Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Has Anybody Seen My Picasso? Chapter 1 - Aphrodite Mandrake

It was 10 am and I’d just gotten to my office. I was on the third floor of a five story. I walked up the stairs because the elevator still didn’t work even though the super had promised me he’d have it fixed by now. He’d promised me he’d have the cracked window pane in my office window fixed by now as well, but that was still cracked. The crack meandered across the lower left corner of the window like the drunk on the sidewalk below outside the bar with the red neon sign in the window that said “bar.” The crack had no real destination like many of those people I could see on the street below. I hadn’t really laid into the super because he rented me this dump cheap and I had been doing some private dick work for him in exchange for the last several months’ rent. * * * * * It was a Tuesday, I think, but it could have been a Wednesday. And it really doesn’t matter what day it was. That’s irrelevant. And I don’t even know why I mentioned it. I had a hangover. Too much cheap booze the day before. My head hurt, my eyes hurt. I lit a cigarette and poured myself a drink and looked out the window. Both tasted bad. I could see people walking on the sidewalks and cars parked in front of shops. It wasn’t much different than any other day. Or so I thought. People going about their business, trying to get by just like all of us. Maybe some of them weren’t as honest as the rest, but mostly people were jake. Just then, the door to my office opened a crack and then some more. There was a knock. Then the door opened and in walked a dame I’d never seen before. * * * * * She was about 5’5”, blond, and curvaceous. She wore a dress so tight I could hardly breathe. It was a white dress with buttons in the front. I could see both the tops of her knee caps and the tops of her breasts. Everything else in between was just white. Every curve of her was a highway on a road map making its way through the mountains and valleys of her topography. I’d like to travel those roads sometime, I thought to myself. Just enough cleavage was visible above the top button of her blouse which could launch itself at any moment. There was a lot of pressure on that button. It was a miracle that button hadn't launched itself already. I’ve always liked cleavage. There’s a mystery to it especially when it’s not an invitation. * * * * * * Every move she made was a small earthquake which caused ripples on her visible and ample bosom. Every step she took was a tsunami of scent coming my way. Not overwhelming like a real tsunami but noticeable and pleasing. Her eyes were green; not emerald green like the rock she wore on her finger, nor green like the suburban lawns only suckers mow every week thinking they were happy, nor green like you see on a stop light after you wait at the red for too long on those early mornings when nobody else is on the street and you are in a hurry to get nowhere in particular, but green like an old dollar bill that had passed through a thousand hands, one by one caressing it. They were green like folding money you leave on the dresser at night, like money that had circulated a bit too much. Yeah, green eyes alright. Like money.....maybe even a ten or a twenty... and I liked that, too. * * * * * * She wore lipstick like a Ritz cracker wears Cheez Whiz – thick and glossy, but not that pale yellow orange color like actual Cheez Whiz, but red, a bright deep red color, a red so red that even red isn't red enough.....the red of a deep red rose that when you pick it, you prick your finger on a thorn and it bleeds red blood, a red just like her lips, blood red...and I liked that, too. Her voice was gritty like old bath water that you forgot to drain and it sat in the tub for three hot nights and days, days so hot that the asphalt in the streets bubbled, nights so hot that even the moon sweated and the trees wilted. That's how gritty her voice was. And her eyes were deep green pools of mystery. So deep that no one ever found how deep they really were. Sure, a few lucky blokes were allowed in the shallow end of those deep pools, but none of them could swim. You could dive in from a high board and never touch the bottom. That’s how deep they were. Her eyebrows were like narrow strips of tar on a city sidewalk, which quite frankly, was a little weird. Her mascara hung like Spanish moss on a bald cypress tree, otherwise known as Taxodium distichum which grows in the southeastern United States from Texas and Florida north to Southern Arkansas and Virginia. It is also native to much of Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Central America, South America and the West Indies as well as being naturalized in Queensland (Australia) and in French Polynesia. But none of that is important. I liked her eyes. “Hi, my name's Mrs. Aphrodite Mandrake. Are you Detective Allbright? Detective Dick Allbright?” she inquired. I could tell she had class. * * * * * * * “Yeah, that’s me. What can I do for you?” I asked as I stood up, put out the cigarette, and offered her a seat.


Blogger Jane D. said...

Another side of you, Bud! Sort of Joe Friday crossed with Garrison Keilor - and that's a completment!! Janie D.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Bud Cassiday said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Bud Cassiday said...

I was going for a cross with Dashiel Hammet and Bulwer Lytton, but Joe Friday and Garrison Keilor is a pretty nice compliment. Thanks!

9:16 PM  

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