Dirk Saber P.I.: Watson
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I was sitting in my smoky office, daydreaming about the good-old days when detective work required hardboiled men in trench coats tailing suspects down dark, rain drenched alleys, when a knock on my door brought me back to reality. My Saint Bernard, Dick Tracy, raised his head from between his paws and gave a half-hearted “woof”.
Shaking my head in disappointment, I patted his furry noggin, and said, “Better late than never.”
The dark shadow of a figure through the opaque glass revealed a slim man about 5’8″ tall, short hair, wearing a fitted suit — hopefully a potential client with money. Just what I needed. So I put my feet up on the desk, leaned back, and said with my best I-don’t-really-care voice, “Come in. Door’s open.”
The door opened and in stepped a woman wearing a tight black tee-shirt, tight black jeans, with her blond hair tied in a ponytail. The left cheek on her heart shaped face showed the after effects of a blow, now black and blue. Quickly, I reevaluated the situation — battered wife, little money.
She looked me in the eye, sniffed audibly, frowned, and asked, “What’s that smell? And why is it so smoky in here?”
“Well, the smoke and good smell come from sandalwood incense. The bad smell I’m trying to cover up is Dick.” I pointed down below my desk.
“What?” She looked confused, and then disgusted.
My sharp skills of facial recognition immediately picked up on the misunderstanding. “Dick Tracy, my dog. He stole my lunch and now I’m paying for his indigestion.”
At the sound of his name, Dick stood up his impressive 140 pound, 30 inch Saint Bernard frame and wagged his massive tail. True to his instincts — Dick’s best investigative tool is his nose — he headed her way.
“Do you like dogs?” I asked, in fear she’d turn and run out the door.
“Love ’em,” she answered, squatting down to meet Dick face to snout.
While they got acquainted, I studied her discreetly. In profile I could tell she wasn’t thin, but athletic. The tight tee molded nicely around very feminine curves, while the line of a well-developed latissimus dorsi flexed as she petted my Dick’s massive head.
Breaking away from the concentrated visual evaluation, I asked, “How may I help you, Misses…?”
“Misses? I’m not married, never been, and never will be,” she said, rising up. She reached across the desk with her hand out to shake. “My name is Samantha Watson. I’m not here looking for help. I’m here looking for work.”
I shook her hand, consciously keeping my eyes from straying down to her jostling breasts. Her grip was tight and warm — obviously a strong and independent woman… and a lesbian.
Her free hand placed a manila envelope on the desk. “Here’s my résumé, and $500 cash.”
Giving her my best ‘you poor girl’ face, I said, “That’s not how it works. The employer is supposed to pay you.”
“You’re a funny guy, but you didn’t let me finish. The money is from a friend of mine who is one of your former clients, Beatrice Robbins. Remember her? You lent her money to go home to Kentucky, and she asked me to pay you back. When I talked to Bea I mentioned that I’d lost my job. She suggested I ask if you needed any help. She said you were a good guy and nice to her.” Samantha paused, patted Dick’s head, then laughed. “And she said I’d like your Dick. Now I know what she meant.”
I thought, maybe you don’t, and maybe she’s not a lesbian.
I pushed the manila envelope off to the side, and asked, “Does that bruise on your face have anything to do with losing your job?”
I like to get right to the facts even if they’re not relevant.
“Is this a job interview? If it’s not, then what happened to my face is none of your business.”
Of course I lied. “Yes, it’s an interview. I could use some surveillance help on a case.”
I motioned for her to take a seat. There’s a chair for clients right in front of my desk, but Samantha chose to sit sideways on my desktop – interesting interview technique. Her scent was more appealing than the sandalwood. She leaned down and pointed at her bruised cheek. “I was the resource officer at Roosevelt High. I got hit with an elbow by a punk who was manhandling an intoxicated girl at a dance, trying to get her into the back seat of his car. I stopped him. In the process he gave me this, and then I dislocated his shoulder and broke his nose.”
“How does that get you fired? Sounds like you should’ve been up for a commendation.”
Samantha retreated to the chair and flopped down. “I know! Right? But here’s the thing. The football team was playing for the state title on Saturday and he was the quarterback. I got charged with using excessive force by the school superintendent.”
I smiled. “No good deed goes unpunished.” Opening the manila envelope, I gave her résumé the once over while pocketing the cash filled smaller envelope that was inside. Two things jumped out — Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and black belt in Karate. Impressive. But I shook my head with disappointment. “You beşiktaş türbanlı escort don’t have a carry permit?”
