Friday, January 1, 2010

Don't Mention It

Here's a story of something that happened to me and Joey this one time. You can read more stories like this one in I Don't Do Divorce Cases.

Don’t Mention It
[First appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, May 1988]
So one time, another time, musta been ‘bout April, we’re sittin’ around, thinking: maybe play some pool. But Joey says no, too nice a day, and we go out to the sidewalk looking at the old cars, the new cars, and the garbage cans. Then up off in the distance, sort of shimmering in the smog, Joey spots this dame.
“She’s heading our way,” notes Joey.
“Ye-es, she’s coming on down the line.”
“This could be a customer coming in.”
“Could right sure be one at that.”
Now, fact a the matter, we do this a lot, pass the time; but this one time, this one dame, she didn’t turn down a side street or keep right on walking by, just kept heading straight for us; so this is the time I’m telling you about.
She keeps walking towards us like she’s coming into focus. Joey and I stop what we’re saying and just watch. When she gets right up to us, she stops.
‘I’m looking for …”
“You found it,” I say.
She nods. We go into the building and head upstairs.
She looks to be about forty, made up to look younger. Pretty clothes, but frayed. She sees the sign that says MURPHY BROS. PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS and says, kind of archly, “You are the brothers Murphy?”
“Yeh, I’m Murphy, and he’s Joey,” I say.
She frowns.
I push open the door. The office, unfortunately, is just like we left it. Crud all over everything. Moose head in the sink.
“Have a seat,” I say gravely, indicating an overturned crate. She looks around doubtfully. “Is this where you work?”
“Well, the penthouse suite is being renovated, so for right now — yes. This is where I work. And eat, and sleep, and — right behind that door there — play pool. So, state your business.”
“I — I — I don’t know quite how to say this — ”
“It’s all right, we know. Your husband disappeared.”
She looks at me with a round mouth. “How did you know?”
“We’re detectives, lady, remember? Look, it happens alla time. Only kinda case we get, really.” I look over at Joey and he gives a helpless shrug.
“Oh! Then I have indeed come to the right place. You are — specialists, then?”
“Y’might say, y’might say.”
She nods, with furrowed brow. “Then I am in your hands.”

[To read the rest of this story, you can download it to Kindle or computer for just ninety-nine cents on Amazon.]


Snarla said...

Needs more hamster. Maybe a hedgehog or red panda.

Murphy said...

You sound like a dame with a head on your shoulders. Hamsters are the *best*! -- Well okay -- hamsters vs. bunnies, bunnies vs. hamster, ain't gonna go there, too much blood already been split.
--- But so like anyway, you free for dinner?

[Notice to potential correspondents:
Murphy moves fast.]