Chapter 1 of the The Pink Stiletto

I met the most peculiar man today.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.  First things first.

I’m Jennifer Wilson, but my friends call me Jen.  Before the economy collapsed I was a shark.  Well, that’s what I liked to call myself.  Not being able to say I was a lawyer should have been my first clue that I would be miserable.  Shoulda, woulda.  And I majored in psychology.  Guess that training paid off.  Now I work odd jobs to make ends meet.  If you can call it that.  Especially in Chicago.  I haven’t figured out the secret handshake for getting a real job yet.  But I think this new opportunity holds promise.  I think.  I hope.  Keeping this blog is kinda my insurance.  So if it doesn’t work out, maybe I can write a book on my crazy adventures with this peculiar man.

So you’re probably wondering why he’s so… well, peculiar.  Have you ever had a job interview in a Surgical Science Museum?  Not for a job with the museum.  Just a job in general.  Yeah, that’s where it started.  The ad was for an assistant.  One who could be available 24/7 and was willing to travel.  No resume required.  And it was an open interview.  Worked for me.  But there was one problem.  You had to figure out where the interview was being held.  Okay.  Easy enough, right?  Well, I didn’t know it was at the Surgical Science Museum.  Hell, I didn’t even know a place like that existed.  The only clues I had were the following lines: If you can breathe through negative experiences find me near an iron maiden.  No surgical experience necessary.  I hate riddles, but damn did I need a job.  Suffice it to say, it took me a good day and a lot of googling to figure it out.  At least I had hoped I figured it out.

I arrived early afternoon and made my way up to the exhibit.  As I rounded the corner a giant iron lung sat smack in the middle of the floor.  The iron maiden.  This had to be it.  But no one appeared to be interviewing.  And no one even looked like they were waiting for an interview.  Almost no one milled about.  My heart sank.  I had the wrong place.  But it was an interesting place and seeing how I had nothing else to do I started to explore.  The polio exhibit was rather fascinating, but seeing all the prehistoric tools they used to use sent shivers down my spine.  I could never imagine having my leg sawed off with a butcher knife.

As I wandered through the exhibits I noticed this man following me.  He was probably no more than forty with disheveled hair, tweed pants, a Kiss concert t-shirt, and a gray military jacket.  He looked… peculiar.  Kinda out-of-place.  When I rounded the next corner, I paused and flattened myself against the wall waiting for him to follow.  Sure enough he wasn’t far behind.

“Can I help you?” I said, stopping him in his tracks.

“You’re here for a job interview, no?”

“Yeah.  How did you…”

“Excellent.  Although I don’t care much for lawyers, but for you, I think I can make an exception.  Before you ask, it was your clothes that first clued me in.  Skirt, button down, blazer, conservative two-inch pumps, and hosiery led me to believe banking or lawyer.  The yellow legal pad you have tucked away in your over-sized matching bag indicated lawyer.  Very rare anyone else uses those.  Now I’ll answer your second question, why am I making an exception.  Well, you were able to find me, appear intrigued by the surroundings, and haven’t interrupted my rambling.  All good signs.  I’m Cedric Scott.  You can start tomorrow.”

My mouth hit the ground.  No way could this be Cedric Scott.  The brilliant consulting investigator I heard so much about from criminal lawyers, professors, and detectives.  Impossible.

“Good.  I see you’ve heard of me.  Meet me at 6800 N Oriole Ave at seven a.m.  Bring an overnight bag.  Feel free to dress not like you are.  I don’t think the police will take kindly to me bringing along a former lawyer.” He turned to leave, but stopped and rushed back.

“Oh…” he said, looking like I should fill him in.

“Jennifer Wilson.”  I squeaked.

“Right.  Wilson.  You don’t appear squeamish, but I should warn you things look different up close and personal.”  With that he strode off.

I stood there unable to move.  That was Cedric Scott.  And I think he just hired me or is at least giving me a trial run.  I’ve heard the rumors about him.  Knew that he’s difficult to work with, but damn.  That was Cedric Scott.  I could handle it.  I think.

A voice came over the loudspeaker announcing it was closing time.  Which meant time for me to start packing my overnight bag.  I took a deep breath to steady myself before I headed out.  What was I getting myself into?  Guess I was about to find out.