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Dog, dectective, Tampa

Jack savored another sip of coffee. “And what about you, Magus?”

Magus fidgeted in his chair.

“I hated the dog, like Whitebread,” he replied. “Mrs. Matthews would wake me at all hours to clean up the dog’s mess or, worse, cook or make a snack for that damned dog. I never in my life hated an animal as much as that stupid dog.”

“Did you kill the dog?”

“No. But I’ll shake the hand of the person who did.”

“Why did Mrs. Matthews take out such a large insurance policy on the dog?”

“Well,” replied Whitebread, “she figured the dog would die some day and she could cash in. The Depression has drained her bank accounts like everyone else.”

“She needed the money?”

Magus laughed, “Everything you see around here is mortgaged to the nth degree. Bonnie, our stage actress, is broke.”

Jack thought for a moment. “You both heard about Gosling?”

Whitebread smirked, “He and Bonnie had a ‘thing’ going.”

“For how long?” asked Jack.

“Ever since Gosling became the dog’s vet,” said Magus. “Gosling would come at all hours to treat Charlotte, but the dog was never sick. Maybe Bonnie was love sick and needed treatment.”

Whitebread laughed, “Rumor has it he treated all the rich women who had pets.”

“What do you think happened to him?” asked Jack.

“He probably ran off with some rich widow,” said Magus.

“How did Mrs. Matthews take his disappearance?”

“She was livid. That’s part of the reason she’s travelling to New York. She figures she’ll go back on the stage and find another rich guy,” said Whitebread.

Jack drank more of the delicious coffee. God, this is good, he thought. He looked at Magus.

“Magus, you look familiar. Did you used to hang out at Rollo’s?”
Magus blushed, “You’re right. When I was unemployed, Eddie gave me credit so I could survive. In those days, everyone knew me as Angus McLeod.”

Jack looked at the man, “Yes. I remember Beans talking about Angus.”

“How is Beans?”

“Same old Beans. I’ll tell him and Eddie you said hello.”

“Thanks. Beans is the smartest man I ever knew. Does he still drink two beers a day?”

“No more, no less,” replied Jack.

“I remember,” Magus continued, “one time, Beans was sitting at the end of the bar and a physics professor, from some Midwest university, came to talk to Beans. Beans and he talked for three hours. I remember the professor left saying Beans was too smart for him.”

Jack smiled, “Yes. That sounds like Beans.”

Jack stood up and drank the remaining coffee, “What time is your train?”

“Midnight,” said Whitebread.

Jack laid his card on the table. “If you think of anything, call me.”

“Sure, Mr. Hamilton,” said Whitebread.

“Call me, Jack.”

Jack drove to his apartment to change into his drinking clothes. Happy hour had just started at Rollo’s when Jack arrived by taxi.

Naturally, Rollo’s was happy at all hours. Beans was in his usual place. Eddie made Jack’s favorite as Jack walked the length of the bar. Jack took a long satisfying pull on his drink. The first drink of the day is always the best, he thought.

Jack walked up to Beans, “How’s Beans?”

Beans smiled, “I’m perplexed about the dog’s death.”

Just then Sgt. Brogan walked in with a uniformed cop. All the patrons immediately lined up along one wall.

“Easy boys,” said Brogan, “This isn’t a shakedown.”

Everyone nervously returned to their tables. All the drinkers kept their eyes on Brogan just in case. A couple drinkers edged towards the door and ran. Brogan and the uniform walked to the end of the bar.

“Well, well,” he said, “here are the two people I need to talk to.”

“What’s up, Brogan?”

Eddie asked Brogan if he wanted anything to drink. The cops ordered beers. Brogan burped after taking a long cool drink.

“Boy, this is cold beer. How do you do it, Eddie?” asked the Sergeant.

“Trade secret, Sergeant.”

Brogan laughed, “You know, if you fixed up the place, people would flock here.”

Eddie indulged the sergeant, “You see, Brogan, it’s like this. If I fixed up the place, I wouldn’t be able to amortize the investment over fifteen years. My return on the investment would be too low.”

“Huh!” exclaimed Brogan.

Beans spoke, “What he means, Sgt. Brogan, is he would lose money on the remodeling.”

Brogan didn’t know Eddie was a business student at Harvard when the Depression hit. Eddie saw graduates pushing brooms and washing windows. He said the heck with it and returned to Tampa. He knew Rollo and took over when Rollo disappeared.

Brogan looked at Eddie suspiciously. He didn’t like smart people, Beans excepted.

Jack ordered another Jack Daniels. “What’s the news?”
Published: 2010-02-19
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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