Lost Noir: Chap. Fourteen "Once an Addict"

At the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, Charlie Hume just smiled at Liam’s comment about needing a PI license to know the obvious.

Liam smiled back, “Look, it was clear this sleazy dude and his mysterious employer wasn’t going to go away, until they had an answer from me.”

“Answer to what?” Megan wondered.

“If any of your Uncle Charlie's solo recordings existed and where they where,” Liam answered.

“I never knew that Uncle Charlie ever had recorded anything on his own!” Megan said.

“There were rumours early on, but no one knew for a fact, darlin,” Liam answered, “only me and, God rest his soul, my brother. You see, Charlie once came to visit us in Australia. Meg, you were still a little girl.”

“Yeah, I actually remember that,” Megan said, as her eyes began to tear up, “it was his last visit, right? Just before he died!”

Liam nodded, “Yeah, he crashed on his way back to the states. He came to try to talk me into re-grouping the band. Said he knew some producers who were interested in us getting back together. But I told him no. I had a family. I mean, I know what would of eventually happened, if I had agreed.”

Liam began to stare off into space again.

“What would have happened, sir,” Charlie asked.

“Charlie was still riding the heroin horse, when he came to see me,” Liam replied, “and if I had agreed to go back with him, to regroup the band, I would’ve been back on that horse too. Once an addict, always an addict. I just couldn’t do that to Meg, or to her mom ever again!”

Megan wiped the tears from her eyes.

“So what IS the deal about your brother having some solo recordings?” Charlie asked.

“That was one of the things he confirmed to me during that last visit,” Liam replied, “said he had about ten hours of songs he had recorded on his own. Said he wanted to get those producers to put up the money to sponsor a solo album, as a kind of backup plan, if I didn’t agree to the reunion. But those producers wanted Drive Shaft! Guess the joke was on them. Well, as I said earlier, the joke was on all of us.”

Liam cynically chuckled.

“So, let me try to understand,” Charlie said, “this guy came to you, wanted to know if there were any Charlie Pace solo recordings and where they were being kept, right?”

“Hey, spot on again!” Liam replied, “gee, your detective boyfriend is just a genius, ain’t he Meg!”

Megan blushed.

“Yeah, “ Liam continued, “this dude’s employer located me and wanted me to tell them that if they did exist then where the recordings were. When Charlie was eventually declared dead, all the rights to his property were legally transferred to me. This “mystery dude” wanted to have me sign over the rights for them to release and market those recordings if they existed. They promised me a share in the profits if I would sign. Which again, according to them, had the potential to make millions.

That’s what’s in the envelope. A copy of a contract for me to sign, giving them exclusive rights to all Drive Shaft properties, as well as anything my brother may have done on his own. Then I’m to call a number and tell them the contract is signed and ready for delivery and where my brother’s recordings are. Once I’ve done all that, Char will be released.”

“But you had told them to buzz off, before Char was kidnapped, right?” Charlie added.

“That’s right, mate!” Liam replied, “I’m out of the music business. And if I ever do decide to get back in, I’m not going to do it on the back of my late brother and I’m sure as hell not going to give it all away to a bunch of corporate weasels!”

“And of course, they didn’t take no for an answer!” Charlie said.

“That’s right,” Liam replied, “they hounded me. Threatened me. So to get away from them, I had myself committed. Gave orders that only family members could visit. No one else! The security at this institute is rather marvelous, you know! A lot of patients here have a lot of secrets that should stay secret, if you know what I mean!”

“You had yourself committed,” Megan said, “because you were hiding out and not because you were crazy?!”

Liam subtly smiled, “Oh, I’m still crazy. I feared though, they might eventually try to get to me in other ways. Through you or Char, especially after she showed up as Charlie’s long lost daughter. Its my fault I never told you girls any of this but I didn’t want to frighten you. I was always scared they would try something someday. Guess the bastards finally did!"

“Why didn’t you go to the police?” Charlie asked.

Liam laughed, “Police ain’t gonna do anything for an over the hill has been like me! They would just think I’m a paranoid schizophrenic, as a result of ingesting all those drugs over the years. Besides, if this guy’s employer is as powerful as I suspect, they wouldn’t do anything anyway!”

“So you know where your brother’s recordings are?” Charlie asked.

“Of course!” Liam defiantly answered, “but I’m not telling them!”

“But Char’s life is in danger,” Megan cried, “all of our lives!”

Liam sadly nodded, “I know!”

“Well, Mr. Pace,” Charlie said, “I think you’re making a mistake.”

“What?” Liam replied, incredulously, “listen, these guys don’t play by any rules. I hate to say this, but whatever happens, happens! Whatever I do, Char’s a dead girl anyway! We all are dead! You think I should go ahead and sign anyway?!”

“Yes, Mr. Pace,” Charlie replied, “that’s exactly what I think you should do!”

Next: Chap. Fifteen “Sold Out and Tossed Away”

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