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Rated: E · Short Story · Detective · #2282984
A Noir Short
Nothing bleeds like irony, I think to myself, as I scrawl "The Joker" in fat black Sharpie on the manila folder. Two bodies had already piled up, and Darrell was the lead I was following. He stopped to speak with her - his latest victim, probably - and they chat for a few minutes before tapping their phones together and going to a bar. I shadow as they talk about music; Darrell can’t sit still, and the woman - who he calls Catherine – isn’t at ease either. As closing time approaches, she sees a tall, leggy girl with long blonde hair passing by and makes a move, kissing Darrell aggressive and deep; putting on a show. He looks wide-eyed but not sorry. I snap a few pictures for my file before they split, but Darrell slips my tail. The next morning, a woman's body is recovered - dead from poison, smeared red lipstick, and "dressed to kill." I continue tailing Darrell.

Three days pass. Another date, and the tall, leggy, blonde haired woman, - we’ll call her Jane -takes the lead, a dive near her boathouse. Red lipstick stains his white collar and her whiskey sour, and for a flash I think I recognize Catherine in the crowd. I muse. If Catherine spotted his date, the script would flip - she would flip. Jealousy; toxic as poison. Darrell and Jane are jointly enthralled. Darrel glances at his phone occasionally throughout the evening, rejecting calls each time; Jane silences her ringer, reciprocating the gesture, slipping her device in her bag. I snap more pictures, and he’s smiling ugly. He shakes me at the bus station.

I identify the victim's body the next day, Jane Doe, found in a graffiti sprayed alley, pale faced, smeared with red, and her Gucci missing. Darrel is looking more guilty as the body count rises, but he is so clean he squeaks and my chief demands ironclad evidence. It won’t add up; he killed a different dame after their date; but why? Can’t get Catherine off my exhausted mind.

Catherine and I may have crossed paths at the food cart. Being seen makes me nervous. Cover blown? A detective prefers anonymity. Of course, ten hours pass, Darrell meets with Catherine outside a club. Impeccable red lipstick: definitely his type. I decided to risk my cover for the night and follow Catherine to keep her safe. Uniformed backup was posted close enough to hear the DJ.

The date wasn't progressing smoothly, Catherine's coiled like a snake, and Darrell was gesturing erratically. They quit the bar, still arguing. I followed close, fending off the deluge, and radioed the team as both duck into an alley - almost time.

She halted, body language shifting. She turned to him, pulled him close, and pressed her red lips passionately to his. Rain waterfalling over their silhouettes as the tension left his shoulders. She pulled away; red lipstick smeared across his cheeks in a smile. He's breathless. The poor stiff falls to the rain-soaked dirt, dead. I run in, too late, spooking her. She's gone. But not his wallet. A PI badge – oh hell - and his cell lists twenty rejected calls. I dial Catherine H. Quinn's rejected number, but the joke is on me as the phone dies too.

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