Case 341: Death by Subway


You know those days it just doesn’t pay to wake up? Especially in my apartment (don’t tell my mom…I haven’t done laundry in about a month).

Someone is tying people up in front of subway trains in the bowels of Chicago. Pun not intended. But I’m on the case, and I have a pretty good idea what lowlife industrial criminal genius is behind it.

He’s a plant-mutilating “businessman” using the subway system of our fair city to do his dirty work. That just doesn’t smell right.

Somebody’s gonna get his hands dirty, and clothes (meaning me, FYI). I guess laundry won’t wait forever.

Time to hit the escalator down to the subways…coming?

Chapter 1

It was a little embarrassing.

I was reaching for my gun, ready to run in the two thugs who had attacked me and endangered the innocent subway riders on the morning subway train. But as I am wont to do, I got a little distracted seeing my favorite supermodel on the Today show, and I had forgotten to strap on my holster. In my defense, she was showing how to make some killer brownies.

Now there I stood, weaponly naked, facing down some crooks on the morning train. What was I doing working so early anyway?

The goons got up slowly, both smarting from vicious punches that, while illegal in boxing, had temporarily put them out of commission. Now the pain was fading, and they were not at all pleased.

I recognized their faces. They were a couple of henchmen for C. Edward Waas, an industrial mogul I had been investigating. Yesterday they had shot at me. The day before that, they had ransacked my apartment – although with my apartment, you couldn’t really tell.

This time, they both brandished knives. The passengers were getting squeamish. I wasn’t too thrilled.

Quickly, I spun and ran for the back door of the train.

While not recommended during train movement, it’s relatively easy to move from car to car on the subway. Unfortunately, I had forgotten I was on the last car. I stared at the tracks rushing behind as the train reached breakneck speed between stations and I stood precariously in the doorway with nowhere to run.

“You’re finished now, Sibley,” said the taller, gangly thug. They were coming towards the doorway, blades up.

“Yeah,” laughed the shorter, chubby one with the stained shirt, mostly likely from a greasy breakfast. He was pointing his knife at my chest. “This is where you get off!”

I smiled at an elderly lady sitting near the door. “Would you be a dear and hold this open for just a sec?” She sighed and did as I asked, obviously disgusted at the chicanery going on between the thugs and I, but not even about to give up the seat she’d had since Logan Square.

I grabbed onto a metal pole, usually used by passengers to hold onto while the train was in motion, except I used it to firmly plant a foot in each man’s chest. They fell backward, knives clanging onto the train car floor. I grabbed the shorter thug and shoved him towards, then through the door, and onto the rushing tracks. When I whirled around to the tall guy, I caught a fist in the jaw. The blow knocked me onto my knees. He shoved me, and I fell towards the open door and close to the edge of the train car.

With my face inches from the dark, loud tracks, I struggled to keep from flying into the black abyss. I felt the taller man grabbing at my legs, trying to get enough leverage to shove me off the train.

With all my might, I kicked both legs up and caught him off balance. The train slowed suddenly, and he tumbled over me, screaming. He landed on the tracks with a thud, his scream silencing abruptly.

I managed to get a grip and hold on, although I was still mostly hanging off the end of the train. As the trained entered the station, I nodded and smiled at waiting commuters, trying to act natural.

“Hey, Sibley?” A voice laughed.

“Oh, hiya, Pete,” I nodded, pulling myself up.

“I know this is a stupid question, Filton,” Officer Pete Smith smiled, “But what are you doing?”

I jumped from the back of the train, up to the station platform. “Just a routine track inspection, Pete. Nothing to worry about.”

The cop nodded, pursing his lips in doubt. The little old lady exited the train (by a regular door), and grumbled as she passed me. “You’re welcome, idiot. And now I have a chill!”

I looked back to Pete. “Oh, by the way Pete. I noticed a few anomalies on the track back there. You may want to run them down to the station.”

One of the thugs stumbled along the tracks, dazed and bleeding.

Pete shook his head, giggling. “What do I book these anomalies for?”

“Public endangerment, resisting arrest, resisting deodorant…”

As Pete grabbed the guy and pointed another officer to the thugs, I started up the never-working escalator steps that led to the streets of downtown Chicago.

The clock mocked me as I exited the station.

9:02 a.m.

Geez, I hate mornings.

cover_200Read the whole case in “Interludes of Evil”, the debut novel of the smartaleck Filton Sibley, Detective

(Now available for FREE at Smashwords, and Lulu. Coming soon to KDP Kindle Select.)

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