Tag Archives: noir

Top Ten Things Your Girlfriend Might Say About You if She Were a Classic Film Noir Detective


Fear not, 3.5 readers.  Jake Dashing continues to file his pop culture mystery reports.

I’m just so bogged down with all my work here at Bookshelf Q. Battler Headquarters that I never have time to edit and post them.

I really need to hire an assistant.

I head a rumor though that after being told to pound sand one too many times by Attorney Donnelly, Jake has set his sights on a lady detective who he shares some uh, let’s say, “personality traits” with.

Here the mystery woman is, with the Top Ten Things Your Girlfriend Might Say About You if She Were a Classic Film Noir Detective.

(Translated from English to Film Noir Speak.)

10.  ENGLISH: Babe, you left the bathroom a mess!

FILM NOIR SPEAK:  Another day, another dollar and another twenty-four hours closer to meeting my maker. I gave up on a perfect life long ago but call me crazy, I feel like even a gal like me has a right to five minutes of peace alone in the powder room.

Sigh.  No such luck.  I open the door and find the floor covered with enough water to float the Titanic, which is ironic, because the floor is also littered with enough towels to soak up the Pacific Ocean.

I need to think.  I go to the sink and turn on the faucet, hoping a splash of cool water on my face will subdue my burning rage.  No such luck.  The sink is filled with a twisted concoction of whisker hairs, shaving cream, and toothpaste.

Just what ever gal wants. A furry viscous fluid waiting for her.  Lucky me.

Thirty seconds with a washcloth would have spared my eyes from this sight.  What’s the skinny on this palooka? Is he stupid? Rude? Was he born in a barn? Raised by hobos?

Is this some kind of bizarre power play? Leave a mess to see if the little woman will clean it up?

Or is he just that obtuse that he doesn’t notice things like this?

Speaking of noticing things, out of the corner of my eye I spot that the toilet is filled with more skid marks than the Indy 500 race track.

Men. Can’t live with ’em.  Sorry. There isn’t a second verse to that old song and dance number.

9.  ENGLISH:  I love you.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Love.  That and a plug nickel will buy you a cup of coffee, but at least you never have to worry about your java sprouting legs and walking away.

Men, on the other hand, have a bad habit of becoming gold medal marathon runners when you least expect it.  There one day, gone the next, the only memories he leaves you with are his silhouette against the moonlight as he makes a beeline for the door and that old familiar throbbing in your ticker…


Then again, it could just be gas.

8.  ENGLISH: I wish you’d take me somewhere nice.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION:  There’s a part of me that wants to dance. Not that I’m a spritely ballerina type mind you but the madcap irony of life is that the less you have of it, the more you want to embrace it.  Rattling around in the back of my mind like so many marbles shot by the kid with the best aggie in school are images of myself as a wrinkled up old broad, wrapped up in a shawl, rocking away in my wheelchair, cursing myself for not having danced more in my youth.

I owe it to that old gal to trip the light fantastic fella, so either cut a rug with me or I’ll find someone who will.

7.  ENGLISH:  I baked you cookies.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Sweets.  They’re one of the many cruel jokes played on us by the man upstairs.

Surely you’ve realized by now that the Almighty  has a peculiar sense of humor, right?

Cookies are delicious, but too many and you’ll end up looking like the love child of Fatty Arbuckle and King Kong.

Making whoopee is an equally pleasant pastime, but pick the wrong person and you’ll end up with some kind of dirty social disease.  You know, the kind that makes your privates shrivel up, turn green, and that’s only if you’re lucky.

Still, everything in moderation is the way to go, so here are some cookies. One a day makes the blues go way.

Two a day will make me go away.

Make your choice, Jack.

6.  ENGLISH:  Do these jeans make my butt look big?

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Sizes are like opinions.  They vary greatly depending where you go, and they all leave you feeling like you’re going to explode.

In this case, I feel like there’s going to be an ass explosion. I’m not about to share my size with you, Nosebox McGee, but let’s just say I’ve always fit in the same number except for today, as I tried a new boutique where apparently it’s the company creedo that everyone should have an ass flatter than everyone thought the pre-Columbus world was.

I can tell you’re burning a hole in the back of my jeans with your lustful eyes, because like bathroom cleanliness, subtlety has never been your strong suit.

So make like a tipped over milk carton and spill, Jack. Is it round like a candy apple or does it look like it’s got its own gravitational pull?

5.  ENGLISH: You forgot my birthday, jerk.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION:  Time. Oh how that relentless son of a bitch enjoys teasing me. Taunting me. Yanking days off the calendar of my life with reckless abandon, leaving me with little more than fuzzy memories of cheap men and even cheaper vodka.

Eighteen.  Twenty-one. All the best birthdays are gone now.  What’s left to celebrate to celebrate now other than being one year closer to shaking hands with Mr. Grim Reaper himself?

Now there’s a celebrity whose autograph you don’t want.

Still, it’s perfectly normal for anyone with a pulse to feel a burning desire to be remembered. In the end, when all is said and done, when the last clump of dirt is heaped on our graves and the undertaker collects his due, all we are to the people we leave behind is the sum total of the memories they carry with them in their minds.

