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.
The elevator doors open and I fucking leap out, holding up my gun and the badge I cut out of the back of a comic book and pasted onto a piece of cardboard.
“Nobody move! I’m Dick Dangerly! I’m a private eye, and I’ve got some questions!”
This is the fifteenth time I’ve jumped out of the elevator and screamed. My legs are tired. Mostly I’ve just found empty hallways. There was one floor where a couple of alpacas were having a birthday party, I’ll have to ask about that. But now I’ve finally found the sneaky bastards. They’re all staring at me from their desks. Good. Now that I’ve got their attention, it’s time to start asking the real questions.
“Where am I?” I shout, pointing my gun in random places to show I mean business.
“The San Francisco Chronicle!” someone shouts at me. I can’t tell who, they’re all kind of blurring together into one mass of people. It sounded like a dame, though, so I bet she’s leggy. I swing the gun around some more. That seems to be getting answers out of these shady, leggy bastards.
“Why am I here?”
“Shouldn’t you know that?” the same dame or possibly an entirely different dame or maybe one of the men ask.
“Look, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m going to lay it down, speak your language, lay it flat, lay it up? No, that’s a football thing. The ride up the elevator was long, and I kind of lost the thread.”
Everybody suddenly comes in to focus. Mostly it’s a bunch of men with a few dames scattered here and there. And they’re dressed like a bunch of nerds. Glasses. Pocket protectors. All the dames are still wearing pantyhose. I can’t believe it, but I’m starting to think this Big Pantyhose business goes all the way to the top. It’s going to take long nights, lots of coffee, and lots of tugging on threads to get to the bottom of this mystery. Or the top of this mystery? Wait, which direction should I be going in?
“If you’re a PI, you must be here about Mr. Pettiford.”
The dame scares the shit out of me because I forgot people were here. I scream and jump. My vertigo kicks in and I stumble around. Eventually I just give up and let myself fall, hoping I don’t hit anything important on the way down. Luckily, I am a master of my art, and only hit my temple on the side of a desk. I pop back up, to show how manly and un-concussed I am, and grip the desk as I talk.
“Is he treating you wrong, dame? Don’t worry, I’ll find him and make him pay the consequences. Bra-”
“No, he’s dead.”
I tuck the gun into the belt of my pants, having lost my holster in a freak crab leg accident, and triumphantly pull one of my back-up flasks from my ankle holster.
“All in a day’s work for Dick Dangerly,” I say, and pump my fist into the air while I chug my flask. I have no idea what I’m drinking.
“No, Mr. Dangerly, Mr. Pettiford was murdered, and I think his wife hired you to find his killer.”
This nerdlinger has stepped in front of me, and I spit all over his face. He wipes his face with a handkerchief he keeps in his pocket, the nerd, and then frowns at me.
“Is that…triple sec?”
“I’m, like, seventy percent sure that’s Grand Marnier, but enough about my detective tools. What’s this about a murder?”
Yes, it’s all coming back to me now. Mrs. Dollface Dame, the one who hid her face behind that thingy. Weren’t we on the same rowing team in college?
“Have no fear, nerds and dames,” I say. “I’m going to find the killer. In fact, I know for a fact the killer is in this room!”
Not getting the shocked gasp I want, I gasp instead to make them all feel foolish. The nerd in front of me crosses his arms. He smells suspiciously like orange.
“How could you possibly know that? You’ve been here for two minutes and all you’ve done is yell at us.”
“How could I know? I know all sorts of things, buster! I know cold nights and hard streets. I know how to shoot first, get questions later, and when I don’t like the answers I know how to brain someone with the butt of my pistol. But most of all, I know every red-blooded American hates their boss. I know I hated all of mine. Brained every one of them.”
The nerdlinger sneered. “How are you not in jail?”
“How are you not in jail?”
“I didn’t kill my boss!”
“Yes, you did!”
I stumble over to his desk – I can tell it’s his because of all the nerd shit on it like pencils and a typewriter and a bunch of paper and also he keeps trying to stop me by yelling things like ‘hey, that’s my desk!’ – and start opening all the drawers, dumping everything out. More papers! Such a nerd! But no murder weapon. No confession letter. This nerd is sneakier than I thought.
“Do you see? Are you happy now? I have to clean all of this up.”
“Only nerds clean. Nerds…and murderers. Oh, and something else they do! They…hide!”
I triumphantly kick his stupid nerd chair over. Without two legs under me I of course fall on my ass and begin puking, just, everywhere, but that’s the price to pay for finding the murderer. Everyone around me finally gasps. And at the wrong fucking thing. I try to wave as I stand up and lose my footing all over again.
“No, nerds and dames, I’m oof I’m fine, don’t worry about me.”
“He really did do it!” some dame shouts from behind me.
The nerd’s chair has fallen over, and taped to the bottom of it is a revolver. The nerd’s face turns red, and he runs at me. I put up my dukes, ready as ever for a fight to the death, but before he can reach me he hits the puddle of puke I urped up the last time I fell. His feet skid out from under him and he falls, slamming his head on the ground. I open up my flask and pour the last of the Grand Marnier on him.
“And don’t you forget it,” I say. “Crime should never try to stand up to Dick-”
I slip in the same pile of sick and hit my head. All in a day’s work for Los Francisco’s best detective.
Will Dick Dangerly remember how to get home? Will he realize that the phone number written on his arm in marker is Estelle’s? When will the next dame show up looking for someone to brain the guy doing her wrong? Tune in next time for more Adventures of…Dick Dangerly!