Blog Noir: A Detective Story






It was early Autumn and as fall mornings go, it was an unseasonably warm in Gotham.   Everyone walked fast…eager to escape the heat .   I looked at people  and watched ’em sweat, like a hungry fat guy at a hot dog stand where there  are only two weenies left..and he’s  third in line.   I notice these things.  Why?   Because I’m paid to. That’s what I do.   The name is Sphincter….Bob Sphincter and I’m a Private Dectective.

 The crazy Concrete Jungle was radiating heat in every direction.  I could almost feel it pulsing through my Wing Tips.  My dogs were barkin’.  I wanted to get back to my office and sit by the fan.  I had things to do, people to see and when I walked in my small,  two room office at the corner of Chow and Main, I thought to myself, ‘could it get any hotter than this?’   

Little did I know it would…later….and I had no clue as to how hot.

An hour went by and my secretary, Della told me that my four o’clock  had arrived.    I lit another cigarette, eager to see what kind of desperate piece of trash would be the latest hard luck case to need my services.

Della showed him in.   He was well dressed; hair slicked back,  like a typical New York swell.    He sat down and I looked at him.  Tall, pale, thin, black pencil moustache over his upper lip.   He folded his arms and cocked his head to the right.  

I reached across my desk and picked up my pack of smokes.   I offered him one.


To which he replied, “Yes, I can see that.”

Then he added, with a serious expression, like  a fat man in a theater who’d dropped his full box of Juju Bees somewhere on the darkened floor, “I’m not here for small talk, Sphincter.  I’ve got to handle a problem for a client.  I was hoping you could assist me with this.   Can you? ” 

“Don’t know the situation yet.”  I lit another cigarette and blew out the smoke slowly.   “Spill the goods, mack.  I need details, see.”

“My name is Frank Harper.  My client is Congressman Peter Lydell.  He  works with the Secretary of War and also chairs the White House Committee on Legal License Dispensing and Revocation..among other things.  Powerful man.   He has reason to believe his wife isn’t being faithful.”

“I’m listening”, I replied.

He cleared his throat.  ” I need a private dick to trail Congressman Lydell’s wife.   We need someone to look into her past and find out if she if she’s having an affair.”  

He tossed a manila folder on my desk.    

“Here’s all the information you need.   And Sphincter, Lydell is a very important man.   You have three days to get me this information and I warn you, don’t louse this up!”   

“Why I oughta….”

“Yeah, Sphincter, you oughta keep your trap shut, see.  You’re a bum and a two bit private dick.  You got debts, debts I tell ya and your career needs this case and so do you!”

I felt the cold hard metal of my piece, my rod, my heater, my gun, press against my waist.   I wanted to use it, shoot him right between his eyes, but I didn’t.  Sure,  Harper was a schmuck , but he got one thing right…I needed this case.   I’d gotten involved in the numbers racket a year ago and I lost the shirt off my back.  I’d been hiding out, laying low,  not able to pay anything back to the  mob bosses.  Besides,  Harper was an important man.  He knew people, too so I agreed to take the case.  Besides, the last thing I needed was some dirty squeal pigeon stooling on me.   

 Wait, I think I said that wrong. 

I watched  him as he walked out of my office.  There was something about this guy I didn’t like and I could smell his no-goodnick  nature,  like I could smell  a fat man who was really into sheep…………..and garlic.

I took a minute, recomposed, then opened the file and out fell a picture of a dame so perfect, with a face to match and a pair of  gams  that could reach Bayonne.  Real looker, this broad.   It was  Lydell’s wife.    I grabbed my hat and told Della I was leaving for the  day.  I had a date with an angel-face named Sheila,  though she would never know it.  

Two days flew by and New York was still hot;  hotter than a fat guy eatin’  hot Chinese mustard you see on tables at , “Fuk So Yung’s Grill, Tap Room and Juke Joint”.   

I tracked down Shiela Lydell…upper eastside.  Nice apartment building, a doorman.   Watched her leave;  followed her to Macy’s to Gimble’s and up and down Park Avenue.    She spread dough around like a fat man in a mix- master at a donut shop in Queens.  

This doll liked action, too.  She was out every night with the same man.   He even left L ydell’s house with her.   He was another swell.   He looked important; like he knew things.  Looked shifty, too, like he took money under the table, then would spit in your eye and call you Hazel.  I’d say most likely a G-Man,  involved in law or politics,  maybe.  Whatever he was, he looked like he was knee deep into no good.    

I popped several shots of them with my camera.

