Back Streets of New York.
The shouting of the Chinese chefs grew as the night time trade was at their peak in the Golden Dragon restaurant. Tommy ‘s smile grew as he turned the corner. The dark alley stretching down till reaching fourth street. Here there were many vagrants and bums that the city had long since forgotten. But what people didn’t realize was that they were the eyes and the ears of the city. Carrying a small bag of Chinese dinners, Tommy approached two men that were standing at an upturned oil drum, which was being used as a fire bin. Each man having their hands held forward to warm by the fire. Tommy’s shadow soon overtook them, and both men turned with fright – only to be relived when they saw it was Tommy.
“Yo Man….you damn well scared us. Sneaking around like that. Hey, do I smell chicken and cashews?” The first man said, as Tommy pulled out one of the boxes and a pair of chopsticks, handing it over to the man who greeted him. Wearing an old brown coat, with a grey scarf tied around his neck, the bum greedily took the box of food and sat down on the ground, while his companion did the same. He was slightly wary of a well dressed man handing out free food.
“Wha’ chu wanting, bud?” The second man said, sitting down beside his friend and hastily opened the box of food, while Tommy lent on one of the industrial bins. Tommy was wearing a grey three piece suit with a black long over coat and matching scarf that helped keep his neck warm on these cold New York nights.
“Been a spate of murders in the area, gentlemen. I’m wanting to know if you have heard or seen…anything unusual. My money is on the fact that this is not mob related.”
The two men stopped eating, with their chop sticks held still. ~Murders?~ Sure, everyone knew that life on the streets was tough for anyone. You really had to know your way around, but it was so easy to fall foul of an angered and crazed drug user or a unpaid pimp. But with Tommy saying the murders were NOT mob related, that could mean only one thing.
“You thinkin’ it’s a serial killer?”
“Possibly….I’ve been working the case a few months. Trying to keep one step ahead of the cops, ya know?” Tommy answered as he took out a crumpled cigarette packet and tapped one end on the open palm of his hand – the cigarette sliding out, and he quickly flicked it up to his lips. He lit the cigarette with a zippo lighter, before snapping it shut and stuffing it in his coat pocket. The hot glow of the end of the cigarette was illuminating his face partially. Tommy was an attractive man. What he was doing down this end of town was considered out of character for his breed. Taking a long drag, he tipped his head back, and blew the smoke skywards, before returning his attention back to the bums.
“If you two see…or hear anything. Strangely dressed men…..odd gun sounding gun shots. You get in touch with me.” At this, Tommy gave the nearest bum his card, which had his contact details on it, along with the NY Times logo. He was one of the Times best investigative journalists, and it was easy to see why.
“There be more dinners like this, but in a better setting.” The journo promised as the two resumed eating their meals with gusto.
“You got it, Tommy.” the first bum said with a grin, as Tommy turned on his heel and started to walk out of the back alley. He was heading back to his apartment, since he had promised Tamika he’d show up for dinner.
As Tommy left the alley, the two bums looked at each other. Murders, and unusual ones. Only in New York.