The Last of the Hard Boiled Dicks Episode V
A Mugsy Phlegmming Caper
A Cheap and Tawdry Detective Noir Mystery
in Serial Form and Three Part Harmony
Episode V ~ Follow That Parrot
Our Story So Far
A mysterious woman in a wet raincoat pays a visit to the Mugsy Phlegmming Detective Agency. She entrusts Mugsy with an envelope. The sound of a terrible crash from the street below distracts Mugsy. He goes over to the window to investigate, and by the time he turns back, the woman in the wet raincoat has vanished. Mugsy is visited by Mr. Fontaine, the man in the lime green mohair leisure suit. Fontaine, pulls a gun on Mugsy and attempts to steal the envelope. It looks like he may get away with it, until Gladys swoops down from her perch, knocks the gun from Fontaine’s hand and steals the envelope. Fontaine lunges for the parrot as she flies away and he meets his own untimely demise as he falls from the window to the street below. Gladys roosts on the roof of the building across the street, the envelope still held in her beak. Mugsy is visited by the free lance ornithologist, Elvert Bisbee, who is looking for Gladys. He informs Mugsy of the suspicious and sinister activities of the two piano tuners. Mugsy heads out the door to find Gladys, and the envelope and to meet his date with destiny.
Episode V ~ Follow That Parrot
I stuck the starter pistol in the back of my waistband, gangsta style and stuffed the sock full of quarters in my right hip pocket. It created an unseemly bulge, but then again, that might actually help me get lucky. That sock full of quarters might just get me out of a jam somewhere up the road, especially if I needed change for a parking meter or a vibrating bed in a fleabag hotel. I had the giddy feeling that anything could happen. I wondered about the dame and immediately felt a pleasant vibrating sensation near my groin. I was just beginning to enjoy it a little too much when I remembered the burner phone Imma Pennyraker had given me. I’d put it in my other pocket and forgot about it.
I let it vibrate for a couple more seconds before I pulled it out. There was a text message: “ Walk towards the river and someone will contact you. I.P.”
I stepped out into the hallway, quietly pulled the door shut behind me and tried to sneak down the stairs without making the floorboards squeak. It was no use. The floorboards chirped like a nightingale floor in a samurai castle. I stopped and held my breath. I could hear Bisbee rustling about in his office, but miraculously, it seemed that he had not heard my departure. The last thing I needed now was him tagging along as a sidekick. He would insist on showing me his tattoo.
I stopped on the front landing and peeked out the window before stepping out into the street. A black Mercedes SUV with black-out windows pulled up to the curb and stopped with the motor running. Two hulking brutes in black Armani suits got out, picked up Fontaine’s body, and put it into the car. They got back in, pulled away, and drove towards the river. I heard sirens in the distance. I stepped out onto the sidewalk. Music rumbled from the strip club. Sketchy looking characters came and went from the tattoo parlor. Ms. Crabclaws was out there, waving her cane around and ranting at a group of skaters who were standing nearby. I spied Gladys down the street in the other direction, perched on top of a No Parking sign. Thank God she still had the envelope in her beak. I was glad that Gladys was perched down the street in the direction I had to go. At least that made things easier. The sirens were getting closer. Ms. Crabclaws had probably called the cops. I was running out of time.
I started walking down the sidewalk. I needed to cross the street to get to Gladys. I looked back just in time to see the piano tuners come out of the alley, turn the corner and start walking up the street in my direction. Ms. Crabclaws saw them and blocked their path. I heard her launch into a vicious tongue lashing. I glanced back to see her waving her cane around like a light saber. I knew she’d delay the piano tuners for only so long. They had spotted me and were stepping around her as she continued her tirade. I started to cross the street and heard a tremendous screeching of brakes. A Dodge minivan covered with bumper stickers had stopped inches away from flattening me like a pancake. I was momentarily frozen in my tracks but quickly snapped out of it and jumped back onto the curb. Gladys flapped her wings and took off. She was flying in the direction of the river.
The side door of the van slid open and somebody said, “Get in now if you want to live!” I noticed the campaign bumper sticker on the side of the van that said Cheney-Satan in 2008. Now there’s a portentous omen, I thought, as I dove for the door.
As the van pulled away, I could see the two piano tuners coming down the street. Bisbee gaped in disbelief from the upstairs window. Gladys was flying away. “Follow that parrot!” I said “and step on it!”