The Maltese Pelican
By Alias MacPenname
He found gin & tonics terfifically refreshing. He loved the quiet intensity of lime, mixed so casually with equal portions of gin and orange soda. He’d tried gin with other tonics too, but they weren’t so good and he didn’t like to get involved in the coke vs pepsi wars.
Carlot’s eyes shimmered with anticipation as his shaking fingertips neared ever closer to the beakers holding the most perfect conglomeration of orange soda and four shots of gin. He cried out as the two liquids amalgamated. A perfect confederation of flavours, this would surely be. When he tasted it, he slimed. What a delicious Jim and tonic! Fredleen would be in at seven.
Suddenly the heavy oak glass window topped door to his office burst open, soaring like an eagle in bloom. “Aha!” shouted Maurice Sendak, who was not the author but rather the janitor of the office building whose name was a complete coincidence. “Drinking so early again: are we carlot?”
“Good, Lord Maurice!” shrieked the private detective, spilling the liquid beverage all over his outlandishly white suit. “Haven’t I told you like a million times not to burst in through the door and yell at me until my office hours at least?”
“Oh right sorry said Maurice Sendak, falling to his misshapen knees. But anyway, why are you here so early in the a.m. drinking alone?”
“That’s none of my business and all of yours,” said The Carlot mysteriously.
“Did Fredleen put you up to this,” asked the hunchbacked custodian of the building?
Carlotta glared down at his tarnished suit, now a tie-dyed creamsicle of despair. He would have to send Fredleen to the dry cleaners, since they wouldn’t take him because of his drinking problem.
“Anyhoo I’ll be off now,” said Maurice Sendak, the eighty year old diseased janitor. Before I become one of your murder investigations har har har.
He was about to drag his sorry ass out of there when Fredleen arrived at the door, wearing nothing but a raincoat, rainboots, impeccably tailored pantsuit, white blouse, beige underclothes and argyle socks… “So you’re here already,” she pronounced. “Drinking in the a.m. as usual. And how about you, Maurice Sendak? Shouldn’t you be out cleaning something? Jerk off!” she assailed the deceased janitor, who scowled and jerked off to some other office, fearsomely intimidated by her icy glare.
“I’m glad you came so promptly,” enthused Mr. Carlot. “Now tell me and tell me straight: has anyone been done away with to sleep with the fishes in the aquarium this afternoon?”
“Nobody tells me anythign,” Fredleen mourned. “They all know I work for the best privates investigator in the whole San Francisco bay state county area.” She smilled dazzlingly at him, like some foxy flaxen-haired brunette from like a movie about gangsters who spend all their time shouting “pool” and kissing dames.
“Well get on it see!” enticed the renouned privates investigator. “If we don’t solve any murders today, it wont be long till we run out of the green and things get rough see!”
“Okay buster” snapped Fredleen, talking faster than a speeding bully. “You hold it right there! I’ve got a twelve-gage under this blouse and its pointed right at your fat-chiseled face, so make one false move and I’ll blow you to the magic kingdom come!”
“Rats!” cried Detective Carlot, his heart beating like a snare drum on fire. “So you were working for the wrong side this whole time, eh, baby Jane? Who owns you? The Baldaccis?”
“You’ll never know, fool!” cried she, her face adulterated with outrage. “Now get in your car and we’ll drive to the pierre. You’re the one who’ll be snoozing with the fishes in the aquarium tonight!”
Private Dick Boris Carlot drove the beat black Buick to the waterfront. “Park over there!” trilled his sexual companion. He skidddededed quaintly over the rough gravel until his tail light reached the dock with the most impeccable shatter. “Darm it!” he responded. “I can’t parallel park, I never learned how!”
“Good damn!” cried the slavish mistress of the mafia, “just get out and I’ll park it.”
They jumped out of the car and switched sides, but whilst the foxy mafiosa was passing by him, the private dick reached out and grabbed at her blouse, slipping underneath before she could discharge her weap. “Haha!” he ejaculated, pulling out the weapon, “so the tablets have turned! Hands up, Fredleen, or I’ll blow you away!”
“Oh blow yourself!” she spat, placing her hands on her curvaceous lips. “You’ve tricked me, Carlot, but you’ll never catch me alive!” so she sprang into the river.
“Rats!” yelled the flummoxed Carlot as he gazed into the gigantic pool that was the Pacific Ocean. “How will I ever find out who paved off my secretary now?” he interrogated the inconvenient water.
Suddenly, a dark black van came inching along behind him, making gravel crunching sounds with its big black tires. “What’s this?” wondered Boris Carlot the primate detective as he ducked laconically behind his old chevy Buick. Then six bad guys dressed as blackly as their car jumped out of the van!!
I don’t think I can take them all down thought Doris. I’ll have to see what they want.
