble started, I was sitting alone in my office, reading the newspaper, and waiting for cocktail hour. Or daylight savings time, whichever came first. A half-empty fifth of cheap bourbon beckoned from my desk drawer, and I tried with good intentions to ignore its call. But when there’s no work for a private investigator and no woman in his life, drinking is what’s left. Come to think of it, it’s also what’s left when you’re busy and getting laid.
The outer door opened and closed, and footsteps sounded across the floor.
“A client?” I said to no one at all.
A client was just what the bill collector ordered. Business had slowed to a crawl. Blame it on the economy. People were staying married, in jail, at home, or some combination of the three. Times were tough.
I looked at my Mickey Mouse wristwatch. Don’t laugh. It’s all I got in the divorce. It was a few minutes past four, and Willa had gone home. I was about to get up and go greet the visitor when the door to my office opened. André the Giant stood in the doorway.
He hadn’t knocked. Good thing I wasn’t doing the bottle, scratching my nuts, or anything else private.
The light was directly behind him, and his height, broad shoulders, Al Capone fedora, and alpaca overcoat presented an imposing silhouette.
“Come in and sit down,” I said to the imposing silhouette. I took off my reading glasses and put them on the desk.
In my business, a big guy coming in uninvited and unexpected could be bad news. I made a fast mental inventory of cheating husbands I might have pissed off and bail jumpers I had restored to the judicial system, and none of them had been anywhere near that big.
My gun was in the safe. Plan ahead.
The big man moved into the light. The desk lamp cast shadows upward on his face giving him a fierce, chiseled look, hardened and set with a bigger jaw than anybody needed. His blue-gray eyes scanned the room and settled on me.
The alpaca overcoat was expensive. So were the spit-shined imported alligator-skin shoes, the cost of either one of which would have paid for my car and bought a tank of gas and a year’s insurance, neither of which I had at the moment. A man of means.
A big man of means.
“Mr. Bentworth?” the big man of means said.
“That’s the name on the door,” I said. Not exactly the snappiest of repartees, but the best I could come up with on short notice. I’ve done better and am known for it.
The stranger shifted from side to side and adjusted his shoulders as if to take a more at-the-ready stance.
I fidgeted in my chair, and my skivvies wedged into the crack of my ass. Why does that always happen just when you can’t do anything about it? One of life’s small mysteries.
“Call me Stan,” I said. “And you are?”
He pulled a chair over and removed his cream-colored wool felt fedora. He dropped the hat on the desk, spun the chair around backward, and lowered himself onto the seat, his arms on the back, his knees high on either side of him. He looked around the room again and took in the office accoutrements. It didn’t take long. There wasn’t much to take in. A desk, two chairs, a safe, and a coat rack.
All that and me rutching around in my swivel chair from cheek to cheek trying to get my skivvies to pop out on their own. It never works.
“Sergeant Penrod says you’re the man I need,” the big guy said. He was articulate with a cultured voice that belied his tough guy stature and bearing. “He says you know how to find people.”
“That’s my specialty. Who’s lost?”
“Someone is putting the squeeze on me. I need to find out who.”
“What kind of squeeze?” I said.
He looked around again. “You don’t look all that prosperous.”
“My needs are simple. Who’s shaking you down, Mr...?”
Buford Overbee. You ever hear that name?”
I stifled a smile at the notion of a man who looked like Hulk Hogan having a name like Buford Overbee. But who am I to question a guy’s name? How many private dicks do you meet named Stanley?
“Can’t say I have,” I said. “So who needs finding?” I sat back, folded my arms, and waited.
He looked around the room again. “Never heard of me, huh? Buford Overbee?” He emphasized both halves of the name and seemed disappointed that I didn’t recognize it.
“Nope. So, when are you going to tell me who you need found? I got to be somewhere Tuesday.”
“Don’t get your briefs in a bunch,” he said. “I’m getting there.”
I wished he hadn’t mentioned briefs. Mine were still tucked up my ass.
“Bill Penrod recommended me?”