Web Site: 88 Ways to Die
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By the direction Francine was going Ellis thought she was on her way back home. She was taking a different route through a commercial district. Ellis guessed that she might stop and make a purchase.
Ellis never considered he might have someone tailing him until Royce was caught by a traffic light and had to speed up and cut through lanes to close the gap. After he viewed the Pontiac in the rear view mirror it dawned on him that he had seen the same car on the way to the community center. His suspicion was confirmed when Francine tuned off the commercial street onto a residential block. The Pontiac fell right in behind them.
Ellis tried to figure out who could be tailing him, and for what reason. Nothing immediately came to mind. He pondered his list of options. He could let it go this time and look for the same thing to happen again, try to lose him, or go for a direct confrontation, even though he had no weapon.
When he reached a stop sign Ellis quickly clicked open his glove compartment and removed a six-inch long screwdriver. He slipped it into his jacket pocket.
As the trio of cars crossed an intersection a jeep maneuvered between Ellis’ car and Royce’s. Ellis seized the time to put his plan into action. He hit the gas, slowed, and swung his car up an empty driveway. Ellis let the in between car clear before backing sharply into the street and hitting the brakes. Ellis was already on his way out of his car as Royce’s Pontiac jolted to a halt inches away from a collision. Ellis raced around to Royce on the driver’s side, his right hand gripping the screwdriver in his jacket pocket as though it was a gun.
“What the fuck are you doing? Why are you following me?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Royce said calmly. “I’m not following you.”
“Like hell you’re not. I oughta cap you ”
“Hey, don’t mess up your nice jacket shooting at me. I’m just a little P.I trying to do his job.”
“You’re a private investigator?”
Get out of the car.”
“Just get the hell out of the car.” Royce obeyed the order cautiously. “Take your I.D out slowly and hold it out to me.”
Royce did as he was told again. Ellis came in close to read Royce’s I.D in the dark.
“Brad Royce. Royce Investigations. I’ve heard of you. One of the biggest agencies in town. Guess what? I’m a private investigator too.”
“You are. I thought you were a gangster out to rip me.”
“Not with this thing.” Ellis pulled the screwdriver from his jacket pocket. “An old P.I trick.”
“Ellis Mason. Mason Detective Agency.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Who were you tailing if you weren’t tailing me? Could it be Francine Darden?”
“Maybe. I can’t say. Why were you tailing her?”
“Who says I was tailing her?”
“It looks like we have a stalemate.”
Three cars had driven up behind those blocking the street. One driver was pushing hard on his car horn.
“We better clear out,” Ellis said. “You never know who might be packing semi-automatic weapons these days.”
The dance club was the type that catered to an eclectic mix of patrons from Armani wearing yuppies to generation Xers decked out in outlandish glitter outfits. The usual thumping disco beat was now being replaced by Smokey Robinson’s slow tempo song, Just To See Her.
Ellis and Zoo were somewhere in the middle of the sea of humanity on the main dance floor. They were locked together in a tight embrace. Zoo, with her close cut brown hair that had a gerri curl glisten to it, had her head buried in Ellis’ chest. She was a slender lightskinned woman with fashion model high cheekbones.
Ellis remembered a crude comment made by an old high school buddy. “If she lets you grab that booty, later on you can do your duty.”
Ellis slid his hands down to Zoe’s tight buns. When she didn’t object he had a feeling he would be in for tonight.
To Ellis it seemed as though there was a quick cut to him being in his bedroom with a grip on Zoe’s behind. He moved his left hand up and unzipped the back of her dress. While planting a burning kiss on her lips, he helped Zoe slide her dress off her shoulders. Her only underwear was a pair of G-string panties.
Zoe slowly unbuttoned Ellis’ shirt. They backed in the direction of the bed. Zoe made a final little leap that propelled them down upon the bed. She peppered his chest with kisses. Then she unfastened his pants and pulled the zipper downward. She only had to stroke him a few times before he reached a full erection. Zoe pivoted about, moving her rear end closer to Ellis.
“Tear ‘em off me, “ Zoe purred. Ellis gripped the waist band of her panties with both hands and ripped it apart. “Come on, baby. Abuse my butt.”
Zoe parted her cheeks and landed perfectly on Ellis’ rod. She bounced up and down, twisting her head from side to side.
“Sweet Jesus I love getting kinky with you. I just love it ”
Ellis head been laying out letting Zoe do all the work, Now, he joined in rhythm with her bouncing actions, increasing the pace until he exploded with a burst.
Zoe eased upwards, reversed, and remounted Ellis. She leaned forward enough for him to tongue her breasts, going from one to the other. She was swept away when Ellis switched positions and plowed into her, She cried out and locked her legs tightly around his torso.
“Work me baby. Work me,” Zoe moaned. “You’re great. You’re so great ”
Ellis entered the bar and made a sharp evaluation. It seemed to be a cross between a typical blue-collar neighborhood bar and a singles and couples hang out. Over twenty-one to fifty type couples were scatterd about the tables and counter. Unescorted men and women were also present.
Ellis had raised the black population of the bar to exactly one. From the stares he was getting reaching number one wasn’t exactly an every day occurrence. He ignored the attention and moved to table in a far corner.
Francine was seated at the bar on a stool nursing a drink. She obviously was in a down cast mood. She finished the drink before her in one big gulp, and then asked for another.
Ten minutes passed before a waitress wandered over to Ellis’ table. He rewarded her by ordering their cheapest size of beer. By then one man had made his sway to the counter next to Francine. He was quickly shot down and sent packing.
After six minutes Ellis’ beer was delivered to him. He sipped from it and watched another guy take a shot at Francine. The second guy was repelled faster than the first.
Francine downed three more shots of bourbon. Ellis was worried about her going to the john and deciding to hurt herself. He would have a hard time explaining why he had to go rushing into the ladies room.
It became a moot point when Francine paid her tab. With a lost expression on her face, she slowly trekked toward the door.
Instinctively Ellis made the snap decision to go after her and make contact. Tell her who he was and why he was shadowing her. Anything to break her mood. Anything to get her home safely, or to a friend she could talk to.
Ellis made it to the ten to twelve foot vestibule that led to the bar just as Francine was stepping outside. He heard a pair of popping sounds followed by the screech of car tires. He raced forward, blasting through the door into the street. He saw Francine lying on the sidewalk. Keyed on the dark blue late model Chevy as it thundered to the end of the block and made a sharp left turn. He ran after the car trying to get a good look at the license plate. No such luck.
Ellis returned to Francine. She was lying on her back with her arms outstretched. The angle of her head was turned mostly to the left. The damage had been done to the right side of her face. A bullet had ripped through it, sending blood and chunks of flesh flying. Her right eye had been jolted from its socket. He didn’t bother to check for vital signs. He knew she was dead.
“Jesus have mercy.” Ellis moved to the door and opened it. “Hey Somebody’s been shot. Call the police. Call the police ”
The bar’s burly bartender came on the scene. “My God What the hell happened?”
“She was hit in a drive by.”
“The police are on the way. Gee, shouldn’t we cover her up or something?”
“Not until the police get here. Do you know her?”
Over half the patrons from the bar stepped out and viewed the horrific murder scene before scurrying away. Ellis saw no reason to try and stop them. The typical group of morbidly curious onlookers arrived on the scene. Ellis and the bartender did their best to keep them clear of the crime location.
Standing on the street, after glancing over at the body, it dawned on Ellis that not only was life unfair, but so was death. You get gunned down in the street. And then you have to lay there with your face erased while a bunch of strangers gawked at you.
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