No Good Deed

By Ewan Lawrie

Moffat the Magniloquent along the Mississippi

Monday, 12 October 2020

News 0 (An egg, un oeuf) and "Nothing Like a Dame" [Free flash fiction]

Ah, yes. No news. And, I'm constantly informed that that is good news. So rejoice! There is no news.
Anyway, this is an old story I wrote for a competition that it didn't win, (If I even remembered to enter).


Nothing Like a Dame
 

 

It was a Friday. My feet were on the desk. A scotch was in my hand. The Dame in my office had a gun in hers. It was a Colt Detective Special – a snubnose revolver. It looked small in her hand. Dames come in all the time: I'm cheap, I own an Argus C3 with flash and I do divorce cases. Most of these don't involve clients brandishing their own hardware. I took a slug, the whisky was cheap too, so it burned my throat a little longer than the malt I preferred. There'd been no decent hooch in this Joe's office since the money from the Widow ran out. She'd been looking for some antique lamp, last heard of in Chinatown. I'd gouged 35 a day plus expenses for a week, before she called off the arrangement. For all I know a likely lad in Chinatown had found it for her.

The tall Dame still hadn't said anything. I picked up the scotch bottle from the desk; showed her the label:

'Would I drink this if there was any dough in here?'
' I don't want your money.' Her voice was deep. Maybe she liked whisky too.
'Well, you could always buy a guy dinner, rather than point a Roscoe at him.'
She laughed: 'I don't think I'm your cup of java.' But she lowered the gun.
'So, whaddaya want?' I lifted the scotch, 'I'm kinda busy right now.'

She turned and walked to the window, heels scarring the floorboards. I didn't know you could get pumps in that size. I didn't think much of her taste, too many bright colours to be fashionable, too many clashing to be easy on the eye. Could have been it wasn't easy to get clothes in that size. She turned from the window, nothing to see through the rain. The view downtown was no artwork anyhow.

'It's about a bird.'
'I seen that movie, sugar.'
'No, it's a special bird.'
'Ain't they always?'
'No, I mean real special.'
She stopped. Put the gun on the desk. Took a compact out of a purse the size of Idaho.

She sure used a lot of powder.

'It's not the bird so much.'
'Oh sure, does tricks huh?'
'You might say that.'
'OK,'
I tossed a notebook on the desk fumbled for a pencil stub. Didn't find one. Put the glass down and opened a drawer;
'Gimme some details, blondie.'
'My name is Elizabeth Anser.' I looked up. She went on: 'People call me Ma'
I wrote this down, unable to think of anything else to do.
'The bird, it's white, feathers...'
'You mean I'm looking for a pet?' I threw the pencil down by the scotch glass.
The deep voice filled the room:
'Not a pet, Johnson. You're looking for a goose. When you find it, don't leave any eggs behind.'
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There you go. Until next time!

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