File 0999-2 - Case Solved: The Missing Benedetto

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Greetings from The Big Windy, AAJers! On my way back east. Who would've thought that a nice guy like me in a nice 'burg like Chicago could find so much trouble?

Guys and dolls sure love their tunes in this big town. Like any town, I guess. When I got the call to locate that missing guitar, I figured that only one guy had the ways and means to swipe it. I also figured that only one guy had the ways and means to swipe it back—me, Cool Vic. You don't send a boy to do a man's job.

Finding Knucklehead (see last month's Cool Vic) with all these clues proved easier than unloading a wad o' singles at a gentleman's club. I "persuaded" security to let me in the back entrance of the Devil Moon. Knucklehead was right where I thought he'd be—at the bar, sitting in front of a pilsner and roast beef, chatting up a woman who was obviously on the clock. Knucklehead knew better than to hardball ol' Vic, and knew that if he wanted to chew his roast beef instead of gum it, he'd give me the name I was after.

Sure as Koko Taylor moans the blues it was Mr. Moneybags. His real name? It's not important. Let's just say that you probably know him from his better-publicized enterprises, like building casinos and bridges and propping up politicos. And he's loaded with more dough than a cheap brick-oven pizza. Finding his posh Gold Coast digs wasn't hard—hell, it was hard to miss that gold-plated entrance gate with his initials on it as big as my office space. His missus, god bless her, let me in without a question. Now, in a different place and time, Mr. Bigstuff would have had to worry about me being alone with his lovely dish. But this was business.

Next to the spiral staircase that went down to their indoor pool, there it was. In a tattered black case, with plenty of stories it could tell, the missing collectible. I thought I caught a glimpse of dollface's gams poking through her bathrobe as I walked over there, but my eyes were fixed on a different prize.

Popped open that case and examined the merchandise. When I saw the initials "TF" engraved in gold on the inside of the case, and on the back bottom of the guitar, I knew I had made my mark.

So here we are, me and the no-longer-missing guitar, winding our way back home. Got a full tank o' petrol, a full fifth of scotch, plenty of ice, "We Remember Tal" on the tape deck, and nothing but open road between me and home. I might not ever get home.

But until I do, or until the next time, keep the spirit!

Vic.

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