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Diamonds, necklace, Tampa, detective

Dutifully, Jack sat in Sam’s office at nine o’clock listening to the necklace story. Sam repeated what Beans had already told Jack the night before.

“Look, Jack. Con Life doesn’t want to pay out one mil for a lost necklace. We believe someone on the inside was responsible for its loss.”

“That’s possible,” agreed Jack.

“Here is the information we have so far,” said Sam, handing Jack a manila envelope.

Jack smiled, “One million dollars in a manila envelope.”

“Find out what happened, Jack. Con Life would be very happy if you could help us.”

Jack stood up, “I’ll do my best, Sam.”

Jack drove in the rising heat back to his office. Lucy was painting her nails when Jack entered the fourth floor office. He went into his tiny, hot office and read the file.

Afterwards, he gave Lucy the file and told her to call Johnson Brewer and make an appointment. Jack went to the corner diner for coffee and brought back two cups, one for Lucy and one for himself.

“Thanks, Jack,” said Lucy, taking the hot coffee. “Mr. Brewer said you can come to his house at three o’clock today. He said he is eager to finish the case quickly.”

“Yea. I’ll bet he is. I could use a quick million, too.”

Jack left the office about eleven. The trip to Sarasota would probably take about three hours, depending on the condition of the roads. There was only one road to Sarasota. In August, the road would be hot, dry, potholed, and dusty.

About half way, Jack stopped at a roadside diner for coffee and a sandwich. The place was empty. The cook waited on him.

“You from up North?” asked the cook.

“Yea. Up North – Tampa.” Jack replied.

“Where are you going?”


“To Naples or Ft. Meyers?”


“The State Police said a couple of bridges are washed out south of here.”

“How far south?” asked Jack.

“Don’t know,” the cook scratched his head.

Jack gave the cook twenty five cents and left. That’s all I need, he thought, no bridges. But the rest of the trip was uneventful. The road was open. He made downtown Sarasota by two o’clock.

He stopped at a gas station to get directions to Brewer’s mansion. There was a bar next to the gas station, so Jack stopped in for a quick one. The bar was cool and dark. The regulars were comfortable at their tables. At the end of the bar sat the resident barfly looking vaguely familiar.

“Hey, barkeep,” said Jack, “Who’s your barfly?”

“That’s Rico! He’s Cuban.”

Jack walked to the end of the bar. “Rico? My name is Jack Hamilton. Do you know a Cuban in Tampa called Beans?”

“Maybe,” he replied.

“He’s a good friend of mine. We work together on investigation cases. I’m a private detective,” said Jack.

Rico took a sip of his beer. “You must be down here for the Brewer necklace theft.”

“Yea. Con Life hired me to find the thief. Any ideas?”

“Maybe. Does Beans still drink only two beers a day?”

“Yea. No more, no less.”

Rico smiled, “Beans and I go way back. He taught me everything I know.”

“So what about the necklace?” asked Jack.

“Could be an inside job. Although the boat from Cuba had, at least, six or seven thieves and robbers. Any one of them might have conned the job.”

“Good thought, Rico. I’ll check the passenger list tomorrow.”

Jack bought Rico a beer and left for Brewer’s house. The wrought iron gate was massive in size. The guard double checked Jack’s identity card carefully. After a lengthy call to the house, he finally opened the gate. Jack drove for five minutes before he saw the massive turquoise colored house. This house could host a Shriners’ convention, he thought as he looked at the huge mansion. The parking lot could probably hold fifty cars. He rang the doorbell and waited. He heard the ocean behind the house.

A minute later, a tall imposing man, dressed like a penguin, opened the door.

“I’m Jack Hamilton. I have an appointment with Mr. Brewer.”

“Yes, sir. This way, sir.”

Jack followed the penguin down a dark, wide hallway to a large beautifully carved wooden door. The butler knocked three times. A timid voice told them to enter.

The butler opened the door for Jack. Jack entered into a room that appeared to be a large library. There were no books, though, only stuffed animal heads on the walls. A small mousey man sat behind the massive mahogany desk.

“Are you the investigator from Con Life?” he asked.

“Yes. My name is Jack Hamilton.”

“Sit down Mr. Hamilton.”

Jack took a seat in a comfortable, stuffed chair near the desk. It was then he noticed a man sitting in an opposite chair.

The small man spoke. “This is my personal attorney, William Hopper.”

Jack nodded to the legal beagle. He didn’t like lawyers, too many words, not enough substance.

The attorney spoke first, “What can we do for you, Mr. Hamilton?”
Published: 2010-05-25
Author: Fred Westmark

About the author or the publisher
Fred W. is a freelance writer of six film scripts, three novels, twenty-five short stories, and many blogs. He enjoys football and reading English authors. Traveling is a passion for him. He also writes articles on privacy for an Internet newsletter on

He is an avid and serious student of history. His favorite historical characters are Skooby Doo and Dr Who. Seriously, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the French and American Revolution interest him.

He teaches collegW

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