Twitchy Eyes

Contributor: Gil C. Schmidt
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The words painted on the office door read "Twitchy Dick, Private Eye."
Yeah, I know. But that's my moniker and that's my gig. Snort what you want, but they pay my room and board and the occasional--okay, regular--bottle of milk of magnesia.
Broad walks in, you know the type. Mid-thirties, rounding out after a decade of underfeeding, designer duds in muted grays and tans, real jewels and a walk that says she's off limits to you and you know it. Walks right in since my secretary never got hired, looks around the office like it broke wind not long ago and saunters into the visitors chair like it was going to hug her without a proper invite. I sat forward and waited. I always let the client speak first.
"I believe my husband is cheating on me."
"That makes him a fool."
She smiled, almost warmly. "Nevertheless, he may be and I want to make sure. You did some work for a friend of mine and she recommended you highly."
I chuckled. "You don't have a friend. At least, not a 'she' friend." I leaned back.
She started, then glared for a second. She cooled down quickly. "I don't know why you'd say that, but it happens to be true. But I do have friends...Men friends."
These are the times I wished I smoked. Helps avoid the awkwardness of long pauses. Finally, I stood up and extended my hand. "'I'll take your case, for the usual rate."
She smiled, stood up and shook my hand. Good grip. "May I write a check?" I nodded and watched her use a fountain pen worth more than my car to swirl light blue ink on parchment. She handed me the check and I glanced at it. Lorelei Higgins-Bosch. Address in the primest real estate in the whole state. A check with a 5-digit number, so I tossed out a guess. "Sixteen years?"
Her jaw dropped, then closed as she pressed her lips in self-anger. "You can be quite annoying. How did you guess?" I shrugged. She held my eyes for a long second. "May I expect a report by the weekend?"
"Depends on your husband and how big a fool he might be."
Lorelei twitched her lips. "You made your point. I'll call you no later than Monday." She walked out, her bearing straight and soft. I sighed and grabbed my coat to go deposit the check.
Took me three nights to make sure Madison Bosch IV was a massive fool, cheating on Lorelei with two other women, one of them a chippy waitress with golddigger written all over her who was never more than ten minutes from Madison. Seventeen pictures, three videos and eleven fast-food meals later, Lorelei walked into my office, her manner quick and sharper than before.
She glanced at the pictures casually and saw only part of the first video, the one where the chip was leading the fool into a ritzy hotel room four blocks from Madison's 33rd floor corner office. Her smile was bitter shorthand. "I guess my husband is a fool after all." She sniffed dryly. "How much do I owe you, uh..."
Happens all the time, this name pause. "Seventeen hundred," I said. The fountain pen swirled again and the check came to me with a larger number than I requested. I watched the ink dry as she remarked "A bonus for a job well done."
"How much does the chippy waitress get?"
She froze. "What--do you mean?"
I shook my head. "That girl is never far from Madison, is she? Always ready, the little strumpet. How does she manage that, what with being a working girl and all?" I paused: "It's a set-up." The silence hit thirty seconds. "Why have half when you can have it all?"
Lorelei stood up, her face and body aged and slow. She took one, then two deep breaths. "I shouldn't have given you a bonus...or even hired you." She walked out, very slowly.
I shrugged. Sticks and stones. I opened the drawer for a long swig of milk of magnesia.

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Gil C. Schmidt has been a regular submitter to Yesteryear Fiction since the early days when it was a daily magazine. His story "Twitchy Eyes" is also featured in his book "Thirty More Stories.
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