I took the California 1 up to Malibu. Again, I got pulled over.
“You need to stop fuckin around,” the officer said. “I’ve seen your kind before. You come around here thinking you solve everything. But you can’t. You’re just one man. You can’t change the system.”
“First off,” I replied. “Weren’t you a sheriff in San Luis Obispo last week? And secondly, I’m just helping the FBI on an investigation into Franco De Werner’s missing property. I’m not trying to change any system. And third, how the hell do you know who I am? Hand me my ticket and fuck off.”
The officer glared at me for awhile then wrote up the ticket.
“I better not see your face around here again. And fuck this piece of machinery that you call a vehicle,” he warned.
“I’ll have you know that I get 12 mpg in this piece of machinery,” I replied.
The cop flipped me the bird and walked away.
I pulled up to Werner’s beachfront property. As I walked towards the house, a 50 cal. machine gun knocked up a bunch of sand and blew my bowler off. I dropped to the ground and pulled out my .45.
Seconds later, there was a laugh and a man walked up. His smile was perfect.
“Those commie bastards did me a favor by shooting out my eye. My aim has never been better,” the man said.
I stood up and knocked the sand off.
“Mr. Franco De Werner, I presume?”
“Indeed,” he replied. “You must be the investigator the FBI sent. Welcome to my humble abode. Can I offer a refreshment? A bourbon perhaps?”
“A change of underwear if you’ve got it.”
We went inside to Franco’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home. His servants offered cucumber sandwiches and some 90 proof Elijah Craig.
“I heard you slaughtered an entire mafia up in the mountains,” Franco said.
“How did you hear about that?” I asked.
“For a man in my position, it pays to have eyes everywhere,” he replied. “I could use a man like you.”
“I’m just here to assist the FBI, Mr. Werner. Not for a job interview,” I said.
Franco sat back in his seat and lit up a cigar. Villains love their cigars.
“There was a whole shipment of M4s and Carbon 15s going to counter-revolutionary forces in the jungle. The communists had to of intercepted it,” Franco explained.
“How could they have known?” I asked.
“I must have a rat in my midst,” he explained as he puffed on his cigar. “I need you to sniff him out Mr. James.”
“I’m a simple private investigator Mr. Werner. Not an undercover agent.”
Franco took a drink of his bourbon.
“I know about your troubles. I know about you burning down an apartment building, about the massacre in Big Bear, about your medical bills and unpaid fines to the California Highway Patrol. I can make all your problems go away if you do me this favor: join my team, and find this mole.”
I thought for a second, then poured a glass of Elijah’s.
“I’m all ears,” I said.