Dick Agenda, Shamus For Hire

For no special reason other than to take it out of the comment section, here are the opening pages of “Trouble On My Agenda,” the final chapter of the long-forgotten 1930’s noir trilogy about the hard-boiled detective team of Rocky Fist and Big Dick Agenda. It completes the story established in the first two Fist-Agenda mysteries, “Forbidden Agenda” and “A Fistful of Knuckles.”

Chapter One

Not Looking For Trouble.

It was a cold night in a cold town. I was weary from the day and ready for a drink. I poured one, then another, and through a haze of cheap hooch, my glance turned to the name on the door. It still said “Agenda and Fist.” I smiled to myself, remembering that Rocky Fist’s real name was Chad Pfister. That doesn’t matter now because he’s taking a dirt nap, thanks to some two-bit mug unloading a roscoe in his direction. There’s no more Pfister, no more Fist. The agency is just me, Dick Agenda.

I was alone in the office, as I always am now, when she walked in. The light isn’t good by the doorway, so I couldn’t see her face, but I could make out her shape, even in the dim light, and I got a whiff of her from clear across the room. She meant to show me she was a classy skirt.

“Mr. Fist, I need your help.”

“Fist can’t help you. He’s … retired. I’m Agenda, Dick Agenda.”

“I need help, Mr. Agenda. If you can do the job, I don’t care about your name.”

“That’s good, because I was thinking of changing it. What do you think of the name Sherlock?”

“Are you going to help me, or are you going to pretend to be witty?”

“Depends on what you need. If it’s too messy, I’ll go with the wisecracks.”

“My name is Hortense Troublé, and I think my father is trying to kill me. Is that too messy for you, Mr. Agenda?”

In my line of work I don’t meet a lot of dolls named Hortense. There are mostly a bunch of broads named after flowers and months, and maybe a Trixie or two. Hortense – I don’t know. But trouble – that I know when I see it. She may have pronounced it “Troo-BLAY,” like a fancy dame, but I knew she was just plain Trouble.

4 thoughts on “Dick Agenda, Shamus For Hire

  1. Raymond Chandler must be rolling over in his grave–with laughter.

    This is great, Scoop.

    (How do you make a Hortense? Threaten not to pay her)

  2. UncleScoopy, the world needs an heir to the mantle of Robert Leslie Bellem, pulp writer extraordinaire, and I nominate you for it. He is described here:

    His prose caught the attention of S. J. Perelman (does anyone remember him?), who wrote an essay for the New Yorker about it called “Somewhere a Roscoe”, but I cannot find an easily accessible copy on the Internet.

    1. I remember S.J. Perelman, but I have never heard of Robert Leslie Bellem.

      I did read a lot of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett in my younger days, and I love me some Bogart.

      When I wrote that passage above, I pictured it in B&W and imagined it in Bogart’s voice. It’s not very original, of course. It’s just a grotesque variation on The Maltese Falcon with the names changed. (Rocky Fist is obviously Miles Archer.) Then again, you could say the same thing about most hard-boiled private eye yarns – The Maltese Falcon is the template, “the thing that dreams are made of.”

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