And apparently, my fella isn’t carrying many thought drops about me in his brain bucket.

I saw a bum shivering on a park bench this morning.  Cold. Alone. Forgotten. Cared for by no one.

Whenever my man screws up like this, it’s hard not to see myself as ending up just ike that lowdown vagrant one day.

Cold. Alone. Forgotten.  Cared for by no one.

Thanks a lot, Jack.

4.  ENGLISH: Let’s move in together.

TRANSLATION:  Space. I have it. You have it. Who needs it? Let’s live in the now and share the cow.  My milk. Your milk.  Who cares whose gullet it goes down when it all comes out yellow anyway?

Splitting digs is always a big step in any relationship.  And sure, it might turn out to be the step that lands our feet on an emotional land mine that blows our psyches to kingdom come.

Then again, it could also be the step that leads us to the American Dream.  A nice house with a front yard, a white picket fence, three kids, a dog, and our very own shared subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.

Mull it over, palooka. For as Custer said on the way to his last stand, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

3.  ENGLISH: I forgive you for (whatever dumb thing you did recently.)

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: They say love is blind but in my case, she must have had her eyes gouged out with rusty razors because despite all the strike marks you’ve got against you, you’re still aces in my book, bub.

2.  ENGLISH: We should get married.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION:  Here we are, two dopes stuck on a big blue marble, our lives as insignificant as a couple of ants to the shoe of a random passerby.

Call me naive. Call me crazy. Call me late for dinner but I love ya, ya big lug. There, I said it. Write it down, rubber stamp it, set it in a frame and hang it on the wall for the whole world to see.

Sure, we could end up crashing in flames like the Hindenburg but we might just circumnavigate the globe like Lucky Lindy. We’ll never know until we flap our wings and take that leap.

There’s no one I’d like to take that leap with more than you, see?

  1.  ENGLISH: I think we should break up.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Alright, buster. Clean the wax out of your ears and listen up.

You and I are over. We’re done. Kaput.  It’s like seeing the final credits roll at the end of a three hour Judd Apatow film. I feel depressed that I wasted my time yet elated that this bullshit is finally out of my life now.

Take a long walk off a short pier, palooka.  Dumpsville just held an election and you’re the Mayor, the Alderman, and the dog catcher all rolled into one.

Aww, pipe down with the waterworks, see?  Like my Aunt Edna’s underpants, a crying man is a sight no one wants to see.

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SNEAK PEEK – All Day Sucker – Chapter One

On Jake’s last day in the 1950’s, a blonde femme fatale/movie starlet offers him a deal that lands him in hot water. Here’s the first chapter.

Let me know what you think, ya mugs. When I’m done working on Jake’s report, I’ll have it up on Wattpad and later on popculturemysteries.com

All Day Sucker – Chapter Oneshutterstock_71510056

May 31, 1954

I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty face and on the last day I can recall from the 1950’s there wasn’t an exception. 

Alana Harris. What…a…woman.  Whenever I spy my eyes toward a dame like Alana then peep at an old bag lady who collects cans on the street corner with her stolen shopping cart, I wonder how its possible that both creatures are labeled as females.  I’m not trying to be politically incorrect as I know that sort of talk will get a fella drawn and quartered these days.  All I’m trying to say is that Alana’s beauty was at such a high level that she defied any form of scientific nomenclature.  She was a member of a species of one and what I wouldn’t give to classify her genus.

She was a blonde, as all the femme fatales typically are.  I don’t know what it is about yellow hair that can turn even the brightest fella into a chuckling chowderhead.  Someone ought to commission a study on that one.  She had a set of curves, the kind you’d need a high performance Italian race car to drive around and a pair of lips so luscious you didn’t know whether to kiss them or frame them and hang them on a wall.  Hers belonged in the Smithsonian.

There Alana was, right in front of me on the big screen, her enchanting assets so enormous that it felt like I could crawl up in her bosom and take a nap.  I’m not talking about resting my head there. I’m saying the screen at the Montoya Theater was so big it looked like an actual me could fit between those casabas and go to sleep forever.  Talk about the sweet life.

The flick was Love Is Not Enough. What an understatement. Folks dug it back then.  It was a decent picture but it never generated any long lasting oomph.  I doubt any of you mugs have ever heard of it, and I’m not trying to be one of of those dirty hipsters by saying that.

“Johnny!” Alana said, only in this flick she wasn’t Alana.  She was Maggie, an ordinary housewife with a big secret.  Alana as a housewife.  Yeah right.  If that broad ever touched a vacuum cleaner one day in her life then I’m Mickey Rooney.

“Johnny, whatsamatter? Don’t you love me no more?!”

Zip Rogers.  As a certain cartoon rabbit would say, “what a maroon.”  Most actors were charming and handsome but this fella was as plug ugly as they come.  Yet somehow, he always got cast opposite the most alluring chickadees.  I swear, that dim bulb must have had pictures of studio executives in compromising positions with barnyard animals or something.

Zip was Johnny in this film.  For some reason, every male lead was named Johnny.  Writers had a very limited frame of reference for names at the time.

“Love you?” Zip/Johnny asked.  “Why, I can’t even stand the sight of you, you shameless, four flushing, two timing Jezebel!”

