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The Conundrum - "Joey Fine" Caper


Professor Arnie Greenberg

Call me Joey. Everyone does. I’m Joseph Fine and proud of it. Please don’t call me anything else. I don’t abide those who make fun of my name, especially my family name. So if you’re thinking it’s a ‘fine’ name, don’t say it. I’ve heard it before. Jokes about the Fines don’t amuse me.

So just call me Joey.

It was the spring of 1969, in Montreal. Things were starting to heat up, hotter than I thought. The temperature was high too.

It was early Thursday and I was sitting behind my desk, feet up with my hat tilted low to ward off the unsympathetic sun. Across my lap lay the Montreal Gazette Sports pages. I was nodding off to the sounds of my ticking clock and the grumbling of my neglected, almost hollow, stomach. All I had eaten was a stale Bagel and a cup of weak coffee. I worked as a private eye, a gumshoe, for almost a year with too few clients and very few results unless you think finding some guy who missed a furniture payment a big success. Private Eyes don’t have it too easy. Looking for work is like going around in circles looking for your tail. I worry that one day I’ll find it. Sometimes I feel like an old gramophone record or a tired, dutiful horse in the center ring of the big top, struggling to earn a daily feedbag. The diploma in the cheap frame on my peeling wall proved only that I had taken a correspondence school course and had sent the school more money that I had collected since then. Clients were as scarce as a hare in a foxhunt.  You put up a shingle, get a listing in the yellow pages and you wait.  Even the mention of my name in the local fish wrappers brought only the occasional query. It was sweltering and the rent was due. I remember it well. It was definitely Thursday when it all started. All good things start on a Thursday. Don’t ask me why. That’s just the way I see it.

It was a few days before the baseball opener. That excited me. What I didn’t know was that I was about to get my first good, paying job. What followed was in all the rags, even the French ‘Allo Police’. It started as a normal search but it became a ‘conundrum’…a puzzle…ambiguity…poser…riddle. I called it the case of the missing will. It would be my first ‘biggie’.

My office was on Main Street in a typical under-heated old building above a dry goods store. Here in Montreal the street is used to be called only ‘St Lawrence’ now it’s just ‘The Main’. It’s in an old working class district in the geographical center of town where east meets west. There are some great restaurants, bars, and clubs and discount shops all around. I grew up not far from there and found it basic and cheap. But it was hot in summer and I froze in the winter. I had few choices so I took a two-year lease and was determined to make a go of it. My office looked down on the corner of Pine Avenue where the traffic was heavy and the streets filled with fun seekers, con artists, shoppers, derelicts and pushers and a few ‘ladies of the night’ at all hours. Being in the proximity of the old Jewish quarter, there were at least five good delis within a three-block radius. From this humble neighborhood came the best smoked-meat money could buy. Schwartz’s was an institution. It was full of people at all hours of the day and night. That suited me. I had a constant yen for lean old fashioned smoked meat on rye with double mustard, French fries and a Pepsi. I had always been known as a gourmand. Where else could you get a wholesome meal for a buck and a quarter, tip included? If it wasn’t smoked meat it was bagels, fresh from the fire covered with cream cheese and ‘lox’. That’s a Yiddish word for smoked salmon. With hot coffee it was heavenly. Or you could get a ‘steamee’ and frites for very little. Someone said a falafel take- out would open soon. I was sure they’d go under. The locals weren’t ready for that especially one called ‘Falafal Are Us’.

I had a traditional upbringing in a Jewish home. What that means is that I was catered to and could do no wrong. I was a prince. Now I’m a private eye and it ain’t so easy. One look at my office and you’d understand. I needed a housekeeper or a wife. Well, maybe just a housecleaner. I couldn’t afford as wife.

The phone rocked me back to reality. Shrill phone calls can do that to a guy. I thought I’d let it ring especially since mine rang so seldom. The only call I had that week was from the bank. I was ten days late on a loan payment. The bank manager was not amused. To break the monotony, I reached for the noisy culprit.

I growled. “This is Fine. How can I help you?”

It was a short conversation. The line went dead. I liked it that way. I went back to my newspaper, looking for something interesting. Mostly the news was about the pending baseball season. Montreal finally had a team in the MBL . The Expos would play in Montreal in a few days. The days were getting longer. The winter accumulation of snow had disappeared. There was a touch of anticipation in the air but at that moment the promise of spring hid behind a threatening cloud.

