Their office was cold, dark and dreary. Business had not been as profitable as they thought it would be.

Six months after opening "Chris and Curtis Detective Agency," all they had to show for their hard work and dreams was a pile of bills and a headache from worrying about how they were going to make ends meat, plus rent was coming soon. There office was also their apartment. It had one small bedroom and a large living room that they were using as an office.

"Man! Are you as crazy as a monkey and a duck trying to make out in front of the White House?" Said Curtis, the smallest of the partnership, who also thought he was the brains behind what little success they had.

If we had taken the money from the Kingpin, we could have paid next months rent and ate a Happy Meal at Mickey Dee's, then got some of these lights turned back on. This candlelight freaky stuff has to go. If someone walks by and sees us sitting here with all these candles burning they would think we're a part of some kind of satanic, devil worshipping cult. Even though black folks aren't into that crazy type of stuff, still it doesn't look good for business.

"Listen partner," said Chris, the real brains and muscle behind their partnership. "I told you once and I'll tell you again, there's no way we're doing any kind of business with that dope dealing, murdering, crazy Kingpin. It's like putting your head inside a hungry lion's mouth and then expecting him not to eat you. A snake is a snake; I don't care how you dress it up."

"Man, in times like this beggars can't be choosy," Curtis shot back at his partner. "My stomach sounds like a marching band on the Fourth of July."

"Listen partner," Chris stated strongly to Curtis while trying to get his point across, "does the name Lefty ring any kind of bells in that thick head of yours?"

"What does Lefty have to do with this?" Curtis asked. He's no more than a one armed, one eyed washed up bum. At one time they said he was the best, right up there with James Bond, Joe Friday and Dick Tracy, but now he can't even wipe his own butt or even write his own name with his left hand."

"That's my whole point," said Chris. "He too made the mistake of doing a small job for the Kingpin's father, who's during those days, was in charge of everything on the West Side of town. All he had to do was follow the man's wife and take a few graphic photos of her cheating on him, which he did, and then he gave the photos to the Kingpin's father. The story goes, that after he received his payment, the Kingpin asked him two questions. Which eye did he use to take the photos with, and which hand did he hand him the photo's with? Jerry, which was his real name at that time, thinking nothing of it, told him and five minutes after, that, Jerry became Lefty. He cut out his right eye which he used to look through the camera lens and then his right arm and hand which he used to give the envelope that contained the photos of his wife."

           "Why did he do that?" Curtis asked.

"Because he had seen his wife in the nude, which was a no no, the Kingpin was crazy jealous about his wife, so he cut off his arm for bringing him the bad news."

          "So what happened to his wife?" Curtis asked.

          "He canned her, so they say," Chris answered.

"You mean to tell me, all he did was divorce the slut and made poor Lefty into half a man with a new make over?"

"No!" Chris said, "He actually canned her and shipped her body parts to all the small grocery stores in America."

"He received 50 years for that along with a few other things that came up at his trial. That's how his son became the Big Man after his father went to prison, plus some say his son is crazier than his dad. So as I stated before, that's why we're not working for that crazy nut."

"Man, that's bull! They have stories about everyone, but that don't make them true. They said that my cousin Bar Johnson would never walk after getting hit by a car, and then a bus, but I saw him six months ago playing basket ball and I'm telling you he had more moves than Michael Jordan. Also there were stories that said O-Jay was guilty of murder, but Johnny Cochran proved that story was wrong. They said that Sammy the Bull would never "Rat" on his man John Gotti, but we all know that was a lie. Plus, some even said that we were gay lovers, instead of business partners and we both know that's a damn lie. So now you're telling me that the Kingpin's father canned his wife and sold her body parts in cans right next to the cream of chicken and Charley the tuna. So that's your reason for not wanting to do business with him. Well cut off both my legs and call me Shorty, but he did offer us two thousand dollars to find his missing luggage at the airport. As to what may be in those bags, I really don't care, as long as there are no body parts. Money is money even if it's from the devil himself, and right now we're two broke ass detectives trying to make ends meat." Curtis stated. "Your broke butt is worried about stories that may or may not be true."

Chris sat there looking and listening to his partner. He knew that if he opened his mouth, Curtis would never shut up and this would be an all night event.

While Curtis was running his mouth, the phone rang and Chris answered it, "Chris and Curtis Detective Agency, you pay for our time and we'll help you solve your crime."

"Dogwash, Curtis and Curtis story hour, if there's a great story involved, hang up and call us when you've been robbed." Curtis yelled into the phone.

"Hi there" Chris said to the person on the phone, "What a nice surprise, it's been a long time since we've heard from you. How are you doing?"

"Who the hell is that another friendly bill collector?" Curtis shouted, "Or is it your mother trying to get us to find damn her cat again? That cat almost scratched my eyes out the last time the little bastard got lost. Tell her, hell no! I'd rather go swimming in a pond full of crocodiles than getting scratched by that cat again.

