"The Littlest Client" drabbles by Christopher

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 65

The Littlest Client #65

"So who does that leave?" Harrigan asked.

I thought for a second, "Barbara? The woman who runs the orphanage? She wouldn't be involved."

"Why not?" Harrigan asked. "Because she's a good looking woman?"

I shook my head, "No! She's actually rather plain. Of course, she has a great figure."

"Uh-huh," Harrigan said.

"And a beautiful smile," I said.

"I knew you'd find some redeeming features, Randolph."

"You think she went and killed Donovan? It doesn't make sense, Harrigan."

"None of this makes sense, Randolph. But she was the other person who knew you were trying to find Max Dolan."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 64

The Littlest Client #64

"And what about Donovan's death? Related to all of this?" Harrigan asked.

"I don't know about that. I just started looking into this. I didn't have time to rattle anyone's cage yet. The only one that knew I was looking for Dolan was Rucksack. Richmond was with me the whole time. You don't suppose Rucksack killed him, do you?"

"Well, there are three other people that knew. Me, the little girl who hired you, and the woman who runs the orphanage," Harrigan said.

I chuckled, "Well, I'm pretty sure I can eliminate you as a suspect. And Katie hired me."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 63

The Littlest Client #63

I gave Harrigan the whole story; the jewelry job that Dolan and his buddies were pulling for Duncan Gallagher, the car exploding and killing the traveling salesman, Dolan's three buddies going to the hospital while Dolan was supposed to deliver the case full of jewels to Gallagher, him not showing up and then dropping his daughter off at an orphanage and fleeing.

"So," Harrigan said, "you think Dolan dumped his kid at the orphanage then made off with the jewels? That's pretty coldblooded."

"That's certainly what it looks like. I don't know what to think to be honest with you."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 62

The Littlest Client #62

"For once I think you're right, Randolph," Harrigan said as he pointed to one of the officers on the scene.

"Take Richmond down to the precinct. Hold him for questioning."

"You can't do this!" Richmond yelled.

"Shuddup!" Harrigan barked back. "Let's go, Randolph."

We went down and got into Harrigan's car. It was night now, darkness was settling over the city like a warm blanket. Harrigan turned on the headlights and pulled the car out onto the street.

"You care to fill me in on all of this now, Jake?"

"It's a long story. But I guess we've got time."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 61

The Littlest Client #61

I looked at Harrigan and brought my index finger up to my temple and made circles with it, the universal sign that Richmond was crazy. Even though he was telling the truth.

"Anyway, when we got up here Donovan was dead," I said.

"Are you a cop or something?" Richmond asked as he looked at me.

Harrigan started laughing. "No, Richmond. He's just an A1 troublemaker!"

"Look, Harrigan," I said. "I think we need to pay a visit to Rucksack before he joins Donovan in the Great Beyond. And Richmond here needs to be in protective custody for the present."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 60

The Littlest Client #60

"That's Michael Richmond," I said. Richmond tried to compose himself after that crack from Harrigan.

"And who was the other one?" Harrigan asked.

"Rucksack. I've already seen him."

"Is he still alive?" Harrigan asked, chuckling.

"He was when I left him but apparently that means exactly nothing."

"So what happened here, Randolph?"

"Well," I said, starting at the beginning, "I saw Rucksack first, and then I paid a little visit to Richmond and he was nice enough to drive me to Donovan's place here."

Richmond laughed, "Nice enough? This crazy bastard brought me here at the point of a gun!"

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 59

The Littlest Client #59

"I gotta hand it to you, Randolph. You certainly do your part to curb overcrowding in our fair city," Harrigan said as he looked at Donovan's body on the floor.

"I didn't kill him, Harrigan!" I barked.

He chuckled, "No, but people you're involved with sure do have a nasty habit of turning up dead."

"Thanks a lot, Harrigan," I said sarcastically.

"So which one is this?" Harrigan asked as he pointed at the stiff.

"David Donovan," I said.

"And who's the crybaby on the couch?" Harrigan asked. He wasn't exactly the top contestant in the Mr. Sensitivity competition today...

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 58

The Littlest Client #58

I found the payphone in the lobby of the Four Palms and called Harrigan's precinct. Luckily he was in and I told him to get to El Segundo as fast as he could. After enduring some verbal abuse I told him that one of Max Dolan's known associates that he told me about would soon be appearing in the obituary column.

He got to the apartment building pretty quickly considering I was up on the third floor babysitting a corpse. Richmond just sat there sobbing and rubbing the jaw I had hit during our fight.

Harrigan walked in the room...

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 57

The Littlest Client #57

I looked around for a phone but didn't see one. I had to call Harrigan.

"This is your fault! Davy's dead because of you!" Richmond screamed and jumped on me.

My pistol slid across the floor as we rolled around trading punches. He was a little tougher than I thought. But before long I landed the punch that sent Mr. Richmond into sedation, after knocking over a few things in the apartment. I tried to put everything back like it was, grabbed my gun from the floor, and went down to the lobby to see if they had a payphone...

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 56

The Littlest Client #56

Richmond called Davy's name and started inside. I pulled him back.

"Wait, Richmond. There still may be someone in there," I whispered.

I peeked in quickly and didn't see anyone so I entered the apartment, followed by Richmond, and went to check the other rooms as Richmond knelt down beside the body.

