The Dog-Faced Detective

I hate you.

How can that be, you ask, you’ve never even met me. Oh, but I have. I’ve seen your face, your eyes staring at me, judging me, mocking me, pitying me. I’ve seen you nudge your friend and tell him a joke out of the corner of your mouth, your eyes never leaving me. I’ve seen you whisper to your lover, making her blush. I see you every night when you hand over a dime, come into the tent and stare. I see it all and all you see is “Gus-Gus, the Dog-Faced Boy”.

I snarl and lunge, strain against my chains, concentrating on the pretty young women who bury their heads into the shoulders of their beaus. I tear pieces of raw meat, being careful to drop the pieces onto fresh newsprint on the floor for later. I let loose a howl, practiced and honed so as not to strain my voice as I did when I was younger. But I’m still watching you. I count the number of visitors to make sure I get the right cut at the end of the night. I know which of you is with a mistress, which are living beyond their means, taking from the til, cheating their customers, drinking too much.

At the end of the night, I let myself be led by two roustabouts and placed in a cage next to the lion to maintain the illusion. While I wait, I stare at Maximus through the bars. She stares back. The original Maximus died two years before, now Mabel wears a mane taken from her dead mate. I pull out a piece of meat wrapped in newspaper from my pocket and fling it into her cage. She doesn’t move from her spot. She doesn’t like to eat in front of me. She’s a proper lady.

The crowd dissolves as all crowds must. I figure a nip from my flask would go unnoticed. My lips touch the pewter, the sweet burn of the liquor warms my belly from the inside where I am no different from anyone else.

That’s when I hear the scream.

(Another) Detective Story

The sound of rain against the windows of my office seemed to fade as she entered. She was beautiful, of course, with great legs and a fragile confidence ready to crumble. The fragile confidence wasn’t visible (not like the legs), but my clients were always beautiful, with great legs and a fragile confidence ready to crumble.

And they always came in when it was raining.

She sat in the chair, crossed her legs, but not being Superman, I couldn’t see them through my desk. She asked if it was OK to smoke, and before I could turn on the ionic air purifier with electrostatically charged plates that produce positively charged gas ions that attract the smoke particles and collect it with the HEPA filter, she stuck an e-cig in her mouth, the tip glowing blue.

“How can I help you, Miss Sullivan?” I asked. I knew her name, because she had told me during the leg-noticing. I had thought the legs were more important for you to know three paragraphs ago, but now that I think about it, her name would be at least as important
.
“Mrs. Sullivan,” she corrected, “and my husband is the reason I’m here, Mr. Pimm.”

“How so, Mrs. Sullivan?” I asked. Notice I didn’t say, “Please call me “Elston”, Mr. Pimm is my father”? That’s because I’m not an ass. Also, my first name is “Elston”. I’ll stick with Mr. Pimm.

“He’s missing, Mr. Pimm.” You’ll notice people use my name an awful lot. I’m a Private Eye, it comes with the territory.

“Missing Persons is a job for the police, Mrs. Sullivan,” I replied. “In fact, they have a whole division for it.” She rolled her eyes. Did I mention her eyes? No, just her legs. Fine… Eyes, blue, five foot seven, brunette, no visible scars. Happy now?

“I went to the police, but they’ve done nothing,” she said, becoming more agitated.

“Give it time,” I said, spreading my hands reassuringly. Maybe she had failed to notice my reassuring hand spread, or my ability of hand spreading reassurance wasn’t up to snuff, either way she flung herself up from the chair.

“It’s been a year!” She stepped over to the window, looking out through the rain. I didn’t say anything. The client looking out at the rain move meant a follow up was coming. “He went to Vegas. Security cameras show him entering the casino, walking behind a bank slot machines and, poof, gone. The casino is fully covered, no blindspots. The tapes are original, no doctoring. The police are baffled.”

“They have a division for that, too.” She spun on her heels.

“Is this a joke to you, Mr. Pimm?” Yes, yes it was.

“No, not at all, Mrs. Sullivan.”

“You come highly recommended, Mr. Pimm, but perhaps you’re not the right man for the job.”

