by Michael Yaworsky
In a rundown walk-up in a backwater neighborhood that knows how to keep its secrets, a lone figure in a battered trench coat slouches against a peeling wall, a world-weary scowl disfiguring his face like bad graffiti on an abandoned warehouse at the neglected end of Lonely Street. I am that figure. This is my story.
Like all hard-boiled detective yarns, mine begins with a saxophone intro. Soulful sax, played hard by a sad man in a suitcoat. And possibly sunglasses. Setting the tone for a tale that’ll rip your heart out.
Like it ripped mine.
Let me begin at the beginning.
~ ~ ~ ~
My name’s Danger. My game’s private investigations. My claim to fame is being the world’s pre-eminent fictional – yet oh-so-manly! – tough-guy private detective. I’m a gumshoe for hire. A bird-dog. A shamus, a peeper, a tail, a spook-on-spec. Known in politer circles as a private investigator. Not that I travel in polite circles. But people pay me to solve problems ordinary mugs can’t seem to figure out.
Speaking of mugs, mine was empty, so I dragged myself over to the coffee pot for a refill. My head felt like the morning after a night to remember that I’d need to remind myself to forget. I would have sold my soul for something warm and appetizing, when through my door walked something so warm and appetizing that I knew it was going to be no ordinary day. It was what they used to call a ‘dame.’ I’m a modern kind of guy and don’t use the term, but whatever template they had in mind when they coined it, she fit it. Her looks could’ve made the statues on Mount Rushmore bite through their fists. And draw blood. Her face might have been designed by the nobler angels, but the pursuit of what it was attached to was a pastime of the fallen ones. The rest I couldn’t see, what with her wearing a long coat suited to the season, but I’d read enough trashy crime stories to know she was gonna turn out to have a killer pair of gams. She was also gonna turn out to have the stuff and brains to go with it: she was classy, brassy, and if she’d gone toe-to-toe with Einstein she wouldn’t be the one getting her tootsies stepped on.
“Mr. Danger?” she murmured.
“I need a mystery unraveled.”
Well I was coming unraveled just being in the same zip code as her. She gave me a look so deep I could’ve earned a philosophy degree just by standing in her line of sight. But she must have sensed that beneath my rock-hard exterior I was a pussycat because she said “I sense that beneath your rock-hard exterior you’re a pussycat, Mr. Danger. I can read you like a book.”
“Yeah,” I said, aiming to show some brass of my own, “hardcover all right: bold face,large font, even got a working appendix; a real best-seller. Now that we’ve dispensed with the preliminaries how about you tell me what’s got you out on a morning like this? A two-timing palooka? Family heirloom gone missing? Prim old grandma cut you out of her will because you look like…. well, what you look like?”
She gave a little flinch, as if steeling herself for an unpleasant revelation, and said, “I’m afraid it’s more serious than that.” Her body stiffened. Her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale. “It’s my past, Mr. Danger,” she said. “It’s…. it’s catching up with me! My past seems to be trying to take over my current life!”
I froze. Which was not unusual since that little misunderstanding I’d had with the utility company about my heating bill. But now a different kind of chill ran down my spine. Cross-temporal personal apprehension! Of the karmic persuasion no less! This was serious. About as serious as you could get without being featured in a so-called in-depth investigation by a generically attractive but intellectually vacuous blonde anchorperson on one of those off-network TV investigative series. This case was going to be harder than I thought. Harder than a can of Play-DohTM after you’ve worked it over a few times with your fists!
I grilled her for facts.
“Well,” she said, “everywhere I go, my past seems to be undermining me. I broke up with a boyfriend, now I wouldn’t mind getting back with him but he won’t have anything to do with me. I quarreled with a good friend years ago, I can’t even remember what it was about, and now she doesn’t return my messages. I got this one little tattoo and now I don’t get call-backs for modeling jobs.”
“Well that’s not strange,” I said. “You live your life, you do things, form relationships and so on, and all’s well; but if you burn bridges, there’s consequences.”
“Yes but now these consequences are starting to occur even when I haven’t set them up by my actions. Other guyswon’t go out with me, guys who never met me or knew a thing about me. Other friends won’t return my calls. And when I call modeling agencies I only get that annoying automated high-pitched ‘out of service’ message, while other people’s calls to the same number go right through! It’s like there’s some insidious force out there trying to sabotage me! How can that be, Mr. Danger? How can a person’s past circumvent the laws of time and physics to somehow gain control over her present? Doesn’t that violate some kind of time-matter principle? I thought these things were impossible unless there’s some tear in the temporal continuum or something that allows the past to re-materialize and mess things up like it’s doing to me.”
