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"Well, you don't have to get sarcastic about it. If you continue with that I may go elsewhere with my business. You have marinara sauce dripping from your mouth, by the way."

"Cut the crap, lady. This is no time to get sensitive. Out with it. What's going on?"

"Let me drink my wine, first. I need to loosen up. All this talk about morphs is making me nervous. What is a morph anyway?"

"What is most foul about this murder, anyway?"

"Well, aren't most murders foul, for Heaven's sake!"

"As in the best it is, no doubt, Miss Wonderful,  Now let's hear all about it."

"My husband was worth billions and he was murdered and everyone will think I did it."

Sam Spade continued slamming down meatballs and wiping his chin. There was a dollop of sauce on his nose and and Miss Wonderful couldn't quite suppress a laugh.

"Oh, the case is funny after all, is it?"

Archibald, Sam's partner, who had just come in the room, eyed her in a most unnerving way.  Miss Wonderful then started to cry and looked suddenly as if she would ...

CRY TERROR

 

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Sam stared down at the table in deep thought. So deep that he didn't even notice the marinara slowly drip from his nose to the stereotypical red checkered tablecloth below. He knew he was missing something. But what?!? Suddenly a light bulb lit up over his head (Incandescent, of course. And, let's be honest, a low wattage one at that.) and he quickly raised his eyes back to Miss Wonderful.

"Wait a minute. Your husband's dead? But you earlier said that you fear your husband. Are you telling me that you fear a dead man? Or is he not fully dead?"

Now it was Miss Wonderful's turn to stare down at the table. Was it to hide the tears in her eyes? Was it to avoid looking at Sam's partner, Archibald? Or was it something else? Something unmentionable?

Before he had a chance to press her with more questions, Sam finally realized that there was a third person at their table. Downing the last of his limoncello, he said, "Hey, Arch. How long have you been here? This is Miss Wonderful. Miss Wonderful, this is my partner, Archibald. So, Arch, what do you think? Is her husband dead? Or alive? Or something in between?"

Archibald shook his head in disbelief. Grabbing the last breadstick, he replied, "In between? Not exactly my area of expertise, Sam. Let's face it, I've done many odd things in my life, but never have...

I Walked with a Zombie

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"Oh, for Heaven's Sake," said Miss Wonderful, "let's cut to the chase. All this palaver is making me nervous. First I should tell you the truth. I lied about my name, I mean really, who would have a stupid name like Miss Wonderful. My real name is Nellie McGooey and I'm not even married. Who would marry anyone with a name like that. Actually, all I want  from you is to find this particular man for me."

"And what name might that be," said Sam and Archibald in unison, who then became disputatious about who should speak first. "Well, I AM your boss," said Sam, winning the day with a clean stoke. Archibald sank in his chair like a puppy who has just received a swat.

"If you're through," said Miss McGooey," with your puerile behavior, I would like to answer the question."

"Go right ahead," said Sam and Archibald in unison. Sam looked at Archibald with exasperation and Archibald sank back in his chair in a pout.

She was about to speak when a waitress arrived with the spumoni. "Thank you," she said to the waitress. "I love ice cream."

Archibald cast a glance at his boss and after assuring himself he could speak without rebuke, said, "Just what man are we talking about, Miss McGooey. Oh, and by the way, we knew you were lying about your name. I mean I wouldn't want you to think we are couple of damn fools for believing a name like that." He laughed uproariously because he loved to be rude that way.

"Well, you don't have to be rude. A girl has to tell a lie once in awhile or she is nothing. Anyway, to cut to the chase, I am looking for

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS


 

 

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"All seasons?", Sam repeated. "Are you looking for a man who is equally adept at parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme? Is it possible that you should be going to Scarborough Fair? What do you think, Arch?"

"Seasons, not seasonings, Sam", Archibald replied. "Maybe she's into sports. Maybe she's looking for someone who can handle both baseball season and football season. Like a Bo Jackson. Or a Deion Sanders."

Miss Wonderful McGooey shook her head sadly, wondered why she decided to come to this pair of, as Archibald put it, "damn fools" in the first place, and took another bite of her spumoni while thinking to herself, "Wouldn't it be easier if they just ask me?"

After ordering a caffè corretto, Sam said, "Maybe she's simply looking for a man that's good for spring, summer, fall and winter."

"There are other types of seasons, Sam," Archibald replied while wondering if he should get one, too. "Hunting. Growing. Breeding." The last of which he said with a leer in Miss McGooey's direction.

Miss McGooey shook her head again. She was tempted to chide Archibald for his lack of chivalry. But was fairly confident that he didn't know the meaning of that word. Just like it was fairly obvious that neither of them knew the meaning of the word "palaver" either. Instead she decided it was time to end this latest round of jibber-jabber.

But, before she had a chance to speak, Sam suddenly snapped his fingers. "I know what we should do! We should...

Go Ask Alice

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"Alice," snapped McGooey, "doesn't have a damn thing to do with it.  Next you'll be saying let's find the Queen of Hearts. And I don't think either of you could fit through the Rabbit Hole. No more Fettuccine Alfredo for either of you." She was so pleased with her own joke that she began to laugh uproariously.

"Hey ... Alfredo, that's a good idea. Or it would be if I knew anyone by that name."

