MEET MY CHARACTER
The names Kendall, Tom Kendall. I’m the creation of my good friend John.
I just thought you might like to know something about me. So, what do you want to know? How old I am, and where I was born, stuff like that? Well I’m the right side of forty. You guess which side that is. I was brought up in New York, on the east side. I went to Brook Street School. Miss Lacey, she was my teacher. She was small, but she was tough. You didn’t cross her. Discipline you see, that’s the answer, discipline. You don’t get that now. I got a coupla whacks with the cane. I deserved it, so no complaints. Never did me no harm. Anyway, after school I had a few dead-end jobs, working in a store stacking shelves, cleaning cars, things like that. Then I joined the New York Police Department. I was 17, almost 18. My father had been a Police Sergeant with the 22nd Precinct, and so had his father before him. Even my uncle had been a police officer in Chicago.
Okay, so I joined the police force. I guess in some ways I felt I had to, what with Dad, and Gramps. I wasn’t a great police officer I have to say. My bosses said I was a bit too laid back, and not ready for promotion. Looking back, I guess they were right. Oh sure I solved crimes, and brought in the villains, but I hated all of the rules and regulations. You know, the paperwork. Everything to be in triplicate. Used to drive me crazy. I always thought I could do better on my own, you know. Less restrictions. Well that’s what I thought anyway. Perhaps it was me, too stubborn, thought I knew best. Who knows? Anyway, as I say I thought I could do better on my own and decided to set up as a Private Detective. My good friend, John – do you know John by the way? Another time. In the meantime, John can tell the story of me becoming a Private detective a lot better than me. Take a look at “Kendall”.
It’s all in there. How I left the Police Department, and how I set up my detective agency. Did I have some great ideas then. The Kendall Detective Agency was up and running. Well it was up at least, but it was barely walking. What I needed was a client or three. Back then, I had really big ideas, you know. I was only going to take certain cases. The important ones, the ones that would command big fees. The rich husband keeping tabs on his wife; or the wealthy wife looking for a way to dump her good for nothing husband. Well we don’t always get what we want do we? Life doesn’t always deal the cards right. What did I get? Well there was the usual missing husband. But he wasn’t rich, and he wasn’t missing, he was just keeping out of sight. So I started a round of surveillance jobs – old fashioned spying to you, butting my nose in where it wasn’t wanted. Not very nice I know, but it paid the bills.
It was then that I met up with John. He had published his first novel, “The Thackery Journal”, a wartime story about hidden gold, a few months earlier, and was writing a novel involving political corruption, “The Mackenzie Dossier”. I joined his story in Chapter 5, I think it was. A young research worker had been found dead. Just a dreadful accident they all said, except the man’s mother who was convinced that it was murder, So, reluctantly, I decided to investigate. John wrote all the details down, so take a look -
You know being a private eye ain’t no fun I can tell you. It means spending a lot of time on your own, in the cold or the rain, just waiting and watching. It can be a very lonely life. A lot of people have asked me if I am a lonely person. Well I’ve got no family, not any more. Dad died back in 1996, and mum she left us about four years ago. I think I’ve got a cousin in Oregon, or somewhere, haven’t heard from her for years. Probably wouldn’t know her if I passed her in the street. So now apart from Mike, you know Mike’s Bar, the one relationship I value most must be Mollie, my business partner. Oh it’s not one of those sentimental relationships, and I tell you I would not admit this to her, so you keep it quiet. Truth be known I’d never manage without her. I mean not only does she make great coffee, and keep the office organised, we talk a lot, you know. And she comes up with all kinds of ideas. She lifts my spirit when I’m low. She is one good friend. Then there is Detective Terrence Devaney. We spar around a lot, you know, but we are great friends. And there is one other special relationship, and that’s my friendship with John. He writes down all of my cases you know. It was my idea, and don’t let anyone tell you different, but I don’t have the time to record everything so John does it for me. So far there are eight Kendall novels. By the way you might be wondering why, when my name is Tom Kendall, I only use my surname. It’s simple really. Back in the Department there were several guys called Tom. If someone called out for Tom, half the office would look up. So we all agreed to use our surnames only. Guess the idea sort of stuck.
