I’m a dick. A private dick. The best damn dick in this whole town, if I do say so myself. I’m the one who put Vito Romana behind bars. Didn’t make many friends by doing that, neither. But a man’s gotta do what he’s good at. And I’m so good, people even call me Dick, though that’s probably because my name’s Richard. It might also be because when I’m on the case I can be a real…well…you get the picture. I tell ya what, the jokers never stop laughing.
One Thursday morning this dame walked into my office with legs that went all the way up and a dress that didn’t quite go all the way down. I could tell right away she was trouble. Dames like that always are.
“I’m looking for a dick,” she said, the words floating on her sweet breath like the bloated, week-old bodies of mob victims bobbing to the surface of the river.
“I can see that,” I said. I glanced out the window. The rain-slicked street outside was bustling, as usual. Not even rain can stop a city. It just keeps on going, like a train bearing down on the broad strapped to the tracks.
“Is that some kind of joke?” she asked, raising an eyebrow — an eyebrow as perfectly sculpted as the Venus de Milo. It was the kind of eyebrow you only see in the movies, and not even then.
“Well sweetheart,” I said, lighting a cigarette, “maybe I’m jumping the gun, but since my door says ‘Private Detective’ and you came in, I guessed you ain’t lookin’ for a massage therapist. Simple detective work.” I smiled and exhaled a lungful of smoke, the taste of ashes in my mouth.
“Enough dicking around,” she said (I grimaced), “My husband’s been murdered.”
That got my attention — but I was cautious. Half the time some dame came in with a murdered husband, she was the one who did it and was just trying to divert attention. And she wouldn’t think twice about offing you, too, if you got too close to the truth.
“Sounds serious,” I agreed, “How’d it happen?”
“Poison,” she said, one perfect tear — too perfect if you ask me — dripping and falling to the floor impossibly slowly, only to shatter like a window shatters when it’s blasted with a tommy gun.
“Go on,” I told her.
She took a deep breath. Deep like the ocean, seemed to me. Deeper than a woman’s heart, for sure. “It had to be poison,” she said, “One minute he was eating his favorite dessert, spotted dick…”
It was gonna be one of those days.