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Billy The Kid, GED

by Jack Clark

About the Author: Jack Clark was the winner of the Page One Award from the Chicago Newspaper Guild for feature writing. His novel “Westerfield’s Chain,” was a finalist for the Shamus Award. The Chicago Tribune called that book “The best mystery of the month,” and said there was a memorable moment “on virtually every page.” His novel “Nobody’s Angel,” earned him an appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air. The book was called “A gem,” by the Washington Post and “Just about perfect.”


“So you want to be a private eye?” said the voice coming from behind the desk. A newspaper was open on the desktop. Bright sunlight was streaking in between the slats of thick venetian blinds.

“Yes,” I said. Show confidence. That’s what all the job-searching sites advised. Be positive. Don’t ask about money right away. “I’m definitely interested.”

“So who’s your favorite?” the guy said.

He was becoming visible in the haze, leaning back in a reclining desk chair. He had a funny sort of smile—like maybe he didn’t really mean it—dark hair, and dark eyes looking straight at me. His mouth hung open a bit. Hair was billowing up from between the open collar of his button-down shirt. A stubby finger pointed my way.

“Let’s see,” I said. Was this one of those trick questions like: Where do you see yourself in 50 years, or what’s your biggest fault? Probably still unemployed, is that fault enough?

“Shamus. Gumshoe. PI.” He came to my rescue. “I’m assuming you’ve got a favorite one or you wouldn’t be here, right?”

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