Hard Boiled

Gretz’s Trail
From Beauregard's Perspective

“It’s been a few days since we turned in the surgeon to the police, and just about a week after we brought Emma back to her home. I’d intended to pay her a visit, to shed some more light on Gretz’s notes, but she was ahead of me, though for different reasons. Can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the short break, to take a breather, and think about what to do next…

Emma says that Gretz is back in town, and hanging around City Records. And more than that, he’s not paying her much attention. The nerve of the guy. Still, she’s worried about him and wants us to trail him. I accepted the request, since this case reeks enough to warrant attention, without the need for compensation. And, while she was at the office, I gave her Gretz’s notebook to look into the records for us.

We had some time while waiting for Nancy and Watson, so I decided to get some lunch. Amos still doesn’t trust me to go out alone after…what happened last week, so I decided to take him with me to the White Chateau. Sure, it took pulling a string or two to get him in, but I thought it’d be worth having a pleasant lunch with my…associate. I had my steak as usual, and, unsurprisingly, Amos had the priciest thing on the menu. I thought it was going well, and we even chatted for a while, until another sir decided he had a bone to pick with Amos. I should have said something for Amos, he was my guest after all, but I suppose…I suppose my moral standards froze for that moment. Fortunately–though that’s debatable–Amos took the matter into his own hands and cast a bit of voodoo on the man and his cronies. Needless to say, I won’t be coming back to eat there any time soon…

After we joined up with Nancy and Watson, the crew dropped by City Hall. Nancy and Watson checked the records office while I stayed in the car with Amos. Gretz was in the records office but, as Emma said, wasn’t paying her any particular attention. He eventually left and started driving off, so we tailed him in two different cars. Oh, and I saw that cowboy hat again.

Gretz stopped by some rundown grocery store in Treme and met with someone who, as the crew determined, was probably a voodoo practitioner. Afterwards, he started driving again, this time to Hellstromme property. Now, I always knew Gretz was sketchy, but this…I’m still not sure what exactly Gretz is after…

After Gretz went into the property, we decided to investigate his car. Moreover, he didn’t even bother locking it. I had Watson take out the papers from the car, and we found a map with some locations on it…And a little reference to Dr. Kettensage. The former was of greater interest, but there was another thing bothering us: an infernal smell coming from the back seat. After some scrounging around, we found something of a makeshift lever and I pried the trunk open…Only to see a reeking, skinless, disgusting body there. After some looking, Nancy found a very important clue: a gold tooth in the skull’s mouth. Memory serving correctly, Emma described Gretz as having such a feature. Of course, now the question was, if Gretz was dead, here in front of us, then who was that who went into the warehouse? It certainly looked like Gretz, and what happened to the body, well, it seems just like a skinwalker’s doing.

Oh, and the cowboy was still stalking us. For God’s sake…

Anyways, Nancy, Watson, and Amos followed the living Gretz into the property. I stayed by the cars with rifle. A bit later, Gretz literally came running out of the warehouse with the other three on his tail. To sum it up, we failed to get a hold of him, and now we had Gretz’s body on our hands, almost literally.

Called up Frank. He was not pleased. At all. However, I did arrange for the body to be picked up. And, as I expected, the surgeon got picked up by the Rangers, which means that the cowboy isn’t tailing us because of the surgeon. Now, we just have a bit more digging to do with what we got.

We waited until the next day before going back to Emma. As much as I hate being the bearer of bad news, it had to be done, though I didn’t think it wise to give all the details, for her own peace of mind. She was distraught, as expected, to know that Gretz had been killed, but at the same time, she was still very helpful with procuring the records regarding the codes in his notebook.

