detective points at chalk outline

Previously on The Gumshoe Diaries: Our hero pined after his lost love Kate and wallowed in sorrow. Then he caught the news.

I read the article in disbelief. Why would anyone want to murder a billionaire?

Last night, the CEO of a respectable pornography firm was found dead in his Fifth Avenue apartment. Why?

Sure, the man had flaws. For starters, he was French, which means he probably never shaved his damn legs. And a lot of his movies alienated the asexual community. But the sheer violence of this crime was enough to outrage anyone.

Tristan J. Valcort—beloved father, philanthropist and pornographer—had been cut open like a common Honeybaked Ham. The poor bastard would’ve bled to death were it not for the preexisting conditions that killed him.

I decided to put all my time and energy into solving this case. This called for swift justice, no matter how long it would take. Besides, if I played my cards right, this could lead to a fat paycheck, allowing me to erase the gambling debt I accrued from that night when I didn’t play my cards right. And best of all, a new case would distract me from thinking about Kate, my ex. This was a comforting thought because it made me think about Kate again.

Kate, with her smooth, hairless back. Kate, who made an effort to change her underwear every damn day. If any little kids are reading this, I hope that someday you’ll get a chance to have sex with a woman like Kate.

Before heading to the crime scene, I took a medicinal shot of rum to steel myself against whatever horrors may lie ahead. I can’t stand the taste of rum, but I’d sworn off whiskey once I discovered that it’d been used as a weapon against my ancestors. Did you know that in the 1880s, the CIA introduced whiskey to New York’s Irish ghettos in order to keep the Irish mired in vice and degradation?  I learned that from a YouTube documentary.  After a few more shots, I grabbed my coat and headed east to Fifth Avenue.

It felt good to be working again. I smiled at the shady street merchants: the peanut peddlers and the shoeshine salesmen. Today, we were all Americans. Without being asked, I helped a frail old lady sprint across the street, running and laughing as she screamed in mock-protest while digging her crablike claws into my arm. Feeling a woman’s touch made me think of Kate again.

Ah, Kate. What was it about her body that compelled me to stare at her boobs? The thing about Kate was, she was neither a prudish schoolmarm nor a balding prostitute. In that way, she defied categorization. God only knows what a girl like Kate saw in me. But I’d learned never to look a gift horse in the mouth, because horses have weird, ugly lips.

It was just after dark when I reached Valcort’s apartment building, and it didn’t take a detective to realize that something unspeakable had happened there. The entire building seemed to pulse with anxiety. Hell, even the iron gate seemed overwrought.  As I stood there pondering whether a building could have PTSD, I was interrupted by a threatening voice:

“Turn around, gumshoe!”

Gumshoe. That word. Here we were in a supposedly enlightened age, and yet some reactionary idiot felt comfortable uttering an arcane slur, effectively undoing the past fifty years of social progress for guys like me. I thought back to my activist days in the late sixties. Was it all for naught? The petitions. The marches. The protests. The sit-ins. The walk-outs. The love-ins. The folk songs. When things got desperate, we engaged in direct inaction and uncivil obedience. It was incoherent but it worked. Sure, our movement was small compared to some of the other movements that defined the Civil Rights era. It was only me, really. But I like to think my work was—


It was the last word I would hear. I hit the pavement like a sack of fat ladies. Darkness. Warm wetness.  Ignoring my pain, I reached for my trusty revolver but it went flaccid in my hand.

This was it. I was bleeding out and fading away. Before I passed out, I made an effort to look into the eyes of my assassin, ready to flash a defiant simian grin and maybe beg for mercy a bit. But when I saw those familiar green eyes, I nearly shit my boots.

God help me, it was Kate!


  • Ossewa

    Ken M has read everything SJ Perelman wrote.

  • Gina

    Great stuff, Ken!

  • Elizabeth Beck

    Yaaaaay! Finally, part 2!

  • Smiller504

    Please release another one! You are a brilliant writer

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