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 detective trilogy about the hard-boiled detective team of Rocky Fist and Dick Agenda. It completes the story established in the first two Fist-Agenda mysteries, “Forbidden Agenda” and “A Fistful of Knuckles.”
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 cheap 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 bad jokes.”
“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.