Now don’t get me wrong. This dame was hotter than a two-dollar pistol. She made Jessica Rabbit look like a bulldog chewin’ a wasp. Thirty years my client’s junior, and full access to every nickel of his bottomless wallet, if she wanted a little chesterfield rugby with the dog-walker when the old fossil was catching up on lost Bowery Boys episodes, it woulda been easier than Brad Pitt getting a free drink in a gay bar.
But something didn’t sit right. The old man was convinced she was dancin’ the horizontal mambo, and he wanted me to tell him with who, where and how often. I was goin’ through his retainer like cancer through a white mouse, just for buckets of nothin’. Over a month I’d been tailin’ this broad, in swanky bistros, where she had lunch with her girlfriends, the gym, where I lost a few chins on the treadmill three over from hers, and even in the supermarket, where she never forgot his Bowel Buddy cookies, and spent an achingly long time poring over Chatelaine and Better Homes.
This was going down like an eyebrow hair on the back of my tongue. While I’m sure her excitement at home was wrist-slittingly rare, like watching him sip single malt in his satin smoking jacket, and trying to think he’s like Hef, and not just old, I can’t convince myself it’s evidence of her letting the pool-boy invade Vagistan.
Finally I got a break.
The old dog was gone playing shuffleboard with other survivors of the Confederate army, and wasn’t expected back ’til 6. I decided to follow up on a semi-related issue at the House of Bottled Happiness, and when I was negotiating the delicate balance between scotch and Irish, who did I notice in the Australian White aisle, but the old cave-painter himself. Ever the professional, I started in his direction only to halt in my tracks to see Matilda the Hun, an industrial-sized Rita McNeil in her 60s approaching my client like a T34 tank in the battle for Stalingrad. God forgive me, but from the side, this woman looked like Africa. Why is there a laptop in her back pocket? She threw her arms around the old relic, and the two fell into a kiss that, if not for the sex appeal of a traffic accident, could have come from a 1950’s Warner Bros. movie.
No point in lunch now, I thought.
I won’t describe what followed, because the limits of your imagination are there to protect you. It’s enough to know that the 70th birthday party his wife had planned for a month went off that night as advertised, while I went home to Casa Gumshoe to file away the afternoon’s grisly footage. While I doubt it will ever see the light of day, at least I’d have a much lighter conscience spending his money. And the dame? I finally persuaded Methuselah three months and a Cadillac deposit later that maybe his suspicions were weaker than what was left of his handshake, so I tossed him a blue pill and told him to count his blessings.
… the life of a flatfoot.