"Why don't you guYs just ask me what I meant by all seasons. I can't believe you guys are detectives."

"Okay, kid, let's have it, what did you mean?"

Miss McGooey reflected. "I don't think I rightly know anymore. I am so confused. I think I need someone who has the all of something."

"Oh, well, that explains everything ," said Sam, exasperatingly. "What  do you make of all of this, Archibald," he said. Archibald didn't answer because he had fallen asleep, slumped forward with his nose submerged in a glass of Claret.

Just then, Sam's secretary popped her head in the door. "There's someone named Alice here for you."

At the sound of these words, Miss McGooey let out a shriek." She now felt like ...

BREAKING AWAY

 

 

"

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Ignoring the shriek, Sam turned his head to the door. "Customer?"

"I guess so," replied the secretary. "You'll want to see her anyway. She's a knockout."

"Shoo her in, Effie darling, shoo her in," Sam replied while kicking Archibald awake causing him to start and spill his wine.

Effie withdrew and a moment later a gold and purple clad Alice stepped in.

Sam looked confused. "This isn't the Alice I was looking for."

"But a very acceptable alternative," Archibald replied while wiping his face with a napkin.

Alice ignored them both. "Hello, Carol. Long time no see."

Sam continued to look confused. "Carol? Who's Carol?"

"She is," Alice replied while pointing a well-manicured finger at the cowering Miss McGooey.

"I thought her first name was Nellie," replied Sam.

"I thought her first name was Miss," replied Archibald at the same time.

"No," Alice replied. "Her first name is Carol".

Sam's look of confusion remained. "And how do you know her?"

"The two of us along with Bob and Ted spent a few years together as part of a musical quartet. But they abandoned me. And I've been hunting them down ever since."

"Music? What kind?"

"Swing."

"I should have guessed. So where did they abandon you?"

"At...

The Cheyenne Social Club

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"It was an okay place," Alice went on.  "I had a, er, ball there for awhile till someone came along and us girls to play patty-cake, as it were."

Nellie aka Carol began to get restless. She had become gradually aware that she was not getting as many lines as Alice and she (Nellie aka Carol) was promised that she would be the female lead in this picture. And besides she didn't exactly want it to get around her association with The Cheyenne Social Club. And this whole business with the swing music was a diversion. She decided to go on the initiative and began to take off her clothes.

"Hey, hey, kid, stop that. This is a decent picture. We have a PG rating to uphold."

"Well, you're always saying 'Here's looking at you, kid."

Archibald piped up. "Hey, who cares about the ratings! Why not spice things up a bit."

Alice, who had become aware that she didn't have as many lines as Nellie/Carol felt she had to say something and so blurted out, "Hey, good idea, let's make it a cooking movie."  She thought this so hysterically funny that she forgot all about disrobing and instead collapsed to the floor in a paroxysm of glee.

A security guard names Wilmer came over to restore order and promptly ordered everyone to leave in a singularly wimpy voice. He tried to pull a gun on Sam who just laughed and said, "Okay, go ahead, search the place if you must," and then laughed nonchalantly because that was what the script called for but in reality he was verily affrighted.  Director Huston yelled out, "You don't say that yet. And Nellie/Carol O'Magoo, or whatever the hell your name is, you have to bring up the bird, I mean that's what the story is all about."

Miss O'Magoo, who sometimes goes by Nellie and who also sometimes goes by Carol, seeing an opportunity to increase the number of lines (she was intent on first billing) began to the tell the story of

THE FALLEN SPARROW

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

"He was a fairly successful yet eccentric pirate of the early 1700s who was at the top of his game for years," Wonderful/Nellie/McGooey/Carol/O'Magoo rambled. "But then he got involved with another pirate. With a completely different set of anatomy. Not as successful as him in their common profession. But much younger. Which, in and of itself, was not at all that unusual in their world. But things went south and they eventually split up. And then the sordid details of why their relationship fell apart spread like wildfire across the Caribbean. Which, again, was not all that unusual in their world. However..."

"Cut!" The director was livid. These were not the fowls he was looking for. So he gave her the bird, turned to his assistant and shouted "Get me the...

Birdman of Alcatraz

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...who is not credited with the phrase "So fair and fowl a day I have not seen." This occurred to our many-clepted heroine who was in a foul mood indeed on this very day as she felt she was absolutely getting nowhere with Sam and Archie which she had now began to think of birds of a feather, i.e. a couple of dodo birds. "All right," she said with exasperation, "I'll cut to the chase, I came for your services with the intention to give a ****-and-bull story about the Caribbean a couple or so hundred years ago and send you on a wild goose chase which would involve a lot of time travel. But since this not a Science Fiction story I decided to give another you another chance to help me out. Believe me, I nearly called Columbo. It's so happens that I am in search of a stuffed sparrow which is said to contain free tickets to Disneyland. Whoever gets the tickets and shows up first gets a additional ride for free on the Mad World, a ride so notorious that there is only a 38%  chance survival."

A great cheer arose from the others until someone finally asked, "What are we so happy asbout."

"That's what I would like to know, " said a fat man. His name was Buttman he siad, "Not if I get it first." And then attempted a confident chuckle but it sounded like Hell.  Wonderful/Nellie/McGooey/Carol/O'Magoo were relieved that they had something to look forward to and that they were no longer ...

ORPHANS OF THE STORM

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