- Unambitious, unsatisfied thirty something wondering if this is all there is to life.
- A sharp private detective who is ambitious and wants to work for progressive causes and who also needs to pay the bills.
- A seven year old who wants to go home. Now.
- Someone who now has enough money to retire and who has just given up their prior job.
- An old girlfriend / boyfriend happens by unexpectedly and asks a question.
I was sitting at my desk on a Tuesday night. I had closed up shop for the day and was reviewing the material for the DiGregorio case. The pictures were clear. Yeah, she was right. He was cheating. The same story among thousands, in this town of Hollyweird.
I was sick of this crap. When was Erin Brockovich gonna knock on my door? Greenpeace? Even the American Civil Liberties Union for Chrissake. Was it so wrong of me to want a little morality in my future? A little chance to mean something in this way-too-short life we’re given?
Sure, I had enough dough to take me to Brentwood and back. Yeah, I had enough of a rep now among the starlets and the agents and the producers. Star backing out of a contract for “exhaustion”? Trophy wife maybe not being such a trophy after all? Questionable investors on a big name film?
I’m your man. Sam Spide. Yeah, Spide, not that other “Sam.” And believe me, this name sucks, when you’re a private dick. And I am. A private dick, that is.
One of the best dicks you’ll ever know.
But despite this, despite the fame and the fortune and the cash, despite the romps in the hay with girls half my age who can’t spell their own names, I can’t attract the cases I really want. No one wants Sam Spide to dig up the dirt on the Governator. No one wants Sam Spide to dig deep into the latest pork project. No one wants Sam Spide to find out why the Anaheim City Council won’t give the green light to an appropriately green project.
Oh, no. I’m just Hollywood’s lackey.
And as I was about to reach into my desk drawer for my little silver canister of something good, there was a knock on the door. Could it be? Was this finally my call to what I wanted - my chance to be a real name for liberal causes? Could this be my ticket to an interview on The Daily Show? A chance for a mention on The Huffington Report? Or (drool) a chance to meet… (gasp) Samantha Bee? She may be married, but what dame isn’t these days?
But no. I got up to answer the door. And there she was. Walking into my life just like she walked out nine years ago.
“Hello, Sam,” she said in that voice that sounded of honey dripping through liquid smoke.
She was a cool drink of water, alright. All 5’8” 120 lbs. of her packed into a mauve pencil suit, that showed off all the right curves in all the right places.
“Jasmine,” I was speechless for once. “It’s been a long time.”
“Um, yeah. Can I come in? This won’t take long.”
I took her in, my eyes taking a snapshot of every pore. “Yeah. Sure.”
But she didn’t move. She looked to her left, out the door and out of my vision. “I said it won’t take long.” And she put her hand out to whoever was on the other side.
And taking her hand was a much smaller hand, followed by an arm attached to a little redhead, the spitting image of her Mom, and dressed in an array of colors that reminded me of jello shots on a Saturday night.
“But Mommy. I. Want. To. Go. Home. Now.” The little lady pulled on Jasmine’s arm, and she meant business.
I went behind my desk and sat down, pulled out my little canister of something good and took a long swig. Jumping Jehosovat. Jasmine had a Mini Me.
Jasmine came in, despite her daughter’s protests to the contrary, and sat herself down in one of the two chairs on the other side of my desk. “Sam, Jasmina – “ Jasmine waved to the little girl. “Jasmina, Sam. Sam’s an old friend of mine, Baby.”
“Tough shit,” the little angel whined. “I want to go hoooooommmmmmeeeeeee.”
“Now, Darling, you know we don’t use language like that.” Jasmine drew herself up, her posture as stiff as an ice sculpture in February.
“But Daddy does. All the time.” Jasmina squatted down in a corner of my office and started to pull tiny dolls from a tiny Prada bag. And I think it was a real Prada. She began playing, and I felt like Jasmine and I might be off the hook.