I headed to the library to look into it a bit more, and though the librarian wasn’t very nice, she was at least very helpful…The Bayou Vermillion Railroad Company. Can’t say I’m familiar with them, but the owner, one Baron LaCroix, certainly rings a bell. A lot of the papers dealt with financial deals, transactions, and inventories. What really caught my eye, as it pertained to Gretz’s notes, were the invoice for medicinal chemicals, with a number of barrels unaccounted for. Now, I’m just spinning ideas, but I think this might be what Gretz was looking for. Based off what Duval said, LaCroix supposedly had some sort of resurrection fluid, which may just be these chemicals. As much as their purpose may be a travesty to God and humanity itself, I can imagine such a substance fetching a nice price on the black market; probably even enough to pay any old debt…

Convened with the rest of the crew. The grocery store in Treme seems to be affiliated with the Red Sect. Not exactly sure how to approach that lead, if at all. What would a skinwalker want with the Sect? Unless maybe it’s just as curious about the resurrection fluid as Gretz was? I can’t even be completely sure, where Gretz trail ends and the skinwalker’s begins. We don’t have a real estimate of when he died, after all. Damn. I honestly thought this commission would be short, but it’s just opened up a whole can of worms.

Oh, and Amos started acting weirder than usual. I apologized to him for what happened earlier, and even offered to treat them all to dinner. Then, he started talking about not reading the newspaper tomorrow. As I was about to ask him about it, he answered the door, left the office, and then shooed the visitor away without even telling us who it was. I don’t like to make assumptions, but why do I feel like Amos just let his big mouth get a hold of him, and that I’m the one who’s about to pay for it.”

The Butcher Case
From Beauregard's Perspective

“Amos’s nosy friend from the Epithet came by with a case. Duval seems like a nice guy, but he’s as sleazy as any of them journalists come. And I can’t shake the feeling that he either knows…or he’s going to. Hopefully Amos can keep his trap shut about that at least. But, I can’t say Duval’s case didn’t pique my interest. A series of killings that takes place over decades. Surely it can’t be the same killer, maybe someone emulating the originals, but it still gives me a bad feeling. The most recent murder was at Treme, so maybe we can get more insight of that from the police.

Dropped by the police department. Angel’s still in custody, so we might just have a bit more time before the Black Hand sets their sights on us. Honestly, I can’t say what we can even do. There’s the police, sure, and I trust Frank, but I can’t say the same thing for all his men. The clerk didn’t even know who I was. Must be another greenhorn. In any case, Frank gave us another lead on Duval’s butcher, at least where to start looking: the old police headquarters.

The old police headquarters was as nice as anyone could expect from that part of town, but with less squatters than usual. That is, none. It was suspicious at first, but then we went to the basement. The evidence room looked like it has been ransacked, probably by the squatters, but the evidence we were looking for, the scalpel, wasn’t there…Oh, and then there were moving piles of head and limbs. Kept my breakfast down, but it didn’t make it any less disturbing. They weren’t much of a problem, since we didn’t give much of a chance to fight back. We did find another lead after the fuss, the culprit may be some sort of medical professional…

Charity Hospital. Thank God this isn’t the only hospital in the city. Nancy did what she does best, and we got our leads on a few surgeons. With the murders going on at night, we thought it might have been one of the day surgeons, but after a bit more delving, we got an ace in the hole. A homeless man was admitted to the hospital, a man of a large form said the nurse. Even she wasn’t quite sure how to describe it, though. But, more importantly, he had the scalpel with him, but it’s still nowhere in sight. We also acquired the name of the surgeon who treated him, one Deerson. Don’t know if I got that name right.

Then…I, ah…To start with what I do remember: we drove to the surgeon’s house. Amos, Watson, and Nancy spoke with him personally while I, as usual, stayed in the car. I looked around for a bit, and that man with the cowboy hat was in the neighborhood, too–Watching us. Now, I’m sure that, at this point, it’s not just coincidence, and with his getup, I have a hunch of who he might be working for. But, with the rest of the crew, they talked with the surgeon for some time, didn’t seem like they were getting much out of him. Then they were invited in, and Amos signaled at me, and called his alligator pet. As useful as that gator can be, it still makes my head hurt how a live gator can actually inhabit and go to and fro the city through the sewers. It’s a safety hazard. But, I digress. The others went in the house, and I stayed by the door with my shotgun. I didn’t know what to expect, just like with the heads, but boy, oh boy… I don’t think you could have even called that guy human, but what caught my eye even more was that scalpel. And then it started to make a bit more sense, that homeless man had been the same way, and the only thing that connected these two incidents was that scalpel. So, I went with my gut and shot that scalpel clean out of his hand. And it worked. Thank the Lord.

