I was slouched in my office chair, consulting with my partner, Jack - Jack Daniels. Suddenly, in walked a dame looking like no dame I’d ever seen. Unless you count the ones that come tri-folded, with staples and a list of turn-offs and turn-ons.
She would have been about 5’8” if it wasn’t for the 4 inch stilettos. Honey blond hair just past her shoulders, lips like the Sheik of Araby’s pillows, and an hourglass figure that looked to be right around 25 minutes past. The string of ice around her neck was worth fifty large if it was worth a fin.
This frail couldn’t be an angel, because there’s no way I’m going to heaven. And bill collectors don't come in that kind of packaging. That left one possibility. I had a client.
“Are you Dirk Manlee, Private Investigator?” she asked in a voice that reminded me of a smoky juke-joint at one in the morning.
“That’s what the sign on the door says, dollface. What brings you to the wrong side of the tracks? I’d offer you a chair, but I only have one, and it’s occupied.”
“Mr. Manlee, my husband passed away recently of a heart attack. Our gardener found him floating in the pool. We were all so surprised. My Pookie was the picture of health.”
"He was Australian." As if that explained anything.
“How old was your Pookie?”
“He would have been 87 next month.”
Things were starting to fall into place now.
“And I suppose he left you a load of spondulix, but you can’t get it without my help?”
She stood staring at me, looking like she’d been hit in the back of the head with a lead-filled trout.
“Obviously, I’ve come to the right place. When my late husband’s…”
“Yes. When Pookie’s will was read, the executor said that the only thing I was to receive was this note.”
She handed me a small scrap of paper. The only writing on it was some scrawled numbers:
“My Pookie was quite the prankster, but I never thought he’d do something like this to me. The will said if I figured out the puzzle, I’d find his fortune. Did I mention Pookie hated banks?”
I’d stopped listening long before she got to that point. Something about these numbers looked familiar. I rooted though my desk like a dog with Alzheimers looking for last year’s bone. I finally found what I was looking for, under the remains of my previous partner, Senor Cuervo. I’m sort of a multinational corporation.
After a few minutes work, I looked up at Mrs. Pookie and said, “OK, kitten, I’ll take your case…for ten percent of the mazuma.”
“That’s an awful lot of money, Mr. Manlee, but I suppose I could be persuaded.” She looked at me the way a pit bull looks at a sirloin.
“Call me Dirk, dollface.”