Jamba JuiceIt was a darkening and drizzy evening when a gunshot disrupted the normal L.A. night sounds of Mojitos being sipped, Scarlet Johanssen’s butt being lipo-ed, and the echoes of porn production from the valley. I got the call from Sgt. Mahoney down at precinct at 4:00am when I was half way through a whiskey pint and a pirated DVD of Ghostbusters 2 that had Mandarin voiceover and Thai subtitles.

“We’ve got a grisly murder down at the Jamba Juice on Beverly Drive.”
“Again?” I growled. It was the fourth and a half murder there in the span of a week.
“That’s right. It looks like me might have a sultry Latina R’n’B singer who’s dating a Baldwin brother who’s been on ‘creative hiatus’ as a suspect,” the Sarge said.

A wide open case with no good leads to go on, hmm? Damn.  That was the last thing I wanted to hear. Another murderous creatively-blocked loon on the loose was sure to put Tinsel Town on edge. Los Angeles likes its crime sexy, coke driven, and easily adaptable to a screenplay. But this murder was one of the rare unentertaining ones, and one that in the end gave me a broken rib, a default on my home loan, and a chancre sore the size of an Olympic medal.

On my way to the crime scene, I picked up a hitchiker who just needed a ride. Suddenly I was pulled over by LAPD.
“Sir, may I see your I.D.?”
“Listen, flatfoot: I’m a private eye, see? The name’s Nils Kuhlstadt, P.I.”
“Can you get out of the car sir?”
“I’m on my way to investigate a murder. A gristly, albeit not very entertaining one. I’m sure its a case that will lead me to brake a rib, and default on my home loan.”
“Do you know this hitchiker?”
She had paused from giving me a wicked ‘Carolina Swamp Fox’, if you get my meaning, and was touching up her makeup.  I told the officer to mind his own business and slipped him a Benjamin and a mickey.

To make a long crime noir story short: The hitchiker and I fell in love and ironically enough, she was the killer. And her Baldwin brother boyfriend and I had a daring fight atop the Beverly Wilshire hotel. And I shot somebody. And there was a brief but entertaining false lead which caused me to investigate the seedy underbelly of Chinatown’s mafia. So that’s about it. Case closed. Oh, and I got that chancre sore.

Ryan McGivern

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