The theater was cold.  I needed a little sip of the old Irish courage to warm me up.  Luckily, I never went anywhere without my own supply.  I reached into my trench coat, withdrew my flask and treated myself to a nice long pull.

Tsk. Tsk.  The old broad behind me was flabbergasted.

“How dare you?!” she asked.

I turned around and offered her the flask.

“Sorry sweetheart. I didn’t know you wanted some.”

I might as well have asked her to make whoopee with the look she shot me.  Not that there was any chance of that happening.  I wouldn’t have touched her with your finger, Jack.

“Why, I never!”

“Well maybe you should, lady,”  I said.  “It might lighten your disposition.”

I returned my eyes to the screen.  Zip/Johnny and Alana/Maggie gazing deeply into each others’ eyes.

“You don’t understand what’s going on, Johnny,”  Alana/Maggie said.  “I know it looks bad but I swear I never did anything wrong.  I would never hurt you, my love.”

I took another swig. I felt a finger poke me in the shoulder.

“Sir!” the old bag behind me said.  “Put that away!  This is a respectable establishment.”

“I doubt it, Grandma,” I replied as I pointed at the screen. “If it was, they wouldn’t be showing this stinker.”

Some degenerate in the back got all heated.  “HEY!  SHUT YOUR FACE, MAC!  I’M TRYING TO WATCH A PICTURE SHOW HERE!”

“AHH, GO SOAK YOUR HEAD YA MOOK YA!” was my earnest reply.  The Irish courage medicine was kicking in.

“The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker?”  Zip/Johnny asked Alana/Maggie.  “What about the podiatrist?  Was he for ‘us’ too?”

Alana/Maggie bit her lip and turned away dramatically, unable to face her accuser.  “That one was…an accident.”

“An accident my eye,” Zip/Johnny said as he put his hand on Alana/Maggie’s chin and gently pushed her face towards his.  “Now you see here, doll.  You and I are calling it quits.  It’s Oversville, baby. Population: You. We’re through, even.  This screwy fling we’ve got going on is done and I don’t wanna hear another word about it, see?”

I took another sip.  That old broad was birddogging me but good.

“Disgraceful,”  she said.  She tugged on the shoulder of the old man next to her.  “Reginald!  Reginald, do something about this brute at once!”

By the looks of Reginald, he’d been henpecked till there wasn’t much left.  He was all skin and bones, nothing but a few tufts of gray hair on his head.  A good, swift breeze could have knocked that old bastard over.

“Tell you what, Reggie baby,”  I said.  “Let’s ditch this witch and you and I will go get us some real lookers.  Whaddya say?”

Reggie shrugged his shoulders and mulled it over.  That came to an end when his wife whacked him a good one with her purse.  She landed a good one too.  Made a big “thunk” sound.  Oh boy, if looks could kill old Reggie would have been a goner.

“Right away dear,” Reggie said with a resignation of defeat.  Slowly, he rose to his knees and walked away.

“Lady, what’s your problem?”  I asked.

“You should not be consuming illicit beverages in a public place,”  the old bag said, huffily.

“Illicit beverages?”  I asked.  “It’s just a little bit of the old Red Eye, darlin.’”

That big mouthed lug in the back was at it again. “SHUT YER TRAP OR I’LL COME DOWN THERE AND SHUT IT FOR YA!”

“AWW, YOU AND WHAT ARMY?!”  I hollered back.

Everything got quiet for awhile.  Zip/Johnny had a black velvet bag in his hand.  He opened it up, turned it over and dumped out some shiny hot rocks.  Rubies.  Sapphires.  Diamonds.  All kinds of bling.  That’s a word you kids use, isn’t it?

“Do you deny that you stole the Duchess’ jewels?!”  Johnny/Zip asked.


“Answer me!” Johnny/Zip said.

Tears streamed from Maggie/Alana’s eyes.  Actresses who can cry on cue are a hot commodity in Tinseltown.  Always be wary of a broad who can turn the waterworks on and off at the drop of the hat. They won’t think twice about using that power on you.

“I do deny it!  I do!”  she cried. “A thousand times I do!”

“Then how did they get in your purse?”  Johnny/Zip said. 


Johnny/Zip stroked his hand through his hair, then grabbed the gal by the shoulders.

“Baby,” he said.  “If you can look me in the eye right here, right now and promise me that you’re a one woman man from here on out then I can forget the past…”

No you can’t,” I thought to myself. “Get outta showbiz, ya’ cheap hack, I’m not convinced at all.”

“I promise Johnny, oh I swear I do,” Alana/Lorna said.

“Good,” the so-called leading man said.  “Now, just explain to me how those jewels ended up in your purse and we can put this whole mess behind us.  We’ll run away and live happily ever after with a nice house, two kids, a picket fence and a car in the garage.”

“I…I can’t.”

“You can’t…or you…won’t?”

“Both,” Alana/Maggie said.  “Please Johnny, just trust me.”

“I can forgive your dalliances, Maggie,”  Zip/Johnny said.  “But I could never marry a wanton criminal…”

Another hand on my shoulder.  It belonged to a pimply faced usher.  Couldn’t of been more than sixteen.

“Sir,” he said in a squeaky voice. “I have to ask you to live.”

