Rain fell upon the City as Jack pulled up outside The Wild Card. Bobby had been keeping an eye on the place for a couple of days. Apparently people were going in and staying long after the club had closed. They could just be business associates. Angelo seemed to have a lot of those, mostly unsavory characters. Jack figured he’d better check the place out anyway and see if he could dig up any information on Jessica Daley, the murdered woman who had worked there.
Jack stepped out of the car, pulled up the collar on his overcoat and tugged his fedora down. By the time he reached the club entrance, he was soaked anyway. He took off his overcoat, shook the rain off and walked inside.
“Jack Diamond. Long time,” the bartender said as Jack walked up to the bar.
“Good to see you again, Frank.” It was a lie, of course, but Jack didn’t want to start out on the wrong foot like his last visit to The Wild Card two years prior.
“Yeah. Make it a double,” Jack said as he hung his coat over the chair and sat down. “Your boss around tonight?”
Frank poured the bourbon. He placed the drink in front of Jack and nodded. “He’s in the back. Want me to get him?”
Jack took a swig of the drink and sat the glass down. “No, that’s okay. This is social, not business. I was just curious.”
Music began to play in the lounge. Jack turned around in his seat. A raven-haired woman in a long, red sequined gown came out onto the stage and began to sing. Jack eyed her for a long time, stunned by her beauty and her voice. Finally, he turned back around.
“New act?” he asked Frank.
“Sure is. Ella D’Amore. Italian, I think,” Frank said as he wiped a drinking glass with a towel.
Jack raised an eyebrow at the mention of Italian. He’d had a thing for an Italian gal once. He’d also gotten into a lot of trouble over her. “She’s quite a looker,” he replied as he reached inside his jacket for his cigarettes.
“Don’t let Mr. Angelo hear you say that.”
Jack’s eyes widened. “Oh?”
Frank leaned in across the bar. “That’s his gal,” he whispered.
Jack tilted his head back. “I see. Say Frank, you wouldn’t happen to know anything about Miss Jessica Daley’s murder would you?”
Frank coughed and straightened up. Went back to polishing his glasses. “I thought you said this was a social visit, Mr. Diamond.”
“It is, but you know us PI guys, always curious,” Jack replied with a wink and a chuckle. He lit his cigarette and took a long drag. “So do you?”he asked as he exhaled a cloud of smoke.
“Damn it, Mr. Diamond. You trying to get me fired?”
“No. Never, Frank.”
Frank put the glass and towel down on the bar and let out a deep sigh. “All I know is that one night she was here singing. The next night I heard she’d been murdered.”
Jack reached over and patted Frank on the shoulder. “Now see, that wasn’t so hard.”
“What wasn’t hard?” a seductive female voice said in a thick Italian accent.
Jack turned in his seat. He’d been so caught up with business that he hadn’t even noticed the music and singing had stopped. Behind him stood Ella D’Amore.
“Miss D’Amore, I presume?”
She laughed lightly. “Yes and you would be?”
Jack extended his hand. “Jack Diamond. May I buy you a drink, Miss D’Amore?”
Ella placed her hand in his and smiled. “That would be lovely, Mr. Diamond. Frank,” she called to the bartender as she removed her hand, “a martini, please.”
“Coming right up, Miss D’Amore.”
Jack stood up and pulled a bar stool out for her. Ella sat down and crossed one long leg over the other. Jack noticed her fishnets and grinned. His eyes trailed down her legs to the red pumps. His gaze lingered there for a moment and then he slowly shifted his eyes back upward over her slim waist, slightly exposed breasts and finally rested upon her face again.
Ella’s red lips were curled up into an amused smile. She leaned forward. “See something you like, Mr. Diamond?”
Jack realized that he was still grinning like a naive school boy and straightened up. The last thing he needed tonight was a tangle with Victor Angelo over another dame.
“Your drink, Miss D’Amore,” Frank said as he placed it on the bar.
Ella wrapped her slim fingers around the stem of the cocktail glass and slowly lifted the drink to her lips, never once taking her eyes off of Jack. Jack shifted in his seat and coughed. Ella D’Amore was definitely a looker and a flirt.
“Am I making you uncomfortable, Mr. Diamond?”
Jack laughed and lit another cigarette as his previous one had burned up in the ashtray. He offered one to Ella and she accepted. Jack struck a match, leaned forward and was about to light her cigarette when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Mr. Diamond doesn’t get uncomfortable around dames, Ella, but he does around a dame’s boyfriend. Don’t you, Jack?”
Jack turned his head and stared into the unamused face of Victor Angelo.
The Stacked Deck is a noir-style WhoDunIt serial which will appear as 31 parts, told every day in March. I hope you will join me again tomorrow for another exciting part of this story!
This serial is copyrighted ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
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