The Man with the Missing Fingers

Part 2 - ONE

April 29

 

Anton B. Jeter–– B for Bradbury–– was a Sergeant First Class of the U.S. Army Reserve. He had been dishonorably discharged from the army after thirteen years of service and three tours in the Middle East. He had received the army’s equivalent of a pink slip only five years ago. And the reason for his discharge was undisclosed. Kish had faxed Scarr a file containing some basic information about Jeter, and the reading enabled him to make his own assessment of the man. The prime and most important takeaway from the reading was that Jeter had skills in the warring department, as evidenced by all the campaigns he’d been involved in. And this was something to be reckoned with.

A photo of Jeter was attached to the file. He was a hunk of a man approaching his forties with steely blue eyes and a slightly crooked nose. He also had a wart on his cheek that looked like the afterthought of a pimple. And on the picture, close-cropped hair covered his scalp. But the picture was two years old. Therefore, he could presently be sporting a different hairstyle.

Carrying the file with him, Scarr went to the apartment address Blanchard had given him. And as Blanchard had predicted, Jeter was not in his apartment. As a matter fact, Jeter hadn’t been home for about two weeks now. An elderly lady who lived on the same floor had kindly told Scarr that Jeter was a regular of the bar that was just across from the apartment building.

When Scarr went to that bar, he found two customers discussing the meaning of a garish painting depicting nude angels.  The bartender, a stocky man with a jailhouse mentality, was pouring for a regular. Then after he was done, Scarr put a few questions to him. The bartender was rather suspicious at first. But Scarr used the right words and the right stare and the bartender mentioned a fuck pad downtown that Jeter frequented quite often. And just for the purpose of sounding interesting, the bartender specified why. It was because of the girls there, he told Scarr. They were from Eastern Europe, and Jeter had many times said how much he liked the way they screamed his name with their accent-heavy voice when he took them to the heavens.

Scarr got there, but the whorehouse was shut down. The premises were sealed off with yellow police tape. And Scarr thought that this lead was cold. He had bet on the fact that one of the girls or their pimps might have some idea about Jeter’s whereabouts. And now that the establishment was closed, Scarr thought about breaking into Jeter apartment to possibly look for new leads there.

Scarr was turning his back on the building when a shrewd-looking man standing by a food truck parked a little ways approached him and asked whether Scarr was interested in getting some action. Scarr looked at him stoically. And the man explained that there had been a police takedown about a month ago and the house service was momentarily suspended in this location as a result. However, one could still get tail if they were interested, as accommodations had been arranged to ensure that business resumed elsewhere without suffering too much from the locale loss. Scarr looked at the shrewd man and realized what he was a scout for the prostitution ring that operated the whorehouse. Asking his questions directly to someone in the ring seemed like a good idea. So Scarr told the scout that he was indeed interested in a girl. And he was given the address of a restaurant. The scout instructed him to ask for Sasha to the cook.

“Make sure you tell him Ken sent you,” the Scout said before returning to the food truck. Referral was how scouts got their finder’s fee.

Scarr got in the Audi and headed to the restaurant, curious to see where this was going to lead him.The restaurant was small but cozy with ten tables, an Elysium floor marble, and a wood topped counter that could easily double as a long wooden tray to eat food off of. The walls were half-covered with a plum wood paneling, and the other half was drywall.

Presently, there were a total of eight customers eating and drinking when Scarr came in. Half of that number was represented by an order of religious sisters. They could not be missed as the cluttering of their black robes and white headpieces formed a stark contrast with their colorful environment. And a fun fact about them was that they were all wearing eyeglasses. An elderly couple who still loved each other fondly, a carroty-headed man who looked like he was waiting for someone and a forlorn woman who was going through something inwardly completed the customers set.

Scarr sat at a table by the bay window, a table away from the carroty-headed man. He pulled the office folder containing Jeter’s file from his coat and lay it open on the table. A waitress came to him. She had a pert nose and milky skin and was tall and slender in the fashion of a tennis player. She was in her mid-twenties and one could tell cosmetic efforts weren’t made to elevate that tame demure face of hers to vixen beauty heights.

“Hi my name is Etel and I’ll be your waitress today,” she said. She had a strong almost guttural accent of the Central Europe variety and seemed to speak with rehearsed affectation.

“Tell the cook that I want to see Sasha,” Scarr said. “Tell him Ken sent me.”

The girl’s welcoming expression seized for a moment into surprise. Then when her eyes fell on the photo of Jeter which topped the other files in the folder, the surprise morphed into puzzlement. She cleared her throat to snap from her indiscretion and asked Scarr if he’d like to wait a moment. Scarr waited. He saw the girl, Etel, walk over to behind the counter and in behind the little partition with window of the storage room.



S.K.

Edited: 15.04.2019

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