“Comeout of ther with your hands up!” screamed one of the bad guys. “weve got gats and the guts to use em so you’d better just surrender, Car-lot!”
“Okay fine I’m unarmed,” said the unhappy dick as he dropped Fredleen’s uzi into the frothing ocean and stood up, his hands floating skyward.
“Great!” the other man enthused, glouting like a schoolyard bullet. Tie him up Tony!
The one who carried the eponym ‘tony’ flounced furiously forward and bound Car-lot’s wrists behind his aching back with an extension cord. He couldn’t get away!
“very good tony,” espoused the leader. “Now shove him in the van and jerk off to make sure there are no witnesses. If anyone knows we’ve got Doris here, they might tale us home.
“okay,” said Toni when he went looking for onlookers. “Yule never get away with this,” cried Carlot dispassionately. “Oh yeah?” said the mysterious leader of the black clad thugs, “The copse will never find you. You’ve got the best private eyes in this whole crooked town and you don’t even know who I am! Your pitiful plight is unequivocally hopeless;”
A shot rang out across the docks, making the whole place echo like a cave that’s had a gun go off inside it. Boris Karloff nearly fainted, but he kept his feet because he was made of strong stuff. “Tony! remarked Boris’s nemesis. Was that you dispatching a witness?”
“Yeah,” intoned Antonio, “it was me. We aint got no followers no more so we can go now.”
“Wha do you want out of me, buster?” inquired Boris. “I’m no fool see, so spill the garbanzo beans. If you wanted me dead, youd have topped me off by now. What’s your game see?”
“O you’ll find out soon enough,” chorkled the captor, “I have all kinds of plants for you.”
Then another shot rang out! “Tony! Another witness?” berated his superior.
“No, jack, sorry it was an accidental discharge.” The embarrassed Toni snook his head.
“Aha!” Carlot thought loudly. “So the leaders name is jack! That must be jack Baldacci, my mysterious nemesis!”
“Very clever, Harlot,” smiled jack, “but your peerless powers of deduction won’t save you this time. Now get in the van before I blow you wide open.”
Carlot conceded and slounched into the car. Hope was never lost until he was dead, and he didn’t want jack to blow him now. The darkly dressed mafiosos all jumped in after him, and they blidnfloded him with an old rag. “This is so that you won’t know how to get to our HQ” said Tony Morrison – Carslot recognized him now as the Baldacci’s notorious hint man. Then he put a bottle of chlorophyll up Carlot’s nose, and he fell into a deep dork sleep.
Carlot reawokened from drowsy slumber in a room he couldn’t possibly have recognized. It was pitch black! He sat up, still punching the sleep from his eyes. There were some beautiful paintings in this room, but he couldn’t see any of them yet on account of the darkness. He stood up, bumbling for the light switch. He flipped the witch! Then he could finally see this room he was in.
As I said, there were many beautiful paintings hung over on the wall. They were of like a bird and a plane and a still life and a Rembrandt. The Remembrandt had a peephole in one of his eyes, but he couldn’t see any of that from across the room, because the peehole was very small and subtle, not one of those real noticeable ones where both eyes slide out and get replaced by the peeper’s eyes. He was wearing an old-fashioned hat and wooden double dutch shoes, and he was baking corn bread in a dutch oven. He was riding on a noble steed overlooking the French Riviera near his home town, smiling an enigmatic grin and brandishing a ginormous sword. We’re talking about the Rembrandt here, not Carlot. Carlot was just standing there.
Carlot did wish he had that sword, though. Here he was, totally trapped! He tried to open the door, but it was locked because the gangsters weren’t total idiots, except for Tony Morrison. He had an IQ of 258, but it didn’t do him any good, he was still an idiot.
The door bust open and jack Baldacci entred the room holding a 12-gage pistol in one hand and a copy of THE BIBLE in the other. He shoved THE BIBLE into Carlot’s hands, and said, “okay carpark, swear on THIS BIBLE that you’ll tell me the truth or I’ll blow you.”
“That’s rich,” gaffawed the private dick, “what kind of an info dump do you think you’ll get out of me? I got some questions for you , here see, but if you want me to say something I won’t talk! You’d better just unload here on the chair, because that gat won’t do you any good.”
jack didn’t take too kindly to that, oh no he didn’t. He whipped the private dick in his face and spat, “you’ll talk all right, even if I have to beat it off of you.”
Doris wiped the blood off his lip and scoweled, but he had to sullenly admit, “all right jack what do you want to know?”
“What’s your secretary been up to, hey? Where is she? We’ll catch her anyway mind you but if you help us find her maybe we’ll go easy on you instead of pumping you full of lead like a gobbamn thermometer.”
“Watch your language, Carlot,” said Carlot, “there are ladies present.”
“What ladies?” aspirated jack, looking around. “I don’t see no ladies.”