Well this was serious all right. But guesswork is cheap, and facts speak louder than words. Like when a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody there to hear it (except maybe mimes, who, if they hear it, can’t talk about it anyway). So I pressed her for details.
“Just what kinds of ‘things’ are getting messed up?”
“I can summarize them for you,” she said, “or give you a fax.”
“Just the fax, ma’am.”
She pulled a fax out from her bodice. I examined it carefully. I had a look at the fax too. What I read made my head swirl. I went as wobbly as a one-legged pogo-stick tester on a pontoon boat in a windstorm.
“And how exactly can I help?” I asked.
“You’ve got to do something about this cause-and-effect stuff, Mr. Danger! Find out what kind of crazy force is behind it all! I mean, is there a rational, scientific explanation, perhaps an as-yet-undiscovered phenomenological interpolation, or is it of extramundane origin? I suppose it could be attributable to some incorporeal asomatous principle, but couldn’t it also simply be a matter of one’s heuristic approach? Is a predicate necessarily causal to its consequence? Is determinative conjunctivity an immutable ontological imperative? Please, Mr. Danger, I don’t want my future determined in advance! I want my choices back!”
Well this was definitely a puzzler. My head was still spinning from that pontoon boat ride and now she was laying all this heavy verbiage on me – and on top of everything I realized I didn’t even know her name.
“The name’s McGill,” she said, as if reading my mind. “I call myself Lil. But everyone knows me as Nancy. But you can call me Lena,” she whispered, edging closer to me, “as in, Lena little closer. Like I said, Mr. Danger, I can read you like a book.”
Yeah, I thought, one that’s about to get its spine cracked. I felt like a first class rube about to get fleeced by a two-bit loser in a third-rate gangster movie. But I made myself snap out of it. I’m a pro, see, and when push comes to shove something’s gotta topple. And it wasn’t gonna be me. Not this time.
“Okay toots,” I said, “here’s how it is: I get four C’s a day plus expenses. I don’t skimp on intestinal fortitude and you don’t skimp on the simoleons. I go where I need, when I need, how I need. I travel with my associates, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson. I pack a rod, and for a fin the coppers will look the other way. I’ll grease their bacon or roust up a DOA tout-suite; hush hush, wink wink, say no more, know what I mean?!?”
Now it was her turn to be confused. She looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a double-semi barreling down the highway. Which got me thinking: why do they call it a double-semi? Don’t those terms cancel each other out? But this was no time for thinking, I had a problem to solve. So I fell back on my training, specifically, an exercise that had me visualize a can of frozen orange juice. It said ‘Concentrate.’ So I did.
But I needed something more to kick me into gear, so I took another hit on my coffee. Day-old coffee in a stained cup. It’s the only kind I drink. I like my eggs hard boiled and my drinks straight up, and I never get the two mixed up. Well, hardly ever.
I looked over at Lena. She was watching me longingly, licking her lips lustily. I launched a long, level look back. I’d’ve liked the luxury to linger a little longer leering leisurely at lovely, lissome Lena, with her long, lithe legs, languid, lustrous, lonesome lips, and luminous, long-lashed, lugubrious-lidded lilac eyes. Let alone listen to her lilting, lyrical, lucid locutions. But I knew what she was up to. I could read the yearning in her eyes! I could sense the unquenchable desire in her lips! So I did what any real man would do:
I offered her coffee.
“Thank you, Mr. Danger,” she murmured gratefully. “I guess you’re not such a tough guy after all.”
“Don’t count on it, sister,” I shot back; “when Mr. and Mrs. Danger had this baby, it’s not for nothing they named him ‘Chase’!”
The confused expression returned to her face. She gave me a lost puppy look. I flashed her one of my own – my patented Mexican hairless/emaciated dingo grimace. For some reason it seemed to creep her out, I don’t know why; she must have been a cat person.
“There’s a honcho I know who might be able to get us a lead on this caper,” I told her. “A professor at the local college. Goes by the name of Tweed Jacket. He’s an egghead all right, but for an egghead, he’s all right. In fact he was once a member of the faculty, until they dismembered him.”
