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Penny and the Pocket Watch
I've always loved Noir films and books. And I've wanted to write one for a while now. Having a class and an assignment to do one is just what pushed me to the brink of doing it.
They say a man is only as good as his gear. Keeping that in mind my father always took extra special care of his equipment and would surpass the highest standards with great eagerness. He was a decorated man and a stern one at that. If there’s one thing that my father ever taught me that has stuck with me through my life, it’s that you have to believe in yourself, don’t be too open with others, and watch your back for there is a knife with its tip a hair away from your flesh. My father, now known as “Old Man Calvin” is now retired, but practical advice and life lessons are still working in full force through me.
My name is Dennis Calvin Penny, but most people just call me Penny. I’m the son of a military man and a stay at home mom. I grew up moving from place to place but I always liked the city. Though all of these switches impacted my ability to find true peace, it helped me adapt. Although I still seem to make a lot of changes, even without being moved by someone else, I always seem to land on my feet.
Growing up I always wanted to go into Law, and sure enough, true to Penny style, I succeeded in my goal. After graduating from Cornell I got a job at Latham & Watkins LLP. In the end however, it turned out to be short lived. After losing a major case, and watching an innocent man get put away for life, I had no choice but to put my legal career behind me. With that one case, my singular dream and my belief in the justice system had been crushed by the apathetic perspective of those who were selected for jury duty. Even the judge, one who is supposed to be the highest authority of law had been corrupted. “Maybe I let this defeat crush me”, I often asked myself that, and I often came up with no real answer simply because I just don’t know.Part of me still hates everything to do with the legal system, but even with that hatred in my gut, I can’t fully remove myself from that world.
After I walked away from my legal career, I went into the private eye business. I felt that at least if I was going to deal with “good guys” and “bad guys”, at least I was in charge of my own life and could relax a bit. I felt comfortable, I felt in charge, and most importantly I felt that justice was in the hands of someone who could not falter. I guess one could say I felt invincible. During the course of my work I picked up my own team who helped me with my work, my crew one could say.
My father died shortly after I became a private eye, he died on October 18th, 1956. I had to put off work because all of my papers and case folders got soggy from my tears. Fitting because it’s close to my birthday, the 14th of October, 1935.
Comforting my mother was hard, she was heartbroken over what had happened. As time went on, approximately a year after it happened, things went back to normal and my work continued. His words have always stuck in my head though. You need to believe in yourself, don’t be too open to others, and watch your back for there is always a knife with its tip a hair away from your flesh. And that’s how my life would soon be--watching my back for a knife and waiting for the feeling of steel to be jabbed into my body.
Alone in his office, Dennis sits and sorts his files. He wonders about how his mother is doing, if she’s ok, after all it has only been a year since Dennis’s father has died. The private eye walks over to a small window behind his desk, he gazes upon Baltimores dirty streets and mumbles to himself
“Odd, seeing the homeless makes me wonder where our government is...it’s almost like that trial.” After that quick thought the sound of footsteps envelopes his hearing, Accompanied by a very loud knock on his door.
“Dennis! Open up Dennis! I’ve got some amazing news!”
It was the sound of his young, beloved partner, Charles. Charles was fresh out of law school and was not that developed yet, but he was wise for his age of 21. Dennis, with a small disgruntled look on his face, walks towards the door. His shoes stomped as well to give Charles a small, but useful hint. He opens the door to be immediately bombarded with Charles’s news.
“Dennis we got the motherload of cases! It’s a very important one, we--”
Before Charles could finish, Dennis put his hand across his mouth. Charles continued to try and explain through the muffled sound of his superiors palm, but to no avail could Charles finish.
“Charles, I was enjoying my morning. It was very peaceful until you came in louder than a German tank!”
Dennis released his face from the treacherous grasp of his annoyed palm. He then went to go grab Charles a nice cup of coffee, as he was doing this he thought to himself that maybe the coffee might make Charles even more energetic. However despite that he trusted his partner to contain himself and be at least somewhat professional.
“Here you are, now what is it about this new case you spoke of?”
Said Dennis, he sat down on a small couch, perfectly fitted outside of his personal office. The couch had been in the building before Dennis bought it. The poor thing was old but it was still rather comfy.
“Right, uhm... Oh! A girl came by, she was dressed very well so I could only imagine that she’s wealthy. She came by asking for you. Naturally since you weren’t around I explained to her that I was your partner.”
Sometimes Charles can toot his own horn, but do not mistake it for arrogance, he simply takes pride in what he does and who he works with.
“Anyway, apparently there has been a murder. Her cousin had been stabbed in the back by a simple pocket knife.”
“Stabbed in the back huh..”
Dennis remembered the words of his father. While in his mind he knew a case like this is detrimental to his cause and it would most certainly gain him fame, his heart said otherwise. Deep within his chest he felt a stab of his own. When anyone has their heart tell them something, it’s important to not ignore it. Dennis got up to refill his coffee and to stretch out a bit.
He walked around, contemplating what to do, Charles eagerly watched him with a look of excitement, as if a kid had walked into a candy shop and everything was free. Dennis refilled his cup with that drink every adult needs to get up in the morning and sat back down. Charles walked over to him fast, almost spilling his own cup in the process. Dennis sighed, and looked over at his partner.
“Do you want to do this case? Because for some unfathomable reason I have a very bad feeling about it.”
Dennis looked up and gave another sigh, it almost spooked Charles. He was not use to seeing his superior, his partner, be so weary of a case. Sure in the past their had been dangerous cases, but since there was no activity for this past year he thought it might make Dennis feel better. Charles understands his compassion as much as he does, in fact sometimes even more.
“Well do you?”
Dennis had a rushed sound to his mouth, like he was anxious but in a bad way.
“Of course I do Dennis! You haven’t had any cases for a year because of what happened to your father!”
Charles, in return had that same sound. Obviously he was excited beyond belief that they had even been able to get a case, usually when a small business like theirs stops for a whole year it’s shut down. As Dennis was going through scenarios over and over again in his head he thought of horrific scenes of utter failure, or worse. Dennis was not alright himself. The loss of his father has plagued him a lot more than he lets on.
Reluctantly, Dennis ignores his heart and lets out yet another huge sigh.
“Alright, we’ll do the case.”
Charles literally jumped up with excitement, his coffee cup splashing the ground behind him.
“I’ll clean that up Dennis! Don’t worry!”
Ironically, Dennis did not sigh this time. He began to chuckle and that chuckle grew into violently humorous laughter. Charles, startled by the sudden change in his partners mood laughed as well -- though he wondered why he was laughing. Was he laughing because he was happy to see his partner be happy? Was he laughing because he had been nervous the entire time? Or was he laughing because deep down Charles had felt the same feeling Dennis did.
The laughter from Charles slowed down and he began to focus on his feeling. That stab had hit him as well, figuratively making him bleed internally. Charles had a most terrifying image come into his mind. Regardless of his current feelings he could not turn back from the path he had chosen. Dennis was now hyped and he was the one who brought this up.
“So Dennis, when do you want to start on this case?”
Charles spoke in a monotonous voice. He walked over to a little trash can and threw away the coffee-filled paper towel.
“Well, I was thinking we could start in about a week. Did this girl say anything to hint she wanted us to hop right on it?”
Dennis walked around pacing steadily. His mind was set in motion and he wanted to feel what it’s like to have an adventure again, to feel like what it is to live again.
“No actually she didn’t say much about it at all. She simply approached me, told me about the murder and walked off.”
Charles had an odd look to his face after he said that. The feeling of pain in his heart and this odd woman who has not given any more information on something as serious as a murder put his mind into a small frenzy. He trusted his intuition and something wasn’t right here. He dozed off into a world where only he resides. Dennis put his hand on Charles’ shoulder.
“That sounds pretty odd. I know what you’re thinking also Charles.”
Dennis had a look of compassion and the attitude of a father towards his partner. This often bugged Charles however. Charles doesn’t like to be put into the place of the lower or weaker person. He views Dennis and himself as equals, but this time it’s not the case. Charles fully embraced his partners fatherly attitude as a small bit of reassurance.
“Ya it does, and it doesn’t make any sense for someone who has just lost a member of their family to be so calmed and relaxed! She didn’t even seem worried. She was like a phantom. I’m a little worried now myself Dennis.”
Charles did indeed sound worried. His gut instinct had gotten the better of him.
“You were the one who wanted to do this case so badly, I remember just a while ago you were practically jumping up and down at the thought of getting back into work. I bet it’s partly my fault for stopping our business for my own problems, so I apologize”
Dennis is a caring person, a giant he may be at 6’2 but he is not at all mean. In his own mind, stopping Charles from going on in his work makes him feel guilty. He feels contempt for himself for doing that, stopping a business because someone died, it’s completely idiotic. Dennis lives with dark things on a daily basis, he treads down the center of light and dark, maintaining the balance within him and others.
