Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Morning Mr. Hanks

Harry B. Sanderford

Chester Hanks awoke with a Schlitz induced headache that while not uncustomary was never the less annoying.  Eyes closed, he sleep-walked to the bathroom to relieve himself. Eyes still closed, he flushed, shuffled the 14 steps to the refrigerator, popped the top on a cold can of good morning and drained its contents entirely before squinting out at the day.  The replenishing effects were immediate but short lived as the events of the preceding night crept home. He heard soft snoring coming from his bedroom followed by an awfully official sounding knock at his door.

FUCK, is what he thought. “Hold your horses, I ain’t dressed,” is what he yelled at the front door before hurrying to close the bedroom door; hoping like hell the bulk under the blankets was Ruby. He buttoned his fly and finger combed his hair before opening the door. “How can I hep ya?”

“Good morning, Mr. Hanks. Sorry to wake you.”  It was 11:15 and the boozy, bodily, funk of debauchery issuing forth from the unsealed capsule caused Detective Stine to take a shallow breath and a step back.

“I was already up Sergeant Smartypants. What brings you around?” Chester asked. He’d opened the door only partially so it would not be confused with an invitation inside. Stine saw his invitation over Chester’s shoulder should he decide to use it, in the form of the bong standing General over an army of dead soldiers lined up on the coffee table. “I need to ask you a couple questions about your replacement at the Bijou, Sparky Denton.”

“I ain’t sure I can hep ya there chief. I didn’t rightly know the boy. So if that’s all then…” Chester figured it was worth a try but he wasn’t exactly surprised to see Dan Stine’s brogan step in before he could get the door closed. “Something else officer?”

“I know it’s early.” Crack of noon, Stine thought and rotated his head side to side working out a kink. “So let’s try again. It looks like you had a little party here last night. Maybe if you can’t think of anything pertinent to my investigation into the murder of your replacement, one Sparky Denton, you’d prefer to tell me about the bong I saw on your coffee table.”

“Well the short answer there officer, is that it’s not mine.” This was true but Chester knew it made no difference to the detective. Chester had a hard and fast rule about cooperating with revenuers. He didn’t. He was going to have to give this one something though. Because for the life of him, he could not recall where the owner of that bong, one Eugene Gabardine, had gotten to and he did not want Sergeant Stine helping him figure it out. “You know, now that I’ve had a moment to study on it, I do remember that Sparky feller was referred to me by another feller workin’ off his debt to society in Alice.”

“Do tell,” Stine said pushing the door open a little wider and stepping back from the threshold.

“Dudley, Malcom Dudley is his name. Ever’one just calls him Malc-Dud. Get it?” Chester smiled his I’m on your side here partner smile, hoping that would be enough.

“Go on.” Stine prodded.

“I don’t know if it’s true, but word is Malc-Dud walked from a murder two rap with time served and 120 hours of commie service.”

“So what’s his connection with Sparky Denton and why did he want him working at the Bijou?” Stine circled Malcom Dudley, Malc-Dud on his note pad.

Chester now knew Malc-Dud had been setting him up all along. Apparently Sparky had accidentally taken his fall. He intended to settle that score himself but he didn’t mind if the cavalry helped a little bit. “Boss Gabardine provided Malc-Dud’s defense,” he answered.

"Open a window Hook," Stine said flipping his pad closed indicating they were done.

This is a small bit I wrote for a collaboration with A*K that we started last year and will resume sometime soon. In the meantime, you can play catchup beginning here: if you are so inclined. H


John Wiswell said...

Should I presume Kate wrote the beige portion with the Bijou mention, or is that background just there to mess with my head? It certainly reads like it was all you, more restrained than her typical fare.

Harry said...

This was all me John. It was part of a larger collaboration with Kate. The beige background hitched a ride somehow in the copy pasting and I couldn't figure how to get rid of it. If you care to read a more restrained example of Kate's handiwork, I urge you to have a look at this:

Your distaste for her work has been noted in your comments before and I've let it go. It's uncalled for and unappreciated.

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

Of course I want to know more about Ruby snoring softly in the bedroom and the night of debauchery, even though it's probably not gentlemanly to kiss and tell. I enjoy your collaborations and, in fact, wondered how it might be to share a storyline with Mr. H. B. Sanderford.

Harry said...

I'd be game for that sometime Cathy. Thanks!

Steve Green said...

Harry, I can certainly relate to answering the door when hungover, five minutes after getting out of bed (at noon) after a party.

These officiousnesses just seem to KNOW when you're at the most vunerable don't they?

Once again, great writing.

Anonymous said...

sounds good! Wouldn't you hate to have someone come knocking when you are hungover?

Madam Z said...

You're so good, Harry. I love the dialogue. It's very natural sounding. And the description of Chester's abode is real enough to make my nose wrinkle. My favorite line (and that was hard to decide upon) is " the form of the bong standing General over an army of dead soldiers lined up on the coffee table."
Regarding "Malc Dud" I didn't "get it" until the second reading. Duly noted and appreciated. :)

Paul said...

Harry, I agree completely with Z about that line, but I have to say that "...popped the top on a cold can of good morning..." made me laugh from experience.
A fine read Sir...nice to catch up!

Harry said...

That's must be because we have different sweets Paul. Australia's missing out on Milk Duds. Good to hear from you Buddy!

Stephen said...

I love how characters in these type of stories have a way with words:

"Apparently Sparky had accidentally taken his fall."

Funny to call murder an accident.

A great voice with this one, Harry. And the way you slipped in an out of his head was well done.

Anonymous said...

Yes, fantastic voice Harry! As wonderful as all the lyricism is, I loved this line most: "Chester had a hard and fast rule about cooperating with revenuers. He didn’t." Great!

Chuck Allen said...

I enjoyed this one too! I love the characters and how their personalities ooze out of their conversations. Great job!

Stephen said...

Hi there Harry - I liked the cut and thrust as the characters tried to get through or block that door. The debauched evening begs interesting questions. I also liked that 'can of good morning': as a student, I also used to enjoy the cake and kebab of good morning -- the breakfast of kings.

Scotland is also short on this thing you call Milk Duds. As I love sweets, I feel samples should've been taped to this post. Purely for visualisation purposes. lol.


Icy Sedgwick said...

I've come across Milk Duds before so loved the Malc-Dud pun.

Anonymous said...

Har, this was great. Good visual. I could even smell the bong residue. The names are catchy. Will there be more.

Jodi MacArthur said...

Woah! Detective Stine was on to somethun' there.I remember when you guys were writing these. Like Jeanette, for some reason this piece really appealed to my sense of smell.