The very bad detective. Episode 3.

December 26, 2017 at 10:09 am | Posted in Short Story, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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9404949_2147e67e2a Retro Bar Crop

Episode 3. Food flight.

[Read from Episode 1.]

The dame and the detective exited via the window and clambered onto the fire escape.

Rushing down the ancient stairs, they dislodged a cloud of rust flakes that fluttered like deceptively dangerous Sultana Bran with extra iron and no sultanas.

The stairs went all the way to the bottom, but the detective, with an eye for theatre, flung himself onto a dumpster overloaded with soft-looking garbage bags.

This was an illusion, however, as the bags were filled with flourescent tubes illegally discarded by a mining firm seeking to greenwash its operations.

The dame contented herself by riding one of those drop-down ladders that often appear in these scenes.

She led the detective to the tavern across the road. Called the Metal Workers’ Bar, it also had a grill.

Inside, the lights were low. The detective hit his head on one and shards flew.

The barkeep proffered a box and told the detective to take his pick. He fumbled for a red globe, which only made things worse.

‘These lights are crazy; why don’t you turn them up?’

The barkeep snarled in the darkness. ‘I like downlights. And I haven’t painted the ceiling.’

The dame interposed herself and addressed the detective.

‘You want a drink?’

‘I’m not sure.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I may want more.’

‘Sure; let’s start a tab.’

‘But I hate gambling.’

Later, in a dim booth, the dame watched the detective wipe drops from his hand. He felt her gaze and realised it wasn’t Andrew.

‘My beverage is leaking.’

‘You did ask for a shot glass.’

‘That barkeep calls it like it is.’

‘Perhaps you could drink the damn thing, instead of fiddling with it.’

‘I don’t like your tone, Ms Sutherland.’

She coloured.

‘Nor do I like how this is developing.’

‘Perhaps you’d prefer another booth.’

The detective reached for a grimy laminated menu.

‘I’m hungry. Shall we try the grill?’

The dame glanced with disdain. ‘How’re the reviews?’


‘Fine. I’ll have the debrecener.’

A young waitress appeared.

‘Hi, I’m Debra. I like magic.’

The detective smiled. ‘Hello Debra; we’ll have the debrecener, please.’

The waitress turned reddish-orange. ‘I’m afraid she’s not here.’


‘Debra senior.’

‘You name your sausages?’

‘No, that’s my mum.’

‘Your … mother is a sausage?’

‘No, she cooks them. That’s why you can’t have one. She’s missing.’

‘So, you haven’t … seen her.’


A customer entered the tavern, broke a light and used the spittoon.

The dame stacked the menus. ‘Thanks, Debra; we’ll have fish cakes with potato gems.’

‘I’m sorry; that’s on the kids’ menu.’

The dame looked around the squalid space. ‘You get a lot of kids in here?’


‘So you’ve probably got bags of potato gems laid on – with no takers.’

The waitress suppressed a sob. ‘It’s … true.’

The dame flexed the menus, striating them white.

‘Debra, honey, please get our damn order so we can get out of this dump.’

‘But the policy … ‘

‘There’ll be a big tip in it for you.’

‘Well, maybe … OK.’

The dame beamed. ‘Thanks, honey; and if anyone asks, we’re just a couple of big kids. Lookin’ at you.’

The detective made a sad face and the dame whirled.

‘Oh for Christ’s sake; what now?’

‘I’d rather have sea shanties … ‘

The barkeep signalled lights out.

If you enjoyed this post, you may wish to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.

Pic by gwen.

Stay tuned for Episode 4!







The very bad detective. Episode 2.

February 13, 2016 at 7:59 am | Posted in Short Story, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Episode 2. Phone tap.

The dame composed herself and drew up her long legs.

The detective glanced at the scene.

‘Like what you see?’ she purred.

‘I’m not really into pastels.’

‘You think I’ll turn to water?’

‘I’d stick to acrylic for now.’

‘You make me sound so … fake.’

The detective put down his telescope and looked at her squarely, ‘Ms Sutherland, may I inquire again what you’re here for?’

She bridled and tossed her red mane. ‘You received my SMS, I assume?’

‘When did you send it?’

‘This morning.’

He pulled out his Nokia. ‘I got something this morning, but it didn’t display.’

‘That’s odd … ‘

‘Not really; it’s a very old phone. Did you happen to send an attachment?’

‘Yes. A photograph.’

‘Ah, there’s the rub.’

‘It wasn’t very big … ‘

‘Doesn’t matter; I can’t display any kind of file.’

‘And you call yourself … a detective?!’

