Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
“Help me!” A woman screams, bustling into the speakeasy. “He’s been gotten! Call the police!”
The crowd breaks, and I see Kitty stumble. Her short black hair, which was in the stylish curls all the girls had been wearing lately, is aroused. She teeters on her tiny high heels and grasps at her red, fringed dress. The same words spill out of her firetruck red lips.
“He’s been gotten! Call the police!”
As the patrons of the Bordel spill out of the doors to find out what Kitty, a waitress and said to be woman of the night after hours, was rambling on and on about. I catch Kitty by her arm.
“What in the hell has gotten into you, Kit?” She pants like a dog from her frenzy. Finally but breathlessly, she speaks.
“He’s been got, Bobbie. They shot Paulie!”
Paul Winston was a local banker who had apparently been seen with Kitty lately. Not that it was any of my business. I was more concerned with who “they” was.
“Calm down, Kitty,” I insist. I sit her down and grab a glass from the bar. As the room was empty, I poured some vodka into it and stuck an olive in it. She accepts it as I sit next to her. I wasn’t close to Kitty, but we were well acquainted. However, I never involved myself into her most intimate affairs, and she never told. Until now.
“Who is they, Kitty?” I ask quietly.
She sips her drink and kicks her feet back and forth bashfully. “Oh, I don’t know. He mention he was getting tangled up in some mess at his job. He didn’t seem too worried, so I never asked him anything ‘bout it unless he told it to me.”
I pat her knee. “They will find out who did this. Stay here, I’ll be right back.” She nods and gulps down the rest of her vodka. I step out of the speakeasy into the brisk streets of Chicago. Snow covered the ground. Winter would be over soon, I reminded myself as I shivered. My fringed dress revealed my legs to the icy winds, leaving me chilly. Warmth seeps into me as I shoulder my way through the crowd.
The police are there, holding back onlookers. But luckily with my short stature, I can peek through the sleeves of men. I see Paulie, a bullet in his chest, slumped against the brick alley. His hat and tie, oddly are scattered around the ground, and his pockets are turned inside out. All that remains of his belongings is a watch. It looked valuable at a glance, but was really a knock-off of some fancy pants brand. I shield my eyes against the gore of the crime scene. It was easy to see why Kitty was so upset.
“That’s just terrible,” a woman says near me. Another person says with a clipped tone, “that’s what you get when you mess around with prostitutes and drugs.”
I raise my brow. Prostitutes? Yes, Paulie was known to mess around with ladies for a small fee. But drugs? I frown. Paulie was a banker, one people trusted with money. He was a man of society. What would he do with drugs?
I reenter the speakeasy and say goodnight to Kitty. She was my friend, but I didn’t want to overstep my bounds by intruding into her privacy. I slip on my lace gloves and climb into my red convertible car. I drive home, to an apartment building that used to be a brothel. I slip inside. I wash my face with rose water and change into my nightgown. Climbing into bed, I try to forget about the murder.
But every time I shut my eyes, I see Paulie, a complete stranger to me, dead in the alley. Finally I drift into sleep, dreaming of murders and vodka.
The next morning, Kitty is on my doorstep. I rub my eyes against the bright sun.
“Morning, Bobbie,” she says. She is dressed in black attire, but does not seem too upset. After all, he was just a client. Nevertheless, her eyes were rimmed with red and she didn’t seem to be her usual flirtatious, bubbly self.
“Kitty,” I say in surprise. I had no idea she even knew where I lived. “Is everything alright?”
“Actually,” she says. She glances behind her. A cop car is on the street, a chubby man leaning against its hood. He checks his watch and taps his foot impatiently. She hushes her voice. “The police want to question me. They said I could have a lawyer, but I don’t know of one. So I told them to come here.”
“Kitty!” I exclaim. “I’m not a lawyer!”
“I know you ain’t!”
“So what do you want me to do?”
“Get dressed and climb in the car with me before I say something stupid that lands me in the big house!” She pouts. You know they don’t have hair rollers in there!”
I frown. “Fine,” I say. “But I can’t give you miracles.”
She rolls her eyes. “Dress smart!” She calls as I shut the door and retreat into my apartment. I do my best, putting on a long black skirt and the dressiest shirt I have. I quickly fix my blonde hair and paint my lips red as I slide my feet into tiny high heels. I line my blue eyes with dark kohl. I rush outside.
