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The best thing to be said about Nick Castle's dingy detective agency was it's location one flight up from a bar. The worst was the clients who made their way up to seek his services after a pick-me-up, or three, in the bar below.

"It was easy to picture Nick’s usual sort, either too young with big sprayed hair, cheap cherry-red lips and surprised shock at a husband’s betrayal, or women a few years grayer, thicker and no longer surprised, but hoping the little shit had some hot goods stashed away that could be hocked for groceries. Few would turn any heads, except for those husbands who turned away, seeking solace in a bottle or another woman—no better, but a little less familiar."

Then one day, a mysterious leggy blonde with plenty of attitude stops by, asking for the private eye by name, and Nick finds himself involved in a case that might pay the rent for a while, if he survives to collect.

Hardboiled noir crime story, approximately 5400 words.

Contains excerpts from two others stories by Ben Langhinrichs, An Island Never Cries and Without Remorse.

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