“As soon as the show’s over, Jack,” I said. “I paid my dough like everybody else.”

“SHUT THAT DIRTY SO AND SO UP!” the big mouth in the back shouted.

“AWW, YOU’RE ALL WET!” I yelled back.  Nothing like a good 1950’s insult.

“Please sir,” the usher said. “Alcohol isn’t allowed here.”

Here’s where I have to tell you that I’m not very pleasant when I’m drunk and I’m drunk most of the time ergo, I’m generally not a very pleasant person whatsoever.

“Why not?”  I asked. “Last I checked this is America, son.  Dwight D. Eisenhower’s running the show, not some lousy unwashed Stalinist Trotskyite commie.  If a fella can’t enjoy a pull of the old Red Eye without a federal case being made out of it then we might as well lock the doors and turn the keys over to the pinkos lickity split and call it a night.”

The kid was baffled.  “I…I don’t know sir but please leave.  My manager says I have to call the cops if you don’t.”

“Call ‘em, kid,” I said.  “This is about democracy now. What I do, I do for America.”

The usher stormed off.  The emotional temperature in the room was definitely changing for the worse.  The theater was full of hard working decent folk, people just trying to escape their hum drum lives for a couple of hours only to have it all spoiled by a drunk.  That’s how they saw it anyway.  I still blame that old bag.

Back to the movie.

“Maggie,” Zip/Johnny said.  “Surely you realize that if the jewels were in your purse and you refuse to tell me who stole them then the only logical conclusion I can make is that you…”

“I’ve told you I didn’t take them!” Alana/Maggie interrupted. “If you love me then that should be good enough for you.”

With a great flourish, Zip/Johnny spun around and snapped his fingers.  A contingent of coppers walked through the door.

And what a coincidence, a gaggle of coppers strolled down the aisle of the theater at the exact same time.

“Please Johnny, please!”  shouted Alana/Maggie as she was put into cuffs.  “Don’t let them take me away! DON’T YOU LOVE ME?”

“I’m sorry kid, but,”  Zip/Johnny said. “Love is not enough.”

BAH HA HA!” I laughed like an idiot. “He said the name of the movie!”

I knew all of the officers who came to collect me.  Before I went out on my own as a private dick, I served with them on the LAPD.  There was Renault.  Simmons.  Clement.  The sergeant leading them was that Irish prick Declan O’Connell.

Oh, I apologize, 3.5 readers.  I’m from the 1950’s and I’m working on my political correctness and cultural sensitivity skills so I can make a go of it in your time.  What I meant to say was “O’Connell, that prick of Irish descent, but I’m not trying to say he was a prick due to his Irish ancestry but rather, he’d of been a prick no matter what country his parents hailed from.”

Red hair.  Red beard.  The man was practically a damn red haired werewolf he was so hairy.

“Shite, it’s you,” O’Connell said.  Some people said “shite” back then. Folks from the old country, mostly.

“Howdy, Declan,”  I said.

“Hello Dash,” O’Connell said.  “Got a complaint of some horse’s arse ruining the picture show.  Public drunkeness to boot.”

The exasperated crowd gave up on the movie.  Everyone was watching me now.

“That’s terrible,”  I said.  “As a taxpayer, I demand you find that rapscallion posthaste.”

“Are you really gonna make us drag you outta here, boyo?” O’Connell asked.

“‘Fraid so.”

O’Connell nodded at his men. 

“You can’t do this!”  I shouted.  “This is America!  This is no way to treat a war hero!!!”

“War heroes are a dime a dozen around here, Dash,” O’Connell said.  “Let’s go.”

Simmons grabbed my left arm, Clement my right.  They lifted me up but I didn’t budge.  Renault and O’Connell each grabbed a leg.  Everyone in my row got up and moved to make way for the cops as they carried me out.

I screamed like a babbling idiot.  “This is the work of the commies, I tell ya’! They’re coming and they’re just as scummy as the Nazis!  When a man can’t even sneak a little bit of the good stuff without some old battle axe calling the brute squad then we’re all living in a police state!!!”

“Nothing more to see here, folks!”  O’Connell said.  “Enjoy the rest of your show.”

They carried me up the aisle.  Everyone clapped and cheered.

Unfortunately for them, I’d seen that movie before.  It wasn’t like today, where people have thousands of movies at their fingertips.  Back then, you went to the picture house and saw either the first picture, the second picture or once in awhile, the third picture.


The audience let loose with a resounding “BOOOO!!!” then pelted me with popcorn boxes and candy wrappers.

“You always had a way with people, Dash,”  O’Connell said.

“I try,”  I replied.

“WAIT!”  the big mouth in the back yelled.

“WHAT?!”  I screamed as my head just barely avoided slapping into each step as the cops drew closer to the door.

“WHAT ABOUT THE PODIATRIST?!”  the big mouth screamed. 


Another “Booo!” from the audience as the fuzz carried me out the door.  They walked through the lobby, lugging me all the way.

“You know Dash, I don’t blame you for hitting the sauce after what you did but do it at home, all right?  I don’t feel like dragging your fat arse all over creation again.”

“Does everyone hate me?”  I inquired.

