The Eton Rifles
by Alan Griffiths
Smithers-Jones swung the shotgun and squeezed the trigger in one swift movement. The wood pigeon dropped like a stone and the gundog disappeared into the gorse after it.
“Valentine,” Smithers-Jones, a plumy Eton toff, broke both barrels. “An associate highly recommended you.”
Smithers-Jones was resplendent, from top to toe: Checked flat cap. Tweed shooting jacket. Plus fours. Argyle socks. Leather boots.
My old man liked a hat and a shotgun. He’d have taken a hacksaw to Smithers-What’s-His-Face’s Purdey and stuck-up the local bank with it.
“I’m a Private Investigator Mr Smithers-Jones.” I scraped my shoe on the wet grass, “What can I do for you?”
“Find my daughter,” Smithers-Jones scanned the lead grey skies for another feathered victim. “She’s a bloody embarrassment.” A beat passed. “Drink and drugs. That sort of thing.”
“Daughters come home, to their loved ones, of their own accord eventually,” I turned up my coat collar against the wind. “When the money runs out.”
Smithers-Jones flashed me a look like I was a turd. Just like the piece I’d removed from the sole of my brogue.
“Her junky friends persuaded her to take a rather expensive family heirloom. Hence the urgency.” He slotted two cartridges and snapped the shotgun shut. “If I had my way...” He sighed, “Her mother wants the situation handled… delicately.”
Smithers-Jones, I thought, despite his money, guns, fancy clothes and country pile, was just like all the other punters that hired me.
Same shit different arsehole…. As my old man would say.
(Alan Griffiths, a rookie writer, hails from London, England. His short fiction can been found on: A Twist of Noir, Pulp Pusher, Powder Burn Flash, The Flash Fiction Offensive and Thrillers, Killers n Chillers.)