Behind you, said Carlos, and when jack turned he clobbered him over the head with THE BIBLE and grabbed his gat from his out-stretched hand. Hands up jack! “he cried,” or I’ll blow you full of holes with this colt or this smith and Wesson or whatever the hell kind of gun this is!
“It’s a Glock,” said jack anachronistically…or was it? “I got it in the army, just like you did.”
Carlot turned white as a sheet of bright white printer paper, not one of those cream-colored sissy stationary papers or even a classy ivory. No, he was bright white. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he choked. “I was never in the army.”
“Not the American army,” grimmed jack, bearing his pearly whites, “no, Boris, I know all about you and military history.”
“No!” cried Boris. I don’t believe it!
“Believe what you like,” said jack Baldacci the master criminal. “I know all about it. We looked you up, Carplot. Seems like you used to be in the Russian army, until you defecated.”
“No! No!” said Carpet, covering his ears, “I was never in the army.”
“You’re a Soviet defecator,” hissed the villain. “That’s why they cleared your immigration papers so fast. I bet you sold Uncle Sam some sweet Soviet secrets for that green card, didn’t you?”
Boris shot his mouth off. jack stared at him for a moment, then turned and ran out the door. He had to find a bandaid to stop the bleeding! Carlot washed him go. “This is a dirty town, he muttered.” A damn dirty town.
He stood there, peppering to escape, little knowing that behind the Remembrane larped a villain even more deviant than jack Baldacci; a man who was, in fact, the brian behind the whole criminal Enterprise. This shadowy mastermind saw Camelot standing there with the Glock, and chunkled to himself in a most spinister manner. Yes, he thought misogynistically, everything is going according to plan.
It was 1943 and the Red Army was invading West Germany. Men were dying like barflies, Nazis and straight allies alike. A stench rose above the battlefield, the stench of so many bodies not decaying yet because they were mostly still alive. Battle had yet to be joined.
The Russian commander blew the charge, and his side crashed toward the enemy. A heavy armor platoon sank its teeth into the German lines, chewing up soldiers as if they were fried calamari with dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was blood.
D-Day hadn’t happened yet, by the way. It was still 1943.
END OF FLASHBACK, AND A NEW CHAPTER STARTS………NOW!
Boris stood in the room of his imprisonment, breasts heaving with excitement as he contempleted escaping at last from his cruel captors – unaware that he was being spide upon by a fiend who was at that very moment dividing a plot to bring him down for good. Him being Boris, that is.
The aforementioned Boris ran out the door, shooting mildly at anyone who got in his way. He twisted and churned through the compound, ruining as fast as he could. At last he burst from the belly of the beast, lunging into a getaway car that was parked nearby. With one hand still holding the gum, he through the car into neutral and pumped the gas as fast as he could, with no result!
“Calm down,” he told himself, “you’ll get through this if you just breathe.”
But he was wrong. It would take a lot more than just breathing to get through this. Other than breathing, he also had to put the Car in Reverse, place his elbow on the seat in back of him to really get a good look out that rear window, hit the gas a little, turn the wheel, hit the brake, turn his body forward again, put the Car in Drive, and hit the gas again while steering the car out of the parking lot and away from the Baldaccis’ hideout. It was a lot of work!
When he had finished the exhausting and complicated task, Monsieur Carlot found himself inexplicably on the freeway. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” he said to himself, “you can’t go anywhere around here without hitting the gobbamn freeway.”
A few minutes labor, after parking the carp in the still waters of the Pacific, Carlot stumbled into the nearest bar, already hungover from his as-yet-unordered (disordered?) cocktail of the night before or perhaps yet to come. The details came to him fuzzily, just as they would come to you if you scribbled them on the back of a cat-propelled swiffer and then rubbed it against your face.
“I need a drink,” Caflot said, “and an aspirin too.”
“That doesn’t sound like a good idea,” spake the bartender. “I’m guessing you’re a very heavy drinker, and aspirin could give you a gastric bleed!”
“Hey, mind your own business,” he spat, missing the spittoon, “are you a bartender, or a doctor?”
“I’m paying my way through medschool like this,”
“studying for the bar, eh?”
But Carlot was an idiot, because the bar is for lawyers. The bartender was studying for the boreds.
Or maybe he was just disparate for the pun.
The bartender pored him a drink, directly into a half-full bottle of aspirin that he kept behind the counter for just this sort of eventuality. It saddened him that people didn’t give a ship about his medical advice, but he knew that you had to pick your bottles. If a man wants to drink himself to death with a side of aspirin, there ain’t nothing you can do, as a bartender, to stop him. Not without going against your economic self-interest, anyway, and this bartender was no Kansan. He was a lackadaisical Czech.
So, he said, what’s so bad about today to make you want to slurp your way to an early rave?
