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The Adventures of Ace McGaven
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11 July 2008
Ace of Hartsford - Part 4
Tim Lankour cried after I handed him the note.  He became unhinged.  "God, you bloody bastard," this, and "You blokes should have stopped her," that.  If madness is that which is against the norm of the community, this community had found its loon.  The thugs' eyes were starring at their fearless leader, their Duke of Marlbourugh became more of a Marlboro smoking bingo player right before them.  To say they approved of the change is to be stretching the truth.  To say they had a reason to rethink their employment options was undeniable.

As the Limmey screamed into the barren earth of this old farm, a soft swish, like a small steam engine engaging was heard.  Tim went limp doll on the grass in front of the house where his love had died.  Perhaps a poet could create a more beautiful scene.  From here, it just looked pathetic, no pathos included.

"Hey, Mick...  here's a grand.  Put his body in the house.  Work it up so that the locals don't trace nothing to any of the four of us...  That prick had it coming for too damn long...  Another grand comes your way when we feel you've kept your mouth shut."  That was an amalgam of words from all 3 thugs.  I had no idea they had the brain cells to shoot the Limmey, let alone come up with such an impressive plan.  It just goes to show you, never underestimate the powers of a brit.  Something tells me some future prime minister has new plans for a return of the empire in the next decade.

I assured the trio I'd take care of their problem, and thanked them for the cash.  That's when they took my ride home.  This private dick was left to float in the wind.

Posted by acemcgaven at 00:11 EDT
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30 June 2008
Ace of Hartsford - Part 3

Timmy, the thugs, and yours truly ended up at a small farm house at the end of town.  It was a real modern place, if your Amish.  No phones, no lights, no motor cars; not a single luxury.  Like Robinson Crusoe, this place didn't have shit.

Thug number the first shot off a round, thug number two shot off his mouth.  "Yo, Leslie... your hubby's here to save you," he said with a voice full of uneducated brut.  A really bruttish brit.

"Mr. McGaven, why don't you lead the way."  Being that I was surrounded by two thugs that looked like they had magnum revolvers with the magnum condoms to match, I decided to wait on the heroic stand thing.

I made my way to the door, and gave it the old shave and a hair cut.  Leslie Lankour opened up enough to show some exposed leg, and an exposed sawed off.  On reflex, I raised my hands high and began reciting the Lord's prayer.  "Oh, God, who art so great, why does my life suck?"

"Ace McGaven, I see you've met the former Mr. Leslie Lankour."  She had that shotgun trained in the general direction of Timmy the Limey.  Tim, for his part, played it cool. 

In a calm voice, he says, "baby, I asked Ace to take me to you.  You worried the dickens out of me." 

Leslie looked in a panic.  Panicky people with guns are not the most rational.  Life and death decisions, as a rule, shouldn't be made without a clear frame of mind.  In order to release the pressure, I decided to play the game straight.

"Leslie, I just spent an hour and a half car ride with Timothy."  Yes, the Limey and I were on a first name basis now.  "He does love you, but his job doesn't always allow him to show it.  Why don't you talk it out with him.  You can keep the shotgun, and if you aren't happy with what you're hearing, then shot him." 

I hadn't asked the Limey about that, but I did know he was desperate/foolish enough to try anything to get this work of art goddess back into this sheets.  Men have a habit of looking at the bright side of sex, as long as they're having it, life's happy and bright.  Take it from me, someone who pitches his pup tent on the edge of twilight.

Leslie and Timmy Lankour talked for about an hour.  She did a lot of crying.  She did a lot of yelling.  In fact, after about an hour, the Limey had to vacate the house for his afternoon tea time. 

The thugs, being thugs, just stood around liking like human cider blocks.  The limey offered me a cup and saucer, I told him sure, but to hold any more lumps.  He told me he'd heard that one before.

