Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Return of Dick Gumshoe

The Case of the Missing Shoe

Allow me to introduce myself. Gumshoe, Dick Gumshoe. I'm a private detective, a P.I., a private dick.

There's something about a glimpse of bare skin above the top of nylon stockings! This is painfully true when one is flat on his back after walking into a parking meter.

One essential skill of a detective is the ability to tail someone without them knowing they are being followed. Posing as a drunk passed out on a sidewalk at the base of the very parking meter she would be using was one of my classic ploys. She stood astraddle me as she fed a coin into the meter.

There's something about of a glimpse of a lot of skin above the top of a pair of nylon stockings! One thing was certain, if I had to ever pick her out of a lineup, I would be able to do so ... if they allowed me to lie on my back.

I had just wrapped up a recent case. (A case that will not be entered into my official case files.) It was a visit to Dr. Ben Dover, who specializes in all manner of contagion that can be cured by hearty shots of penicillin. He was quick to note that it was my fourth case in three years.

My hip and left buttock were feeling sore. So I decided to stop by the health club and spend a little time on the treadmill before they started to stiffen. So I waited for a group of stock brokers to enter and slipped in behind them and flashed my library card while they presented their membership cards.

In my business you never know when you might have to spring into action. So it was that my workout apparel also doubled as an undershirt and boxer briefs. I had covered a laborious hundred yards on the moving belt beneath my black Converse sneakers when the door from outside swung open.

Of all the gym joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

She was tall and long-legged and her long red hair was flying about her head as if she were standing in front of large floor fan. When she passed out of the range of the large floor fan by the door, her hair fell onto her shoulders.

She was limping as she approached. I took a guess that she was hobbled because she was wearing only one shoe. She stopped in front of the treadmill upon which I had slowed to a leisurely walk. I reached for the control to stop the machine, but by accident I flipped it to its highest speed. The sudden change of rate threw my feet out from under me and I fell forward until my chin was resting on the handlebar. She reached over and flipped off the machine.

There's something about a view of a lot of skin above the v-neck of tight shirt! She smiled and said to me, "I'm looking for a dick!" I tried not to show more than a casual reaction to her innuendo even as I lost my grip and fell face first onto the treadmill.

Another ploy of a good detective is to act like a bumbling doofus in the face of adversity, thus to disguise any animal-like prowess. I moved to the front of the machine and faced her. I bent one knee slightly to compensate for her tilt due to the shoeless foot. "Well, you've come to the right place. I have one... er ... I am one."

"Yes, I know you have one ... er ... are one!" she replied. "I need your help. I have a problem that's been weighing heavy on my shoulders."

I allowed my gaze to drift to the center of the v-neck shirt and said, "I'd say you have more than one problem. One is slightly higher than the other."

She shrugged and said, "That's because I'm missing a shoe, gumshoe."

I decided to look up at her face. She knew my name. Did I know her? Had we met before? I lowered my eyes again. I didn't recognize her face, but they looked familiar.

"Three years ago I lost my shoe. You won't believe the posture problems I'm having walking around leaning to my left." She tip-toed on the shoeless foot to stand even. I straightened my leg to match. She let her foot rest flat again and I bent my knee again compensate. "I need your help to find it. Maybe someone is holding it for a ransom."

"Look," I said to her, "I'm not a shoe salesman. I'm a Private Investigator."

"Oh very well, if you insist," she said. She then began to pull her shirt over her head.

"Whoa! What are you doing?" I said.

"How are you going to investigate my privates if I'm wearing my clothes?" she responded.

Then it hit me! I remembered her. She was my very first client - my first case. ¹ Three years ago she walked into my office. It was dark in my office and I didn't get a good look at her face, but I had a good look at her body. For some reason she then ran out of my office naked and left one of her shoes behind.

I contemplated her cleavage and thought about how slow business had been as of late. The rent and electric bill were due soon. I knew that her shoe was still in my office on the back of the shelf beside the can of Ajax above the toilet. I could "find" her shoe with no problem. It would be an easy case.

I told her that I already had a lead and assured her that I would find her missing shoe. I told her to meet me at my favorite hangout, a Chinese retaurant, the Hung Dong Dragon. I told her I would bring the shoe to her there. We agreed on my fee and that she would pay up front in full and in cash.

She asked, "Are you sure that $500 will cover your expenses?" She placed the money in my hand.

I nodded, "It will be adequate. Because of your distress I'm giving you a discount. When I show up with your shoe, perhaps we can have a drink and then I'll see about investigating your privates."

"Cool!' she said. She turned to leave but I grabbed her arm.

"I'll need the shoe you're wearing. You know, when I find the other one, so I'll be able to make sure they match."

"Of course." She removed her shoe and handed it to me. She started to walk away in her stocking feet and cried out, "Wow! I can walk straight now. I should of thought of this a long time ago!" She was actually skipping on her way out the door.