“Dennis your father passed on, it’s a completely logical reason to shut down our work for a while, you said it yourself. Your mother needed help and you did the right thing. Don’t feel bad, I was fine. I took the year off and vacationed, traveled around the states. I kept on hearing things about the aftermath of the war still. 5 years ago it ended yet everyone is still so exhausted.”
World War II had just ended around the time Dennis had started this business. With all the eyes off of Germany and Japan, things began to calm down so Dennis thought it would be a perfect opportunity to begin his own lifes dream.
“It’s funny because I got a friend who came here from Germany, around 1942. Don’t ask me how he did but I guess he got a boat and arrived somewhere in New York. Kind of crazy, took him about a year or two. Some people are just crazy Dennis. He’s definitely one of them, but look at us. We face death every time we practically get a new folder on our desks. Frankly we’re more crazy than him in my eyes.”
Wise words once again echo through Charles mouth. One could even argue without Charles, Dennis wouldn’t have someone to lean on. But it’s not one sided, they lean on each other. Despite the age difference they act like brothers as well, maintaining some level of professionality however.
“I wish I had your wisdom at that age.”
Dennis laughed and smiled at his partner. His grin inforced Charles faith in his parter. The two then made a plan, they would start this case in exactly one week, giving each person time to prepare and get anything else off their lists. Dennis, now excited himself, heads down to a local gunsmith and puts in the request for a shiny new toy. Meanwhile Charles is off to go visit a few of his friends to tell them he won’t be able to go drinking for a while.
The two private eyes partied and goofed off with as many people as possible. Dennis headed to his mother's house after he picked up his shiny new toy to ask for her council. His head was still clouded with the fog of doubt. Though Dennis rarely relies on others for help, he knew he could make a few exceptions, this being one of them. He hopped into his jet black Chrysler Imperial and drove off.
About an hour or two later, he arrived at his mothers house. The reason why he couldn’t tell how long its been was because he was doing something foolish, drinking and driving. He pulled up to his mothers house and got out of his car. He staggered a bit as he kept his dizzy and dazed self from toppling over. Dennis coughed once or twice and closed the door to his car. As he walked up the circular stone steps of his mother's front yard, he remembered when he was eight he once fell and skinned his knee on one of this circular slabs. Dennis stopped to giggle a bit at the fact that he managed to skin his knee in what’s mostly grass. How foolish he thought.
As he made his way up to the door, it opened. His mother, who looked exhausted, smiled and embraced her son with the kind of hug one can only share with their parents. A hug that could fix any problem, a cut, a scrape or even a boo boo.
“Hello mother, I stopped by because I need to talk to you about something important”
Dennis had a bright and warm smile on his face, but his mother knew that it was something important.
“What is it my son, how can these old bones be of help”
She said that with a smile herself. Dennis’s mother, named Madalyn McAlpine Penny, was a trooper. She had endured a lot in her life, especially the recent war. Being the wife of an army man, albeit retired, but still any wife of an army man knows what it’s like. She had grown up in a military family. She herself had never lost anyone up to Dennis’s father, but she had heard tragic stories that made her feel like she also lost many.
But she was strong, and even now she was strong. When Dennis was growing up she often mocked about other woman. Not in a rude or cruel way, but she had stated that if a young woman loses someone or something, they hardly ever recover, while she could recover and continue to go on even stronger.
“ I’ve gotten my first case in a year mother, and I’m a little worried. Sounds pretty stupid for a 35 year old man to be worried over a little work. However something is plaguing my mind, I’m uneasy, I’m restless, and to a degree scared.”
Dennis had a sense of professionalism in his statement. His mother knew that her son was not joking around. He was genuinely scared.
“ Why are you scared? If this case is scaring you then it will certainly scare me. If so I do not care how old you are, I am your mother and I forbid you from going and completing it, and don’t you dare argue with me or I will slap you”
Madalyn was exhausted already and this news had only made it worse. Dennis did not mean to but for the first time in a very long time, he had made his mother cry.
“I don’t want to lose you also son. I don’t at all. Your father, is already gone and I can’t bare to lose you!”
Madalyn hugged her son tight. Dennis could only think that he should of spent a little more time with his mother, helping her and making her feel a lot better after his father’s death. He once again felt that it was his fault. Dennis’s father, Coleman McAlpine Penny, was indeed a decorated officer. But he was decorated in many ways, one in medals, the other in love from those around him.
“Oh mom, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Dennis hugged his mother back, he walked her over to the couch and got her a glass of water. He made himself some food to stay up, less the alcohol tear his insides up. So Dennis sat and talked with his mother about what they know about this case, this woman, and what could happen. Taking breaks from speaking of the case, Dennis continually asked his mother if she needed any help, with anything.
“Thank you son, but I’m not down for the count yet. I can still move and get things done, and it doesn’t take a lot to push the gas pedal on my car. Oh, and I have a gift for you, I almost forgot with all of these emotions taking hold.”
Madalyn got up and walked over to a desk with a small box on it. She opened it up and handed it to Dennis. Inside, was his fathers silver pocket watch.
“Do you remember as a kid, you were always fascinated with this. You never put it down and sometimes it even got to the point to where you couldn’t do anything if this watch wasn’t with you. I found while I was going through your fathers old things and I know that he would of wanted you to have it.”
Madalyn tossed Dennis the watch and he caught it with one hand. He gazed at it, memories coming back from the unknown of him and this small watch. Now it may sound corny, but Dennis sometimes couldn’t even sleep without it. His father would have to pry it out of his hands as a child. These memories took Dennis’s thoughts away from the case for a second, feeling like a kid again he laughed and fell down, still laughing.
“What has gotten into you? Did you have to much to drink?”
His mother proclaimed at this nonsensical and odd behavior.
“No mother, I just forgot what it feels like to have a mind free of problems and worried for just a mere second.”
Dennis said with a smile and bright, perky look on his face.
“Yes, when one becomes an adult, it’s very hard to live without worries or fears, I envy you Dennis, I wish I could feel that way.”
His mother smiled at him, accepting that even though her boy was all grown up, there would always be a small child inside of him, waiting for a time to come out and play.
A few hours later, Dennis decided to go to bed. His mother insisting that he couldn’t drive home offered him his old room. He was shocked because he couldn’t believe he still had it, he thought it would of been turned into some sort of storage room. But no, his room was still there, untouched through time. Of course he couldn’t fit into his bed and he ended up having to sleep on the couch in the living room, which was a little disappointing. His mother had truly offered greater advice than even Charles could. Dennis knew what to do, he was going on that case but to be as cautious as ever. He closed his eyes, dozing off, when he heard the sound of a gentle kiss on his forehead. His mother had come to say goodnight to her dear, beloved son.
“Even if you’re 35, a kiss from your mother is never going to be outgrown. Especially when it’s time for you to go to bed.”
His mother smiled and headed to her own bedroom.
“Haha, good night mother.”
Dennis felt safe in his old house, away from all of the terrors that might await him. He contemplated even staying here and forgetting about everything else. He knew, however, that his mother would not allow that, even if she wanted to. Dennis closed his eyes, and with a huge sigh, drifted off into the ethers of his mind. He had not had this good of a rest in many, many years. And this rest was well deserved.
Jumping back in time, before Dennis rested, Charles was out partying with friends and celebrating the last day of no work for a while. He laughed and had fun, he drank and played cards -- naturally winning most, if not all of the hands. Charles was slick. He made his friends a little annoyed at his constant need to win and be on top, but they accepted it because they knew he deserved it.
“Shoot, when’s Michael and William going to get here, those two bozos are off probably on their own adventure.”
Michael and William were two of Charles's best friends who had been with him through thick and thin, with conflicts in between.
“ I wonder if I should pick up a smoke or two, I haven’t in a while. Nahhh, I’ll wait until something very stressful happens. Maybe a bullet or two whizzing by my head. Yeah that would sure make me stressed out!”
Out of the corner of his eye, Charles saw a figure outside the bar. It was the same lady who had given him the information on this case.
“Hey ma'am! Ma'am! Wait up, I recognize you.”
The figure already shifted and weaved itself throughout the shadows of the 9 o'clock night. Lost in street lights with a darkish yellow tint, people who were out enjoying themselves like Charles, and the shadows of the unknown.
“Well that was odd, I wonder if that was the same girl indeed. Maybe I should go follow her. Nahh, my drink might get ruined.”