“On the contrary, Mrs. Sullivan, I’m the only man for the job. I’m better than Philip Marlow, Sam Spade, Mike Hammer, Jim Rockford, Columbo, Peroit, all those losers.” I leaned back in my chair and laced my fingers behind my head. I mean, the fingers on my hands which I placed behind my head. I do not have fingers growing out of the back of my head. She crossed her arms across her chest and stared at me hard.

“Those are all fictional characters, Mr. Pimm,” she replied, not unreasonably.

“But so are we, Mrs. Sullivan. I am and you are.” She looked at me, frozen. They always freeze when I tell them the truth.

“Before you came through that door, you didn’t exist,” I continued. “You’re a character in a book, as am I. I’m going to solve your case, because that’s what the book is about, even if you decide not to hire me, I’m still going to solve the case. I’m going to investigate, track down clues, but they won’t really be clues, it’ll be colorful characters who hesitate to provide me information until they relent, not by any special skill on my part, but because our conversation has filled the requisite number of pages. I’ll get into scrapes, suffer at least one concussion, probably be drugged, accused of a crime, and finally, I’ll solve the case after suffering from multiple gunshots that should kill me. That’s how it happens, that’s how it always happens. I’ve been the same age for I don’t know how long. I know when I started, I used a rotary phone, now I have a cell, but I’m always 33. I was in the Army, somehow I’ve served in Korea and in Afghanistan. I know when I started out, I had blonde hair, and now it’s black, which I suspect was altered to make my appearance align with an actor who portrayed me in either an movie or a television program, whichever’s the case, it was popular enough to permanently alter my face. For the better, I might add, he was handsome, if a little bland. Oh, and one other thing, you and I going going to have sex with one another. Unfortunately, the scene will not be graphic.”

She stared at me. She should have run out the door and sent the men with the butterfly nets to catch me.

“You’re an odd man, Mr. Pimm,” she said, pulling out a checkbook. “A thousand dollar retainer?” I sighed. I was stuck in the story, nothing I said mattered,and nothing I could say would get me out of it. The case was mine whether I wanted it or not.

Magicky world of Wizz-Wu

In the Magicky world of Wizz-Wu, under the shadow of the Levitating Mountains, between the Sortilegium River and the Forests of Trismegistus, lived a daydreaming boy named Bricklebrack.

Bricklebrak never told anyone his dreams. Not his mom, not his best friend, the enchanted hot water bottle that Bricklebrak had named “Wubby” but preferred “Salvitore”, and definitely not his father.

But then, one autumn day, with flocks of unicorn-pegasuses flying south overhead, the Sky Sweeper Fleet cackling as they flew about on their brooms, zapping the horse poop before it could fall on the citizens below, and the marzipan grass turning brown and the jack-o-lantern patches ready to burst, a knock sounded on the front door of Bricklebrak’s backwards/upside down house.

Bricklebrak opened the door, and the old man on the other side introduced himself as Mister Goodersnoot and waved his hands about in a magical manner that was their form of a handshake. BrickleBrak returned the greeting and offered to enchant the dishware to make tea.

“No, my boy,” replied Goodersnoot. “I’m here to fulfill your dream”.

“Oh, no thank you, sir, but we already have a set of dancing encyclopedias”, the polite boy replied as he pointed at the books tweking on the shelves on the other side of the room.

“I’m not an encyclopedia salesman!” Goodersnoot said, far less politely than the boy. “I’m the headmaster for a very special school”.

“But I’m not special,” said the boy because he lacked self-confidence, the self-confidence that he would have to find in order to defeat the evil forces that would slowly build until he could no longer avoid them and all hope seemed to be lost, but that would not occur for some pages yet.

“Of course you are! Why else would we have a special school for people like you? Why else would we have a school for NORMAL PEOPLE?” Bricklebrak’s eyes grew wide. Could it be? Could he actual be normal?

“You have a school for Normal People?”

“Oh, yes! You’ll learn many things my boy! How to do laundry, brushing your teeth twice a day, balancing a checkbook, compound interest, actuarial tables, how to darn a pair of socks, pickling and canning, heat transfer and thermal dynamics, tire changing, and cooking,” the old man said, his eyes aglow.

“Cooking!?” The boy’s voice cracked. The old man chuckled.