“Never needed one. But if you hire me, I would apply if it’s required.”
“Being a Private Investigator can be a dangerous business. Do you think you can handle the pressure?”
“I handled a high school full of pubescent males, messed up on testosterone. I think I can handle middle-aged cheating husbands and insurance cheats.”
Ouch. That felt like a put down. The truth hurts. Time to change the subject. “Have you ever watched the television show ‘Elementary’?”
Samantha brightened. “I love that show! When are those two going to do it? They live together, work together. He’s weird, but sexy, and Joan is mysteriously hot.”
“I agree. But then it would kill all the sexual tension and most of the viewer interest.” I leaned forward on the desk. “Getting back on track, did your name, Watson, have anything to do with you pursuing a career in criminal justice?”
Her face became less bright. “Maybe a little.” Her eyebrows converged. “What about your name? Dirk Saber, is that really your name? Sounds made up. Sounds like a porn star.”
Shit! I did make it up. I thought it sounded tough, like Sam Spade, sort of Humphrey Bogartish. “This is an interview. I’ll ask the questions, Ms. Watson.”
“Sorry.” She grinned sheepishly, “Saber and Watson does have a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”
I ignored the question. I sensed she was playing me, and changed my mind about her sexual preference — hetero or bi. “Where is Roosevelt High? I’m not familiar with it.”
“Coopersville? That’s at least four hours away. Long drive to look for a job.”
“Well, I had to deliver the cash. Bea didn’t know your address or phone number.”
Hmm, something smelled fishy and, considering all the odors in the room, the truth must be really rotten. All she had to do was search my name on the Internet. I have a website, after all. “How do you know Beatrice?”
“We roomed together in college. Kept in touch after. Stayed friends.”
“If we work together, you would have to relocate. Will that cause any relationship problems?” Smooth, aren’t I.
Samantha visibly slumped in the chair, looked away, and folder her arms across her chest. “Nope.”
“Really? An attractive woman like you? I find that hard to believe.”
She smiled at the attractive comment, then saddened a little, and said, “Well, I was in a live-in relationship, but we just broke up. So, I’m free to do as I please.”
“Did losing your job have anything to do with that?”
After a heavy sigh, she confessed, “My boyfriend was the football coach.”
I quickly deduced the desperateness of Samantha’s situation. Job lost, relationship broken, and the chances of finding work in the small town where she lived miniscule. As I sat back in my black leather chair, tapping my fingers together in thought, I wondered if Beatrice-from-Kentucky was playing long distance matchmaker, or maybe she was taking advantage of my knight-in-shining-armor good nature to help out her friend. The five hundred dollar inducement facilitated my decision.
“Okay, Ms. Watson, you’re hired on a trial basis.”
Jumping up and smiling brightly, she said, “Great! And call me Samantha, or Sam.” She held out her hand and I shook it, once again keeping eye contact. “When can I start?”
“Tomorrow morning. Meet me here at 9:00.”
Her mood darkened a little, and she said, “Is there a cheap motel close by? I’m kind of short on funds right now.”
How convenient. Thanks, Beatrice. “If you want, you can stay at my place. I have a spare room where you can crash… until you can make other arrangements.”
“Thanks, but I couldn’t impose on you and your family.”
Ah, now she was fishing. Since when did I look like a family man?
“No worries. No one but me and Dick at home. Besides, we could discuss tomorrow’s surveillance.”
“Okay, it’s a deal. Can I get an advance? My gas gauge is below E.”
“Sure,” I said, pulling out the Bea envelope and ripping it open. When I withdrew two fifties I noticed a folded note between the bills. “Do you have GPS in your car?”
Writing down my home address, I asked, “Do you like Chinese food?”
“Very much,” said Sam, as I held out the cold hard cash.
“I’ll pick some up on the way home. Meet you there.”
When she reached for the bills, her fingers passed by my hand, grazed my wrist, and slid down to grasp the money. “Thank you, Dirk. I really appreciate what you’re doing for me.”
‘What do you think you’re doing?’ I thought. “No problem… and no promises. This is business. And call me, Boss.”
Samantha’s smile drooped a little. “Yes, Boss.”
Using my newly invented boss voice, I said, “Meet me at my house in an hour. It’s a twenty-five minute drive from here. I’ll see you later,” and then moved my beşiktaş ucuz escort mouse, pretending to read something important on the laptop.