With that little pun, Charles laughed and headed back into the bar. He sat back down to pick up his drink, ironically it wasn’t alcohol but it was water. Charles did not want to drink tonight, he needed all the rest he could get.
Unbeknownst to him however, there was someone watching him. A shadow that lingered around the corner of a window was analyzing the detective. Charles caught a glimpse and quickly turned his head, but nothing was there.
“ I hope this case isn’t about ghosts or anything.”
Charles finished his glass of water and walked out. A chill went down his spine so he quickly got into his Chrysler Imperial and drove off. Charles, a man who is usually level- headed and calm, had a look of fear and determination in his eyes. He knew this case had more to it -- a lot more.
“Whatever happens, I’ll be ready for the worst. No shadow is going to startle me out of my curiosity for this case!”
With that, Charles drove back to the office where he and Dennis work. Above it are two small rooms where the two of them live. Charles parked his car, walked up the steps, unlocked the old door that first brought him into this business and turned the corner around more stairs to get to his home.The entire time he was doing this, his eyes were more focused behind him, then in front. Charles couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, he was worried about Dennis’s well being.
“ I’m sure Dennis is fine, he’s probably over at his family’s house for a quick visit before we start this case up ”
Charles muttered to himself with a big sigh. He took a small shower and had an even smaller snack before he decided to go to sleep. He wanted to be prepared for anything else coming his, no their way.
After crashing from all the drinks he had, Dennis had gotten up early to make his mother something to eat. Having spent all those years asleep while his mom did all the work to get him up, make him food and get him off to school he thought he most definitely owed her. She could of just easily neglected him and he realizes that.
“ I hope what I make is what she’s in the mood for, what a waste it would be if I were to get all of this ready and she wasn’t in the mood..”
In the middle of flipping a nice fresh pancake, his mother steps down the stairs and walks around the corner into the kitchen. She took a huge whiff of the freshly made breakfast and lit up with a warm smile, she knew her son was making it for her. What a way to start out the day, food made with love.
“ Oh Dennis, you don’t have to make this for me. I could of made my own breakfast. You don’t have to take care of me this much yet, I can still kick butt!”
Madalyn continued to her son, speaking with a loud and strong, yet loving tone. Though she meant what she said, her eyes had not lit up like that in a long time.
“ Mother, I’m perfectly capable of making you breakfast. And I’m also capable of taking care of you, even if you don’t like it.”
A cocky Dennis replied. He knew that his mother did not want to be a burden to him but he also understood that she was his mother, who had nurtured and cared for him. In this regard, Dennis was trying to return the feeling to his mother. Dennis finished up making breakfast, which was homemade pancakes, bacon and eggs. He sat her down and served her the meal he had made and then proceeded to finally make himself his own breakfast. His mother got up before she even had started diving in, sat him down and then started making her son his breakfast, just like years past.
“Mom, I can make my own food now come on!”
Dennis rose his voice up with a slight chuckle. He had thought to himself that he was working for about 40 minutes now to prepare his own mother a meal, and she one ups him! But Dennis knew his mother well, and decided to sit down and let her do her thing. She took pleasure in still being able to do the mundane, usual tasks. After all, she is about 70 and when you hit past 60, you begin to slow down.
This was in the back of Dennis’s mind the entire time. He had just lost his father and he can’t bare the thought that he might lose his mother. He quickly pushed these thoughts out of his mind and concentrated on the good things, like his mother showing him love still after all of these years. He thought it was amazing of her to not just sit down and retire herself so that she could rest. As he stared off into the early morning sun, he thought to himself that his mother was incredibly strong and nearly invincible. Who needs a male role model when you have a mom who’s as strong as ever!
“ It’s done! I beat ya. You can’t out cook the best!”
Madalyn jokingly said to her son, who was patiently waiting for his meal made with love. She added a little more salt to his eggs, because Dennis loved salt. They both know that it’s not very healthy to eat a lot of salty foods, however they balance their meals with healthy and not so healthy delicacies. And besides, she was a little bit of a salt fiend herself when she was young. She can’t eat strong foods or foods with strong seasoning now, but she doesn’t mind.
“Thank you very much, oh queen of cooks!”
Dennis jokingly said back to his mother. He gracefully took the plate after he re-seated his stubborn mom who was now ready to dig into her now-cold meal. They sat down and smiled, ate and talked, laughed and made jokes, the usual things that a mother and son would talk about while enjoying an equally cooked meal -- or meals. When they finished Dennis made sure his mother would not be cleaning up the dishes, he was bound and determined to make sure she sat down and for once and someone else do the hard work.
As he was cleaning up, the thought of Charles’s safety and the case popped into his mind. After he cleaned up the kitchen he informed his mother that he was on his way, back to work and the cold outside world.
“Honey do you have to go so soon? You can’t stay any longer?”
His mother said with a sadness in her voice. She was worried about him still and could sense something terrible might happen. The thought of losing your child before you pass on yourself is a thought that many, if not all parents, think once in their life. It is a thought that is so strong and heart-tearing that just the feeling of it would make any parent do whatever they could to make sure that it did not become a reality.
“ Yes mom, I have to go. My partner is waiting for me and this is a big case. It would certainly bring in some money to help start up this business again, and it might lead to a chain of cases! I might be able to help support you when you finally decide to give up being such a strong woman.”
Dennis laughed and smiled at his mother, he knew very well how worried she was and he was bound and determined to make sure she did not worry so much.
“Relax mother, I won’t get into any trouble that I can’t handle and I’ll be sure to keep in touch as I’m on the case. Besides it’s not like I’ll be leaving town, or even the state. Well I might have to leave town, but I’m most certain I won’t be buzzing out of the state.”
Dennis said with a strong will in his eyes, the will shouted his survival and success.
“ Just be safe, I worry about you. And I don’t want to lose you.”
Madalyn hugged her son while one or two tears rolled down her eyes. She knew her son was not a reckless man and that he would take care of himself and everyone else around him.
“ I will mother, I promise!”
After they finished their goodbye hugs, Dennis packed up the small things he brought over to his mothers house and was out the door like that. While his mother waved goodbye she felt an uneasy feeling, like something truly horrible was going to happen. She had faith in her son and his partner, so she tried to put her mind at ease.
As Dennis hits the road, with his will restored from the care and reassurance of his spectacular mother, he keeps his wits about as he heads for his new adventure. During his long drive back to work, all he thought about was his childhood and what silly adventures he got into as a kid, silly yet dangerous ones.
He smiles and begins to doze off, Dennis catches himself before anything major occurs such as going off road and crashing or hitting someone on the process. After snapping out of it fully, his mind gets back on track to where he needs to go. With determination set in stone on his face and a feeling of adrenaline in his body, his eyes ignite and he becomes pumped yet again for this new challenge.
Meanwhile, Charles is just now getting up and taking a morning shower. Getting up late in the day is his thing. After singing in the shower, he walked out and as he proceeded with the mundane tasks of his day, he held a smile high in the sky because an adventure was waiting. He had decided that after he was done with all tasks at hand, that he would go into town and pick up some drinks for him and Dennis. And so he did.
Just a few hours later, Dennis arrived back at “base” and walked through the door exhausted after the long drive. He looked around and saw that his partner was no where to be found.
“Charles, you nimrod, where are you? I’m back from visiting my mother. Any news? Hello?”
Not the slightest noise to indicate a response. As Dennis continued to pace around the room looking for his partner, a sudden thought came to him. What if something had happened? But then he saw a small note on the table, explaining where Charles had gone.
Dennis gave a sigh of relief and sat down in his office chair. He looked around and thought to himself how old this place really looked. The dated walls and the wooden floor, the old leather chairs and drapes. He thought of it more as a depressed lounge then an office of a private eye.
His thoughts soon dissipated as his eyes flashed to the door. There was a small knock and an abrupt opening of his partner.
“Hey! Welcome back Dennis. I picked you up a few drinks, and I brought someone up to see you. He wants to know a few things about America”
Through the door came a young man of about 20, with dark brown hair and a slightly darker skin color then the our two protagonists. He was tall, but not so tall, about 5’8 from the looks of it. The look in his eyes was not of discomfort; they gave off a feeling of not giving the slightest thought to those who would try and cause him to be turbulent. This young mans name was Marquise. Marquise Miller.
Apparently he was the child of a German Soldier and a Cuban woman. He had seen a lot for just his 20 years on this planet and he showed it. It wasn’t that he was tired physically, but mentally. The negatives of his life out-weigh the positives.
“ Well I’ll answer what I can, who are you boy?”
Dennis stated, with a father-like manner. He assumed that this young man was homeless, or definitely from another country. Maybe he was an immigrant or someone who fled to America. Dennis’s thoughts raced through his mind. What if the boy was a murderer, who had tricked his loveable yet dimwitted partner into helping him. What if he worked for the people that they were trying to catch.
