THE SLEAZE FACTOR
By Albert Tucher

“You read the papers,” said Detective Tillotson. “I caught the case of that …”

“Later,” Diana said.

He raised his eyebrows at her. He knew that listening was one of the tools of her trade, and that interrupting wasn’t her style.

She had his attention. So far, so good.

“I just realized, we’ve known each other for ten years,” she said. “We should go out for dinner and celebrate.”

“Dinner? Celebrate what?”

“Ten years of reading your mind, and you reading mine. Sometimes I feel like your wife. You know everything about me. And let’s face it--the only way I could stay married is to a guy who knows I'm a hooker.”

“You want to get married?”

Doesn’t every girl?”

“How would I know? Look, I need to ask you …”

“That’s what I’m talking about.”

“What is?”

“Your case. Not now. Right now you have to get moving. Aren’t you overdue to qualify? On the range?

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you have to prove every year that you remember how to shoot?”

Tillotson looked at her and nodded. He reached inside his suit coat, where she hoped he carried his gun in a shoulder holster. If he had to stand up first, they were both dead.

She grabbed the edge of her kitchen table and shoved with both hands. Chair and all, she fell backwards. The back of her head banged off the floor, but she felt nothing. Tomorrow she would know she had done it, but that was tomorrow.

The important thing was, she had cleared the way for Tillotson to face the running feet that she heard behind her. The young woman lurched through the doorway in time to meet Tillotson’s first shot. Her body twitched at the impact, and a gun fell from her right hand. Tillotson fired twice more. The woman’s body slumped to the floor.

Tillotson stood up and walked around the table. He kept his gun trained on the young woman, as he kicked her weapon away from her. The precaution wasn’t necessary. Diana could see the woman’s dull eyes just inches away. The eyes saw nothing.

“Her name’s Myra,” said Diana.

She rolled over and pushed herself up to a kneeling position.

“She was holding you hostage,” said Tillotson.

“I was supposed to drive her somewhere once it got dark. She said she’d be listening to us, and I should get rid of you, or she’d kill us both. I could feel her getting antsy back there.”

“And I just about forced my way in here. That probably didn’t help.”

“She killed Hilda Peyrek.”

“And she was married. You were trying to tell me to look for a married woman working for Peyrek’s escort agency.”

“Myra kept her husband in the dark. Then she tried to quit, and Peyrek threatened to out her.”

“Why did she pick on you?”

“A couple of years ago she asked me to teach her the business. I didn’t think she was cut out for it, and I said no. I guess her next stop was the agency. And we know how that turned out.”

“Pretty sleazy.”

“That’s agencies for you,” she said. “The good ones are sleazy. The bad ones are really sleazy. That's why I'm independent all the way.”

“I have to make a call,” said Tillotson.

“Okay.”

“About that dinner.”

She gaped at him.
Albert Tucher is the author of more than twenty published stories and four unpublished novels about prostitute Diana Andrews. He welcomes comments at Alberttucher@aol.com.

2 comments:

sandra seamans said...

Yeah, Diana's back! Great story, Al, I hope she accepts the dinner invitation.

Paul Brazill said...

this another gem, Al