…and frolics, too
Here it is, folks! The 365th of my 365 posts in 365 days! Go me! The winner of the Bribe-A-Thon was Avis Crane, the ONLY one of you scurvy dogs to offer a proper bribe.
Note: There will now be about a week or two before I resume doing Doclopedia posts at a rate of about 3 a week.
The Doclopedia #365
The 365th Post Bribe-A-Thon Winner: Avis Crane, AKA The Nightbird
In the year 1900, Steam Age San Francisco can be a dirty, hard and dangerous place to live. Between the Steam Barons, the corrupt politicians & cops, the dozens of criminal organizations and the several Mad Scientists, the City By The Bay and most of the rest of the Bay Area is a constant scene of turf wars, dog eat dog business deals and plain old murder. You can’t trust anyone and everyone is out for themselves.
Avis Crane, Private Investigator, is right in the middle of it.
Nicknamed “The Nightbird” for her singular name and her nocturnal habits, Avis works out of a dreary office in the heart of the Tenderloin, one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. On a good day, she pays her rent and her bar tab by getting the goods on cheating spouses. On bad days, she’s dodging bullets, double crosses and most of the police force while trying to piece together a murder. If you asked her why she stays there, risking her life for $10.00 a day plus expenses, she’d only shrug and say “ I’ve got nothin’ better to do.”
Little is known about the first 35 years of The Nightbird’s life. Rumor has it she grew up back east somewhere, maybe Ohio, maybe New England. Nobody knows for sure. From some of the things she says, it’s a fair bet that she was university educated and later fought in the Great War of 1880. She never mentions her family or her life before coming to San Francisco seven years ago. She’s not married but does see a couple of different men from time to time, when she not working.
As far as friends go…real friends…Avis can count them on one hand. There’s Jen Chiang, her oldest and best female friend. Jen is a doctor working out of the Chinatown hospital and has patched Avis up more than once.
Then there’s Inspector Ben Carlson, SFPD. He’s a mostly honest homicide cop with a good deal of respect and affection for Avis.
Hank and Paulette Gaines are a couple of mechanics working for Consolidated Industries that also invent things on the side and keep Avis’ 12 year old automobile running. They are very fond of her and keep trying to steer her towards a better way of life.
Finally, there’s Doctor California, one of the most wealthy, powerful and intelligent of the Mad Scientist/Criminal Mastermind ilk. He has a great admiration and fatherly love for Avis. While he will not actually provide her with resources of a tangible nature, he will very often send her packets of information that help her out on a case. He has also, discreetly, provided back up for her on a few occasions, none of which Avis has been aware of. In return for his help and guidance, Avis has sworn to never “be a problem” to him. This is made easy by the fact that Doctor California almost never commits crimes in the Golden State.
Beyond her few real friends, Avis has pals, acquaintances and contacts all over the Bay Area. From lowly bag men up to wealthy socialites, to cabbies to dozens of bartenders, The Nightbird has many ways of getting information.
Avis Crane stands 5’11” tall. Her hair is brown and worn unfashionably short. Her eyes are green and there is a small scar under the left one. She’s slender, but pretty muscular. If you saw her in the nude, you’d comment on all of her scars.
Avis is a strange mix of world weary cynic and Romantic optimist. She doesn’t believe in pointless violence, but when she thinks there’s a point to it, she can dish it out hot and fast. Her hand to hand fighting skills are very good and she’s a crack shot with either her Colt .45 or her Wilson Arms Magnetic Pistol. She also carries a couple of knives.
Being a sucker for a handsome face or a well told sob story are probably her biggest flaws and at one time or another, both have gotten her arrested, assaulted or both. She will admit that she should learn something from all that, but she never seems to.
Her office is at 750 Maple Street, third floor, in the back. Open from 3:30 PM until dawn.