TITLE: Popular Noir
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters and I'm not making a profit
RATING: PG-13 for really stupid puns and implications of naughtiness
PAIRINGS: Sam/Brooke; Popita/Lady T. . . but only technically
NOTE: I was going for a kind of humorous film noir parody thing with this one, but, having not really seen a lot (or any) films noir I may have failed. Also, I should probably be shot for the really bad punning.
It all started one day when I was alone in the Zapruder Reporter office, wondering what to put into the new edition. I had a couple o' stories; three stabbings, two cheerleaders caught sniffing coke out of each other's navels and five teen pregnancies. Just another week at Kennedy High, really. It looked like the latest Zapruder was gonna be as empty as my bank account yet again.
Then, as I contemplated just tossing the whole thing into the virtual waste paper bin, someone entered, someone quite out of place in an office like mine. Peroxide perm, slinky dress, delicately manicured fingernails, glittering purse and with more make-up than there are liars in a presidential election - in short, the dame simply oozed money. Not literally, of course, because that would be physically impossible. Not to mention, really icky.
"Hello Satan," I said, trying to play it cool.
"Spam," said Satan.
"So, what's a dame like you doing in a place like this?"
Satan gave me an icy stare. Hell really can freeze over.
"Heard work was a little slow for you lately," said Satan.
"Depends on your definition," I said.
"Well, I got a little job for you," said Satan. "I need you to find my cat."
"You come to the right woman for that," I answered. "I've got tons of experience finding pussies."
"Charming," said Satan sarcastically. "So I take it you'll do it then."
"Maybe," I said. "But from you, I want something in return."
"Oh, I'm sure we could work something out," said Satan, leaning forward to show me her excessive cleavage.
"Yeah, we could," I said. "Cash. Up front."
Satan didn't look pleased, which pleased me. She took a swab of cash from her purse and put in front of me. "There. Happy?"
"It's been a long time since I've been happy," I said, counting the money. It was plenty.
"Now then, back to my cat," said Satan. "She's completely black with eyes like hellfire and doesn't listen to the name of Damien."
"So what name does she listen to?"
"It's a cat, Spam," said Satan. "Do the math."
"Right," I said. "So when did it go missing?"
"Two days ago, at a. . . private party of mine," said Satan.
"Oh joy," I said. "So who were there?"
"Josh, Mary Cherry and Popita," said Satan.
"Lucky guy," I said. "So you think one of them took your cat?"
"I don't see who else could've taken it," said Satan. "So, will you take the case?"
"Sure why not?" I said. "After all, how can I resist the chance to get my hands on your pussy and get paid for it?"
Satan gave me another glare. I just grinned back.
I decided to go interview the suspects first. Maybe I should've gone to the scene of the crime first, but watching one too many CSI episodes had me so grossed out I nearly puked just thinking about having to do it.
First on my list was Josh Ford, married to Lily Esposito-Ford and living in the Claw's basement. It wasn't a very pleasant basement. It smelled worse than a dog that's been dead for three days. I know this from experience; a left-over from the most traumatic Summer Camp ever.
"So, Josh, cheating on your wife already, are you?" I said the moment I sat down face to face with him.
"What are you talking about?" said Josh.
"Heard you went partying not too long ago. Had fun?"
"You shouldn't listen to anything Nicole says," he said.
"Really now?" I said. "She told me you might've taken her cat. Did you?"
"Of course not, I'm allergic to cats," said Josh.
"Are you?" I said. "But isn't it true that Nicole was instrumental in you losing Brooke forever several times? Maybe you felt Nicole should lose something as well."
"Don't be stupid," said Josh. "I'm happily married to Lily."
I snorted. "Yeah, I know about people who say that phrase."
"Look, I didn't take Nicole's cat, OK?"
"Fine," I said. "In that case I hope you don't mind if I look around for a bit?"
"I do mind as a matter of fact," said Josh. "In fact, I think you should leave."
