Friday, January 14, 2011

YOU DIRTY RATS ~ By Absolutely*Kate and Harry B Sanderford ... #FlashCrimeFiction

The challenge came to create a crime'tale updated from a fairytale. My pal Harry came along while I was takin' this challenge from the sharp-shooting minds over at THINGS I'D RATHER BE DOING and ponied up more than a wooden nickel of his 2-cents worth. You'll see. We gutted out our crime-senses in concensus from ~

Sit back. Dig it. 

~ Absolutely*Kate, glad I followed Sean Patrick Reardon into another shadowy street to be desired. He did leave the door open after all. And then I saw Eric, and crime maven Joyce, and of course . . . Paul. 

So put your big palookas up
  on our tale, then go hunt up

You'll feel safer that ya did.
(or put that in your pied pipe and smoke it ) 

~ By down and dirty duo,
Absolutely*Kate and Harry B Sanderford
Seems like the cool cats had all left town. I took my fedora off, the better to scratch the ponder of my noggin. Somethin' was off, and it wasn't just my hat. God, this godforsaken bar was a friggin' dive. The kinda place where you could practically watch slime slither. No sooner thought than brought, I thought, just lookee who comes hither. Frieda Zambowzer and her snaggle toothed sister Gertrude, Trudy to her friends of which I am sure there are none.
My name is Jake Piper. I’m . . . a fixer. I solve problems, big ones. The slithery sisters would not have called me if they weren’t in deep.

They eyeballed me up and down good and plenty while they ordered up their gin fizzes nice and slow, but I was game at avoiding glances I'd best disregard when another morning came knockin'. I was in this shithole of a town to do a job, and once I found my focus, I'd keep it. The way things were lookin' out that jagged excuse for a window, the sooner I got out of Hamelin, Texas, the happier I'd be. The taller one, the toothy one, had an irritating way of speaking, something akin to old Mrs Haggerty, my third grade teacher and how her nails accosted chalkboard. I put my hat back on, nodded to the barkeep for another barley pop. The shorter, rounder sister kinda leaned forward, an insult to good cleavage. “Put that on my tab Doc,” she cooed, sliding over a stool closer and giving my hand a pat. I gave my full attention to the grizzly barkeep. He poured. I chugged.

I finished the beer in one draught, placed it on the bar motioning for a refill and swiveled on my stool to regard the Zambowzer sisters in full. Trudy was eating salted peanuts and wiping her fingers on her Dominos Delivers T-shirt. Frieda had slid still closer and either had something in her eye or was being flirtatious. Time to get down to business. 

“Okay ladies, what seems to be the trouble?” 

In my line of traffic, you tend to see malignant narcissism comin' down the pike a lot, but this deleterious duo had it in spades. Boy could they deal it. And they fell all over each other trying to patch up the potholes they were scraping into their story. But hey, this was a job, and I needed the bread. I needed it in a hurry too, but, as they say, that's another story. The way these gals were driving their points home on all sides of the road, the bum steer was clear, but what they asked was a cinch. I knew I could avoid the local constabulary's pinch and clear outta Dodge, even if I was still in Hamelin. 

Just about every time Trudy notched up a screechy calibration, cagey Frieda would roll in, oft times with an intruding jab into Trude, to kinda change her tune. Me? I just hankered that she'd change her frequency.
"So you see Mr Piper -- "
"Jake, call me Jake."
"I kinda like that. Like those old black and white movies, 'everything's Jake'."

"Well let's hope so Trudy," feisty Freida cut in, still waggin' those Maybellines. "Tell him about -- "

Trudy was quick on the drawl, "It all happened when Sammy left us the  -- "
Frieda cut that one off at the pass, "When Grammy left us --"
"Yeah, sure, that's it, when Grammy left us -- uh -- her legacy." Trudy smiled. Frieda bobbed her moptop. I still had more in my glass, so I kept my mug busy. "It's a boat, well, a ship and we need a little help to get it back in our hands."
"You mean it slipped off its moorings?" I nudged.
Trudy snapped, "Not like that. It got swiped from us and we want it back."
"Were you aboveboard or below decks when this heist was hoisted?" Sometimes I couldn't help crackin' myself up. Passed the time 'til time to move on. Barkeep polishing the same dry glasses got a new dry chuckle outta that one.

"We lost it in a swindle," Freida blurted, finally more up front with the spill of her spiel.