“They…. terminated him?!?”
“Yeah. Then for good measure they changed their mind and exterminated him. After that he was done for good.”
The confused look remained on her face. I guess some people don’t get my brand of logic. But logic was no good to me now, I had a mystery to solve, so I headed over to pay the good professor a visit.
~ ~ ~ ~
His digs were in a neighborhood they called ‘Collegetown.’ Right away my finely-honed detective’s instinct told me there might be lots of academic types there. Wads of ’em, scads of ’em, whole piles of ’em. Which got me thinking: what’s the difference between a wad, a pile, and a scad? That was something I’d have to ask the professor when I saw him. Which wouldn’t be long now, judging from my location: I was at the corner of College Street and University Avenue and something told me Collegetown had to be close by.
I located the professor in the first faculty row house I came to: 1 Faculty Row. Somehow, the address fit!
I rapped on the door and the professor opened it. He was an archaeologist so his career was in ruins, but he managed a cheerful greeting anyway.
“Chase!” he said, “come in, my friend, come in! Have some coffee?”
“Yes I did, thanks,” I said, wondering how he knew.
“What brings you here today?”
“A beat-up Chevy with a bad clutch, but that’s not important. Anyway why do you care?”
“Well, I would advise against taking the tunnel. It’s restricted to car pools. And you know what that means!”
I knew all right: car-pool tunnel syndrome! That must be why my wrist had been acting up. But I never let little things like excruciating pain get in the way of my work. I pointed to a framed parchment on the wall and said, “That diploma says you’re a smart guy, let’s see you prove it. I’ve got a little problem I’m hoping you can help me out with.”
The professor’s eyes narrowed. His forehead creased like a cheap rug on the grimy floor of a two-bit speakeasy. “Hmm,” he said, “yes, I think I’ve got it….” which threw me, since I hadn’t even told him the problem yet. Then he exclaimed “eureka!” and extracted his glasses from under a pile of Hellenestic manuscripts. Which were Greek to me.
“Now then, my friend,” he said, “what can I help you with?”
“A mystery! What is it?”
“A situation or problem not understood that challenges human ingenuity for its resolution. But never mind the definitions, professor, we’ve got a case to solve. Let me come straight to the point.”
“I’m afraid it’s a little late for that, Chase.”
“All right then, let me make a long story short—”
“It’s too late for that too. You had your opportunity several paragraphs ago, but failed to avail yourself of it.”
“Well then, let me come to the point in a roundabout and circuitous manner if that’s all right with you, mister stickler-for-brevity,” I said. “A client of mine has a problem. A little matter of…. her past catching up with her.”
The professor froze. His face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale. “Cross-temporal personal apprehension!” he whispered huskily, as ominous music started to play from some unidentifiable source offstage. “And of the karmic persuasion no less! Why, this is a serious matter, Chase! It’s about as serious as you can get without being featured in a so-called in-depth investigation by a generically attractive but intellectually vacuous blonde anchorperson on one of those—”
“Yes I know how serious it is,” I interrupted. “The point is, you’re supposed to have one of the best brains in the business. I thought if we put your gray matter together with my gray matter we could get…. uh, some real dark, kinda grayish-black matter…. anyway we could get to the meat of the matter in a matter of minutes, as a matter of fact,” I muttered, getting madder and madder, “that is, if it matters to you like it matters to me – or to a certain mademoiselle whose misfortune merits the ministrations of my modus operandi.”
At the mention of a person of the estrogenic persuasion the professor’s face lit up. “Ah, Chase my friend, now it all begins to make sense,” he said. “I never was your equal when it comes to matters of the heart. Although why that should be is a mystery in itself, given your incorrigible neanderthal proclivities.”
“Spare me the compliments, Professor,” I said, “and just bottom-line it for me: can you help me or not?”
“Chase,” he said after a thoughtful pause, “it seems to me that your task is to determine where the truth lies. Which,” he added with a self-satisfied chuckle, “if I may take a little pride in my wordplay, conjures up a nice paradox.”
“The truth can’t lie,” I shot back, “and I don’t see what an amiable duo of medical professionals has to do with it.” Now it was his turn to be exasperated. I seem to have that effect on people. Call it a gift.
“Look Chase,” he said resignedly, “all I can suggest is that you look for clues. Occurrences of this type often fall into patterns, which might be deciphered through the use of applied reasoning. That, and investigation. Perhaps a systematic observation of your client and the vicissitudes that beset her might steer you onto the path of discovery of their origin, thus enabling you to alleviate the conditions that are causing her such disquietude.”
