I’m A Private Detective And I’m Here To Ask Questions, Not Start A Torrid Love Affair

My passion is solving crimes, not passion.

Pat Landers
Jun 18, 2020 · 3 min read
Out of the Past — 1947, from Modern Screen, public domain, copyright not renewed

Alright, Miss Cornswaithe, you listen up good because I’m only going to say this seven times or so. I’m here to investigate the disappearance of Mr. Harold MacDuff and I’m not interested in any hanky panky whatsoever. This is a purely professional visit, late at night, being conducted in your private library. You are going to sit here and answer my questions about Mr. MacDuff while we have six or ten social drinks.

I don’t want any funny business. You’re my last interview of the evening and everyone so far has tried to fight me, seduce me, or perform amateur dentistry on me. Frankly, I’m running out of patience and teeth. What I need more of are answers. First question’s easy: do you want those whiskeys with or without ice?

Second question’s harder: how did your sister and Mr. MacDuff meet? Don’t deny it, every goon on the street’s been jawing about MacDuff sneaking around with some blonde heiress, and I already checked out the alibis of Misses Pendersmythe and Whalingskub. Don’t play games with me, I’ve been kicked, slipped a mickey, shot at, poisoned, tickled, poisoned again, insulted, antidoted, and mistakenly garroted. The last thing I want to do is go to the billiards room to have a meaningless, purely sexual encounter with someone who’s covering up a criminal act.

I’m asking the questions here, Miss Cornswaithe, not answering them. Especially not about my tragic and humanizing past. Exactly how did this library come to have a copy of the Jenson Technical Manual for Machinists? This is a rare publication, it’s only available in Europe. You can’t pick it up just anywhere like a Cuban cigar or a bottle of ankle whiskey. I need some solid information about this case, and if all you can offer is a trip to the parlor for some erotic solace from my problems, then I must say no thank you.

I’ve been driving drunk for the past week and I don’t think it’s helping me solve this case.

Fourth question: the annuity your sister receives from your late father’s estate — does it require her to remain unmarried? Did Harold want to make an honest woman out of her? Is that why she paid Bruno the Grip to take MacDuff out to the Pine Barrens and bump him off? Could you please put your robe back on?

Where did I get this scar? Same place everyone does: in the past. Excuse me while I look off into the night in quiet reverie. Here’s another question: if you’ve never heard of Bruno, how come he cashed a 300 dollar check the day after MacDuff went missing? And how come your sister’s accounts were debited by 300 dollars that same day? Maybe the soothing sounds of a Glen Miller Orchestra record would refresh your memory. No, I do not think I would be more comfortable in the silver polishing room; I want answers, not a steamy, morally complex, page-turning love affair.

Look, lady, you don’t survive in the PI business as long as I have without realizing that you shouldn’t bring your entire investigation to a halt just because someone bats their eyelashes at you. Not even after a late-night game of chess that was simmering with sexual tension.

It’s your choice, Miss Cornswaithe. You can answer my questions and hide out in my safe house, or I can call the station and have them take you in. Honestly, you’d be better off at the station. I’ve only had a few drinks this hour and I’m starting to get the shakes.

No, I would not like to adjourn to the maple syrup cellar for a fleeting and star-crossed encounter. Good night, Miss Cornswaithe. Please put something on, I’m worried you’ll catch your death of cold.

Slackjaw

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Pat Landers

Written by

Writer in LA. Prose humor at pointsincase.com and @SlackjawHumor, excuses via email.

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

Pat Landers

Written by

Writer in LA. Prose humor at pointsincase.com and @SlackjawHumor, excuses via email.

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

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