Jackie and Loftus Do a Job


“I still don’t get why Mickey sent us here.”

“You got to fly first class, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, on Loofah-Doofah Airlines. Ugliest stewardesses in the air. Shoulder pads and potato faces.”

“Hostesses, they call them now, Jackie.”

“What a shithole this place is.”

“You’re rightit could use some light. And heat. Though I guess the people who lived here didn’t get that much.”

“I meant this country. The beer is warm and the broads are ugly.”

“Mostly they died of dysentery.”

“The broads did? The hell is dysentery?”

“Cripes, you ought to read some history. And be quiet with that crowbar, all right?”

“Then quit distracting me with all this history shit.”

“Literally. It is the shits.”

“I know. This is way too much work for a couple of Benjamins.”

“No, moron. Dysentery. It’s the shits.”

“Any disease is, far as I’m concerned.”

“Damn, you’re dumb.”

“At least I’m not all focused on this scatological thing.”

“Pretty big word for a guy who didn’t make it out of Dot High.”

“Fuck you, Loftus.”

“There’s the Jackie Skinner I know and love. Are you going to open this fucking cabinet or not?”

“Soitanly, soitanly.”

“Curly, Larry, and Moe—now there were some sick individuals. Not sick like that dysentery, but still. Look—that’s what we came all this way for?”

“Well, it wasn’t so I could listen to you lecture me on history.”

“It’s human, man. Human history. Dysentery.”

“Aw, shut it. Let’s shift these things out of here and go have a beer.”

“It’s a story I heard. About this guy. In the camps.”

“Camps? Like what? Like Boy Scout camp? The Y?”

“Are you as dumb as you sound? You couldn’t be. Concentration camps, asshole.”

“Way back when, you mean. Back in the day.”

“For you, my friend, history is anything that happened before yesterday.”

“Fuck you.”

“Again with the bon mots.”

“I’ll bone you one.”

“I don’t think so, pal. Here, hold this bag.”

“You would leave me holding the bag, wouldn’t you?”

“Just hold the fucking bag.”

“What’s with the disinterring thing, again?”

“Dysentery, asshole. It’s like a terminal case of the shits.”

“So who cares? Except maybe the guy who’s got ‘em.”

“This guy I heard the story from. My uncle’s father.”

“The stuff with the camps. That’s true?”

“Ask my uncle’s father. With the blue tattoo. No one’s doing that much history these days, but he was there.”

“No one but your uncle, you mean.”

“His father. He was a cornet player. Is that one full?”

“Yeah, that’s enough.Tie up the bag. The rest will fit in the other one. What’s a cornet?”

“Like a little trumpet. He wrote his music. In the camps.”

“I thought they all got gassed.”

“The musicians lived. Those Nazi assholes liked to fake like they were civilized. Concerts on the lawn.”

“Shit. Hold that, will you? Your uncle’s father?”

“So he had that dysentery.”

“Ah, back to the shits.”

“They gave him this medicine. Charcoal pills, supposed to settle your stomach.”

“Why you telling me this, Loftus?”

“It’s a story, numbnuts. He was a musician, a composer. He used the charcoal to write his music out on toilet paper. Smuggled it out when the war was done.”

“Tie this bag up, will you?”

“We done? Good. Let’s get out of here. I don’t know what made me think of that story. This place is creeping me out.”

“What do you think Mickey wants these for?”

“I don’t want to know, Jackie. Do you? Who knows what you do with a couple of bags of teeth?”

~ fin ~

Cass Color Headshot

Richard Cass graduated from Colby College in Maine, where he wrote and studied poetry and was a Senior Scholar. He is the author of  the six-book Elder Darrow jazz mystery series. The first book in the series won the 2018 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. The fifth, Sweetie Bogan’s Sorrow, won the Nancy Pearl Librarians’ Prize for Genre Fiction. Dick has also published a standalone novel called The Last Altruist and a book of short stories entitled Gleam of Bone.