as transcribed from Ramsey Long’s notes by Derrick Ferguson
PRO SE PRESENTS Peculiar Adventures #1
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EXCERPT:The clack-clack-clack of high heels upon the black and white marble floor got the attention of every male ear in the City Room of The New York Paladin and every male head swiveled to cast at least one eye upon the person making said clacks. These being newspapermen and rather a direct and somewhat coarse bunch, the sounds of appreciative wolf-whistles were not a surprise. The secretaries who worked in The City Room were used to hearing this masculine din and grinned good-naturedly, but the current recipient of this crude praise threw a furiously angry glare around the room. She searched nameplates on each and every desk until she found the one she wanted, walking up and down the rows of desks occupied either by gum-cracking secretaries or cigar-smoking men barking into telephones or pounding away at their battered black Underwood typewriters. The large circular windows looked out on the New York skyline, bright early morning sunshine streaming in, cutting though the cigar and cigarette smoke that seemed to inhabit the spacious room like a permanent fog, despite the best efforts of the perpetually turning ceiling fans.
New York City, 1929.
The nameplate read Archibald Bodine and the man who sat with his feet up on the desk and talking into the phone looked more like a boxer or soldier than a reporter. A two-day stubble of beard covered his cheeks and chin. His tan double-breasted suit was well-cut and of good style but looked as if he’d slept in it for a week. A fedora pushed back his close-cropped auburn hair.
"Look, Gummy, how long y’know me? Six years, about, right? In all that time, I ever stiff you on a wager?" Archibald Bodine grew quiet, listening to the angry torrent of words that gobbled out of the receiver.
"Okay, okay, that was just the one time! An’ you know why I hadda stiff you that time. The missus was-"