Tag Archives: Private Investigator

FP404 – Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and four.

Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3
(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by the works of Mike Luoma

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, Mulligan Smith, PI, finds himself involved in a high-speed chase.

 

Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

“So, a month and a half later I’m working this gig. Another wandering penis, though this one with a different victim almost every night. Guy’s a friggin’ ghost though. Always meets his dates at their door, never gets out of his coupe, always brings them to the same place. A week’s work and he was giving me nothing – well, certainly nothing that was going to earn my client her alimony.

“It’d be a helluva check too, as Johnny Rocketcrotch replaces his BMW every six months and the only place he brings his dates is the sort of country club that’d make a clown in a hoodie like mine ten times before the valet could insist I was lost. To make matters even more fun, the car’s tinted like it was Dracula himself driving, so the Nikon was useless unless I could get up near the windshield.

”That’s the kind of shot you only get once, if you know what I mean.”

As the PI spoke, his companions watched Capital City’s east side slide by the baby blue Tercel’s windows. It was a warm day which left Walmart Mike, still toting his empty cup in his hand, to simmer in the dusty – but not altogether unpleasant – smell of the ancient sun-baked upholstery.

“I ain’t no private dick,” the greeter asked with a snicker, “but it seems to me that they don’t roll out beds at country clubs – well, hell, maybe they do, I ain’t ever been in one, but it seems like an awkward place to push rope, unless his gals were into crinkle-faced spectators?”

Smith Sr. snorted from the passenger seat, as, wheeling through a wide left turn, Mulligan picked up the thread of his story.

“Actually, you have a point there. See, this was one of those idiots who figures he has a technique. It was so cookie cutter I could easily make out its shape even from the distant shadows.

“He’d meet these ladies online – which I’ll get into later – then he’d roll them out to his little elite shanty to fill them full of wine. No doubt the grape juice came with impressive labels. They’d talk; he’d open up about himself, you know, try to make her feel like she was exactly what he’d been looking for.

“No mention of his wife, but that’s too big a hurdle for a one-date guy to jump – and, yeah, it was always just one date.

“They all concluded the same way: After dark, the BMW peeling out of the high fenced parking lot like the gate was a starting line. Then they’d take the long way towards downtown at twice the speed of light.

Mulligan Smith in The Cheat“I don’t know what too-practiced lines he used to talk them into it; I mean, I guess they thought it was a fun first date and he probably convinced them they were on the start of a road together. Whatever the case, about half of them would, uh, operate his gear shift while he pushed the straight-six to the edge. He’d drive with about the same recklessness if he was successful or not, but I could always tell how well he was faring by his hands. He’s one of those guys who argues in short, snide sentences, and if she said no he’d end up delivering these tiny pissed-off karate chops at the end of all of pinch-mouthed statements.

“There was no such verbal kung fu on the evening I caught up to him.”

Turning away from the scrolling cityscape, Smith Sr. delivered his son a raised brow.

“Yeah, yeah,” replied Mulligan, “I’m getting to it.

“So: Different lady almost every night, different car twice a year, but always the same way back to the heart of the city. It’s strange what patterns people’ll fall into.

“I waited till he was pulling off the waterfront, and his temporary sweetheart’s silhouette had disappeared from her upright position in the passenger seat, then I let myself be made. I mean, not badly enough that he brings things to a halt, but I pull up a half-block behind him and give him a kiss of the high beams so that I know he’s noticed.

“Now, the Tercel is no match for his German missile. He punches it, and I’m left in the dust by the time he takes a right onto Independence Avenue. He slows just a bit crossing the rail line, and looks up from the blond bobbing mop in his lap – bam: There’s a baby blue shitbox on his rear bumper.

“Well, he really hammers it at that point and slides onto Bay at the last possible second, no doubt watching the Toyota blow by in his rear view.

“He makes a quick turn onto Delaware after that, probably thinking he’s clever but all the time following the same old route.

“Thing is, I’d cut over a dozen blocks back, and was already standing at the corner of Bronson. Just as he’s strutting by the bus stop I’m huddled in, a baby blue Tercel creeps onto the pavement, barricading both lanes at the next crossroad. Johnny stops to consider his options, and she lifts her head high enough to see what’s going on over the far side of the dash. The whole thing took four seconds, tops, but there was no mistaking what was going on in that photo.

“He was so flabbergasted at the sight of the camera that Dad had time to drive the second Tercel by to wave.

“I was trotting like Astaire till I got back to his wife’s place.

“Do you know how bloody long it took me to find that second car? Hey-zeus. I had him cold, but all I collected was a few hours of half-pay footwork and the deli sandwiches I expensed.

“The client delivers the rejection across a table that contains more hardwood than I’ve got flooring my entire apartment, and I’m reminding myself that suing the clients is bad for the reputation of my business. I was still feeling the sting from the previous month too, so, despite my attempts at good behaviour, I was working up to at least using some language the maid would have to clean up after – then the wife makes her peace offering.

