Friday, June 21, 2013

Mamie Barlowe, Episode 2

I'm driving down Emerald Boardwalk Blvd, see. My 1940 pearl opal Chrysler Newport Replica roadster is a real showstopper; the kind of car that could lead a ticker-tape parade down Pennsylvania Avenue; the kind of car you don't take to lover's lane, see. Unless you're double-jointed. I'm not double-jointed. I thought I was once. I'm not. I have scars to prove it. Right now, I'm heading to the office. My beret is bouncing off my head like a baby clapping its hands. Emerald Boulevard is like its name. Lotta green. Golf course green, you know the kind, before a thousand beginners trample the fairway and kill the leaderboard. To my right is a beach with an ocean full of water begging for a date. To my left, strip malls and gin joints. Above my head, a blue sky worthy of poetic expression. If I liked poetry. I hate it. I shift gears in the Roadster, then hear a suspicious noise. I pull over. While I'm checking under the hood, my phone rings.

"Yeah, Vera." It's my secretary. Must be an emergency. She never calls. "What? . . . She did? . . . She didn't! . . . Ok, here's what you do . . . " I hang up. Yeah, I could've seen that one coming without glasses. I frown, then pull my Glock .22 out and shoot the 'E' and 'u' out of the word Evacuation, on the Hurricane sign a yard away. The call is bad news. Or not.

I'm fired. Roxy's second mistake. She made a third. She wanted a full refund. I have one solid rule about refunds; I deduct what my time is worth at the first meeting. Roxy didn't agree with my assessment. Vera put up a good fight, though. That's why she's my secretary, see. A swat team came busting through my door once. They stopped and asked Vera for her phone number. She gave it to them. My secretary has a real sexy, buxom way about her, see. Roxy Clumper didn't think so. She stomped on Vera's hair weave. It was still attached to her head. I told Vera to charge Roxy, then call Chill to pick the kookie dame up for assault and battery. Maybe next time, Roxy will think before a) hiring a private detective and b) wasting Mamie Barlowe's valuable time.

Chill Tornado is the bull I do business with on a regular basis, see. Tornado isn't his real last name. Chill changes last names like he changes eye color. Take the eyes. One year they're blue, the next black. Take the last name. One year it's Tornado, the next it's Cyclone, the next it's Typhoon. Next year, it'll be Derecho he says. All weather-related. Nobody know's Chill's real last name, see. He says if we did, he'd lose his balls and never get them back. Sometimes, he pisses me off. Then I want to investigate what his last name is. I don't, see. I chock it up to a bad day. We all have those.

Today is another. My car is leaking oil worse than a wine bottle broken over the head of an ugly mug. I call Triple X. Yeah, I have a towing service. Have to when you drive a classic. I sit in my car and wait. There's two kinds of waiting, see. The smoke-a-cigarette-after-sex kind of wait, or, the watch-for-a-particular-roadster kind of wait. Mine's the second. I'm constantly on the lookout for a cherry red 1953 Chevrolet Corvette roadster, with white wall tires, and tan leather interior; the kind of car that can outgun a cop kissing your taillight; the kind of car that can beat a roadblock without moving. The driver will be a raven-haired beauty. Sable Mink is her name. And as deadly as a viper crawling through the slats of a baby's crib. Her body is all hard curves, the kind of curves you take at O mph, or say hello to the morgue.

Sable and I go way back. To high school. She was the most popular. I was the most feared. She ran an extortion racket. I ran her in for felonious assault. A kid wouldn't pay, see. Sable took out both knee caps with a Remington double-barrel derringer. I stole the derringer and called the bulls. They rounded up Sable and her henchmen faster than a kid leaving the principal's office. Sable made it easy for the bulls. She always wore a solid-gold, derringer necklace. She was never the smartest kid in the class. But Sable has a gift.

She's psychic too, see.