"Yeah, yeah a swindle. We were bamboozled, flim flammed, we were shills just shallying. We were -- "
"Cool your jets Sis, I got the kodak. You want your merchandise returned and everything will be shipshape."

"No, actually we want to run a riverboat casino but -- Ooomph! HEY, cut that out, whatchoo kick me for?"

Frieda railed patent pumps into Trudy's shins, hard, fast . . .  meaningful. Me and Barkeep unloaded arched eyebrows at the chances of this finally gettin' good. The girls started mumbling into each other and I thought I caught the words, "Level with him", when ol'Trudy whipped a Madison portrait from some skanky seclusion I didn't wanta reckon about inside a tugged up portion of a rumpled black Maidenform. Pretty sad. That tugged rumple and only $500 winking up at me. I'd traveled some miles for this job.

"And there's plenty more where this came from."

"How much more?" Either the light or my patience was getting dimmer, because it got real easy to see the light bulb go off over Frieda's ratty hairpiece.
"Talking ten more." She said it evenly. Same way she held my gaze. No more slinging flinging lashes. This tight skirt, what there was of it, meant business.
"Hell's belles - with you getting those rats out of our way, those dirty rats what stole our mother's legacy, we'd be so grateful there could be two times, three times that much -- "
"TRUDY! Shut your darn yapper!" 

Guess Frieda held the purse strings with most else her rolypoly frame held and ran or wanted to run again a tight ship. I don't care what she wanted to do with it, gettin' it back couldn't be that hard and by my calculations it would make for a fifteen thousand dollar payday. “What is the name of this boat I’m looking for?”

“It was christened The Whammy Zammy, after our Grammy Sammy,” the sisters recited in unison.

“Start smoothing the wrinkles out of Mr. Madison’s mates sisters. I’ve got a boat to catch.”

                                                  ~ ~ ~

"COME ABOARD!" ~ pic WoodleyWonderWorks
It wasn’t hard locating The Whammy Zammy. Hamelin had but one marina and the giant paddlewheel riverboat dwarfed every other vessel at the docks. A party seemed in full swing when I asked a topless young lady with one hand on the starboard rail and the other clutching a magnum of champagne for, “Permission to come aboard?”

“Granted, handsome!” she giggled offering the bottle out to me as I climbed aboard.  I accepted the bottle and after a slash asked the out-of-uniform swab with the giggle and jiggle, “Would you happen to be the Captain of this vessel?” I shall have to remember the line as it seems it is the funniest thing I have ever uttered. “I take it you are not in command then?” 

“No, no, no,” she began, now composing herself and reaching out for the bottle. “I’m Tammy from Miami, this is Big Daddy’s boat.“

“Pleased to meet you Tammy from Miami, could you tell me where I’d find . . . uh, Big Daddy?”  I was on a roll with Tammy as this once again set her to laughing. I began to suspect it might not be my delivery alone and leaving her there, proceeded up the companionway. How hard could a Big Daddy be to spot?

I was disoriented at the top of the ship's ladder, for here again was Tammy from Miami, though the sign above her head clearly reported I had arrived on the Poop Deck. How could she have beaten me here?

“I see you met my sister.” This upper deck Tammy offered, taking me by the hand. “I’m Pammy from Miami. We both work for Big Daddy.” 

“Yes, I see,” I said, not truly seeing but sure things would come clearer. “About that, I am looking for Mr. Daddy.”

“He’s not so hard to find,” Pammy from Miami said, pointing out a man dressed like Colonel Sanders entertaining a bevy of no doubt, other “ammys” at the Poop Deck bar. Not a hint of laughter from Pammy. Dead ringers the two but clearly Tammy with the more sophisticated funny bone.  

Funny how I wanted to follow that funny bone, a lot of those funny bones actually. Which honed me more aware to keep my gaze steady on the main guy's, far better to get to the big prize, then I'd be more free to amble any 'ammy's way. This Big Daddy character was some character indeed. Halfway white-suited reality and the other 80% a ringer for a Bugs Bunny cartoon star. He was that big. You know the star. I felt it already from hearing his southern good old boy pomposity go gladhanding over the top - or in this case over the topless - of all his pretty minions. 