“Indeed! Normal People can’t just eat candy and sweets like the rest of the magicians, we have to eat Normal Food.”

“Even,” Bricklebrak hesitated, swallowed hard. If he put his secret dream into words, it could die right there, unfulfilled, but if he said it, if it were true….”Even… Broccoli?”

The old man leaned in, narrowed his eyes, nodded slowly and added in almost a whisper,” Even broccoli”.

Hard Snow

The blood in the snow looked like a Cherry Icee. Blitzen lay dead, shot through the heart by a high powered marshmallow gun. None of the other reindeer claimed to have heard the shot. Typical. I took one final drag of my candy cigarette before starting to chew the gum inside.
Last night a bunch of the other elves got tooted up on Ecstasy-spiked egg nog and went tooling around the village in Santa’s sleigh. You can’t imagine the paperwork. Santa loves paperwork. Well, with a Naughty and a Nice List, are you surprised?
My name’s Pipplechip. I’m three foot tall.
And I’m a cop.

Mongo

Dr. Slamhammer saying something. Again. Him always talk. Him like talk.

Mongo not like talk. Leaky pipes drip on Mongo’s head. Mongo just henchman. Mongo not allowed to move from spot. Mongo contemplate upkeep cost of Evil Secret Underground Lair.

“Mongo!” Him yell, staring at Mongo.

“Yes, Master?” Him like when Mongo call him Master.

“I said, I am about to achieve my greatest triumph! Our… our greatest triumph.” Him trying to spread credit around after reading Jack Welch book. “I have created a new life!”

“Brother?” Mongo always want brother. Also want woman, but not made by Master because then she sister and Mongo not sicko.

“No, not brother. Well, not exactly. Certainly not biologically related although your creation did provide invaluable lessons and I think I’ve surpassed even that achievement. Don’t be sad, you are still my favorite.”

“Mongo not sad.” That lie. Mongo always sad.

“Then why are you crying?” Master squint. Master need glasses, but him not fond of acknowledging age related diminished capacity.

“Mongo not cry. Mongo stand under drippy pipe.” For super genius, him not very observant. Or good with basic facilities management.

“Then move from out from under it for God’s sake!” Mongo move. Mongo not sure Dr. Slamhammer’s best quality was consistency with orders. Him tell Mongo yesterday to stay put. Mongo not move since. Mongo follow orders. “Come, be the first to witness the dawn of a new era!” With flourish, Dr. Slamhammer wave at empty air. Well, empty air euphemism. Mongo know that air collection of molecules.

“I give you Cyborg Dinosaur Ninjas! I, Dr. Slamhammer, have taken a Tyranosaurs-Rex, fitted it with a laser-beam eye, rocket launchers for arms… you know, because T-Rex had those tiny, useless arms? Anyhoo, Empires will crumble, nations will fall!” Him find spotlight, raise arms and address the heavens. “From the wreckage a Ne World Order will rise with me, Dr. Slamhammer! A veritable God-King will I’ll be!” Dr. Slamhammer have dream to be God-King. Him always talk about it. It good to have dreams, he say. Mongo have dream. Mongo fly over rainbow on unicorn. Mongo think he not mean dream in same way. Mongo blink at empty space.

“Mongo not see dinosaur.”

“Of course not, he’s a ninja!” Dr. Slamhammer’s smile slowly fall. Mongo feel bad disappointing Master. Dr Slamhammer sigh. “I can see abstract visual imagination is outside your pervue.” Dr. Slamhammer not whistling Dixie.

“Very well, let me show you a Cyborg Dinosaur Ninja in training, so he’s still visible.” Dr. Slamhammer pull curtain. In cage a velociraptor with jet engine for tail and antenna sticking out head. “He’s just a brown belt.” Mongo not tell him brown belt have no meaning in ancient art of ninjitsu.

Dr. Slamhammer open cage. “Allow him to demonstrate.” Dr. Slamhammer grab old walkie talkie and press button. Dinosaur turn head and look at him. “Dinosaur!” Dinosaur cock head like doggie. Mongo like doggies. Especially cockerdoodles. “Demonstrate first kata!” Dinosaur does very good job with first kata even with jet engine throwing off balance. “Dinosaur, second kata!”

Dinosaur start off strong, but forgets place, demonstrating three strikes in row instead of two strikes and block. It try and correct, messes up again.

It start to shake, open mouth, hiss and roar. “No, dinosaur,” Dr. Slamhammer yell in walkie-talkie. Dinosaur jump on Mongo slash with claws. “No!” Dr. Slamhammer press red button. Electricity jumps around Dinosaur head. It start smoke.

It fall down.

Dr. Slamhammer run over to top half of Mongo. Bottom half Mongo still in Dinosaur mouth. “Mongo! Oh, Mongo, I’m so sorry!”

“Don’t worry, Master fix Mongo. Master fix everything.”

Master like it when Mongo call him Master.

Questing Is My Business

It was a typical March morning, the rain just this side of annoying, so that you only had to take a larger step to avoid a puddle and not a leap. I knew I was relatively sober because I wasn’t wearing my clothes from the night before. My tights and doublet were showing some wear, but could still pass as in style but new ones would have to be bought soon, and I was already in deep to my bookie, not to mention the rent I owed on the castle. I hoped this new client would solve all my problems. Little did I know then all she’d do is add to them.

The herald announced her with a surly indifference. It tends to happen when you haven’t paid them in a couple of months, but still. I should probably have him flogged. She, on the other hand, was anything but indifferent. She strode in with confidence, the swing of her hoopskirt was threatening the stitching of my codpiece. She curtsied slightly but without contempt but without true subservience, letting me know she considered us possibly equal pending the outcome of this meeting. It was some curtsy. I offered her a seat. She took it. I offered her a drink. She declined. One for two.

Her name was Juliannata Von Vappinshultz del Oro MacMullhaney y Scheppelshake, Queen of Shastatanna. “Call me Jules,” she said, her accent sounded harsher coming out of such a face. It was the kind of face that could launch a thousand ships (Literally, Shastanna had a large fleet). A vulgarian would call her beautiful despite her age, but I had a hunch she’d be beautiful at any age (except maybe eighty. No one looks good at eighty).

“Jules,” I said, taking her name out for spin.

“What shall I call you, Charming? Prince?” One perfect eyebrow raised.

“Chuck.”

“Chuck,” she said, pronouncing it “Chook”.

“Close enough. How can I help you Jules?” I pronounced it “Jules” because I know how to speak. She let out a sigh, resigning herself to her decision to come to me. I’m usually the solution of last resort (or maybe she was asthmatic, it runs in some of the more inbred royal lines).
“My daughter…” She drifted off. I figured I could play it one of two ways; I could rescue her or let her twist, playing the hardboiled tough guy, but I’m in the rescuing business (besides, she crossed her legs and exposed nearly a quarter inch of stocking covered ankle. I’m a sucker for ankle).

“Your daughter’s gone and got herself trapped in some tower and you want me to rescue her.” I gave her my most sympathetic smile (at least I thought it was, mirrors were still polished metal at this time, Venetians wouldn’t invent glass coated ones for a few hundred years). I needn’t have worried, she grabbed my lifeline with both hands and didn’t let go.

“Yes, she was captured by Duke Lothgar.” So far, par for the course in the Princess rescue business. “He plans to marry her during the Vernal Equinox, and then sacrifice her to the Demon Xathrgroth, thereby bringing about the end of the world.” That was certainly a twist.

“End of the World? Most men don’t usually want to kill their wives until a couple of years after their wedding.” She straightened in her chair and raised her eyebrow again. It was something, this eyebrow. It was the homophone eyebrow; same eyebrow, different meanings.

“I don’t think the end of the world is a joking matter, my Prince, let alone the life of my daughter.” Uh oh, I really stepped in it. She didn’t me Chuck.

“My apologies, Jules, but in my line of work, I get many concerned parents who, let us say exaggerate, their daughter’s predicament. I just want to make sure that when I swing through the balcony I don’t find a princess who’s run off with the stable boy.” She relaxed in her chair.

“I understand, and don’t worry, It’s not a stableboy. We only use eunuchs.” I suppressed a shudder. “No, Lothgar’s a real piece of work. He blames the world for his condition.”

“Which is?”

“He’s a manotaur.”

“Manotaur?”

“He has the body of a bull and the head of a man.”