As we sat there in the dirt drive way, the Limey opened up.  "That bird has really flew the coop.  She's completely out of sorts."  Leslie hadn't told me all the reasons for her decision to leave Timmy, but I admitted she had seemed alittle out of whack during our first meeting.

That's when we saw her silhouette by the door.  A letter worked its way out of the mail hole.  The shadow of a shotgun was then pointed to the shadow of her chin.  A loud pop echoed out of the house and through the corn field.  What once was the shadow of a head was no more.  Leslie Lankour had moved her game of hide a seek to the next celestial plain.

Grabbing the note from the grasp of a strong breeze, I read it aloud.  "Dear world, fuck this."  Four words, and it seemed to say it all.  Goodbye, Mrs. Lankour.

Posted by acemcgaven at 22:59 EDT
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29 June 2008
Ace of Hartsford - Part 2
The first rule of to being a private dick is to keep your cases from going public.  The second is to never get caught being a pussy.  With that in place you have the essential ingredients.  I hope your keeping notes, this could be on your final.

The case started innocent enough, with Ms. Terry the Limey entering my office.

The legs I noticed first.  The fact that they were shapely and headed towards me caught my eye.  Nice legs don't come around often, even to those who wait.  This old boy had had himself a dry spell worthy of the dust bowl.

"Mr. McGaven I presume."  I let her.  She could presume away with anything.  To throw caution to the wind, I let my glance move up her frame.  As fate would have it, nothing disappointed up there neither.

"You have me a disadvantage," I said while adjusting my slacks.  She had the kind of shape that'd make a gynecologist give house calls.  What she did with a white cotton sun dress should be a sin.  What she could do out of one certainly would be.  I hoped for the opportunity.  At that thought, I adjusted again.

She made with the eyebrow getting tugged by the fish hook routine.  It was an impressive act.  "The name is Leslie Lankour.  I'm Terry Lankour's wife."  I immediately lost my need for adjusting.  Terry Lankour was no joke, even with the girl's handle.  Terry the Limey was a real hard nut.  I was now more of the blue variety.  "Mr. Lankour and I haven't been, blissfully married for sometime Mr. McGaven.  I mean to end the marriage, and I could use your help.  There are not many men in this city not beholden to my husband, and I hoped I could count on you.  From your reputation, your beholden to no man."

Yeah lady, and I haven't been beholden by no woman in a while either.  Lossing my life certainly wouldn't improve the situation much, which is what happens when a fella messes with the likes of the Limey.  Still, you aren't a private dick unless you show some public balls, so I felt obliged to take her case.  Her money certainly didn't hold up matters either.

When I had her safely tucked away on a train to Hartsford, I went to face Terry.  I told him his wife wanted out.  He told me she'd change her mind.  His thugs gentle serenade on my chin bone told me I had to give their love a fair shake.  Thus, I road to Hartsford paved with marital strife and some ill intentions, mostly directed at yours truly.

Posted by acemcgaven at 05:21 EDT
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24 June 2008
Ace of Hartsford

"Tell us where she is, old boy.  My hooligans are in a titers for blood tonight, and to properly forewarn, yours will do them." 

That was Terry the Limmy.  Not so big on the villian talk, but he did have him some big rugby playing monsters for doing grunt duty.  A few of them let out some award winning grunts now.

 "Like I said," they knew I knew where she was, "I don't know nothin'"  Smart, Ace, let them know you're being definate and prideful.  Pride, it can be a great thing, but it don't soften body blows.  After a few well place jabs, I let changed strategy.  "Last time I was tickled like that, I was with your "mums" inbetwixed her neathers."  Pridefulness may be next to godliness, but it'll get you 6 feet under too.

 "Mr. McGaven, you truly disappoint.  Perhaps you don't understand my purpose here.  I come for information, and you have it.  Why don't we despinse with the unpleasentness, and get to the part where you tell me where the light of my life has run."  Terry had had me tailed, but only at the expense of missing the direction I'd sent my assistant.  My assistant they would later learn, was still at the office.  The girl at the bus station, well, that's the point of the exercise.

