Cicero and the Case of the Missing Blueblood: Chapter 1: The Gypsy Boy

ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA

Cicero sat behind his shitty desk in the near-empty office. Papers were strewn everywhere like shitty leaves after the wind blew on a smoky autumn day.

Jenny wasn’t in today, it was Saturday.

Cicero had nowhere else to be. So he might as well be here.

The massive cobalt phone sat on his desk, silent.

A stack of warrants to be served was piling up in his wooden inbox.

Warrants weren’t much money, but they were money. Sometimes he even made clients out of the people he served. Money was tight and he needed a big case. He opened his cigarette case and he pulled out a Cigaretu. Cigaretus are a special Czech cigarette, considered one of the healthiest mixes of Moravian tobacco. As he pulled out the Cigaretu a business card fell out. It was from the Dame in Cleveland.

He picked up the phone and he slowly dialed SHaker 5-2368. With each number he dialed, the number wheel whizzed back with a click.

Long Distance Operator: “how may I help you, sir and or ma’am?”

Cicero: “Yes, I need a Cleveland number.”

Long Distance Operator: “Is that Cleveland Ohio?”

Cicero: “Yes ma’am Ohio.”

Long Distance Operator: “Person to person or station to station?”

Cicero: “Station to station.”

Long Distance Operator: “I will connect you that number now.”

The phone rang again, seven times.

“Misericordia and Jones, how may I help you?”

“Is attorney Jones in?”

“No sir, she’s in court today, may I take a message?”

“Yes, tell her that Cicero called, Sam Cicero P.I.”

“Sure, at what number may she call you back?”

“ERie 5-2368.”

“Thank you.”

Sam roaked his Cigaretu. He looked up to see a gaunt figure standing in his office. It was Tomascz.

“Hello Sam Cicero, sexy Private-Eye mawn!”

“How are you doing Thomas? Take a seat. Cigaretu?”

“Yes I lowve to smowke Cigaretu. Is best kind, you know Sammy. Now, Mr. Sammy, I level with you. I need your help with sowmething. I am willing to pay the mowst money, most money.”

Something was wrong and Cicero knew it. Tomascz didn’t look like his usual self. It was clear that something was clawing at him and it had to be a dame. Not some cheap ten dollar tramp from Conneaut, but a real dame.

“What have you got Thomas?” Said Danes.

“There was this girl, Sammy, back in the old country, a long time ago. I need to find her. I don’t even know if she still aliwve.”

Thomas looked pained.

“This was your girl wasn’t it?” Cicero said, knocking some ashes into a shitty, grimy, faded bronze-colored ashtray.

“Yes Sam, she was, but I don’t know where to start, is wery long story.”

“Well, I got time Thomas, you helped me out on the last case. I haven’t figured out your angle and I don’t care unless someone makes it worth my while. Whiskey?”

“Oh Sammwy, you drink the “Kentucky Shi’itaan’s Rotgut-Aged” is wery goowd brawnd! One dollar for two gallon bottle! Dees dee good stuff!”

Cicero served up the shitty two-bit whiskey into two dusty, dirty, shitty shot glasses.

“It was a long time ago Sammwy, maybe I should forget about dis girwl, but I can’t you know. I know you think I just a shittwy, dirty piwmp, but a long time ago I was regular boy in Buwda-Pewsht.’

“I had a girl once myself, a long time ago, Thomas, took me a long time to get her back.”

Thomas drank a sip of the whiskey and grimaced then shook violently. He coughed and turned pale.

“Is wery, wery smoowth!”

Cicero grabbed the bottle and took a long swig. His eyes crossed, turned blood red and then rolled back in his head. He froze almost in paralysis, then fell back in his chair. He blinked and tried to focus.

“Yes, it’s the best, very smooth indeed.”

SOMEWHERE IN NAZI-OCCUPIED TRANSYLVANIA, ROMANIA

Thomasz was in the long hallway on the ground floor of the castle. There were ancient tapestries mixed in with 18th century paintings of prior masters of the castle, now long since chased away by the shitty “Krucci”. He sat on the floor, sipping a shot of Sliwa, a Balkan plum brandy known more popularly as Ptschlijbijwiscziej. The girl sat on the floor across from him cross-legged almost close enough to touch. She was very pretty, tall, dark-haired with disturbing grey-blue eyes.

