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Trevor Hopkins

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Findo Gask - Goblin Detective
By Trevor Hopkins
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Down these mean streets - and these even meaner tunnels - a Goblin must go; tough, street-smart, one whose pride and honour separates him from the dregs, the scum of both worlds with which he finds it necessary to associate. A Goblin with contacts both on and below the surface, and on both sides of the Law. A Goblin who always gets the job done, asking only his usual fees, plus expenses.

Do you have a problem? You want it dealt with quickly and very discreetly? Don't want to involve the cops of either world? And you can afford the (very reasonable) fees? Then Findo Gask is the private eye you need.

My visitor stared back at me with those haunted eyes for a moment. Suddenly, he leaned forward, dropping his smouldering pipe into the ashtray and placing his large hands on the edge of the desk.

"This goes no further, understand."

I swivelled about in my chair to bring myself closer to the desk.

"You're the boss," I replied, looking at him across the wide green surface, "I've heard of client confidentiality, know what it means, even. You level with me, I'd do the job and keep my trap shut. You hold out on me, I'll walk away, and I'll still keep my trap shut. Just don't expect to hear from me again."

He regarded me for a long moment, then tossed a business card - a much more finely-made one that I could afford - across the desk. I picked it up and read: "Merton Vale, Senior Partner, Vale, Madderfy and Logan, Accountants." Good guess, I thought, but said nothing. I tossed the card back onto the desk.

"So what's your problem?".

"I'm being blackmailed," he said simply.

"How so?" I replied, my best professional detachment coming to the fore, "What have they got on you?"

Merton Vale looked moderately embarrassed, a tinge of puce suffusing the brown skin of his face. He looked away for a moment.

"Look, I'm a married guy," he said, returning his full attention to me, "Happily married. Nearly seventy years. I love my wife but a guy has temptations, you know, a desire for the taste of unfamiliar and forbidden fruit."

"So you cheat on your wife," I replied, shrugging, "Who's the floozy?"

"Her name's Clunie - don't know her last name," he said carefully, "She's a hostess at the Starfield Club. Do you know it?"

I did. It was a sleazy nightclub just off one of the upper caverns, so close to the surface - and its associated frisson of risk and excitement - that natural starlight provided much of the interior illumination. It was a Gentleman's Club and Casino, a place where a guy could go to lose his shirt in at least two different senses. While he had been speaking, I had reached for my own pipe and pouch, filled the one with the contents of the other carefully and lit the bowl with the desk lighter. I nodded through the smoke.

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