About an hour later as I was dozing with my feet still up and hat brim low over my eyes, I heard a feint knock at the door. I tilted back my hat. “Come,” I barked. I was not ready for what I saw.

She was tall, dark, curvaceous and dressed to kill, in a matter of speaking. She was tanned and sultry with a tinge of the orient in her dark eyes. She wasn’t smiling. I was. I automatically straightened my gravy-stained tie and lowered my feet.

“How can I help you?” I asked, showing her to a chair. She sat and crossed her legs. She reached for her purse and took out a filtered cigarette and lit it with a gold lighter. She exhaled, leaned forward and spoke. Her voice was low, sexy low, but not as low as the cut of her blouse, if you get my drift.

“I lost something,” she said. “I’d like you to get it back for me.”

“I studied her manner. She had class. Not learned class but the class of somebody born with it. I liked her immediately. I’m that kind of guy. But I couldn’t figure out what she lost. She seemed to have everything there in the right places right in front of me.

“Tell me what you lost. I’ll try to find it, if it’s findable.”

Oh, it’s findable. I know exactly where it is.”

“Then it ain’t lost. Is it?”

“Oh, it’s lost all right. Possibly forever, but I still want you to try to get it back.”

I was completely confused.

“I’m confused,” I smiled. I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“It’s my inheritance. I’ve lost it.”

“You mean, spent it.”

“No, I never had it to spend. My half brother took it illegally.  My father had remarried when I was much younger. Things happened and I got married. Now I need your help. Until I heard of you, I was sure I’d never see any of it again.”

“Thanks for the compliment lady, but I think you need a lawyer, not a private eye.” It crossed my mind that for the first time I didn’t mind second hand smoke.

“That’s the problem,” she said, leaning dangerously closer. “My half brother is a lawyer. He’s a shrewd and dishonest man.”

 She told me her sad tale. Her name was Martha Dawes Convoy of the Rupert Dawes family. Everyone called her Marty. Daddy had been in shipping and importing. He had amassed a fortune but when he died, there was no will and her half brother from a second marriage, Sydney Boyle Dawes, moved some paper around, sold off the assets and said he lost the money. Syd’s practice was not worth a plug nickle and yet he always lived with a certain flair. Syd bought friends in high places. This got him into the right clubs which was pretty good for a man of thirty-five without many clients or traceable assets to speak of.

“He has the money,” she said as she stubbed out her cigarette. “It’s partly my money and I want it. When I asked for it, he laughed and said it was gone and there was nothing I could do about it.”

 “And how can I help you? I’m a private eye, a good one, but even I have limitations.”

 “That’s not what I heard.” she smiled again. “I heard you find things.”

I was tempted to ask her where she heard that fable but decided not to push my luck.

“But you know where the money is and where your brother is. Can’t you just find him?”

“No”, she replied, uncrossing her legs. I tried not to stare but it wasn’t easy. “He seems to have disappeared and I want you to find him. I’ll pay what it takes.”

“It takes sixty a day plus expenses. I guarantee nothing and we review whatever I uncover in 5 working days.”

She stared at me with a slight frown. I was certain she was about to decline my offer.

“No problem,” she exhaled.

“I take two days in advance,” I added.

She reached for her purse and handed me two “C” notes. “Here’s two hundred. It’s more than you want but it’s all I have with me.”

I folded the bills and slipped them into my pocket. ”Good, I said. “I can’t make change anyway.”

She gave me her brother’s home address, office address and telephone numbers.

“How can I get in touch with you?” I asked, hopefully.

“You don’t,” she retorted. “I’ll get in touch with you.”

I tried not to show my disappointment. |Just like the phone call you made an hour ago?”

She rose. “I was just checking to see if you were in,” she said slowly.

She stopped at the door. She knew I was still looking at her shapely gams.

“Have a nice day, Mr. Fine,” he said. But before I had time to say, ‘Call me Joey.’ She was gone and suddenly the office was hotter.  I found it odd that for the first time I wasn’t bothered by someone else’s cigarette smoke.

I undid my tie and with sweaty hands I reached for a pad. I wrote down what I knew. I checked Syd Dawes numbers. They were exactly as she said. He had a fancy address on Forden Rd. in Westmount and an office on Sherbrooke West. I dialed and a sultry voice answered after the first ring. I could usually size up a dame by her voice.

“Dawes Enterprises,” she said.

“Sydney Dawes please,” I said with a certain authority.

