“Gumshoe or Two (New Pulp Revival 002)” by Richard F. Yates

[Chapter two of NEW PULP REVIVAL has FINALLY arrived! (When I worked at the college, we called it “writing avoidance,” where a person does just about ANYTHING rather than sit down and put words on paper…I even vacuumed the couch yesterday!) Anyway, if you’re just joining us, you’ll want to read the first chapter by going HERE! For everybody else, let’s go ahead and hop aboard the exposition express!!! —RFY]


Caroline pushed her way into the office and slammed the door. She had her eyes on the desk, expecting to see the gray-haired Ollie Smithson sitting in his usual chair. He wasn’t.

“What is it? Caroline?” Ollie’s rough voice came at her from the side. He’d been napping on the worn out love-seat but sat up; rubbed his eyes.

“Jake’s dead.”

“What? Who’s Jake?”

“Jake! Jake Chapman! Reporter. Worked for the Henpeck Observer… Disappeared about a year ago. His wife hired us to find him… Come on!” She slammed her hands to her hips, then realized what she was being cliché and dropped them.

“Right, right… Chapman,” Ollie got up and stretched his back. “So what happened to him? Where was he?” He walked over to an end table, grabbed a semi-clean mug, and poured himself half-a-cup of black.

“I don’t know where he’s been,” Caroline said. She sat down on the vacated love-seat. Ollie put his coffee in a tiny nuker and hit ‘30 seconds.’ Caroline brushed her hand across her face, then pulled her shoulder length, auburn hair into a ponytail, fished a hair-tie out of her jacket pocket, and secured the bundle of hair behind her head.

“All I know,” she said, “is they found his body this morning somewhere around Thunderwood Avenue. Harold called me from the station—said he remembered that we’d been looking for the guy, but not to mention where we’d heard the news.”

“Thunderwood? Was he at The Angora?” Ollie’s coffee dinged. He grabbed it and bent carefully into the creaky chair behind his desk. He pushed a pile of papers out of the way and set his cup down, then he opened a drawer and pulled out a massive bottle of ibuprofen. He dumped a handful onto his palm and swallowed it with a gulp of coffee.

“I don’t know,” she said. He was stabbed in an alley, and he had a gun on him that Harold said had recently been fired…”

“Shit…” Ollie threw the pill bottle back in the drawer. “So he’s missing for almost a year—then finally shows up, DEAD, after taking a shot at someone in an alley near The Angora Snake…” He shook his head.

“He was a reporter,” Caroline said, “a GOOD one, so he had to know that place’s reputation. Mostly non-humans. Why would he go there? And, Jesus, Ollie—what are we supposed to tell Mrs. Chapman?” Ollie shrugged.

“I think she’d given him up for dead a few months ago,” Caroline said, “but to find out he’d been alive until LAST NIGHT? And then he gets killed behind an N.H. bar…”

“Has the death been announced yet? Officially?” Ollie asked.

“No. Harold said they’re keeping it hush until they know more,” she said.

“That’s Newman? Maybe I should go talk to him. See what else they’ve found out. Let’s not go barking to Mrs. Chapman until we get the whole story.”

“Okay.” Caroline took a deep breath and stood up. “You head to the station—I’ll go check out the alley.”

“Now hold on…” Ollie started to protest.

“Jeeezus, Ollie. Is this 1950? I can ‘DETECT’ as well as you can!”

“I know, I know—I’m just saying… That’s a rough neighborhood.”

“I am aware of that, Mr. Macho Smithson. That’s why I’m not going alone…” She flashed her first smile since storming into the office, then headed for the door.

“Goddam it… Not HIM…” Ollie swigged the last of his coffee. “I’m gonna need something stronger if I’ve got to deal with THAT bastard for the next few days.” He opened the BOTTOM drawer of his desk…

[More to come! I’m hoping to have the next chapter written by Tuesday! (Which means you’ll probably have something to read by Wednesday or Thursday… I’m a bit of a slacker…) —RFY]

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)

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About richardfyates

Compulsive creator of the bizarre and absurd. (Artist, writer, poet, provocateur...)
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