See that soak sitting in the corner by himself? That’s the guy I was telling you about. That’s Lloyd Carter. He used to be the chief of police’s number one attack dog. If the law wanted someone brought down, they’d just set him on the scent and turn a blind eye to whatever happened next. Hard to believe, right? But that’s him. Or rather, it was. At one point, Carter had it all: a dozen high-profile arrests to his name, near immunity from the chief of police, and a dame that could make every jaw drop when she entered the room. If you ask me, that’s why he fell so hard when he lost the lot. Let me tell you about it.
Following a shaky start in Scotland Yard, Carter decided to try his luck across the Atlantic, thinking that folk over here would be a little more accepting of his… assertive… detecting style. I can’t speak for everyone, but it sure as hell charmed one person: Sarah Holston. In case the name doesn’t ring any bells, Sarah was a promising actress who – get this – also happened to be the daughter of the chief of police. I know, right? When we heard that Carter of all people had shacked up with her, we all thought the limey bastard was the luckiest man alive.
The thing about luck, though, is you only ever get in on loan. Sooner or later, the devil takes it all back again.
For six long years Carter and his lady love prospered. Now granted, a lot of that success came from the chief of police giving his new son-in-law a lot of favourable treatment, but surprisingly Carter ended up earning it in his own right. He had a knack for detective work and a good nose for sniffing out weakness. The latter was his real gift, the thing that got us jumping at shadows: after all, it only takes one rat to sell out an entire gang, and when it came to breaking weak links, Carter always knew just where to apply pressure. Six god-damn years he went on the warpath, rattling cages and collecting scalps, and nobody could touch him because of his connection to the chief. But Carter had a weak link of his own: Sarah. When she died, his life tumbled down like a house of cards.
Assassinated? What, are you kidding? Nah, it was nothing like that. Hell, the whole thing was pretty stupid, actually. One evening, Mr and Mrs Carter (as she eventually became) went to the grand opening of a new social club, along with a hundred other people… which was a problem, because the owner cut corners and the structure could only support half that number. The building collapsed. Plenty died. Sarah was one of them. And Lloyd Carter? Well, he might as well have died, because what they dug out of the rubble wasn’t the same fiend that went in.
His injuries weren’t so bad, but something broke inside Carter after that. You know how some guys survived the war, but never really come back the same? Similar deal with Carter and the building collapse. He became reclusive, antisocial, apathetic. He became a burned-out booze hound, and these days he’s just going through the motions rather than actually doing his job. What’s more, he’s now a pariah to his own kind. The chief of police blames Carter for what happened to Sarah, and has been dropping the hammer on him ever since. Not sure why… maybe the chief just needed someone
to blame. Either way, a lot of people breathed a little easier when they realised the old Carter was gone.
Long story short, Lloyd Carter is harmless. These days, the police only send him out to ‘investigate’ dead ends and hopeless cases they know will never get solved. Any why not? If they send Carter, it frees up a proper detective to do something more productive.
That, my friend, is why I’m telling you to let Carter drink in peace. He won’t look up as long as there’s a glass in front of him, and that's the way I like it.