Kvetch Kvetch, Bang Bang

Excerpt from ‘Hot Nights in T.A.: The Ishmael Malone Casefiles.”

The frail looked like a sufganiyot right outta the oil — I knew I’d get burned but she looked so sweet I still wanted a taste. She peeped at me with her big browns and she got me shaky in the knees like a fiddler on a hot tin roof — or maybe it was the lox on her breath.


I didn’t wanna spook her, so I started all soft-like, “Was ist, kid?”

“There’s people out to kill me, Malone, ya gotta help me!”

Oy vey. Of all the offices, in all the shtetls, in all the world. She floated in and parked herself on my desk like a zaftig zeppelin. She was desperate all right, but I’m a good kid, and I know it when something ain’t kosher.

“My mam told me to be nice to skirts, so I’m gonna give you a free consultation here — I need killers at my door like I need Helen Keller for a mohel. I don’t put my neck on the line unless I’m getting double shift. Plus expenses. And no credit, or you can kiss your sweet tuchus shalom.”

“I can pay, Malone! Here, see!” She poured out what looked like half of Salome’s inheritance from her purse. The way dames put away in their handbags, I wouldn’t blink if she got John’s head stashed in there somewhere too.

“You’re not so bad, lyalke, you got yourself a-” a gunshot cut me off — gunshots these days ain’t got no manners. I jumped to the window with my roscoe barking, but the gonefs burnt rubber and were off like lights on saturday.

I grab the dame before she gets my upholstery all bloody, “I’ll get ’em for ya, meydl, don’t you worry your pretty face over it.”

“Y-you’re a real mensch, Malone, you know that… I’ll see you on the other…” I watched those big browns go out like a menorah the morning after, her body cold like day-old latke.

“Ain’t no place for a meshugganneh like me in the better place, baby… Mazel.” I didn’t kiss her, because it’s weird, but I hugged her a little and laid her down on some plastic.

“I’m charging you for the dry cleaning, but rest is on me, toots.” I hear sirens waking up as I poured my third shot of Manischewitz. I don’t got nothing to go on but a lot of unresolved issues, a bullet hole in the window, and a hot mes on my sofa. Just another night in this crazy mixed-up town… what else ya got for me, T.A.?

(Originally Published in 2012)

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