Any of you into health. I mean you know healthy eating, and alternative medicines. Molly – you know Molly, she’s my business partner – she is really into healthy foods. To me one of the truly great things to come out of the US of A is the cheeseburger, with lashings of onions, and French fries. Now Mollie she’s always trying to get me to eat healthy. She thinks I could lose a pound or three. Can’t say I’ve noticed anything myself. Anyway she wants me to change my diet. Cut out the carbs, whatever they are, and have tuna salads, and grilled chicken, things like that. Okay, so I’ve tried it. It’s okay, I guess, but it’ll never take the place of real food. Talking about health, have you ever wondered about the big pharmaceutical companies? I mean are they really interested in your health? Do they really want to cure you? Or is it just about making money. Lots of money. A couple of years back I was asked to investigate the death of a young newspaper reporter. The evidence showed quite clearly that it was an accident: a simple, dreadful accident. That was the finding of the coroner and the local police. Furthermore, there were two witnesses. They saw the whole thing. But was it an accident, or was it something more sinister? The thing is the guy died in the car park owned by one of the largest drug companies in the country. I won’t tell you what happens, but you can check the whole thing, John wrote it all down in “Epidemic”
I’m always being asked about my view on life. What I think is right, and what’s wrong, things like that. Do I have a moral code I live by? Why anyone should want my opinion though, I’ll never know. Maybe it’s because of my job. I’m mean I mix with some pretty unsavory characters you know. There’s a lot of nasty guys out there who have power and exert it for their own purposes. People like blackmailers, kidnappers, murderers, and all kinds of low life. Keeping tabs on them is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. So maybe my opinion is worthwhile after all. In my world there are only two kinds of people, the good guys and the bad guys. It’s my job to catch the bad guys and put them away. Simple as that. Do I have a moral code? Sure I do, doesn’t everyone? What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong. I don’t do no harm to anybody, and I give to charity ... well occasionally I give to charity, especially children and animals. I suppose to be absolutely honest I’m not that spiritual though. I mean I don’t go to Church or anything like that. Oh weddings, and funerals certainly, but I don’t do the Sunday morning thing. Mind you I do have a belief that there is a God. He’s saved my hide a few times I can tell you. I guess I should be more appreciative, maybe the occasional visit would be something I should consider. I’ll give that some thought.
Someone asked me what I thought was my strengths and weaknesses. Though why anyone should be interested is a mystery, but I’ll give it a shot. Mum used to say I was stubborn, as stubborn as a mule, and twice as ugly. I never believed her. I mean twice as ugly, come on, no one’s that bad. But yes, I guess I am stubborn. Some consider me to be irritating, because I never stop, you know. Once I get an idea in my head, wild horses couldn’t tear it from me. I’ll hang on to that idea until I’m proved wrong four different ways, and even then I’d be reluctant to change my mind. I’m also loyal and determined. I’m methodical, I take my time. I mean what’s the rush. You need to be right. What do they say about acting in haste? Dad was methodical. He’d think things out and argue with himself. I do that, until I’m sure, then I act. As for weaknesses, well I am rather partial to a double cheeseburger and onions, and I do like those little chocolate cookies you get, do you know the ones I mean. Oh, and ….. yes, I know, that’s not the kind of weakness you had in mind. It’s the best I can come up with though. But if you really want to know what I’m like you should have a talk with Mike, but just don’t believe everything he tells you …. Know what I mean. This is Mike’s bar.
You remember we were talking about health, and the Pharmaceutical companies. I told you that my secretary, Mollie, was into healthy living. Well, she’s also a great believer in alternative therapies. Things like Amgydalin B17, and Essiac. Yes, I know I never heard them before either. But they are anti-cancer. There are many others, I mean just check them out on Google. Naturally the drug companies wouldn’t agree, and they go to great lengths to suppress this kind of information. Which leads me nicely on to one of my recent cases. I don’t know if you’ve seen anything about it, but during the first few months of 2015 there were a number of reports of doctors going missing in Florida and Georgia. More worrying were the reports of doctors dying in mysterious circumstances. Some deaths were judged to be suicides; while others were claimed to be as a result of accidents. But many of these deaths were shown to be much more sinister. Many were shown to be the result of deliberate killings. In other words, the doctors were murdered. There were three things all of these doctors had in common. Firstly, they were all cancer specialists. Secondly, they all practiced alternative therapies. Thirdly, they were all highly critical of the pharmaceutical companies. John suggested that I got involved and do a bit of detective work. It wasn’t long before I was up to my neck in dead doctors. As usual John wrote down all of the details. It’s all there in “Diagnosis Murder”. Check it out, let me know what you think –
Just lately I’ve been working for an insurance company. A couple of paintings had gone missing. Valued at three million each. Can you imagine a little picture costing so much? I mean I like pictures but come on. I’ve got a print of some yellow flowers, Sunflowers I think they are, some Dutch guy painted them. I got it in Walmart, nine ninety-nine plus tax. Okay so the frame was a bit more. But it’s nice. Anyway, these paintings have disappeared, and I’m supposed to investigate, and get them back. That was the plan. Then somebody gets murdered, and then there’s another murder. Looks like somebody’s practicing The Art of Murder. Clever title I thought, my idea. Okay, so it was John’s idea, but who’s keeping score.
Well that’s it for now. Be seeing you!