Oh it’s been a rough day, he answered roguishly. My secretary betrayed me and then I was kidnapped by those thugs the Bald Accis, and I forgot to mention that my tail light’s busted on my beat black buick, so I’ll have to take it into the shop but who has the time?
Tell me about it, the bartender said, “though he had no interest at all in the story.”
Naw, “said Carlot,” I’d better keep my mouth shut and drink this whiskey sour through my nose.
“Hey man,” said the barkeep, “whatever.”
Five hours later, Carlot decided to take pubic trainsportation home, since he had somehow misplaced his carkeys, and anyway his car was at the docks and the other one was in the ocean. So he stumbled onto the bus and said, “there’s no place like home,” with which the bus driver reluctantly agreed. So the bus driver drove him straight home, ignoring the angry catcalls from the other passengers. Carlot thanked him profusely, since he knew that bus drivers have very high rates of heart attack.
He still didn’t have his keys though, so when he reached his house he had to punch through the window and climb in there to unlock the door, but he needn’t have unlocked the door at all because he was inside already. Carlot sighed. It wasn’t his best day.
When Carlot awoke, his head bleeding internally (metaphorically speaking), there was an unopened telegram by his bed. Charlotte ripped it open and found the following massage:
HAVE INFO REGARDING BALDACCI MSTRMIND SEMICOLON MEET ME AT 6TH AND BACON AT 10AM STOP TTYL
Dennis blanched at his watch: “Nine forty-eight! Good Lorde!”
He jumped out of bed, ricocheted into his boots, and hit the ground funning. He was going to be late m-dash 6th and Bacon was at least a half hour away. He was unvoidably hungry, so he stopped for a leisurely four-minute breakfast at his favorite roadside kiosk, a food truck that served gruyere fondu. When he finally arrived at 6th and Bacon, it was 10:43 (or as the Romans would have called it, X:VIIL).
He arrived just after the ambulance and police car did. A man in a trench coat had been shot through the head with a sniper rifle, or so Carlot surmised based on the ballistics and the man’s horrified expression, which had a hole in it. Varlot smacked his own, mostly uninjured head and whaled, “I’m too late!” for here surely was the sender of the fateful telegraph.
“Carlot!” said Detective Huggins, “what are you doing here you G&T chugging baftard?”
“Investigating this murder, Hug, and doing a better job than you.”
“And who asked you to butt in here, Bloris?”
“The victim, dufus.”
Detective Huggie clicked his tong. “shouldn’t talk like that about the dead.”
“I wasn’t calling the victim ‘dufus,’ I was oh never mind” enthused Carlot. “Ur too dense to figure it out anyway.”
Hoagie scrowled and bent over by the deceased figure on the sidewalk. “Looks pretty murdered,” he said, “but we can’t rule out suicide.”
“You’re an idiot,” Carlot pointed out helpfully. “The Vick doesn’t have a gun.”
“That makes him an idiot,” said the Detective Huggins. “This is a dangrenous town.”
“I thought you didn’t like people dumping on the dead?”
Higgins raised an eyebrow. “I don’t mind it personally,” he shuckled. “but I’d still arrest you for indecent exposure, public defection, and creating a pubic nuisance.”
“You know what I meant you jackax,” screamed Carlot.
“touchy touchy touchy,” exhorted Det. Huggins.
If I don’t get the hell out of this conversation,thought carlot, I’m gonna have to start hurling my cookies at people.
“That,” moaned Huggins, “is disgusting.”
He was poking the victim’s eyeball with his finger.
The year was 1924. That is all.
“You should see a councilor for those flashbacks you’ve been having,” suggested Detective Hugging. “It could be a serious conditioner something.”
“Thanks, Doctor Strangelove,” Carrot husked sarcastically.
“Oh Karma,” said Det. Hugely, “you’re such a dick.”
“Well copper,” crooned Carlot, “you do things your way, I’ll do them mine.”
Chapter Two (Continued)
“Holy ba-gibbons!” cried Carlot into his seventh beer (he was bilge drinking again). “I’ve been groing about this all wrong!”
“Huh?” said the bark eep.
“I’ve had a reevaluation!” Carlog shooted. “I have to go interview some whitenesses!”
“It’s quarter past midnight,” quoth the fellow who was tending bar. “Shouldn’t you wait until tomorrow?”
“And tomorrow and tomorrow?” Boris retarted, “I can’t creep at that petty pace from day to day!”
“Hey,” slurred another costumer, “isn’t that from Macbeth?”
A ladder fell on him and he died.
“And that’s why we call it the Scottish Play,” whispered an actor.
Carlot waddled town the alley toward his destignation, humming the ABC song to himself in a vein attempt to keep sober. It wasnot working. He soon found himself face down in the ally. A cop had pulled him over!
“Stay down,” the Huggies hissed, “They’re trailing you!”
“I’m pissed,” Boris confessed.