Kitty is already in the back of the car, and I join her. The cop takes off, eyeing me suspiciously through his rearview mirror. I confidently make eye contact.
Once at the station, he puts us into a tiny room with a metal table in the center.
“My name is Detective Wallis,” the man declares. He gestures for us to sit down at the table, which he sits at as well across from us . “Let’s all introduce ourselves.”
He points at Kitty. “Kitty Davis.”
“And what is your profession, Ms. Davis?” He asks, pulling out his notepad and scribbling words onto it.
“Waitress, Officer,” she says, reddening a bit. “At the Bordel restaurant, a few blocks away.”
He shakes his head a bit. “And you?” He points his pen lazily at me.
“Bobbie Ann Miller, Detective,” I say. “Kit- I mean, Ms. Davis’s lawyer.” I clear my throat. “What exactly are the premises for our visit, Detective Wallis?”
“The murder of Paul Hankens,” he informs us. “A banker on the west end of third street. Are you familiar with him or his businesses?”
“Yes,” Kitty says. “He frequented the Bordel. Restaurant,” she adds quickly. It would be a shame if the speakeasy was busted for hiding alcohol.
“And you, Ms. Miller?”
“I’ve seen him, yes,” I say. “I have never spoken with him.”
“Are you a frequent at the Bordel restaurant, as well?”
I almost say that I too, am a waitress, but I bite my tongue. I am a lawyer. I had to believe it for others to believe it, too. “Yes, sir. I help out with serving now and then for some extra cash.”
He takes off his glasses and leans back in his chair. “Were the two of you at the Bordel last night?”
“Yes,” we answer in unison.
“I was with him while he got shoot,” Kitty says. “I didn’t see who done it, but I ran inside for help.”
“Why were you with him?” He asks.
I clench my teeth. This is how both me and Kitty would end up in the clank. She’d say something stupid. “I was on break,” she says smoothly. “I was out for a smoke. I prefer to smoke in the open.”
He nods. “How rude of me,” he exclaims. “Can I offer you coffee? Tea? Maybe some ice water? Vodka?”
Me and Kitty exchange anxious glances at his last offer. He laughs and say, “it was a joke ladies. Will?”
A younger man rushes in, his uniforms rumpled. He has dark hair and green eyes. He looks straight ahead and asks, “Yes, Sir?”
“Ladies,” Wallis announces. “This is my assistant, William Lauras. William can you get coffee and tea for us?”
He responds, “Yes sir,” and returns swiftly with three mugs and a pot of each beverage. Kitty pours a tea for herself and Wallis sips a steaming coffee, which he decides is too bitter and pours a mountain of sugar into.
“Nothing to drink for you, Ms. Miller?” He questions.
“No thank you,” I say through gritted teeth. “I’d simply like to clear my clients name so we can all be off on our merry way.”
“What can you tell me about the man?” He asks. He mutters to William, “sit down, Boy. Maybe you can learn something.” He obeys.
“He is kind,” I say. “He always left nice tips. At least when I served.” Kitty nods her agreement.
“Was he a wealthy man?” William interrupts. He turns red and mutters, “sorry.”
Wallis rolls his eyes, but I answer the trainee’s questions. “I don’t know, Officer.”
“I’m not an Officer yet, ma’am,” he corrects me quickly.
I smile at him. “You are very brave for going into this service.”
He blushes and nods. “Back to our talk,” Wallis booms. “Ms. Davis, was the man wealthy?”
She gulps. “No. But he wore knock-off clothings to make it seem that he was well to do. Said it helped business.” I mentally note how his watch last night, at a glance, was expensive. But it was cheap, I found, after investigation.
“You were there when he was shot, Ms. Davis?”
“That’s what she said,” I interject. “Is there any other questions you have for us, or are you just going to repeat yourself?”
Detective Wallis frowns. “We’ll be in touch.” He stands. “William will show you out. Good day.”
He hobbles from the room. Kitty and I exchange glances and hesitantly stand. I was left feeling uneasy after our little talk.
“This way, ladies,” William says. He guides us to the front door. He grabs my wrist before I can leave. I turn around shocked. Kitty leaves the station, oblivious. “You’re not a lawyer,” he whispers.
I wrench my arm out of his grasp. “How dare you accuse me of such a thing. It’s just that not many people want a female lawyer. Good day,” I say harshly, turning on my heel and leaving the station.
If he thought I was lying about my career, what else might he think I’m lying about?