Marquise remained silent for a few seconds, raising an eyebrow to what Dennis had just said to him.
“ Do you not speak English? Are you deaf? If not then out with it, I’m busy and I don’t have time for young men to act as if they are better than those who stand before them!”
Dennis was getting agitated with this newcomer. A boy who is clearly younger and less experienced has the nerve to walk into his office, accompanied by his soft-hearted partner and to completely neglect any reason to be polite to those who he is asking for help. One could almost see Dennis’s nose flare with steam.
“ He was talking a while ago, Marquise, you did ask Dennis and I for help.”
Charles looked at Marquise with a face of reason. He knew his partner more than the next guy and wanted to make sure nothing foolish happened between either of them.
“ Sorry, I was just waiting for your partner to address me as an actual adult, not a young boy”
Marquise had a small smirk, not of arrogance, but of a sense of humor that seems alien to the gentleman of this time.
“ If I came off as being rude I’m sorry, I only wanted to know that here I’m addressed as an adult.”
Marquise chuckled a bit. Not enough to signal that he was just being pompous, but more that he found messing with Dennis was funny.
“ What sort of game are you playing? You wanted our help and instead you act like a jester. What do you want.”
Dennis, now fed up with the childish games, didn’t take much at all for that to happen, stares at Marquise and waits for a response. He holds his ground like a bull against Marquise, who is acting like an actual child.
“ You’re right, I’m sorry. I just wanted to see if the strong as stone character your partner describes was truly true”.
Marquise said, with an honest tone in his voice.
“ I came to ask you about this country, because I am obviously not from here. I wanted to know if the booming cities and the strong state of this country was true. I come from Cuba, a place that is well known to not have either. I didn’t come from my country legally and I know that what I have just said to someone like you is a very long stretch from safe. I realize the position I am in, however I can assure you that I am an American citizen. I did everything to become one and sacrificed everything as well.”
Marquise takes a small pause of breaths, before he continues, Dennis cuts in with a very obvious question.
“ Why come to me for all of this, shouldn’t you go to someone who’s more suited for these sort of...situations?”
Dennis was truly confused, why had this foreigner come in, upset him, asked for his help and then suddenly spill a huge confession on him?
“ I’m sorry, Mr.Penny if I have made this confusing.”
Marquise said with a hint of thoughtfulness through his words. However this whole situation was still baffling to Dennis. Charles however, completely understood it.
“ Yes, you have most definitely confused me. If that was your goal you have succeeded, so how do you want us to help. What can we do?”
Dennis spoke in a relaxed tone. He had decided, for whatever reason this boy was doing this for, to simply go along with it until something changes his mind.
“ Thank you Mr. Penny. Charles, I’m happy you introduced me to this man, I’m sure you and him can help me.”
Marquise said in response.
“ By the way, Charles where did you find this man.”
Dennis had finally realized that he had not figured out how his partner had come across this individual. He wanted to know how this all came into being. He wanted to know if his suspicions from the start were right, that this person could be a threat!
“ Oh! Well when I was going downtown to grab the drinks for us, I happened to walk past this guy, he was looking for help in the streets so I told him about us. I mentioned that we do help people and that we are private-eyes. After I told him that, I guess that was all he needed. So he asked me if I could bring him over to where we work.”
Charles spoke in a happy-go-lucky tone. Dennis thought that it wasn’t like him to actually think about the dangers. He should however, he’s not only an adult but a detective. The world is an open playing field for his head if he isn’t careful.
“ Terrific, so, I will ask again, what do you want us to do.”
Dennis held a stare with Marquise, expecting him to say something stupid. Dennis had already thought of a way to get out of this just in case. He was relieved however to know, for now, that this individual was most definitely not a threat.
“ I won’t ask anything right now, Charles has already informed me that you are both very busy. However if something is to come up that is top priority, I would most likely just ask for information, or maybe, a place to stay.”
Marquise slowed his talking and became more docile as he finished his last sentence.
“ What, are you going to go around causing trouble in the new country you so eagerly have wanted to come to?”
Dennis did not yell, but his voice gave a presence in that statement. There was no way he would sit back and let an outsider completely mess up his chances at starting a new life or somehow drag Dennis and Charles into it as well.
“ What? No no! I wouldn’t do anything like that! God, is it because my shirt isn’t as clean as yours? I’m not a bad guy. I just want to start a new life here and I’m asking the two of you for help.”
Marquise proclaimed, holding his ground and making sure his intentions are known.
“Hey I didn’t do anything, why group me in?”
Charles cut in, jokingly mocking this situation.
“ Fine, if you need anything then you know where to get a hold of us. However we are indeed busy and we have a case we are working on. I wanted to get a few other things done before we buckle down on this. Sorry if that makes you feel like less of a priority. And if we don’t have any room then I will apologize then as well.”
Dennis paused for a second or two.
“ But I’m sure that when the time comes, my partner and I will most definitely be there to help you. That is a promise”
Out of Dennis’s face, erupted a small smile at the new comer. He had taken a liking to the foreigner and what he stands for. Still weary though of what might happen, Dennis wished Marquise best of luck and proceeded to start with the mundane tasks of his job. How lucky he thought to himself, someone managed to escape a country for whatever reasons and had come all the way here. As he lectured Charles and began his tasks, he thought of what the backstory for Marquise was. Who was his mother, and who was his father? He had mentioned that his father was a German soldier, could he be the son of a Nazi? Many questions raced through his mind.
Charles was more content. Knowing he had met someone with a story to tell was enough for him. He may be a bit too nice, but he knows that one day Marquise will open up fully and tell all of his stories to him and his superior. As the two private eyes are going about their day and letting their thoughts run wild, Marquise heads back down town. His eyes are on the sights in Baltimore. He’d never seen such huge structures or so many people.
Well the last one was a lie and he knew it, but he wanted all of the majesty that is America to sink in. In Cuban culture, theatre is a major event so he decided to run around and check out some of the local shows playing. Marquise had also thought it would be nice to view art and to listen to some of the modern music that was playing. Coming from Cuba, which is a very culturally-rich country, he knew just where to look.
What he had seen in America had made him happy that he chose to come here. He thought of heading to Germany, but because of the activity that had been coming up there, he decided not to, which made him even happier he chose here.
In the musical department, he went to see many shows “Where is love?”, “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and many more. He had fallen in love with all of the sounds and wonders. He continued to view many others, such as “From A to Z”, “Critics Choice, and “Do Re Mi”. These did not grab his attention as much as the music but he had still, nonetheless, fallen in love with what wonders there are.
Late that night after exploring the wonders of his new town, Marquise decides to find a place to crash. He thinks for a second if he should ask Dennis or Charles, however it’s late at night and they’re probably asleep.
As Marquise enjoys his last few minutes before he needs to find a place to crash, he takes in the amazing scenery of Baltimore at night. Walking down the streets to the nearest motel, he spotted the Lord Baltimore Hotel. He walked in and snagged the cheapest room. He walked up the stairs, opened the door and flung himself onto his bed. He thought it was very generous of Charles to loan him some money, enough to stay maybe two nights and get something to eat as well.
This day was spectacular for Marquise, however for Dennis it was not. Many thoughts loomed over his head and dark ones at that. Putting aside this case that Dennis and his beloved, knuckleheaded partner were just about to start, depression had finally caught up with him. It took an entire year for the weight of his fathers death to truly come crashing down on Dennis. This, coupled with the fact he knows his mother doesn’t have much time either begins to cripple Dennis’s mental state.
While Charles and everyone else in the world celebrate and continually find ways to smile, it has become very hard for Dennis to even think of it. He surprised himself when he first smiled at Marquise. He didn’t know what had come over him. Speaking of which, the arrival of this new figure didn’t necessarily lift the pressure off of his back, nor did Charles’s need for foolish adventure.
He had been in a state of mind like this for about a day now, his actions towards Marquise proclaimed this greatly. It was late at night and everyone else in the city was in bed, including Charles. Dennis sat in his chair staring out into the fading lights of the city, with a glass of water in his hand. He hadn’t shaved yet so his 5 o’clock shadow had taken hold.
As he placed his hand on his chin to rub his porcupine like grizzle, he couldn’t help but stare out into space. His eyes drifted downward, he knew he was falling asleep. Dennis jolted himself up and took one last big drink. He got up and walked over to the small kitchen, placing his glass in the sink, he walked up the stairs of his business to his small room. His bed, unmade. His room, a mess with papers everywhere and a coffee mug on its side. His master bath room, that doesn’t need a description. All of this was messy and unclean. He gazed upon his man-hole and decided to not give a second thought, he just hopped in bed, cloths and everything.