“See, the reason she was stiffing me on the bill was because she’d gotten his Ashlin Wisconsin password – but she was afraid there would be strings attached or a fake out after she brought the material to court. She asks me to look into the source.”

Mike cleared his throat. “Ashlin, Wisconsin? Never been.”

Mulligan smiled. “Nah, it’s a website. Ashlin Wisconsin is a dating site for married folks.

“She asks if I’m interested, and, mind firmly on my rent bill, I say, ‘sure, but it’ll cost you five days fee up front.’ She cuts the check right there on the table.

“Hell, if I’d known what I was going to stumble into, I might’ve done the job for free.”

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

FP393 – Mulligan Smith in Con-tingency

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and ninety-three.

Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in Con-tingency

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Creative Audio Dept.’s Dog Days of Podcasting

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight our PI, Mulligan Smith, finds himself surrounded by cosplayers, comic hawkers, and conjugal criminals.

 

Mulligan Smith in Con-tingency

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

Twenty feet to Mulligan’s left Mitch and Mike, wearing matching blue t-shirts with SECURITY emblazoned across the chest, were hassling Godzilla.

Smith had met the enforcers the day previous, at which point the PI had sworn he was alone at the con, whatever the closed circuit cameras might show. They’d been nice enough, if a little eager to look hard for a couple of tall accountants working to avoid entrance fees. They’d pressed hard about the massive attendee in the Stay Puft Marshmallow costume, but, in truth, after passing a few stern words to Billy regarding the concept of proportional response, the detective had cut the Canadian loose at the door so that he could get some work done.

In retrospect it had been a solid decision, especially in light of what Winnipeg had done to the greasy fellow who’d repeatedly demanded the various costumed heroines roaming the floor, “kneel before Zod.”

It was not the first comic convention Mulligan had haunted, but it was certainly the first he’d be receiving a paid fee for.

The stack of Italian giallo flicks he was carrying would definitely be coming out of his take-home profit, however.

Mulligan Smith - The Flash Pulp PodcastFive feet to his right stood Lex Luthor, Superman’s greatest nemesis, with his arm wrapped tightly about the waist of Supergirl. Smith knew the tall blonde woman was the Man of Steel’s cousin, but he still doubted Mr. Kent would be pleased to witness the scene – then again, he reflected, neither would Marcia Addison.

Though this Lex was but one of many bald-capped Luthors in the crowd, he had the distinguishing feature of being the only pretend psychotic-billionaire married to Marcia, Smith’s client.

As for Supergirl, she stepped away quickly, a shudder shaking her cape.

Turning on the black-suited cosplayer, she asked, “the hell!?”

Addison replied with a lopsided grin and a, “well I am the villain, you know.”

With one eye searching the show floor, Mulligan broadly shook his head, leaving Lex under the impression that he was being judged. The fact that the hoodie-wearing investigator was holding his phone aloft, apparently taking pictures, simply reinforced the idea.

Luthor didn’t care.

“What?” he asked his apparent spectator, “look at her – tell me you weren’t tempted to lift this little skirt…”

His white-gloved hands flicked at her hem and Smith gave up on his head shaking.

Sure the storm was already thundering on the horizon, the PI kept his cell’s camera steady and spoke as rapidly as his tongue would allow.

“Someone emailed Mrs. Addison about your convention schedule and your reputation. She was already considering a divorce, but – well, I doubt you’ll have much travel money once the judge is through with-” and that was all he had time for.

Though they’d missed the harassment entirely, shortly after Mulligan had spoken the word “schedule” Mitch and Mike had begun to curse, and by the time the judge had come up they’d realized they were too far on the wrong side of the hall to stop the avalanche.

Billy Winnipeg had had plenty of time to pick up momentum as he’d approached from the balcony overlooking the floor, and the show patrons were quick to part before a man whose black sphere of a costume might be mistaken for a moon.

“He was the Death Star! The Death Star! Fuuuuuuu-” was all Smith could make out before wind and the sound of howling rage blocked all noise.

The impact of the tackle was enough to shake the tower of t-shirts on sale behind Luthor, and, though he didn’t know it then, the black eye would easily last him till the opening court date.

Mulligan could only shrug, unwilling to argue with his friend’s policy on public harassment.

Besides, wasn’t that a Blood and Black Lace poster two booths down?

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

FP369 – Mulligan Smith in Life in the Fast Lane

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and sixty-nine.

Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in Life in the Fast Lane, Part 1 of 1

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by We Are Not Here To Please You

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight Mulligan Smith, PI, finds himself doing some fast driving.

 

Mulligan Smith in Life in the Fast Lane

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

The sedan, rarely driven over fifty, was still moving nimbly at eighty.

Mulligan, behind the wheel, had banked onto the freeway while the redheaded woman to his right was distracted with her phone, and, as such, the sudden acceleration had come to her as a surprise.

Rita Perkins was fifty-two, wore her hair in a bushy loose ponytail, and was holding a clipboard emblazoned with a Learning Curves logo over her short green skirt.

