So does Shostakovitch. I listened to some symphonies today when I was writing, and it came much more easily than it did yesterday. Weird.
* It’s all coming together now – I will shortly return to my usual aimless blogging style, but bear with me until Sunday*
Interlude: A detective story
It was a cold night, a crisp night, a spring night that felt more like fall than anything else. I was walking down a damp and empty street, thinking about nothing but the next whiskey and the next cigarette when I saw her.
She pulled up in a car next to me, a convertible with its top down in spite of the cold. She was one helluva hot dish, if you know what I mean. Long blonde hair and a swell fur coat, and lips to die for. Not a bad catch, if you ask me.
“Are you the private dick?” she asked in a low, sexy voice.
“Who’s asking?” I said, not losing my cool.
“Never mind that,” she said. “Hop in, sweetie. I’ve got a job for you.”
She had a job for me? I could think of a couple of jobs I had for her, but never mind. Because I also had a stack of unpaid bills as tall as the Empire State Building, and I’m not too proud to take dough from a dame. As long as she has dough, that is. But since convertibles and fur coats don’t come from the five and dime, I figured it was a good bet.
“What’s the job?” I said, hopping into the car. “Some guy giving you trouble? Ex-husband, loony little brother, heavy father?”
“No,” she said, peeling away from the curb, “nothing like that. I need you to find something for me, that’s all.”
“What is it, doll? Jewellery? Love letters? A yappy little lap dog?”
She shot me a killer look with those baby blue eyes. “Think you’re a funny guy, don’t you? No, I’m not one of those girls who gets her pearls nicked or gets blackmailed and I don’t like little dogs. I have a Doberman back at my house, and I’d like to see someone try to kidnap him. No, it’s something else. Something very special.”
I waited for her to spill her guts and tell me what it was, but she wasn’t exactly forthcoming.
“I need a few more clues than that, sister,” I said. “So it’s not a ruby or an IOU or a Pekinese. That only leaves a cool million or two other things in the world it might be. Care to fill me in?”
We’d driven a good way out of downtown into a sprawling neighbourhood of swell old houses with curving driveways.
“Nice digs around here,” I said. “I bet the servants’ quarters in these would sure beat my little two room flat. You live around here?”
Still she didn’t say anything. For such a good-looking mouth, it sure didn’t say much.
“Look, lady, you gotta give me something to go on here,” I said. “Either dish the dirt or let me out. I ain’t going any farther until I know the score.”
She pulled up the car in front of the biggest house on the street. Lordy, but did it look like a mansion from one of those English movies. It oughta have had deer roaming in front of it and footmen in wigs standing on either side of the door.
“Nice little shack,” I said. “Maybe they’ll let me use the phone and call a cab. Thanks for the scenic drive.”
“It’s my daughter,” she said quietly.
“My daughter,” she said more loudly.
“Listen, sweetheart, I don’t do custody cases. You want your little daughter back, you take her daddy to court and do it the right way. I don’t get mixed up in -”
“She’s not a baby, she’s fifteen.”
“I said she’s fifteen. You don’t listen too well, do you?”
“Hey, you just don’t look old enough to have a grown-up kid,” I said.
“I was a child bride,” she spat at me. “Anyway, that’s none of your business. About my daughter – she thinks she’s in love. She’s holed up in that house with an old scoundrel who’s promised her the world. She thinks he’s going to marry her and they’ll live happily ever after.”
“But he won’t?”
“No,” she said sadly. “I know a thing or two about him. He’ll throw her out when he’s sick of her, or worse, he’ll pass her on to one of his scumbag friends, and the scumbag will pass her on to another scumbag, and on and on until…” She paused. “And I’ll never see her again. I have to get her out of there before it’s too late. Please, won’t you help me?”
She turned her big round eyes on me. I could see the tears shimmering in them.
Dammit, I’m such a sucker for the dames.
“Alright, alright,” I said. “You got me. Can’t let a lady down, now can I?”
“Thank you, oh, thank you,” she sighed, and kissed me on the cheek.
“Yeah, yeah,” I said, though I can tell you my heart skipped a coupla hundred beats. “So what’s the plan? This place looks pretty solid to me. How the heck are we getting in and getting the girl out?”
“I have it all figured out,” she said. “It’ll be easy as pie. Don’t you worry about a thing.”
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