Noir But The Metaphors Are Literal Now
As soon as the dame walked into my office I could see she had legs all right. Legs for days.
“Freshly grafted this week?”
“That’s right. I’m now an ex-amputee.”
She could have knocked me over with a feather; the three-foot wrought iron feather I noticed sticking out of her purse. I poured a coffee and a whisky, then drank both. The coffee was liquid gold and the whisky was nothing but smooth fire.
A week later, the burns on my throat and mouth were beginning to heal. I should never have put the coffee pot so close to the smelter.
The dame met me in the hospital car park.
“You’re no dame, dame,” I said hoarsely.
“I am indeed!” she said, adjusting her 50s cat eye glasses and brushing aside a stray hair from her purple wig. “Hello, possum.”
The nearby possum did not respond.
The long story of it was simple: I was hired for the sum of $300 a day, plus expenses, to look for a specific gunman. The short story is a piece of prose fiction that can be easily read in one sitting. My clients wanted dirt and I gave it to them by the shovelful. The peat bog and turf industry was a good day job for a PI. It kept me down to earth, and often lower.
I could tell I was in trouble, the kind of trouble that gets passed on like a bad infection. It starts with a sniffle and progresses to fluid in the lungs, if you can discern my meaning, which is that I had a case of walking pneumonia. I was sick and this city was twisted, mostly due to the many switchback roads and hilly inclines.
It was just another typical night in the Big Apple, which is the monument I sleep inside, located in Stanthorpe, Queensland. The commute to New York City each day was very, very expensive. So expensive, I’d have to start turning tricks.
And that’s the story of how I became the Masked Illusionist, turning magic into mundane trickery.
Coda: Dame Edna was never apprehended for her crimes, but I’m still on the lookout for the master puppeteer, Barry Humphries. Sorry, I mean Jim Henson.