You’re three shits to the wind — or however that saying goes — when that silly bird walks through your door. It’s late and rain beats down on the window, making the same sound as the piss that misses your leg and hits the porcelain of your girlfriend’s bath tub after she asks if she can urinate on you. “I’ll try anything once,” you’d said — the last time you ever said that. That was the day everything changed. But that dame was long gone now, washed away by a stream of golden showers. You shook her out of your head; concentrated on the lady who’d just walked through the door of your detective office.
“Are you Dick Charles?” she asks innocently enough.
“What it says on the door, don’t it?”
You tilt to the side and concentrate real hard to see what the glass on your door says. It ain’t easy, you’ve been hittin’ the Jack real hard. You don’t even like whiskey all that much, you just know it’s what PIs are expected to drink, so you drink it, cause you want to fit in. Just like your whole life, always tryin’ to fit in, growin’ up the only boy in a family with five older sisters, gettin’ slapped by your dad when you wore a sun dress to look like them, gettin’ befuddled looks from your ma when you tried to stick a tampon up your urethra. It wouldn’t go in though, it was too much like you, it just didn’t fit in.
“What’s it say?” you ask the pair a legs in front of you. Boy, was she somethin’ to look at. Stubby legs that led to child-bearing hips. You wanted to lay next to her, naked, rubbin’ a palm up and down her nude side, pretendin’ your hand was on a roller coaster. Roller coasters made you throw up, but you didn’t care, you liked the dips and dives of this dames roller coaster hips. You’d do anything to prove it to her. You’d even vomit, right there in front of her. But dames, they never appreciated heart-felt sentiments like that.
“It um… It says… Poop head,” she says.
That ain’t what it says, you think to yourself. Focusing harder you read it, slowly, the letters backwards through the glass. It says “shithead.” This dame couldn’t even swear. She was crazy. Nutso. A real space cadet, this crazy, nutso bird.
“Yeah, sure, that’s what it says, lady.”
You tilt your head upright and stare her down, “I’m Dick. Who the hell are you?”
You still can’t take your eyes off them hips. They’ve pushed out kids, you just know it. You want to kiss your way from her lips down to her navel, then etch out the shape of her cesarean scar with your tongue.
“What do ya need?” you ask.
“I heard you were familiar with Shifty’s Chili. That you’ve helped people who have… crossed their path.”
“That fast food joint?” you ask as if you have no idea what Shifty’s Chili is. Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ve stared into the dark, anus-like depths of that horrid company. Had thought you’d never be the same after. But lookin’ at this dame in front of you, her vagina probably loose and flappy like a wind-breaker, you think maybe the damage Shifty’s Chili has done to your soul could be undone. That there’s hope for you yet, right between that dame’s legs.
“Yes. Them. I have a problem–” you cut her off.
“You got kids?” you ask.
“Yes,” she says. “Two.”
Her vagina can’t be that floppy, you realize. Still, you hope she does kegels.
She continues: “Shifty’s Chili. They’ve threatened me. They gave me the wrong order one month ago. I complained, but the girl behind the counter, one of those girls with the long finger nails, they had these little bird shapes on them, black silhouettes with a yellow background, she told me they never mess up. That I was wrong”
You can’t stop thinkin’ about your ex. You remember her nails, bright yellow, long… sharp. “No handies,” you had to tell her. You’d insisted it wasn’t because you were a prude. You knew she’d slice your prick open like a plantain with them nails.
But a less tasty plantain.
That was also smaller.
She called you a prude anyways.
The bird in front of you went on: “I wrote a letter to their corporate office demanding they reimburse my meal, or at least send my kids a free hat. My two kids, they love the Fargo Finch — the mascot of Fargo’s baseball team. The one based off Shifty’s Chili’s mascot — they’re the Fargo Finches main sponsor. The only reply I got was a postcard. ‘Be the Mascot for the Fargo Finches,’ it said. I threw it out. The next day I got two more. Three the day after that. Then, today, I got this.”
The dame throws a tiny postcard on your desk. You look down at it. You see somebody dressed up as the yellow Fargo Finch on a green baseball field. On this postcard, written in what is clearly menstrual blood, it reads “tomorrow.” You bet the blood is from a virgin. You know that Shifty’s Chili don’t skimp on blood. You know a lot about this evil corporation that holds an iron fist around the throats of America, but you don’t tell this hot-to-trot bird none a that.
“I’m afraid,” the dame says, trembling.
“Mam,” you say, real polite-like. “You’ve made some powerful enemies. I’m surprised your still alive.”
Her mouth opens wide with fear, “Oh my God… really?”
You break out laughing.
“No,” you lie. “They’re just a company, like any other. They ain’t gonna do nothin’ to ya.”
You get up and walk around your desk to her, putting a hand on her lower back and leading those hips outta your office.
“These post cards. It’s probably just some teens messin’ with ya. That’s all.”
She turns at the door, her eyes down at the floor. “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time.”
Then she power walks outta your life, leaving the scent of baby powder, or as you call it, erection killer, behind.
It’s two days later. You get a call from the chief of Police and the next thing you know you’re walkin’ into that crazy dame’s house. The place is sparse; rookies walk around tryin’ to make themselves useful. Detective Shit-For-Brains writes in a little notebook. You kneel down on the shag carpet in front of a round, blue kiddy pool that would look outta place in any living room. Inside the pool is chili. Chili and Chesney, her wrists slit, her body as curvy as ever. Now you’ll never know if you were tall enough to ride her roller coaster hips. On either side of her are two boys, both drowned in the chili.
“The chief said you might know something about the vic,” Detective Shit-For-Brains says to ya.
“Yeah,” you say, dipping your finger in the chili, sticking the finger in your mouth. It’s Shifty’s Chili, alright. Extra hot. You turn around and start to walk outta the house.
“Well, what do ya know?” Shit-For-Brains is practically begging.
“That dame there,” you say, turning, pointing. “She’s extra spicy.”
And then you leave. Another case comes to an end. Another job well done by detective Dick Charles. Pat yourself on the Goddamn back why dontchya.
Mason Johnson is from Chicago and wrote this piece for Ray’s Tap Reading Series, the best damn reading series around. Check Mason out at his reading series, P. Fanatics, the second best damn reading series around.