I sighed with pride. You know something? It's no secret that I like beautiful, shapely women, but I like the intelligent ones too!

It was a short walk downtown to my office and it was a beautiful day for a stroll and to go green. Besides, my car was out of gas. I managed to dodge the hail stones without getting knocked senseless and rounded the corner across the street from my office. I stopped dead in my tracks, for there sitting on the front stoop was my landlord and a man I recognized as the local hard-ass constable.

It was a minor inconvenience but I slipped around the back of the building unseen. I excused myself and stepped around the telephone worker who was busy disconnecting my phone service. Using the down spout, I skirted up the side of the building facade to my second story window overlooking the alley. I slithered into the open window.

I had landed face first into a paper plate of two-day-old chop suey. I wiped my face with a crusty paper towel. On the corner of my desk was a box of bean sprouts. I looked into the box thinking I might have some of it. I changed my mind though. The four flies lying in there on their backs with their legs in the air contributed to that decision.

After tripping and stumbling over a discarded pizza box, I made it into the bathroom. I fumbled around groping on the shelf for that dame's shoe when the can of Ajax tipped over and coated the front of my shirt with a layer of the stuff. If I'd paid my electric bill, it would have an easier task, but it was a moot point. I stepped onto the toilet seat to better reach the shelf. Inexplicably, the seat which had been broken slipped aside.

My foot, shoe and sock, soaking wet, I traipsed into the outer office. My secretary/receptionist, Freda Lay was busy at her lap top computer, obviously busy with some important documentation for my case files. I glanced over her shoulder and said, "Red Jack on the black Queen."

I had hired Freda Lay after I had broken up that street gang ² that had been terrorizing the China Town businessmen with extortion. No, wait. It wasn't that case. Ah yes, it was after my last case ³ when I ciphered the code hidden in some works of art. The poor girl had gotten herself involved in the oldest profession and was learning to play the flute as her specialty.

"Freda," I implored, "Have you seen that woman's shoe that's been sitting on the shelf in the bathroom for the past three years?"

"That old thing? I gave it to that old one-legged bag lady with the shopping cart down on 3RD Street just yesterday. I figured it would do her more good than letting that family of mice use it as a bed."

I held up the shoe I had just received from the lady down at the gym. "Well, it looks like the mice won't have to be homeless for too long."

She eyed me curiously for a moment as she was staring at the bulge in my pocket. "Say Dick, is that money in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

"It's a $500 advance on my new assignment, dear." I held the wad of money aloft. She jumped up, snatched the $500 out of my hand, grabbed her jacket and said, "Seeing as you owe me a month's back pay, I'm off on vacation. I'll see you in two weeks. Bye."

I stared at my now empty hand and mumbled, "Easy come, easy go!"

To be a Private Investigator, one has to be diligent, clever, creative and above all, resourceful. I stuck the shoe in my pocket and headed for the back window. I slithered down the down spout to the street below. Unfortunately, it chose that moment to breakaway from the building. I landed head over heels into the dumpster below. Such was my luck that the owner of the fish store had just deposited a fresh batch of unused fish parts there.

With three or four alley cats in hot pursuit, I hurried to find the lady with no shoes. I knew she couldn't have gotten very far, so I figured it would be easy to locate her. When I found her she was shitting on a park bench. She'd been crying because her feet were aching from walking about town on the hard sidewalks and streets.

She was both overjoyed and sad to see me when I presented her with the "found" shoe. She was happy to get back the missing shoe but began to sob uncontrollably because she had now lost the other shoe! I comforted her and soon she was begging me to accept another job to find a missing shoe. I pocketed the $500 cash for the new assignment and set off to "earn" the money.

I felt good as I made my way over to 3RD Street. How hard was it going to be to retrieve a shoe from a one-legged bag lady? Once I had the woman reunited finally with both shoes - then we could discuss that matter of her privates being investigated. Yes indeed, I love a beautiful sexy woman, but nothing compares to an intelligent one.

Yes, the fourth case in the files of Dick Gumshoe, P.I., will go down as a memorable one. I can only hope that the next case will be one that the fans of detective stories and this blog will want to read.

¹ See "Dick Gumshoe, P.I." for the case of The Stripper With One Shoe.
² Case № 2: The Sesame Seed Gang.
³ Case № 3: Da Simpson Code.



Chris O'Grady said...

Dick Gumshoe certainly sounds wisecracky enough. I wish Jim Brandon in my novel THE FOREVER GIRL could come anywhere near him in his virtuosity and volume, but I did the best I could in the back-chat department. We try.

Hale McKay said...


Thanks for the visit and comment. I bookmarked the site for your novel. It sounds like an interesting book. When the economy allows to me to hoard some more disposable income, I will consider buying your book.

As for my detective - The story is written tongue-in-cheek. It is a satire. It is intended as a spoof of detective stories in general.

I guess you could say that "Dick Gumshoe, P.I." is a hybrid of Inspector Clouseau, Columbo, and Monk.