Dawayne Mathewson turned out to be the perfect client for the circumstances. Paranoid and loaded, with hands firmly enmeshed in enough shady business that the whole case had to be kept on the DL. And as Rue was currently not a practicing private eye, at least not to outside eyes, keeping a low profile was just what he needed at present.
Dawayne, it seems, had run afoul of the wrong people a while back and was now finding himself the victim of increasingly bad luck. And not bad luck like a drug deal suddenly revealing itself to be a sting operation. No, this was bad luck of the horror-story-style heavy breather calling in on a pay-phone or client who turns up poisoned in the bathtub variety. And when a fire was lit in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend and their one-month-old daughter, Dawayne had decided to get to the bottom of things.
Police were out of the question. After all, his own shady business aside, he couldn’t be seen as a snitch or else things’d get really hot for him. No, he wanted an expert to give things a look and help him identify who was harassing him… he’d take care of the rest. What questions Rue had about how Dawayne planned on “taking care of things” were silenced by another fat roll of money.
And so here he was, sitting in his beat up Crown Victoria Metro Cab – borrowed from a friend specially for the occasion – at nine p.m. at night, drinking stale coffee and simply observing. He’d tailed Dawayne for two days now and had started to wonder if Dawayne’s menacing adversary wasn’t all in his head. This client, lady friend, and daughter were safe inside their ramshackle apartment – had been for over three hours – and Rue was beginning to think nothing was going to happen for the remainder of the night.
Motion at the front door arrested his attention and Rue peered down the dark, quiet street as Dawayne emerged from the dingy doorway. In the moments that followed, Rue knew he'd be called on as a witness, but as the accident unfolded before his eyes, he could only stare in disbelief as his brain tried to piece together what he saw.
A screech of tires and a thump.
Rue was out of his care in a flash, descending upon the scene like some gangly grey bird as his trench flapped around him. Dawayne lay splayed on the sidewalk, the care that’d jumped the curb now sitting a mere six feet from where it had flung the broken body. There was no driver in sight.
Kneeling by his client, Rue tried to calm the man as he struggled to move.
“I… I need to know who did this. Only you can help me… I,” the man shuddered and coughed, a red froth gathering in the corner of his mouth, “I can’t go to the cops. Please, save them.”
Blinking, Rue shook off the memory. Somewhere nearby a good samaritan called 9-1-1. A man’s voice was shouting to stand back, that he was a doctor. Numbly, Rue obeyed and looked around the gathering crowd briefly. Then, with a steely glint in his eye, Rue knew what he had to do.
“Rue Dobbs, it’s time to break the law,” he muttered grimly as he advanced upon the broken car that sat abandoned on the walk.