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Nape Noire

By , Grand Rapids, MI
I remember it like it was just yesterday. I was sitting in my favorite leather chair, behind my solid, dark cedar wood desk in my study. The lights were dimmed, and soft jazz found it's way to my ears from the small radio in the corner, providing a nice background in which I could relax and smoke my briar pipe after a long day on the job. The year was 1968, and people were in high spirits. Unfortunately, my job as a private investigator brought me to some low places. I'm not complaining though, I consider it my calling to reveal the truth when people have gone out of their way to hide it. There was a knock at the door. Through the frosted glass I made out the dark silhouette of a woman.
“Come in.” I called.
She was an impressive specimen, a staggering six-foot four with huge, beautiful eyes that seemed to draw me in and push me away at the same time. She stood there in the doorway for a second, as if she was not sure what to do. Then she took a long drag from her cigarette, before she promptly threw it down and stabbed it out with her red leather stiletto. She was wearing a beautiful black dress, over which she wore a dark fur coat. Around her neck hung a glittering jewel. Upon closer examination I saw it was an emerald, the biggest I had ever seen. I wondered how many prominent businessmen she had successfully sucked the life (or rather the wealth) out of before she got her hands on that exquisite piece of jewelry.
“I need your help!” She cried. Her name was Penelope Von Schlieffen, an extremely well known socialite. Her father, Baron Gregory Von Schlieffen, was the most wealthy man in town. Rumor had it that his failing health was causing major problems for the family, as they would bicker over the separation of his estate.
“What can I do for you Ms. Von Schlieffen?” I inquired.
“I need you to help me find somebody detective, my father has gone missing, and I believe he was kidnapped by one of my brothers.” She answered.
“I will begin my investigation tonight Miss.” I said, “But how do you know he was kidnapped?”
She explained how earlier that morning she was supposed to meet with her father for breakfast, where he was, supposedly, going to sign over the family business to her. When he did not show up to breakfast, she had gone to her father’s house and found it a wreck. Furniture broken, windows shattered, priceless paintings ruined by obvious struggle.The servants were tied up in a coat closet, none of whom could remember of the events that had transgressed not but four hours before. As I searched the broken mansion, a peculiar object caught my eye. There was a thumb scanner by each and every one of the doors. For anybody to get in they would have had to have been both closely related to the Baron and very well trusted.
I looked around some more but found no more evidence of substantial matter. I decided then to go and meet the two brothers. I scraped together in my mind what little information I had concerning the men. Gregory and Peter Von Schlieffen were their names, and word on the street was they were dirty. Filthy rich, but even filthier business. When I arrived and shook Gregory’s hand, I noticed a small cut in his hand. I asked them my questions but nothing seemed to be fruitful, so I made the decision to go look around outside of Baron Von Schlieffen’s estate. I stumbled upon some very discreet tire marks in the grass, as they had made an impression. It may have just been one of the many servants, but then again, maybe not. I followed them and lost them on a dirt path. I called Ms. Von Schlieffen and told her that we needed to meet in my office, and that it was of the utmost importance she got there, with her brothers, as fast as she could. When I arrived, they were already there. I sat down at my desk and lit my pipe. I had figured it out.
“Peter Von Schlieffen, you are under arrest for the kidnapping and attempted overthrow of this family.” I declared. You went to his house because you heard about his plans to sign the family fortune over to your sister. Then, when you could not convince your father to give it to you instead, you came here in your Maserati coupe and kidnapped him. I saw the mud plastered along the side when I pulled up. You then hid him in the only place you knew nobody would ever look. Right under our noses!”
“So where is my father?” cried Penelope in distress.
“Ah, he is in the jail! Peter here paid a crooked cop to place him in the solitary cell and book him under another name. That person was set to be executed on the morrow!”
Later, Baron Von Schlieffen was relaxing in his summer retreat when he got the most disturbing news from his son Gregory.
“Father, I think somebody may have kidnapped Penelope!”
But that is not my job. It was a case well played, and another criminal put to justice.



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