The man saw the little boy standing on the street corner, shuffling from one foot to the other. The boy wore a pair of faded jeans with the cuffs down over the top of his sneakers. The laces were dragging; never laced up, nor tied, they had turned a dirty brown. A better pair of sneakers hung from the wires above his head.
The boy wore a faded T-shirt with the logo, “Do It Now” across the front. A baseball cap was pulled low on his head with the bill in the back. From the adjustment strap on the front, a curl of blond hair fell across his forehead.
The boy was about ten years old, going on twenty. Living in this area of the city ages you fast or you don’t age at all. You die.
The man thought, “This is the boy for the job.”
The dark colored car the man was sitting in was parked half a block down the street from the boy.
The man got out of the car and walked across the street up to the boy and said, “How you doing young man?”
The boy looked up and said, “Are you a cop?”
“No,” the man said. “They call me the last resort.”
The man was dressed in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and red tie with white dots. On his head he wore a dark fedora with the brim turned down in the front.
The boy looked the man up and down and thought, “this guy could be with the Mob.”
The man said, “I have a job for you young man, if you are interested. I’ll give you five dollars to deliver a package to a house in the next block.”
The block was a well-known hang out for addicts and the main delivery point for all kinds of drugs on this end of the city.
The boy said. “I’m not allowed to go into that neighborhood.”
“Look,” the man said. “All you have to do is go down there to the house with this package, and knock on the door. When the door opens hand them the package, then leave.”
The boy thought for a minute, shuffling his feet, and looking up and down the street to see if anyone was watching.
“Come on,” the man said. “It will only take a minute and you’ll be five bucks richer.”
The boy thought of a lot of things he could buy with the five dollars and said, “Okay, I’ll do it, give me the money.”
The package the man gave the boy contained a small box, twelve inches square. The package was wrapped in brown butcher paper. The address was printed plainly, but no return address appeared on the package. The package would not look like that for long because in a few minutes it would explode.
* * * *
Painted on the glass door to the small office was a sign that read, “REBOB AGENCY. PRIVATE EYE”. The gold leaf paint was pealing around the edges and greasy fingerprints covered the glass, near the doorknob. Inside, facing the door was and old flat-topped desk, covered with a sheet of 1/8 inch thick clear plastic.
Under the plastic were various notes and calling cards. On the left front of the desk was a double decked file basket. On the front of the file sticker read, “Will do and Won’t do.” The top file was will do.
On the right front was an old fashioned telephone with the earpiece hanging from a clip on the side and a rotary dial on the base. I love that phone.
On the backside of the desk is a center drawer containing a number of rubber bands, paper clips, pencils, and an old penknife used to open letters and clean fingernails. Taped under the drawer was a holster containing a Smith and Wesson Special .38 revolver with a four-inch barrel. All six chambers are loaded with soft point bullets.
The weapon was pointing at the door to cover anyone coming in, going out, or just standing or sitting in front of the desk.