“SSSSSHHHHHH!!!!!” Delective Hogan quietly blared.
It was go nood. A croup of Bladacci thugs was headed there way. “We could fight,” Bornis su’ggested bravely, putting on his thinking cap.
Within seconds theth uggs came trotting around the corner, guns flashing in the light of the new moon. The two detectives charmed them like a pair of bulls, knocking the guns aside and throwing knees into their crotches. All four Baldacci henchman collasped onto the round, moaming and writhing in pain.
“So much for the law of small numbers,” slurfed Carlot. He bent to collect the gums, but tipped over and fell on his head. Detective Marty Huggins was nimbler. He snatched up all fire four arms and threw them in a dumpster, where they all went off with a mighty KABLOOM! Bullets wizzed about the alley, plinking against walls and tearing through clotheslines. There were a lot of clotheslines in alleys back then.
The nut-cracked baddies tried to pull them shelves together and stand up, but Carlot stood on their heads.
“Ow,” they said in unison.
“It’s OK, Carlot,” the other man said, aiming his resolver at the prone moaners. “We’re safe now. Will done.”
All the way home, Cralot thought about writhing a will so that he could make sure his asses were divided among his relatives the way he wanted them to be. After all, it wouldn’t be fair for it all to go to his nest of gin.
As soon as he was sane in bed, he pulled out a yellow notepad and rote: My Last Willing Testement. But he couldn’t think of anything else to say, so he put a bullet through his leg and went to sleep.
[Note to self: figure out what chapter this is]
A few days later, Catlock woke up. He had woken up the previous days too, but it didn’t bear mentioning. He was, however, extremely confused as to his location. He was at home.
“Could have swoon I fell asleep at the barn last night,” he murdered sheeplessly to himself. “How did I get home, and who put me in my pajanamas?”
“I did,” said a hussy voice from behind her.
Carlot spun around twice or three times before his eyes fixed themselves upon the visage of Fredleen. “Fredleen!” he yelped handsomely. “WTF?”
“Now hold your hearses, baby,” she cooed, “I’m on your slide.”
“But how?” he queried. “I don’t understand!”
“There’s no time to explain,” she explained. “We have to move, and move quick. We escarped the Baldaccis last time, but now they’re riding our tails! Hit the gas!”
Carlot followed her advice and zoom they were zooming down the street, leaving only skidmarks and broken speed limits in their wake. But sure enough, they were being fellowed by the same pitch white van as before !
“Buckle up, baby!” Boris babbled, “it’s gonna be a burpy ride!”
He spun the wheel like a pied potter and the car leapt nimbly into the air, pirouetting into an alley before jerping left into another, darker alley. “Have we lost them?” Fredleen asped?
“I ain’t taking no chances, sugar beet,” Carlot rasped suavely. “Let’s pull into this carwask.”
While the car was being smashed, Boris and his Secretary quickly swapped clothes in the backseat so that no-one could recognize them, driving off in a Buick that would look totally different when clean!
“give her a new painting job while you’re at it,” Carlot-Fredleen said, throwing the carwash guys a gangrenous tip.
When the car was unidentifunctional, they sped off toward Lower Manhattan, which was just the name of a bar since they were still in California. It turned out to be a treble choice, but they had no way of knowing that until it All Happened. For there was great evil a foot in that bar. There always is.
To be continued…
Fredleen guzzled her martini with grace and panache, gargling the vermouth seductively. Carlot was less classy, slurping down a double shot of grenadine before tottering off to the bathroom. He never got there.
That’s not to say that he never set foot in a bathroom ever again, just that he didn’t make it to this particular one, because he was so drunk on the grinadine that he chose the wrong door and stepped into the back alley instead. But he was ucky he did, because what did he see out there? He saw none other than jack Baldacci messing with an exposed pipe, trying to inject poison into the bar’s emergency sprinkler system. The big green jug didn’t actually say POISON on it, but jack’s intentions were ovious. He immediately deduced that ack planned to throw a Molotov cocktail into the bar, drenching all the patrons with poison. Including him and Fredleen!
“Hey,” he said drunkenly, even slobberingly. “I know what you’re doing. Cut it ouch!”
Carlot had meant to say “cut it OUT,” but jack Baldacci had thrown the bottle of poison at him and it had struck him Right In The Temple before falling to the ground and hattering to mithereens.
Now his memesis cracked his knuckles and grinned with his new prosthetic mouth, looking like the George Foreman of the Apocalypse.
“Make me,” he said.
“Ewww,” Carlot blubbered. “Don’t tell me you’re my son?”
“Wow,” jack said, “you’re even drunker than I think you are, I think. You are! You’re more smashed than that bottle I through at you.”
“Oh yeah?” Carlot blubbered again until I can think of a better word, “I’m not early nas drunk as thou yink.” And he lurched toward him.