“I’m sorry, sir. Mr. Dawes is away this week.”

“Can he be reached?” I asked, biding for time.

 “No sir. He’s on vacation.”

 “Can I ask where?”

“I’m sorry sir. He didn’t say.”

 “Does he call in, sometimes?”

 “No sir. He rarely does.”

I was getting nowhere. “O.K. princess,” I quipped. “I’ll call another time.”

“Can I take a message?” she asked, half-heartedly.

“Yeah”, I replied, “tell him a friend of his sister’s called. 

She sounded surprised. “His sister? Mr. Dawes doesn’t have a sister. Are you sure you have the right Mr. Dawes?”

For a moment I was taken aback. “Oh, he has a sister all right. You just tell him she’s looking for him.”

I put the phone down. I was totally confused. I made a few more notes. It was nearly three o’clock. I had to cool off and clear my head. I headed for the door.

A cold beer at across the street at Larry’s would do the trick. I walked into the empty bar. It was too early for a drink but it was late in the afternoon somewhere and I needed the fortification. Thursday was a day that Larry started later so he was reading the paper at the bar. I took a stool and ordered a Molson. It was served in silence. Larry was a man of few words. Unlike the usual barmen, he spoke only when spoken to.

 I took a chance.

“Do you know a lawyer named Sydney Dawes?”

He never looked up from his paper. “Yeah,” he growled. I know him. He’s a shyster.”

I was surprised. “That’s him. How do you know him?”

“He comes in here. He owes for a tab he’s runnin’. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen him lately.”

“What do you know about him?” I continued 

“He had a rich father. He doesn’t work much. He comes around from time to time. I don’t trust him.  As they say, ‘He has a black heart’. He talks too much and he’s loud.”

I was feeling lucky. “Do you know his sister?”

He looked up. “I never heard mention of no sister. 

“Half sister,” I corrected.

“Naw. Never heard of no sibling.” 

I liked Larry, but grammar wasn’t one of his long suits.

“When he comes in can you give me a call? I have business to discuss with him. There’s a twenty in it for you.”

“For twenty I’d call if you wanted to talk to my own mudder.”

(I swear, he called her his ‘mudder’)

I walked out into the damp cold. The last effect of inter was not quite out of the air and with the restart of construction and the crews repairing potholes, it was a good time to stay indoors. I went back to my office. It was time to call in a favor. Tommy Holmes was a cop, a good cop but not that good. There were things he couldn’t do alone and I was usually there for him. As a PI there were things I couldn’t do alone either. That’s when I’d call Tommy. Once, two thugs came to see me. They wanted to sell some guns. They were ‘unused’ they said. Buying guns was not my style. I may have just mentioned it to Tommy. As it turned out the guns were weapons used in a robbery where a guard was wounded. The thugs were put away for a long time.

He answered on the fourth ring. “Holmes here,” he barked.

“Did I wake you, Tommy. It’s Joey Fine.”

“I’m on nights. I only got to bed at 8AM. Besides, I had to get up to answer the phone anyway. But you are lucky, I was just getting ready to separate the color of my socks. What’s up.”

“You only wear black,” I joked. “Sorry but I need some Info.”

“Yeah. About what?”

“Syd Dawes, the lawyer. You know him?”

“Yeah. He’s been at the precinct a few times with his hustler clients. He’s a bum.”

“But a rich one,” I observed.

“Not from what I hear. He had a rich old man but that never helped Syd.  He’s a shady character. I’m sure he’s our chasing ambulances now.”

“That’s not what I heard. I hear he came into a lot of dough recently. His sister is concerned about it, that is, his half sister. She’s a client of mine.”

“Listen,” he repeated. Syd Dawes has no sister. Full or half. I’ve known him for years. He’s a loner, a phony, and a snake. I wouldn’t trust him or any sister he says he has. Stay clear of him.”

This put a different turn on the screw, Tommy usually knew what many others didn’t.

“OK,” I said. How about lunch Monday. I may have some other questions. I’m paying.”

“Oh, in that case sure. Lesters? Noon?”

He hung up before I had a chance to answer. Little did I know that I would see him before that.

I sat back, staring up at the ceiling My mind was filled with Dawes and his shapely sister, but mostly on his sister. She had to be for real. Why would a dame come to a PI’s office, drop a bundle of dough and make a claim that wasn’t true? But why was everyone saying that Dawes had no sister? Even Tommy knew nothing of the so-called Martha Dawes. I’d have to do some registry digging. That might take time unless I could get Tommy to help. I sat back, tilted my hat forward and tried to shake that memory of her legs. It wasn’t easy. Eventually I fell asleep.

