Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason

My Books, writing tips and reviews

The Pink Canary- You Only Thought Murder Was Dull!

Here is a little taste just to wet your whistle of the newest book I am currently working on. As with a good soup one can not rush it. All the ingredients must blend together to make a lip smacking, tongue rolling, belly rubbing soup. So it is with a good book. One must allow all the ingredients blend together to make a page turning, heart pounding, eyeball rolling read. I have enlisted two friends of mine who walk the path of  the environment that is the heart of this book. My best friend in the world Peter Fundora and one of the foremost Drag Queens who is now retired Vicky Lane. If it were not for these wonderful people I would not be able to write this wonderful comedic murder mystery in the vein that calls to me. Both people are in this book and they are a hoot! Yes, it is fiction – but as with all things in my head, it could happen.

The One and Only Vicky Lane

Both of these wonderful people contribute so much to this little jewel that I can never repay them. I can only love them and hold them close. So with that being said- enjoy this little excerpt and know that this Diamond will be release sometime this year.

The Pink Canary

Penelope the Hostess with the Mostest Stage Name Delilah Doublewide

Chapter Three

  Patrick Leary O’Riley, Detective, poured himself out of his car and walked toward the alley which held the victim. He had a mother of a headache, his eyes were watering like faucets and he couldn’t stop sneezing. As he blew his nose and walked toward the alley which had been taped off he wondered why he wasn’t home in bed.

Patty as he was known to his family and Leary as he was known to his co-workers had been a detective in New York, his parents had been first generation Irish Immigrants and he still spoke with a brogue. He was dark haired, fiery tempered and had green eyes that were almost reptilian. He stood a little over six feet tall in his stocking feet. He towered over most people and could appear quite intimidating when the need arose thanks to his tough New York upbringing in the mean streets of Brooklyn.

He had in a moment of insanity quit his job on the lower East Side and moved to Paradise. What was he thinking? He hated sand between his toes, he was blinded by constant sunlight and he was terrified of the water. What made him think he would like Key West? Wait it was a woman. Then that fell through.

So here he was stuck in Paradise, among the tourists, the artists, the strange and unusual locals and then there were…. He just let that thought hang in the wind as he looked down at the body, or what was left of a body. To make matters worse, She was standing off the side giving her statement to the first cop on the scene.

The “She” was “Lola” who had been a thorn in his side since way before he left the Lower East Side. He knew Lola from her day job. Actually Lola was a he named Lou  Private Dick who worked out of a cold water flat in Queens. Their history included a woman’s son who had disappeared. The cops had no clue as to what happened to him the body or what was left of it after it was  found months later floating in the Hudson. It had been wedged on a bridge pilling and the only way it was identified was by the teeth. The coroner couldn’t even determine cause of death, he had a theory due to the extra hole in the skull, but the skeleton showed blunt force trauma as well.

Leary had worked the case for months first as a missing person and then as a homicide but it was as if this kid just disappeared and then reappeared out of nowhere. He did find out  that he worked in one of the many gay clubs on the lower east side but no one was talking. The case was eventually closed as an unsolved, the box put away on a shelf in storage with other unsolved cases and the precinct  moved on to the next murder, rape and mayhem that was as much a part of the city as the population.

The boy’s mother started looking through the yellow pages for a private detective to find out what happened to her only son. She was turned down time after time until she called Lou. He listened with interest as she told him about her boy. Lou was short on clients and low on funds, the rent and utilities were coming due and this woman was willing to pay whatever it took to find out what happened to her child. It didn’t hurt that she was from Manhattan and had more money than Donald Trump. She was willing to spend it all to get answers.

She hired him to find out what happened to her son. She decided that if anyone could ferret out the person who had so brutally murdered her dear boy, Lou could. She gave him the name of the detective who had handled the case and thus began the love hate relationship between Lola and Leary.

Lou started his quest looking at all the gay nightclubs in the lower east side, which was where the boy’s mother said she had last heard he was trolling. No one would talk to him. He was the wrong gender and he smelled of cop. So Lou being the resourceful person he was decided, if you can’t beat them why not join them.

