If it ain’t broke, don’t call us…

August 18, 2011

Hello, thank you for calling Lamar’s Fix-It and Fried Okra Shop. How may I direct your call?

What do you mean direct my call? You have different departments?

No, just the fried okra and repair thing. You know our motto, “If it ain’t broke, we’ll pretend to fix it anyway.”

Do you fix air conditioners? I live in a high-rise.

Sure, just give me your address, and I can be leaning precariously out of your window before you know it.

How much do you charge?

I can’t tell you until I know what floor you live on.

Does that matter?

Of course! The farther I have to fall, the more I charge!

Strangely, that makes sense. Say, can you bring a couple of orders of fried okra when you come?

Yeah, I guess I can stop somewhere and pick some up for you…

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A man leans out a window as he fixes an air-conditioning unit in an apartment building in central Beijing, August 17, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray

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Such an easy way to commit murder too..

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Murder, yes. I’m reminded of one of my first cases. Only it didn’t involve an air conditioner or fried okra. Rather, it started off with a hot telephone call, a hot gas range and $100,000.00 of stolen meatballs….



I was cold, and the snow was dirty. I leaned into the wind in my cheap MacIntosh and pulled my Fedora down low. It was getting foggy, and frost ice was forming on the pine trees. I was on my way to a restaurant in the Uptown area. I didn’t want this case, but my pockets were empty, and there were patches on the patches on the elbows of my cheap jacket. And, besides, it was my wedding night.

The restau

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

What! It’s International Hug-Your-Airconditioner Day already?
Why was I not informed?
Trying to work out if that’s a blue bunny on the aircon unit, or if the manufacturer is giving him the fingers.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

Yay! More of Doc’s noir stories. :)

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

@CrowGirl: I quite agree, though its a bit frustrating when Doc leaves off–not just mid-sentence mind you, but mid-word–and I’m on the edge of my seat. Sheesh–Of course I’m a sucker for any story with Fedora’s and MacIntoshes in them…

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

Let’s not get hasty here. Doc likes to offer just a few words in the form of a brief comment here, and then finish his lengthy stories in Facebook postings….

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Well, Crowy, there I was in my office, blinds closed with the sun shining brightly through them, writing the first chapter of “The Snow Was Dirty, and So Was the Lady” when a big muscular guy with a simple (but careworn) face barged into my office, interrupting me mid-sentence.

He says “Youse ain’t writin’ no more, pally. Your stories make the BlogGuy sad, and you don’t want to make the BlogGuy sad, do you, pally? The BlogGuy don’t like to read your stories, got it pally?”

I says “Yea, well Chunky, I’ve had complaints, but I just keep getting worse. By the way, are you the man they call ‘Lamar\'”?

Anyway, that was the end of “The Snow Was Dirty,” broken off in mid-sentence.

So, Chunky and I discover that we have mutual friends, Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. I pull out the office bottle, gra

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

@Doc .. I’m on the edge of my seat/wits/sanity (pick one). Pour another one and continue. :-)

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

Cam, like any great writer, Doc knows you wanna keep ’em wanting more… I’m afraid you’re going to have to buy the rest on Kindle…

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

It was hot and steamy. Outside, too. There I was, alone with my thoughts and a few hundred people in Beijing, when I heard a phone ring somewhere up above. Looking up, I saw a man leaning out of a window as people lined up behind him. Then I spotted it – the blue bunny. They had ice cream!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Sneak preview of tomorrow’s blog:
Lamar, get in here!
What is it, bo

Part one of a ten part series

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

@jclimacus081, ditto about Fedoras. However I am a Granny Smith kinda guy so I can’t agree about the MacIntoshes. Wanna have an Wear A Fedora While Commenting On The OE Blog day? 😀

“Well see there is your problem right there. You have an apartment building stuck to your air conditioner!”

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Well, apparently I may not finish Chapter I of “The Snow Was Dirty, and So Was the Lady” on this Blog. So, I won’t. Nope. Won’t do that. But, this thread reminds me of what I once did during lunch. It was at a restaurant, Uptown….

The restaurant was in one of the historic two-story brick buildings still hanging around since the 1890s in the old Warehouse District, what the City now mysteriously calls “Uptown.” I was going to meet a client, who spent her days waiting tables in the restaurant and her nights on the second floor, waiting.

I eyed the restaurant from the sidewalk across the street. It’s red brick had been painted many colors over its life. The faded, peeling fusia it now sported had all the appeal of a day-old make-up job on a made-up olden-day streetwalker. I closed my pint of rye, put it in my pocket, and walked inside. That was a mistake. I should have stayed downtown. I should have turned around and gone back home. I should have gone home, locked the door, and hid under the bed.


Got to stop now, I hear noises out in the hallway. That’s strange because I’m the only one here. Is that a dragging sound? Fortunately, my office door is closed and locked. I

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Jeez BG, let him finish one chapter AT LEAST!!!
I am in the mood for Detective/Murder/Crime/Suspense stories!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Today, it seems it’s the International Day of Interrupted Sente

Posted by Malteser | Report as abusive

That’s a great concept,Malt. I may use that in a piece, unless I

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Do you suffer from ADD? Join the OE Bl

Posted by GeorgiaPeach | Report as abusive

What were you saying, Georgia?

