planted the seeds for this in a comment he made to the Gangster trio last night.
Here's part one of a little story I like to call The Maltese Dildo
It was night in San Francisco, and my office phone hadn’t rung yet. Odd, since there’s usually a man wanting me to check on his wife. There are a million crimes in the city behind the stucco of the gay ghetto, proving once again that a beautiful body can’t always cover for an ugly ass. Yup, San Fran’s streets were like the trick you topped the night before, pretty under the cosmetic effect of darkness, but exposed to reveal rotting sores in the harsh light of day.
I sighed, and rose from my desk to grab my overcoat when the door opened on a beautiful dame in red sequins. She smelled of money and cheap Bourbon, with a bit of trouble behind her ears.
“Are you the one they call Rayford Chestnut?” she asked, her voice low and sultry. I could see her singing her torch songs at one of the local gin joints, peddling her wares for all the pretty faces. But she still needed to shave her 5 o’clock shadow.
“What can I do for you, doll?” I asked, slowly reaching in my desk for pistol. I always feel more comfortable when my hand is on my piece.
“Boss Vinnie sent me with a message,” she said, slinking her way to my desk. When she sat down, I could see I wasn’t the only one with a loaded weapon at the ready. Based on my approximation, she had at least nine millimeters on her weapon. “He said for you to stay away from the Maltese Dildo.”
I perked up my ears at that. I had never heard of such a thing. “And why did he say that, sweetheart?”
“Because, handsome, you have a bad habit of popping up where you aren’t wanted.” The more she talked, the closer she leaned in. I could smell Boss Vinnie’s cologne all over her bosom. She ran a finger down my chest. I was unsure which gun she was going for. “He still hasn’t forgiven you for bringing the police in on his rum running operation on Land’s End.”
“Can I help it my client’s boyfriend was fooling around with one of Vinnie’s whores and the police happened to be trailing me?” I asked, as I grabbed her hand before it reached my second favorite piece. “But you can tell Boss Vinnie that I want nothing to do with his dildo. I have better things to fool around with.”
She stood up, adjusting herself. “I’ll pass that on, gorgeous. You come by and see me sometime, big boy. I sing every night at the End Up on Castro.”
“I will, doll face,” I replied, walking over to open the door for her. She sauntered her way out, making sure I caught a glimpse of her proportions as she left.
I returned to my desk, and pulled out my phonebook. If Boss Vinnie didn’t want me snooping around in his business, that was the best invitation I could get. Even if I wasn’t getting paid. I decided to call Hector, my usual associate in matters like this. I dialed the operator and had her connect me.
“Hello,” Hector answered sullenly.
“Hector, this is Rayford. Feel like helping my sniff around Boss Vinnie’s business?”
Hector wasn’t much for conversation. However, he was unmatched in finding out what other people were doing, and he was handy with a weapon. He was also one of the few people I could trust behind me.
“Meet me at the End Up on Castro in a half hour. There’s a new torch singer you’re going to love.”
“Ok, boss.” He hung up. I returned my phone to the holder and picked up my coat. My night was going to get interesting.
Hector was wearing his favorite suspenders and trousers when I arrived at the club. You could always tell they were his favorite because they looked to have never been taken off. He frowned at my approach.
“Hi boss. The dame you brought us here to see has given us front row seats. Boss Vinnie will be joining us later.”
“Good work, boy Friday,” I said, slapping him on the back. Even if he was a decade older than me, he was still just a boy. And two feet shorter than me. “Shall we go in?”
“Sure, boss,” he replied, leading me through the door. The guard at the door was expecting us, and the cigarette girl led us to our table in front of the stage. She gave us each a complimentary pack of Lucky Strikes, and our gin arrived a few moments later. Sure, Boss Vinnie was a crook, but he knew how to treat us well. I lit my Lucky as the night’s emcee walked out and announced Miss Scarlet Feaver was about to take the stage.
The dame who warned me away from the Maltese Dildo came on in a red plumed feather boa and bright red sequins. She still smelled of trouble. I turned to ask Hector about his impression of her, but he had walked off while my attention was on the vixen in front of me. She vamped her torch song so well, I’m sure there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. Even my seat was getting damp the way she played with her boa.
When her song ended, she went backstage. And then something long and hard poked me in the back. I slowly turned to see a long cylinder pointing at me in the hands of Lewis Rothschild, Boss Vinnie’s shrewd accountant. Legend had it that Lewis started working for Vinnie after Vinnie made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Lewis had been a nice deli owner, until Vinnie threatened to make him sleep with the gnishes. Since then, Lewis had become an expert at laundering Vinnie’s dirty rum money. To see Lewis holding a piece was an unexpected surprise.
“What can I do for you, Lewis?” I asked, deftly reaching for my own piece.
“Vinnie sent me to fetch you,” Lewis replied, pushing his spectacles back up the bridge of his nose. “He wants us to join him in his office.”
“Well, I’ll take it as a compliment that he sent a pushover like you rather than Joe.” Joe was the big goomba Vinnie used to get protection money. Joe Carmazzi was big in every respect and intimidating as all get out. When Joe said to get on your knees, you got on your knees. Joe was also famous for breaking legs, usually on the expensive tables made overseas.
Lewis sneered. “I may not be as big as Joe, but I still know how to use my gun.”
“No need to prove it now, Lewis. I’ll cooperate.”
“Good. Submission to your betters suits you, gumshoe. Or do you lowlifes prefer dic?”
“Better a dic than a twat.”
“Please, Mr. Chestnut. I’m only doing my job here.”
“Fine.” I stood and allowed Mr. Rothschild to lead me to the back office of Vinnie Pavianni.
I'm really hoping the dirty mindedness that went into the first part came through ok. I'd hate to think not everyone on my friend list has a dirty mind. And yes, I'm well aware I'm ripping off just about every hard-boiled spoff in exsistance. But isn't it FUN?
Past that, nothing new here. The excitement of my day was doing laundry.