“The Dectective’s Special Hat” by Sam Reinke

His tattered brown fedora flapped in the wind and almost came off the detective's head, but he caught it just in time. The cold battered him as he walked towards the tavern on the docks. The man at the front stood up as he approached and asked what he wanted.

"To speak to a man inside," the detective said, glaring out from under the hat that gave him an air of superiority over the man at the door. It could be felt, it hung in the dense air like a warning.

The guard sat back down in his chair as the detective walked by and opened the door.

The action froze as he walked in and the looks began. "Who the heck are you?" asked one man.

"My name is Morris, Detective Morris," he said as he slowly removed the hat so the men in the tavern could see his eyes.

His eyes were special, a dark color. Almost like steel, and they were intense. God, they were cold and intense. When he looked at you, those eyes cut you to the core. It was as if he could, just by looking, tell who you were and what you were going to do in the next few minutes.

Morris stared at the man who had spoken, "Please take your hat off," he said evenly, commandingly. The man looked around to see if he had any support and seeing that he had none, he complied. He set his tattered ball cap on the table.

"What's your name?" Morris asked.

"J-Jones sir, Bill Jones," he stammered.

"Jones, would you step in the back room with me for a minute. I have several questions for you." Morris makes the request, quietly, although everyone in the room knew that if Jones didn't there would be problems.

The bar-keep felt it too and yelled at Morris, partially to help him out and partially to get him out of the room. "Morris has a way of discouraging the spending of money in this place." The thought ran through his head, he yelled, "Morris! I need him to able to walk out."

"We shall see how our talk goes. Mr. Jones should be able to walk. If anything, he will have to get help going to the bathroom." he replied coolly.

The rest of the taverns occupants sat still and silent, not wanting to cross the man that had interrupted their night of drinking and mischief.

Jones got to his feet as Morris placed his hat back on its perch. He smiled a cold smile, the kind that was forced and didn't show memories of good times.

As the door to the back room closed, the men in the bar went loud with plans to get their friend back so he couldn't talk. Amid the yells of crazy plans that called for Morris's death in a hundred ways, the barkeep spoke up. "Jones will be fine," he said almost silently. The bar went quiet.

"Why should we listen to you?" a man asked.

"That would involve damaging Morris's hat and that, gentlemen, is a very bad idea."

The faces told the bartender to go on with his tale.

"It was a cold night." he started. Upon hearing a loud noise from that back room, he went silent.

The back door opened and Jones walked out calmly. He looked around the bar, forced a smile, and walked calmly outside. It was then that the others inside the bar heard a blood curdling scream from outside! They ran outside to see Jones running down the street like a mad man screaming about Mr. Morris's hat, of all things. They ran to catch him, and realized that the man who put Jones over the edge was still in the bar.

They ran back in to see that Morris was standing at the bar having a drink, talking casually with the barkeep. They grabbed him as the barkeep smiled, turned and walked out, leaving a final warning.

"What you do to him the hat will do to you."

"What do you mean?" asked a man in a tattered fur cap.

"The hat watchs out for its head." The barkeep said. Then he walked out the door, never to be seen again.

"I'd listen to the barkeep," Morris said quietly.

"We want to know what you did to Jones and what the bar man meant."

"Jones needed to tell me what happened at his girlfriends house the other night. He went over there and she turned up dead. He apparently killed her because she wouldn't marry him. As for the hat, well that is one heck of a story. This hat has been in my family for over a hundred years and is cursed. Not the kind of cursed your thinking of, no, this curse is the kind that returns harm done to another person. Jones, he killed his friend, so the hat killed him." stated Morris.

"That's bull!!" another man yelled and punched Morris across the face. Immediately, the man was punched across the face by... nothing!

"I told you."

That set an old sea captain off, he tore his sailors' hat off and pulled out a gun.

To this day, no one knows what exactly happened in that tavern on the dock after the captain pulled the gun, but strangely, after the building burned down, a battered brown fedora hat was all that survived.