I spent Saturday night in the office mulling over a dead-end case. I must have dozed off when first thing Sunday morning before even God woke up I heard a rapping on my door. So this dame came in, a real doll face, talking all crazy,
He’s gone I tell ya! The others say his body was stolen. Some prank or worse. But I saw him myself. You gotta believe me. He’s risen I tell ya.
Intrigued, I immediately took the case, although I didn’t let her know it. I doubted I’d get any pay for my troubles. More like trouble for my pay. I’m a sucker for these smokin’ charity cases.
I asked her the standard questions. Seemed she got mixed up with a crazy scene, and they ticked off the wrong people. I could tell I was walking onto sinking sand. Nothing made much sense, and being hung over didn’t help me either. All I knew was there was a stone rolled away and someone still hadn’t filed a missing savior report down at the station. They wanted to keep the authorities out of it for now, which suited me just fine.
Then that full jar of wine dabbed her eyes and strutted right out my door. She agreed to meet me later at the scene of the crime. There was something fishy about her story. Resurrection. Right. I called Bigsby down at the precinct. He owed me a favor. So I asked him his take on the whole deal. He told me, It happens to be against two laws. God’s and man’s. I’d book her on the second. Yeah, just like I thought.
Trixi my part-time secretary/part-time something else came in just then. I caught her up. I concluded that our mysterious visitor was just a tramp. Trixi, a good kid and always up for a sob story piped in,
Trixi: She was a human being. And let me remind you that even the most unworthy of us has a right to life and the pursuit of happiness.
Me: From what I hear, she pursued it in all directions.
Suddenly another broad walked into the office. I was getting more action that morning than Madge’s brothel did on a good night. All dressed in Black saying she was the mother, Mary something. I could tell she was shaken up by the whole thing. She told me what she knew. After we went over it three more times she sighed,
Mother Mary: Personally, I’m convinced that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.
Me: That’s a helluva thing to say. You’re a bitter little lady.
Mother Mary: It’s a bitter little world.
Trying to distract her, I told her, “I came to Jerusalem for the waters.”
Mother Mary: But we’re in the middle of the desert.
Me: I was misinformed.
She liked me. I could feel that. The way you feel when the cards are falling right for you, with a nice little pile of blue and yellow chips in the middle of the table. Only what I didn’t know then was that I wasn’t playing her. She was playing me, with a deck of marked cards and the stakes weren’t any blue and yellow chips. They were dynamite (and I didn’t even know what dynamite was.) I had to be straight with her though. Told her how these missing persons claims always end with a dead body stuck in a dune. It’s trouble I tell you. Walk away or if you can’t then only talk to God about it.
She said, I don’t pray. Kneeling bags my nylons.
I got rough with my words, You can’t expect to dodge reality indefinitely, Mother Mary! I softened up a little, handed her my hankerchief. Hey, wouldn’t it be smarter to go to the Sanhedrin and the even Romans and get this thing out in the open? But she shot back: Just about as smart as cutting my throat to get some fresh air.
I knew I was over my head. That someone was going to end up in a “camel accident” somewhere on the road to Emmaus, but I was hooked. I should have listened to my instincts. Little did I know on that Sunday moring that this would turn out to be my last case, and would almost get me stoned, and I don’t’ mean with reefer.
To be continued?
Story adapted from the Gospels. Dialogue adapted (in order) from Hallow Triumph, The Big Combo, Strangers on a Train, Mildrid Pierce, Casablanca, Double Indemnity, Ace in the Hole and Crack Up. This is your film noir primer for the day. Enjoy and read the lines aloud with a flat affect, pronouncing the words hard at the front of your mouth for the optimal effect. Check out Derek the Director’s Film Noir quotes