"Just for grins, who is it our scuzzy art dealer was supposed to have murdered?"and by the way, where did we come up with these accessories," asked Alex as he strapped on his Rolex and adjusted his silk tie.
Pulling on his coat and setting a hat atop his head, Charlie said "A lot of these things were from old busts, where the perps are long gone and there were no relatives found to claim them. As to the who, it was apparently a colleague.
As I understand it, he was a Russian collector and there was an exchange of goods somewhere in Alaska...Anchorage, I believe. Anyway, the deal went south and our scuzzy art dealer, let's call him SAD, shall we. So SAD allegedly offed the guy, took the goods and the money."
"In some cases, yes, but the Russian was a legal resident of Tokyo at the time of his death, therefore it makes it Japan's problem. Because SAD is currently operating in the U.S. I bet there are any number of things we could charge him with, but getting justice for the murder is our priority.
"Hey guys, you ready?" asked Kyle, who had just appeared in the doorway looking like Charlie's right-hand man. Bobby, on the other hand, looked like Alex's nerdy cousin, a part he reluctantly played, but was rather good at.
"Ready!" said Charlie, "Everyone got their roles down? Time to hit the streets. Alex, you and Bobby start with the auction houses. You have your list of those rare, hard-to-come-by items that should pique their interest. The object is to ask for something the legitimate dealers can't get, and maybe they will know someone who knows someone."
"In the meantime, Kyle and I will check out places where SAD might be doing business and try to make a connection. Let's go!"
"Welcome to Morton's Auction House. My name is Victor, how may I help you?" asked the proprietor with great formality as Alex and Bobby entered the room.
Not expecting such posh surroundings, Alex cleared his throat, "Um, yes, well I am looking for this or maybe this" as he hands Victor a couple of pictures. "I have heard many good things about Morton's, and I thought perhaps you could help me. I would like to procure one of these for my fiancée as a wedding gift."
Victor stared at the pictures for a long moment then said "I am afraid these items are beyond our resources. I am sorry. Perhaps another, shall we say, less prestigious establishment may be able to help you. It is not that the items you seek are not worthy of our House, it is just the means by which we would have to acquire them that renders us unable to assist you."
"Thank you very much for coming in, and good luck in your quest," responded Victor graciously as he escorted them to the door.
That scenario played out similarly in the next three auction houses. "Well," said Bobby, "that's four down and how many more to go?
"Who knew there were that many auction houses in the city," complained Alex. "I hope Charlie is having better luck."
"Next up is Tranquility Imports. I think that is our winner," Bobby said confidently.
They drive to a less fashionable neighborhood to find a rather ordinary brick building with a small sign that read Tranquility Imports. "This doesn't look like the others, but that may be a good thing since we have struck out everywhere else, said Alex as he looked around. "Let's see if we can get in."
"Hello," called Bobby. "Are you open for business?"
Momentarily a man entered from another room. He was dressed in all black, save a red tie and gold cuff links.
Good afternoon gentlemen, I am Sato Yasahiro, proprietor of Tranquility Imports. What can I do for you today?
"Hello, my name is Alan Wainwright and I'm looking for these items, handing Sato the pictures. I have been turned down at the last four places I tried. Can you help me?" inquired Alex, watching him closely.
"If I can, can you afford my services?" said Sato, watching Alex equally as closely. "This type of item is extremely rare...and extremely expensive. It would take a certain amount of, shall we say, effort, to acquire either of these artifacts. Are you comfortable with that?" asked Sato, implying that all would not be aboveboard, just what they were hoping to hear.
Alex glanced at Bobby and saw they were on the same page. "Yes, that would make my fiancée very happy. It is to be a wedding gift."
"Very well then, let's talk business." Sato indicated an office to the left.
Meanwhile Charlie and Kyle, on a tip from one of their contacts, are poking around a warehouse on the less savory side of the city, oddly enough, not far from where Alex is making his deal.
"What do you see here, Kyle?" as they walked cautiously along the building that takes up a full city block.
"It's what I don't see. Surely there is a door around here somewhere." Suddenly there was a loud noise coming from inside the warehouse. Both men instinctively reached for their guns, then stopped. "That wasn't a gunshot," said Charlie thankfully. "Let's keep going. This seems like the kind of place we might find SAD.
Stay tuned for the next part coming up August 31.
Other Adventures of Charlie and Alex:
The Last Laugh
The Morning After
The Last Laugh
The Morning After
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