"What! When! Where! How long ago? Sure we'll be right there. It'll take us a few hours, but you can count on us," Chris said as he hung up the phone.

"What! When! And where the hell are we going? I'm telling you right now, if that was your crazy mother and her cat again, I'm not going. Pack me in a suitcase and double lock it because I'm not going with you," Curtis strongly stated.

"No, it wasn't my mother. It was L.G.," Chris said.

           "Who the hell is L.G.?" Curtis asked.

"Come on man, don't even go there. You know good and well who L.G. is," Chris told his partner.

Yes, Curtis did know who L.G. was, but he was shocked that she was actually calling them.

Liberty Green was her real name and she had been Curtis's true love for years. However, it had been a one-sided love affair. Curtis was madly in love with her, but she had no romantic interest in him. He was great for her to laugh with and talk to while at work, but never anything more than that.

Chris and Curtis had worked with L.G. at a small radio station. They had a nightly spot called, "Chris and Curtis Love Line." It was where people could call in and ask what they could do to keep their relationship everlasting. In a lot of cases, Curtis wanted to tell them to shove it, but Chris kept everything clean and they were able to stay on the air.

As for Liberty Green, she was indeed the "Queen of the Airwaves." She had fans from all over the world calling her. She was even loved by many of the New York State inmates. They all listened to her show and she even made them a small part of her Thursday night show, by reading their mail. She was truly a wonderful, loving woman.

The crushing blow came one Christmas, when L.G. informed everyone that she had gotten married over the weekend. This news crushed Curtis. He was unable to continue working around L.G., so we said our goodbyes to everyone and set out to find a new job. I was hoping Curtis would eventually find a new love, also.

New York City is indeed a beautiful city. No matter what has been said about the crime rate or the rudeness of New Yorkers, the city itself is made for Kings and Queens. "The Big Apple," is the city that never sleeps and where you can find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That is if you are willing and able to work at finding it.

It is the city that during the September Eleventh attack, everyone put aside their pride, their prejudices and even their religious beliefs to pull together as one. During that time the whole city of New York was like a Super Bowl Football Team, all for one and one for all. It was indeed a sad moment in

history, but at the same time it was a proud moment for mankind as they stood side by side in their time of need; a time when everyone was proud to be an American.

On the downside, New York is a place filled with prisons and has a Governor who doesn't tolerate anyone breaking the law. It was during this time that Curtis and I became a part of the New York State Prison system. We were searching for a job, hoping that someone would hire both of us for the price of one. I knew Curtis would never pull his own weight.

While we were walking across Main Street in Rochester N.Y., the police arrested us. We were charged with "J" walking in the middle of the street, well, that's what Curtis called it, however, the actual charge was possession. While we were walking across the street, Curtis was smoking a joint. I knew he wouldn't be able to survive in prison by himself, so I pleaded guilty with him. We both received a five year sentence.

We went on a tour to some of the toughest prisons in New York, meeting some of the biggest, baddest and most notorious inmates. Inmates like, The Son of Sam, The Ice Man, Big Squirt, Black Calvin and an inmate named D.O.A. If you ever had a problem with D.O.A., that's just how you would end up at the hospital, which stood for Dead on Arrival.

During our time in the system, we became somewhat a legend ourselves, not because we were big and bad, no way, but because of the way we handled ourselves and the respect we gave and received while doing our time; living behind those walls of broken dreams. We spent time in some of New York's worse prisons; Attica, Clinton, Comstock, Sullivan and Woodbourne, the facility we were paroled from. A year after our conviction, our case was overturned by the high courts. Our lawyer explained that Curtis was sick and needed his marijuana for health reasons. Believe it or not, they bought it and our records were destroyed. We were then able to get our licenses as Detectives.

"Liberty Green," Curtis said, more to himself than to Chris, "so my baby has finally dumped that no good bum and now she's looking for a real man to take care of her. Well, she should have thought of that when she had the chance. I'm not about to take her back now, that I'm a successful big time detective. It's not going to happen. I don't care if she's as beautiful as an angel and has more money than she can count. I don't care if she can make love to a man and make him cum in seven different ways and then to speak in seven different languages all at the same time. I'd rather walk thorough hell with gasoline drawers on than go running back to her. You hear me partner?" Curtis shouted. However, Chris knew his partner didn't mean a word he was saying. He would take L.G. back at the drop of a dime.

"I hate to tell you this partner, but she didn't call asking for you. She called because she needs our help. Her daughter is missing," Chris said.

"Daughter" Curtis shouted, "Man, she is probably broke and trying to blame the kid on me. Shit, I never even got a chance to kiss her, much less get a little stinky on my dinky. Something's not right about this."

"Listen, all I know is a good friend of ours is asking for our help and no mater how you feel about it; we're going to help her. So put away your sad ass face and start packing your clothes. We're leaving in an hour," Chris said, as he walked into the bedroom to pack his own things.

"L.G. Curtis said, "I still think she's broke and going to try to blame this shit on me."





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