A now half-asleep Dennis was hoping to dream of only good things. No more paper work, no more small, mediocre cases that are mandatory for survival, no more strangers popping up unexpectedly and asking ridiculous favors, no more Charles and his child-like antics. His mind was free and he showed it with a second smile.
Charles was in the other room, snoring and partially drooling. His day, despite how it seemed was hectic as well. Working while Dennis was away, running to town to get some drinks only to find a new acquaintance, and having to deal with tension between him and Dennis. His brain was fried from today. How lovely he thought to himself as he drifted off deeper into the embrace of his pillow and sheets, if there was no tension at all.
Early in the morning, as the city itself is waking up Charles, not even awake, decides to go out and grab something to eat at Gino’s Hamburgers. He wasn’t in the mood to cook something up so he chose the better option, food served to him, on a low budget of course. Hardly a cloud in the sky and a small breeze, the perfect day for a family picnic, or a date with the girl you love. The sun glimmered on the streets but wasn’t too hot. Charles smiled and thought to himself today was picture perfect.
After he finished eating, he took a walk around town. Dennis was still asleep, which is to be expected. While Charles is walking through the streets a thought comes to his mind.
“ Dennis has been depressed for a while now. I wonder if I could do anything to cheer him up. I shouldn’t buy anymore drinks, nor should I buy something sweet like a cake. If he was a gal I’d just grab him some flowers. What could cheer this guy up?”
Charles pondered and pondered. He scratched his chin and rubbed the bristles of his own beard. He had no time to shave lately as it was.
“ I know just the thing. I’ll run in and grab him a chain for that pocket watch of his. He doesn’t do much with it but it was a gift. He can finally use the watch!”
Charles, with his warm heart, headed to buy a pocket watch chain from a pawn shop. As he rounds the corner and heads down the street to reach it, he spots a figure lurking in the alley way just buy the store. Charles may be kind-hearted but he is no fool. He raises his guard and gets ready for anything to happen. As he enters the shop, a sigh of relief is exhaled under his breath. He felt safe in the eyes of citizens. He believed that man would help one another if push came to shove.
“ Hi! Do you by any chance have chains to pocket watches?”
Charles asked in a peppy mood to the manager who was running the cashier today. The manager, named Don Williams, was a gruff man. Renown in town by an obnoxious pointy cactus, he stared into Charles and snorted.
“ Ya, I got whatcha need.”
Don stares at Charles, giving off a scent of “I’m better than you” mixed with, “I didn’t take a shower.” Charles shrugs this off as he understands the macho attitude for someone like this. It agitates Charles a little bit, but he knows that this man might hold the key to Dennis’s smile.
Don, who came from Germany right after the war, was a small man. He was round as well. The usual blonde hair and blue eyes that show the signature European features, he came to America only because of “freedom”. He thinks that freedom grants him the right to act like a total jerk, as well as sympathize with the Nazi agenda, of course he kept this a secret; only two other people knew and they were sympathizers as well.
“ I got it, it’s silver so it’ll cost ya. What’s it for your dying grandma?”
Don snorted again and chuckled, hands on his hips and everything.
“ My superior who is depressed due to his father's recent death and the soon coming death of his mother. Care to crack more puns?”
Charles had gotten fired up, anyone who disrespects those whom he holds in respect will pay. He wasn’t about to start a fight, but Charles is more than suited to verbally fight, especially against someone of this caliber.
“ Calm down twinkle toes -- I was yanking your chain.”
Don rolls his eyes and utters German under his breath.
“ Kleiner Punk , immer hoch und mächtig mit mir , ich werde sein Gesicht brechen.”
Which loosely translates to, “Little punk, getting high and mighty with me, I'll break his face”. After things settled down, and money was placed on the table, Charles took the chain and left. He couldn’t be happier to get out of that situation. Charles continues on, passing the alley way and rounding the corner.
“I hope Dennis will be happy with this, it’s a good chain for a great momento. I can only imagine the look on his face when I--”
Charles stopped mid-sentence when approached by a figure. He looks forward and squints a bit as it appears to be the girl he had seen before. She races down the alley way as quick as she is seen.
“ Hey wait! I need you to come with me! Get back here!”
Charles races down the alley way in determination to catch this mystery girl.
“ Lady you are in for it, if you think you can out-run a detective you have another th--”
Before Charles could finish his sentence, something terrible had happened. An audible crack glides through the air and echos through the alley way, it was pretty careless for the woman to fire in daylight, but she had the perfect opportunity. The smell of gunpowder fills the air as Charles falls to his knees.
Charles finishes his last thought before his body drops to the floor. His eyes, becoming pale and a puddle of blood begins to expand. The bullet hit his heart directly, by the time the sound was heard, his fate had been sealed.
Thoughts flooded his mind as he was trying to figure out what had just happened. He comes to the realization that he had been shot. His last thought was that he couldn’t deliver Dennis’s chain to him and he felt like a failure for it. He knew that he was always a knucklehead and he took high chances and in the end he regrets both. Gasping for air while lying on his blood-soaked stomach, a tear rolls down his eye. He wouldn’t see his boss, friend and mentor again, nor would he see the foreigner who he was just getting to know.
The woman walked away, nothing to say, nothing to do. Nothing. It’s as if she never existed. It was about an hour later when officials arrived. Dennis gone out to look for him two hours ago. A feeling of guilt and sadness, anxiety and terror raced over Dennis as he heard rumors of a recent murder. Word gets around quickly when it’s committed in the daytime. As Dennis frantically asks passerbyes where this had happened, a grim truth comes over him.
Dennis, now rushing to the spot of the incident, finds local officials all around the body. There was no cover, Dennis knew who it was. His partner and beloved friend was face down in a puddle of his own blood. He was shocked and terrified to the point where no tears could come out. What had happened and how? A policeman approaches.
The officer is Morgan Halemano. A middle aged man who comes from the islands of Hawaii. Born on Maui, he grew up in Kahului where, as a kid, his favorite thing in the world was to draw. His father, like most, was rigid however, and broke this dream of Morgans. Morgans mother was no where to be found, according to his father had left them in search of someone who was “better suited.” Having told his son at a young age -- the pain of not having both parents kicked in.
Morgan decided to devote his life to try and right the wrongs of the world. At age 17 he decided he wanted to go into law enforcement, to try and be the local hero who others could depend on. Maybe parts of his decision came from his rigid father, who did not let him pursue what he had originally wanted to do, or perhaps from his mother who is still not in his life. Either way he had become as rigid as his father. By the book and cold, he showed other officers what the true meaning of “stone cold” meant. But deep within this tough exterior lies a heart that is so damaged from hurt a simple needle may pop it.
The name Halemano means “Many Houses”. Morgan thought of changing his name since he had never felt that much of a connection to his roots of origin, but since becoming an officer, the name Halemano seems to fit him. He has to enter many houses, there are many different divisions under Law Enforcement and there are many criminals who have big organizations waiting to be brought down. So even if he doesn’t use his last names true meaning, it fits him well enough.
He doesn’t feel that strongly connected to the islands because of his mother's early departure and his fathers blizzard like love. He would just assume forget all the negatives of his childhood and to move on. The thought of being an artist still crossed his mind so he figured if he ever quit or retired, he wasn’t going to let his fathers wishes get in the way of what he wants.
“ Do you know this man on the ground?”
Morgan spoke with an indifferent voice.
“ He’s...he’s my partner, Charles, Charles P. Arneaux..”
Feeling tears billowing behind his eyes, Dennis tries to speak without letting them out.
“ This boy took a gunshot to the chest at about 30 or so feet away. He was holding a small chain in his hand. A local pawn shop owner named Don Williams mentioned he had bought it for his superior. I’m guessing you are the one he was referring to.”
Morgan hands the chain to Dennis, who takes the chain and walks off. He knows that he will be called in for questioning -- it’s standard procedure. Right now however he wanted to be alone. Morgan, who understands this, doesn’t make a huge fuss. He simply states however that he has to come back for questioning.
“ A chain. Your life is gone and in replace all there is, is a stupid chain? This is some sick joke. You idiot, you moron, you stupid kid, you foolish boy, you’re gone! Gone because of some gift? How did this even happen? There were no indications, knowing you, you left because of an idiotic impulse to go walk around in the sunshine like a kid.”
Dennis had gone behind another alley, to expel his anger and to mourn his friend.
“ You never stopped and thought did you, that there was something up? It’s too late now though! You blasted little snot…”
The anger of loss had subsided and the grief and despair of sorrow was about to take hold.
