A couple of years back, the good folks at Bear Manor Media announced a volume four for their old-time radio short story anthology, IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN. Having appeared in volume three with my Johnny Dollar at Duffy's Tavern short story, I was asked to contribute a RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE short story. I set to work right away BUT...for various reasons we won't get into, the story was never completed and I do not appear at all in volume four. Not only that, what little there was of the untitled story was lost in my computer crash (maybe you heard about that!). That is...until now.
Last night as I was waiting on fish to bake for dinner, I did a little (rare) cleaning in the Library and found a page and a half of the story that I had, for reasons now forgotten, printed out at some point! I'm pretty sure I had gotten a bit beyond this but I was impressed with what there was an thought I'd share it with you here while the clock ticks toward my return to full speed.
So here it is---all of it. And that isn't much but tell me what you think. Maybe I could change the names and make a whole new detective out of this guy! As it is, though, here's Richard Diamond, Dick Powell's hardboiled, wisecracking, singing PI!
"You won't get me, ya lousy..."
"Diamond Detective Agency where we come on ("Bang! Bang! Bang!") like Gangbusters. Diamond speaking."
"Rick," said a very familiar female voice, "What in heaven's name...? What's going on there?"
"Oh, come now, Helen. Surely you've heard of radio. It's a big thing now. In all the papers. Hang on a second. ("Bang! Ba...CLICK) There. I turned it off."
"If you aren't careful, you're going to turn something else off too, mister. Now what on earth was that all about?"
"Well my most recent client sold radios, sweetie. Wholesale. As a bonus for recovering his --shall we say 'indiscreet' photos, he threw in a nice spanling new Philco for me. One of the new tabletop models. Not much bigger than a breadbox. It's incredible what this post-war technology can do."
"I see. So now you can spend your evenings with My Friend Irma and John's Other Wife instead of me?"
"Oh now baby, it's not like that and you know it. I only listen to detective stories! Helps me in my business, you see."
"If you say so. Say, am I going to see you later tonight?"
"You just warm up the piano keys about nine, sweetheart and I'll bring the sheet music."
"Ha, ha! Okay, Rick. You be careful today."
"Aren't I always?"
I hung up the phone and leaned back in my creaky office chair, stretching my hands up over my head. Helen was a good egg--always understanding and just lighthearted enough to sometimes make me forget just what a dangerous business I'm in.
Me? I was a professional tough guy. A dick. A shamus. The kind of guy Dick Powell could play in his sleep in the movies and Bob Mitchum usually did. On any given day I had no idea where my next paycheck was coming from. More often than not, when I was working on a job my next breath was in question, too.
I sighed and reached over to turn the radio back on when suddenly I detected a shadow moving across the other side of my office door. Instinctively my hand went to rest on the 38 in my shoulder holster. The door opened though and I immediately relaxed as a big, dumb doofus came lumbering in.
"Well, well," I said. "I just heard on the radio about a gorilla escaping from the Park Zoo but I didn't expect to see him here in my office."
"Awww, cut it out, Diamond. Da Lieutenant wants ta see youse right away."
"Oh, my! It's a TALKING gorilla! I'll make a fortune!"
"Diamond, it's me! Sergeant Otis!"
"Hmmm...So it is. Like I said, a talking gorilla. Well all right then, what's Walt got brewing in his pot today, King Kong?"
"He didn't tell me. Just that I should get ya to the office within the hour and by your wall clock that leaves us only about fifteen minutes so let's get goin'"
"Why, Otis, I didn't know you could tell time."
Otis had no way of knowing that I kept my office clock ten minutes fast so I could always be early for appointments. Still, by the real top of the hour, we were walking into the office of Lieutenant Walt Levenson, probably my oldest friend and a perpetual thorn in my side ever since I left the force to go private. For some reason, we still kept seeing each other almost...
Aaaaand that's all I have left of it. Comments?