Friday, April 11, 2008

The Memoirs of Detective Stump

I’d been over it a thousand times, perusing the reports, dusting the crime scene for prints, sniffing the confiscated evidence. Yet I was no closer to cracking this case than Velveeta was to cheese. My five o’clock shadow was developing a cowlick and I was down to my last pack of Gauloises. I don’t smoke ‘em, I just hand ‘em out to keep people from bumming my Marlboro Lights.

Vinnie “The Vacuum” Langostino was the last member of Scab-Face’s gang (They call him Scab-Face ‘cause he hasn’t fully healed yet) still at large and I wasn’t giving up till I had him kicking the soap in the tattooed conga line at Sing-Sing. I knew he was dealing down at the elementary school. When third graders win Nobel prizes in chemistry, you know they ain’t spending their lunch money on meatloaf and vegetable medley.

I had only one more lead and then I’d have to go buy more, or throw away my mechanical pencil and use the Tichonderoga No. 2 Vinnie sent me in a box. (I wonder if that means something?). The only thing left to do is to try the Turbaned Serf at the crack house stake out. Dempsey and McGurk have been watching that place for three weeks. Every morning he leaves looking like a mega-genius with hydroencephalitis and every evening he comes back with a briefcase full of dead presidents. It doesn’t take an airplane scientist to figure out that he packs his turban with cocaine in the morning, peddles it on the streets and brings the lettuce back at night. But I still can’t connect Vinnie to the operation.

I’ve got a hunch if we haul in the Turbaned Serf and the judge threatens him with the witness protection program, he’ll turn chicken and clam up. Then we’ll know he’s got the dirt to finger Vinnie and all we’ve got to do is plaster his mug shot all over the news and tell every redneck this side of Uzbekistan he’s Bin Laden in disguise. He’ll be squealin’ like Ned Beatty and sell out Vinnie the Vacuum faster than a hooker in a ninety-nine cent store.

I was feeling smug and self satisfied so I sought some smut to satisfy myself. And there’s no smuttier slut to shmooze than The Smoocher. This dame was smooth and had a smoky smoldering smile that smelled like smores. Ever since they brought her in for smuggling smack in her smurf, I was smitten.

So I high-tailed it down to the High Five for a high ball at high noon. I walk in the joint and there she was, smoking a joint. Imagine me, a detective, going for a broad like this. I grabbed the roach out of her mouth and took a hit. Right in the leg. It was Vinnie. He always was a lousy shot. I whipped around and fired three rounds right between the eyes. Vinnie looked at me and said,
“Why’d you do that?” Then the bartender I just killed dropped the pitcher of beer right on Vinnie’s head, knocked him out cold...and wet.

He came to a few minutes later with a frothy head and said to me,
“High pain threshold, eh?”
“Wooden leg.” I quip
Just then a black sedan pulls up with Hammerhead and Carlos the Greek on the running boards. Baby Face McGoo is in the back with Five Finger Descanso and Knuckles Rappaport. Shotgun Pyles is the driver’ and Pile Driver’s ridin’ Shotgun. Butterball and Tommy the Turk are in the rumble seat and Tiny Midgetelli’s in the glove box. Jeezus every thug in town is in that car and me with no back up. Suddenly, O’Flaherty and McMurphy burst outta the back room followed by Conners and Sykes. Big Sully and Moose were behind the bar and Little Jimmy was hidin’ in my table tent. Too rich for my blood, I hit the deck and crawl out the back door into the alley. There’s a car waitin’ with the passenger door open and I hear a familiar female voice yell,
“Get in ya big lug!”
I climb in, sit down and no sooner do I slam the door, than I feel the kiss of cold steel on my cheek. It’s Marlene “Metal-Mouth” Murgatroyd, and boy is she a sight for sore eyes. She hands me a bottle of Visine and says,
“Why is it whenever somethin’ big is goin’ down, I can always find you slippin out the back door?” “I’d rather hear about it on the news” I say. So Metal-Mouth whips out her knobs, smiles real wide and say’s
“I’m already turned on, now tune me in.”

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