Chapter   II    

The weekend passed without much action. I played poker with some cronies on Saturday. I made $22. On Sunday I met Sally. The snow had all but melted except where it had been piled up. This time of the year was always ugly because of the residue of dirt on the streets. Snow could arrive at any moment or the sun could melt the last of it. Often there was still snow in shaded areas until May. In the mountains north of the city the ice would still be on the lakes. Still it was a beautiful city and

Sally and I walked around Beaver Lake after a breakfast together at a small place on Park Avenue. We liked the atmosphere of this ethnic district with grocery stores and Greek restaurants intermingled. At the Bagel Bakery on Fairmount had we bought some fresh sesame seed bagels and headed back to her place. I steered clear of a discussion of the case and we read through the weekend papers while the Hi Fi  went through a list of pop hits. There were a few songs I especially liked like Tony Bennet’s I Left My Heart in San Francisco. A guy I once knew, Montrealer Leonard Cohen, sang Suzanne in his sexy, gravel-like voice, I heard it before and it was startin’ to grow on me.

It had a compelling draw to his voice. He was the local hero and I imagined he’d become an icon in time.

Later we went to the Rialto Theatre to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I had been going to the Rialto for years, on Saturday afternoons where one could see two full features for thirty-five cents.

On Sunday I was certain things would change. I spent the evening listening to old records and watching the Ed Sullivan Show. I went to bed trying to figure my next move. I’d pass on what I knew to Tommy and go from there.                             


There’s a moment when the telephone wakes you and you aren’t sure where you are. I opened my eyes to a dark room and reached for the culprit.

“Fine here”.

It was Tommy. Sorry to call so late but we’ve got problems. You alone?”

“Who should I be with? It’s 2 bloody AM.”

“Yeah, I know but I think you should get over here.”

“Now? It’s Sunday night.”

“Yeah. Your pal Syd Dawes was found dead. He was murdered; stabbed in the chest.”

I’m usually a slow driver. Suddenly I was doing 60, bouncing over potholes, but at that time there were few cars on the road. I barged into the station on De Maisonneuve near Fort. Tommy was not smiling.

“You’re not smiling,” I offered.

“Glad you noticed. Why do guys get bumped off in the middle of the night?”

“You mean Dawes?”

“Yeah. It’s him all right. Knife in the chest, more than once.”

“Where did you find him?”

“Just outside his office door on Sherbrooke and Greene. Someone dropped him in his office. He obviously crawled to the door then collapsed. His secretary got a call from him around 8:30 saying he wanted her to meet him there around ten last night. Apparently that wasn’t unusual. She got there at quarter to ten. He was lying on the floor near his desk with a knife stuck in his chest. He was deader than a doornail. They estimate the time of death was about nine. It’s a good thing the secretary didn’t arrive earlier. There was blood all over the place.

“Any other clues?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. But I’ll get to that later. How well did you know him?”

“Know him? I never met the guy. Like I said, I’m working for his sister.”

“He doesn’t have a sister.”

“Yeah. I know. You told me. But a lady with long legs and a bod to kill for told me differently.”

 I told Tommy what I knew. He told me very little. After a wile and a glimpse at the body, I left and stopped for coffee at an all night Murray’s on Guy. Mitzie was at the counter. She was a real looker especially in a tight blouse.

“Nice blouse,” I quipped.

“Sexist,” she replied with a knowing smile. “What can I get you?”

“Now or after work?” I smiled broadly.

She walked away shaking her head. Near the kitchen she hollered, “Three eggs over easy, hashed browns and a double order of raisin bread toast.”

The lady knew my pattern. I reached for the Gazette. It was an old one. I found nothing in it that interested me. I washed down the eggs and toast with three cups of coffee, paid my bill, winked at Mitz and walked out onto Guy Street. It was the start of another rainy day.

My office was hardly inviting but it was a place to earn a buck. Another day, another sixty bucks. I hit the play button on my answering machine. Three calls.

“Good afternoon Mr. Fine. This is Mr. Ronalds at the bank…” Some people worked on weekends. I hit the forward button.

It was Tommy. He had called my office by mistake.


It was her. “Hello, Mr. Fine. This is Martha Dawes Convoy. I’d like to see you Monday, if it’s possible. I’ll call when I can.”