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

@JC – ooh…shiny! 😛

Posted by GeorgiaPeach | Report as abusive

I don’t know where I am, but it’s dark. I hear dog and cat noises somewhere near and keyboard noises, too. Muffled voices. The word “Boss” wafts in every now and then. Someone else is being kept prisoner in here, too. Is that you, Spin?

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

@Doc – maybe it’s Shra…and you can get free by the light of the taser

Posted by GeorgiaPeach | Report as abusive

Pardon me, I may not have to finish this sentence tha

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

OOOO Now I can reeaaallly say what I’ve always wanted to say without Mr. Spam Filter on m

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

Okay, I’m free. I’m not saying who kept me hostage, but badgers were involved, and my credit card is now over its liimit….

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Hold on just a second, Doc. Your credit card is now over its limit? How could somebody spend $350 that fast?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

$350.00!!! What moron would give me a credit limit that high?!?

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Query, what does it mean when your credit card says in bold, big letters “DEBIT ONLY”? Hey, maybe I maybe get a higher credit limit in anticipation of royalties on “The Snow Was Dirty, and So Was the Lady.” And that reminds me….

I ordered coffee, black, and asked for Carlotta. She came with the coffee, and I poured in a shot or six of rye to sweeten it. Carlotta wasn’t what I expect . . .

Oh, cra

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Another good concept, Blog Guy, is if we finish off each other’s sentences and then see where the story goes. This could be great for that time when I went to the store and

Posted by Malteser | Report as abusive

[with a nod to Malt]:

met this fabulously beautiful young woman who sold hyacinths in front of the store. I went up to her and, batting my eyes, said “hello there, hyacinth girl.” Beyond that, I was speechless. She was so pretty. She looked at me coyly and said “My name is Carlotta, I live in 8C accross the street, and I need help. Would you help me? I tried to hire a private investigator, but he took my $50.00 and went on his honeymoon in Columbus, Ohio, and I haven’t heard from him since.” “Perhaps,” I said, “we should finish this story on Facebook, where we

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

@Doc, you haven’t been reading The Waste Land lately, have you?

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

could talk about your needs.”

“Yes,” she said, biting her top lip. I could see her even white teeth. “Snow on a red rose,” I thought.

“I would like that very much,” she said. I’m desperate, and I simply don’t know where to turn.” I can see you have big, broad shoulders, and I need those right now.”

“Leave it to me,” I said. I looked long into her deep, pleading brown eyes. I bought a hyacinth, and then handed it to her. “Here is my promise,” I said.

“Thank you! Thank you so much.” Her voice quavered. “Please come over tonight. I’m off at seven. Yes, come over tonight and . . . meet my brother, Cam.”


Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

met her at the flower counter at 7:00, sharp. The bells of Sait Ulrich were ringing in the distance.

“Thank you for coming,” she breathed. “I’m hot, and I need a big strong man like you to help me cool off.” She leaned toward me, and I felt her breath on my neck. She caressed my cheek. “Can you be my big, strong man?”

I was tongue-tied.

She opened her apartment door. It was hot and dark in there. She entered and tossed her light coat on the chair.

I followed. “And what can I do to cool you off?” I asked,leaning into her. She looked up at me, with her mouth partly open, eyes glimmering in teh semi-darkness.

She turned and opened the window. “MY AC is on the fritz,” she said. “And I need someone to reach out there and tighten that bolt out there. Way, way out there. By the way, did you bring the okra I asked for?”

With that, she knocked my desire to help right in the head.


Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Bravo! Brava!

Posted by GeorgiaPeach | Report as abusive

Wow, Spin, very prophetic. I was just asked to write an article, only it wasn’t The New Yorker, and they don’t want fiction. They want an article on the Americans with Disabilities Act and service animals. Hey, I can print it here first. What say you, Blog Guy?

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Put a pin in that. I’ll have to answer after we rebuild from the earthquake.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

:) Thanks Doc.

The mention of Carlotta reminds of the classic detective question “Can you describe him? How tall was he?” Carlotta – “I don’t know, I never picture him standing up…”

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

I felt the earthquake here. Actually, I just felt my chair wiggle a little bit. I said nothing at the time becuase, the last time I had that experience, it was just trucks out on the street, and my secretary made fun of me.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Okay, Spin. Here is my opening sentence for my next masterpiece:

Volume I, Chapter I:

“The leaves were turning orange and yellow; they fell in torrents like a spring rain — except when the gusty winds blew the leaves parallel to the lawn of City Hall in Columbus, Ohio (for it is in Columbus that our fair characters live), blowing along the sidewalks up to the feet of the City Mayor, who had his left hand (for he was left-handed) on his left cheek (for he was using his left hand) quietly fingering a pimple.”

Okay, New Yorker! Here I am!

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

@Doc: I’ve never read anything like that, but where is the okra?

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive

The leaves are from okra plants, Spin. Have you never been to City Hall in Columbus?

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive