We are proud to present an excerpt from My Gun is Warm, a previously unpublished story by acclaimed detective author Spickey Mullane.
My Gun is Warm
A Jack Hammer Mystery
I threw my toothpick into the gutter and strolled down the street. There was a girl crying her eyes out. I handed her a handkerchief. "Here, babe," I said. "You'll probably ruin it, so you don't have to give it back." She was too choked up to speak but her eyes were full of thankfulness.
I knew the beat cop. He was just a kid, really. His name was, let's say Joe. He looked uneasy. "Hey, Jack," he said.
"You're looking virile today."
"Thanks. I do a few sit ups on my doughnut break."
"Watch with the doughnut cracks, Jack."
"I'm just talkin' about my diet. No offense intended."
"You still divorced?"
"Yeah, number five."
"Five! Oh wow, I thought you were still on your fourth divorce. It's amazing what you miss when you're workin' the street. Just trying not to get shot takes up all your time."
"I'm sure it's tough."
"You still alcoholic?"
I shrugged. I would have punched out some mugs for a question like that, but Joe was okay. "Some days," I said.
"You want to look at the body?"
He removed the sheet. Underneath was what looked like the biggest pile of strawberry preserves I'd ever seen. That pile had been a man the day before. He'd done all the things any man does. He banged his wife, he drank Old Crow straight from the bottle, he dropped off the kids at school. He'd probably killed some Huns in the service. Then some snot-nosed punk with a semi-automatic turned him into a pile of jam. I'd have to remember to put grape jelly on my toast from now on.
Joe spoke again. "Some of these fellas have some pretty big holes in 'em."
"Yeah. Right where it hurts. This guy got any cigarettes on him?"
"Maybe, but you'd have to fish them out of all that muck."
"Mind if I try?"
"Uh, technically we're not supposed to let anybody touch the bodies. It messes up the whole investigation. But since it's you, Jack, go ahead."
"Thanks, Joe." I stuck my two fingers in that awful mess, in the general area of where his shirt pocket would have been, and I pulled out a cigarette. It was in pretty good shape, considering. But my fingers were an awful red color. "You mind if I wipe these off on your shirt, Joe?"
"Uh, uh, I guess so."
"You're a pal, Joe."
"Well, I gotta go. They've got some pretty good blue plate specials at Rosies' Diner." I turned away.
"Don't you want to know what happened? We've got some pretty big leads."
"Nah. These murders are all the same."
Rosie's Diner looked crowded, so I decided not to go there. I don't like crowds. I'm from the city, and crowds remind me of cows for some reason. I decided I'd check up on Dantarelli, the Italian who runs the pizza joint. Italians, they've got some pretty screwy ideas, like pizza. But they're okay.
Dantarelli acted all glad to see me. "Jacka," he said, "is good to see you. You looka good." He had a bushy black mustache. I grew a bushy black mustache once but it wasn't me, so I shaved it off. But I still wear Italian shoes. They're the best. I think my jacket might be Italian too, but I'm not sure. I never bothered to read the label. "How are you?" I asked him.
"Not so good, my friend. Yesterday some communists come in here. I think they come from Russia, or maybe Brazil. They try to get tough with me. They tell me I have to do what they say. They tell me from now on I got to put chicken on my pizza! But they no scare me. I tell them to get the hell out before I kill them, and they better not try to date my daughters either. So they back off and leave. I no believe it! Chicken on a pizza!"
"Yeah, I hear they've got some nefarious plots."
"I a tell you something, this country has gone a crazy. I leave Europe because they're too many bad communista. Now I come to America, and what I find? More bad communist!"
"Don't you worry about it, Dantarelli. The American people will never go for chicken on their pizza, believe me."
"I hope you right, Jack."
"Say, you hear anything about that murder last night?"
"I only hear that they really do him over good. They say he look like grape jelly by the time they done."
"What! Who told you that? It wasn't grape jelly at all, it was strawberry jelly, and more like preserves than jelly if you want to know the truth."
"I only know what I hear, my friend. But I see nothing, I swear it. This I tell you, the neighborhood is too a dangerous. What, I live in a free country, or I live in a war zone?"
"I knew what you mean. All those American boys went over to free Germany from the Germans, and what happens when they get back? Do they get a free ham and a kiss on the cheek from the homecoming queen? No, just a bunch of punks getting fresh with them, joining some communist club and telling them what to do! It ought to be legal to get rid of some people. Just make a big can of roach spray, only it'd be the kind that kills people roaches instead of regular roaches, and spray down the streets with it. But the judges would be too soft to allow that. Well, I think I'm getting off on a tangent. "
"You are so smart a man, Mr. Jack."
"See ya, friend."
"Say, Mr. Jack?"
"What is it, my man?"
"All the time you come in here, but you never buy anything. You think maybe next time you buy something?"
"Maybe next time. Maybe next time."
Keep reading The Spoof for the exciting Part 2 of My Gun is Warm. And if you see any commies, be sure to shoot them in the head.