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Historical Narrative: Beacon In A Sea Of Darkness

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The day started as usual. I got out of bed. My eyes sore from lack of sleep. My feet hit the cold floor, sending a shudder through my spine. It's a shame. In the winter, the weatherman will tell you that tomorrow will be a warm one, but warm for winter in New York is still blisteringly cold (Weather 53).

I looked at the clock. 7:50 AM. No time for breakfast. I had to get to work. In this business, either you were there on time to take someone's case or he went to another detective. I grabbed my coat and started running down the apartment stairs, trying to wave down a taxi. My landlord tried to nab me and complain about my late rent, but I had not time to trifle with him. I jumped into the first taxi I saw and told the driver to take me to the corner of 7th and Elm.

Whin I got to the office, Rose, my secretary, was on the phone talking to her fiance ("Miss" 30). Her husband to be was a real sweet talker, but he was a Communist, which made my blood hot. Such a shame, a fine broad going to waste like that. She whispered goodbye to him and hung up the phone.

"Any calls for me while I was out, Rose?"

"No, Sam, the morning's been pretty quiet so far," she replied. "Here's the morning paper as you requested. The coffee should be hot and ready in just a few minutes."

"You're a doll, you know that, Rose? I swear my morning would be a nightmare if it weren't for you. I've got a couple of tickets to the next Yankees game if you'd like to go out. I hear Mantle and Rizzuto are hitting pretty well" (Effrat 34).

"Mr. Brock! Thank you very much, but I'm engaged. I can't go off on a weekend dating spree right before I get married. What would others think? They'd call me a floozy for sure!"

"Well, I thought it was worth a try. Give me a holler if you change your mind. I'll be in my office if anything comes up." I walked into my office, about to shut the door, when I stopped myself. "Rose, what do you see in that guy anyway? Did he trick you into marriage or was he just the only guy left in the store?"

"Despite what you may think of him, I find him very attractive. I believe that our wedding day will be a very gay occasion."

"As long as you're happy, Toots, I guess that's all that matters."

I sat down, propped my feet up on the desk, and let my mind roam. Baseball - a couple of guys get paid to play a game while I work my butt off to solve cases. I don't even get credit for my work. The police always claim the recognition. I get paid too little to work for their glory.

I began to read the newspaper. Hmm. A set of clubs for only $35.94? I might have to stop by Davega's later (Davega 35).


I picked ut the phone. "Hello?"

"Sam, this is Johnny down at the Chase Manhattan Bank in Queens. There was a major heist here. Apparently the robbers had calculated the robbery well in advance. They started the whole operation this morning when they kidnapped the chief clerk outside his home" (Kihss 1). "We want you to do whatever you can to help us find our guy. So what do you say?"

"I don't know. Normally, when I do work for you guys, I don't even get an honorable mention. If I do this, it's gonna be pricey. No dough, no go."

"Sam, name your price. This is the biggest amount that's ever been stolen from and American bank. The job was accomplished by just three guys" (Kihss 1). "I tell ya, for them, this was the heist of a lifetime. We really want to wrap this one up nicely. I promise you, if you help us on this one, you'll be paid handsomely and your name will be in all the papers."

"if that's your tune, I guess I can't say no. What was the clerk's name?"

"I believe it was Bardenhagen. Yes, That's it, a Mr. Henry Bardenhagen" (Kihss 20).

"I'll see what I can do. Don't worry, if Bardenhagen is still in New York, I'll find him."

I started this investigation as I did every investigation I undertook by visiting a good friend of mine, Jake, the bartender in the One Eyed Parrot. We go way back, ever since I saved his life in Korea. He had a way of coming across valuable information. If something big was going on, he would know the details. I decided to have a drink.

The One Eyed Parrot was a seedy little bar, a favorite hangout of some of the city's most notorious criminals. Jake would give them a drink and talk to them to ease their minds. For a little dough, he was willing to divulge what he gathered from his bar-side chats. Around noontime, the bar had little business aside from the curious unfortunate passerby who needed some spirits. This was the time of day I normally chose to meet with Jake. I walked in casually, sat down at the bar, and put my overcoat on the stool next to me.

"A penny for what ails ya," Jake said, his back to me, pouring a drink.

"I gather my spirits will come to more than that," I replied. I slid some twenties across the bar top. Without turning around, Jake reached back , picked up the bills and slid them into his shirt pocket.

"You want to know about the Chase Manhattan heist, don't you? I tell you, that's some heavy stuff, Sam. You'll stay away if you know what's good for you."

"I know, Jake. I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff, but I've got to make a living somehow. If I crack this case, I may be set for retirement. If I drop it, who knows how much longer I'll have to work this dirty job?"

Jake looked at me, a questioning expression upon his face. "This isn't just a big bank robbery. This heist was



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