A train screaked its way across the Ben Franklin Bridge, throwing sparks that acted as fireworks behind a cabaret performance in a converted warehouse. The band alternated between an ambient aesthetic and covers as the cast worked their way through a murder mystery, film noir style.
It's the fifties in 2016 Philadelphia as we witness the events of the Los Angeles staple "the Sugar Cube" – suits and bangs and pill-box hats complete the fare.
A shot rang out and the crowd jumped, looking to see which of the cast was the shooter and which was the victim. Unusually, the cast did the same.
A beat. Two beats. A woman's scream pierced the confusion, escalating it to a panic. Without even looking, I knew – the body of Jack Penn lay on the floor, meaning two months of my life spent tracking him down was for naught.
That seemed to be the pattern now – I got close to closing a case and my best lead bit it. I was used to the plausible overdose or the unusual accident, but this was new. I surveyed the venue for the person who had reacted least to this burst of excitement.
I was out of luck however – it seemed that the world had it out for me. I ordered a double amidst the chaos, downed it, and made my way to the Delaware. Watching the boats and looking toward Camden, I renewed my vow to get to the bottom of all of this.
A train screaked by, apathetic.
[written November 2016]