Discover more from The Writings of T.R. Hudson
An Old Time Detective in Modern Day Brooklyn
Being a Private Detective these days is hard work. Long hours of monotonous droning interspersed with so much action, I bet even Alvin York would get gun shy. I was an old fashioned kind of dick and this new world was tricky. Confusing. Down right befuddling. Why, even finding a new assistant was tough.
My old Secretary, Mulva, was dead. Father time took her to that big Speakeasy in the sky. She was the standard bearer of a dying breed. The kind of woman who could take a smack on the caboose and come back with a cup of coffee and a shot a whiskey.
The search for a replacement was exhausting. Eighty Candidates applied. Luckily for me, I could throw out half of ‘em on account of they were men. And my loafers were so heavy, I could barely walk in ‘em, if you catch my drift.
Eventually, I settled on this pretty, oriental girl from Chinatown. Her name was Julie or Janey. Or maybe it was something foreign. I don’t know, I just called her “Doll”.
I called her from the intercom.
“Hey, Doll, anything on the wire?”
“Ugh, for the last time, my name is Silvia,” she called back.
She walked in the room with that pouty look on her face. I knew it was only a matter of time until I’d have her. I could tell that she was thinking the same thing. I had to light up a smoke just to calm myself down at the thought.
“You got a call from your doctor. He says you need to come in and see him. Speaking of which, you never gave me the healthcare info you promised. What insurance do we have?”
It was a great question. What insurance do any of us really have in this world? One day you can be beating up gays and commies for the government and the next, you gotta provide security while they parade down the street. Total madness.
“You’re a good girl, Doll, but you ask too many questions. You want healthcare? Go down to the bodega and get three packs of smokes and an apple. Put it on the expense account. That ought to keep the reaper at bay.”
“I’m tired of your xenophobic, misogynist shit, Sam!”
I had no idea what she’d just said.
“Hey, I don’t have an English to Chinese dictionary, so I’m just gonna have to say God bless you.”
Flabbergasted, she yelled, “I am so done with this. Go to Hell! I quit!”
It hit me like a can of lead based paint. She’d come into my life one moment and out the next, through that revolving door called fate. I couldn’t worry about that now, though. My doctor called and I smelled a case.
I walked down the sidewalk to his office. My old doctor, a Jew named Goldman, retired to Florida years ago. Soaking up rays and dancing the Cha-Cha in Boca. My new guy was a Hindu fella. Name of Patel. He seemed alright, but like most of these immigrants, I couldn’t understand a word he said. I sat in the waiting room, fumbling through the magazines, looking for the latest edition of ‘Hustler’ or ‘Playboy’. A real man’s magazine. Instead I got ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and on the cover, a guy carrying two babies with the title “Manny of the Year”. I wanted to puke.
When I got called back, I sat on the table and a minute later, Patel came in. He had a sour look on his face, like someone had hit him with their car. I knew the look well, because a week ago, I’d hit a guy with my car. I believe that the man in the big steel cage of death has the right of way, crosswalks and red lights be damned.
“Sam, I’ve got some bad news. The tests came back and it looks like you’ve got lung cancer. It’s pretty far along and had spread to your prostate.”
Total Gibberish. I knew if I was going to get any information out of him, I’d have to get rough. “Give it to me straight, Doc. I want the brass tacks. The good dope.”
“I’d give you about three weeks to live.”
I felt like a train had run over my favorite hat. Devastated. I pulled out my pack of smokes and lit one up out of habit. Patel started yelling and told me to put it out. I told him where I’d stick it. He told me to get the hell out, so I did. Back on the mean streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
I passed by a bar and went in to forget my troubles. The bartender wore a derby hat, handlebar mustache, big blocky eye glasses he didn’t really need and smelled like sandalwood. Said he was a hispter, but I could tell he was a weirdo. He started naming a bunch of beers I’d never heard of and told me they were crafts.
“Listen, Bub, just give me the hard stuff and leave the arts and crafts on the play ground.” He gave me an artisanal blended whiskey that was GMO free and totally organic. For a second, I thought I was back in Patel’s office. All this nonsense made my cancer ridden body ache. As I sat there, drinking the moments away, a woman walked into the bar and into my life.
She was like one of those modern buildings. Tall, shiny, and curvy all over. She sat at the other end of the bar, doing her makeup and fussing with her long brown hair. I knew she was just the woman I’d need to get through this rough patch and I had all the right moves to get it done. I walked over to her and pulled out my old friend, Joe Camel.
“Can’t smoke in here. It’s against the law.” She had a deep, sultry voice that sat in her throat, next to a large Adam’s apple. I’d never seen that on a woman, but then again, I’d never seen a dame like her before at all.
“Law says we can’t do lotsa of things, Sweetheart. But here I am, just the same. Name’s Sam.”
“Dixie. Dixie Harden,” she said, putting out a long arm. I went to shake and wow, did she have a firm grip.
“Well, Angel, hows about we go somewhere where the law can’t find us?”
“My name’s Dixie, not Angel.”
I was walking on thin ice with this one. I could tell she was trouble. There was a large bulge in her dress near her thighs that I just knew was a pistol. Like an usher at an adult movie theater, I was going to have to watch my step. But then, she pulled out her phone and got this bright look in her eye. I knew I’d blown it then and there.
“Sorry, Sam, but my Uber’s here. Maybe next time.” Uber, huh? I hadn’t figured her the type to jump ship to the krauts. Figures. Can’t trust women. Never could.
“How will I know how to find you?”
“You know how to use Instagram, right? It’s easy. You just put your thumbs together and type.”
She got up and left me sitting there with just a half finished bottle and a mind of possibility.
After another hour or so, I made my way back to the office. Three weeks, huh? A fella can solve a lot of cases in three weeks. Lotta missing cats and cheating husbands. Lotta dames and a lot of *cough, cough cough*. First things first, gotta get some smokes.