Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Case of The Missing Ivory

Story #40, in which Marlowe meets a maiden.

To hear the story, Bogart the cigarette











To read the story, click with the box set.








This week in The Prattler, "The Party Line."

45 comments:

karma said...

you going to be raconteuring in your sleep? at least i'm here before your story

ariel said...

this is like going to theatre now. when everybody is together, the play starts. candy, anyone?

AP3 said...

Do they have Swedish Fish here? Oh good, they do. $2.50!!! You gotta be kidding me!

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Ah! I love a movie in black and white! Gerald Mohr made a better Marlowe than Bogey, but what the heck?

You oughta be in movies, Douglas. You wrote another good one.

Do I smell popcorn? I love popcorn.

AP3 said...

Great job! We love Karma and her four arms and three eyes!

dddragon said...

boy, I could use four arms to get some stuff done around here!

Doug said...

Karma, and hopefully after.

Ariel and Aral, head down in front.

TLP, popcorn and coffee.

We sure do, Ap3.

Dddragon, you should probably get one pair of arms for each simultaneous childbirth.

karma said...

what the ....! you could knock me down with a peacock feather!

all the better to hold you, Douglas :P

we love you back, ap3 :))

ariel said...

a'la Raymond Chandler!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. "“Karma.” she said, and the way she said it I knew somewhere some time I’d done something right." is my fave line. yeah, I can recognize him.

(foreigners that have stereotypes of the neverending Los Angeles sunshine will especially appreciate the first sentence, too.)

Logophile said...

OK, I love the story.
i know I always do, it probably gets a bit tiring to constantly get the same comment on weekends, but seriously, I love the stories.
I wish I could have you read my bedtime stories every day.

ariel said...

I would also like to say that I love this story!

karma said...

just a small correction, Douglas: The narrator of the Indian epic Mahabharat was the sage Vyasa, and Ganesha had been assigned as his scribe, so he pretty much took dictation (albeit with his broken-off tusk).

but i don't think that affects your remarkable story. so don't turn rouge

Ganesha: the Hindu elephant god invoked at the beginning of every auspicious occassion, and remover of all obstacles on Waking Ambrose

Jamie Dawn said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention that whole four-arm thing at the beginning of the story. Yikes!

You caught Karma off guard. Good one!

Ganesha: Uh.... what you said.

Doug said...

Karma, I sure hope that means you liked the story. Cheers.

Ariel, it's been raining off and on for a month here in LA. And we all talk like Bogie. Oh, and thanks, kid.

Thanks, Logo. That's a great new avatar by the way.

Karma, thanks for the correction! (breathe deep, Doug, AUM!)

Yeah, I know, Jamie Dawn. What we learn by blogging.

Sar said...

Yay for my SIS, Karma!!!

Another great story, Doug. I like the way you presented Karma's character. Suits her beautifully.

Lammy said...

You'd make a great private dick!

Miz BoheMia said...

Doug... you never cease to amaze me and like logophile I too am afraid I will sound like a broken record but hey, 'tis your fault!

Ganesha... he lives in my father's house next to Shiva...

ariel said...

Lammy, isn't it a private dick you're looking for? I'd be careful with them, though, they take your money and give you photoshoped pictures...

Doug, you do not talk like a cartoon character.

Kyahgirl said...

Love this story Doug. How do you always manage to tell such a good story in just a few paragraphs?

You seem to know a lot about the dames buddy. :-)

Doug said...

Thanks, Sar, especially for reading from vacation. Huzzah, Karma!

Thanks, Lammy. I'm good in public, too.

Miz B, your father's house has many mansions. Thanks.

Ariel, Shave and a haircut... (Roger Rabbit)

Kyahgirl, it's all in the selection of audience. My gift. Kyah, let's just say Karma wasn't the first four-armed woman I've ever met if you know what I mean.

ariel said...

'Well, Mr. Marlow', she said and I saw the sun going down in her brown-gold eyes, 'I hope you will tell me about it tonight'. Her four alabaster hands held four bottles of four different brands of first class whisky. I turned to my window and saw the clouds were breaking and the sun, the real one, was red and orange like the sparkles in her eyes. This woman is going to be dangerous after dark, I thought to myself. Darn, she's pretty dangerous at daytime, too. 'Hey', I turned back to her, 'put those away, I'm going to need all your hands free.'

karma said...

hey, that's brilliant, ariel! we should co-write a story. to continue:

"Sure", she said, and started knocking back those shots one by one.

Now as you know, these kind of broads can outdrink you under the table and before you know what hit you, you wake up in a strange place. But she must have been drinking before she came to my office because as she tossed her raven tresses back for the fourth time, she lost her balance, and the light reflected off her silver anklet as she started to fall.

