The Flusher


111a Private Detective Canada Dec-1942 Includes Tell It to the F.B.I. by E. Hoffmann Price



On the street, they call me Johnny or The Flusher. My father gave me my name, John Flusher. He always hoped I’d grow up to be a plumber like him.



“Pops,” I told him, “that kind of work drains me. I need some excitement in my life. You know me, ‘danger’ is my middle name.”



“Your middle name is Mortimer,” he says.



We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, Pops and me, mostly because I was six inches taller, but he taught me to go after my dreams. “Be a plunger,” he always told me. So when I left home, I plunged into a life of learning how to survive on the streets. Now, I’m a P.I., just like the circumference of any circle divided by its diameter.



And I got more stories than the Empire State Building. Here’s one of them.



I pushed open the door, noting the busted lock. I seen the dead monkey when I walked into the room. Next thing you know (which ain’t really the next thing, but to save time, I skipped the scratching of my posterior), I stepped on a big wad of gum. As I looked down at the gooey strings connecting my shoe to the floor, the squirrel says, “Hey, gumshoe, looks like you stepped into another mess.”


I wanted to make a riposte, but I wasn’t sure what it was.


“I been tailing you, Louie,” I says, in spite of knowing better. All morning my subjects and verbs had been disagreeing, and I needed more coffee to do anything about it. “Your wife sent me. She knows you’ve been putting your acorns into more than one tree.”


Louie smiled, pointed to his tail, and says, “I’ve been tailed all my life, Johnny.” He smiled when he said that last line and put his arm around the dame beside him. She wore a fur coat that matched Louie’s and laughed every time he cracked a joke. She had the biggest two front teeth I’d ever seen. When she saw that I was staring, she flashed them at me and said, “Yeah, they’re real.”


I jerked my head toward the primate, “Who’s the guy in the monkey suit? And what happened to him?”


Louie cracks a nut and mutters, “Just a guy with a big mouth. We called him Howler. I told him to get off my back, see, but he wouldn’t listen. Plus he was a real swinger. Kept making moves on my doll here.” He pointed to a sock monkey the dame was holding.  “I told him to get out of town and I warned him I wasn’t monkeying around.”


The dame seemed too classy for Louie, but I could tell she was nuts about him. “Were you here when it happened?” I says, watching her crack an acorn with those teeth.


“Louie gave him a chance” she says, twitching her ears. “He told Howler to make like a banana and split, but Howler came out swinging. It was self-defense.”


I ignored her. Dames will say anything to protect their squirrel. I looked at Louie. I start off phonetically and asks, “Whadja use to kill him? A hammer, a gun, a steel object, or a Remington?”


Louie pointed to a pistol on the table. I walked over to the monkey. Poor sap looked like a PowerPoint presentation, he had so many bullets in him.


“Whose gun?” I says (incorrectly) again.


“It belongs to my son, Louie Louie.”


“Gun of a son,” I says, “I should’ve known.”


I walked back to the door and looked at the busted lock. “It’s a Shure Lock, Louie. They’re hard to bust. The monkey musta thought his home was safe with that thing on the door.”


Louie eats another nut and says, “Yeah, but Shure Lock homes don’t always keep you safe.”




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