Curtains for Dixon Shallop

by James

Dixon Shallop was in trouble up to his well coiffured sideburns. Mickey the Elbow was gunning for him over the Reubens affair, the Ruskies were, well, they were the Ruskies, and the dames? Who would have thought that Shirley would have come into the bunker on Ninth when he had been in there with Mrs Grainger – working a case mind, pumping her for leads, that was all.

His right eye was tender but was it going to pucker into a shiner? How would that affect the narrative of Dixon Shallop, tough guy private dick who was a sex machine for some of the chicks? Would it make him appear too weak, too emasculated? But the black eye would be the perfect excuse to get him into the doctor’s office where he needed to-

A hesitant tap of the door and that train of though disappeared. A woman spoke in a soft Southern drawl.

‘Howdy. Is this the office of the private eye, Dixon Shallop?’ The door crept open to admit a tall figure bundled up in a raincoat despite the evening’s warmth. ‘My name is Marjorie.’ She hesitated, then said, ‘Marjorie Curtains. Are you Dixon?’

After a moment’s surprise, he nodded. ‘Howdy. Nice to meet you, Miss…Curtains.’

She wagged a finger. ‘Mrs.’ She smiled. ‘Wife of the celebrated interior designer, Mister…John Curtains.’

‘I see. Well. What can I do for you, Mrs Curtains?’

‘It’s about my husband. I think he might be having an affair.’

‘Oh? What makes you think that?’

‘Oh, just little things. Too much time in the office. When he comes to bed his snoring sounds like a circular saw killing bunny rabbits.’ She sighed and looked him in the eye. ‘He’s no longer so attentive to my needs.’ Marjorie Curtains paused to loosen the lapels of her raincoat, revealing pearls and bare skin. In a husky voice, added, ‘Especially those needs of a sexual nature.’

‘Well. He sounds…like a fool.’

‘Oh, he is a fool, but such a sweetie when he takes his head out of his bum once in a while to come down out of his office.’

He smiled at her. He slid out his chair and stood. Marjorie Curtains wagged a finger at him. ‘Stop right there, mister.’ She stepped away from the desk. She undid the belt of her raincoat and let it slip from her shoulders and then down her nude body. ‘So,’ she said. ‘Do you think you can help me?’

He was around the desk in a trice, reaching for her. She pressed a palm against his chest to stop him.

‘But, Mister Shallop, what about your work?’

‘To hell with work. To hell with deadlines, and Mickey the Elbow.’

And be bloody well helped her good. Twice.

They lay for a while, entwined on the floor of his office, both of them enjoying the sweet sound of silence. The sound of a key in the front door downstairs startled them both and Marjorie sat bolt upright in shock.

‘Shit! It’s Mum, with the kids. Early!’