But jack must have been right, because Carlot easily dodged Carlot’s flailing arms and punched the private dick right in the head, sending him flopping to the concrete. “Oof,” Carlot complained.
“Heh,” jack hehhed, “that was pathetic. What a week, attempt at paunching me.”
“Ow,” Carlock went on, continuing his earlier grumbles and complaints.
“You’re apathetic, little man,” jank smirped. “Your reputation is waaaaaaay overlblown.”
He considered kicking Carlot in the face, but our hero was too cleaver. He slipped one of those long toothpicks for skewering martini olives out of his teeth, and as jack was about to commit the deed, he shanked his cankle.
“Holy fudge!” jack screamed, because he was minding his language. Carlot easily flipped him onto his back, yanked out his weapon and went for the throat. But jack caught the skewer and snapped it ‘tween his fingers, thereby disarming his no-longer-armed opponent! But claret wasn’t phased, he just head-butted jack’s face with his own face, and they both collapsed moaning and clunching their noses.
jack was the first to recover, and he reached for the uzi in his belt, but before he could pull the Tigger, a flying martini glass caught him in the jaw and he passed right out of there.
Carlot could have wept with Joy, and probably did. “Friendleen!” he cried. “You saved me!”
Yeah maybe, Friendleen grimaced, but I’m gonna have to pay to replace hat martini glass.
“It’s on me,” Carlot said, but actually it was all in little pieces that were mostly on jack Baldacci.
“I’m not a fool, loverboy,” Fredlion smorked. “I never trust a drunk to remember what he said he’d pay for the night before the next day.”
That was too confusing for Carlock to parse in his currant state (California, and also really drunk), so he just nodded and looked knowing. “Take me home,” he pleaded.
“Nah,” Fredleen nahed, “they’re probably casing the joint. Besides, I got a clue from the bartender about a place we should investignate in regards to your murderer.”
Boris gasped. “I’m dead? How long have you known?”
“You’re not dead,” F’leen snapped, “but you’re sure as hell not sober. I meant the murderer you were investignating. The one who shot that guy in the face…?”
“Oh him,” Carlost said. “Yeah I guess I should find out who did that.”
Three minuets later they were parked outside the Den of Depravity into which they would soon enter, presumably after unbuckling their seatbelts. This is supposed to be a gritty story so they probably killed jack Baldacci before they left…or did they? If it’s off camera it didn’t happen, and there are no cameras here because it’s a novel.
“Well,” said Fred, “this is the place.”
“I’m going in, baby,” Carlot announced. “If I don’t come back in three days, call detective Huggins and tell him I love his wife.”
Fredleen fround. “First off I’m coming with you: second, three days is way too long –fourthly I don’t know this Huggie character, and thirdly he’s single.”
“Whatever,” said Carlox, “it was a good line.”
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE DEN OF DEPRAVITY
Carlot and Fredleen stand at the door, awaiting a response to their many knocks. The people inside must be too stones to hear them. So they carefully open the door and tiptoe inside.
The first thing that struck them was the sour smell of burning acid. People were passing joints of it back and forth, smiling weird smiles and puffing hallucinogenic smoke. Catfrock walked past alarmingly skimpy men smoking bowls of heroin or dropping hashish, shooting up LSD and eating crack brownies. Fredleen did too, because she was also there.
At last they came to the man they were looking for, a man so stringed out he looked like a casualty of the Opium Wars except without all the British colonialism and such.
“I hear you know something about that guy who died,” Carlot specified.
“I do,” said the man, “and I can tell you which Baldacci thug shot him too.”
“That’s amazing!” Fredleen gurgled. “Who was it?”
The addict frownzed. “I was about to tell you. Don’t interrupt me.”
“”We haven’t got all day,” Carslot claimed, even though he had nothing else on his calendar.
“I said don’t interrupt me!” the man shouted. “If anyone interrupts me again I swear to God I’m gonna
“Aha!” shouted Maurice Sendak, who was not the author but rather the janitor of the office building whose name was a complete coincidence. “Drinking so early again: are we carlot?”
“Good, Lord Maurice!” shrieked the private detective, spilling the liquid beverage all over his outlandishly tweed suit. “Haven’t I told you like a trillion times not to burst in through the door and yell at me until twelve-fifteen or so?”
“Hey, what the hell was that?” demanded the infurriated addict, snuffling and snorting and rubbing his nose the way marijuana users do.
“Sorry,” Carlot said, practicing his Christian apologetics, “but you were saying?”
“That’s a sentence fragment,” the surprisingly grammatical junky retorted. “Your English teacher would be ashamed of you.”
“She’d have to get in a lime,” said Fredleen, who was good at wilty repartee. “Lots of people are ashamed of old Bore-is here.”
“I re-sent that,” Carloft extruded. “And anyway, what’s the story with that dead stiff?”
