PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…
PART 1 – Hatcher recalls a gun fight with mobster Tips Malone. He was never able to figure out who shot first in that case.
PART 2 – BQB’s Attorney, Delilah K. Donnelly, delivers a bag containing two action figures. BQB claims these are necessary for Hatcher’s research but let’s face it. That nerd just wants them.
AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…
“All right,” I said as I pushed a toy laser gun into a tiny Han Solo’s hand. “Now if Solo was over here and then Greedo walks in…”
Hatcher checks for typos.
Delilah looked as bored as a sinner in church. She stared at the toy Greedo in her hand as if someone had dropped a pile of horse manure all over her delicate fingers.
“Ms. Donnelly,” I said. “That’s your cue to make your green space man enter the room.”
Delilah rolled her eyes and expelled an exasperated sigh.
“Mr. Hatcher,” the sultry siren said. “This is most undignified. I already had to endure standing in line at a bargain store behind various rapscallions who find it be perfectly acceptable to be out in public whilst clad in pajama bottoms. I was even forced to endure a lecture from Mr. Battler to be sure to return these quote unquote ‘collector’s items’ to him with their original packaging intact. Must I endure the nonsense of pretending to be a green space man as well?”
“What?” I asked. “You expect me to play with myself?”
I knew that came out wrong but it was too late to pull the words back into my mouth.
Delilah raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“I suspect you do that often, Mr. Hatcher.”
That dame’s poker face was impeccable. I never knew if she was serious or joking. I’ve seen brick walls that displayed more emotion.
“Come now, Ms. Donnelly,” I said. “It’ll all be worth it when we crack this caper.”
“Bah, very well,” Delilah said as she made Greedo walk across the desk.
It was a surreal site, kind of like watching a young Queen of England playing with an action figure.
“Do his voice,” I commanded.
Delilah shot me a look that caused me to deduce that she wanted to strangle me with my own neck tie.
Dames and action figures don’t mix.
“Mr. Hatcher, I hesitate to say this as we are work colleagues but I must make it known that when you say such foolish things I’m forced to fight back a strong urge to put my cigarette out in your eyeball.”
Joke? Serious? Again, I had no clue.
“Point taken, Ms. Donnelly, point taken.”
Delilah pulled a silver pocket watch out of her clutch and checked the time.
“I apologize for having to cut this soiree short but there’s a seat at the opera waiting for me.”
The opera. A classy place for a classy gal. You’d never catch this shamus dead in a joint like that and alas, I was once again reminded that my chances of making Delilah the fourth Mrs. Hatcher were slim and none and slim had just packed a bag and run off like a thief in the night.
“Sounds like a real hoot and a half,” I said. “I must say though, Ma Hatcher would frown upon me allowing a lady to wander about the streets on her own without an escort.”
“I’m meeting someone,” Delilah said as she stubbed her cigarette out in my ashtray. “A fine gentleman will be picking me up momentarily.”
A fine gentleman. Whoever he was, I’d of gladly bareknuckle boxed a thousand ornery wolverines just to trade places with him.
Delilah stood up and I followed suit. Ma Hatcher taught me well. I opened the door and showed my guest out.
“Which show are you taking in?” I asked as I led the way downstairs.
“A Mozart piece,” Delilah said as we cut across Ms. Tsang’s restaurant floor. “I doubt you’ve ever heard of it, Mr. Hatcher. It’s a rather complicated title. ‘Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.’”
“Ahh,” I replied. “‘The Abduction from the Seraglio.‘ A fine show, though a bit drab for my taste.”
Delilah’s money maker looked as if it had just lost a few bucks.
“I picked up a little German while I was giving the Nazis what-for.”
“Of course,” Delilah said with her lips curled up ever so slightly in her version of a smile.
I opened the front door and led the blonde outside.
“Thank you Mr. Hatcher,” Delilah said. “I appreciate your chivalry but you may take your leave. I expect my gentleman caller any minute.”
“If it’s all the same, Ms. Donnelly,” I said as I lit up a stogie, “I’ll stick around for a bit longer. The criminal element runs thick through this neighborhood and I dare say I’d have to fling myself off the Golden Gate Bridge if any harm were to come to your person while I was in the general vicinity.”
Delilah paused for a moment then started again.
“That’s oddly sweet, Mr. Hatcher.”
“I’m an oddly sweet kind of guy, Ms. Donnelly.”
A few minutes passed. We shot the breeze about days gone by and before we knew it, a stretch limousine pulled up to the curb.
A chauffeur stepped out, opened the door, and helped the lady into the vehicle.
“Have fun playing with yourself, Mr. Hatcher.”
Those were the last words she said to me just before the chauffeur got back behind the wheel and drove the dame I desired away.
Joke? Serious? I didn’t care. She felt the need to turn around and say one last thing to me and that’s all that mattered.
Susan Tsang, Proprietor of Tsang’s China Palace, Hatcher’s Landlady
Like a bloodhound with its tail between its legs, I walked back inside Tsang’s China Palace empty handed, but not for long.
My landlady, Ms. Tsang, greeted me with a steaming hot plate of moo goo gai pan.
“Holy Crap, Jake,” Ms. Tsang said. “Who is this woman that keeps coming to see you?”
“Who?” I asked. “Ms. Donnelly? She’s just a work acquaintance.”
“Work acquaintance my ass. She’s beautiful. You need to lock that shit up.”
Ms. Tsang always had a way with words.
“Some fella already beat me to the punch,” I said as I headed upstairs.
“Who?!” Ms. Tsang asked.
“I dunno,” I answered. “Someone who made better life choices than I did I suppose.”
Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.