“Of course,”  Dashing said.  “You got a bunch of your former fellow officers killed and a bunch more are headed to the stoney lonesome on corruption charges.  But at least you get to be the big man that took Mugsy McGillicuddy down.  Was it worth losing every friend on the force you ever had?”

“I haven’t decided yet,”  I said as I looked up at the fellas carrying me. “But then again I never had much use for friends anyway.  Do you hate me too, O’Connell?”

“Not as such but my goal in life has always been to keep my head down and my nose out of places it doesn’t belong, lad,”  O’Connell said.  “I wish you’d done the same.”

“But I made LA better, didn’t I?” I asked.

“Sure,” O’Connell said. “For about five minutes…until the next snake in the grass rears its ugly head to service the public’s illegal addictions.”

“You have that little faith in people?” I asked.

“You don’t?” O’Connell answered.


The boys took me outside.  It was warm, but not stifling.  There was a nice breeze in the air.

“Ready, boyo?”  O’Connell asked.

“Ready when you are, ya’ Irish prick,”  I said.

Don’t be scandalized, 3.5 readers.  Back then, O’Connell would have been completely befuddled had I said, “Ready when you are, you prick who happens to be Irish though your Irish ancestry is not the direct cause of your prickosity.”

The boys swung me back and forth like I was lying in an imaginary hammock then let me loose on the third swing, sending me sailing through the air only to land six feet away on the pavement.

“AND STAY OUT!”  O’Connell shouted.

Don’t worry about me.  My face broke my fall. I wasn’t using it for much anyway.

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Coming Soon – Pop Culture Mysteries – All Day Sucker


Blondes – the bane of Jake’s existence.

June 1, 1954. It was the day Jake Dashing fell asleep at his desk, never to wake up again until June 1, 2014. He slept for sixty years exactly.

Soon, Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 readers will learn the details behind the last day Jake spent in the 1950’s.

Our resident gumshoe always was a sucker for a pretty face and on the last day from his past, there wasn’t an exception.

Alana Harris. The buxom bombshell actress and star of the film, Love is Not Enough comes to Jake with a proposition: snap some photos of her husband Buck Bettencourt in the throes of passion with his floozy on the side and she will…make it worth his while.

Jake’s pretty sure he knows what that means but demands clarification nonetheless.  Never trust a dame, especially a dazzling one.

But Bettencourt isn’t just any old mark. He’s a major Hollywood power player, the owner of Bettencourt Studios and the friend everyone in Tinseltown wants to have.

Jake arrives on the scene only to find foul play.  Is it a set up? He’ll spend his last day in the 1950’s clearing his name.

Bookshelf Q. Battler is currently reviewing Jake Dashing’s case report and hopes to add it to Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One by New Year’s.

Of course, it’ll become part of popculturemysteries.com later in 2016.

What is it about yellow hair that turns a man into a chuckling chowderhead?  If Jake knew, his life would be a lot easier, but a lot less interesting.

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Now up on Wattpad – Enter the Blonde – Revised Edition

shutterstock_24224476 June 1, 2015. It was the day that Jake Dashing returned to his office to find a beautiful blonde attorney sitting in his desk chair.

She came with an offer: solve 100 “Pop Culture Mysteries” for her eccentric client, the notorious nerd blogger Bookshelf Q. Battler and in exchange, said nerd will dish the details on how Jake can return to his own time.

Delilah K. Donnelly. Was she an angel with the answer to Jake’s prayers, or like so many dames before her, was she just looking to dance the Charleston on Jake’s ticker?

Only time will tell.

Bookshelf Q. Battler reviewed the report Jake filed on this matter earlier this year, fleshed out the details and slapped it up for public consumption on Wattpad.

You can find it in Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One.

Right after the story there’s an ad from the American Organization Against Anti-American Tomfoolery advising you on how to figure out whether or not your neighbor is a smelly communist.

You can never be too careful when it comes to those pinkos.


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Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One Ranked #795 on Wattpad


Take a knee, 3.5 readers, for I have some joyous news to share.

Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One is currently ranked #795 is Mystery/Thriller on Wattpad.

I know! It’s the first time I’ve been ranked on any kind of list, and that includes all of those field day participation ribbons I racked up in elementary school.

You have questions, don’t you?


It’s a great site where writers can publish and share their stories.


To gain a following. To share ideas. To get feedback. For me, it has helped me get over that little voice that whispers “you’re not good enough!” in my ear. When people start sharing positive comments, that voice starts to pipe down. I highly recommend it.


Fame. Fortune. Hot babes throwing themselves at me. (Video Game Rack Fighter is too busy playing Car Thief Mayhem to care.)

No. None of these things. It basically means of all the Mystery/Thriller stories on Wattpad, I’m in the top 1,000.

That was a big boost that I needed. As we head into the new year, there’s been a voice in my head nagging me that I’m wasting my time with this and I needed something like this to happen.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 7.17.31 PM

Aunt Gertie’s going to tell all the gals at the old folks’ home about this!


I’m not sure. If you know how the Wattpad rankings work, please let me know. I’ve been making an effort to comment/share feedback on others’s stories lately, I started a new site for the “Pop Culture Mysteries” –  popculturemysteries.com, a Facebook page  and so on.

