I was in my office as the first leaves of autumn skittered across the parking lot down below. The second and third were right behind them.
Some say I was loafing, but I was working on a case. The empty cans from that case were scattered all over the floor and I was halfway through.
It was lite, but I still had that full feeling.
That’s sometimes part of my job.
I’m an Outdoor Detective.
In addition, I also had a head cold.
For once I felt I was off duty. The chair was leaned back and my shoes were propped on the desk. I, on the other hand, was standing in my socks beside the closet door. My ear was against the wall, listening. I’d been working all day, trying to find out where that Mellow Saxophone Music For Detectives was coming from.
It was so bad I had a case of the screaming meemies. The entire case, all twenty-four of them, were over in the corner and an occasional scream erupted from a frustrated meemie throat.
I was having less luck than Bonnie and Clyde.
I was looking under my desk, when the door opened. It was Wrong Willie. He didn’t knock.
“Don’t stand on ceremony,” I said. “Just feel free to barge right in.”
“I’m standing on the floor,” he argued.
He was right. Ceremony was sniffing the meemies in the corner. Then he made a puddle and lay down for a nap.
“Have a cold?” he asked.
“No thanks,” I responded, irritated that he’d offer. “I already have one.” I sneezed again.
“Gesundheit,” he said.
“No, Wortham, Outdoor Detective.”
“We’re in luck. I found a new lease. It’s a steal,” Wrong Willie said.
“It’s a crime to steal.” I like saying Detective things like that.
“It’s a figure of speech.”
“Nice figure,” I offered in my best Mike Hammer voice.
“Thanks,” he said, shyly.
“I can’t say I’m not surprised that you finally found a lease,” I said. “Well, I guess I could say I’m surprised…I’m surprised. Yep, I said it. See?”
“Surely I don’t have to put up with this all the time,” Wrong Willie complained.
“Don’t call me Shirley,” I said. “I need more information about this theft. I’m always looking for answers. For example, if Doreen’s Cafe is open 24 hours a day, why does the door have locks?”
“Chill out. I mean we have a cheap lease.”
“I’m cool as a cucumber,” I said, coolly. Gads, we Detectives get to say neat stuff. “Why would we want a cheap lease? Probably says made in Japan.”
“You don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Wrong Willie said. “Japan owns the whole world now, including Yellowstone Park. They’re trying to miniaturize it so they can take it back on a tour bus.”
“I’ve had cheap broads and cheap booze, but never a cheap lease,” I mused and tried to adjust the shoulder holster under my coat. It wasn’t there. I don’t own one, and I didn’t have on a coat.
Events sometimes conspire against me.
I looked over in the corner at the Event brothers. “Quit conspiring against me,” I ordered. They glared and slunk out the door like whipped curs. “Let’s hear it. Step up to the plate and tell me about it.”
Wrong Willie did. The plate cracked. I was annoyed. It broke up the set.
“The lease is out near… oh what’s that town…it’s on the tip of my tongue.”
I examined his tongue.
He was lying.
The only thing there was a chive. I don’t like liars, but decided not to harp on it. I preferred the accordion. He pointed to the town on a map. It wasn’t a map, but a stained napkin. I agreed. We shook hands and he left.
I again looked around for the source of the saxophone music, but couldn’t find it.
I finally unpacked my accordion and joined in.
Such is the life of an Outdoor Detective.