Seeming ruffled by the dismissal, she turned to walk away and then turned back as if to say something, but then quietly left my office. As soon as the door closed I pulled out the folded note from inside Bea’s cash stash, and read, ‘Dear Dirk, Thank you for your help. I’m much happier here in Kentucky, although I thoroughly enjoyed our time together. My friend Samantha is a good person who needs protection. She’s proud and won’t ask for help. But she’s been receiving threats. Please watch her back. Warmest regards, Bea.’
My office window overlooks the parking lot, so I turned and watched Sam’s back, well mostly her backside, walk safely to a late model green Toyota Tundra pickup. The truck bed was covered with a tarp that bulged with her packed up belongings.
As she pulled out, I said, “Well, Dick, she’s a long way from danger here.”
Dick moved up beside me so I could rub his head.
Then, from the opposite side of the parking lot, a beat-up Ford Taurus wagon, with a bumper sticker that read ‘Go Bears’ began to follow at a distance. Using my superb deductive skills, I reasoned that since we were a thousand miles from Chicago, and the bumper sticker was green and gold, and not the Chicago Bears blue and orange, the ‘Go Bears’ reference was probably about Roosevelt High in Coopersville, the school probably named after Theodore Roosevelt, and their mascot would be a cute little Teddy Bear. But probably not ‘too cute’.
“Time to go home, Dick.” But first, I called in a takeout order from the Great Wall restaurant.
Dick Tracy looked up at me with his concerned brown eyes, as I clipped on his leash.
I scratched under his chin, and said, “Don’t worry about Samantha. They didn’t follow her for four hours just to grab her at a gas station. They’re waiting to get her alone somewhere, like at our house.”
He wagged his tail in understanding. I felt absolutely sure of my deduction.
Forty-five minutes later, I pulled my 2006 Odyssey into my driveway and parked it in front of the garage. Now I know a minivan is not what a hardboiled detective would usually drive, but it’s a great, nondescript vehicle for surveillance. The back window even sports a stick figure family consisting of a man, woman, little girl, little boy, and two cats, just for good measure.
I set Dick free into the fenced backyard, carried the takeout to the kitchen, and then sat down in my home office to monitor the security cameras. My house may look like an ordinary ranch style tract home, sitting on twenty acres of woodland, but it has state-of-the-art security. You can’t be too careful in my line of work, for instance I’d never invite a stranger to stay with me, unless, of course, she was gorgeous like Samantha. There are exceptions to every rule. Rules, like promises, are made to be broken.
Right on time Sam’s Tundra pulled in behind my van. She got out, and stared at the stickers on my back window with a confused face that said, ‘Am I at the right address?”
As she studied my middle class house, I watched a Taurus wagon slowly pass by behind her. The pleasant sensation of being right again made my heart jump, or maybe it was an adrenalin rush getting me pumped for the imminent conflict. I waited to see what happened next, waffling about whether I should go outside or watch a black belt hammer some high schoolers. My mind was made up when four guys the size of offensive linemen, strolled into view from the street carrying baseball bats. Either they said something, or Samantha’s ninja sensors tingled, because she turned to face them.
“Not fair!” I said, and proceeded outside to even the odds. Okay, maybe the odds were not going to be even. Because I want the odds to be ever in my favor, like the Hunger Games taught us. Wishing I had time to put on my black fedora for effect, I ran back through the kitchen and out the side door.
I found Samantha backed against my van, crouched in striking position, as the four ski masked men moved in with bats raised.
I’d seen enough, and shouted, “Hey, assholes!”
Immediately they turned as one, and their eyeholes morphed from anger to shock-and-awe as one. A classic Smith and Wesson revolver has that effect on people. It’s just such a beautifully crafted piece of firearm history. The .357 Magnum caliber ammunition is kind of awe inspiring in its own right.
“Drop the bats.”
I sensed hesitation, so I pulled back on the double action trigger, which makes a nice, resounding click, a sound universally known to demand, ‘right now or else’. The ratcheting sound of a pump action shot gun has the same effect.
Wooden bats clattered to the ground as expected.
“Now take off the masks.”
Hesitation again. So I leveled the barrel at the closest one, and yelled, “Now!”
The kid jumped, and maybe wet himself. It was getting dark, beşiktaş üniversiteli escort so the growing spot at his crotch may have been just a shadow. But he complied and the rest followed.
Samantha ran between them to stand at my side, and yelled, “Bruce, Jack, Lou, Allen! What the hell guys!”