“Tonia Morrison did it,” said the Addict, whose name I ought to mention was Dave. “But he was following short orders.”
“Whooze?” Fredling misspelled dramatically. “jack Baldacci?”
“Nope nope nope,” noped Dave the attic. “Even jack isn’t head honcho, he’s head henchman, and I dare you to say that faster than I did.”
“jack isn’t head honcho hiss head henchman,” Carlot fractically zoomed, because he was the competitive snort. But he’s said he instead of hiss. THE MAYOR.
Well spill the edamame! “cried Fregleen.” Whose jacks boss?
“Dave paused dramatically, giving enough time for a little red dot appeared on his fourhead.” OH NO YOU DON’T mumbled Carlot as he tickled the addict to the floor. The shot rangout loudly and unexpectedly – but only for Dave – as they fumbled behind the bed, trying to get a grip without picnicking or dying. Carlot and Dave, not the shot.
Fredleen spun around (and around), totally exposed but not in the naked way, and dove behind a standing lamp for cover.
The rogue outside, whoever it was, fired twice more with his shotgun but the bullets kept bouncing off Fredleen’s lamp and hitting the mattress in a spray of shrapnel and feathers. Carlot fired back at the rouge with his stolen glock, which you’ll recall he pilfered from jack Belushi.
“Gah!” screached the shooter who’d been shot in the shin, but not the one who’d been shot in the shoulder because he was already bleeding out. The shin-shot shooter shot one last time into the room and limped away out of site.
“Whew! enthused sCarlot. “That was closed.”
“Um,” said the unhappy junky, “but I’ve been fatally shot.” He’d touched himself and there was blood on his hands, which is how he knew.
That is most unfortunate, admitted Frogleen, while Carlot cried “Dave, we hardly knew ye!” He knew his name because he’d introduced himself at some point during their convo.
“Avenge me,” commanded Dave. “Avenge me and that other guy who died.”
“You’re gonna make it,” Carlot lied unsuccessfully. “You’re gonna make it and we’ll have that cabin in the mountains and it’ll be beautiful!”
“Nope,” denied Dave, “never gonna happen.” And then he died.
[Note to self: make sure THE MAYOR is mentioned earlier, since he’ll probably end up being the bad guy. Also, we’re out of dish soap.]
“Boo hoo,” blubbered bloris, “He didn’t even tell us the mastermond’s name.”
“That’s true,” insinuated his companion.
“But soft!” blared her boss, “what light through yonder window beaks! Maybe the killers left a clue!”
But they’d left more than a clue, because one of them was still lying there on the floor, his laser-sighted shotgun sawed off and broken in ultimate upheaval. He was unconscious (I’m not anthropomorphising the gun), but Carlot woke him up with a hearty slap to the facial zone.
“Wake up, crackhead,” cracked carLot. It was the wisecrack of the century.
The man blinked at him a couple times and blurted out, “who are you calling Carlot?”
“I’m calling you, croakhead.”
“I’m dying though. And I’ve never done cracks.”
Not. Important. Who ordered this number one hit? Who was your buddy who slunk off like a slinky into the night? Whose the Balducci mastermind controlling jack Baldgucci from the Shadows? How did the thugs know where and when and how to attack? Fredleen said all this.
I’ll answer your questions in order, quoth the dying and delirious bad guy. “1) The Big Boss Whose Identity is Shrowded in Mystery. 2) It was Tonie Morrison, the notorious hintman. 3) oh what the hell, the Big Bosses’s name is Erik Karl Gigolo, we call him EKG for short, he’s about five foot eleven, 190 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. His date of birth is January 29th 1920-something except on leap years, and his social is 617-53-24600.
Carlot was busty scribbling this all down, but he looked up to say Hey, what about question number 4?
“Can’t answer that one,” the dude said because he was dead by then.
So that sucked, but at least Fredleens first six questions had been answered momentarily. In fact, it gave Carlot Borealis a distict feeling of deja vous because it was very similar to this other thing that had happened many years ago…
“Darm it!” cried the raging protag in a fit of rage. “I forgot which back to flash!”
“It’s all right, the dead man would have said if he was still alive, because the dead have better priorities.
He and Frogleen were forced to retreat to their man-cave to regroup and reconvene and recompense and make plans again for how to get to the bottom of “It.” It being their various mysteries, some of which were already on the bookshelf.
The thing that Carlot found inexplicable was the popsickle stick sticking out of his underwear drawer like the periscope of some tiny grape-flavored wooden submarine. But he did a lot of things he couldn’t remember when he was drunk, so he figured that that that probably solved that particular misery.
The first think he and Fredleen did was to rifle through the San Francisco phone book looking for Erik Karl Gigolo, or at least his name and address. It wasn’t in the yellow pages, not even under M for Masterminds or B for Bad Guys or P for Pure Evil, which turned out to have a surprisingly long and varied list of phone numbers.
