Monday, February 19, 2007

The Leaking Faucet Caper, Part I

The name’s Spud. Sam Spud. I’m a private eye. I was sittin’ in my shoe-horn office on a dreary Monday mornin’, when the phone by my desk did not ring. Rats. As if the word “rats” was a cue, the door slowly creaked open and a thin little guy slunk in, lookin’ for all the world like one o’ the little rodents.

“Senor Spud?”

“Yeah, rode,” I said. “Pull up a trap and sit down.”

“Ha, ha. You are funny now, amigo, but I have a banana in my pocket that will soon silence your joking.”

“Banana, eh? That’s a new one.”

“No, I’ve had it for a week now. It is all black and slimy. And please, do not joke. This is a serious matter.”

“Oh, I’m sure it is. I didn’t mean to doubt ya. Disgruntled, are we?”


“Why take it out on me?”

“I was working just outside the door of your office when my depression struck. You were convenient, senor.”

“Touchin’. That’s very touchin’. What do ya do for a livin’?”

“Fruit vendor, senor.”

“Hence the banana, I suppose.”

“Si. If you prefer I could substitute it for an apple or a plum.”

"No, a banana is fine. Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask. What nationality are ya, anyway? Mexican?”

“No, senor. Swiss. This way we don’t offend nobody.”

The little guy slithered outta the room and I peeled the banana...and he was right. I was no longer jokin’. It was as rotten as the exterior had suggested it would be. But it was lunch time and so, with an apology to my tape woim, I took a bite. Disgustin’. I took another and my teeth came down on somethin’ hard. I dug it out. It was small and shone dimly through the coatin’ o’ slimy banana.

“Hmmm,” I muttered. “A gold fillin’.”

Thinkin’ maybe the fruit vendor had somehow dropped his fillin’ into the soft banana and wantin’ no part of it in any case, I ran down the steps of my office. My instincts told me that somethin’ was wrong. I looked frantically around for the vendor. Then I spotted him. What I saw made my blood run cold. He was eatin’ some of his own fruit!

“Hey, you!”
“Si, senor?”
“Did ya drop a gold fillin’ into that banana ya gave me?”
The little rat chuckled evilly. “Si, senor.”

Back in my office I studied the situation. I was stuck. I needed the ace o’ spades, but it was up my sleeve and to get it out would be cheatin’. On the other hand, if I didn’t, I’d lose. That’s the bad thing about solitaire. Losin’ to yourself is demeanin’. It’s worse than bein’ beaten off the light by an old woman in a Lincoln Towncar with a manicured poodle on the dash. I thought back to the encounter with the fillin’. Was it really the vendor’s? Then it hit me. There was nobody else in the room. Nobody would know if I cheated. Ha, ha! Suddenly another thing hit me. The fillin’ couldn’t be the vendor’s. He had no teeth!

I was pleased. I had cracked the case. Not to mention my tooth. To ease the pain, I withdrew the ace of spades from my sleeve and placed it on the table. Then somethin’ hit me like a two-by-four. When I came too, I was lyin’ on my back on my office floor, starin’ up at two of the loveliest red eyes I have ever seen. From somewhere in the dark recesses of my office, someone began playin’ a mysterious melody on a saxophone.

“Hi,” she said, her voice low and husky.
“Hi, babe," I said. "Ya look lovely.”

And she did, too. She was dressed in a way that made me glad ta be a man. Wrapped around her was a skimpy, family-sized campin' tent, complete with barbecue grill. What made her even more attractive was the dandruff that drifted gently from her hair and landed silently on my office floor. I shuddered in ecstasy.

She looked at me in a sultry manner. “What are you looking at?”
“You, gorgeous. That dandruff is captivatin’.”
“Parmesan Cheese.”
“It’s all the rage, now.”
Suddenly somethin’ hit me. “Somethin’ has suddenly hit me, sweetheart.”
“Yeah. Why did ya hit me with that two by four?”
“You were going to cheat at cards.”
“Just rehearsin’, baby.”
“Ya wanna banana?”
“What kind?”
“Comin’ right up, sweetheart.”
“I’m going to go change into something more…comfortable.”
“Don’t be too long, baby.”