I looked him in the eye. "Fine," I said. The olfactory assault was starting to make me seriously queasy anyway.
I walked out the basement and was about to head for the door when I hear meowing. I instantly raced towards the source of the sound, hoping to get the case solved quickly, but all I found was nurse Jesse Glass's hairless pussy.
Next up was Popita. She was sitting comfortably in her leather chair, smoking one of those fancy cigarettes on a stick. I told her a bit about my case, asked bluntly if she had taken Nicole's cat. Smoke streamed from her nostrils as she tried to contain her laughter.
"No Sam, I did not take Nicole's kitten," she said eventually. "Lady T gives me all the black pussy I need."
"Pretty strong talk coming from the president of Knees Together," I said.
Popita smiled. "It doesn't count when it's with a girl, everybody knows that." She took another long drag from her fancy cigarette. "Otherwise, we'd be allowed to get married, right?"
"Hmm," I hmm-ed. "But who said you're in it for the pussy? You haven't been standing in the spotlight lately, because Nicole's been hogging it. Wouldn't you just love to get back at her for that?"
"Please," said Popita. "I don't do revenge. Blackmail is so much more satisfying."
"So, you got some dirt on Satan, I take it?" I said.
"No, everybody's got that," said Popita. "I just happen to know one or two good things about her."
"Sure you do," I said. "Everybody knows Satan has no redeeming qualities."
Smiling, Popita filled the room with fancy cigarette smoke. "That's what you think."
I talked to Mary Cherry last, because it was convenient. Actually, I did it because it wasn't convenient. You could talk to Mary Cherry, sure enough, but you could never be entirely sure she was talking to you as well, instead of, say, the fluffy pink rabbits.
"Ah have no ideah what ye're talkin' about," she said, glancing to the side and winking.
"That so?" I said.
"Ah have no ideah what happened to Nic's kitty-cat," she insisted, nodding vehemently towards the door of one of her walk-in closets.
"Well, in that case, I'd better be on my way," I said.
"All raight, ya got me!" Mary Cherry cried. "Ah took her cat. And Ah hid it in mah closet," she added, proudly opening said closet.
"Well, that's a black cat all right," I said.
"Thar! Ah told you! Ah did tha vile deed!"
"Pity about the cute little white spot at the tip of its tail, though," I said.
"Ah. . ." said Mary Cherry.
"And I don't think those pretty little emerald eyes are actually hellfire-y."
"Alright, Ah confess," Mary Cherry cried, gathering her cat up in her arms. "Ah found Mister Snuggly-Poo at tha pound. They were gonna send her off to tah great big fields o' catnip in tha sky. And Ah jus' couldn't let that happen."
"Why Mary Cherry, I didn't know you had a soft spot for cute little cats," I said. "But why would you want to make me believe it was really Nicole's cat?"
"Wahl, if news got out that Ah laik cute li'l cats. . ."
"Say no more," I said. "Well, you're innocent. See you around, Mary Cherry."
Sugar Daddy's Fruit Juice Bar was a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the likes of which you don't often see outside a Star Wars movie, but there was this that could be said for it - at least here all the rotten bastards didn't pretend they weren't rotten bastards.
"So, what'll it be Sam?" said Suge.
"One prune juice, please."
"Ah man, girlfriend, I thought you kicked that habit," he said.
"Well, I started again. Now get me that prune juice."
"Fine," said Sugar Daddy. "Want to talk about it?"
"Not really. Just give me the drink and leave the bottle."
Sugar Daddy shrugged. "It's your funeral."
I was about half-way through my third prune juice when someone sat down on the bar stool next to mine. A blonde someone. She ordered apple juice, her usual.
"Hello, Sam," said Brooke.
"Hello Brooke," I answered.
Of all the fruit juice bars in all the world. . .
"So what brings you here?" I said.
"Reminiscing," she said. "You?"
It was at that point that the piano player, who had been playing mindless commercial tunes up until now, started up his next song. Brooke smiled.
"That's our song," she said.
