Monday, July 28, 2008

Travis, Spenser and Duffy

by Tom Schreck
Author of TKO, A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery

“You Duff?” The voice came from the deck of this big ass boat. “Come on aboard.” The tall beefy guy said. I wouldn’t exactly call it a friendly greeting. It was more along the lines of cordial.

I had to climb this four rung latter to get on the deck, which wasn’t easy because Al my 85 pound basset hound was with me. “Busted Flush” was inscribed on the side of the boat. Another guy appeared on the deck. He was wearing Ray Bands and a Red Sox hat. I was going to have to really try to like him.

I struggled to hand the Red Sox guy Al and he hoisted him up but got slobbered pretty bad across his shirt. It was one of those with the little guy riding a horse.

“I’m Travis McGee and this is Spenser,” the first guy said.
“You really do have pale grey eyes, don’t you?” I said to Travis.
“Well, yeah,” he said. He seemed a little embarrassed.
“I didn’t think anyone in real life had grey eyes,” I said.
“Have a seat kid, we got to talk to you,” Spenser said.
“Can I get you a drink? I’m having a Boodles and Spenser is having a Catamount. I also have some Tuborg,” Travis said.

“Uh, I never heard of any of that shit. You gotta Schlitz?” Travis hung his head and looked up at Spenser who winced and sighed.
“That’s what we got to talk to you about,” Spenser said.
“We’ve read the reviews son. They’re calling you the new Travis or the New Spenser and, well, we like you but, uh…” Travis trailed off.

“We have our concerns.” Spenser said.
I didn’t know what they were talking about. I took a hit off the Tuborg and almost barfed.

“Damn, this shit is skunky as hell,” I said. I looked over at Al who was licking his nutbag right next to Spenser.

“Son, if they’re going to compare you to us there’s some things we liked to see changed,” Travis said. He sipped his gin and tonic out of a rocks glass that looked like it weighed 12 pounds.

“Change?’ I said.
“Yeah, change,” Spenser said. I might’ve been mistaken but it seemed like he was trying to act tough.

“Let’s start with the Schlitz. It’s not…uh…classy enough. Why don’t you drink something expensive and esoteric. Get a nice microbrew that no one’s ever heard of,” Travis said.
“I think those beers take like piss,’ I said.

“Alright, alright—let’s get off beer. How about the women in your life? There always dysfunctional and screwed up. Why not get a really thin, arrogant, intellectual psychologist gal who thinks its cool to barely eat anything?” Spenser said.

I just starred at him.
“Or nurse wounded bird type women back to health while sailing in the Caribbean. It helps if they have names like Bunny, Pogo or Tucky,” McGee said.

“What fuckin’ planet are you guys livin’ on?” I said. “Who has a boat like this and where do you find ‘wounded bird –women,’ sheesh.”

“The other thing is your fights. You lose as often as you win—we never get in fights and lose unless someone does something dirty or underhanded,” Travis said.

“I’m a mediocre boxer not a superhero,” I said.
“I fought Jersey Joe Walcott when I boxed,” Spenser said a little too quickly. I knew from reading books that Walcott’s last fight was in 1953.

“Yeah, well, in real life mediocre fighters don’t get to fight hall of famers,” I said.

The Spenser guy didn’t like that and tried to stare me down. Al barked at him and Spenser kind of jumped a little but tried to cover it.

“Your dog is a problem,” Travis said. Al did that tornado thing to clear his slobber and a loogey landed on Spenser’s loafers.

“You see that—those are Brooks Brothers and they cost $350 and the dog slobbered on them.”

I smiled and wished Al had slobbered on the “B” on his hat.

“I have a German Shorthaired pointer who is refined. She doesn’t do everything she’s told but she’s, you know…” Spenser struggled for the right word.

“Cute?” I said. Spenser frowned but he knew it was the right word. No one ever accused Al of being cute.

“Look son, it’s just that if you catch on we’re afraid people will, uh, you know, see us as maybe a little unrealistic and overblown. We’re worried,” Travis said.

“Why don’t you listen to jazz. You know, make obtuse references to Coltrane and Miles and how great jazz is,” Spenser said. Now he was sort of pleading.

“I only know people who pretend to listen to jazz because they think its cool. I never actually hear anyone listen to jazz,” I said. “Besides I like Elvis.” I said.

“Elvis was--” Spenser was about to say something I wasn’t going to like. I stood up and held my hand up signifying I had had enough. Spenser took a step toward me.

I didn’t back up.

“Fellas…come on!” Travis said.

“Don’t ever say anything about Elvis,” I said. I was almost nose-to-nose with Spenser.

“I told you I fought Walcott, didn’t I?” Spenser said as menacing as he could.

“Yeah, you did.” I kind of laughed a little. “By my calculations that would make you 70 at the youngest,” I said.

Spenser’s shoulders slumped.

“Yeah, you’re right,’ he said. He looked down at the slobber that had gathered on the tassel of his loafer.

I decided it was time for me to go.

“It was nice meeting you guys and thanks for the beer. I don’t mind comparisons but I got my show to run just like you guys did,” I said.

The two of them just looked at each other. McGee shrugged while Spenser sat back hard in his deck chair.

‘The kid’s got some balls, I’ll give ‘em that,” I heard Travis say as I was leaving.


Mark Terry said...

Dude, Schlitz tastes like piss.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Duff, I mean Tom, I'm disappointed you didn't use the phrase "nancy-pants beer." I would've considered it an honor.

Thanks, once again, for a post that made me laugh out loud.

May your sales kick these guys' butts!

Terri Thayer said...

First, Jon Hamm, now Robert Urich. Nice! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. A headshot of Jon Bon Jovi? Mark Wahlberg?

All I can say is: When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer.

G.M. Malliet said...

Does this mean Tom's finally over that thing he had about Jennifer Aniston?

Felicia Donovan said...

Schlitz? Geez, Tom, you'd might as well suck on the sailcloth for a while... And where is Hawk?

Thanks for the great post. I had the opportunity to meet Robert B. Parker not too long ago. In my wildest dreams I'd have as many Hollywood deals as he does in the works... Best of luck to you and Duffy, Tom!

G.M., I don't think Tom will ever be over Jennifer Aniston...