Sure I thought. It would be a good way to start the week, especially since the weekend was no big deal and I had some news for her.

I got the paper. There was no mention of Dawes. It was too early for that.

At exactly ten, the phone rang.

“Hello,” I almost crooned. “Good of you to call back.”

“I’ve been calling you for days, Mr. Fine.” It was a man’s voice. It took a second for me to realize it was Mr. Ronalds at the bank.

“Oh, hello Mr Ronalds. So good to hear from you,” I lied.

“Mr. Fine,” he started. “You are two weeks over on your loan payment. The bank is not in the habit of waiting. When can we expect a payment?”

“How about this afternoon. I’ll bring in one fifty. Is that OK?” I was now using my most polite voice.

“One fifty will be fine, sir. We close at three.”

The phone went dead. He didn’t seem amused.

I opened my window and looked out at the grubby street. Before I had time to say, “It’s really grubby out there,” the phone rang again. It was her.

There were no niceties. “Can I see you this morning? It’s rather urgent.”

“Sure,” I smiled. “Any special time?”

“Before noon,” she replied.

“Don’t rush. I’ll be here.”

I called Tom. He was still in the office.

We chatted but he did most of the talking.

“We ran a check on Dawes. There is nothing about a sister. He was seeing someone for a while but that was long over.”

“Interesting”, I said, buying time. “Maybe he had a sister and you just don’t know about her.

“Forget it,” he barked. Syd Dawes was an only child, but that’s not why I called. We checked the knife. It was army issued and there were no prints. It seems Dawes assailant wore kid gloves.”

“How do you know they were kid?”

Tom sighed. “Cuz we have one of them. The killer must have dropped them in the office.”

“What does that prove?” Maybe it was Syd’s.”

“Naw. It was way too big. He was a small man. It doesn’t prove much except that these gloves were made special for Brisson’s. They cost over $200 bucks.”

“Phew,” I whistled. “That’s more than I earn in two weeks.

“Three if you’re a cop,” he sneered. I just wanted to let you know.” The phone went dead.

So there was an expensive glove. What good would that do unless we put an ad in the paper asking someone had a single glove of the same size for sale.

Later as I was trying to keep awake with hot coffee and curdling cream my reverie was interrupted by a knock at the door.

“She entered slowly. I was immediately taken with her selection of sweater. My mind began to wander until I realized she was not alone.

I rose.

“Hello Mr. Fine. I’m glad you’re here. She turned to her partner. “This is Jerry Convoy, My husband.”

I opened my eyes wider and I’m sure my jaw dropped. I had played basketball against him in High School. He wasn’t smiling but he did look dapper in his tailored mohair suit. He extended his well-manicured hand. He was not wearing kid gloves, I noted.

“It’s been a while,” I said. “ You look good.”

“You look about the same, only older.”

“How long has it been?”

“He squinted his eyes as he often did when concentrating. “About 18-20 years.  Since high school. I was a year ahead of you, wasn’t I?”

“Yeah. And captain of the basketball team while I rode the bench.”

“Good old days at Montreal High,” he reminded me. “But that’s not what I’m here about.”

“Yeah. I figured. Have a chair.”

She opened with “I wanted you to meet Jerry. I didn’t know you knew each other.”

Convoy stared straight at me and settled in to talk. “I knew Syd when his father was alive. He was no good. He used his diploma to con people he was a lousy brother and brother in law.”

“Half brother…” I reminded him. “But why quibble.”

After a hesitation I reported, “Everyone I spoke to since your wife first came here said Syd Dawes was an only child.”

“That’s a moot point,” he stated.

I looked at Martha. She was looking at the floor. Dejected, I thought.

Convoy continued. “Dawes had two children.”

Martha jumped in. “We had different mothers. Daddy was married twice. Once in Vancouver and once here in Montreal. I was born out west. Syd arrived a few years later. But that doesn’t change things. As the older child I should have at least been named in the will.”

“But you said there was no will.”

“I was still entitled to half of what was left. Our mothers both predeceased our father.”

Her husband sat quietly, just staring at me, He always was a smug son of a bitch.

I sat back and realized that this woman who was still claiming to be the sister of a sleazy lawyer had no idea that her brother was murdered the night before.

I took a deep breath. “I’m sorry I have to be the one to tell you this, but, Syd was found in his office building last night. He was quite dead.”

That’s impossible.”

