Saturday, October 19, 2019

Free Fiction: Doggone Part Three (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

Lenny Parker, PI / roadie / metalhead is back in a new serial, blending a bit of comedy with a hardboiled detective story, one feet into metal culture. This time he is hired to track down a missing dog. Read the other parts here.


Lenny tried Janson’s other neighbor's door. She had a doorbell which he rang. It took a while but the door opened. He could understand why Cliff classified her as hot. She was a full-bosomed redhead with wide hips that were clad in tight jeans. Her skin was unblemished, her lips thick, eyes a sparkling blue.
“Hello,” Lenny said.
“Hello?” Janice greeted slowly. She didn’t have metalheads visiting every day, obviously.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. I’m Lenny Parker, I’m a private investigator.”
“Okay?” She seemed a bit scared. Could be the tattoos. Or the goatee. Lenny didn’t look like an insurance salesman.
He held up his hands, showing he meant no harm. “Nothing to worry about, Janice.”
“How do you know my name?” All right, that might not have been the smartest move on his front, mentioning her first name.
“Chill, your neighbor told me your name. It’s okay. I’m here because your neighbor, Mr. Janson hired me to find his dog.”
“Ozzy is missing?”  Lenny wasn’t sure the worry she showed was because she felt sorry for the dog or its owner.
“Yes, for a week now.”
“Oh, no… Now that you mention it… I haven’t seen the little rascal for a few days now. That’s terrible. Mister Janson loves that dog!”
“Indeed he does. That’s why he hired me to get it back.”
“All right… Wow. Okay. So you’re like that guy in the movie, the pet detective?”
“Not really. Only thing I have in common with that character basically is his love for Cannibal Corpse.”
“Never mind.” Lenny wasn’t surprised Janice didn’t get the hint. She might have seen the movie, but she hadn’t recognized the death metal band playing in one of the scenes. He figured her for an Ed Sheeran fan. Springsteen on a good day.
“Well, do you want to come in then?” she asked.
“Yeah, thanks a lot,” Lenny said.
Janice’s place was the exact opposite of Cliff’s crib. It was clean as a whistle, nicely decorated with vintage but well-kept furniture.
“Have a seat,” she told Lenny.
He sat down on a comfortable chair, declining the coffee she offered.
“So, I was wondering if you’ve seen or heard anything a week ago… I mean, did you see Ozzy maybe out of the backyard? Or did you maybe notice the gate was open?”
“Mr. Janson never kept the gate open. He wouldn’t want Ozzy to escape. Oh he loved that animal like crazy.”
“He’s not the youngest anymore. Maybe he forgot to close it?”
Janice shook her head vehemently. “No, no way. I know Mr. Janson. His mind is still working very well. He wouldn’t be careless about that.”
“Strange… How did the dog escape then? Maybe he could have jumped over the gate? Have you ever seen Ozzy jump that high?”
“There’s no way Ozzy could jump that high,” Janice said.
Lenny stroked his goatee. “Odd… Any idea what could have happened then?”
“The only thing I can think of somebody else opened the gate.”
“Any idea who could have done that? Maybe some visitor of Mr. Janson?”
“He never invites people in really. I only meet him when he’s walking Ozzy. Maybe… Maybe someone took Ozzy?”
“Took? As in dognapped?”
She shrugged. “These days, you never know what people will do, right? Maybe someone has wanted a dog like that for a long time but can’t pay for one or something?”
“Doesn’t sound very likely. But maybe if we have to rule out that he just escaped you might be right. Thank you for your time. If you think of anything that could be of importance to the case, give me a call.” Lenny handed his business card to Janice.
She had a look at it. “Here it says you’re a guitar technician/roadie.”
“Yeah, I do that too. I don’t have the budget yet to get one printed that says I’m a private investigator as well.”
“Oh, okay. Well, I’ll let you know if I think of anything for sure. I hope you find Ozzy. Oh poor Mr. Janson…”


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