My name is Dick Dangerly, I’m a Private Eye in the bloody, beating heart of
Los Angeles San Francisco in the 1940s or maybe it’s still 1939 I’m really not sure. What I am sure about: the criminals are dangerous, the dames are leggy, and I am drunk all of the time.
I have finally made it to the San Francisco Chronicle. There’s a lot of newspaper offices in this city – which I’ve apparently lived in my entire life – and I had to crack the case of which one was the right one. The last one was the weirdest. It was filled with people who kept screaming something about ‘not a newspaper’ and ‘this is a restaurant’ and ‘get your hand out of the crab legs.’ I’ll have to subscribe, find out what sort of shady nonsense they’re printing. Probably some commie bullshit. The crab legs were just okay.
I take a sip from my flask – the last sip – as I stare at the sign over the door. Finally, after really squinting and sounding out the words, I ask a passing child if I’m in the right place. And by gum, I am. This is show time. The Big Show. The Big Stage. The Big…Apple? No, that’s Chicago. This is the moment Dick Dangerly was made for. I make my way into the rotating door, and after a few times around, I’m in. My vertigo immediately flares up and the joint is bobbing around me like…uh…like that bird…you know. You know. That bird? The one with the wings? It pecks at feed and shit. You know. Finally, my vertigo subsides and I’m able to pick myself up off the floor with the help of the wall and another wall.
It’s quiet. Too quiet. All I see is an empty lobby and a secretary sitting behind her desk, staring at me. This can’t be right. This is supposed to be a major newspaper! With sudden realization, I gasp. Not only has there been a murder, there’s been a cover up. The whole paper has been dismantled and stolen away in the dead of night! Now more determined than ever, I storm over to the secretary, weaving back and forth through the lobby and only managing to walk into a chair and two tables and another chair and a large load-bearing pillar. If these people think basic construction will stop me, they are dearly mistaken.
“You there!” I yell, grabbing the desk so it doesn’t fly away from me and swallowing down vomit. “There has been a flimflam here, yes, a flimflam!”
Despite my best finger wagging, the secretary doesn’t seem to understand the danger she’s in. She stares at me blankly. My God, is she in on it?
“We can’t allow the homeless in the lobby. If you want a warm place to stay there’s a shelter across the street.”
“Dame, I have a place to sleep, and it’s a lot nicer than this pile of baloney.” I hate to use harsh words with the dame but she can’t insult me like this. Also, I have to cover up the fact that I can’t remember where my office or my apartment is. Wait, do I even have an apartment separate from my office? I can picture sleeping on a couch, but I can picture sleeping on a lot of couches. None of them feel like mine. At least one was definitely in a ladies’ room. Maybe Ramsbottom knows.
“My name is Dick Dangerly. I’m a private eye. All my life, things have been rough. Really rough. My best friend Seth, best friends since we were children all the way back in wherever it was I grew up, he died slipping off the roof of a cannery while he was trying to rob it and falling into a Dumpster filled with discarded electric eel carcasses. That’s how rough my life has been.”
She doesn’t look impressed. It’s entirely possible I’ve slurred my way through the entire speech and she didn’t understand it. I was going to have to try it again.
“Mrs. Pettiford said you’d be coming by. She also said you’d be…like this. You can take the elevator up to the bullpen.”
That was the final straw. This little lady wasn’t going to obstruct the strong, steel arm of justice for any longer. I bend down over the desk, getting in her face until she can smell the booze off my breath. It smells like justice.
“Listen, little lady! You aren’t going to bobstruct the streel, song arm of justish for noooooo longer. I ain’t here looking to muck around with cows and sheep and goats and pigs and those barking sheep or chickens! Chickens are the ones that bob their head! That’s what I was…anyway. You tell me where I can find where the newspaper people all get together to make those word pies, and you tell me now.”
Not even a little bit intimidated. This woman is strong. Perhaps leggy, I’m not sure, she’s sitting down. Perhaps she would like a job. I am in need of a new secretary.
But now is not the time! I need answers.
“Upstairs. Take the elevator.”
“Thank you,” I say. Was that so hard? How could the common people be so against helping the fight for justice?
It takes a while but I eventually find the elevator, cleverly hidden in the wall. I hit a lot of buttons, and as I wait I pull my backup flask and start drinking that sweet, sweet hooch. The elevator takes so long I finish my backup flash. Shit. Now I’m going into a potential combat zone with only three flasks hidden on my person. It was enough to make a regular person sweat, but I was not a regular person and I knew when I started to sweat it meant I had to drink more.
I get into the elevator and as the doors close I realize the secretary has beaten me again! I have no idea which floor to go to. There are words next to the numbers but reading isn’t my best skill when I’m sober and I haven’t been sober since the Krauts marched into Antietam. Screaming wildly that I will find the secretary someday, and she will face some sort of consequences to be determined, I press all the buttons. It may take a while, but I will find these reporters and make them report on their own faces meeting my fist. I pull out my secondary backup flask. At the rate this is going, I’ll be up to my emergency handle of tequila by the time I find whatever it is I’m looking for. Crab legs, maybe.
Will Dick Dangerly find what he’s looking for? Even if he does, will he remember that’s what he’s looking for? And how does he manage to hide an entire handle of tequila on his person? Tune in next time for more Adventures of…Dick Dangerly!