The Mysterious Bookshop

 

‘Where is Brand?’ Part One--A story in dialogue.

 

‘What are you puttin’ the arm on me for?  I ain’t done nothin!’

‘You’re battin’ a thousand, punk--still wrong!  Where were you on March 6?’

‘Who remembers?  Quit rousting me, willya?’

‘Not so fast, buster!  Know a guy called Brand?’

‘Sure I know him--what of it?’

‘Seen him around lately?’

‘Haven’t seen him since 1983.’

‘Sure.  What about Abercrombie?  Day job's a dentist.'

‘Never heard of him.'

'Where is he?’

‘I just told you I never heard of him!  How can I tell you where he is if I never heard of him?’

‘Don’t give me that!  He worked with Brand in Missouri, now he’s dead and Brand is missing.’

‘So what?  What makes you so hot to find the jerk?’

‘Think a minute.  Why would I want to find Brand? Why would anyone want to find Brand?’

‘He owes you money?’

‘Bingo!  Now where is he?’

‘How should I know?  Look in Missouri.’

‘Don’t get smart with me, punk!  I could send you away until the cows come home, so let’s just skip the cute answers.’

‘I’m tellin’ ya, I don’t know where he is, I ain’t seen him in years!’

‘Go on, get out of my sight.’

 

 

‘Avery, why the heck are you knocking yourself out to find this clown Brand? From what I hear, he’s nothing special. We’ve got bigger fish to fry around here’

‘He’s a missing person. Even if he’s not my best buddy, I’ve got to look for him like I’d look for anyone else that’s disappeared.  Besides, remember when he was in on that smuggling deal?  He dropped out of sight then too.’

‘Think maybe he’s gone on the lam to avoid you?’

‘I thought of that, but I don’t think it’s likely.  I think he made the wrong person mad. You know how he is---it’s a surprise he didn’t wisecrack the wrong guy long before this.’

‘Ain’t that the truth.’

‘Tell the Sarge I’m going out--I think maybe Skinny Boyle has some info we could use.’

‘Right.’




‘Listen, Skinny, give out with the info!  I want to know where Brand is, and no fooling!’

‘Brand?  Let’s see...Brand.  Nope, don’t know him.’

‘You know him plenty! When’s the last time you saw him?’

‘Couldn’t tell you.’

‘Ok.  Maybe your memory will improve after a few days in solitary! Let’s go.’

‘You can’t do that!  Lock me up ‘cause I can’t remember a guy?’

‘I’m not locking you up ‘cause you can’t remember a guy.  I’m locking you  up ‘cause I’m worried about your health--I’m trying to protect you from a case of lead poisoning--the kind that comes from the outside!’

‘I’m touched, Avery.’

‘I’m glad. This way.’

‘Wait! I just remembered!’

‘I thought you might.  Where is he?’

‘I don’t know where he is now, but a few days ago I saw him down the docks.’

‘Over on Wooster?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Nail it down.  When was that?’

‘A few days ago.’

‘I heard that already.  What day?’

‘Gimme a break, huh?  I barely remembered at all!’

‘Yeah, lucky me.  You remembered barely. That’s a big help.  Tell me this.

What has Abercrombie been up to?’

‘Ab--Ab--Abercrombie?’

‘Yeah, ‘Ab--Ab--Abercrombie. You two have a history. Well?’

‘Last I saw he was down the docks.’

‘What, is there a meeting of bums down the docks all of a sudden?’

‘Say, who’s a bum?  

‘You are, and Brand, and Abercrombie.  What of it?’

‘You can’t call me a bum!’

‘Just did. Now when were you last on the waterfront?’

‘Two days ago, ok?’

‘Ok. Now we’re gettin’ somewhere.  What were you doing there?’

‘I was looking for work as a longshoreman.’

‘Oh, sure.’

‘A lot of guys were!  There’s always work but only for a few guys a day.  I figured it was maybe my lucky day.’

‘I got news, pal--it wasn’t.  What about Brand and Abercrombie?’

‘They was there. But they wasn’t looking for work.  They was arguin’, it looked like.’

‘About what, could you hear?’

‘Naw, I was too far away. Word is, Brand owes a lot of people money. But I heard Abercrombie say he better pay or else.’

‘Or else what? Where’s Abercrombie now?’

‘How should I know?  Look in his office, he’s a tooth-puller, ain’t he?’

‘I’ll just do that.  Keep your nose clean!’

‘It’s clean, it’s clean--except when I’m mixed up with mugs like you!’

‘Don’t get smart.’



‘No, I don’t want an appointment!  I just want to talk to Abercrombie for one minute!’

‘Doctor Abercrombie is with a patient at the moment, you’ll have to wait.’

‘Listen, sister, I don’t have all day.  Make with the doc, see?’

‘Sir---SIR! You can’t go in----’

‘I’ll keep it short, doc--where’s Brand?’

‘You’ll have to ask an easier one….and can’t you see I’m with a patient?’

‘Your patient don’t mind, do ya, mac?  Just tell me where I can find Brand and I’ll go----hello! What’s this?’

‘That is private property and I’ll thank you to leave--now!’

‘That is a whole lot of gold to leave lying around!’

‘I use it for fillings. Nothing wrong with that, is there?’

‘There is when it’s stolen.’

 

End part one.

 

Here are some books with similarly snappy dialogue:

http://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/products/leonard-elmore-charlie-martz-and-other-stories

 

http://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/products/mcbain-ed-bread

 

http://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/products/hammett-dashiell-the-maltese-falcon

 

Questions/Comments/Butter Sauce?  mike@mysteriousbookshop.com

Written by Ian Kern — March 21, 2016

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