But, after that…Amos said that I took the scalpel. We apparently agreed to turn Deerson in to the police, despite his odd case. The only way that would pass in…public court would mean hiding the details of his situation, which in itself is an act of perjury, but if Mr. Cowboy Hat is who I think he is, then maybe his people will take the case out of the police’s hands in due time. However, it was at the point that we handed over the surgeon that the story gets…even more complicated. Apparently, I left with the scalpel after telling Amos to speak to Frank, about the case. Honestly, that should have been a hint right there that I may not have been in the…right mind. Why would I even leave him alone to speak about such a matter with a colleague of mine? We’re just lucky he didn’t say anything excessive.

…And that’s where they lost my trail. Later, I woke up in the office, the scalpel off my person, and me with no idea what transpired in the last hour or so. Opened up a bottle of whiskey while I waited for them. Thought about what could have happened, where I could have been, but it’s all a blank. Now, there is the strong possibility that the scalpel is back in the wrong hands. Amos told Armand that the case had been solved, but I have a feeling that we might just hear from the Butcher again soon…I own up to my mistakes, and this is my responsibility. I’ll have to keep my eye out on the news, police reports…We need to get that scalpel back before any more damage can be done."

Saving Emma Ross
From Beauregard's Perspective

“That Grant seemed like a wreck without his sister. Fortunately for him, all it took was a bit of digging in Gretz’s apartment to discover her whereabouts. In fact, two men literally handed us the answer. Unfortunately, she is being held for ransom, and with no Gretz in sight to pay off his debt. A bit more digging though, and we found a few clues as to how to find him.

The smock led us to the Blessed Rest Retirement Home in the Garden District, a location which, I think, any upstanding citizen familiar with the area would be aware of. In any case, a bit more asking around garnered us an interview with a Dr. Kettensäge, a senile old man, and I mean that respectfully, of course. His ramblings did…make me, particularly uneasy, and as far as…Conversing with him, well, I found it prudent to leave that to Amos, given the circumstances of Kettensäge’s seeming distrust of me. However, we didn’t really get any more direct leads on Gretz’s location, but instead, we chose to pursue one regarding a Baron LaCroix.

We took our questions to the Tombstone Epithet, a place I otherwise wouldn’t be caught dea–a place I otherwise would not frequent. We came in contact with a rather passionate French tabloid journalist, Armand Duval, and spoke with him regarding this Baron LaCroix. What we found, this matter of a resurrection fluid, well, it wasn’t much help in finding Gretz, what with no real leads to actually find the stuff…On the way out of the building, I spotted a man in a car watching us. Cowboy hats aren’t exactly vogue in New Orleans.

Retrieved Emma with…little incident. I have to hand it to Nancy and Watson for getting her out of that warehouse safely, even with all that could have gone wrong. Amos would be in the same boat, if he hadn’t dropped my name in front of the bookie. For God’s sake, of all the names to mention, and of all people to mention it to… Maybe I should buy a bulletproof vest after all.

Talked to Frank about the situation. He’s taking Angel into custody, and there shouldn’t be any more legal complications on our end. But, we have gotten ourselves on the wrong side of the Black Hand, especially since they still don’t have the money from Gretz…Might just take a while for it to bite us. Damn Gretz. We’ll have to watch our backs now, well, more so. We’ve hit a dead end with Gretz’s trail, too, but I don’t think that’s so bad. This whole matter with this…resurrection stuff…It doesn’t settle with me, as odd as that sounds. With Emma back home, we’ve done our part, so the case is done. Trying to pursue this lead might just lead to more trouble. I’m sure that guy in the car watching us at the Epithet wasn’t just a coincidence either."

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