Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mike Hammer, NT

It's Hammer Time!Writer Mickey Spillane, Creator of Hard Boiled Private Eye Mike Hammer, Dies at 88 (LA Times).
ISPCC Calls for Law to Ban Slapping Children (Irish Independent).

She was a broad and she knew it. She had a body built for sin, and I don’t mean simoniac or manichee sins either. I mean the fun ones, like eating sweets during Lent and standing at the back in church. Her lips were red and full. She took a deep breath, and started flapping them.

“Are you Mike Hammer, the private eye?” she asked. Her voice was like whiskey and honey mixed by the smartest cook in C Block.

“That’s what mother always told me, sweetheart,” I said. I lit a cigarette and looked nonchalant. It’s easier to look it than to spell it. “Who can I do for you?”

“I’m sorry?” she asked.

“I’m not,” I said. “What are you here for, dollface?”

“It’s this new call from the ISPCC to ban the slapping of children. I teach in the city and if I wasn’t able to slap the children I’m pretty darn sure they’d end up slapping me.” She broke down sobbing. “Oh Mister Hammer,” she said, “what am I going to do?” I put my arm around her. She kept sobbing, but I didn’t mind.

“Don’t worry about it, baby. I think it’s time your school got a visit from An Cigire Ó Casúir.”

That Monday I went to the school. I saw a lot of graffiti on the walls and a lot of boys and girls who should know better throwing paper planes and sucking their thumbs. Staffrooms have changed since I was a kid.

A shaken old lady came up to me. She looked old enough to remember the piper that played before Moses, but it’s been some time since he’d blown his horn.

“Are you Mike Hammer, the private eye? Miss Smyth said you’d be here.”

“She wasn’t wrong there baby,” I said, chucking her under the chins. “Which one’s her room?”

I mounted the stairs two at a time, but always getting the feeling I was going downhill. I got that nasty smell of infant urine and mature Tayto that you always get in schools. I didn’t like it. Today, somebody was going to pay.

I turned to my right at the top of the stairs, and suddenly walked into a room full of four foot tall rats. Rats who wear tracksuits and spit on the streets. “Children,” they call them in the statistics. I call them rats, and the Hell with them.

“I’m Mister Hammer,” I told the class. “I’m taking over Miss Smyth’s class for today.”

I pulled up a chair, pushed back my hat, and gave them the sitch.

“About three days ago, Big Julie lifted three yeggs from the Lower East Side. He took them to his warehouse in Jersey, and gave each of them a bath, a bucket and beating. Turns out that Yegg A has a gallon bucket, Yegg B has seven pints, and that poor slob Yegg C is stuck with the three quart bucket and whole lot of work to do. Yeah – whaddya want?”

A little kid has his hand up in the air. He was shaking, like a guy that expected bad news. He wasn’t wrong.

“Please sir,” he said, “an bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leithreas?”

“Sure you can go to toilet, kid,” I said, “IN HELL!”

With that I dived into a roll to the right, pulled out my gat and came up blasting. BAM! BAM! BAM!, and Sonny Corleone wouldn’t be beating on Carlo no more.

“Anybody else want to go to the toilet? Didn’t think so. Now where was I? Oh yeah – so the three yeggs have got their buckets but not much time and even less hope. Yegg A’s bath fills at three pints a minute, Yegg B’s at two and half, while that poor dumb schmuck Yegg C’s bath is a pint a minute if he’s lucky. So – you! Who’s gets his bath emptied first, and who gets to sleep with da fishes?”

I grabbed a kid by the tracksuit and lifted him half out of the desk. “Answer me, punk, I haven’t got all day!” I hit him a couple of shots, to get his attention. Damn kid started crying on me – I don’t see that often. So I pulled out the John Roscoe and whacked him, pour encourager les autres, as I was going to be telling them in French class after lunch.

“This kid don’t know nothing,” I said to the rest of them. “One of you guys better start knowing something, or else it’s going to be like the inside of Keith Moon’s drumkit in here. You – who do you think kid? Come on, come on, I haven’t got all day.”

“Sir, it’s Yegg A sir, Yegg A.”

“Kid, there might be hope for you yet. I might just let you live. Now get our your Irish books – looks like a heist caper went wrong for Caol an Iarainn and Fionn Mac Cumhail had to send for his consigliore, Bodach an Chota Lachna, to start smashing heads until somebody talked.”

We got on fine after that. They were good kids. The ones that lived. As for Miss Smyth, it didn’t work out. Velma told me that she just remembered that Miss Smyth had volunteered for the Catholic Mission in Terra Del Fuego, and was taking the veil. I couldn’t say I blame her – this is a tough town for anyone that spells their name with a “y.” I took Velma out to Toots Shoor’s after that and told her all about the Tuisil Ginideach. She told me she’d prefer a fur coat. Women, huh?

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