The Vanishing Corpse, Part 6

Maggie McGee’s was a dark, quiet bar just far enough from the station house to not be a cop bar, and close enough to Bruno’s house that he could walk home should he ever enjoy one too many after a long day.

He rarely had to take that walk, however, since he wasn’t a big drinker, and other patrons were always eager to offer him to a lift to get in his good graces.

Bruno had sent Wally back to the station because he wanted to speak to his CI, and his CI did not like strangers.  He also told the kid to change out of his uniform, and then track down Charlie White’s last known address.  They would meet there in an hour, and hopefully find some answers about their mystery man.

short story, detective, mystery, Modern Philosopher

“Lordy, Chip, you look like something the cat dragged in,” the bartender informed him in her beautiful brogue that made even honest assessments of his appearance sound romantic.

Maggie McGee was a gorgeous red head with a bright smile, a face full of freckles, and piercing green eyes that could see a lie coming before the words were even out of your mouth.  She owned the bar, and was one of the few people who still referred to Bruno by his childhood nickname.

“Thanks, Maggie.  I didn’t know how I was gonna get through this hellish day without one of your uplifting pep talks.”

She placed a tall glass of ice in front of him and filled it with cranberry juice.

“Caught another one of those cases, did ya?” she asked with mischief in her eyes.

Bruno downed half the juice in one gulp.  “The crazy ones always find me.”

“That’s because you’re the best, Chip.  And as much as you like to prattle on about how much you hate it, you love being the go to guy for the orphans.”

“Orphans” was a term Bruno had coined for the cases that no one else wanted.  They always got left on his doorstep, but he always took them in, and they almost always found a home in the solved cases file.

“Have you heard anything about a body that turned up in the parking lot of St Sebastian’s Grammar School, and then mysteriously vanished?” he asked quietly.

The bar wasn’t exactly hopping at this early hour, but it never hurt to be cautious.

Maggie shook her head.  “I can ask around, but doesn’t the lot have cameras?”

“That’s what I hoped, but this place barely had working lights, and was surrounded by abandoned buildings.  Maybe there ain’t any cameras cause they assumed no one would be stupid enough to hang out there after dark.”

“That’s the back parking lot,” she informed him.  “That’s where delivery trucks park, and it was used for overflow parking back in the day when this neighborhood was all about a proper Catholic education.  Now everyone sends their kids to public school, and the only ones who use that lot are teaches who wants to sneak off for a smoke between classes.”

Bruno shrugged like that made sense.  Maggie was way more plugged in to the little details than he was, which made her a perfect confidential informant.

“The Church owns those empty buildings around the lot, and word is that a developer is looking to buy all that property, and turn it into expensive condos that will finally class up that part of town.”

That earned Maggie a raised eyebrow.

short story, detective, mystery, Modern Philosopher

“Having a corpse turn up would surely drive down property values, and scare off potential investors…”

Maggie smiled and refilled his glass.  “I can hear the gears spinning in your head.  I’ll see what I can find out.  Are you looking more for who killed him, or who made him vanish?”

“I’m hoping it’s one and the same, but I’ll take any info you can find.”

He slapped a five down on the bar, and Maggie quickly placed her hand over his before he could get away.

“Do I need to remind a certain gruff, yet deceptively charming detective that he owes a certain beautiful bartender dinner?”

Bruno flashed a huge smile and even allowed it to linger.

“I haven’t forgotten,” he assured her.  “Once this case is over.  Cross my heart.”

She tenderly caressed his hand before finally removing hers.

“You promised your Grandmother’s famous lasagna.  You break a promise like that and you will be excommunicated.”

Maggie flashed a sly smile.

“That’s where I gotcha,” he quipped.  “I don’t go to Church no more…”

She leaned forward so her face was mere inches from hers.

“You’d be excommunicated from my bed, Detective.”

He leaned in and kissed her.

“Aww, Jeez.  Get a room, you two!” came a shout from the other end of the dark bar.

“Shut your mouth, Paulie, or I’ll make you pay off your tab right now!”

There were no further comments from the peanut gallery.

“Be careful out there, Chip,” she pleaded and then punctuated her request with a quick kiss.

“Of course I’ll be careful,” he assured her with a wink.  “I’ve got a lasagna to make, and I always keep my promises…”


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Vanishing Corpse, Part 6

  1. davidprosser says:

    Good lord, I might consider taking up drinking if I ever find out the bar staff are like that. Mind you, I could get barred if I ever had to cook for them.

  2. beth says:

    lasagna has it going on –

  3. markbialczak says:

    Great addition to the character list, Austin!

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