Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lonnie Barrett’s Detective Agency

Lonnie Barrett’s Detective Agency

By Scott Wilson

Word Count:638

The message on the answering machine was very frightening. When he hung up, he was shaking...and his head felt light. There was no question about it, the job had gone sour and he was in far deeper than it paid. Lonnie Barrett took a tumbler from the sideboard and filled it with scotch, lit a cigarette and slumped into his green leather office chair. He took the folder from the desk and looked at the photos taken over the last two months.

“Bugger,” Lonnie said and took another large pull of scotch.

Amongst the photos lay a black and white of his client’s husband in a lovers embrace with his secretary. The only problem was that his client was the Prime Minister and her husband was the minister for defense. Somewhere along the line, he got sloppy. The minister put a tail on him and now blackmailed him to give up the file or be held by ASIO as a terrorist suspect for questioning indefinitely. He did not know what sort of protection his client would offer him if she handed over the file to her.

The phone rang.

“Lonnie Barrett’s Detective Agency.”

“Have you made a decision yet,” said the deep and dangerous voice on the other end.

“You gave me until the end of the week.”

“That was before I was informed my wife was on her way to your office.”

There was a knock at the door.

“Your decision, Mr. Barrett!”

“Okay, I’ll hand over the files. Just have to tell your wife the trail went cold. No sign of any foul play.”

“I’ll be listening to your conversation, so no change of heart, Mr. Barrett.”
The phone went dead.

Lonnie answered the door; he did not see the face of the attacker, just the blackjack as it crashed down on his temple.

When he came to a few hours later, Lonnie, rushed to his desk, expecting the file to be missing, and he wasn’t wrong.

The phone rang.

“Lonnie Barrett’s Detective Agency.”

He rummaged through the paper’s on his desk while talking, losing track of the conversation when finding an unfamiliar envelope on his desk.

“Are you listening to me Mr. Barrett?” the Prime Minister said.

“What...sorry, I didn’t catch that,” he replied.

“It is the Prime Minister, Mr. Barrett. I need all of the files, photos and information you have immediately. It has become a matter of extreme urgency.”

“You’re telling me...,” he said softly.

He opened the envelope; it contained two letters and two photos. He began reading the first letter.

You have stuck your nose where it does not belong. I have taken your files. To protect national security you will give me five million dollars by the end of the week.

Good luck,

Lonnie Barrett

The front door of the offices crashed in. Four ASIO agents burst through the inner door and surrounded him.

“Put the phone down!” one of them yelled.

“What’s going on there?” the Prime Minister said as the receiver fell to the desk.
A photo fell from the paperclip at the back of the letter. Lonnie recognised it as one he had taken of the minister for defense with his secretary.

“I think we’ll take those, Mr. Barrett.”

He had just enough time to read the second letter before he was cuffed and dragged from his office.

Mrs. Prime Minister

If you want this photo back, you will pay me five million dollars by the end of the day.

Lonnie Bennett

The photo paperclip to the back of this letter was an unfamiliar one of the minister and prime minister in a compromising position on the speaker’s desk at parliament house. The minister was smiling in the photo, as though he knew the photo was being taken.

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