I Am Bick Pentameter, Private Eye

Marian Allen

Marian is back again! She writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and humor - some of the humor is even intentional. She has had three novels published on electronic disk, and her stories have appeared in print anthologies and on-line magazines.

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"What can I do you for?" I asked the dame.

She blinked, and sat in the blue plastic chair beside my desk. I offered her a smoke. She shook her head and said, "No thanks. I quit."

"Good girl," I said, and lit one up for me. "Now, what's your business?"

"Well," she said, and stopped.

I waited, while she chewed her lips and thought.

"You see...I found..."

I charge for consultations. She could sit there spouting sentence fragments all day long, if she would pay to do it.

"Well," she said, "My husband is unfaithful."

"That's a new one. Never heard of that before," I said.

"You're making fun of me." She frowned and started to get up.

I grabbed my pen. "Let's have the details. Is there any proof, or just a vague suspicion?"

"Oh, there's proof." She pulled a piece of paper from her purse.

I looked at it.

"I got it off his desk," she told me.

"This his writing?"


"A poem, eh?" I read it over twice. He called himself a "babe." But there was worse. He called himself his girlfriend's babe. He asked for her to "play the mother's part." Sick stuff.

I folded up the paper. "Take this back. You don't need me; you need to see a priest."

When I looked up at her, she'd pulled a shiv.

"You read that thing," she said. "Now, will you help, or do I ventilate your heart for you?"

"Is this a dagger which I see before me? Put away that blade!"

I socked her, hard. She crumpled to the floor. I got the knife.

"Now, beat it, sister. Take this, when you go." I gave her back the poem. "You and him deserve each other. Lotsa luck."

She left.

When she was gone, I tried to do some work, but that damned poem wouldn't let me go.

I gave it up. Fresh air might do me good. I put my hat on and went down the street.

"To hell with air," I thought, "I need a beer."

The joint was packed. I got myself a brew. A pal of mine, a playwright, name of Bill, stuck up a hand and waved. I joined him.

"Bill," I said, "the world's a funny place."

"It is," says Bill.

"And poets ought to be locked up. At least, I know of one who ought to be." I wondered who he was. "I should have got his name."

Bill bought a round.

"What's in a name?" he said.

I guess he had a point.

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