Serial Poem: Poem Noir Part XI

Typewriters beat out in staccato
the events of the world.
Office boys rush from desk to desk with copy,
reporters buzz on telephones,
photographers hang impatiently in doorways,
secretaries guard the offices of editors.

T.C. Brown moves amongst the activity.
Some people greet him,
others not his presence,
the rest ignore him.
A photographer smiles and winks,
T.C. winks but doesn’t smile.
A secretary steals glances,
he pretends not to notice.
He walks up to a desk and sits down.
The woman behind the desk pecks at letters
on an old grey typewriter.
“Get me a cup of coffee,” she says.
“Get me a cup,” he replies.
She doesn’t look up.
“Get lost, Trenchcoat,” she says.
“I need a favour.”
“I told you to scram.”
Tap, tap-tap.
“What do you know?” he asks.
She looks up at him.
Her eyes have lost the light that he remembers.
“You’re sleeping with her.”

He says nothing.
She looks back at her typewriter
and pecks.
T.C. knows better than to stay.
He gets up and ignores the office.
He thinks of her, what they shared.
T.C. shrugs,
everybody has a past.

“Keep away from Ace,”
a voice says behind him.
T.C. turns,
it’s her editor.
“She works better alone,” he adds.
“I need a favour.” T.C. says.
“Ask me.”
T.C. shows the date,
the editor turns to an office boy,
“Get me this edition.”
The boy is gone.

T.C. Brown stares out the window of Editor’s office.
The street is lined with cars.
The path is bobbing with people.
The sky is overcast, Trenchcoat is too.
He hates the mistake of coming here.
He curses his falling for Client.
T.C. Brown usually keeps his distance from his customers.
Editor opens a filing cabinet and pulls out a bottle.
He offers a glass to T.C.
“You’re working for Client,” Editor says,
“You know who killed her husband?”
T.C. shrugs, “No.” he lies.
“You know who killed her sister?”
T.C. shrugs, “No.” he lies.
“You know who killed the other man?”
“What other man?”
Editor sizes him up for a moment.

“All this,” he says,
“isn’t over a diamond?”
T.C. looks up.
Editor is smiling,
for a moment he looks like Angles.
“What do you know about diamonds?”
“Read for yourself,” says Editor.
The office boy brings in a paper.
T.C. Brown sees the headlines –
Editor is smug.
“Stolen, never found.
Big insurance pay-out.”

T.C. Brown sees things fall into place.
One had the money,
the other had the diamond.
Who ever killed them got both.
But who killed them?
Baritone and Soprano?
He remembers their words –
“We don’t trust you.”

T.C. springs from the office.
They would be tailing him.
He was with her.
They stole from her,
they’d think that she would know something.
She was in trouble.

Editor follows him out,
“What’s the rush?
I need a story.”
“You’ll have your story.
There might be another murder!”

concluded next week


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