I’ve been posting the story in rough draft form on this site, Bookshelf Battle, since June and have been sharing PCM stories on Wattpad for awhile.

BUT – what really surprised me is that this particularly version “Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One” has only been up since the beginning of December. So to get into the top grand people really began taking notice, however it happened.


My writing process:

  • I’ve written some posts on this blog. I am writing others in a word document.
  • I’m revising them, polishing them, and posting them in Season One on Wattpad.
  • Eventually, these posts will reach their final home on popculturemysteries.com, which should be “officially” up and running by April 1.
  • Right now, I’m wrapping up a revised edition of “Enter the Blonde” in which Jake and Delilah meet for the first time and negotiate the infamous “Pop Culture Mystery Contract.”


An excellent question. Frankly, it’s about time you asked it. The first thought you should have when you wake up in the morning should be, “What can I do to help Bookshelf Q. Battler’s writing career?”

I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for Earth. The Mighty Potentate has threatened to conquer our planet if I don’t get myself established as a noteworthy scribe soon.

My hope is to sustain and even surpass this rank. I’d like to move up higher on the charts.

If you’re on Wattpad, please consider following me – @bookshelfbattle and voting for/commenting on “Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One.”

Let me know what’s working and what isn’t. All kidding aside, this is a fun, unique story told in a very distinct hardboiled voice, and I think people are slowly but surely starting to recognize it.

I just need to get my butt in gear to keep them coming back for more.

If you’re not a Wattpadder, become one! Sign up, share some stories, trade ideas with other writers. Maybe this will be your big break. A number of writing careers have been successfully launched thanks to Wattpad.


You are all appreciated. I couldn’t have done this without you. By the way, do you realize if each of you would just tell one friend about my efforts, I’d end up with 7 whole readers?

So many readers.  Must have more readers…

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Golden Age of Hollywood Interviews


You’re an expert in Ancient Tinseltown, that era when movies just started
moving and every gal with a pretty face hopped a bus out west in hopes of becoming the next star.

Noir? It’s all up in your reservoir.

Private dicks and foxy chicks are your bag and your bag is full with tales to tell.

Jake Dashing wants to strike up a gabfest with you for popculturemysteries.com, see?

And as you consider this fantastic offer, keep in mind the following:

COMPENSATION – None, as Jake’s boss, Bookshelf Q. Battler, is as poor as a church mouse and twice as homely. BQB will steer his 3.5 readers your way though. Seven extra eyeballs on your Mickey Spillane action ‘aint half bad, kid.

TRUST – BQB has interviewed over fifty authors without a single complaint yet, plus he offers a guarantee. You don’t like the post of your interview?  Toot your horn BQB’s way to let him know and it will come down faster than a starlet’s stockings on a cast couch. No muss, no fuss, no problem. BQB goes out of his way to promote writers and keep them happy.

So whaddya say, mac? If it’s a thumbs up, let Battler know and he’ll get down to writing his questions, the answers to which you’ll write yourself so you’ll be able to get out exactly what you want to say.

But if it’s a big goose egg, that’s fine as wine too, Jack. No hard feelings.

Thanks for your consideration. It’s been a real gas, see?

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Like Pop Culture Mysteries on Facebook

By: Jake Dashing, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Investigator


Facebook. It’s an invention my middle twentieth century mind will never be able to wrap itself around. A bunch of yahoos with unlimited reserves of time blabbering on about what they had for lunch, what they’re having for dinner, offering their unsolicited political opinions, and forcing you to look at their vacation photos and pictures of their hideous children.

Not for nothing, but back in my day, if you ran around town demanding that everyone look at your photo album and listen to the most mundane, trivial aspects of your life, you were considered a grade a square.

But times have changed.

If you’re on Zuckerberg’s thing-a-ma-jig, stop by the Pop Culture Mysteries page and toss a like Battler’s way.

And if you millennial folk don’t have as much pep in your step as the greatest generation and you’re too lazy to click that link above on your beep boop machine, you can always get there later by logging onto Facebook and searching for “Pop Culture Mysteries.”

Don’t ask me what any of that means.  I was told to say that by that delicious dish, Delilah K. Donnelly, and when that leggy dame barks, yours  truly inquires as to how high.

Someday I hope someone will explain to me what all this nonsense means.  Until then, help Battler out.  Or don’t. If you ask me, that cat’s a bag and a half of schmucks and then some, so its no skin off my potato, Jack.

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Announcement #3 – Pop Culture Mysteries Is On

Hi again, 3.5 readers.


Why Delilah spends her time representing BQB will become part of the mystery.

In case you didn’t realize it from Announcement #2, then yes, Pop Culture Mysteries is officially a go.

I am the president of the television network inside my mind and I just gave this endeavor the green light.

At the risk of being vaporized by the Mighty Potentate, Undesiredverse will be on hold.

I like Undesiredverse.  I think its a continuation of my “so funny you’ll have a good time but serious enough to make you want to know what happens next” style.

But after thinking about it, I barely have enough time to see one project through and I have no clue how I’d be able to juggle two at the same time.

So as the president of my mind, I’ve decided to put all my eggs in the Pop Culture Mysteries basket for the foreseeable future.

