in part 1, spidge wrote: "once upon a time they all lived happily ever after"....so i did some checking...
it was 4am when i checked into the armbruster arms hotel and got my room...the usual, of course, right by the rear exit, so i could make a clean getaway.
i called up my good friend spidge, he of little note but big heart.
'spidge, ol' buddy, it's me dink'
there was a slight pause, like a minx sliding up your leg...'wassup, dinx' he weezed.
'i just read your rather mysterious note and i came to check it out'
spidge went unnaturally silent. he was the type to talk forever if you pulled his string: let me tell ya, i'd yanked !
spidge suddenly spit out ' leave it alone, dinx...the coy mandrake knows no venue !' and he hung up on me...
now, i don't know about you, but there's something about a mandrake that just makes my back itch.
now my curiosity was in a bind with nowhere to go.
so i called lola, she of the tri-colored hair and eyes like phosphorous "lola, it's me..dink'
'yes, dinx, how are you?" she purred like a '55 chevy
'fine, toots...have ya heard from spidge ?"
lola made a coughing noise like a dead corpse being turned over by a fat cop..." that turd' she barked ' he owes me money !' the fury in her voice was undeniable, and kinda heartening: if anyone would get me the scoop on my wayward friend, it'd be lola..'listen toots...i'm in a bind...spidge owes me, too, see. and i figure, if we work together on this, we might both make out like bandits.'
lola breathed a sigh of true perturbedness that made my ear tingle ...'oh, very well, dinx...i'll come over and we'll swap stories'
'i'm at the armbruster...y'know the way.'
as i hung up the phone there was a knock at the door...i opened it to see sleazy mike mccanigan, local cop-on-the-take. 'mike, wassup.'
mike looked solemn, like his cat had died and he still had mice: 'hey, dinx...bad news: lolas dead and i'm pretty sure the mandrake is to blame.
'that was quick !' i thought...'come on in, mike, we'll have a drink over lola'
mike tumbled in and sat on the edge of my bed ' kinda cozy in here, huh, dinx'
i got a nervous feeling 'what's all this about a mandrake...i never heard of it'
'not an it' mike grumbled like a broken toaster ' a she...the mandrake is marquessa veronica demandrake...she used to be brother to the queen...until the accident'
'oh, that' now i remembered. i suddenly felt fevered.
mike squinted like a drunken sailor on a island full of nuns... ' y'see, dinx, the mandrake: she likes to be called that now that she runs the numbers for fat jimmy dixon, says it gives her an aura of doom: me, i kinda don't like mandrakes, so it fits: especially if you've seen her naked...anyway...the mandrake has a grip on this side of town that is stronger than a three day constipation about ready to let loose...and she doesn't like competition.'
i looked nervous, like a snake in a voodoo dance ' lola was competition ? i thought she was just a hairdresser ?''
'nah' said mike 'lola knew things, but she was no competition for the mandrake'
i was as puzzled as will shortz ' then why ?'
'when the mandrake was a ..well..man..he dated lola...and since the accident, well lola was saying some unkind things about his...er...her past life'
'like the accident didn't really change much...look, i'm kinda in a bind here...can ya help me out with some info ?'
suddenly...the lights went out...mike squealed like a baby grand being pushed down a flight of twisty stairs.
i grabbed my flashlight and turned it on just a the door flew open...and there stood....
>> end part 2 <<
...just another higher reachin' hillman !