Nick arrived at the Lola Bar around 5 o’clock in the evening. They were setting up for the night, when Nick walked in.
The normal atmosphere of sex and hard liquor soon changed to one filled with heavy electricity and tension.
Nick knew everyone here had something they could be snagged for, and he intended to use that to find his killer. He approached the bar and sat down at the stool, behind the unaware bartender.
“I’ll take a scotch whiskey.” Nick said. The bartender jumped, obviously startled by the unwelcome presence behind her. She turned around and met Nick’s gaze.
“Ain’t it a little early to dip the bill detective?” She put her hands on the glass she was cleaning and said nothing.
“Listen here doll,” Nick started, “I know for a fact everyone in this joint can be pinched for one thing or another.
So, unless you want to take a trip with me back downtown, you can pour me my scotch and answer my questions. Let's start off with something simple.
Do you know your name?” In his line of work, Nick thought, sometimes being nice don’t cut it.
“Names Barby. The manager ain’t here right now. He’s helping someone in the back.” Barby retorted back at Nick with sass. He could care less, he was just happy he was getting somewhere.
“Someone croaked around the corner of this bar. Know anything about that?”
“I work the bars, peeper. I don’t pay no mind to any mind to any greaser or smokes that come around here.”
“I see.” Nick took a drink from his glass and thought a bit before continuing. “What about the dancers?”
“There’s only one here. She’s in the back by the big pole.” Barby notioned towards the middle of the room.
Nick got up, leaving his drink behind, and strolled over to the stage, adorned with lights and decorations.
He chuckled to himself as he wondered why anyone would be looking at the stage when the main attraction would be above swinging above it.
He hoped on the stage and walked behind the velvet curtain, to find one woman packing away outfits onto a rack. The back was a couple rows of vanities, with lights not yet on.
He approached the second vanity and started fumbling with one of the bulbs as he spoke.
“I wonder just how many guys come here because they’re dizzy with some of the dames swinging around the pole outside.” Without missing a beat, the dancer replied.
“You wouldn’t believe, gum-shoe. That and the liquor's cheap. We’re just an added bonus.”
“Would you mind coming out from behind there? I’d like to ask you some questions.”
“Like what? I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
“Well for starters your name.” Nick pulled out his notepad and began to scribble. He noted she was apprehensive before even being asked anything.
Suddenly the woman emerged from the clothes rack.
“Celia. What’s it to ya?” Nick looked up and dropped his pencil. She was a looker that was certain. She gave off an aura about her; she radiated confidence that was only matched by her beauty.
Her fire red hair showed that and was contrasted by her bright turquoise eyes. Dressed in a white dress that cut off by her thighs, revealing enough to imply the rest.
Nick said nothing as he was speechless.
“Ain’t never seen a real woman before have ya, gum-shoe?” Celia said in her slight southern tone, knocking Nick back to the real world. He picked up his pencil and began again.
“Celia, eh? When’d you get hired to this dive?”
“Around about 5 years ago. A lifetime in these people measure. I don’t dance. Not no more. I help out and make these other janes look good. What about you detective? Got a name?”
“Nick Bradshaw. Two people croaked outside this place, and another by the Red Daisy. Was wondering what I could find. Where were you last night say around 7?”
“If my memory is right I was here, like I always am. Ask around. They all tell you the same thing.”
“Do you have any ideas on who could of done this?”
“Even if I did, peeper, I’m no rat. You gotta figure this one on your own. If I were you, I’d start at the Daisy. All kinds of characters show up there. Like you said, this place is a dive.
Surprised anyone was dumb enough to get killed here.” Nick looked up from his notepad.
She resumed putting clothes on the hangers, but one garment stood out to him: A dress with a piece missing, as almost as if it had been ripped out.
Celia looked through the clothes, and quickly snatched the dress away. She was a bad idea, like whiskey and car keys, Nick thought, but so alluring and mysterious.
If she was the killer, I’d be putting away one helluva dame. He decided to follow Celia’s advice and check out The Red Daisy, after taking note of the dress.
“You’ve been more than helpful, Celia.”
“Yeah, yeah. I don’t like helping you coppers. Always looking for someone else to throw in the cooler.” Nick left the bar, thinking about Celia.
He chuckled to himself as he realized he was getting dizzy over a roundheel. He got back in his car, as he heard the click of a gun, being prepared to fire.
The cold steel pressed against the back of his head.
“Drive.” A voice commanded. Nick sighed. He knew this was going to be one helluva day.