I dived between her and the floor faster than you could say 'Jack Daniels'. With her weight on me and with all her arms around me, she stuck to me like a limpet mine. Her kohl-rimmed eyes were half-closed, and her full red lips were half-open, just inches away from mine. "Tell me Marlowe", she whispered, the words as smooth as the fumes from the whisky they rode on, "How can my four hands please you?"

"Please", I croaked, now beyond myself, "Help me with my paperwork?"

ariel said...

There's no problem with my reflexes or I wouldn't be here telling you about the exciting Friday night of this exciting private dick, but all gods of this smoky town will tell you, she was faster than the thunderbolt on the dark easter sky. At one moment she was drugging me with the steam of first class whisky coming from between her wet lips, the next moment she was sitting at my table looking at me in a way nobody has looked at me since Mrs. Tobias, my primary school math teacher died of liver cancer. 'Who manages your bookkeepeing, Mr. Marlowe?', she asked, and the temperature of the room fell 20 Fahrenheit, and I realized I was cold. She stood up, came to the edge of the table and I could now see her legs. or could have... because she was wearing my pants.

Doug said...

Hahaha, A & K. The detective usually doesn't get the dame until Act III, two scenes before she shoots him in the back.

ariel said...

I beg your pardon. which word tells you he got her? we have just started...

karma said...

At this point let me tell you, I am quite the dandy. All my suits are tailor-made, my shirts are starched, and my ties are pure silk. But nobody filled up those white sharkskin pants the way she did.

I contemplated the tip of my two-toned shoes - they were still on, as were my argyle socks - and tipped back my Fedora with one finger. "Used to be Marla Hipburn, my sidekick", I rasped, *Until one day her cover got blown".

The cold was getting unbearable now. I needed my pants back.

karma said...

stop interrupting, dawg!

karma said...

ok, will not hog this space. to be continued ... the masseuse beckons ... carry on, ariel ;))

Kyahgirl said...

oh you girls are fabulous. hanging on the edge of my seat....

Doug said...

No need to pardon, Ariel. Please continue.

No more interruptions, Karma. You and Ariel please go on with my apologies.

Kyah, you can join them if you want,

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Ariel and Karma! You girls go!

Wow, Doug, at this rate you'll have to let folks do a guest spot on Saturdays too.

I got nothin' to add. I was gonna say somethin' about your public dick, but I thought better of it.

ariel said...

I needed to make a call. Jerry Hramanovsky didn't show much at first sight, actually, he didn't show much at whatever many sights at all, but I have seen wild tax inspectors grovelling under the weight of his look, heartless tax managers being converted and going to Tibet. I was wondering if Karma would let me make a call but she didn't even look at my direction. She seemed to enjoy my pants. She was sitting on my table, adjusting her hair of sweet smelling summer night with one hand, holding a cigarette in another, squeezing a pimple on her chin with two. For a moment I felt sorry for her, she was so beautiful in her self-confidence, she obviously had no idea what I was going to set on her... Jerry agreed on being at my place in five minutes. He was there in four. As usually, I didn't have the time to answer the door, he was already in covering the light of the cheap ceiling light with his head, spitting splinters around on the cheap carpet. Karma looked at the skinny figure, the best accountant of Los Angeles, more surprised than scared, and as her eyes caught Jerry's eyes, I could feel a clutch in my stomach: this dame has come to ME, she was sitting on MY table in MY pants, yet I had the feeling I would soon be out of my own story... I stopped my teeth chattering and cleared my throat as loud as I could. 'Are those your pants, Marlowe?', Jerry asked not taking his eyes off the four armed lady on my table.

actonbell said...

Oh, wow! Fabulous story. I just love Guy Noir, btw. "if her dress had been cut any lower, she would've been barefoot."
or, "she looked like she'd been poured into that dress, and forgot to say when."
I can see Karma had a ball with it:)

karma said...

"Not any more, Skinny" said the broad as she blew smoke in his face.

I must confess she looked even more appealing in my pants because that left something to the imagination, more than the dress she had been wearing, the one that made her look like she'd been poured into it and forgot to say when.

"Now", she continued, as she crossed one lithe leg over the other, which made Jerry's eyes pop even more, "Are we discussing the dick's taxes or his wardrobe?"

Lost for words, Jerry sent a spit-ball flying in the direction of the spitoon, but it landed on my trenchcoat instead.

"My wardrobe!" I wailed.

The dame reached out and ran her red-tipped fingernails through my hair, through my hair, through my hair, through my hair. She pulled me by my tie towards her and whispered in my ear, "You're lucky I have only one pair of legs".

[thanks, actonbell!)
[Doug darling, was just kidding about the interruptions]

ariel said...