While I waited, I busied myself doin’ odds and ends around the office. I had barely had enough time to scrub the floor, take my suits to the cleaners, pay the rent, put in a concrete driveway, take a nap, and pick up my suits before she walked back in.

She looked as lovely as ever. I tell ya, the sight o’ that head stickin’ furtively out of a suit o’ concrete and supportin’ steel girders gave me chills. I came to a sudden realization. I was in love with this girl. There would never be another one for me.

She came toward me, extendin’ one manicured hand. “Where’s the money you owe me?”

Suddenly, I knew. I hated this witch. Her and those stupid outfits were startin’ to bug me. “Good-bye, sweetheart,” I said. “And no rush on the retoin trip!” After she had walked out, I stared at the door. Then I knew. I was in love with this door. There would never be another one for me.


Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

I liked all the false trails the narrative leads you down, only to do a quick about-face and come right back to one topic or another.

Teeth? Vendor? Gold filling? No! Solitaire!

Oh, and "tape woim" got me.

Anonymous said...

[Sheldon Leonard voice] Show dat tape woim no moicy.[/Sheldon Leonard voice]

Yeah, I like that.

But what's with all the apostrophe'ses'es's after perfectly good slang words like "outa" and "ya"?

And where is the payoff after all that buildup about Spud, presumably a patata', bein' a private EYE? Get it? Potatoes? Eyes? Hah?? Talk about jokus interruptus..

Jack W. Regan said...

Anyone heard Sheldon Leonard on the old Jack Benny radio shows? Pretty funny.

You may have a point about those apostrophe'ses'es's. After closer examination, my point is still clear without them and the text looks cleaner. Although the upper crust may have a problem with the phrase, "perfectly good slang words." Of course, those people never visit this blog, so....

Anyway, thanks for visitin', commentin', and suggestin'! (I used 'postrophes, 'cause I was omittin' letters.)

Anonymous said...

'smore like it. You're right of course-- there are no perfectly good slang words. They're all horrid, nasty, sticky things that have no standardized orthography, no breeding. After using one, wash your hands thoroughly. If you take the sample evaluation test for Grand Valley University you'll find that stamping out slang takes precedence over graceful sentence structure. But that's not important now. What's important is the campaign to stamp out apos'trophe abuse, and you, sir, have taken that first important stomp.

Raymond Betancourt said...

"I have a banana in my pocket that will soon silence your joking."

Ah, if I only had a nickel for every time I used that line.

Jack W. Regan said...

I actually do have a nickel for every time I've used that line. And know I think I'll take a time machine about twenty years back, so I can buy a piece of gum with it. (The nickel, not the time machine.)

Jack W. Regan said...

I think one of the hardest things about being a writer is learning how to use the "delete" key. Most of us, I believe, would rather take a chance on putting it in, rather than leaving it out. Like apostrophes, the word "that," etc. Anyway: stomp, stomp, stomp! Hey, this is kinda fun!

Jack W. Regan said...

As a side note, I've been gradually learning the lesson: "Less is more." A good rule for any writer, I think.

Jack W. Regan said...

Geez, I just realized I also had a lot of unnecessary capitalization in here, too! In my own defense, let me point out I originally wrote this piece several years ago. A more thorough and accurate proofreading might be in order the next time I post a blast from the past.

Anonymous said...

As Quiller-Couch said, "Murder your darlings". That is, don't become too attached to the individual bits of your writing output, because editing is the difference between a diary and a masterpiece.

"If it don't fit, you must out throw it."

Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

Oh, and I forgot to say that "Señor Spud" would be a good name for either a cleaning product or a chain of restaurants.

Anonymous said...

I'd eat at Senior Spud!

I'd get their Ol' Spudsterburger-- two halves of an Idaho Russet with a burger in between, slathered in mayonnaise. That's good eatin'.