“ Why couldn’t you just be safe, just stay out of trouble. God you were an adult, but I felt like I had to babysit you. What was this for anyway, to cheer me up?”
In a burst of anger, Dennis hurls the chain at the wall. Creating a small ting noise, the chains slaps against the hard surface and falls to the ground. Dennis slumps down beside it. Feeling completely and utterly defeated, he sits and stares off into the sky. The will to survive had been dented and nearly shattered.
Dennis picks up the chain and stuffs it in his pocket. He picks himself up and composes himself and proceeds to walk back to the scene.
“ Are you going to call me in for questioning?”
Dennis stated to Morgan, who had changed his expression in the time of his absence.
“ Actually, no Mr. Penny, we’re placing you under arrest for the suspected murder of Charles P. Arneaux”
Dennis blinked, took a step back and his mouthed dropped.
“ You’re messing with me right? Is this funny to you officer? Did you not just see me cry at my partners death? What kind of murderer would cry for their victim!”
“ A few witnesses said that you emerged moments after the shot was fired and then ran away. Now you tell me how that looks, Mr. Penny?”
Morgan and his men begin to walk towards Dennis. Dennis, confused, tired and agitated has no idea what’s going to happen or what he’s going to do. As madness and confusion take hold, Dennis turns around and sprints down through Baltimore.
“ I knew it! Dirty rat is the culprit, after him! We can’t have a murderer on the loose in this city!”
Dennis was now a wanted man. Scared and confused, the grown man races towards his home and office; quickly grabbing the supplies he needs. He had formulated a plan to survive this event. Rummaging through his desks, he grabs two of his guns, two Colt .45s and a pocket knife that belonged to Charles. Putting together some cloths and basic items of canned food, he takes all of his money and runs.
Dennis knows how much trouble he is in now. How such a day could come about was beyond him. He hops in his car and drives off. He considered going to his mothers house, but he thought she would be safer if he wasn’t there. And he didn’t want her to find out that he ran from an officer of the law.
Fleeing from Baltimore, Dennis sets out on an adventure like no other. For a while now he knew that law was corrupted, but to this extent? What happened to the Democracy of America that once stood so proud. What about Judges in the courts, are they corrupted, or the Supreme Court, were all of them corrupted as well? How deep does this get.
Irrational thoughts consumed his mind as he stepped on the gas to get out alive. Conspiracies and over-all insanity is the second thing that was on Dennis’s mind. The first was safety. He decided that since Baltimore was no where near safe, he would head out to New York and find a place to stay.
Dennis, after all of the recent events, was in shock. A set-up murder with his name on it had been committed. Worst of all, his partner was the victim. As Dennis is remembering his time spent with Charles, more tears begin to fill his eyes and he realizes that he is indeed, alone. This realization scared him the most.
“ My job is gone, my house is gone, my partner is gone, my life is gone. I’m on the run from the law who has turned it’s back on me and thinks I’m some loose cannon killer. That Morgan guy seemed like he was smarter than this, aren’t I just great at judging, that’s why I was a private eye... was..”
As Dennis talks to himself out of anger and boredom, he continues along the New Jersey Turnpike, nearing I-95 N. He’s been on the road for about an hour.
“Ok, first course of action. I’m getting something to eat and then I’ll find a hotel, or something, something..”
Back in Baltimore things are in upheaval. Dennis’s name is drug through the dirt in local news. “Local Detective Gone Mad”, is what it read. The news had spread throughout the state, but luckily it stayed there. The Maryland Daily Record didn’t think the story had much relevance to the outside world and their crew decided to keep it that way. However, word had gotten out to Dennis’s mother.
“ Charles? Dead? At the hands of my son? The partner that he loved so much?”
Shocking gasps came from Madalyn’s mouth.
“ The boy who Dennis has always talked about, killed by Dennis? I don’t think this is right. I know my kid and this doesn’t sound like him.”
Madalyn wanted to get a hold of her son as soon as possible, however she knew he wasn’t in the state and that he had gone somewhere. He was right, she wanted to slap him for getting into so much trouble even if it wasn’t his fault. Still, she was extremely worried. Local guys with iron pipes in an alleyway or a mugger with an old colt is one thing, but the law is another.
“ Oh Dennis, survive this not for me, but survive this for yourself.”
Madelyn spoke aloud in her home. Followed with a huge sigh and then a knock on the door.
“ Yes, who is it?” Madalyn shouted.
A visitor other than her son is rare and almost unreal, she wondered who it was.
“ Ma’am I’m officer Morgan, I would like to have a word with you about your son.”
Morgan spoke in the demeanor of a professional. Madalyn wondered why he had bothered to come all this way to talk to her. In her mind she felt that something else was up.
“ Just a second, have you and the rest of the force found him yet?” Madalyn questioned. With the sound of worry in her voice, she feared having to testify against her own son if he had actually committed the murder.
“ Ma'am, can we please talk inside?”
Morgan stated. Rushing through his words like he truly was in a big hurry.
“ Sure thing, hold on.”
Madalyn unlocks the door and lets Morgan in. He bows his head and looks over to the couch. Madelyn nods her head in a friendly smile and Morgan sits down.
“ May I offer you anything to drink officer?”
Madalyn asked politely.
“ No ma’am, I came to talk to you about Dennis. Truth is I don’t think the guy committed the murder. When I was with him when he was initially accused, I don’t know, call me crazy but something just tells me your son is not the real culprit.”
Morgan stated, focusing on Madalyn and what her response to that would be.
“ Really? From the sounds of the newspaper I would of thought that you were pretty sure he was indeed the culprit. What’s with the sudden change.”
Madalyn was curious as to why this officer is here talking to her about this.
“I know, it is indeed a bit sudden, however there have been other isolated murders like this in the past. Everyone else seems to be brushing these off their backs but I’m keeping my wits about. Have you heard the news of a new gang in Los Angeles, the Crips right? Well somewhere along the lines they spread over to the East coast. They are here and I think they might be the reason why this has happened.”
Morgan continued on, touching on in depth information and enjoying sharing these ideas.
“If it isn’t a gang then it must be a fraction of the mafia. There is a third possible party. I’ve heard rumors in the streets that a local group who are Nazi Enthusiasts are causing trouble. After the war, many Germans moved over to the states, so apparently these guys came with them.”
Morgan stopped and took a breath. He awaited Madalyns response. He hoped that this news didn’t confuse her more
“You’re telling me, that a bunch of rag-tag Nazi’s have come here and they’re causing noise for just the heck of it? And they’ve gotten innocent lives involved. And above all they are the reason Dennis is now a fugitive of the law?”
Madalyn spoke with anger, the thought of her son being blamed for unfairness and outright stupidity bothered her to no end. Her son who had devoted his life to helping others is now at the mercy of those whom he had helped. Needless to say, she was furious.
“If I wasn’t old, I would personally kick their butts right back into Germany,” Madalyn said ferociously. Age did not stop her from being a tough cookie.
“I want to find a way to get your son out of this situation.” Morgan spoke.
“How could we, I don’t even know where the boy is and he has an entire state against him.”
Madalyn, showing concern for her son, takes a step back to think about how they can get Dennis.
Meanwhile, now in New York, Dennis can finally relax.
“How should I go about this. Where would be a good place to hide. A hotel? No, too obvious. A motel? No, too germy. I could always sleep in an alley way. Look at me, contemplating what hole I’ll hide under until either I get caught or something happens to me.”
As Dennis spoke to himself out loud, others around him overheard. The suspicious nature of humans can only be paired with the need to screw up anything and everything. A few people who overheard him talk went straight to the local authorities. The word had gotten out. The man that they were looking for was in New York.
Dennis had no idea what was going to happen, the entire state of New York would be closing in on him in only a mere hour. Dennis had good intuition, so he spoke no more. However, this would not help him, for he was about to meet with his fate. Dennis, who felt eyes on him from every angle, decided to slip into the shadows for a bit. As he hid around the corners of the streets, he saw more than one officer running around. He had finally caught on that somehow, they know that he is indeed here in New York.
Feeling that the tables have turned, Dennis decides to abandon what he has believed in for so long. Taking out his father’s pocket watch, he grasps it tightly as he pulls out his pocket knife. He had decided, given the circumstances, that he would become a phantom of the streets and no longer bound by rules. He wanted to survive, and since things have turned so twisted so quickly -- he was bound and determined to do just so. He wasn’t, however, about to kill or hurt anyone but he was about to defend himself. He knew he wasn’t wrong and he was sick of the law turning against him.
