Thursday, April 16, 2020

Free Fiction: Doggone Part Seven (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 met up with Baby Jackson’s snitch in  a dive bar in the worst part of San Diego. Baby had described the man as an ugly dude with a red goatee and pockmarked face. It wasn’t difficult to find him. Not that most guys in the bar weren’t ugly. The snitch was the only one with a red goatee. He was sitting in  a booth in the back, nursing a large beer.
Lenny ordered a bottle of Corona at the bar and walked over to the snitch’s booth. According to Baby he was known by the name of Ugly Jim. That was obviously not one of those ironic nicknames, like tall dudes they call Tiny. Aside from a pockmarked face Jim was cross-eyed, had no eyebrows and huge ears. Lenny suddenly felt like he was Tom Cruise himself.
“Jim?” Lenny ventured as he neared the man’s booth.
“Have a seat then.”
Lenny sat down. “Thanks for meeting me.”
“If there’s money to be had, Jim shows up.”
“Err… Good to hear that I guess. So yeah… Nice place here.”
Jim chuckled. “It’s a fucking shithole. But at least I’m not the ugliest guy around here.” Lenny thought that was up for debate in a big way but didn’t comment on that.
“At least they stock Corona,” Lenny said and toasted Jim’s mug of beer with his bottle.
“I only drink domestic myself. So, let’s get down to business. Jackson told me you need some intel on the gambling biz?”
“Yeah. Gambling on dogfights to be exact.”
Jim whistled. “Whoo-ee. That’s specific. You a gambling man, Lenny?”
“No, not at all. It’s this case I’m working on. A missing dog. I think it might have been dognapped by people involved with dogfights.”
“Yeah, Jackson mentioned you’re in the same business as she is, although not in the same league. So, what exactly do you want to know about that?”
“Well, I guess I want to look around at one of the fights. Get into contact with the organizers to see if I can find the dog.”
“You do understand that could get a bit dangerous, right? I mean… Those dogs are worth serious money to those dudes. They won’t exactly hand over the dog when you find it.”
“I’ll cross that bridge then. So, can you help me?”
“For two-hundred bucks I might.” Ugly Jim smiled an even uglier smile.
Lenny sighed. “Baby warned me you’re not cheap.”
“Fuck you, that’s a steal. I need to make a living, you know.”
“I ain’t got that kind of dough to pay you. A hundred I can do. Maybe some concert tickets to a band you like.”
Jim squinted. “You think you can get me some Five Finger Death Punch tickets?”
Lenny nodded. “I think I can. I know a dude who works with them. Used to roadie for him back in the day.”
“How do I know you’re not bullshitting me?”
“How do I know you’re not?”
Jim cackled. “Fuck me, Jackson turned you some shit, didn’t she?”
Lenny smiled. Then he got a hundred dollar bill from his battlejacket’s pocket. He put it on the table. Jim’s hand went to it, but Lenny’s hand covered it before the snitch could grab it.
“Not so fast, Jim. Tell me a bit more.”
“All right. Listen, there’s a dogfight coming up tomorrow night. Right here in merry San Diego. They rented an empty warehouse for that shit. You got the correct password and you can come in, twenty dollars cover charge.”
Slowly Lenny’s hand lifted a bit from the dollar bill. “Go on. Where is the warehouse?”
“Near Market Street.”
“What’s the password?”
“Promise me you won’t ever tell them I was the one who gave it to you.”
“One of the main skills a private investigator needs to have is knowing how to keep things confidential. I’ll keep my trap shut, Jimmy.”
Jim put a hand on the corner of the dollar bill. “It’s Scooby Doo.”
“Brilliant password,” Lenny said and allowed Jim to grab the money. It disappeared in Jim’s pocket like magic.
“But be careful, dude. If they find out you’re not there to gamble and watch the dogs fight they could get nasty on your ass.”
“I didn’t know you cared,” Lenny said.
“As long as I don’t have that Five Finger Death Punch ticket in my pocket I do.”
“You’re all heart, Jimmy,” Lenny said and drained his Corona.

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