My name is Maxwell Flint, and I am a hard man of letters.
For some, the American Dream is a family and a home. For some it is bedding 739 beautiful women within a set span of time. I endeavor to live a life of spectacle, and I endeavor to never work very hard. To me, the American Dream is elusive. As a hard man of letters, I am chasing it, and if I ever find it, I’ll rip out its fucking throat.
I was in high school when I discovered the works of Hunter S. Thompson, Doctor of Journalism. It changed my life. I suddenly realized that I could jot down a bunch of half-assed shit and call it journalism. I knew that I had found my calling.
It was in the course of compiling material for The Great American Road Novel that I came to discover The Secret of the Westwood Estate. Amongst select circles The Westwood Estate is something of a phantom, spoken of in hushed whispers. No two accounts seem to be the same, but what all accounts agreed upon is that the Westwood Estate is the greatest unclaimed fortune since the unclaimed estate of noted pirate Sir Francis Drake. At least, that’s what Alice had told me.
During the period of which I first became entangled in the silky web of The Westwood Case, I was killing time in Canton, Ohio. My car had been temporarily impounded, so I found myself making bed in the dumpster behind the blood bank. When I was rousted from my sleep the night in question, I expected to be hauled down to the police station yet again. Instead, I blearily faced Alice for the first time.
The woman staring down at me was not quite an attractive woman. She was slightly too scrawny, her eyes were slightly too far apart and it was obvious her parent’s weren’t able to afford braces when she was younger. Nonetheless, she carried herself with the confidence one associates with a woman who knows without question that she is utterly beautiful.
“Maxwell Flint?” she inquired.
“Some call me that,” I said as I scrambled to my feet.
“Word around town is that you’re a hard man of letters.” It appeared my reputation was spreading.
“Indeed, I am.” I pulled myself out of my dumpster with a reasonable amount of grace. “What can I do for you?”
“My name is Alice. I was told that you have a reputation for not immediately dismissing things as being too stupid.”
It was around this time that I began to feel like the hard-boiled private dick, approached in his office by the sultry dame. Except in this case, I wasn’t a private dick, my office was a dumpster filled with used needles, and this dame wasn’t particularly sultry.
The thing about the dames who show up at private dicks’ offices is that they’re always lying. The story they feed the guy is always a tall tale designed to mislead the gumshoe in some fashion. I knew I was being played. This Alice chick thought I was some sort of gullible dupe.
“I think you may have been misinformed. I’ve found plenty of stupidity during my travels. May I ask why you find yourself searching for writers in alleyways in the middle of the night? Have you an emergency piece of journalism that needs writing?”
She gave me a satisfied smile, “As a matter of fact, I do. I am embroiled in a complicated battle of wits against formidable opponents, but I have every intention on winning, seeing as the stakes are a multi-million dollar inheritance. I need someone to accompany me across the country, chronicling the details of my quest. I’ll pay one hundred dollars a day, plus lodging. The job would begin immediately.”
The other thing about those lying dames is that the guy being played always take their case. Who was I to break such a hallowed tradition?
Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.