Other than having an affair with this shifty character, I found nothing in her background.   This dame’s rap sheet was pristine…unlike a fat man who’d been fooled by mean neighborhood kids who’d given him a  torte topped with Chocolate Ganache, flavored with Ex-Lax.

The next morning, Harper arrived at my office like clockwork.   I’d prepared my final report, put it in a large envelop and as he sat down, I skimmed it across my desk.

He opened the folder and started reading.  

Mrs. Lydell’s  past is spotless.   Her family comes from blue bloods,  real respectable like.  No one has anything bad to say about her, but to answer to your inital question, yes, she is having an affair.  She’s been seen recently with a a man…maybe a  politician who’s obviously got a dubious reputation.”

Harper then removed the picture, took one look and his face reddened, like a fat guy in a….never mind.

He stood up and shouted, “Sphincter, you idiot!!  That man IS Congressman Lydell!!” 

I lit up a smoke and calmy replied, “Then you have your answer.  Where’s my dough, Harper?”


It was early winter and as mornings go, it was an unseasonably cold in Gotham.   Everyone walked fast; eager to escape the the chill.  I looked at reddened faces and watched ’em grimmace in the sleet, like  a naked fat man, caught eatin’ a side of raw beef  while locked in a kosher butcher’s meat cooler.   I still notice these things.  Why?   Because I used to be paid to.   That’s what I used to do.   The name is Sphincter….Bob Sphincter and I’m an ex-Private Dectective..

.                                                                      …    .  /


  1. You know, if you were 5’7, wore red lipstick and sported a fedora that dipped over your face, Lauren Bacall would have a been a waitress for the last 25 years.

  2. Outstanding…….the background music, your old forties atmospheric technique. I even read it in black and white! Laurie, I have said it before and will say it again-I want your brain kept and examined after you are gone. I just don’t know where you get this stuff. Brilliant, not that I’m prejudiced.


  3. I’m lost for words here. This was wonderful! I know where you get this stuff. You have that type of mind that plays and replays years of watching tv in mother and daddy’s room in the house on main street-from Project Terror to Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent.

    I can visualize the whole act playing out in my mind. Fabulous, not that I’m prejudiced either. I loved it.

  4. Fang Hello,

    How are you? Mamy nie poinformował w wielu miesięcy. Siostry mają Kendrick missed you. Mam nadzieję, że będziesz częściej na komentarz Laurie’s blog. Ciągle czekam na te oczy żebra należy przesłały rok temu.

    Chcemy see you soon.

    Mam nadzieję, że dobrze.

  5. Karol-what the hell????????For a minute I thought I was back in the 50’s and 60’s walking down main street in Karnes City on a Saturday afternoon!

  6. Le crochet à Fang,, mon bon homme,

    C’était l’ainsi grande vue de vos commentaires du blog de nouveau. Oui, les Soeurs vous ont manqués. Franchement dit, nous ne pouvons pas attendre jusqu’à ce que vous receviez finalement votre rectum britannique grand, gros en bas à Texas et rencontriez la famille.

    Apportez de la viande.

    Avec amour,

  7. Tu es tres gentilles, Kathy.

    Malheureusement, J’en ai beaucoup de travail que m’occupe.

    Au sujet des rectums grandes et petites, je sais que tu es vraiment l’expert.

    J’ai peur qu’il na pas la place en tout l’etat de Texas pour deux rectum commes nous autres.

  8. Oui, mais le Fang à venin, vous ne croyez pas que nous devions nous rencontrer d’abord ? Alors nous pouvons juger chaque largeur de rectum d’autre plus assez.

    Il y A assez de pièce à Texas pour beaucoup de rectums. La famille de Kendrick nécessaire se compose de cinq des plus grands rectums sur la Terre et la soprisse là est toujours la pièce pour d’autres.

    Votre rectum britannique abominable, déplaisant sera toujours l’accueil dans l’État d’Étoile Solitaire. Oh et je vous appelle le rectum parce que le petit nom de Laurie pour vous, “l’imbécile”, semble si formel.


  9. Not since Jane Austin or Moby Dick has a novelist (Is that what she is?) so captured the imagination as has Laurie Kendrick. Rare is it indeed that such a short novel (novelette?) captured my belly in a most enthusiastic belly laugh.

    Way to go Laurie… may all the saints preserve ya till you’re 103 years old.

    Seriously, what a funny, funny piece. And the music was ab-so-damn-lutely inspired.

  10. Damn, Kendrick: That music has me halfway out the door in a bad suit, trying to walk off the worst of the good intentions of a hard women.

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