A Cold Murder And Warm Memories

May 4, 2020 Diary entry: Panda Express, early afternoon; slippery noodles, squid, and Saki, lots of Saki, the entire morning spent in the office going over transcripts, witness statements, and evidence files; day number 732 of my Murder At The Panda Express inquiry into murder, foul murder in which I still have no fresh clues into the whereabouts of the One-Earred Man, the Man With The Jade Ear who is a distant cousin of Mr. Kim, Kim is the most feared and powerful man in Shing Dong Prefecture, I knew Kim, I worked for Kim, I took his dirty money, Kim had killed a man and everyone knew it, but no one ever spoke of it in anything but a whisper, there was only one man in the world that Kim feared, and that was his distant cousin, the man I have been tracking for so long, the Man With The Jade Ear; my long inquiry into murder has been met with no answers, no substantial clues; as I finished the last of my Saki, a tall pretty dark haired Oriental waitress took my money and my thanks, she looked like what men have described as “The Pearl of the Orient”, her smile exuded a light that blinded my eyes and made me feel like I had touched a blazing furnace of something that would consume me if I didn’t look away, anyway, I had work to do, so I headed back to the office to pick up some vital information that had come in while I had been dining; an anonymous visitor had slipped a faded black and white photo under my door that seemed to show a man’s image that was eerily similar to the description I had been given of the One Earred Man I had been searching for these many days, weeks, months, and years; I put the photo on my desk as I fumbled for a bottle of scotch that was filed under C for Confusion in the security cabinet by the wall safe, I poured out a tall mind clearer into a dirty styrofoam cup and leaned back to ponder my options, I lit up a smoke and sipped my scotch, I don’t know if it was the haze of the scotch or the haze of the smoke, but the office clouded over and I began to see images in the thick smoke that reminded me of days past, days spent long ago lying in the sweet-smelling springtime grass while a beautiful young girl picked dandelions and put them in my hair, the world was a pure place full of great expectations that have since faded into a dark gray world not dissimilar to the smoke that engulfed me on this day, I re lit my smoke and poured out another memory, this one occurred during the early fall of ’59, the air had a crispness to it that made you feel like a fresh-picked apple, the first of the year, the one apple you had waited on for a full year, to bite into with the anticipation of a thousand tigers who anticipate tearing into the flesh of a dead wildebeast carcass, and you gave that sweet and tart apple to the prettiest girl in the neighborhood who said she would never forget you even if they removed her brain, she told you she would die loving you, the world was a glorious place and you seemed to own it all, you owned every apple on the tree, then life just went sour somehow, and you wound up in the middle of a murder investigation that is eating you up, few clues, few leads, and few alleyways that don’t turn out to be blind dead ends, well, as the heartbeat of a flashing neon sign outside pulses through the slats of the blinds, and my darkened office takes on the half-dead cold soul of a city without life, this is murder investigator Paulie, hoping you find all the answers you seek, shalom…

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