“So gyjpsij-boyj, do you roajk the pschmiej?”

“I roawk. I roawk. Are you holdiwng this suwbstance?”

She reached in between her very large, yet firm breasts.

“I am alwayjs holding, sweet gyjpsij boyj.”

She took him by the hand and they walked out onto a long exterior patio. The patio looked out on a river seemingly a thousand feet directly below. It was a melancholy November scene, with barren trees and stark dark cliffs.

“Gyjpsyj, I always do this kind of work since I was a girl of 18 in Sarajevo. I lijke it. Easy moneyj, lots of fun. I lijke you though, I don’t mind working for you. I will make you moneyj and I will make sure you get in good with these shijtty, jebi Krucci. I teach you how to be good pijmp. All the girls here are like all working girls, they lie they steal, they all claim they were forced into to it, but that is false they are all dirty, dirty, filthy girls lijke me. I will teach you how to handle them.”

“I don’t know if I am cut out for thiws kind of work thouwgh, I only made hownest money, even for a savage gypsy…”

“It’s better than being hung up on a meajthook , jes?”

Tomascz took a long roak on the evil, satanic devil-weed. He handed it to her and she took a long sensual roak on the vile, demonic herb. Her logic was impeccable. He was just an honest gypsy-boy, but now he had to survive. To do anything he could to get back to his girl, even if it meant the most vile degradations. The shitty girl took his hand.

“You have strong calloused hands. You work hard. It means you are honest Gypsy. My najme is Ijiliana, I was born in Kakanj, Bosnia, Jugoslavija. Things were always crajzy you know. I was born in the middle of the war. My father was killed in the Austrian Army when I was a baby. I did not know him. I have his picture. He looked like kind and decent man. There are to have been no good men in my life since that day. Tell me, who are you Gypsy boy?”

“My Name is Tomascz, I was born in the Kiew District of Ukraine May Day 1926 in the third year of the first five-year plan. I suppowse I should have beewn good Komosomol youth Communistivwe, but I don’t give crap about politics. I lived mostly in Pewst, Buda-Pewst and I had a girl, but she was Ztschjevwicziej, so the evil Krucci take her away from me, I don’t know if I never see her again, so now I suppose I have you.”

“You havje from me whatever you neejd from me whenever you want it from me if you only ask. I want you to do with me and my bodwy what you will, as you commajnd me I shall obey and serve you.”

He drew closer to her.

“You don’ t mind that I am a gypsy?”

At the mention of the word ‘gypsy’ the girl shuddered violently and wet herself uncontrollably.

“Oj Bog” she moaned. “a sexy…gyjpsyj!”

Tomascz pulled her hands away from her face. He moved his grotesquely hairy body closer to her…[CENSORED: PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; Pennsylvania Code 32:68 {PL 42-376} August 5, 1797].

SARAJEVO, NAZI-OCCUPIED JUGOSLAWIA

Browscz moved cautiously through the back alley. It wasn’t just any alley, it was next to the same street where Franz-Josef had been assassinated. He breathed in the murky night air. He looked to the street. On the corner was a thin young man with feminine features. He looked soft, weak, pliable like a woman. Browscz moved under the acrid streetlamp. He caught the attention of the young man.

Cigaretu?” Browscz asked him?

“You mean Cigarachee, don’t you?” Answered the young man in the secret code.

“No I distinctly said, Cigaretu.”

He followed his young contact down the street and into an alley. They walked behind some old buildings into a filthy basement room of a shitty, deserted apartment building. The two “men” sat at a filthy old table. The young man lit a dim lantern.

“Do you smoke [CENSORED Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797].? Asked the young man.”

“Excuse me? Said Browscz.”

“Do you inhajle the wackjy [CENSORED Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797].?”

“The what?”

“Do you inhale [CENSORED Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797] fujmes?”