Hmmm, I thought: clues…. and investigation…. why hadn’t I thought of that? Generally ace detectives like me have to ignore the ridiculous suggestions of amateurs and stick to the methods that got us where we are in the first place. But I had to admit this one had some merit – clues and investigation. Yeah, I’d have to give the good professor’s unorthodox approach a try.
I trudged back to my office, lost in thought. My route took me past the scenes of some of my former cases: the pet store where a clerk had nodded off next to an aquarium; she’s sleeping with the fishes now. A construction site where a parka salesman wandered too close to a concrete truck; he ended up wearing a cement overcoat! An agricultural tract that an ex-gambler purchased with his winnings; poor sap, he cashed in his chips and bought the farm.
Ah, the happy memories.
But memories weren’t doing Lena any good so I resumed my penetrating analysis and continued on my way. Little did I suspect that when I got back to my office there would be a little surprise waiting for me.
~ ~ ~ ~
It was my old nemesis, Lieutenant Lew Tenent of the Secrets, Enigmas and Mysteries Tactical Investigation Unit, or SEMTIU.
“That’s right, Danger,” he said, “looks like today’s your lucky day. Headquarters thought you could use a little visit from the Unit. Or as we like to call it, Sem-ti-you.”
“Same to you too,” I said.
“What the…. why, I oughta….!”
I always used that line on Tenent and it always riled him. I don’t know why. Someday I’ll figure it out. That’s my job, figuring things out. But I had to tread carefully, the flatfoot was packing heat – I could see a thermos of hot coffee on his hip.
“What brings you here, Lieutenant?”
“My squad car. And I didn’t take the tunnel. But that’s not important; what’s important is that I need answers from you, Danger, and I need them now! I’ve had enough of your chin music. I don’t want to strong-arm you and I won’t stomach any back talk, so don’t get cheeky or give me any lip. I’ve boned up on the case and done my legwork, and I have the muscle to back me up, so unless you want a knuckle sandwich, spill your guts and finger the bum!”
“Easy, Lieutenant, I don’t think you have the heart to continue in this vein.”
“What the— why, aorta!…. Okay Danger, cut the wisecracks! The last time we met you went over my head, and did it behind my back. But we’ve run out of body parts now so it’s time to level with me: who’s the tomato? Why does she have four names? What does she have to do with the faces on Mount Rushmore? Are you in cahoots with the professor? What is a cahoot anyway? And what does a tweed jacket have to do with the fabric of time? I’ll get to the bottom of this, Danger, or my name isn’t I. Hunt Badguys!”
“But your name isn’t U. Hunt Badguys,” I said, “it’s Lew Tenent. Which is a little suspicious, don’t you think, being the same as your rank? And speaking of rank, when’s the last time you, uh, took the waters, in a hygienic manner of speaking?”
“Last time I what?”
“Took that deodorant soap out for a spin; surely you know what I meant?”
“Yes I do and don’t call me Shirley. As for changing my name, I just thought this might be a good place for me to introduce a little verbal tomfoolery of my own; why should you get all the laughs? But this is no time for comedy, Danger, so cut the funny stuff and gimme the lowdown or my associates here will have to rearrange that pretty face of yours!”
I had to tread carefully, the lieutenant was packing a rod. One misstep and it would be curtains. And curtain rods were one thing I didn’t need, my windows have blinds. Nevertheless I decided to show a little bravado. After all, what good is having it if you can’t flaunt it? So I jammed the roscoe in his button and said,
“Shut your maw, bo, or I squirt metal! I’m packin’ a heater, a gat, so unless you want a mud-pipe down your mush tell your gink to roll back his heels; one false move and he’ll be squirtin’ berry juice like rotten hidalgo in a Chicago gin joint! You savvy?”
His face went blank. “What does that mean?” he asked tentatively.
“I have no idea,” I answered sheepishly, “I was hoping you’d know.”
Fortunately, the narrator bailed me out by making the sound effect of a telephone ringing. I yanked the blower.
“Danger here. You don’t say…. you don’t say…. you don’t say!”
“Who was that?”
“He didn’t say.”