Hence, Lola was born. Her first attempts at dressing in drag were a fiasco. The makeup was wrong, the outfits looked like something from the local thrift store and in fact they were from the local thrift store. She couldn’t walk in her heels without twisting her ankle and her wigs, they were, well they just were. Sadly she was made before she had been on the mean streets for fifteen minutes in his new persona. This was getting her no place fast. She still smelled of cop. So no one would talk to her.

Lola went back to square one and started trolling the clubs as Lou. He dressed in understated clothes and studied the acts on stage, their moves, clothes, makeup and body language, then he cultivated one of the performers as a “friend” so he could learn and do those things as a Drag Queen. Not just a Queen but as one who could draw attention to herself.

He frequented a club in Brooklyn Heights called The Lion’s Den. It was located on 23 Lexington Ave. in Brooklyn and he had been told it was one of the best places to go for quality entertainment by Drag Queens. That is where he hit pay dirt. One of the stars by the name of Vicky Lane took an interest in him after he took a chance and explained to her what he was trying to do. He explained to her his fiasco trying to transform into drag and she laughed till she almost cried. Vicky took Lou under her wing and in no time Lola was born, a stunning, sexy, vibrant, eye popping female. Vicky spent hours teaching Lola how to walk, talk and behave the proper way. Then she taught Lola how to perform before a live audience. After several weeks of being mentored Lola was ready to go hunting.

She dressed in the most outlandish costumes she could find, costumes that were revealing without exposing anything. They just hinted at what might or might not be underneath. Her wigs were an outward sign of what kind of day she was having while her jewelry was a visual expression of her exquisite taste. She began to troll every club where the newly departed might have frequented. The reception was very different from the one she received as Lou. People talked to her.

She spent night after night becoming a regular at the different clubs making new friends and talking to people. After two months of walking in heels till her feet hurt and spending hours transforming her outward appearance into that of a female she hit pay dirt.

One of the girls told Lola that the “boy” she was looking for had told everyone that he had gotten a gig at 82 Club over on 82East 4th Street in the East Village. It was only a small part, but according to the source it was a step in the right direction. The “boy” had wanted to break into the business and this had been his chance.  She said that was the last time they ever saw him.

The 82 Club’s reputation went as far back as the 1920’s when it first opened as a private speakeasy club during prohibition. It was in the basement of a bigger building and the only way one could get to it was around a back alley which lent to the appearance of privacy and ambience for the rich and famous and not so famous and the day to day activities of the mob.

Upon entering the small club, the first thing one noticed was the stag was behind the bar. There was only enough seating for about 150 people at a time and there was always a line waiting to get in that is unless you were one of the beautiful people or a regular which Vicky was. She and her friends would travel east over the Brooklyn Bridge from the Lion’s Den after they were finished entertaining for the night and party at the 82 Club.  When Lola found out the “Boy’s” last known destination was the 82 club, he called Vicky. She asked Vicky if she would introduce her to the “Club” so she could see if the boy had actually performed there or if he had been seen there at any time.

Vicky being Vicky and loving a good mystery agreed. But Lola had to go with them not Lou. Lola would blend where as Lou being Lou would stand out like a sore thumb. This would be Lola’s debut so to speak because Lola also had another request. She wanted to be introduced to someone who would give her a job.

The 82 Club had been the place all the beautiful people back in the day; these days she was beginning to take on the persona of beauty gone horribly wrong. Even though the photos of all the starts like Betty Davis, Blondie and David Bowie still hung on the wall as one entered the club, those days were long gone.

It also drew the likes of the Genovese crime family who used it as a front to run their syndicate business of profit skimming, money laundering, selling of non-taxed or stolen booze, trafficking boys, distributing heroin and to blackmail the rich and powerful clientele.