At this point in time, he thought of what other countries would be like. He had heard many good things about Australia -- that their government did not allow convicts in or wanted men, but he then remembered that he was just that, wanted. He thought of moving to England. The sights there would be amazing and the thought of getting in touch with his ancestry there would be nice as well. However, the taxes in England were extremely high as he recalled, and he didn’t think he would be able to make it with such extremes. And what about Germany he wondered? Well he did not want to go there, especially after what has happened.
The shadows were something that was foreign to him. He could no longer rely on the law or others. Truly the definition of cloak and dagger, Dennis shifts through the shadows to hide. For weeks he was in that realm, never coming out, yet always slipping in. Word had gotten back to Baltimore that he was hiding in New York. This had reached Morgan and his mother as well. Searches continued but to no avail. Dennis had become a phantom in the streets.
Over the course of the next few months, authorities back in Baltimore had discovered that Williams and a few others were part of the Nazi sympathizers, and they were also tied into the death of Charles. Williams was sentenced to life in prison and a funeral was held for Charles shortly after. With no ability to get word or news, Dennis had no way of knowing he was free.
He wandered New York for nearly two months without knowing he was safe, until an officer by the name of Paul Coopers found him asleep. Paul came from the West Coast, born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He had come very accustomed to the rain and wetness so if it ever got hot in Baltimore he could not wait for heat storms. Even if he was an officer he had always wanted to see storms. Weather fascinated him, how it changed and shifted and was unpredictable. Paul was 42, not too old but getting there. He planned on quitting the force in a couple of years to move to Tornado Alley.
As Paul approached Dennis, he began to wake up. Having a flash-light in your face is not the most nicest way of waking up, but at this time that thought never crossed into each of them.
“ Hey, you there. Sir are you homeless or drunk, or both?”
Paul, mocking Dennis, had recognized this man.
“ Say, is your name Dennis?”
Paul asked, now being polite.
“ S-so what if it is, I’m guessing your taking me in for that “murder”?”
Dennis stuttered, cold and chilled to the bone from lack of proper bedding.
“ You haven’t heard the news have you? They caught the real criminal a few months ago. Authorities from all over haven’t been looking for you to arrest you, they’ve been looking for you to tell you that the charges have been dropped. You can go home, get off the streets and not be some ghost.”
Paul said with a smile and a warm chuckle. This news hit Dennis about as hard as Charles death. Imagine that, fate would have it that just as soon as this mess had started, it cleared up. Dennis was thankful that it did not end up like his old case, the one where he had done the wrong thing. This time, law would have forgiven him.
“ Officer, what’s your name.”
Dennis asked, straight and quick.
“ Why, it’s Paul. Do you want a hug or something?”
Paul mocked yet again, but in a warm fashion.
“ No Paul, I want a warm blanket and some dang coffee. If you have any back at your place or the Police Department that would be nice. After that then we can negotiate a hug.”
Dennis had not smiled in a while. This brought warmth to his heart, as did Paul cracking up at what he just said. Paul helped Dennis up, and with a smile brought him into the car and took him back to the Police Department. He had a nice cup of coffee and his car, which had been towed, was returned to him. Thanking his new-found friends in New York, he headed down the road back to Baltimore. What a trip he had been on he thought, but that is life. Life gives us many things, it gives us joy and pain, want and need, love and hate, life and death. Above all else life gives us knowledge.
As he made his way back to Baltimore, he could only stop and wonder if anything had changed. If his mother was ok, if Charles was laid to rest, if his place is ransacked. If anything at all had changed or is it just the same as it was. Things don’t change in months however to Dennis it had felt like a lifetime. So many questions that still needed to be answered.
As he arrived back at his workplace, he had a familiar face show up, it was Marquise.
“ Welcome back Mr. Penny, I’m guessing this whole experience was not only terrifying and confusing but it also weighed on your mental health?”
Marquise said with a smile.
“ Yeah, you could say that it kind of did all of that and more.”
Dennis responded with wit and a snappy attitude. The mood changed as Marquise stopped smiling, and began to frown.
“ I am sorry about Charles. At the time I was doing my own thing and if I was there I would of done everything I could to stop this scenario.”
Marquise spoke with compassion.
“ Did they ever find who shot him or who it was? Is everyone else ok? Anyone else dead? Do you have any of these answers?”
Dennis impatiently asked, wondering if he would ever get clarity on this matter.
“ Yes I have the answers. They found who shot him, it was the wife of Don Williams, the local pawnshop owner. Her name was Johanna, Johanna Williams. She was a former SA Troop and was one of the few surviving here. Apparently not the brightest, she ended up stepping in Charles blood, which lead authorities to discover a little “whole in the wall”. An abandoned building near downtown is where she, and her husband conducted their plans. The rest you can figure out on your own, cops storming in, gunshots and a few blood splats.”
Marquise, after he had explained to Dennis the events as best as he could, walked over and leaned up against the wall.
“ Mr. Penny, something doesn’t add up. For one, I have a feeling there are more people behind the strings of this plan and I don’t think right now we will be able to find them. By we I mean mainly you, but I will help out in whatever way. I don’t think that they are gang members either. A gang is too buffoon-like for something like this -- mere hooligans can’t come up with creative ideas. As for the rest of your questions, I have the answers. Yes, everyone that you most likely know is fine. No one else is dead, one or two officers were wounded if I remember, but no one else died. So I’m guessing, yes I do have these answers.”
Marquise laughed and walked over to Dennis, he patted him on the shoulder.
“ Mr. Penny, or Dennis, whichever way you like I do have something to tell you. A funeral was held for Charles and I’m sorry that you have missed it, however I can point into the direction of where his grave stone is. Your mother had pitched in some money to get him an engraved stone -- tall and lean like himself and his thoughts. It is located in Green Mount Cemetery. Anywho, I am heading off now, I was able to get into Baltimore City Community College with the help of some of the locals I have met here. I’ll still hold you to you saying that you would help me if I need it. Goodbye Dennis, rest your head!”
Marquise finished his thoughts while he was walking off, he waved to Dennis and walked down the stairs, ready to start his own adventure.
“ Yes Dennis?”
Marquise replied, he was a little nervous because the tone of Dennis’s voice was not exactly happy.
“ I wanted to say I’m thankful for the information you’ve given me and that I hope you go far in your life here. I’m sorry that I immediately judged you because of some awkward suspicions in my mind -- when I should of been looking out for my partner. If you need a place to crash you can stay here, use Charles room, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
Dennis went from having a stern face, to having a more relaxed demeanor.
“ I will take you up on that offer, but first I think you should pay a visit to that officer Morgan. He is after all the reason why you are here and not behind bars with an unruly inmate or something. I’ll be going now.”
Dennis waved and left a few moments later, he travelled down through Baltimore city, to the police station. When he finally got there, a big surprise was waiting.
“ Well well, hello there Mr. Fugitive.”
Morgan said with a warmer embrace then before.
“ I heard you were the one who got me here safely. I thought you were going to turn me in. Whatever happened to that island boy?”
Dennis knudged him on the shoulder.
“If you call me that ever again I will, and it wasn’t just my idea, it was your mother’s. I had talked to her around the time you left. Originally I was trying to find out where you were but the more we talked about this scenario, the more we uncovered that you weren’t guilty.”
Morgan, standing with his arms crossed, continued to explain the events that followed after Dennis’s departure to New York.
“ Dennis, my job is to help people. I made that vow a very long time ago and I wasn’t going to break it. I wasn’t about to give up on someone who I had a hunch was innocent, and I didn’t want to put someone behind bars that was. I heard about that case long ago also and I’m sure you felt as if the law itself was against you and I’m sorry you had to feel that way. After recent thought, many of us here wanted to see you get back on your job. You were good at it and hey, you avoided us for a while, didn’t you? Or at least we could get you a job here. What do you say?”
Morgan put out his hand with a smile. Dennis grasped it and shook it, however his response was that of the opposite of what Morgan wanted to hear.
“ I would officer, but I think I’m not cut out for this line of work anymore. I can assure you that there are many persons stronger than I, who could see their parents dying and still hold true to their morals and standards of justice. I’ve lost a lot and I don’t want to risk losing anymore. Besides I’ve done my fair share of busting criminals, even if it has been a very long while. I still don’t get how that woman came up to us and asked us to take the case... and, well, I never would of thought that she was the culprit.”
Dennis put his hands on his hip and kicked the grounds a little, his head down still talking, yet lost in thought.
“ Mr. Penny, there are a lot of things that are wrong and many people who are backstabbers. You should know this, the feeling of a knife to your back? It’s normal amongst humans. From the time you are in elementary and a kid who you consider your friend calls you a butt head or when you’re a teen and your friends betray you. Parents who make wrong mistakes and you lose trust in them. Your wife or girlfriend, husband or boyfriend not being faithful, many things in this life make us feel betrayed. It’s human nature.”