“What the— all right Danger, you’ll be saying plenty down at the station-house! If you don’t come clean with some answers, and fast, I’m going to run you in. Right boys?” [General laughter; a chorus of men in double-breasted suits and fedoras saying “That’s a good one boss!” and the like.]
Tenent was waiting for my answer with bated breath. Which made me wonder: what exactly is bated breath? Without knowing why, I reached for a mint. But mints were no match for Tenent and his goons. I had to think and I had to think fast. My brain was working faster than the babysitter’s boyfriend when he hears the parents’ car pulling into the driveway. Then suddenly I had an idea. It was a crazy, desperate idea, but it was so crazy that it just…. might…. work….
~ ~ ~ ~
That evening I found myself at a nearby watering hole nursing a stiff drink. My idea had worked like a charm – Tenent and his boys were off somewhere on a wild goose chase. I sat at the bar thanking my lucky stars. “Thanks, Lucky,” I said. Lucky Stars was the barmaid and local talent.
“Need some company, Chase?” she purred hopefully.
“Sorry, Luck, can’t socialize now,” I said, “I’m on a case.” The bar stools were out for repair so I had to sit on a wooden packing case. Which was actually good cover – nobody trusts a stoolie. Besides, Lucky knew better than to bother me when I was on a case, I couldn’t concentrate because I was too busy fidgeting so as not to get splinters in a certain anatomical area.
Speaking of anatomical areas, I was determined to get to the bottom of Lena’s case. I sat there absorbed in my thoughts. I called it being totally immersed in my work. Lucky called it a debilitating obsession disorder coupled with an associated inability to multitask. She’s good with big words. But however you looked at it, it didn’t add up.
“Chase, you big palooka,” she pleaded, “you won’t find any answers in that bottle!”
She was right. These days they put all the information right on the label. Or else you have to visit their website. Besides, it was ketchup.
“Hold on, Lucky,” I said, “I have an idea.”
“An idea!What is it, Chase??”
“A thought, concept or image present to one’s consciousness antecedent to the formulation of a plan. But never mind the definitions, I have a case to solve!”
I left Lucky to her disappointment. I figured she’d get over me some day, but maybe that was being overly optimistic. After all, I’m not just any fictional literary stiff, I’m…. Chase Danger, ace Private Eye!
~ ~ ~ ~
I trudged back to my office with Lena’s case gnawing at me like termites on steroids at a balsa-wood buffet. On a hunch I decided to swing by her place. I figured if her past was waiting to ambush her it might be lingering somewhere in that vicinity. But I had no idea what to look for: a younger version of Lena? A look-alike of the present-day person? Or something totally different, maybe one of those black shadow-thingies that pulled Patrick Swayze’s murderer down into the underworld in ‘Ghost’?
Suddenly I spied a furtive figure lurking in the shadows. Instantly I thought: is that pronounced ‘fertiv’ or ‘fyurtiv’? That was something I’d have to ask the professor the next time I saw him. Or the boys at SEMTIU. Either way, somebody owed me some answers!
I was hot on its trail when it disappeared around a corner. I followed, hard on its heels like fresh asphalt on a cheap pair of tennis shoes. For a moment I thought I’d lost it, then I made out a dim silhouette lurking in the darkness.
—Now just a darn minute, I thought, silhouettes can’t ‘lurk’! Besides, I’d just used lurk two paragraphs ago; doing it again would constitute blatant overuse of a hackneyed literary cliché. I should’ve said skulk. Skulk is such a cool word. But the narrator ignored me, which is just as well because right then my train of thought got derailed like the locomotive in that scene from ‘The Fugitive’ as the specter suddenly vanished from my view.
I picked it up again as it ducked into a restroom. I followed in hot pursuit. I knew it was hot because the blow dryer was set on ‘H’. It darted out again but I was all over it like a cheap toupee on a dime-store mannequin. I was sure I had the jump on it now. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the jump that mattered; the thing cleared the ditch. I didn’t. I folded like a three-legged card table at a slapjack tournament. The last thing I heard was a disembodied voice droning in the darkness, you can’t escape your past…. you can’t escape your past…. you can’t escape your past.…
And then everything went black.
~ ~ ~ ~
I came to hours later, disoriented and with a throbbing skull, in a refuse-strewn, dew-slickened shallow ditch on a newly-minted desolate gray morning just as the anemic, lethargic, mustard-hued sun was struggling to complete its diurnal ascent over the doleful, melancholy, uninviting and disconsolate urban landscape. The joint was a mess – adjectives all over the place.
