Spam Short Story: I’ve Got A Thing For SouthpawsPosted: October 29, 2012
I’m not a fiction writer. I don’t do short stories. Rather, I haven’t until now. This one grew out of my spam folder. I found this message there:
“Would you like some help? Close the door after you please. I felt no regret for it. She really wishes her alarm clock had rung. I’m supposed to go on a diet get a raise I am busy. The brothers differ from each other in their interests. Tomorrow will be a holiday. He sat with his arms across the chest.”
I wondered what I could make of those sentences and phrases. It became a 1940’s film noir gangster style short story spoof where an alarm clock repair man replaces the hard-boiled private eye character.
All the gibberish from the spam is in the story, in order.
Please read this in black and white.
She stood in the doorway, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim indoor light. The sun silhouetting her from behind made part of me wish she’d stand there all day. I decided not to listen to that part.
I called out to her, “Would you like some help? She seemed confused. “Why, yes. Yes I would. It’s just that…I can’t…well…”
“Take your sunglasses off, sweetheart, it’ll brighten things.” She blinked as she put her shades in her purse. Her eyes were like big pools, the sort a fella could fall into and drown…if pools were brown. I can’t swim. I decided I’d better not go near this dame.
“Close the door after you, please,” that’s what I told her. “I’m not interested in heating the sidewalk”.
She seemed put out by the remark. I felt no regret for it. I have to manage my overhead. I’m a business man. I take work as it walks through my door. Work walked through my door on some great gams that afternoon. She told me that she wishes her alarm clock had rung that morning, she’d missed an appointment. The dame was in the right place, I’m the best alarm clock repairman in town.
I got my hands on her alarm clock. “Quite a set of bells you’ve got there,” I said. She gave me a smile. I’d seen a lot of alarm clocks in my time, and twice as many bells. Hers were a work of art. The reaction she gave me told me I wasn’t the first to say so.
Turns out she was a showgirl. She danced two shows a day (three on the weekend) at a theater on 49th st.. I knew the place. It was run by a couple of lousy mugs. Around town, they were known as the Barton Brothers, mostly because they both had the same palooka for a dad.
The Bartons were like their father, dirty men doing dirty business. When I say dirty, I mean they rarely bathed. They weren’t nice to be around. Sometimes you could avoid them if you smelled them in time. They’d gotten wise and started coming up on people from the down wind side. They were more dangerous after they figured that little trick out.
It was time to get tough with Little Miss Showgirl. I wanted to know what she did for the Bartons besides dance. A guy in the alarm clock business doesn’t live to be my age without being a little suspicious of everyone that comes through his door, even the ones who pay. “None of your business”, she snapped, “are you going to fix my alarm clock or not?” I don’t work for any character that helps the Bartons do their deeds and I told her so. I let her know she could head back uptown to 49th Street with her clock and her cash. The dame got furious and slapped me.
She turned and slapped me. I stood up and kissed her, because that’s what guys like me, in stories like this, do when dames like her slap like that.
“Does that mean you’ll fix my clock?”
“Twenty dollars, plus expenses”
“That’s a little steep, don’t you think?”
“It was twenty-five before you slapped me.”
My new client backhanded me two more times and handed me a ten.
“I’ll get my tools.”
Dames like to talk, she was no exception. She told me her sad story while I poured ten bucks of my life into her alarm clock. “I’m supposed to go on a diet” she said. I let her know that her figure didn’t bother me. She said I had it all wrong. The Bartons had gotten a deal on new costumes for their dancing girls. They were half price, but they were all size six. She was a perfect eight. “If I can get into my costume, I get a raise.”
The room started spinning. I felt sick to my stomach. Those dirty mugs were affecting her body image to save a buck on leotards. I’m one tough alarm clock repair man, but the last part of that is just man. I’m just a man and I couldn’t take any more of what the girl was saying.
“I don’t like to talk while I am busy.”
While I made a few final adjustments, I thought about the Bartons. The brothers differ from each other in their interests, but come together around one they have in common – both are tightwads. It didn’t matter to them what they were doing to her, not while they were saving a buck by doing it.
Bells like hers sound as pretty as the smile she gave me when she saw her clock working again. She took the alarm clock, gave me a left-handed slap and said “keep the change” as she walked out of the shop.
I’ve got a thing for southpaws.
I knew I’d have to do something to free that little lefty and her friends from the grip of those dirty Bartons. “Tomorrow will be a holiday”, that’s what I thought to myself. I was going to make sure the brothers didn’t make it to their turkey dinner tomorrow night…or ever.
You see, I knew the brothers would be at home, unguarded. Their henchmen had holidays off in addition to a generous medical plan and a pension. The Bartons prominently featured their benefit package when they recruited henchmen. The boys were a couple of goons, but they were progressive goons. I was going to use their one admirable quality against them.
The brothers were finishing their breakfast on the patio when I slipped through the gate. It was a mistake to come in on the down wind side, but once my eyes stopped burning I crept up on two unguarded creeps. The older of the pair had his back to me as he chewed. His brother was facing me. He sat with his arms across the chest, dozing in the sun.
As I raised the gun, I remembered her, standing in that doorway.
I still remember her that way each time I hear the cell door close.