"Don't touch anything," I said, knowing Harrigan would jump my ass if anything was tampered with.

When I was satisfied there was no one else in the apartment I went back to Richmond, who was sobbing.

"It's Davy," he said. "He's dead."

I felt for a pulse.


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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 55

The Littlest Client #55

We got out of the elevator and I followed Richmond down to apartment 3F. I stood back but kept the gun on Richmond.

"Tell him you want to talk to him," I said and he knocked on the door.

After a few moments I said, "Knock again."

He did. There was nothing. I figured Rucksack had called him like he had Richmond.

"Move out of the way, Richmond."

He stepped over and I reached for the door knob. It wasn't locked.

I eased open the door and stood back.

There was a body laying face down on the floor inside...

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 54

The Littlest Client #54

Richmond pulled up in front of the Four Palms apartment complex that Davy Donovan lived in.

"I told Gallagher that Max must've double-crossed us all. I hated to sell Max out but that had to have been what happened. He and the jewels disappeared together."

"Okay, Richmond, out. We're going to pay a visit to Davy Donovan."

We exited the car and headed into the lobby of the Four Palms. I kept my gun in my hand but put it in the pocket of my coat.

The building had an elevator so we rode to the third floor silently...

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 53

The Littlest Client #53

"So what happened between the time you went to the hospital and Max disappeared?" I asked. We were almost to El Segundo.

"Davy and I were in there for a couple of days. Ricky was cleaned up and released. He was the first one to get interrogated by Gallagher. I say interrogated, but it was more like torture. Gallagher is a sick bastard. He actually enjoys that shit."

"And when you and Davy got out that's when Gallagher got you?"

He nodded and pulled onto the street that Davy's apartment was on.

"Yeah, he went at me for two days."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 52

The Littlest Client #52

"Exactly," I said. "Did it not occur to any of you Einsteins that he might want to keep all that money for himself?"

"No. Max wasn't stupid enough to cross Gallagher."

"Then what the hell happened to the jewels?" I asked.

"I dunno!" he yelled. "We weren't thinking clearly anyway, none of us. When that car exploded after we got the jewels out it sent us flying. Davy got burned, I suffered a concussion and Ricky was cut up pretty good. Max only had some minor scrapes and bruising. So he went to Gallagher and we went to the hospital."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 51

The Littlest Client #51

"So tell me something, Richmond. What do you think happened to that case of jewels? God knows you went through enough to get it. Running the traveling salesman into a brick wall and killing him, the car blowing up right in front of you. Why did you let Dolan handle taking the case of jewels back to Gallagher alone?"

He thought a while, watching the traffic at a busy intersection and then saying as we crossed the street, "Because Max had the most to lose. He was pulling that one last job to get some money for his new baby."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 50

The Littlest Client #50

It was a half-hour drive to El Segundo and I sat in the backseat of Michael Richmond's car wondering if I was ever going to find out where Max Dolan was.

"Davy don't know nothin' neither, mister," Richmond said.

"Again with the double negatives? Geez, where'd you go to school anyway?"

"I got my learnin' on the streets," he said defiantly.

"Judging by how easily I found you and manhandled you into your own car I'd hate to see your report card. Probably all F's."

The sun was starting to go down. The night was about to come alive...

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 49

The Littlest Client #49

The old lady that had answered the door yelled from the porch, "Is everything alright, Mr. Richmond?"

"No, Mrs. Larkin! Call the police!" he yelled.

I shook my head, "That was a dumb move, Richmond."

I put him back behind the door and slammed it on him. He started screaming and crying.

"Now get in the car," I said, pulling my gun and sliding in the backseat right behind him. He got behind the wheel.

"Drive to El Segundo, Richmond."

"But that's where...," he said and then let it trail off.

"That's right. We're paying a visit to Davy Donovan."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 48

The Littlest Client #48

Richmond gasped and yelled, "I don't know anything! Gallagher tortured the hell out of Davy, Ricky and me until he was satisfied that we didn't know where those jewels were. He realized Dolan must've run off with them. Look, it took me years to stop looking over my shoulder for one of Gallagher's men to come up and stab me in the back. I don't want to stir up that damned hornet's nest again!"

"Nothing has to get stirred up, Richmond. I only want to find Max Dolan."

He screamed, "If I knew where he was I would tell you!"

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 47

The Littlest Client #47

"You're in a better position than Rucksack, Richmond. He gave me all the details about your job for Duncan Gallagher that went south. All I need to know from you is where I can find Max Dolan."

"I dunno where Max is!"

I opened his car door and shoved him behind it. I was about to slam it on him again when he yelled, "Wait!'

"Look, Richmond. I would imagine that Rucksack told you that I'm a very impatient man and more than a little bit violent."

"He said you were a damned psycho!"

I grinned, "He's not wrong, Richmond."

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Jake Randolph in "The Littlest Client" Pt. 46

The Littlest Client #46

I got around the front of the car just as he opened the door. He was about halfway into the car when I slammed the door on him. He screamed in pain as I pulled him out, pushing him up against the side of the car.

"Going somewhere, Richmond?" I asked. "I guess Rucksack called you, huh? That bastard. And I was just beginning to develop a soft spot in my heart for that weasel."

"Look, I don't know nothin' about nothin'!" he said.

I shook my head, "I can't even keep track of the double negatives in that statement."