A3Writer: F³ The New Lead
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Friday, May 3, 2019

F³ The New Lead

My second perusal of the yellow pages led me south to a hellish place filled with iron works and other industrial places. The heat from the furnaces drove away all the fog and set me to sweating so much that I had to take off my hat and wipe my brow. Schumacher’s Glassworks was a small operation as far as it went, without even a front man. I just walked back to the workshop where a half dozen people were working.

I caught the eye of a couple of them, who nodded my way, but no one stirred as they dipped pipes into glowing cauldrons of molten glass. I went up to the oldest man, a wizened, balding man with more eyebrows than hair on his pate.
“We’re busy.” His voice cut off the words as he concentrated on spinning the molten glass. It was a strong voice, too. It was tempting to think him week with the hunch in his back, but I could see the tight sinew in his shoulders as he worked the glass back and forth.
“I need to ask you some questions,” I began.
There were any number of ways to get the info without revealing I was a PI, but none of them would work, here.
“Buzz off,” he said.
“Love to, but can’t.”
He flicked his eyes to one of his workers, and the man stood up to his full height, looking like John Henry about to drive me into the ground.
I looked hard at the worker, and he flexed his hands in still steaming leather gloves from where he had held newspaper against the glass.
“I got no beef with any of you. We can do this easy or hard. I just want to ask a couple of questions and be on my way.”
“Boss said you have to go,” the worker said, and he got in close to stare down at me.
“Sure thing,” I nodded. “Sorry to bother you I looked at the wizened guy.
Out of the corner of my eye, John Henry relaxed. Clearly, he hadn’t been in many fights. I kicked his shin hard. I followed it with a hard punch to the gut, followed by a knee to the chin as he breath left him. He crumpled from his glass jaw, which I thought funny for the moment before I gave him a final kick to the face. They were mean streets for a reason, and I had no problem with throwing the first punch if it kept me alive.
“Feel like talking now, or do we need to get rough?” I asked.