Part of the dark history of this famous club including a professional hit on one Stephen Franse, who the story had it was ordered killed by Vito Genovese on June 19, 1953 as he left the club. The story went that Vito’s wife Anna was long rumored to be a lesbian, and proved the theory that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” She began to seek retribution and was a very dangerous adversary. Genovese had assigned Stephen Franse to keep Anna in line during a very messy divorce. Franse failed big time in this job. Anna tipped off the Federal Authorities to her ex-husband Vito’s alleged interest in numerous nightclubs. Vito in retaliation and to make a statement left Frense’s badly beaten body face down on the rear floor of his car and parked the car in front of 164 East Thirty-Seventh St. The last Frense was seen by any one was at 4:30am when he left 82 Club headed to a restaurant at 59th St and Madison Ave.

But the most important reputation of the 82 Club was the influential Drag Revue. It became known as the place to jump start one’s career in the industry. If one made it there one became known and could work any stage in any club.

It was to this environment that the “boy” entered and never returned. It was a start for Lou as Lola to find the answers.

Vicky gladly introduced Lola to all those in the know at the 82 Club. She even was instrumental in getting Lola that much needed interview. The day Lola walked into the club to interview she was greeted by stale cigarette smoke and even more stale beer, the mirrored walls held her image as she walked the length of the club while the strobe lighted globes which hung over head dimly lit the way.

The club’s history had left its mark of tragedy and sadness which permeated the walls like bad mold. Even the photographs of the rich, famous and not so famous did nothing to dispel the depression that fell on Lola as she made her way to the bartender whose name she had been told was Butch.

At first glance Lola thought Butch was a male but upon closer inspection she noticed that Butch was indeed a female. Lola struck up a conversation by asking about the club and the history she had learned. Butch had to answer her by holding a microphone up to her throat because she had no voice box.

“Yeah, my partner Tommy and I have been here for longer than I can count. She runs the door at night while I work the bar. No, it isn’t the glamour spot it was back in the day, but she is like an old queen she is still beautiful.” Butch said as she lovingly looked around the tattered and worn out club.

“I know what you mean.”  Lola said as she too looked around and gingerly sat on a bar stool. “I heard that in her day she was a grand old dame. I want to help bring her back to her former glory. I have a proposition for the manager that is too good to pass up. Is he around?”

Butch looked Lola up and down with an appreciative eye. She noticed the hanging bag that Lola had draped on the chair next to her and the fact that Lola was dressed fit to kill. Smiling appreciatively she picked up the house phone and spoke in a low voice to someone on the other end.

The manager of the club, who wore his lowlife image like a tuxedo, had her do an onsite audition. He walked lazily out of the dark recesses of the club. His look of boredom made Lola want to slap him just to get his attention. He held an unlit cigar between his yellowed teeth and it jiggled up and down as he talked. He was dressed in grey slacks that looked like he had slept in them and his shirt had evidence of his last meal still attached to it. Lola noticed mustard and what could have passed for pastrami. He wore so much cologne it would have choked a horse, but it couldn’t mask the immense body odor that emitted from his body. His oily black hair shone in the dimly lit room like a beacon in the night. His hawkish nose was the main feature on his face and his beady eyes tried to undress Lola as he approached. The beefy hands kneaded his legs as if they had a mind of his own and Lola noticed the slight bulge in his pants as he got closer to her.

Great an asshole just what I need.  She thought.

“Well, little lady can you sing, do you dance, do you strip? Just what are your talents?” He asked as he looked up and down her body. “Show me what you got.”

Biting her tongue, Lola smiled with her mouth but not her eyes.

“Well, sweetie,” she said as she slowly walked toward him her other set of clothes hanging on her finger as it lay across her shoulder. “Show me to the nearest dressing so a girl can change and I will give you a show you won’t forget.

He unashamedly eyed Lola as she stood in front of him with her free hand on her hip. “Go out that door behind me turn to the right and the dressing room is the first door on the right. By the way what do you want to boys to play for you?”

He looked over at the band who looked they were refugees from the Titanic. Their hollowed out eyes, tired faces and bored looks, gave Lola pause.

“Do you think they know “It Raining Men?”

“No problem. Boys can you handle it?”

“Sure Boss, just let us know when she is ready. Do you want an intro?”

Lola nodded. “ Yes, eight bars.”

