As per usual, another week another flashfiction. This one's based on pulp stories, and from what I've read over at terribleminds so far it might be a little held-back. Welcome to 1940s detective stories mixed with superheros. Please to enjoy!
"Dame's in your office," my partner and sometimes secretary Matt tells me the second I walk into the door. "Quite the looker too, if your into her kind."
He gives me a wink and stretches out his bum leg onto his desk. I know by his manner that I'll need to brace myself for this one. When I open the door though I still get the shock of my life.
"Good morning, Mr. Kurtz" she says. Her voice is like honeyed poison. Sweet and deadly at the same time. "I've a problem on my hands and I believe you're the right man to solve it for me."
She was black-haired, blue eyed and trouble all over with a capital T. In fact the T was blazoned in red across her black spandex suit. Madamme Tarantula, supervilliness extraordinaire. Instinctively I reach for my piece. I'm not a fan of capes, in fact you could say I hate their guts on general principle, but I like their enemies even worse. Especially the dame ones.
She smiles, puts up her hands. "You won't need that, Mr. Kurtz, I assure you. I'm merely here to solicit your services in a matter that's of the utmost importance to me."
"Maybe I ain't interested, lady," I tell her. "Maybe I don't wanna get in between a cape fight. Maybe I don't need that kinda trouble."
"I can make it worth your while," she purrs. She reaches into her utility belt, brings out a wad of cash that's bigger than I've seen in longer than I care to admit. Matt whistles from outside. I shut the door and take a seat across from her. I wave my hand, to let her know I'm interested and listening. I don't need to though. She already knows she's got my attention.
"I need you to find out who killed a man."
'Ever tried the police?" I ask sarcastically. She must not be a fan of my humor by the mean look she shoots me, her eyes shining out with fury underneath that domino mask of hers. I would say if looks could kill but for all I know she might be able to do that kinda thing.
"Or that cpae you arch," I offer up quick. "Dark Sentinel. Supposed to be the world's greatest detective. I'm sure he..."
"Whose murder do you think I'm trying to solve," she says. It ain't a question.
I lean forward in my chair. Now she's reallly got my attention.
"I didn't read... it wasn't in the newspapers..."
"Of course they couldn't print it yet. The cops haven't even found the body."
"So how do you know he's dead?"
"Woman's intuition?" I ask.
"Something like that." She shrugs, then smiles. "A little birdie told me."
I'm sure my mouth's gaping open like some dumb rube while I clue in. "The sidekick? What's his name ...Sparrow?"
She slips a piece of paper across my desk. "Here's where he's holed up. I wouldn't tell him who sent you, if I were you."
She leaves the wad of cash on my desk as she gets up to leave. "For expenses," she explains.
"Wait," I say, maybe a bit too loud. She cranes her neck to the side, gives me a backwards glance.
"Why? I mean, why are you doing this? You and the Dark Sentinel, you two were enemies though right? Arches? Ain't it better for you now that he's dead? Why pay me to find out who killed him?"
She turns around, tips her head and looks me straight in the eye. I've seen my share of crazy scary things from my time as a marine in the war and my brief time on the force. So when I say that the look on Madame Tarantula face is the scariest, most terrifying thing I've seen in my life you can be damn sure I mean it."
"You get to know a person when you arch them, Mr. Kurtz. What they'll do, what they won't do. How far theyll go to stop you when they think you need stopping. How they think and how they feel. You do it long enough it gets to a place that's beyond love, beyond hate. It's someting more."
She's moved closer to me, right in my face. I've backed up while she's talking, til my back's pressed up against the wall. It's an apt metaphor part of me thinks.
"I'm a very selfish woman, as you can imagine.I get very upset when someone takes things away from me even trivial, little things. Can you imagine how I feel when somebody takes something that important away from me?"
I swallow."Uh, pretty upset?"
She pats my cheek and nods. She saunters out of the office, and it's only when I hear the door slam shut that I realize I've got the shakes and I'm sweating like a junkie too long without his hop.
Instinctively I pour myself a drink and when that one's gone I pour myself two more. It's gonna be one of those weeks, I can tell.