Get Artie

Aug. 22, 2013
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, here is just one more reason I need a personal assistant to help me with daily chores—female, ’natch, and pronto. Coming out of the bathtub following last Saturday morning’s shower, I lost my balance whilst attempting to dry a wet foot and took a swift tumble into the side of the tub. Focking gravity—friend or foe? Hey, you tell me.

And then I’ll tell you, jeez louise, I banged the goddamn heck out of my sort-of back left side, just above the hip, but it feels like I nailed but good the lower rib cage, or maybe the top part of the focking coccyx. If I was a football player making a couple, three mil a year, I’m sure I’d be out 4-6 weeks, automatic. But I’m no football player, and I’m no doctor, and now I know I’m no acrobat to boot.

So I’m lying on the bathroom floor and I ask myself, “Fall and injure yourself in the bathroom post-bathing? Isn’t this the kind of stunt some old fart pulls? And hold on, wait a second, I am some old fart—at least on a lower rung of the aging ladder, soon to ascend to the rung where cracking your hip in the bathroom is an every-other-day occurrence not to mention forgetfulness, like when does cocktail hour start?”

And no, I’m not going to the doctor, yet. Even with some kind of health insurance, seeing the doc is still going to cost a good chunk of dough, a chunk a guy like me doesn’t have—not while these focking health insurance companies are figuring out ways to bill you for each and every breath you take.

No sir, laughter is the best medicine, so they say, which reminds me of a little story:

Guy goes to see his doctor for a checkup (a “checkup”—those were the days, ain’a?). “So Doc, think I can live to be a hundred?” Doctor says, “Well sir, do you smoke or drink?”

“Neither done either one,” the guy says. The doctor continues, “Do you gamble, drive fast cars, fool around with loose women?” The guy says, “Never done any of those things, either.”

“Well then,” doctor says, “why the hell do you want to live to a hundred for?” Ba-ding!

And then just this morning, while I was trying to figure out how I could blow off slapping this essay together, I learn that one of our best-of-the-best writers, Elmore Leonard, has died at age 87. Yeah, why live to a hundred? Beats me. But now for those wondering where the next Dutch Leonard will come from, check out the following intro to a thriller novel that’s a crime I’ve had sitting around for years. Maybe I’ll finish it some day before I’m a focking 100 years old:


The Case of the Stacked Babe Who Came Into My office With a Focking Problem

It was getting early, so I knew it was late. I gave him a chop to the spleen and he folded over like a snotrag in a Chinese laundry, or maybe it was that he doubled up like a gambling junkie with a jones for the nags. You never really do know in this business.

So yeah, he went down like a B-girl entertaining a squad of Seabees on shore leave. I appraised his family jewels repeatedly with a swift right toe that happened to be housed in one of the Florsheim brown wingtips I happened to be sporting that day. Or was it night? Twilight? Noontime? You never really do know in this business.

He let out a groan, picked up his hoses and nozzles and did an all-fours down the stairs toward the mean-street entrance. Since he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, I focking figured a good crap-kicking was the next best thing. I got no time for vacuum cleaner salesmen. Dust never settles in my business. You acquire a nose for it. And you want to keep it.

It was then that she entered my office like the Allies storming Normandy. She was some kind of dish all right, made this guy think of prime tenderloin all smothered with me. When she turned around to close the office door and then bent over to retrieve the envelope she’d dropped, I was thinking hors d’oeuvres—two duck eggs in a lace napkin.

One more impression, ’cause what the fock: I don’t want to say the slim dress she somehow managed to wrangle herself into pulled any punches, so instead I’ll say she was like three pounds of gorgeous stuffed into a one-pound bag.

“I’m looking for a private dick with a cool head,” she purred. “To whom am I speaking?”

“You must be jerking my beefaroni, sister,” I said.

“All in due time,” she shot back.

“Copacetic. I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.”


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