I wasn’t in great shape either: one eye was shut, I was unshaven and raspy-voiced, I’d lost a shoe, and I had pigeon doo-doo sliding down my cheek. But I took solace, even as grown men crossed to the other side of the street and mothers shielded their children’s eyes from the sight of me pulling mildewed glops of gum out of my hair, that, at least I had my dignity.
I drew myself up and took stock of the situation. Aside from the aforesaid affronts to my personal hygiene and decorum, everything looked the same as it had the previous night. Only now in the morning light it didn’t seem furtive. Which was good, since I still wasn’t sure how to pronounce that damn word.
I knew Lena would come by soon looking for answers. And I knew I wouldn’t have any to give. Sure, with a little more time and effort I might be able to chase down her past: her successes, her failures, her memories, experiences, accomplishments and regrets – even her Permanent Record! – and try to prevent them from sabotaging her actions in the here-and-now. But I knew it was no good. Because even if I nailed them, more of the same would just ooze into existence to take their place. There’s no holding back that great existential truism: we are creatures of our past. It’s part of the human condition: what goes around comes around. The child is father of the man. As Shakespeare said, ‘What’s past is prologue.’ (He also said ‘Now where the heck did I leave my pen?’, ‘More ale please, wench,’ and lots of other things, but do they ever get quoted? Nooooo, apparently they’re not high-falutin’ enough.)
Maybe the reason Lena’s past was deja-vu-ing her all over the place was that she was trying too hard to hold on to it. Clinging too firmly to what’s past might be what makes it so difficult for humans to live freely and spontaneously in the present. Maybe we have to savor our blessings, experiences, and cherished memories and let the negative ones go in order to finally achieve that goal. I guess it’s true what the seers and sages have been telling us from time immemorial: you reap what you sow. You never step into the same river twice. Girls just wanna have fun. Okay maybe not that last one, sometimes I get confused, but you get what I mean.
Ultimately, maybe ‘the past catches up with us’ is just another way of saying, ‘life.’
~ ~ ~ ~
I stepped back and took one last look around. The world, for better or for worse, was in its orbit, with all the usual stuff happening in all the usual ways. People and things, sights and sounds, shapes and shadows, reality and illusion…. any or all of it could be elements of Lena’s past weaving themselves into the present to forge her future. And somewhere out there in the middle of it, Lena was plugging away, striding that libidinous stride, forging a present that turns into the past almost before it’s done happening.
I might still be able to dig up some answers to her puzzle. But would it be worth my sweat? Maybe not. Maybe some things in life just aren’t meant to be divulged. Like the special bond between a private eye and his little black book. Or like, when your date gets salad dressing on the corner of her mouth, it’s usually better to let somebody else tell her.
So now I had one more secret to take to my grave. Ultimately I decided to let it go. Because, like Lena said, beneath this rock-hard exterior I’m just a pussycat. Or did she say ‘weasel’? Anyway some kind of furry, rodent-like animal – that’s me!
I’m…. Chase Danger, Private Eye!!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
NOTES & ATTRIBUTIONS
Thanks to my son for the name “Chase Danger.” His wit also inspired several other phrases and gags.
“A neighborhood that knows how to keep its secrets”
– From Garrison Keillor’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion’s’ Guy Noir skits.
“A gaze so deep you could get a philosophy degree just standing in her line of sight”
– Guy Noir again.
“Her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale”
– Lyric from Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale.
“The name’s McGill …. I call myself Lil…. Everyone knows me as Nancy”
– Lyric from the Beatles’ Rocky Raccoon.
“A person of the estrogenic persuasion”
– Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion again.
“No, and don’t call me Shirley”
– Well known from the movie Airplane but many of us have come up with it independently when hearing someone say “Surely [whatever]”.
“So I jammed the roscoe in his button and said, “Shut your maw, bo….”
– From Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang, compiled by William Denton. See email@example.com I tweaked it to fit my needs, but the original nugget came from there.
“You don’t say… you don’t say… you don’t say!”
“Who was that?”
“He didn’t say.”
– A gag my friends and I used back in elementary school.
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
– Title of song written by Robert Hazard, which was a huge hit for singer Cyndi Lauper.
All other content is of my own creation.
Michael Yaworsky is a retired lawyer/legal editor. He lives in Rochester’s 19th Ward with his family.