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Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary

Date

January 17, 2012

Hey There!

I am thrilled and honored to have my piece “No Place for Unicorns or Teddy Bears” selected by San Francisco editor Meg Pokrass for inclusion in the inaugaral online edition of “The Editor’s Eye”.  Here’s the review Meg wrote about the piece. Thank you Meg. I am thrilled and honored to be included!

“Michael Gillian Maxwell’s story offer a straightforward narrative voice, employing smart visual details. Here we are catching a bittersweet glimpse of compensatory, brotherly work relationships, and how sexual fantasy takes over when conditions are this lousy, when the stakes are absurdly high. He shows us a war of dangerous work and the Carpenter Ant-like lives of humans so replaceable.”

The Last of the Hard Boiled Dicks

Tattoo Parlor

The Last of the Hard Boiled Dicks

A Mugsy Phlegmming Caper

 A Cheap and Tawdry Detective Noir Mystery 

in Serial Form and Three Part Harmony 

I: The Mugsy Phlegmming Detective Agency

 I was a laid off teacher with a pocketful of dreams and a closet full of Masters degrees. After my teaching career short circuited, I hit the bricks looking to reinvent myself and pick up the pieces of my life. I tried my hand at a couple of dead end rackets that ended up being one way tickets to nowhere. I worked as a delivery “specialist” for Singing Panty-Grams, a Singing Sandwich Artist at a sub shop and did a brief stint as a Singing Barista at a local coffee joint. For different reasons, they all ended in disaster. Maybe professional singing wasn’t really my thing. Or maybe that kind of work wasn’t meant to be paired with singing. Who knew for sure, and who cared?

 What I really needed was a line of work that would allow my true talents to emerge. I’d always been an inquisitive busy-body with a nose for news and other peoples’ business. I thought this just might be the perfect opportunity to try my hand as a private dick. But what did I really know about the private detective game? Not much, but jumping in up to my eyeballs in danger and into other peoples’ intrigues seemed like a good way to find out.

I rented an office above a tattoo parlor on Bridge Street. For 12 hours a day music boomed from the topless bar down the street. Teen age slackers hung out at the Skate Spot next door and local tweakers came and went from the All Night Laundromat and Pizzeria across the street. There was a pawn shop, a Gypsy palm reader and Rent-To-Own store towards the end of the block. The corner boys did their thing in the alleyway. The neighborhood was full of rough trade but the rent was cheap. The real selling point was the liquor store two doors down from my office.

"The Mare" Gentleman's Club

The detective agency was a bare bones operation and a one man show. I found an old fedora at a vintage clothing store. Since most of the players in this game were bound to be packing heat, I needed a piece of my own, preferably a 38 caliber snub nosed revolver with a pearl handle. But hot pistols were hard to come by in this sleepy little burg and I’d have to settle for any kind of Saturday Night Special I could get my hands on. I ended up with a starter pistol I’d lifted from the track coach’s desk drawer at school. It wasn’t ideal, but shooting blanks in the dark was better than nothing. Anyway I could do just as much damage at close range with a sock full of nickels.

Happiness is a Warm Gun

 II: The Woman in the Wet Raincoat

I was there to meet my first client. I heard the floorboards squeak as someone ascended the stairs and stopped outside my office. The door creaked as it swung open. That’s when I got my first real look at her…..

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