With one fast move I tore her silk scarf off her neck and put it over my lap. I was late, I saw it in her eyes. Jerry threw a cushion in my direction, once a friend always a friend, I thanked him nicely. 'Now lady', he said to the reason of my recent problems, 'will you give Marlowe's pants back to him and take mine.' 'And why would I do that?' she wanted to know and touched the embroidery on the cushion I was hanging on. 'Pysanki, Ukrainian Easter Egg', she was mumbling under her nose, 'where did I see it before?' 'Because I have the tusk', Jerry said in the voice of a friendly tiger. Karma grew stiff. I grew soft. Never ever say you know a friend of yours, I thought to myself, ever.

karma said...

Before I knew it, she had whipped my Smith & Wesson from my holster and now the end of the barrel rested neatly in between Jerry's unibrow.

"Spill the beans, Skinny". Her voice, which so far had been as soft as the bubbles in my bath, was now as hard as the chair between my butt and my printed drawers.

"It's .. it's in Marlowe's drawer". That was the last sentence Jerry spoke because he sure was now dead as hell on my floor. I was worried what my landlord would say about the dark bloodstain speading across the cheap carpet. I was also worried she would reach into my drawers.

"Tusk, tusk" the vixen said, clicking her wet little tongue and reaching into her handbag with one of her hands,"What a pity". She took out a gaily painted egg that looked 5000 years old. "Mr. Marlowe", she cooed, "I believe today is some sort of festival for you people. Would you like this Ukrainian Pysanki egg sunny side up?"

ariel said...

I love it when a woman is as smart as pretty. but I love it when I am smarter and prettier than her even better. 'The festival is over before it gets started, Miss Tricky. Put that egg in my hand very carefully, and go and look in my wardrobe.' Galaxies were borning and blowing up in her eyes as she looked at me. Galaxies in which we could have met in a cafe, talked about bottling and particle accelerating like any man and any woman in this world, and maybe I could have kissed her. instead, I was just going to make her meet her destiny. 'Not your fault, kid. You walked in the wrong door this morning.' I reached my hand out.

Kyahgirl said...

*clap, clap, clap* bravo ladies!

(Doug, thanks for the invitation but I couldn't possibly. I'm a listener not a storyteller).

This was simply delightful.

Hey, speaking of Pysanki....I live about a hour drive from the famous Vegreville Pysanka. Scroll down about halfway.

ariel said...

dear people, you are so kind! I was going to say sorry to Doug for starting this on his great site but it's totally cheering that you like it. Karma, your wit and elegance is as amusing as always.

Fred said...

Wll done, Doug. One of the best yet. Love the comments above.

Have a great weekend.

Doug said...

TLP, discretion being the better part of valor and all, right?

Ariel, beautiful and clever writing. I'm going to speak up for all and ask why you don't have a blog to share your gift. This was my favorite line of yours: "Galaxies in which we could have met in a cafe, talked about bottling and particle accelerating like any man and any woman in this world"

Me too, Actonbell. My favorite Guy Noir line is "I'd seen more cotton at the top of an aspirin bottle"

Karma, you're more than clever. My favorite of your lines was "Before I knew it, she had whipped my Smith & Wesson from my holster and now the end of the barrel rested neatly in between Jerry's unibrow."

Kyahgirl, we'll get you into the game one of these days. That's an amazing coincidence. If you haven't already, check Karma's site.

Hey, Fred's back! I'll go see if you updated, too. And thanks.

karma said...

uh-oh, it sounds like i'm going to be bumped off, so let me quickly say this:

Ariel, thank you, you are brilliant and it was a pleasure writing this with you. i agree with Doug, given your talent, why don't you have a blog!

Doug, thank you for your indulgence, tolerance and patience. we can treat Ariel's last post as the conclusion to the story, unless you want to actually pull the trigger. in which case i will say, there's no one better i would like to die at the hands of, or die in the arms of. even if you have only one pair.

thanks to everyone for your encouragement. while its still Sunday evening for you - and hope you are having a wonderful Easter, - in my neck of the woods its morning and the beginning of a working week, so i must go on the lam

ariel said...

I don't have enough in my brain to make it for a blog, and as for this story, Karma, you realize YOUR wit made it what it is. it was hell of fun! I know it must have ended somewhere, although I hoped for one more trick or two from the owners of the four arms. yeah, we'll never know whether he pulled the trigger or not.

Doug said...

Karma, between you and Ariel, that was so much fun. Thanks for inventing the game.

Ariel, no-one reading comments on the blogs you frequent believe that you lack anything for blogging, except maybe the will which I won't prosecute for now. I say he didn't pull the trigger.

I'd still like to know how Marlowe lost control of his pants without getting the girl.

Kyahgirl said...

You know, I missed out on her 'egg' post because I haven't been over there for about a week. I've corrected that! Thanks.