I’ve been attempting to write a novel for years now and I continue to get trapped by the idea that “oh, this NEW idea is really EASY to write and I’ll bang a rough draft out in a month then pop it right out there!”

That’s why I thought I’d give Undesiredverse a go.  Man and Alien become caretakers of strange woman.  They must get her to safety and in the process, find out why all the evil doers want her.

I know why.  I can’t tell you why because hopefully I’ll write it one day.  BUT – as I thought about it, explaining WHY they wanted her became complicated.

There just is no such thing as a “I’ll bang that out lickety split!” novel.  There’s no simple fix.  If you want the quality, you have to put the time in.

So Pop Culture Mysteries it is.  I’m going to let my attorney, the enchanting Delilah K. Donnelly, make the formal announcement, but here are my preliminary thoughts:


I found a blog template that looks like a desk, the posts and photos look like they’re on paper – so in other words, ITS AS IF ITS ALL WRITEN BY A DETECTIVE WORKING OUT ALL THE DETAILS!!!  Yup, the format was just too beautiful to pass up.


My experience writing #31ZombieAuthors cinched the deal for me.

One worry I had was that as Jake (or Mack?) goes on, his reports become less about pop culture and more about his own past and present exploits as a detective, boxer, and war hero.  I need those exploits to sell books.

But I also want the site to be about solving pop culture mysteries.


  • Jake’s still going to solve pop culture mysteries in his own way.
  • Informant Zero is going to pose a Pop Culture Mystery Question once a week, invite readers to discuss, and give the answer the next week and finally…
  • Just as I did with #31ZombieAuthors, I will be seeking out writers who will be deputized as pop culture detectives and they will be given pop culture mysteries of their own to solve (in fact, if you want in, let me know in the comments below.)
  • I’ll also be interviewing mystery writers about their craft.  So ultimately, the site becomes a big mashup of pop culture, mystery, and noir.


It’s December.  I need to write a whole season of Jake’s exploits and get several author interviews/contributions in the can and ready to go.

The main story will go all week but I’m thinking Mystery Author Interviews will be posted on Friday and Pop Culture Detectives will have their posts up on Saturday.  (I’m going to call these “contracts,” as it will be explained that Delilah delivered their cases to them).

I’m hoping if I can stick with it, I’ll be able to launch April 1, but at the latest May 1.  I’m really hoping for April.

Once April or May is here, I’ll have several months of posts ready to go so I can throw them up and then focus my time on Jake’s first book…for sale…for money, because, gosh darn it, I really need this nonsense to start making some money one day in order to justify keeping it going.


Jake/Mack/Whoever He Is fell asleep at his desk in 1954.  For 60 years, his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Tsang, took care of him, followed by their daughter, Susan, whom Jake regards as his niece.

A year later after trying to figure out what happened, the mysterious Delilah K. Donnelly pays him a visit.  She’s an attorney for Bookshelf Q. Battler, a world renowned poindexter, etc. etc.

While BQB will remain a goofball on bookshelfbattle.com, he becomes the Charlie from Charlie’s Angels on Pop Culture Mysteries – i.e., he’s always giving orders but he’ll rarely show up in person.  Instead, Delilah delivers his mysteries for him.

A deal is struck.  BQB claims he knows why Jake/Mack/Whoever fell asleep for 60 years and how to get him back to his own time.  But he won’t give up the info until our hero solves 100 pop culture mysteries.

In between tracking down the answers to BQB’s questions, our detective will have to:

  • Adjust to modern life, with plenty of room for witty social commentary on how things that happen today seem odd to a person from the 1950’s.  We’ll discuss the good and the bad.  (GOOD – people have more rights.  BAD – People spend too much time using those rights to post about their lunch on social media.)
  •  Get Real Work – BQB only pays $5 bucks a case and our hero can’t sponge off his niece forever, so he’ll need to find real mysteries he can solve for pay.
  • The Past – tell us about mysteries he solved way back when.
  • Vigilantism – He’ll definitely start dabbling in taking down modern day ne’er-do-wells.  A hot police detective babe will take notice.


…will be about how our hero punched Adolf Hitler in the face.  In the process of doing so, he obtained a certain item and, well, even though BQB’s blog(s) only get 3.5 readers, a person from his past will come looking for it.

To clarify, the person from the past will come looking for it in the first season of blog posts.  How he punched Hitler and got the item will be the crux of the first novel…which I will sell on Amazon…for many, many, payments of monies.

But not really.  As long as I get $3.5 dollars I’ll write a sequel.


If you’re a writer of any genre who wants in on a) solving a pop culture mystery or b) a mystery writer who wants to talk about his/her craft, let me know.  Your books/blogs/social media etc will be promoted so check out #31ZombieAuthors for an idea of what I’d do.


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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #TBA – Kill ‘Em Again (Part 1)

By: Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye

Our resident gumshoe

Our resident gumshoe

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

For a lawman, there’s nothing more disturbing than a knock on the door.  Sure, it’s probably just an old friend stopping by to wish you well or a neighbor in need of a cup of sugar, but when you’ve seen as much action as I have, you can’t help but wonder whether or not it’s some stickup artist coming to separate you from your wares at gunpoint.

Tentatively, I opened the front door to Tsang’s Hong Kong Palace, the restaurant above which I occupied a small office.

