Recap: “The Cartoonist is at the local Comic Con to promote his strip. As he is settling in his booth a dead body is found. His friend David in another friend’s bear suit. His other friend Ralph is now the prime suspect. The woman they were both seeing Cidra tells him that there were in a secret business deal with someone the Cartoonist knows well..his father Gino”
Oh Dad. What did you get yourself into? Cidra sees the shock in my face and asks me what’s wrong. I tell her Not a Thing and walk her to her car outside. I carry the few bags she has, and I put them in her trunk. She smiles at me and asks me for my phones. I hand it to her, and she types in her number. It gives it back and plants the sweetest kiss on my lips. “You’re sweet. Call me and we can get together for a drink. I will make it worth your while”. She gets in her car, and I wave like a dumb idiot.
After clearing my head with a walk around the block, I head back into the convention Center for some business. I spend hours signing autographs for fans. I sell prints, posters and even some t shirts. The fans are great and it’s part of the job I love. As day one concludes, I pack my stuff together and make my way home.
I can’t be sure what is next in this investigation. The only thing I can think of trying to contact Gino. The last time I talked to him was 6 months ago. I call him and get a voice mail. What a shock. Typical Gino. I take a hot shower and order food. As I am ready to go to bed the phone rings. Its Gino. He says he wants to meet up tomorrow morning at 10 am at the diner. I tell him OK.
The next morning, I am at the diner at 9:30. My mom also said, ‘ Better early than late’. It’s a saying that I still live by. Gino shows up at a few minutes after 10 and orders a coffee. Some small talk and then down to business. “So, I have the autopsy and the initial police reports of the scene. The cause of death is a bullet to the heart. Looks like a .22 caliber”. I ask how he gets these reports. He says he knows a guy who owns him favors. I wonder what type of favors, but I don’t ask. I may not want to know. Then I ask if there is anything else from the reports. Nothing. No prints. No cameras in the hall. I also ask him about him being the silent partner in their business deal. “Oh. Well, they wanted to start a bar and grill. On the East Side. The type that is becoming popular with the kids today, in other words Not my kind of joint”. In other words, a dive bar.
I ask what the fallout between them was. “Well, the business was still going forward but they were two different people in the way they conducted business. Dave wanted more partners, but Ralph didn’t want to share. But I don’t think that it would lead to murder. I still don’t”. I ask him how you think it went down. “I’m not sure. There is a lot of the same businesses out there that don’t like competition. But I don’t have any suspects. At least not yet”. I say ok and ask him to keep me informed of anything he finds. He says the same. He tells me to visit my mom, he pays the check and leaves.
I leave and go home. Deadlines and bills need to be paid so I get to work. Its great just to sit and draw. Very Zen. I spend hours at my table. I was able to finish about a weeks’ worth of strips. The publisher will be pleased. In between sketches and strips, I daydream about Cidra. Shes the perfect woman. I know I say it a lot but she’s different. It’s beyond the physical. She’s smart, funny and yes it doesn’t hurt she drop dead gorgeous. Yes, the irony is not lost on me. It’s pretty pathetic to daydream about a girl I don’t have the courage to ask out. It’s so bad I am sketching me and her with a little heart. So, So Sad.
I decide to take a walk to my corner store to not only get some air, but I am also out of beer. After I get back, I notice something wrong. The door is slightly open. Maybe I was too much in a rush to leave the house that I didn’t close it properly. I open the door and there’s a click. The sound of a .45 caliber handgun.
On the couch was Ralph holding a gun and it’s pointing at me.
“We need to talk before it’s too late”
To be continued…