Should be up on Amazon.com in the next couple days. A hardboiled mystery fantasy story. And the excerpt:
She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her. She was a tall, leggy blond, maybe twenty-two or -three, long hair piled up on her head, blue eyes, busty, bubble-butt, a body you could bounce quarters off of. She wore a green dress cut low in front, with short sleeves, a miniskirt that barely covered her crotch, and some kind of foofy sandals. Oh, yeah, gorgeous–
Gorgeous–but this is L.A, right? Out here, the women who wait tables or clerk at 7-Eleven are all actresses, come to Gomorrah to break into the Biz, to be the next Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson. What they were in summer in SoCal can drive a man into terrible lust, all the potential starlets looking for their big break and willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
I’ve seen them come and seen them go, starting out with the big smiles and fading to casting couches and heartaches. A shame. The Biz eats them up and spits them out.
She sat in the chair across from my battered wooden desk, and there was a fresh, clean smell to whatever perfume she was wearing, nothing I recognized. Essence of outdoors, new-mown hay, pine forest, sea breeze, all mixed together.
I wondered where her home was: Kansas? Idaho? Some backwater town where she had been the Corn Queen or Miss 4H? So pretty that everybody thought she really should be in the movies ...
“How can I help you, Miss ...”
“Margaret. My friends call me ‘M.K.’”
I nodded. There was a time when I would have wanted to be her friend more than anything, I couldn’t look at a beautiful woman but that I visualized her hair being spread out on a pillow, but these days, a bottle of scotch and a good book call to me more. My junk email now has an ad for Viagra almost every day, and AARP had been sending me invitations for a couple of years. Getting up there, and it was something of a shock, since I never expected to live past forty, given my lifestyle.
Hell, growing old.
She said, “I’m looking for somebody,” she said.
She produced a thumb drive and handed it to me.
I smiled. Of course.
Back in the day, detective work was long nights and cigarettes and shoe-leather, you cultivated sources on the street, in bars, the guy at the porno theater ticket booth, the streetwalkers at McArthur Park. You hung out at Tommy’s, because there was always a cop there for chiliburgers who would let you buy him supper and who’d be willing to pass along this or that. Marlow, Spade, Archer, even Jim Rockford, they were all tough guys who could take a gun-butt to the skull in the morning and have the case solved by happy hour. Men who could think, and who could act on it, and devil take the hindmost.
Now? Now, it is all computers and search engines, keeping a good hacker on your speed-dial, social butterflying on the internet. Anybody with half a brain can Google stuff, and if you have a few bucks, join a couple of databases and find out pretty much anything you want to know about anybody, and a whole lot more you really don’t want to know. What would have taken me a week to dig up thirty years ago? You can find in thirty seconds online.
These days, privacy really is an illusion.
Operatives now? Most of them couldn’t tail a street sweeper around the block; couldn’t punch their way out of a wet paper bag. Take away their computers, they got nothing.
I sound like my old man. These kids today ...