“He must be here under a pseudonum or a pen name or an Alias,” garlic suggested. “Either that or he lives in Oakland.”
“You’re brilliant!” Fredleen flattered, “Oakland! Who would have thunk?”
So they grabbed the Oakland white pages, but they couldn’t make head or tail of it because it wasn’t organized categorically and they got bored by the time they reached the C’s. “We’ll have to find him some mother way,” mused carlot’s muse, the mysterious Fredleen.
“You got any sources?” Carlot asked, because as a great Primate Eye, he knew how to ask all the hard-hitting questions.
Fredleen said “Good thinking. I’ll ask my shopping assistant, the person who helps me shop when I need to buy things.”
“That’s a job? I’m in the wrong field, baby.” But Carlot wasn’t in a field at all; it’s just a figure of speech.
So his secretary made some phone calls (and house calls) to her personnel shopper, and reported back that Sandy would meet them at the Democratic Republic of Bananas on Fourth and Eighth. And Sixteenth.
Boris had never met Sandy except when they dated in sixth grade, so he went incognito, which means he didn’t know who she was. They met at the DRB as she had suggested, wearing identical matching trenchcoats but not on purpose, because there are only so many different styles and shades of trenchcoat and they happened to share a Taylor without knowing it. It also explains why Carlot is always so dapper.
Lucky for everyone involved, especially you, Sandy knew all about EKG because of her heart condition. “He’s a big money laundererer;” she said with a very literary semicolon; “the Feds have beeb after him for a long time, but he’s always a few beats ahead of them. “No one ever suspects his cardiology practice to be a money laundry skeem, because doctors make so many bucks already, but that’s why its a grate front. He’s been cleaning all the Baldgucci’s dough for ages – he’s their big money man, and that means he can run their Operation from behind the schemes. You can find him in the yellowing pages under H for Heart Doctors.”
“H for heart doctors!”
“Why didn’t I think of that?!?”
“Good job Sandy,” Fredleeen purred sexily, “now could you get me a new handbag? This one’s all schmutzy.”
“Sure thing,” said Sandra with a smile, because that was after all her job and she was very good at it.
“All right,” said Carlot once Fredleen had her new bag, “let’s go bust this crime syndicat for good.”
THE FINAL CHAPTER (two?)
Seductive Carlot and his seductive secretary Fred stood outside the cardiologist’s office, bristling with seductive weaponry.
“On the count of three,” Carlot said. “Go!”
They bust in through the glass door, startling and infuriating its occupants even though the building was well insured. They found Dr. EKG patching up his injured henchmen Tony Morrison and John baldacci (who really wasn’t dead! So there!) under the guise of testing them for SIDS. “Hands up, scrumbags!” postulated Carlot. “Or, you’re all dead.”
“I’m pretty sure we’re not all dead,” answered the medical mastermind, “so therefore ipso facto we must allready have our hands up.” And while Carlot was puzzling that one out, he hit the button under his examining table to set off the sprinkler system.
Now, you’ve probably heard the expression “keep your powder dry,” but did you know that gunpowder won’t even work if it’s wet? And that’s the stuff you use to shoot guns! The sprinkler gimmick really turned the fables on Carlot and Fredleen, who had to throw away all their guns and come up with a new plan. In that brief speck of time, Jack and Tonia pulled knives and charged them like raging mules. Toni was so angry that he even forgot that either his shin or his shoulder was injured. Fredleen took him down with a left hook to whichever part of him was already hurt, while Carlot faced off against his previous mysterious nemesis who was still his nemesis but less mysterious now. They circled each other like Alpha and Beta Centauri, ready to go for the throat.
jack made the first move, glunging forward with his knife aimed at Carlot’s abdomen, but Boris parried with a swift kick to the thorax that send him realing. Then Carlot came at him with a series of lightning-fast uppercuts, but jack dodged them all and swept the leg like a mother-loving broom. Calrot hissed and fell on his back, but he was up again in a flesh and quickly disabled jack with a sly poke in the eye. Then he ran past him to catch Dr. EKG who was trying to sleep out the back door.
“Gah!” gaffawed Dr. EGG, spinning round to face Carlot’s face. “I guess I’ll have to take you on myself.”
Just then, a siren blard from the outskirts of the ally they had entered. In that briefs moment of distraction, the private dick whirled the doctor around and cuffed him in all three meanings of the word. “Mastermind your way out of that one,” Carlot smeared. “You’re under armrest.”
Soon Detective Mary Huggins had arrived, and all three baddies were shoved in the back of his police trolley. “Well done Carlost,” he admitted. “We couldn’t have done it without you.”
Carlot just smiled and took Fredling’s hand. “Well baby, we’ve done it again. Mystery: solved.”
The End, Finis, Fins, Finished. Famished!