“Where – why are we on this road?” she asked.

Though there was a brake at her foot the dense pack of high-speed traffic meant she could only use it with careful consideration.

Pulling smoothly left, Smith answered, “I thought I’d work on my lane changes?”

Rather than answer, his passenger took a moment to gather her thoughts as he weaved between a transport truck and a harried commuter shouting at his earpiece.

Watching the man’s bobbing tie as he argued into the air, she bit her lip and snuggled her seat, but, a mile later, with open road ahead, she made a second attempt to approach the conversation.

“You seem exceptionally comfortable behind the wheel.”

This was true. While waiting out a philandering husband in the parking lot of a Sheraton, the private investigator had recently calculated that he’d spent more hours that week in his Tercel’s driver’s seat than he had sleeping. Better yet, the little Nissan he was currently piloting handled quite like his rolling office.

Still, he had inquiries to make.

Mulligan Smith, PI, - A Skinner Co. Network Podcast“Sure,” he said, “watch this.”

With a flourish of heel-toe work the car shifted two lanes, ducked in front of a merging minivan, then dropped onto the exit ramp.

There was another moment of silence as they reentered downtown’s molasses flow, but, once she’d regained her breath, Rita almost posed a question.

“You clearly don’t need any training time…”

“You come highly recommended,” Mulligan replied, as if it were an answer. He then retrieved one of the most useful weapons he carried as a PI: The goofy smile he’d practiced in the mirror as a teen.

It was a grin that could be forgiven anything. It had left most of his childhood punishments without teeth, and he hoped it might now bring he and his instructor closer now that she’d been reminded of her own mortality.

Grabbing the lip of her V-necked blouse, Ms. Perkins adjusted her cleavage with two indelicate yanks. From the corner of his vision, however, Mulligan judged that there was no change between the before and after – beyond having drawn his gaze.

He turned, his mask carefully in place, and she smirked back. Smith knew better than to move the conversation along, though – instead he set his left hand high on the wheel and his right across the thigh of his jeans.

Finally, after a half block, she came to the question he awaited.

“Who referred you?”

“Cory Winkler, poor kid.”

Rita asked, “Cory Winkler?” but he knew she meant, “Poor kid?”

“Yeah, I mean, clearly he suggested it before everything fell apart…”

The car had slowed, but Smith could tell it was now Perkins’ mind that was racing – he simply needed to keep it on track.

“It’s really too bad,” he continued, “such a handsome bugger and doing so well at school. I mean – sixteen is just too young, you know?”

Turning to give her his, “are you ok?” look, Mulligan took the opportunity to cast a reassuring pat to the knuckles kneading Rita’s clipboard.

She gobbled up this offered comfort with pinching fingers.

“What happened?” she asked.

To add to the gravitas, he waited for a red light before answering.

“It was one of those crazy new untreatable but hyper-aggressive strains of syphilis. One minute I’m watching him shoot three pointers in the driveway while talking stock options with his dad, the next I’m standing beside an open casket and trying to explain to the old man how sorry I am.”

“Syphilis?” asked Rita.

Single word responses were a nice sign of strain, and Smith thought he might just have the race in the bag.

“The doctors said he probably had it for maybe a year, but it was dormant. Then, a couple Friday’s back, bam, he got hauled into the ER by some hooligan friends who thought he’d drunk himself into a case alcohol poisoning.

“By Monday he was gone.”

“Oh my God,” said the woman. Her face was transparent beneath her blush, her lips blue behind her lipstick. She began to sob.

“You knew him well?”

“No – yes – sort of.”

His speed now a steady thirty, Mulligan gave a gentle squeeze from within his hand’s bony cocoon and asked, “you – you slept with him?”

“Yeah,” she said, then, with a hiccup in her voice, she repeated it. “Yeah.”

“It’ll be ok,” answered Smith, “but you’ll have to find a new job.”

“New job? I need to find a doctor, not a job.”

“Nah, I’m just messing with you. It was his Dad who put me onto you. Little Cory crashed the family Beemer on his test day. He was wondering if Learning Curves was maybe running a straight scam – you know, I’ll pay you a C and you give me an A – but it didn’t take much reading into the hormonal online reviews, written by pleasantly surprised teenage boys, to figure out what it was he learned in his time with you.”

The storm upon Rita’s face broke into a gale of relieved laughter, and Mulligan retrieved his hand.

There was something in her giggle that jabbed at the space just behind his right eye.

Pulling alongside his Tercel, he popped the memory stick from the driver-facing camera Learning Curves had installed as an educational aid. His client didn’t pay him for opinions, but he couldn’t help himself.

“Laugh all you like, Ms. Robinson, but if you were a fifty-year-old man macking on a sixteen-year-old student the judicial system would run you through a meat grinder.

“If there’s enough money in a civil suit Winkler Senior’s lawyer still might.”

Killing the engine, he stood.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.