“Not at all,’ I suggested. “I saw the body myself. I went to his office with the investigating police officer. He knew Syd Dawes. It was him. He was knifed in his office building some time before 9:45 PM. His secretary found him.”

Martha looked at Jerry. “That’s unbelievable. I know he  had a questionable reputation, but who would want to kill him?”

“Many people,” I suggested. “Lawyers are often targets, especially sleazy ones.” Then I added, “Where were you and your husband last night?”

I touched a nerve. Jerry jumped up. “Surely you don’t think we had anything to do with Syd’s death.”

“Why not? You had a motive.”

“I came to you to find him. I didn’t even know where he was. Why would we pay you to find someone and then kill him?”

I don’t think you did but the police or going to ask the same questions so I wanted to prepare you.”

Jerry buttoned his jacket. “I think our business here is over. Let’s go, dear.”

I walked from behind my desk. “I guess you won’t be needing my services any more. After all if he was your half brother and he’s dead, you don’t have to worry about the inheritance provided there’s any money left. All you have to do is show that you are the rightful heir. You don’t need me for that. You need a good lawyer.

“Fine,” said Convoy. “Let’s go.”

Before they reached the door Martha turned to me.

“There was no love lost between my brother and myself. I’m sorry he’s dead but I’m not all that surprised. No, I had nothing to do with it and I think I can prove that I was Rupert Dawes’ daughter. Good day Mr. Fine and thank you.” Tears were welling up in her eyes. I didn’t think they were because Syd was dead.

Convoy led his wife through the door without looking back.

“By the way,” I called out. Did you, by any chance, buy that suit at Brisson’s?”

Convoy stopped. “That’s none of your bloody business,” he snapped.

Then they were gone.

So much for my calendar of ‘things to do’. I was out one more client and a pretty one at that. I was back where I started. Thankfully I still had the $150 I needed for the bank

I headed for the door. Mr. Ronalds would be glad to see me. That was something at least. I always wanted to be someone people looked forward to seeing, and I had heard somewhere that bank managers were people. To show he was human he agreed to a C note instead of the one-fifty.

That was my only success so far that day.


Later I went for a haircut. I hadn’t been to Benny the Barber’s in ages. I sauntered in and took the first chair. It was on the eastern end of St Viature, not that close from my office but I’d been getting my hair trimmed by Benny since I was a kid living a few blocks away.

“Hey”, he hollered from the back of the shop, ”I haven’t seen youse in ages. I thought ‘youse’ was dead.” Benny was washing some guy’s hair. He had his usual smile and his grammar hadn’t improved since our last meeting.

“No such luck.” I called out. “You can’t get rid of me that easy”.

He approached with the same barrel chest and wide grin. He extended his chubby hand. “Aside from the hair down over the ears, you look swell.”

“No jokes,” I chided. “I need a cut and a shave. The usual.”

I skimmed through the latest copy of Look Magazine while clipped me short and finished with the hair wash. The lead article was about that sexy redhead, Rita Hayworth. Now there was a body I could easily stare at. But looking at her long legs only reminded me of Martha.

 I was thinking about her when Benny interrupted.”

“…So, Mr. Sleut, how’s it goin’?”

“The usual”, I quipped. “Not busy enough but hoping for the best, and the word is sleuth”

“That’s what I said, S-L-E-U-T! You really needed to have your ears lowered. Long hair is making you deaf”

I shook my head. Teaching him proper English was a waste of time.

He shook the sheet which barbers seemed to do and snapped it with

a certain flair.

 He glanced at the magazine. “Some babe, huh?”

“I’ve seen better. I’m not that crazy about red heads.”

“Funny”’ he joked, “I never noticed she was a red head…With them gams…,” He actually said ‘gams’.

“Who are you kidding? “ I asked. ”At your age, you wouldn’t know what to do.”

“Hey,” he feigned annoyance. “I may be old but I ain’t dead yet.”

He laughed. I faked a smile.

It felt good having at least a quarter of my hair taken off and the cool shampoo felt even better. Benny sprayed sweet smelling lotions on my dome and started to comb what was left.

“Too bad about that Dawes guy. Someone killed him.”

“So what’s it to you. Did you guys move in the same crowd?”

“No,” he smiled, “ but he was a good customer and a great tipper. He been comin’ in here since he was a kid.”

“Who brought him, his sister?”

“Naw. The driver brought him and waited ‘til I finished.”

#   #   #

You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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