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Crazy Lady Detective Agency

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When my dog went missing, I focused on Lamont James.  Lamont’s my sometime friend — quote unquote — who brought dog-frickin-biscuits every time he visited to drink my beer.  And I think he had a key to my crib cause my one-time girlfriend Monica said she lost the one I gave her last year and Lamont has been seen walking with her on Broadway.

I loved my dog, Marvin.  Not one of these yappy little candidates for a squeak toy, he’s a mixed breed pit bull who holds his own in the park.  Marvin would get down off the porch and wrassel with the big dogs.  That’s the test of character.

Next thing I thought of was my gal Charmayne.  Charmayne coulda been a bulldog herself.  She’s the toughest, hottest babe in the hood, like when the summertime came and the sun went down, she’d peel off layers and make traffic stop on Amsterdam Avenue.  That one always looked foxy, with her short shorts and her headlights hangin out of a blouse open to her bellybutton.  We saw each other for a few dates.  Nothin more than holdin hands.

But she got on my case later when she thought I’d done wrong by one of her girlfriends.  She waltzed into Small’s Bar and slapped me side of the head.

“I want you to get your shit outta Kereeka’s hooch and don’t bother her no more.  You two-timin her and gonna break her heart.  And don’t touch the Nespresso machine cause it’s mine.”

I said, “You confusin me with some other dude, Charmayne.  I’m not down on Kereeka.  I got a job running a parking lot ten hours a day.”

“Mind what I say, mofo.”  Then she walked out of Small’s and everbody was laughin at me.  Humiliatin is the word for it, but I know Charmayne has character and was probably havin her monthly or got troubles with her mother.

Tough.  That’s why I called Charmayne.  “Somebody stole my Marvin, Charmayne, and you the only person can get him back from Lamont, who I think is the perp.”

She says, “Any whyn’t you do it?  It’s your dog.”

“If Lamont did not steal my dog, my accusin him would cost me our friendship.  And if he did steal my dog, he might try to whup my ass cause he a mean….”

She laughed on the phone like a fire siren.  “You think I’m some kind of ladies detective agency?”  And the siren went off again, like to make me deaf.

“Give you fifty bucks you find Marvin and kick Lamont’s ass.”

“A deal.”

With fifty bucks on the table I had to protect my investment.  I knew where Lamont lived on 126th off St. Nicholas Avenue.  So I hang at Biggy’s Pizza. which smells like Lysol, till he waltzed up the street.  Charmayne steps out from a beauty parlor storefront right behind Lamont.

“Stop right there, Lamont, and face me like a man,” she shouts.

“Who you talkin to, girl?”

“I’m talkin to you, a dog-nappin low-down thief in the night who done my friend wrong, and he wants his dog back.”

“I don’t got no dog!”

“What’s in that Gristedes shoppin bag?  Open it!”  She was shoutin and I could hear it through Biggy’s open window.

“Ah, man, you got no call….”

Well, Charmayne grabbed the plastic bag from his hands and a dozen eggs hit the front stoop.

“Gah-damn,” Lamont wailed.  “My eggs.”

“Don’t make me mad!  Now the other bag!”

Kind of embarrassed, he opened it slowly.  She snatched the bag and turned it open so her and me could both see it had dog kibbles.  Not Marvin’s brand, but he’s not picky.

“Ah, you got no call to do that, Charmayne.”

“Lamont, you go upstairs and bring me that dog or I’ll call the cops on your sorry ass.  Dog nappin is against the law.  Right now, I say.”

I finished my pepperoni slice and threw the crust in the street for the rats just as Lamont came out the door with Marvin.  “Lamont,” I shouted, “you found my dog.  Bless you, my man.  I been lookin’ everywhere.”

“This Charmayne say I stole your dog.”

“Ah, nah, man.  Ain’t the first time Marvin decided to go for a walk.  Why, thank you too, Charmayne.”

He stepped backwards up the stoop.  “You got this woman to hit on me, accusin me of dog nappin?”

“Why, no, Lamont, I told her there was a fifty dollar reward for returnin Marvin.”

“Hey,” he said.  “I found the dog!  I get the fifty.”

“But she returned him to me.  Besides, you owe me seventy-five from getting your stuff outta hock at the pawn shop.  Or you can give Charmayne fifty and me twenty-five…and the key to my crib.  Or I can call that Irish cop who’s usually around the corner on Martin Luther King Boulevard.”

And that’s how me and Marvin got reunited.  And Lamont apologized a little bit when I got my key and twenty-five bucks back.  He said Marvin loved him and no one ever loved him before.

Later, Charmayne tells me, “You got character, Lamont.  What they call psychology.  And I’m sorry for slappin you at Small’s.”

“I’m glad all is well again in the hood,” I say with my best smile.  “And I got an idea, Charmayne.  Let’s get a beer at Small’s and I’ll tell you my idea about startin the Crazy Lady Detective Agency.”

 

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Bio:  Walt moves between writing genres, from mystery to humor, speculative fiction to romance with a little historical non-fiction thrown in for good measure.  His work has appeared in print and online in over two dozen publications, including Short-Story.Me.  He's also bounced from Fortune 500 firms to university posts, and from homes in eight states and to a couple of Asian countries.  He now lives in New Jersey where he co-edits a community newsletter and moderates a writing group.

 

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