"Ahhh say, ahhh say, it seems we have us some kind of fancified visitor aboahrd our good ship o' goodtimes. Whah welcome tharah boy, welcome! Come on ovah hereah and state yourah bidness. Pammy, a special drink for our new city slickah friend. Or ahre you Tammy?"
I thanked Pammy from Miami and made my way over to the bar and the man who would look perfectly at home cradling a red and white striped bucket of southern fried yardbird. I was not surprised to see goon one and goon two angling to intercede with questions concerning my business. A quick note from the harmonica my great-grandfather gave me would easily re-route their concerns to their stomachs to make way for the galley. But I bided my time. Wanted first to size up my adversary.

Foghorn Leghorn. You can hear him, see him in your mind's eye, clear as a cart careens on one crooked wheel in a Piggly Wiggly. This guy was a bonafide LooneyTune. Out of habit and for security's sake I slid my hand into the interior pocket of my jacket. Naturally, it was right there. So too was the strong arming of the strong arms of the two gargantual muscle goons most likely dubbed Biff or Todd or -- 
"Biff! Jed! Now leave the boy alone. He'll mahnd his mannahs, I cain tell people. I cain." 
Couldn't stop the soft smirk, I was that close to naming cartoon lackeys. I kept my hand right where it was. Let it linger there a heartbeat. Then, slow, strong, steady, I held Big Daddy's gaze with friendly forcefulness, pulled out and brandished my trusty silver hunk of protection. Biff and Todd/Jed jostled back in a numbed flash, exhibiting the awe of nine-year old lads at a Tonka display at a toystore at Christmas time. Mesmerized. The Sweet Harmony Harmonica was noted for that on first impressions. Clearly more than gleam and sheen, its spark conjured back first moments of making music happen in an unexpected and very cool way. Thing was, the mesmerizing continued with the Sweet Harmony.

Mesmerizing itself is an art, a scintillating skill. Utilizing Mesmerism, you look with a purpose, you hold your intent, you impress your will. Big Daddy Foghorn Leghorn needed me to impress my skill on his will so that I could collect on my bill. With all the ammo of these handy 'ammies around, this particular exhibition packed the titillation of triumphant thrill. Big Daddy nodded once, twice, and I brought to my lips the sweet harmonica Great Grandaddy Piper had passed down with its potent powers to -- now, just me.

I blew a few mouth-harp tones out for the cartoon man's pleasure and approached at leisure. My gaze and paces were measured, guaging the measure of the florid man with the shit-eating grin before me. I quieted his guffaws with my senses and visualized thought control. Slowly, slowly . . . 

MESMERIZING ~ pic ala KTylerConk
Please join us for next weekend's "YOU DIRTY RATS" crimetale matinee AT THE BIJOU to find out just where we're goin' wit'this tune.


Eyeball the gritty slew of bombastic crime'tales outta fairytales right here, at THINGS I'D RATHER BE DOING.

You all sleep swell. 
Check the doors, will'ya?

~ ~ ~

Absolutely*Kate runs this here AT THE BIJOU joint of theatre for the minds and shall be sailing Harbinger*33 (no relation to the WhammyZammy). She believes in believers, the best shadows of noir and has moxie. 
The world needs more moxie.

Harry B Sanderford claims he's a cowboy surfer who'd just as soon knit yarns than mend fences, but Absolutely*Kate has keen detecting skills, and knows his skills spin a whole lot farther.
They look forward to seeing you down and dirty, next week -- same Matinee time.

Epic*sode 2


R L Kelstrom said...

Now who's the dirty rat, leavin' us jus hangin' like that. Love the Zambowzer sisters. And where else but Texas could all this happen?

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Pammy and Tammy from Miami? SNORT! You guys make a great team, fer sure!

Wendy said...

Smoooooooooooth and entertaining that's what comes to mind when my mind reads the likes of you two!

The Whammy Zammy? Tammy? Pammy?Cliffhangers make my hands clammy!

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Better than fresh clues to come upon a crime scene chocked full with three such trendy dame writers of the world:

Mr Piper said to tell'ya, despite the dirty rats, he won't leave ya flat, RL - come back next week and we promise you a ticket to Texas.

Mr Piper woulda snorted back at you Mrs Webster, but his eyes are kinda busy on twin treats at the present moment. You'll clean up that popcorn mess on the floor won't ya?

Mr Piper thinks he dated you last time he remembered Maryland, his Maryland Ms Sugar. Somethin' 'bout the clammy hands tipped him off.

