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Wrote this for a campus humor magazine. Kinda have a soft (heh) spot for it, so I’m posting here too.

———–

This story begins like so many others: over a dame. I was behind my desk, fifth shot of scotch in me keeping me warmer than a fur coat from Macy’s. Discount aisle. A knock on the door almost knocked my fedora off. Business? This late? Must be something serious, I guess. I put out my cigar. Gotta quit. Can quit. Anytime I want.

“Ya gonna come in or keep knocking?”

In she strolled. Red pumps. Red dress. Blond hair glowing like the sun on a hot day. Global warming’s a bastard. She had looks to die for. Breasts to fight for. Ass so evil I reminded myself to go to confession as soon as I could. But an eternity in brimstone for another peek would be worth it. She introduced herself as Kansas St. James. Her sister was missing, and she needed my help finding her.

“And that’s why I’m here, Detective Bonerhard.”

“Too formal. Call me Testicle.”

“Right. Testicle. Can you find her? She never came back from her job at the Grease Pole.”

“That joint? Shit.”

The Grease Pole was the shadiest joint in Phallus City. Bar fights started up all the time. The bartender thought it was a slow night if less than five people died. It was never a slow night.

“Can I find her? Ms. St. James, here in Phallus City, you tickle the right sack, you can find anything.”

I grabbed my coat and showed her out. Detective Testicle Dick Bonerhard was on the case.

The Grease Pole was greasier than usual this night. I had been huddled in a booth in the corner for hours, talking up leads on the St. James sister. She was popular there. A real looker, like her sister. She cooked fried chicken in the back. Kissed each drumstick before she tossed them on the fryer. Her personal touch. Drove people crazy. Caught salmonella a few times. My most trusted contact entered the bar. Blue Ballson. Close friend. Closest you can find in this crazy little city of ours. He sat across from me silently.

“When you grow a beard, Blue?”

“After I saw your mother for the first time in the light of day.”

“Fuck you.” I took another swig of vodka. I enjoyed our repartee.

“Blue, I need info. A missing dame. Louisiana St. James. Blond. Attractive. Fried chicken cook. Works here. Know her?”

“Yea. She’s gone? Damn. Cute girl like that…in a hard city like Phallus…”

“Still time. We gotta find her.”

“I have been hearing rumblings around. About an attractive new girl who smells a bit like fried chicken. I think…Clitoris Mulroonery has her.”

I put my drink down. My cigar flame went out on its own as soon as he mentioned Clitoris Mulrooney. That bald bastard. The cruelest villain in the city. He prided himself in being hard to find. In reality, however, he usually stayed in the same general area. A local boy. He had a soul patch. Like a douche.

“Still the same headquarters?” Clitoris Mulrooney did not fear The Law.

“Yep. Above the Panera Bread. Behind the O’Keefe painting.” Clitoris Mulrooney often paid cops off with liquor and Slim Jims. Policemen’s kryptonite.

“O’Keefe painting? Too much of a dick to hide behind a vagina.”

“Couldn’t agree more, Testicle. You going after her?”

“Yeah. I’ll be back soon. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, call the cops. Inspector Uri Thra is the only damn clean officer left on the force.”

I grabbed my fedora. Wiped the barbecue sauce from the brim – damn good wings – and left the bar.

A shootout in Clitoris Mulrooney’s private luxury apartment above Panera Bread would not be the best case scenario. Can’t imagine surviving against him and his crew of angry stiffs. Would smoke me. Each had a Thompson. Loose definition of the word “excessive”. Always shot first. Like Han Solo.

Gripped my Beretta hard in my right hand. Hidden in my trenchcoat pocket. My best friend. Nathaniel Gun-Bullet Castrate. He served me well. Didn’t talk much. Awful loud when he did. Awful loud.

Took a few minutes to find the secret entrance. Behind a potted plant. A button. I pressed it. Painting swung open. Clitoris Mulrooney and a cadre of men were already waiting. Cameras. There must have been cameras. Just like Gaga’s house. All over again.

“You been watching me, Clitoris?”

“Every move, Testicle. Know you’re armed. Know you’re looking for…her.” Louisiana St. James. She strolled in casually, and took a seat next to Mulrooney. Spitting image of her sister. She put an arm around him. Kissed him lightly. I couldn’t believe it.

“You…you weren’t kidnapped. You ran. To Clitoris?”

She looked at me coldly. Piercing blue eyes. “I was sick of fried chicken.”

“Watch your mouth. Fried chicken is delicious.”

“My sister sent you, didn’t she? So overprotective. Always has been. Ever since Daddy St. James beat up those babies in the park. But you can’t leave…you can’t tell her I’m here. She can’t ever know.”

Clitoris Mulrooney signaled to his men. “Make him dead. Hard.”

I dove out of the way. Fusillade of bullets ripped past me, eager to turn me into human swiss cheese. Lactose intolerant all my life. Gun was drawn already. Fired a couple shots. Hit a few guards. One dove in the way of Mulrooney. Loyal. Stupid. Dead.

“Louisiana! I promised your sister I’d find you! I keep my word!”

“Screw you, gumshoe! I’m never going back to the Grease Pole!”

Situation was grim. One bullet left. Dozen baddies standing. Mulrooney wounded a bit. Still kicking. Still shooting. Still pissed. No getting out of this. No happy ending. No chance in he–wait a minute. Corner of the room. Against the wall. A propane tank. Mulrooney only liked clean-burning fuels for his burgers. Fact.

One bullet left. No second chance. No missing. Whispered a small something to myself before I leaned out of cover and took aim.

“C’mon, Bonerhard. Make it count.”

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