Morgan patted Dennis on the shoulder.
“ If you ever change your mind, feel free to come down. And I also have a welcome back present for you. In about three days you will be able to talk to Don, Johanna and their third accomplice who has refused to talk for a while now about what happened. Thought it would only be fair that you can have a revelation or two with the people responsible for Charles death.
“ Thanks Morgan, you don’t know how much that means to me. If they lose a tooth or a few don’t blame me.”
Dennis cracked his knuckles; making himself look more intimidating.
“ Dennis if you do that you won’t be able to run from us this time.”
Morgan laughed at Dennis’s threat. He understood it in his heart and even if he wanted to let Dennis beat the snot out of them, he couldn’t. It was at this point in time where Morgan felt like disobeying the rules, but he didn’t.
“ I’m off to go pay my mother a visit, despite how old I am, I’m still her kid and she has a right to know I’m safe.”
Dennis walked off and threw his hand into the air as a wave.
“ Take care Mr. Penny.”
Morgan smiled and waved back, one hand in his pocket with his black suspenders and white t-shirt. Dennis thought to himself that instead of going directly to his mother, he would pay a visit to Charles. Taking a walk there, he passed by the pawn-shop where it all happened. He glared at it, wanting to burn it down right there and then. After that thought he walked a little faster to get where he was going.
Upon arrival at the graveyard, he asks the director where the stone of Charles P. Arneaux was. The director points north and describes the stone -- massive, with a silver lining and an eagle crest at the top. As Dennis takes his stroll through the dead, the memories of his father come back into being and with them comes a new fear, his mother. She was getting old and the thought of darkness looming over her was inevitable. He did not want these thoughts in his head just yet, so he shoved them out.
When he found Charles tomb, a tear rolled down his cheek. The engravement read as follows.
Herein lies “Charles P. Arneaux” 1938 - 1965
A young man of dreams and aspirations
A detective of superb benevolence and understanding
A friend of unimaginable strength and compassion
Mentored by the best boss in the world
Dennis fell to his knees and stared at the headstone. A big smile filled his face and he prayed for his soul to be safe and sound, in the arms of love and light, where he deserved to be.
“Well, I don’t know about flowers, I didn’t grab any of those but I got you something that is even better.”
Dennis rustled through his pocket and grabbed the pocket watch that belonged to his father.
“I’ll tell you what goofball, I keep the chain if you keep the watch. Sounds pretty stupid right? But I mean hey, you will always be here with me partner, so you can keep teaching me what it means to be strong. And I can hopefully teach you to not be a lug nut.”
Dennis placed the pocketwatch atop the stone, a gentle breeze swept across the graveyard. Leaves flew in the air and it was if sound itself had stopped. Dennis took in a deep breath and glanced one last time at the stone. Smiling, he walked off, tucking the chain back in his pocket. When he reached the director again, he asked if a small hole could be hammered into the grave to place the pocket watch for ever. The director gladly shook his head yes. Usually these acts would be considered the disturbance of tombs, however he made an exception to the oh-so-famous Dennis Penny.
Walking away, he headed back down to the police station to grab his car. It was a long walk and he thought to himself he probably should've brought the car down, but he didn’t care. A good walk is always acceptable. Looking forward to seeing his mother and spending some more time, he gladly would take this opportunity to think of what excuse he had for her to not smack him.
Dennis began to speak aloud again as he spent so much time doing back in New York. It had almost become natural for him.
“ Should I get her some flowers or something? Would she be alright just to know that I’m safe? What should I do, should I even go to visit her? Oh what am I saying? Of course I should!”
Dennis continued to ramble on for about twenty minutes or so whether or not to get his mother a gift or an excuse.
“ I think she will be satisfied with me just being alive and ok? Or she might be satisfied after she kicks my butt. Either way it will be good to see her.”
Dennis strolls along with a smile, feeling like a kid he’s almost tempted to sprint down the streets. He almost felt ashamed, for he was enjoying his time after all the negatives that had happened. Dennis knows however, that the past is the past. These events have indeed been extremely sad, but he wasn’t about to let that destroy his life. It’s not what Charles would have wanted. Not at all.
Dennis gets in the car to head out to his mother's place. It’s dusk, but he can make it. He pondered in his head what he was going to say to her. He had been in danger for months and he knew she was none too happy with him. A few hours later he arrived at her house and needless to say, she was indeed angry.
“ Dennis! Where in gods name have you been these past weeks. I can’t believe you would be in so much trouble. I can’t believe how idiotic you were to not only run away from the law and lose your job, but you could have lost your life. I thought I raised you better than that and...”
His mother had gone off on a tangent like no other. Mixed feelings and parental protection had caused a beast of punishment to be created.
“ More importantly, why did you not get a hold of me when this started? What? Were you worried that the officers had come here and were waiting for you? Well that only happened about a month after you vanished! Officer Morgan came by to inform me that he thought you were innocent.”
The tangent continued, brutally and without breath.
“And you didn’t even stop by and see if I was in danger. I’m sure you thought that whoever they were, they were after you but instead of checking in to be safe, you left. If you ever do something like this again, so help me, I am not too old to smack you!
As she finally ran out of breath, Dennis was both amazed and confused at how much she could still expel. For someone who is close to the other world she indeed had a lot of fight left in her.
Dennis said nothing, he just hugged her and smiled. A tear rolled down her eye, as she was worried for his safety and would continue to worry until she herself could not worry anymore.
“ Oh I mean it, if you ever do that again so help me, nothing will stop my foot from kicking your butt all the way to China. I’m just glad you're safe.”
They say the bond between a mother and her son is strong -- stronger than gravity. The reunited family gladly embrace each other and this adventure ends with smiles. Dennis stayed over at his mothers house to catch up. He told her stories of the streets and how this whole ordeal came to be. Luckily, she was not mad at him anymore so they could at least enjoy some stories without anger.
After stories and drinks they both went to bed and in the morning Dennis headed back out. He went back to the police station to talk to those responsible for the death of Charles and he had learned that it was planned for the simple reason that they hated good men. They hated those whose light shined brightest. They had simply picked him because he was good and they were evil.
Furious by this, Dennis had stormed out. If it wasn’t for Morgan and Marquises interventions at the end, Dennis would of done something. What shocked him the most is that they said to him that he was not good enough to be killed; that he was the same, dark and light. He took this as more of an insult than a compliment. It made him think that he should of been the one, not Charles. But the past is the past and people have to move on.
Dennis did not resume his job and about a year later, his mother had passed on as well. He attended and prepared her funeral and after that, he left. There was nothing left for him in Baltimore or regarding law. He became a wanderer, hoping to find a home.
I think after all of this I’m done with people. Losing Charles, my mother and my father just shortly before -- I’m a little fed up with humanity. They cradle those who are close yet others will always come and disrupt that. Whether or not it’s some crack-pot splinter group or nature itself, I’m just done with humans. I think I’ll go live as a misanthrope and fester my hate. What good would that do? It’s not what I should do anyway, whatever.
I wonder how England is, poor as heck but it must be nice over there. All rainy and historic. And they still do the whole royalty and “Hi I’m the prince, here’s my golden toilet.” The government there is decent, tax the heck out of everyone but again, it’s decent. Parliament does their job indeed.
Or how about New Zealand, do they even let outsiders in? I mean the world right now doesn’t know anything about them -- maybe by 2000 we will learn something. From what I have heard, their government is trying to be a lot like Australia. Speaking of which I want to go there but I can’t, my name is on the files of “offenders” in this country. Even if I wanted to I would definitely not get in, they hardly except their own convicts.
No where else to go. I could check out Germany? But I mean after everything that’s happened and what those losers did to Charles, I would probably cause WWIII if I stepped one foot into that land. Pity, because I like their language and beer. Oh well, I guess there’s no place for a wanderer like me. I’ll go live out in the forest near Washington State or maybe the desert somewhere in Arizona Doubt I’d survive either, but oh well.
I’ve learned an important lesson in my time here -- not even half way done with my life but I’m done with people. We are a smart race and indeed greedy, cruel, stupid and every other negative word one could describe us as, but we endure. We endure more than any other race known to us. Sure some animals can endure pressure of the deep sea probably or the pressure of the earth, but we endure pressure on all levels.
We are troopers, I am a trooper. And I’m going to continue to march until the day I expire. I’m going to march in silence however, not known to any others. I wish Marquise the best of luck with his new life in this country and I wish Officer Morgan and Paul the best as well -- doing arts and stopping hooligans.
I myself, will fade once again into the shadows. Like I said -- I’m done with people. I think I’ll go find a place somewhere in Antarctica, seems more cozy than with anywhere else.