"It used to be," I said. "But that was before you ripped my beating heart out of my chest, set fire to it, waltzed over it with a steamroller, dropped it into a paper-shredder, pissed on the pieces and then fed what was left to the ugliest vultures you could find."
"So. . . are you still bitter about our break-up?" Brooke asked.
"Maybe a little," I admitted.
She sighed sadly, which I didn't like seeing, although I also didn't like not liking to see her sigh sadly.
"We had some good days, though."
"Sure," I said. "Right up until sweeps and then you're suddenly back in Josh's arms all over some lame little entry in your yearbook."
"If you're here to forget, why can't you forget that?" Brooke said.
"Don't know," I said. "Maybe it's because it's hard to forget the day you die."
Brooke downed the rest of her apple juice and left without saying another word.
Over at the piano, the song came to an end. I walked towards it and slipped the piano player a couple o' bucks.
"Play it again, Harrison."
The next day didn't start pretty. Getting slammed on vitamins and things is never a happy choice when there's a morning to follow it. Everything becomes so much clearer, and reality just isn't something you can see clearly and stay sane.
The fact that I got an angry phone-call didn't really improve matters either.
"What do you mean, no more leads?" Satan hissed at me.
"Look, it's just like I said, it's gonna take a while," I said.
"Well hurry up!" Satan screeched. "I miss stroking my pussy all day!"
She hung up, thankfully. I put the receiver back in its cradle when a thought struck me and I really wanted to hit myself for not thinking of it sooner.
Satan isn't the only with a pussy around her all day.
"So, Josh, you're allergic to cats are you?" I said.
Josh glared me. "Didn't I already tell you that yesterday?"
"Sure you did. That's how I know," I said. "But now explain to me how you can live in a house with a cat roaming around all day and not get all watery-eyed or whatever."
Josh glared at me some more. I was wholly unimpressed.
"Fine. I take pills for it," he said.
"Care to show me?"
He took a plastic bottle out of a cabinet somewhere and tossed it to me. They were allergy suppressers right enough.
"Why didn't you tell me this sooner?" I said.
"What? It was the perfect excuse to stop being a suspect," said Josh. "And I still didn't do it."
"Only because I've no proof yet," I said, tossing the bottle back to him.
I was trying to sound confident, but wasn't. I mean, Christ, I was back to square one.
Wait a sec. . . Christ.
Christ, why didn't I think of that sooner?
"Hello Mary Cherry," I greeted.
"Hiya Sam," said Mary Cherry. "Come tah flatter me some more?"
"Sorta," I said. "So. . . how's Mister Snuggly-Poo?"
"Doin' fine, thanks."
"You're raising him properly and everything?" I said.
"Sure," she said. "Ah'm his guardian an' everything."
"Teaching him good Christian values, Texas style."
"Whai, sure," said Mary Cherry. "It's mah duty laik Ah said."
"So that would include going forth and multiply, right?"
The dame went pale. Bingo.
"Ah don't know what ye're talkin' about."
"Shut it Mary Cherry," I snapped. "You catnapped Satan's cat to protect and promote the sanctity of marriage, right?"
"Ah. . . Ah. . . You'll never prove it!"
"No? Then what's this!?" I said, opening the closet door.
"Mister Snuggly-Poo, like you said," said Mary Cherry.
"Exactly," I said. "So then, what's this?" I said, opening the other closet door.
Mary Cherry pouted. "Damien," she admitted.
I grinned. "Right then. I guess this is the point where I call the police and say you have the right to remain silent."
Later that night in the Palace bathroom, Brooke and I had just finished brushing our teeth, as we are wont to do in bathrooms late at night.
"So, you solved the case," Brooke said.
"Yep," I said.
"And you got a good article out of it too, right?" she added.
"Sure did," I said.
"So. . . everything's fine, right?" she said.
"Almost," I said. "You know, I think I learned something from this case."
I took Brooke and kissed her.
Some pussies aren't meant to be alone.
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