"The Right Man" is a crime/detective fiction short story.

            It was ten o’clock when I walked out into the SOHO atmosphere. I didn’t know where to go, so I just walked. I wandered through the South Street Seaport, walked through the financial district, Chinatown, and Canal Street. Eventually I made my way to Midtown. In the neon lights of Times Square, I found a bench and sat down. There was a never-ending flow of people from all sides. None of them really went anywhere, they just followed the rest.

I had swiped a pack of Marlboros from Mary’s coffee table; she wasn’t going to miss them. I took one out and lit it. I smoked it fast and let the nicotine flow through me. It was disgusting; I hated cigarettes. I had another.

How had all this happened to me? I’d hardly been in New York for a week and I’d already conjured up enough trouble to keep me looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. In the back of my head, there was a terrible sense that the rest of my life wasn’t going to take a very long time to get here. I should have stayed in Charleston.

If I had stayed in Charleston, I’d be starting my job in a few weeks. I’d be on my honeymoon right this very instant. I would be on the beach in Grand Cayman with Jennie, watching her sit there in the sun. I would be far away from any murders or extortionists. I’d be raking in tons of money handling corporate contracts instead of sitting on this bench smoking like a chimney

All that money I’d be making; it would be quite a bit. I’d have to use it all to cover Jennie’s coke problem. I’d have to deal with her “friends,” there were a whole bunch of them. I’d work late nights for my dollars which would fly out of my hand to make my life look happy. I think I’ll take murders and extortionists.

I finished my cigarette and kept walking. My mind kept coming back to those photographs. I believed Mary when she called Tomas a horny bastard; and I don’t blame him for wanting Mary. That didn’t explain the need for the pictures to be taken. If Tomas and his partner were extorting Mary to get to her father, there was no need to blackmail her for sleeping with Tomas. Not only that, but why didn’t Tomas and his partner go straight for Sam Lipton? If I was going to find out, I needed to know who Tomas’s partner was. Unfortunately, that would mean going back to the Kroeg Building. I wasn’t going back there tonight.

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  • Sam Clemens on May 1, 2010

    If Raymond Chandler had been born one hundred years later, this is what he would have written. A very well done piece.

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