 At about that time, I decided I was about tired of there games.  They wanted to play hide and go seek.  Me, I wanted to play, get me the hell out of here.

 With little recourse left, I promised to take Terry to the safe house I'd arranged.  That pansy Brit took up the offer, and a car load of trouble piled in on a family road trip to... Hartsford.

Posted by acemcgaven at 09:46 EDT
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15 June 2008

Mary O'Bleek, former lover, former ally, former friend, former ping pong champion of 1933.  She'd meant a lot to me in a past life.  Now, I didn't recognize her.  She had taken a walk down crazy pus lane and been hit by every nutball that could she could shake off the vine.  Perhaps that wasn't fair, but she weren't not fair dame no more neither.  To clear up any potential double negative confusion, the girl's no good.

 "Mary, I can't let you do this.  Ordinarily, I'd take a back seat to your roller coaster and bail you out at the end.  It ain't happening this time around.  You want to make this ball of hay, you be my guest.  As for me, I'll play my own way."

 She got that look in her foot that said it was destined for my backside.  "Fine, Ace.  Take a powder.  I'll handle the take down of the bad guy without you."

 Famous last words if you asked me.  I told Ms. Ardens and Shappo the whole tune.  This was a girls night, and I figure they could handle themselves just fine without yours trully in the kitchen confusing salt for gunpowder.  That didn't mean both sides didn't deserved to opportunity to know the game they were in.

 The thing played itself out too.  Guinn Ardens did a little murder, and Shappo made a terrific break from a Federal prison after she'd been booked for treason.  As for Mary O'Bleek, that's another story.

Posted by acemcgaven at 20:58 EDT
Updated: 15 June 2008 21:10 EDT
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15 December 2007

Mary O'Bleek was 110 lbs of sure footed crazy female bad ass.  I'd saved her dad once, and tried for the romance angle.  It didn't take.  Mary discovered the joys of being a private dick.  She especially seemed to find the joy in dicking over yours truly.  I guess girls really do just wanna have fun.

 "Nice to see you too, Mary.  I haven't seen you since you laid me to rest.  Now, you want to tell me what in Forest Whitaker is going on!"  That's right Ace, play hard to get.

 She gave me the look that said she'd shot if she hadn't left her gun in her other bra.  That was lucky for me, she could draw blood from the rappier wit alone.

 "Ace, I killed you to save you.  And I need you to be a good boy for a little while longer."  With that, she turned to leave.

 Pain sent sparkes over my vision as I struggled to lurch up, "What do you have on Guinn Ardens?  And why plant fairy tales on Shappo and me?  What's the angle?"

Perhaps the alcoholic delierlium worked a number on my noggin, cause at that minute piece fell into place.  Shy would Shappo need to be a Red?  Of course, to bring in the FBI.  Why kill me off?  To stop me from talking to the federales or the papers.  That left Mary more room to corner Guinn.  Still, why take down the queen of crime?  Ardens was trouble, but at least she had flare.

 "Ace, Guinn Ardens is a murderer, she's peddled flesh, and worst of all, she's broken copyright protection encryptions on Hi-Def discs for pirating.  Mix together a little personal satisfaction and a business interest in seeing her swing, and you get one thing.  Ardens is history"

 Jesus H Poindexter, this whole business was turning into a bad weekday soap opera.  At this point in the story, there should be a commercial break for Love's diapers and 1/2 a day yeast infection cream.

Posted by acemcgaven at 00:46 EST
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11 May 2006

After my release, I had a lot to drink. In fact, the word uncanny comes to mind when describing it. Maybe I just overcompensate with flattery though.

I lost consciousness in my office, and it was a welcome release.

The room was usually very dark. Now, it seemed filled with light coming from every direction. It blinded my thoughts; my brain itself seemed to turn from fiery inferno to spilt gazpacho, and all I wished was for that damned light to fade to familiar black and leave me in my neurotic state untouched, unloved, unwanted. The condition suited my style.

