My name is Dick Dangerly, I’m a Private Eye in the bloody, beating heart of Los Angeles in the 1940s or maybe it’s still 1939 I’m really not sure. What am I sure about: the criminals are dangerous, the dames are leggy, and I am drunk all of the time.
I’m sitting behind my desk with my legs up, trilby hat cocked on my head, the light is coming in from the blinds repeating black and white on my face. It makes me look dark and mysterious but is also destroying my sense of balance and I’m, like, ninety percent sure when I try to bring my legs down I’m just going to tip over. My legs have fallen asleep. Completely numb and cold. I have no idea how long I’ve been like this. I’m staring at the three clock faces spinning around each other and trying to figure out what time it is and when I have gotten two more clocks when she walks in.
She’s a dame, so she’s leggy. Okay, full disclosure, I’ve never actually known what leggy means. Just that someone has legs, right? So aren’t we all leggy? Anyway, this dame has legs. They are in pantyhose, which is the style. After accepting, and then afterwards losing, a bet with an old buddy of mine named Seth who was eventually eaten to death by raccoons, I can tell you first-hand pantyhose are the fucking worst. They’re itchy and they make my leg hair look weird.
Oh, shit, she’s looking at me funny. That’s the same look my wife used to give me when I fell asleep on the can. Dames. They’re all the same. How long has she been here, anyway? I never did figure out what time it is.
“Are you the famous private eye Dick Dangerly?” she asks, her voice as smooth as…as…I’m too drunk for similes. Soap?
I throw her a debonair smile. “That depends-”
I try to get my legs off the desk but I’ve forgotten they’re asleep and that I’m incredibly drunk. The effort to pick up my legs doesn’t move them but does give me insane vertigo. The chair spins beneath me and dumps me on the floor, my legs are still on the desk, and the violent motion makes me start puking, just, fucking everywhere. Jesus, is that corn? When did I eat corn?
When the bile urps finally stop I bounce back up to my feet, to show the leggy dame that I am ready to take on her case no matter how dangerous, no matter-
My legs are still completely numb and I topple over the front of the desk, gashing my head on the little metal car that just showed up on my desk one day, falling over to the floor. I begin puking again. More corn, where is all this corn coming from? Finally I stop puking. I wipe the bile from my face with my sleeve. I should probably stand up, but my legs are still completely numb. Instead, I pick up my right leg and cross it over my left leg, looking very cool doing it. This is how I discover my letter opener is lodged into my left thigh. I leave it, to show how I can face danger. And pain. Oh, God, so much pain.
“I’m Dick Dangerly,” I say, ignoring the fact I bit my tongue. “Private eye. Private dick. Dick for hire. No, scratch that last one. I am a dick, and I am Dick, and I am for hire, but the other way doesn’t sound right. You know what I mean?”
“You picking up what I’m putting down?”
“I said yes, my name-”
“You grooving on this truth juice?”
“Okay, you made that one up.”
“I’m Dick Dangerly! I can coin aphorisms if I want.”
“Those weren’t aphorisms.”
“Who are you, the epherimism police?”
I’ve got her now. No one can escape the wit and word vomit of Dick Dangerly. If I can’t win an argument with a dame, I just wear ‘em down.
“No, I’ve been trying to tell you. My name is Estelle Ramsbottom, and-”
She keeps talking to me, telling me about the case she needs me to work, the bad guys she needs me to brain in the head with the butt of my pistol, the man doing her wrong, who I also plan to brain with the butt of my pistol, but I can’t pay attention to any of it because I’m trying very, very hard not to laugh at Ramsbottom.
“What do you say, Dick Dangerly?”
“Miss…Ramsbottom…” I only let out two or three minor chuckles, a win in my book. “Of course I’m going to take your case. Just point me in the direction of the guy who did you wrong and I’ll make sure he pays consequences. Brain consequences.”
The dame is upset now. I must have scared her with my raging masculinity.
“That’s not what I said at all, Mr. Dangerly. I’m trying to apply for the job.”
I stare at her.
“The job listed in the help wanted ads?”
“The secretary position?”
I point at one of her. “You fool! You’ve given it all away! I already have a secretary! Where is Camille anyway?”
Ah, shit. Okay, don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh, think of something unfunny. Baseball. Nuns. Nuns playing baseball. Shit, that’s hilarious. Okay, I’m going to have to call her Estelle or I’m never going to get anything done. Estelle reaches into a purse I didn’t notice she had until right this second and pulls out a piece of newspaper.
“‘Wanted: New secretary for the famous private eye Dick Dangerly. Last secretary stole a bunch of my Monday – I think you mean money – and ran off with my bitch of a wife. Need new secretary who doesn’t like stealing.’ There’s a lot of spelling errors.”
That’s right! How could I have forgotten! Now it makes sense. All those times I’d called for Camille and gotten no response. I just thought I had forgotten her birthday. Dames hate it when you forget their birthday. Or forget to pay them for weeks on end.
“You’re hired! Wait, you don’t like stealing, right?”
“You’re hired! You can start right away. What do you know about flesh wounds?”
The dame Estelle sighs valiantly, ready to start her new daring career as the secretary to the famous private eye Dick Dangerly, a career that will be filled with danger, and guns, and nickel shot nights, and-
My legs start coming back to life with those painful little shocks and I start screaming. All in a day for Dick Dangerly.
Does Estelle actually know how to treat a flesh wound? Will Dick Dangerly ever find a new case? How many nickel shots will Dick Dangerly be able to get before the barman cuts him this time? Tune in next time for more Adventures of…Dick Dangerly!