Sure enough, I found a tiny trio of masked hoodlums with their hands out.

“TRICK OR TREAT!” they shouted.

One of them wore a black mask and a cape.  I think he was supposed to be that Darth Vader cat from that flick I watched with Agnes the Librarian this summer.  The kid in the middle was some kind of space alien and there was also a girl dressed up as a fairy princess.

“Now see here, bums,” I said. “I don’t know what gave you the impression that this is some kind of charity operation but I’ll have you know this is a capitalist establishment, see?  Head down the street three blocks and take a right if you want the nearest soup kitchen.  You’ll find no New Deal Democrats here.”

“Oh Jake, knock it off!”

Ms. Tsang, my landlady, dressed up as a hideous green witch, walked over with a bowl of candy and doled out free goodies to the little freeloaders.

“Thank you,” said the Darth Vader kid.

“Lose this address, degenerates,” I said as I slammed the door in the kids’ faces.

Ms. Tsang walloped me in the shoulder.

“Get in the Halloween spirit!”  she said.  “You used to take me trick or treating and you never complained this much.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “But that was back when kids made their own costumes and didn’t buy a plastic get-up from the pharmacy and you could trust that your neighbor wasn’t some kind of a nut job pervert sticking razor blades in the candy apples.  Hell, you could even eat an unwrapped candy apple.  Like everything else in this time period, Halloween has gone downhill fast.”

Ms. Tsang handed me the candy bowl.

“Man the door,” she commanded. “Pass out the treats.  Keep the lectures to yourself.”

“Free food to any jerk that knocks on the door,”  I said.  “I swear the…”

“The Commies didn’t win!” Ms. Tsang interrupted as she headed for the kitchen.

My niece knew me all too well.

I spied one of the minuscule candy bars.

“Fun size,” I read on the wrapper.  “What’s so fun about it?”

Another knock.

“Can’t you loafers read the sign?!” I asked as I opened the door. “NO SOLICITORS!”

Delilah K. Donnelly, Legal Counsel for a Website with 3.5 Readers

Delilah K. Donnelly, Legal Counsel for a Website with 3.5 Readers

Oops.  It wasn’t a Trick or Treater this time.  It was delicious dish Delilah K. Donnelly, Attorney for our mutual client, Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Hair as if she’d just stepped out of the finest salon and a dress to match, she was a stunning vision as always.

Now there was one treat I’d like to trick.

“Have I come at a bad time, Mr. Hatcher?”

“Ms. Donnelly!” I said.  “No, not at all!”

I showed her in.

“I apologize for that obnoxious outburst,”  I said as I took the lady’s faux fur stole.  “I thought you were someone else.  You can feel free to solicit me anytime.  Early and often, preferably.”

“I haven’t time to feign a lack of disgust in the face of your perverse inclinations, Mr. Hatcher,” Delilah said. “I’ve come on most important business.”

“Of course,” I said.  “Please, tell me all about it.  Can I offer you something sweet, delicious and fun sized?”

“Thank you but no,” Delilah said as she walked toward the booth in the back left hand corner of the restaurant.  “I refrain from candy.”

“Who said anything about candy?”  I asked.

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Pop Culture Mystery Revamp?

I don’t think I will do this but I want to get the 3.5’s advice first.

Suppose I:

  • Remove Bookshelf Q. Battler
  • Remove the Pop Culture Questions
  • Rewrite it as a series about a 1950’s detective who fell asleep, woke up in modern times, and an elegant lady lawyer acts as a go between, bring a new case to Jake every episode on behalf of a mysterious benefactor.  Maybe a rich man who wants justice done or something.  I don’t know.  It’d be some person more realistic than Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Why I Thought About It:

  • We’re reaching a point where Jake barely talks about BQB’s question.  It just usually descends into “Oh, that question reminds me of the time when…”
  • Example.  BQB asks Jake “How did Gilligan get washed up on the island?”  Jake’s response would be, “Ahh that reminds me of the time when I was shipwrecked with a band of pirates, goes on about a shipwreck related mystery, and then briefly at the end also answers how Gilligan got lost.”
  • Will the public at large get “Bookshelf Q. Battler?”

Why I’m Leaning Towards Not Doing It

  • To remove the pop culture is to remove the title, and “Pop Culture Mysteries” is such a catchy title. Sad to say, but often it’s all about the title.
  • I feel like at some point the issue can be addressed with something like:

DELILAH:  Mr. Hatcher, Mr. Battler has become very disappointed with your reports.  He asks you a simple question and all you do is drone on and on about your adventures instead.  Could you perhaps reign it in?

JAKE:  What?  And deny the 3.5 my stories?

I don’t know.  Let me know what you think.

As I’ve said before, I started writing this in April and September is around the corner.  It’s the longest I’ve kept going on a project and mainly because when it’s just a guy sharing his memories, it’s kind of impossible to “write myself into a wall” the way I’ve done with other ideas.

Any feedback you can provide on these stories (good, bad or otherwise) is welcome.  My goal is to finish the series of posts by the end of the year, edit and rewrite them, starting posting them daily on a Pop Culture Mysteries spinoff blog next year and then work on and release a Jake novel next year.

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