“Damn Ace, did you go on a bender, or did you go on a bender,” the light said with irritating clarity. Then it turned from crisp language to bugle call. “What the hell do you think you are doing?”

“Palates! What does it look like?” I had a knack for keeping my wit in even the most torturous of situations. It’s an art form practiced, not learned or breed.

Then the light fell onto itself and grew stronger, more violent. It carried on it a razor I could not see, but could feel as it sliced finely into my eyes and rested in my heavy sockets.

“Drink this, damn you. Drink this or its splits for good.” The light was threatening to leave? Had it any idea how much I could not bare its company even a moment longer? All I wished was for it to be devoured by the nothingness that was my solace. Still, whatever it was giving me to drink, it tasted remarkably like coffee. Drinking the offering seemed to calm the beast, however, and it fled the ensuing onslaught of the night. But it wasn’t night at all, was it?

“I’ll be back to see you in a few hours, lay off the booze until then,” the light said as it departed my company. I thought at that moment how glorious that battle would have been had light stayed to fight my dark, and how sure the victory for my shadowy forces would be.

Then I recognized the voice, the trumpet call or bugle or whatever the hell it was. The light was Mary, and she had come to see me. If sobriety was the cost for a handle of answers then so be it.

I had some things to get off my muscular, Atlas sized chest. Again, overcompensation; but a little of it never killed anyone yet. Though in my case, it might make an exception.

Posted by acemcgaven at 22:58 EDT
Updated: 11 May 2006 23:04 EDT
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11 January 2006

When we were allies, Sappho gave me a number to ring if I needed her. Up until now, I hadn't figured I'd need to. Life has a way of jerking you by the collar and not letting up. It's a bitch that way. Or I guess I was... either way, it was odd.

I called the number and was immediately told to shut up and listen. I was given a vague list of directions. When I followed them, I ended up in a soap factory. I guess the message was that I needed to take a bath.

On the train back however, I was approached by a girl in a nice trench coat. It looked like mine, only not like something from the sales rack at the Gap.

"Ace, you'll have to forgive the meeting place. I had to make sure that even if you were followed; your pursuers would give up when you did."

It was Sappho alright, always doing things in the hardest way possible. She held the collar, and I had obeyed like the good little stuffed animal. I was getting tired of being played a fool, but maybe that's the rigor mortis talking.

"You should know something! First, don't trust Mary O'Bleek."

That took the cake! I had to laugh, "You know, she said the same thing about you and Ms. Lady of the fuckin' lake."

"If you are going to try wit, you might want to actually have some idea of what you are talking about. The Lady in the Lake gave King Arthur this sword, Excalibur. Guinevere was his queen! And don't pretend you don't have feelings for her, or completely trust O'Bleek!"

This was turning out to be shit smells like roses Thursday on the ol' public transit line. "I don't, in either case."

She slid the glasses off her eyes to look directly into mine. I took a gulp, it was instinctive and telling. "Asa, you have got a lot to learn. Mary planted the story. Mary pegged me as a communist. Mary wants to take down Guinn!"

"Why? What's Mary's angle?"

Sappho stopped. She stood up as the train was nearing the next station. "Don't call me again until you have done your homework. I couldn't blame you if you distrusted me, but at least be fair and spread the distrust around to everyone. The first rule of detective work is always distrust your source."

And with that she was gone.

She left me with a lot to think about, but mostly, she left me ready to punch the next person who looked at me funny's face out. So that’s what I did! Unluck seems to be the only luck I can muster, cause the guy was a cop. Oh well, the night in jail worked wonders for my self-confidence! And the networking… forget about it!