“Huh?”

“Do you roak the schmiee?”

“Ah yes of course!”

The two men, the middle-aged gypsy and the young Sarajevan inhaled the satanic fumes. As they inhaled the hypnotic vapors,  the vicious insanity of the debaucherous reefer-stick filled their minds with a hideous yet unspoken passion, a passion born of Satan himself in the hottest fires of demonic hell. The gypsy moved his shitty, hairy towards the wicked young man. The young man winked at Browscz approvingly… [CENSORED  PA Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797].

[CENSORED PA Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797]

Browscz handed the young man a cigaretu.

“Aah the cigaretu, you have good taste you hairy…gypsy!”

“Someone wanted me to give this to you.”

Browscz gave the young man the coin.

The young man looked over the coin, it was an Austrian Maria Theresa gold coin.

“Yes, yes you are the right man. You are a good man Browscz, for a…gypsy.”

“These are strange times, my young friend. One cannot be too careful. Have to play both sides against the middle.”

“We are birds of a feather Browscz, trust no-one but yourself and the money. Here are your papers, your instructions are as follows: you will go to Neum by way of Mitrovici. A boajt will be waiting for you near the Sliba restaurant at the water’s edge. Give this coin to the boajtman. He will take you to Bari, Italija.”

CLEVELAND…OHIO

Law Office of Misericordia and Jones, 12th Street, Palmer Building, Cleveland Ohio.

“Jones, you stinking distaff, you really screwed up on this one. We’re out a lot of money, honey. This jerk client of yours has bolted with two million, little lady. You find that asshole and get that damn money back or I’ll pull down your panties and give you the whipping of your life. I knew I took a risk letting a shitty dame become partner. Now listen you cheeky broad, you find that shithead any way you can.”

“Yes Mr. Misericordia.”

Jones walked into her office. She was followed by Mrs. Kritchen.

“Counselor? You had a call from a Sam Cicero. Here’s the call slip.”

“Oh thank god.”

She picked up the heavy matte-black cobalt phone.

JONES: “Operator?”

LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR: “Yes sir and or ma’am how may I be helping you?”

JONES: “I need ERie5-2368”

LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR: “Is that Erie Pennsylvania?”

JONES: “Yes Ma’am.”

LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR: “Is that station to station or person to person?”

JONES: “Person to person”

LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR: “The name of the party to whom you wish to speak?”

JONES: “Cicero”

LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR: “Please wait, I will connect you.”

Cicero was still staring at the cobalt phone. He took a swig from his flask. He put down his Cigaretu.

“Cicero, P.I. How may I help you?”

“Sam, this is attorney Jones. We met on the train. I need your help.”

Cicero grabbed his fountain pen and notepad.

“Shoot”

“I need you to meet me in Conneaut, and 5th and Euclid. Tonight at 7. There’s a little juke joint called Bartin Larkin’s.”

“I’ll be there.”

PITTSBURGH

December 5th, 1945, Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh PA, Friendship Hotel.

“Paul Lorton?”

“Yeah that’s me.”

“I got a package for you.”

Lorton opened the door.

He signed for the package, gave the man a dollar tip.

“Thanks buddy!”

Lorton looked it over. It was from the Department of the Navy, Pacific Command, Tokyo. He opened the package. It was a SIlver Star Medal with a citation. There was a scribbled note.

“Sorry, Son, this was the best I could do. Corps took a long time to process it. I wish I could have presented it to you personally. Yours Truly, ‘Bull Halsey’.”

Lorton threw the medal on a bare desk.

“What a shitty way to get a medal.” He said to himself.

He pulled out his flask and took a long drink. He lit up a cigaretu and went over to the windowsill. He took a savage roak. 

Lorton put on his pistol and his jacket. He walked out into the shitty, smoggy street, then over to the bookstore.

The bells jingled as he walked in. He looked around. The bookstore had been there since 1872 and looked it. There were thousands of old books on the shelves.

“Mr. Lorton!”

“How are ya doing kid? Did you find that Bierce for me?”

“I’ve got it right here.”

