Archive | June, 2012

Like A Walrus Needs A Clam?

28 Jun

June 28, 2012

You need me
Like a walrus
needs a clam
Like a fat kid
needs a ham
You need me

ANNOUNCER: Yes, I’m sure that everyone within the sound of my voice on the WBTR airwaves remembers those words. Hi, I’m Bruce E. Freedkin and the writer of that beautiful verse from the #1 hit single of 1958, “Eat Me, Porcupine,“ is here with me in the studio. He turns 97 today! Welcome to the show, Max Duffy! Hi Max, how are you today?

MAX: Eat me, porcupine.

ANNOUNCER: That was such a great song, how did you ever come up with it?

MAX: Well, back then we used to work in the Brill Building, all of us song writers. It was wonderful. All of us like-minded people, song writers, just writing music, playing music, sitting around piano, banging out tunes, high on pot, naked as jay birds-

ANNOUNCER: I’m sorry, did you just say-

MAX: There was always plenty of blow around back then too. And the broads! I remember one time Carol King did this thing with her-

ANNOUNCER: Excuse, me, are you saying that back then, when you were writing hit songs for the likes of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra you were all just, just, –

MAX: Stoned out of our minds. But it wasn’t just the drugs or the booze, it was the power. We were kings! I remember one day not long after Summer Wind was a hit for Frankie we brought in a sack of kittens and some baseball bats and we-

ANNOUNCER: What? I’m sorry but we have to go to-

MAX: -just for the hell of it. Who was going to stop us? We were hot hit song writers, dammit! We did what we wanted! We got The Supremes mixed up with a coven of witches. Except that damn Diana Ross, she was a [BLEEP], quit the group over it. And the orgies!

ANNOUNCER: OK! WOW! That’s it! Thanks Max Duffy! (faintly off mic) Cut his mic! Cut his mic!

MAX: I [BLEEP]ed Marilyn Monroe on a pile of fifties!  


Cut to commercial

The Brill Building. Home of money, madness, and murder.


An Evening for Trench Coat and Tuxedo. A Hollywood Russell Case File

27 Jun

June 27, 2012

It was not his finest moment.

Hollywood Russell had been hired by a tired-looking housewife to trail her husband. She was sure he was cheating on her. Judging from her baggy eyes and stained housedress Hollywood inwardly cheered the husband on. He didn’t like divorce cases, as this one would surely be, but they were the bread and butter of private detectives. For every interesting case that you hear about in the papers there was a month’s worth of trailing cheating husbands or convincing deadbeats to pay off their gambling debts. But the money was good, if not great, and the detective was once again behind on his rent, and everything else, so he took the case. He took a large retainer and told the woman he’d get back to her in a week or so even though he knew he’d have the case wrapped up by that evening or the next. The money was good, after all.

It was raining that night. Hollywood was standing on the street corner outside the Pierre Hotel. There are two essential items in every P.I.’s wardrobe; a trench coat and a tuxedo, and Hollywood was wearing them both. The night before he had followed the husband to the hotel and waited outside for three hours until the man left and Hollywood followed him home. It was ridiculously easy. The husband had made no attempt to hide where he was going. He was either confident or stupid, in Hollywood’s estimation. But tonight, after a short wait, Hollywood planned to enter the hotel and spend some time in the lounge, drinking expensive bourbon on his client’s expense account and keeping an eye on the elevators to see who his target was meeting.

He walked through the lobby and checked his coat, making a mental note to put the tip on his expense report. Hollywood entered the lounge and took a seat at the bar. He’d have preferred a booth but the bar had a better view of the hotel elevators. Another thing it had was a view of the bartender. It was the husband.

After a few minutes of chit chat and a few more shots thrown back, Hollywood had the whole story. There was no other woman, no habit to feed, gambling debts to pay off before a few fingers got broken. Just a man who loved his wife and was working some short shifts to earn some extra money so he could surprise his wife with a down payment on a house.

Hollywood waited a week for appearances sake and called the wife into his office. His bill was padded outrageously but the woman paid it without a glance. All she wanted to know was if her husband was cheating on her. Hollywood happily informed her that her husband was loyal and faithful.

“Damn,” the woman said, and walked out the door without another word.

Three days later the papers said that she killed her husband with three bullets to the back of the head.

Hollywood’s rent was already paid for the next month.

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