Posted by acemcgaven at 11:33 EST
Updated: 19 January 2006 10:48 EST
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1 January 2006

I picked up the paper the next day from Manny at the paper stand by the office. Manny was blind and had nothing in the world except his paper stand on the side of the road. I took pity on him. I usually never stole the papers outright. I'd always give him mostly correct change. If there was anyone in this world that I've screwed over least, it was Manny.

I went back to my office and opened up to the obituaries, as was my ritual. The first name struck a chord and didn't let up. It was like a crescendo or whatever it’s called was playing in tune with the ringing in my ears. I let out a groan, a pained groan. There, in bold, was the name Asa McGaven! Not only was I dead apparently, but they had misspelled my damn name too!

They say dead men tell no tales. Well, I might have been declared dead in some cheap local rag, but I wasn't that dead. I take offense to people killing me, even when it is on paper.

One call to the San Metro Chronicle spilled the beans. They said a female relative came by with a death certificate in hand. They had the obit. all written out too. It was a touching document, but that only made it that much worse!

Besides, think of what it'll do to business, with people thinking me dead. The dead don't solve too many crimes outside of ghost stories! And even then, they only get laid once, and that's to rest.

I asked the jerk on the phone for a description. I assumed that being a journalist he might have taken note. Apparently he was too busy looking at certain areas of this woman to finger the rest of her, metaphorically speaking. I can't blame him though, he fell victim to man's greatest weakness... under-appreciation of the wider scope.

I was left with one suspicion, Guinn had used one of her many working girl assassins to plant the story. Maybe it was a test, maybe it was a message, maybe it was just a shitty thing to do. Either way, she wasn't going to get away with bumping me off without dirtying her hands a little.

Now, to find Sappho and knight to her bishop.

Posted by acemcgaven at 00:01 EST
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1 December 2005

Guinn Ardens was not the kind of woman you’d want to meet in a darkened alleyway. Not that she was ugly, and the sight of her would terrify. No, no, the scary thing about this kind of woman is what she might be capable of. Problem was, I was about to meet her in such a place and time of night. I had also had a relationship with her that sort of soured. Not that we here bad together, but we were bad for each other all the same. It was a screwy situation made screwier with the knowledge I now had from Mary O’Bleek.

Guinn, the new head of criminal operations in San Metro, was working with the commies. I was the right kind of man though to kick up some fuss with the wrong kind of woman.

I started the ball rolling. “Remember when you said that I could ask you anything?”

She gave me the eyes. I knew then I was in trouble, and bad. “I never said that!”

“Well, I need for you to sing me this tune all the same. I know you used me to take over Jones’ operation. That’s fine. But the girl, Sappho, I know she’s in with the communists. What’s your angle on it?”

She looked genuinely hurt. I was pretty sure she could have me killed for this, cause she’s done worse to people who have said less.

“Ace, I took advantage of a bad situation.” It was cold outside, and her breath made circles in the air. It was almost hypnotic, but not so much so that I didn’t notice her stick a hand in her coat pocket. I’d have to watch myself. “If I didn’t take things over, someone else would have done it. And the first thing they would have done was come after you.”

“Sure sweetheart, that’s a real pretty tune, but it doesn’t sound like something in your repertoire. And how are you connected with the commies? What would you have to gain from working with them?”

“Nothing! This business I’m in benefits best with the freedoms only America offers. Communism kills the profits! Bottom line! I’ve even been working against those kinds of elements in this city. But it sounds like you aren’t going to believe a breath of what I’ve said, so why don’t you just piss off? I’m a busy woman with important people to deal with.”

She turned and walked away. A better man would have stopped her. Hell, a lesser man would have stopped her too. But I was just cautious and stupid enough not to follow my gut. I let her disappear into the San Metro night.

On my way home however, I thought a lot about what she said. Everything sounded pretty and sweet, but then there were the lies! How could I make my next move when I didn’t even know what to make of things?

Luckily, I didn’t have to. She made the move, and it was in all the papers. You had to love this dark woman of style!

Posted by acemcgaven at 00:01 EST
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