Lola followed the directions to the dressing room such as it was. Changed into her smashing black sequined gown with the cut out back, changed into her black stilettos, grabbed her black silk umbrella gave her face a quick look in the mirror and was met at the door by Tommy.

“Boss told me to show you how to get to the stage and to let the band know when you are ready.”

Lola followed Tommy to the right side of the stage and stood just out of sight. Tommy walked across the stage and motioned to the band and they started the intro. Lola stood in the wings and counted down the intro “one, two three four, two,two three four, three, three four. She continued this until she had counted down eight bars at the end of the eight bar she stuck her left fishnet clad leg out of the wings singing as she began to strut her stuff.

“ Hi – Hi! We’re your Weather Girls – Ah-huh –
And have we got news for you – You better listen!
Get ready, all you lonely girls
and leave those umbrellas at home. – Alright! –

Humidity is rising – Barometer’s getting low
According to our sources, the street’s the place to go
Cause tonight for the first time
Just about half-past ten
For the first time in history
It’s gonna start raining men.”

Her voice had such a sultry, sexy, throaty quality about it that the manager found himself sitting on the edge of his chair suddenly wide awake even though he had only had a couple hours of sleep. He noticed that the band had become resurrected from their former comatose state. They appeared to actually enjoy this tall, leggy, liquid blue eyed woman in front of them singing and not lip syncing.  He was shocked she actually had a great voice and she looked good, not like his previous “Queens” who could never get their makeup right, wore thrift store clothes that made them look like refuges and couldn’t keep up with the songs they lip synced. The girl had talent and on top of that she was classy.

He smiled as he watched her, “she will certainly add some class to the place, and those eyes, they bore right to the soul.”   He thought as he listened with his eyes and ears. She had something and he intended to capitalize on “That Something”.

The song lasted for a total of eight minutes which was a record. No audition had ever lasted that long, they barely made it a minute and a half. His club was not known for its class acts. After all this was the lower east side and only the belly of society frequented his establishment. But with Lola, he could turn this place around. He would actually be able to pay his bills and maybe he could entice her… He let that thought roll around in his head like a ball in an old pin ball machine and he actually smiled.  “Yes indeed happy days were here again.”

As Lola sang she watched the Manager’s body language. He was a slime bag, who used his acts for his own self-serving purposes. He probably pimped them out and threatened them if they didn’t do his bidding.  But he loved her act; she saw it in his face.

Lola went undercover in the club. She worked there a year watching, asking questions and making allies. She found out the boy had been molested and murdered by a jealous wanna be lover which just happened to be the son of the owner of the nightclub, at least this was the story that was released by the cops. This really pissed her off because it hadn’t been the asshole manager. The manager bought the club from the owner after the trial and conviction and it was never the same. The once elegant star studded club fell into ruins with illegal drugs, debauchery, prostitution and nightly shootings.  The cops visited the club as much as the patrons but it wasn’t for entertainment unless you called arrests entertainment. It became known as the hot spot for drugs, prostitutes both male and female and other debauchery and illegal activities. Some of the Queens who entertained there started disappearing on regular basis. When asked, the new owner said they just moved on to other watering grounds and it was never questioned. Those who ran in those circles knew the girls moved around alot.

Leary worked some of the cases of those missing Queens when they were reported by family members as missing, but they were never solved. Finally the club was raided one too many times and was boarded up and reposed by the bank. The employees moved on to other endeavors, Leary went back to solving the many homicides which occurred on a daily basis in the city and the past was put in that box where all past goes.

After the close call with death, while solving the death of the kid Lola left the Lower East side for sunny and laid back Key West.  The case almost cost Lola her own life. If it had not been for Patrick Leary O’Riley, Lola would have died the same way as the boy and it would not have been pretty.  Leary had lost contact with her over the years. The last he heard she had gone back to her day job and persona of Lou.

Funny how life turns out sometimes.

Now, here they both were standing within the same proximity of yep you guessed it, a Drag Queen. Give me strength!  Leary thought to himself as he bent down to look over the body.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Books | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: