This is part one of the The Gumshoe Diary


Today was my big day off.

I’d finally solved a case, which meant it was payday, which meant it was laundry day, which is why I always insist on getting paid in cold, hard quarters.

I was looking forward to having clean clothes again. For the past few days, I’d been wearing nothing but my trusty trench coat and half a pair of matching socks.

I dumped my sack of stinkers into the willing mouth of an industrial washing machine and whispered, “See you in an hour, toots.”

It was time for a time-killing stroll. God knows it was cold as hell, but spring was right around the corner and the city was about to change from deathly white to life-affirming grey.

I came across a playground where a flock of toddlers were having a spirited snowball fight. On a nostalgic whim, I joined in on the fun, showing off my fastball by pelting their faces with gravelly slush. We were having a great time, but all that activity was giving my appetite an erection.

I had a surplus of quarters from the laundromat, so I went to the Dollar Store and bought 40 quarters’ worth of dollars. Then I bought an armload of hot dogs from a street vendor and headed to my office. In many ways, the office had become my home away from home, especially since I’d been evicted from my actual home.

I placed the hot dogs on my desk in a neat pile and got ready to do some serious chowing down, munch-style. Little did I know that the course of my life was about to change. And little did I know in general.

There was a desperate knock at my door. With my mouth full of hot dog, I got up to answer it and found myself frank-to-face with a distraught young dame. She was weeping uncontrollably, so I offered her a cigar.

“Please,” she sobbed. “I need you to find my husband’s killer.”

I normally didn’t allow walk-ins, but in this case I was happy to make an exception. The woman possessed a rare, classical beauty, like Greta Garbo or Pamela Anderson. Being a gentleman, I resisted the urge to undress her with my hands.

“As far as I know, my husband had no enemies…”

They say that beauty is only skin-deep, but I was willing to bet that even her skeleton could give me a boner. And don’t get me started on her voice. She could take a boring sentence like “My husband was smothered to death in his hospital bed” and make it sound like pillow talk. What a woman.

From out of nowhere, she gently touched my hand and said, “Shouldn’t you at least be taking notes or something?”

Was she flirting with me? It seemed too good to be true, but the writing was on the wall. After decades of boozy solitude as a private dicktective, this could be a real game-changer.

I pondered our future together. Hell, after we got married, maybe we could move upstate and live on a nice little farm. I always wanted to run my own gumshoe dairy. Then again, what if she wanted to have kids?

Actually, kids would be fine. In fact, becoming a father would be a seminal achievement. But would she be able to support me and the kids financially? I chuckled softly, realizing I was getting ahead of myself. Her role as primary breadwinner was a topic for another time.

On a brave impulse, I swallowed the tail end of a hot dog and leaned in for a kiss, but she grimaced and pulled away as her nostrils flared wildly. Was she inviting me to have nasal sex with her?

After a lifetime of serial suffering, I knew it was dangerous to get my hopes up like this. Sure, we were off to a good start, but would this unlikely love story be continued?

TO BE CONTINUED IN The Day-Off Dame, Pt 2

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