The Tattooed Man


"Well, what did you find?" Katrina asked as soon as I was inside her apartment.

I handed over a copy of the Will. "This is a copy, not the original, what I need to know is this dated before or after the one that Patrick produced for probate?"

She looked closely at it. "Why this is after that one. Does this mean that he has been cut out of Father's will and that I'm entitled to the house and a large monetary bequest?"

"Yes. James must have known about this and removed it from the safe before Patrick could take it and destroy it."

"So what do I do now?"

"Find yourself a good lawyer and take this to court and get what is yours."

"Thank you for what you've done for me, it bears out what James had heard about you. Can you wait for your fees? I don't have enough to pay them, yet."

"You will have and I believe that I can trust you."

"You are a good man Mr. Pretty." She came to me and kissed me hard on the lips, her body pressing hard against mine. My shining armor was in danger of rusting, so I pulled myself clear.

"If I wasn't the good man that you say I am I would be tempted to take advantage of your vulnerability, but I have to go and see my partner and new daughter in hospital. Take care, and until this is over I would advise you to still take precautions."

Eddie was waiting for me out front and dropped me off at the hospital. Lucy was nursing when I was allowed into the room. I kissed her soft lips. "Is the case finished?"

"Almost, just one more thing and then it's finished."

"Lou was in with Dolores and Mike, he tells me that he bar was torched."

"Yes, I haven't had a close look at it but from what Lou has told me it has been totally destroyed. I don't know what we can do about it."

"Actually it is good news."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, when we took over running the place after Mother good arrested, I transferred the insurance over to my name. That means that we get the payout not Mother."

I would have given her a huge hug but I didn't want to crush my daughter. That brought me to another matter. "When we were looking at baby names we were working on the assumption that she was going to be a boy. Do you have any girls' names in mind?"

"I had thought of Olivia, Olivia Lucille Pretty, it has a certain ring to it. What do you think?"

"Hello there, Olivia." I kissed my fingertip and placed it on her cheek. She didn't stop her suckling for a second. "I've got to run, I'll see you later. How long are you going to be in here?"

"They want me to stay for another couple of days, why?"

"I have to look for another place for us to live, I could open up my old apartment but there's not really enough room."

"We could always go to the cabin in Vermont until Olivia is settled and then consider our future. It could be the right time to make a change from owning the bar to something else."

"That sounds good to me. We'll discuss it later." I left with a lot on my mind.

Lou had some good news. The car used by the fire bombers was owned by Freddie the Fink. He was at present in the holding cells waiting for his lawyer."

"How long can you hold him?"

"Long enough, what have you in mind?"

"I'm going to pay a visit to one Patrick Van Gilder the Third to discuss such lightweight topics as wills and diamonds. Has that package arrived yet?"

"Yes, I've got it in a safe place."

"If you open it up you'll find a couple of documents, one is Patrick Van Gilder the Second's will that cuts the Third Patrick off without a penny. The other is a letter written by James Peterson in which he outlines the scheme that Patrick and Freddie hatched to steal the diamonds that had been left to Katrina along with a large amount of cash. The cash was to go to Freddie while the diamonds were supposed to have been salted away for future sale. James, took the diamonds and money and, on a trip to Europe with Katrina, placed them in a safety deposit box in a bank in Zurich. That was what those funny boxes tattooed on his back was all about, it was the bank name and box number. The contents are in that package."

"What are you going to see Patrick for?"

"To tell him that the gig's up and that you're right behind me. I want him to call off the attack dogs before you nab him and also let him know that he is not to remove any valuables from the house in the short time that he has available to him. In the mean time you can inform Freddie that you've arrested Patrick and he's singing like a canary and implicating him as the mastermind of the whole scheme. I will inform Patrick that Freddie has been arrested and has implicated him. I figure that Patrick does not want to go down alone and will try to blame it all on Freddie. Somewhere in the blame game you'll probably find the truth."

The Van Gilder butler returned to inform me that Mr. Van Gilder had no wish to see me. I took my card back from him and wrote on the back; 'Freddie's singing to the cops'. A minute later I was being ushered into the library. Patrick Van Gilder the Third looked exactly like I expected that he'd look, supercilious, as if he was lowering his standards in seeing me. "What does this cryptic message mean?"

"It means that it's over for you. You will be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting the theft of a large quantity of diamonds and money from the family safe. You will also be charged with fraud in that the will that you presented for Probate was not the Last Will and Testament of your father, his final will stripped you of your inheritance. I came here before the police to ask a favor of you."

"You don't honestly think that I'd grant you any favors, do you?"

"No, but if you don't there will be a further charge of attempted murder laid against you, the choice is yours."

He made the call. "Satisfied?"

"Yes. Oh by the way if you attempt to remove from this house any valuable art works or similar items you will be charged with theft, so leave everything where it is, you won't need any money where you're going."

I passed Lou coming up the driveway as Eddie and I drove out. "He's all yours."

"Thanks Gerry, will I see you later?"

"Yes, I have one more stop to make and then I'm finished with this."

Katrina kissed me even harder when I told her that I'd retrieved the diamonds, but that she couldn't have them yet, they were being held as evidence against her brother and Freddie. "You will have them soon, I promise."

"Actually I have them now. What you brought back from Zurich were fakes. Father had them made when he feared that Patrick might take them to pay off his debts. The real diamonds are safely stored where no-one else knows. I couldn't access them without Patrick finding out about it because if I tried to sell them the auctioneer would contact him to confirm their authenticity. I had to hold on until I could get my hands on the will and James' letter so that the plot could be revealed. Not even James knew that they were fakes but he, like you, was honest enough not to attempt to fence them. You will be well rewarded for your honesty and, although it pains me to have to concede this, your love for your partner, a lesser man would have taken advantage of my situation."

Lucy and Olivia came out of hospital two days later and we all moved to Vermont. Mike loves the place and Lucy's cousin who comes over often to play with him. Laura Lee signed over ownership of the wreckage of the bar to Lucy and the insurance payout and my bonus from Katrina was more than enough for us to buy a small inn in Vermont that provides meals and accommodation for travelers and sufficient income for us that would mean that I didn't need to be a PI anymore. Until the next case that is.

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