Private Investigator – Chapter 4
Frank Francis is a private detective. A private eye. A private dick.
Chapter 4 – I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)
When I entered my office on Monday morning I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something looked different about the place. Then I realized it was the fact that everything was on the floor. The joint had been ransacked, turned upside-down and inside-out. Frankly I thought it made the place look nicer, but my secretary Dolly was of a different opinion.
“I quit,” she spat at me (in both words and actual spit) before slamming the door.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I got the distinct impression my employee was disgruntled.
Without Dolly around my job had increased in difficulty exponentially. I never realized how much I’d come to rely on her until she was gone. She was like a reliable old…uh…..Dolly usually handled the analogies.
I sat at my desk not remembering if I was supposed to be eating breakfast or lunch. And who would be bringing me those meals. I couldn’t find a damn file in the place. Most of the files being on the floor didn’t help. They just ended up getting stepped on and stared at dumbly. I couldn’t even remember what case I was working on. Something about a box factory?
I clicked on the intercom button. “Dolly, get me the President of the box factory! Pronto!”
My intercom light blinked and a gruff voice responded. “Dolly’s gone, Detective. This is Albert.”
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but Dolly sounded different.
Albert’s big hulking frame lumbered into my office. His thick arms, like tree trunks. Imagine being pummeled by those pythons. Imagine being sheltered in those arms after a severe pummeling. Imagine that gentle giant cooing in your ear, “You’ll never be pummeled again.” Imagine the hairs on the nape of your neck standing up. I began to question everything, then the big lummox spoke.
“Your office looks different.”
“I was, uh, thinking the same thing.”
I asked Albert what he did when Olivia and him got in a fight and he said flowers. I expected nothing less cliche from the big blockhead, but it was just crazy enough to work. We picked up some begonias and headed over to Judy’s Diner, Dolly’s night job. We blew by Judy haranguing me about my tab and I shoved the flowers in Dolly’s face as she was taking an old man’s order. After sneezing in the old man’s face, she turned to me with disgust. I was used to people turning to me with disgust. I’ve found it to be the most common way people turn to me.
“What do you want, Detective?”
“I want you back, Dolly. I’ll do anything. I’ll give you a raise.”
“You already don’t pay me as it is.”
“Fine, I’ll double it.”
Dolly glanced around at the dingy diner. Wailing babies. The stale scent of old coffee in the air. Old men with waitress’ snot on their faces.
“Alright, I guess I can come back. But I won’t work late anymore.”
“Fine. Neither will I.”
“And you can’t yell at me over little things like when you can’t peel a yogurt lid off.”
“Those yogurts are hard, but fine.”
“And you have to drop whatever case you’re working on. The people who tore your office apart mean business.”
I shared a glance with Albert who just stared dumbly and blankly ahead, lost in his own stupid world.
“And I’m allergic to begonias.”
The old man wiped his face with a rag. “I coulda told you that.”
We all shared a hearty laugh and then Dolly sneezed in the old man’s face again.
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