The girl picked up a booked that was wrapped in a yellowed piece of paper.

“I need a ream of typing paper too-Onion Skin the shittiest, oldest and roughest you got.”

“Aah you must be using a ’31 Smith-Corona, best typewriter ever made. You will need a couple of ribbons, I’ve got the black, red and white.”

“Good, good, roger, roger, got it, got it.”

“You’ll be writing tonight?”

“Yeah”

“Maybe I can stop over, I’ll pick up some Pierogie.”

“I’d like that.”

“Do you smoke [CENSORED Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797]?”

“What?”

“Do you inhale [CENSORED Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797]?”

“Huh?”

“Do you use [CENSORED Pennsylvania Code 32:68 PL 42-376 August 5, 1797]?”

“Come again?”

“Do you roak the schmiee?”

“Aah, now I understand…”

FIVE MILE RUN, PITTSBURGH

Big Joe’s Diner, parking lot, January 8th 1947.

“Pyotr Joscjiewiesckewski! It is me Komrade!

“Aaah Anton Andreievich Posjiliuscjeiwscki Roackmaninoff!

“It is good to hear the sexy native Russian again, Nyet?”

“Da je ochin, ochin Korosho muyumielie Tavarische! But is better to call me Pat Joshua.”

“Let us go drink the Wodka togeth like old friends!”

“The Kremlin is wery wery happy with your role in the last assignment.”

“Yes Anton, it was to have been going quite well. I am constantly am to have been feeling myself excellently.”

“Da, I feel myself quite well too.”

The two men walked into Big Joe’s. The air was thick with delicious, healthy smoke.

They took a seat in a far back corner.

“Your assignment will to have being a little bit more difficult. One of our people is to have turned to the Kapitalists and he is transporting a very large amount of money. It is our money from a fund in the Creefroo…I mean Cleveland, Ohio. He has absconded with this money and we think he is in a lake-house somewhere near great, rich,beautiful, epic American Toledo-City. The key is Paul Lorton. If you find Paul Lorton he will lead you right there.”

“Aah, Ohio…what a wonderful place, is almost to have been true worker’s paradise like Volgagrad. Lorton and I are old war buddies, he will trust me, Komrade.”

“Korosho, I mean to have been saying wery good. Nostrovjie!”

—–

HARRISBURG, PA – FARM SHOW COMPLEX, SEPTEMBER 7, 1946

“Jennings, step forward to the table!”

The giant farm show building was filled to the brim with farmers, produce companies, big grocery reps and growers. Today was the big day. Orientation for food inspectors coming back from the War. At one table sat five very well-dressed men. The farmers and other agricultural representatives did not recognize the men. They were from left to right P. Pearson Luzerne, Chariman of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, J. Edgar Hoover, John Foster Dulles, Alan Dulles and one unidentified man. Each of them roaked Ziggaretten, the only Pennsylvania Dutch Cigarette. Only the fastidiuous Hoover did not partake of the delicious, healthy tobacco.

Jennings stepped up as ordered. Jennings was tall, thin, plain, perfectly dressed in a plain pin-striped suit. He wore small round spectacles and he had a handkerchief in his suit pocket.

“You can sit down” Said Hoover, avoiding eye contact.

Hoover was smart, he knew they could meet in plain sight, but not be overheard because of the din in the Farm Show Complex.

“Jennings, the war is over, but there’s a new war on. Against the shitty, red, commie, pervo, bolschewiczks.’

“You know that inspectors from the PADA were pre-selected before the War to serve in the O.S.S. You were one of our boys in the ETO were you not?” Said Allen Dulles.

“Quite, sir.” Said Jennings without flinching.

“We know for a fact, for registered fact that there is a goddamned communist Bolshevik who infiltrated into our goddammned Army.” Said Luzerne who paused to take a long roak off of his Ziggarette.

“You were our best inspector. We want you to tail this shitty commie sonofabitch and bring him to justice. He goes by the name Pat Joshua. You tail him until the time is right. You will be in deep cover at the Lawrenceville Produce docks, are there any questions?”

“No sir.”

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