"Making the Bad Guys Nervous," by Joseph S. Walker, in Black Cat Weekly, #102.
This is Walker's third appearance in my column this year. It is his tenth overall, which ties him with Terence Faherty and Mark Thielman at the top of the pantheon, for the moment.
Tim Chadwick is a disgraced ex-cop who sometimes fills the times between drinks by doing some unlicensed private eye work. (cough cough Scudder? cough cough).
A client is worried that his mother's suburban neighborhood is being plagued with porch pirates - people stealing packages left by delivery workers. He wants the bad guys caught before they escalate to violence and he is willing to pay Tim to put a week into it.
So Tim finds himself sitting in the living room of Sandy, the client's mother, peering out the window, eating her sandwiches, and listening to her attempt to play the piano.
"Is that Springsteen?"
"If you're feeling generous."
It's a low-key story that shifts to a low-key sort of violence. Very clever.