He stood and pointed. ‘I’ll ask the questions here. OK?’

The dame snorted. ‘Do you even know what network you’re on?’

The detective coloured. ‘I’m not sure: something “G”.’

‘2G or not 2G?’

He threw down the bumper fun book. ‘That is a question!’

‘Someone’s gotta ask the tough ones.’

‘Well, I didn’t get your damn message.’

The dame fished in her handbag and caught up a rhinestone-encrusted tablet. ‘Here, take this!’

It slipped through the detective’s fingers and flopped onto his desk.

‘And what am I supposed to do with this?’

‘Oh, for God’s sake!’ The dame grabbed the tablet and flicked it on. ‘There!’

The detective peered cautiously at the image which had miraculously appeared on the hitherto blank screen. ‘Extraordinary!’

She rolled her eyes and counted to seven. ‘Believe me; you’ll get used to it.’

Gingerly drawing closer to the magical device, the detective examined the photograph it displayed. ‘Who’s the suit?’

The dame adjusted her tresses and drew a long bow. ‘The Chief Ommissioner.’


‘The Chief Ommissioner.’

‘I heard you the first time.’

‘Then why did you say “what”?’

‘I was expressing surprise.’

‘At what?’


‘At what?!’

‘What what?’

Her eyes fell to a paper spike and stayed there. ‘At. What. Were. You. Expressing. Surprise?!’

The detective fumbled for his telescope and rounded on her. ‘His title.’

‘Chief Ommissioner?’

‘Yes. Chiefly the “Ommissioner” bit.’

The dame snatched the telescope. ‘I see.’ She looked to the window and spied a bar. Next to it, two more. Beyond these, a tavern. ‘Let’s get outta here; it’s not safe.’

‘What do you mean?’

She regarded him narrowly over the paper spike. ‘Come with me and I’ll explain everything.’

‘But, I hardly know you! … And I’m really bad at maths.’

Read Episode 3!

If you enjoyed this post, you may wish to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.






The very bad detective. Episode 1.

February 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Posted in Short Story, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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The Very Bad Detective

Episode 1.  Nothing like a dame.

This is a story about one of those detectives with the hat and the fan and the venetian blinds.

Except this detective had wooden blinds from Freedom Furniture. The string had snapped and the slats slid about like ice floes on a warming sea.

He’d been meaning to get them fixed, but it wasn’t worth the candle for Victory Blinds to come out. Nor did he feel he could repair them himself. Freedom Furniture, of course, had laughed in his face. He should never have Skyped them.

As he pondered his inadequacies, a dame entered his office unannounced. By this device, he divined she wasn’t a real dame, like Joan Sutherland. Also, this one was alive. A dead giveaway.

‘The name’s Sutherland’, said the dame.

The detective winced. ‘That sounds like trouble.’

‘How do you mean?’ she inquired archly, flashing her soles.

The spittoon rang: the detective let it. ‘I mean, people will think your name’s Joan.’

‘It is Joan! How did you know?!’

‘Listen, lady; it was bound to happen eventually. I get a lot of dames in here.’

She withdrew an e-cigarette and inhaled deeply. ‘Notwithstanding that, I think it’s a remarkable coincidence.’

‘You’re right; you wouldn’t read about it.’

She exhaled noisily. ‘I suppose you think I’m vapid.’

‘I didn’t before, but I do now.’

The dame began to bristle. The detective replaced the tack he’d been toying with and took another.

‘So, what brings you here, Ms … Sutherland?’

She pouted. ‘It’s what brought me here that’s more to the point.’

‘Has anyone ever told you you’re living in the past?’

The dame glared. ‘All the time. So what? I’m not into this being present crap.’

‘You sound tense.’

She crossed the room. ‘I may be about to be.’

‘Well, none of us are perfect.’



‘”None” is singular.’


‘That too.’

‘I think I’ve heard enough, Ms Sutherland.’

The spittoon rang.

‘Aren’t you gonna get that?’

He picked up the offending item. ‘This belonged to my mother.’

‘It’s so shiny. I can see my face in it.’

‘You have her eyes.’

The dame laughed coarsely. ‘Yeah, well, she signed the form and I got lucky. I get a ton of compliments on these peepers. Pretty much every day. You could say I’m in the midst of an eyes epidemic.’

The tack drew blood. ‘I don’t like your tone, Ms Sutherland.’

‘I’m quavering.’

‘Very funny. So, what brought you here?’

‘Mind if I take a seat?’

‘It’s a rental.’

‘I won’t be here long.’

‘I get that feeling too, sometimes … especially at night.’

The spittoon rang out.

Episode 2. Phone tap.






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