“So, you walk out nine years ago and you walk back in married with children.”
“Yeah, that about sums it up.” Jasmine examined her long, perfect, fuchsia nails. “So, you getting any, Sam?” Jasmine looked up at me, her emerald eyes sparkling in the LA smog reflected in my windows. “You getting any good cases?”
“Nah, same old, same old. Britney one week, Lindsay the next.”
“Sorry,” the honey-drenched voice purred. “I was hoping Greenpeace had called by now.”
“No such luck.” I took another swig of my something good. I offered it to Jasmine, but she shook her head with the delicacy of a rose petal blowing in a Madrid breeze.
“So what brings you here? You miss me?” Yeah, sure, and horses dined at Nobu.
“Well, I had a question for you, Sam. A job, maybe.”
“I’ve seen it all, done it all, had it all. I’m married to,” and here she coughed the name into her silk-covered wrist, so that his identity wouldn’t be compromised. “I have enough money, married or divorced, to last me several life times. So, last month, I took the plunge. I quit my job as a librarian.”
I almost dropped my canister mid-swig. “No!”
“Yes.” Tears welled up at the corners of those amethyst eyes, which had seemed emerald only moments before.
“Yes!” She pulled a patterned Pucci handkerchief from her identical (though larger) Prada purse and dabbed at the corner of those aquamarine eyes.
“Mommy, I want to go home! Now!” Jasmina had stood up again and was crossing to her mother’s chair. She started to climb onto Jasmine’s lap, but Jasmine gently, but firmly redirected her to the chair next to her, saying:
“You know we mustn’t mar Mummy’s suit.”
Jasmina took the chair next to her mother and folded her little arms and pouted her little lips.
Jasmine folded her arms and crossed her legs and pouted a bit like her daughter. Oh, Boys, let me tell you. It was a glorious sight.
“Yes,” Jasmine repeated softly. “So, I have no idea where to go. What to do. There’s only so many stores in the world. So many spas…” she trailed off. “I mean, is this… is this all there is?”
I nodded sympathetically, and remembered, a searing pain in my left ventrical, just why I’d loved this woman so many years ago.
“So, what do I do, Sam? Where do I go?”
“HOME, MOM, NOW!” Jasmina jumped up and bashed her mother over the head with the little Prada purse.
“Now, now, Darling,” Jasmine shushed her. “We mustn’t muss Mummy’s hair.”
Jasmina kicked my desk and went back to her corner, dumping her dolls out on the floor again.
I thought about the dame’s predicament. It was a tough one, alright.
And then, as the last light of day caught her ale-brown eyes, it came to me. Brilliant. Even if I do say so myself.
“I’ve got it! And it’s brilliant. Even if I do say so myself.” I sat back in my chair and had some more of something good.
Jasmine leaned forward in her chair, her pink tongue licking her lips in anticipation. Jasmina started gathering up her dolls again and looked at me expectantly as if to say, “Does this mean I can get the hell home now?”
I was going to make both ladies very happy. “Here’s the thing, Jazz.” I loved calling her Jazz. That word hadn’t left my lips in nine, long years. “There’s this thing you can get. As a civilian, now. It’s called a library card. You can visit the library any. Time. You. Want.”
“Oh my God! Really? I can go back to the library? Just by using a card?!” She clasped her hands in supplication and a quick prayer escaped her lips. Then she jumped from her chair, ran around my desk and gave my shoulders a quick hug and my cheek a quick peck. “I knew if anyone could solve this, you could.”
Tears streamed down her face, leaving her mascara running in rivulets. “Jasmina! We can go HOME now!” she cried joyfully, and Jasmina ran behind my desk, gave my shoulders a quick hug and my cheek a quick peck.
And before I knew it, I was alone again. Just me, the LA sun setting in the west, and a little swig of something good.
Maybe Greenpeace would call tomorrow, but for today, I had done my little bit for service in this world. And life was good.
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