The night had enough precipitation in it for the pretty weather girls to go from calling it “drab” to “dreary.” I sat behind my desk and poured myself one more shot. The desk was mahogany and the shot was cheap bourbon. If only I were as strong as either.
The phone rang. I knew who it was even before I picked up the reciever. Charlie down at Joe’s coffee house and I go way back. Every Thursday I show up and he makes me dinner. At least one night a week I get a good meal.
My name is Private Hudson, I’m a complete dick. No wait, that’s private dick. I’ve been hammering out a living doing this for too long and eventually it’s going to catch up to me. Dying like a dog in the street over some cheatin’ dame ain’t no way to go. Now a blimp accident on the other hand – that’s a good way to die. Having the cab of a semi truck crash down on top of you, that’s another good way to die. Maybe not the way I’d want to, but it would make a pretty cool ending to a movie, I bet.
I was jarred out of my malaise by the phone ringing again. Like I said before, I knew who it was.
“Yellow,” I said into the phone after I picked it up.
“Hey Mac, what’ll it be tonight?” Yeah, it was Charlie all right.
“Pork chopsh and applesaucshe,” I answered. You have to say it the cool way so everyone knows you’re a 1920’s-style tough guy. “And don’t you skimp on the applesauce, either. You hear me pal?”
“Ha ha, I hear ya,” Charlie laughed back. “I’ll see you in ten.”
“Make it five,” I replied. “It’s deader around here than a mortician’s daughter’s bed on her wedding night.”
“You got it, Mac.”
“And don’t call me Mac,” I snapped back. “It’s too cheesy.”
I put the phone down and looked up to see a dame in the doorway. Normally, I’d say that dames were all trouble, but this one looked classy. As in classy trouble.
She sauntered up to me and leaned in close. Her hips bounced back and forth as she walked like some beautiful apple tied to a string and swung back and forth like some kind of appley pendulum.
“You got a cigarette, Sparky?” she purred.
“You know those things’ll kill ya,” I replied.
“I didn’t come here for the doctor’s report,” she snapped back huskily. “You got one or not?”
“Sure. Sure I got one.” I reached into my desk and pulled a pack out from the C-rations sitting there. Her ruby red lips quivered just a bit as she slid it into her mouth. I reached up with my lighter and she took a puff.
“I need a man,” she said in a near whisper.
“I’m all man,” I answered. “Don’t let that full page ad in Variety fool you.”
“The thing is,” she said as she puffed a cloud of smoke out of her mouth. “I need a real man.”
“If you want a real man, then I am your man.” I answered with just a bit of a smirk. Wow her legs looked good. They were wrapped in the sweetest pair of silk that I ever saw. And her can was really nice, too. Nice enough to make a man beg for buttermilk.
She leaned in close. I drew up out of my seat. Her full lips were pouty like a baby on Sunday. Her hair bounced off her shoulder in a cascade of raven.
Wait a minute, why do they call it raven? The Baltimore Ravens wear a lot of purple. Her hair ain’t purple. Not from what I can see anyways.
Anyway, her dark hair cascaded down to her shoulders and bounced just a bit as she moved in closer. She licked her crimson lips and drew a long, deep breath. Though I never commanded it to, I felt my body leaning even closer towards her. I felt all tingly inside like some confused kid seeing a pretty face for the first time. I better call Charlie back and tell him to hold off on my order of pork chopsh and applesaucshe.
“See, what I wanted to tell you was…” she trailed off and her face drew even closer to mine.
“Yeah?” I said. I could smell her perfume now. It smelled like lilacs. Or maybe petunias. Hell I don’t know, I’m not a botanist. It smelled pretty, and pretty expensive.
“That…” she said in barely a whisper.
“Go on,” I replied just as quietly.
“Stop doing this 1920’s-style detective shtick!” she yelled as she grabbed my cheeks with her hand.
“Ow ow ow ow! OK!” I gasped as the steel-like grip of her steel-like claws wrenched even harder into my cheeks.
“God, Hudson, you are such an idiot,” she growled through her perfectly clenched teeth. “I already did a noir style detective story three months ago for Next Top Hero.”
“Ow ow ow!” I said “OK! Stop squeezing my cheeks like this, it smarts.”
“You don’t know what smart is,” she said as she snapped my head back and let go. “You don’t know what pain is, either. You pull a stunt like this again and I’ll make you hurt so bad you’ll be crying in a bucket ‘til Tuesday.”
“Oh yeah, izzat so?” I asked. “Well maybe if you make it hurt real good, I’ll like it.”
“Shut up,” she rolled her eyes. With a spin that made her look like she was floating mere inches off the ground, she turned her back and her perfect ass to me and slid away towards the door. As the door slammed shut and I saw the sign on the front of it drop to the ground like a wooden body being dumped into the East River I could think of only one thing to say.
"Call Me Hudson" courtesy of Dr. Zaius.
Pulp meme by way of That's My Skull.