I looked at her in amazement. “That’s it? What the hell guys?”
One of the guys with dry pants spoke up. “Please let us go. We’ll give back the money, and won’t bother you again, Ms. Watson.”
“Someone paid you to hurt me?”
“Yeah, but not too bad. It was Carl’s dad’s idea. You ruined Carl’s chance for a D1 scholarship.”
For my benefit, Samantha said, “Carl is the quarterback I told you about.”
Duh! I’d figured that out already, and I’d heard enough. “I see. So this is what the bench warmers do when they aren’t good enough to get a scholarship.” I pulled out my cellphone and dialed 911, while telling the boys politely to, “Sit!” and they obeyed better than Dick.
Confession is good for the soul, so when the police arrived the fearsome foursome cleansed their souls after they heard their rights. Officers in Coopersville were dispatched to Carl’s dad’s house for more soul searching.
When the last of the visitor’s departed, Samantha and I stood in the driveway watching the taillights disappear.
“Now do you see the value of a carry permit?”
She laughed. “Yes, Boss. It saves time and energy.” Then she pointed at my minivan family tree. “What’s with all this? Do you have a family?”
“No. It’s my sister’s family. I bought the van from her for surveillance. It’s good camouflage. Now let’s get your stuff inside. I’m starving.”
Thank god for microwaves. Chinese food is just as good, if not better, reheated. We talked over dinner about what happened and how I knew something was afoot.
“Bea is a good friend. I’m glad she wrote that note.”
In my own defense, I said, “I would’ve figured it out pretty quick. But you probably would’ve had to beat a couple of them up before I came out.” Then I confessed, “I almost waited to see you in action. And then I remembered I just had the driveway sealed and didn’t want blood stains on the pristine surface.”
Sam almost blew rice out of her nose laughing. After composing herself, she asked, “Can I do some laundry?”
“Sure. Let me give you the tour.”
I showed her to the guest room, gave her some towels, and then we toured the rest of the house. One of the best things about a ranch style home is the huge basement. When I had it built, the masons added another two courses of cement blocks to make the ceiling higher. The basement is where I live most of my off hours. It’s my laundry room, workout room, and playroom.
Samantha, duly impressed, looked around at the furnishings, and said, “Wow! This is great! Can I work out? I haven’t had the chance in over a week.”
“Feel free.” Then I pointed, and said, “The washer and dryer are behind the bi fold doors.”
“Thanks, so much, Boss.” Then she hugged me, nice and tight. It felt much better than the handshake.
“You’re welcome, Sam” The boss thing seemed a little too cold after what happened, so I told her, “You can call me John. That’s my real name, John Smith. Not a very exciting name.”
Sam held me at arm’s length, and said, “But it sounds real. Real is better. Besides, if this partnership works out, we can change the company name to Smith and Watson. Now that name has some weight.”
Smith and Watson did sound awesome, almost deadly. I said, “We’ll see how it goes.”
We went back upstairs. Samantha went into the guest room and closed the door. I let Dick Tracy inside, then went to my room and changed into shorts and a tee-shirt.
Still wired from all the excitement, I went downstairs and hopped on my treadmill for a run. A few minutes later, Samantha came down carrying an armload of clothes, and wearing a green silk robe with an embroidered dragon on the back. The robe only went down to mid-thigh, showing off her toned legs all the way down to her bare feet. She ignored my huffing and puffing. I enjoyed watching her silky butt sashay over to the laundry, as I thought about the movie ‘Enter the Dragon’ with a whole new adult plot twist.
After I breathlessly answered some question on washer operation, Samantha started it up, and then moved to the center of my workout mats. She looked around, and said, “What do you use all this open floor space for?”
“Yoga, and stuff.”
She gave me a queer look. “Really? You don’t strike me as a Yoga guy.”
“It’s very relaxing and keeps me limber.”
She grinned at my reflection in the floor to ceiling mirror, and commented, “I like limber men.”
Using my honed powers of deduction, I decided that was definitely a come on. “I feel the same way,” I said, and then added for clarification, “about women.”
Samantha removed her robe to reveal a skin tight black sports bra and biker shorts. She didn’t look at me anymore, but stretched a little and then began a karate kata. I couldn’t take my eyes off her or her reflection. It was like watching a graceful ballet, but with punches, round house kicks, and shouting. Sweat began to stain her meager apparel, which only enhanced their sexiness.
After twenty minutes of running, I quit, grabbed a towel, and stood watching her, until she finished.
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