“Oh, like a centaur.”

“No, a centaur has a chest and arms. He’s just got the head of a man. With horns. Also, he has a ring in his nose, but it’s a regular man nose.” I nodded my most sage like nod, as if it made sense.

“Well, I guess I won’t have to worry about a duel.”

“Oh, I forgot. His tail is an arm.”

“An arm…” Now it was my turn to raise an eyebrow. Two could play this game. She saw my call and raised.

“Yes. With a hand at the end… So he can hold a sword.” She relaxed and smirked. “He was also bitten by a werewolf,” she added, going all in.
“So he’s a weremanotaur?”

“Exactly. So, are you hired?” What could I say? I’m Prince Charming. I rescue princesses.

“Let’s discuss my fee.”

The Scummy Detective

Writing screenplays is hard work. Sometimes, I need to blow off some creative steam. Thus, my Blog Novel (Blovel) is born. Presenting… THE SCUMMY DETECTIVE

She had a face like a butt. She entered my office without even knocking on the door. I paid good money for that door. The door was kind of the point of the office.
“Nick Caliber?”, she asked.
“That’s what is says on the door.”, I replied.
“It doesn’t say anything on the door.” Damn. I forgot I didn’t have my name painted on the door.
“That’s because I’m a private eye. A very private eye.” I recovered, nicely, not to toot my own horn, but I don’t like to toot other people’s horns. Never know where they’ve been. “Take a load off, Miss?” She squeezed herself into the chair. I put my shoes on the desk…my feet weren’t in them.
“Smith.” I smirked. I’m the goddamned smirking champion.
“Right. What’s your last name?” She looked confused. Stupid broad. “Never mind. What can I do for you, Smith?” She reached into her purse. She pulled out a ham sandwich. So she wasn’t Jewish or Muslim. Then again, her swastika earrings should have clued me into that. She found what she was looking for, a photo. One of those small, square, black and white ones with the scalloped edges.
She held it out to me. I placed my thumb on the side facing the ceiling and my four fingers underneath, applying gentle pressure. She released her pressure on the photo. I pulled the photo towards myself. She opened her hand. As I pulled the photo towards myself, I twisted my wrist. She placed her hand on the desk. I held the picture at a forty five degree angle…. Maybe I’m over describing.
I looked at the photo. Man in front of a house. Slick hair, dark. Swarthy good looks. White t-shirt, tight, like an undershirt. High waisted pants. Dark shoes.
“I want you to find him.” She said. I looked at the back. Nothing.
“Who is he?” I knew the answer, but I wanted her to say it.
“My father.” I wasn’t expecting to hear that.
“His name Smith?”
“Of course it is,” she said. “That’s Smith Corona.” I leaned back in my chair. Smith Corona had run the city of L.A.’S criminal underground until his disappearance ten years before. Disappeared with a kajillion dollars. That’s right, a kajillion.
“People have been looking for him for ten years.” I looked at the photo again. Mostly because it let me avoid looking at her ugly mug. Wait, where’d she get a mug? Did she come in with one? She took a sip from it. It read, World’s Greatest Detective. Damn. My ugly mug. “Unless you have information the others don’t have?”
“I do. That picture, for one.” I looked at it again. I was getting sick of looking at this picture. “That house. No one knows he ever lived at that house.” I raised one eyebrow. I had to use my left hand to do it because I was holding the picture with my right. I wish I could raise my eyebrow without my fingers.
“That’s not much to go on.” I said. “Where’s the house located?” She shrugged.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? Sweetheart, that’s not next to nothing to go on, that is nothing to go on.” She pulled out her checkbook and started writing.
“So you’ll take the job?” I opened my mouth to bawl her out, but then I noticed the zeros she was adding.
“Sure, no problem.” I had a job.

Writing tip

If you think up a good scene with two characters with some decent banter, WRITE IT DOWN!

You will not remember it the next morning and as you try to recreate it, no matter how good it is, it will pale in comparison with how you imagine it would have been if you COULD ONLY REMEMBER!!!

Hey-O!

Hello!

I’m envious of you. Why? Because you are about to embark on an amazing trip! You see, after you leave this blog, you will be going to a website for more fun and informative than this one, I guarantee it. See how lucky you are?