Y'all come back for next week's mesmerizing matiness, hear?

Denise Covey Writer said...

This is amazing *Kate. Great story and a real hoot!

I came by to thank you for your wonderful humourous support for my Pub Party! After reading your story you might find me a bit tame as a CP. I do have a dark side though, which can be found at:

Anonymous said...

K* and H, I think there was a lot of poop on the deck. Fun one liners on the page. I really liked...
The shorter, rounder sister kinda leaned forward, an insult to good cleavage. Rofl. You guys have done it again.:)

seana graham said...


Love, love, love the humor in this. I'll be back.

Matthew S. Magda said...

Now here's a swindle that surely will not dwindle as we follow the karma of "malignant narcissism"--so aptly said--to its dirty rats done in end. Those sisters have all the charm one could want. This is subtle humor and genre combined with high intelligence. Kate and Harry,thanks for the fun and intrigue. Know you all will have a surprise for all. Foghorn Leghorn can't wait, Ah say, Ah say!

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

A*K & H- Not much more to be said than what has already been conveyed. I loved this and it cracked me up, big time.

Congrats on the Steelers win. The Patsy's got way to cute in their game. Broadway Joe is still one of my fav all-time athletes / characters, so I'm happy for the Jets. I think the Steelers will beat them. A Steelers / Packers superbowl would be awesome

Evan Lewis said...

Super cool. More from Mr. Piper, please.

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

L'Aussie of great publishing fetes, I never doubted your tame to not have duality in its time. I shall take a flashlight into this Flashquake site and do some more adventuring. Great dream-schemes you stir higher than floodwaters 'pon your Aussie shores. See you for next Wednesday's publishing party of the week. Oh yes, Harry and I both thank*you mighty kindly for comin' aboard our good ship of crime time.

~ Absolutely*Kate

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Lady J ~ Sure figgers you'd roll and hoot at the sexy parts. Weren't you tied up in a red passion dress in mine and Har's last epic'sodes of a murder mystery?

Thanks! See you for the conclusion in AT THE BIJOU's weekend matinee. ~ Absolutely*Kate and Harry who should be around soon, but I think is 'ammying it up. hmmm

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...


That's RL Kelstrom of "CANDY HOUSE" @

Over there, meet Seana of "HOW I CAME INTO MY INHERITANCE" @

That cracked-up fellow wearing an extra Steelers jersey I had hangin' around is Sean Patrick Reardon, thriller author of "DIVIDED WE STAND" @ -- Watch for his razzle-dazzle debut AT THE BIJOU during the FAB*FEB*FILM*FEST "RatPack Revue" -- It's a killer!

And will'ya get a load of the tough guy there, Evan Lewis. Man, is he packin' ... with "SKYLER HOBBS AND THE MAGIC SOLUTION" @

Har and I extend our humble thanks - I even tip my fedora to writing fairytale-inspired crime'tales wit'youse guys. See'ya this weekend for YOU DIRTY RATS conclusionionizing, right Har? Har? Har? Tammy? er Pammy?

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

And MATTHEW, professorial kingpin of the suave oneliners, we appreciate you always peering into our finer points, even seeing our subtleties, precluding our karmas and noting no dwindle to our sexy swindles.

The conclusion of YOU DIRTY RATS will certainly surprise you. Stay tuned for the weekend crime matinee - same rat time, same rat channel.

~ Absolutely*Kate and that Sanderford gent eating KFC with -- HEY! HAR!!!

seana graham said...

Can't wait!

Harry said...

Right K*G!

A sunset cruise on the Whammy Zammy is set for Bijou Debut. Check local listings for showtimes.

Thanks everyone!

Kaye George said...

I'll stay tuned!

Steve Green said...

Hilariously off-the-wall, brilliant.

I read this with a 'Mike Hammer/Sam Spade' inner voice, and laughed all the way through.

Roll on the next instalment.

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Steve Green, I heard you from the projection room, laughing uproariously into our scenes.

We sure like folks like you gettin' the spirit, AT THE BIJOU -- right Har?

Thank*you mighty kindly,
~ Absolutely*Kate and the 'ammy-lover

keikomushi said...

The story is solid, sticking with the noir themes while at the same time standing on its own. The dialog and scenes play out logically, but with enough chaos to avoid a rubbery texture.