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The Dirtman
About the Author: Tony Deans is a writer from London, England with a taste for pulp fiction. His writing credits include The Consultant, The Good Orc and the upcoming Tramp.

I’ll put it plain and simple, I’m a Dirtman. You name it I’ve seen it, snapped it and sold it. I find out the dirtiest parts of the lives of the rich and famous and commit them to celluloid. If they don’t want it getting in the gossip rags or reaching their families they can always cough up a few dollars.

I was halfway to stone cold drunk on a Monday afternoon when a set of heavy hands knocked on my office door. I stowed the wine, adjusted my tie and combed my hair back in one swift motion and shouted for them to come in.

Two large men entered, twins. They resembled shaved gorillas. Heavyset brows, hairy hands and large bodies that screamed POWER. I knew who they were. They were the Amori twins and they were bad news. For wherever the Amori twins went so did their father.

Lorenzo Amori.

Head of the Amori crime family and all round bad guy. Not somebody I particularly wanted to know. He followed behind the twins and took the seat opposite me, his sons flanking him on either side.

“You’ve got quite the reputation,” he said.

“What can I say I’m a hard worker.”

“Nobody can doubt that. Tell me is it true Tag Jackson runs with boys?”

I smiled and tapped my nose. Lorenzo laughed.

“Imagine that. He could have any woman he wanted, wouldn’t have to spend a dime yet he’d rather spend his time in the company of men. God’s got a sense of humour, you have to give it to him.”

“He sure does.”

“Tell me how much would it cost to hire you?”

“It depends on what you want me for. Either way, it’s a lot.”

“There’s a man in my organisation. A good man and a friend of mine but I’m afraid he’s run into some trouble recently. He’s been dismissive of my authority, acting strange. He’s a first class pussy hound but he’s married. I want you to follow him and get some snaps of him with one of his broads. Once I have the photos, I’ll be able to kick him back into line.”

I looked at the Amori twins nervously. I imagined their large hands tearing me apart. I had one rule in my life that had kept me breathing. Never get involved with men beyond the law. You can’t blackmail a black heart. They’d rather put a bullet between your eyes than spend a dollar.

“I’m sorry but I’m afra—”

Before I could finish my sentence, one of the twins was behind me. His large hands squeezed tight on my collar bone and drove me face first into the desk.

“I don’t take no for an answer. I’ll be paying double your normal rate and I expect the job done. The man’s name is Antonio Ludavecci and I’ve got word he’ll be at Coco’s bar tomorrow evening. Find him, follow him and get some pictures. Otherwise my boys will do a lot worse to you. Capisce?” said Lorenzo.

I nodded and the large hands let me go.

“Good. Here’s half your fee. I’ll give you until next Monday to get the photos to me. You’ll get the rest of the money then.”

Lorenzo nodded to the twins and the three of them started to leave. As Lorenzo reached the door he turned back around. I flinched. Lorenzo laughed.

“You’ve got nothing to worry about. Just do your job and keep your mouth shut.”

The three mobsters left. I waited five minutes until I got the bottle of wine back out of the drawer and finished it off. I tried not to think about the bind I was in. Like my mother always said, there’s no point in worrying about your death, it’ll come when it comes.

She was a morbid woman sometimes.

Coco’s bar was an overpriced con that sold cheap booze at premium prices. I sat in a booth and waited for Antonio to make an appearance. The crowd was tedious, full of famous faces and hanger-ons.

It had just turned nine o’ clock and I was ready to write off the night as a bust when Antonio walked in. He was a tall, dapper man with jet black hair and movie star looks. Heads turned as he walked up to the bar and pointed over to the booth behind mine. The bartender nodded and motioned to a bouncer who told its occupants to vacate.

Antonio sat in the now empty booth and the bartender brought over an expensive bottle of champagne.

“Compliments of the house.” said the bartender.

This story appears in our SEP 2019 Issue
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Reader Discussion

Excellent noir story. Great character in Johnny.
By Ralph E Vaughan

I love Dirtman—he’ll have an adventure before he reaches Canada.
By Elizabeth Kral

A very good, fast-paced pulpy story!
By Susan Rickard

I loved Dirtman. Story was fast paced, a little confusing some times but hit the spot.
By Frances Dunn

By vvspamarty

Love this story. Very entertaining.
By Roxanne

Terrific pulp story. Action, character, mystery. Loved it.
By Robert Petyo

Johnny is a great character. Many adventures to follow. Gripping story. Well done.
By Tina Jude

I’ll put it plain and simple: GREAT pulp, noir, crime, hard-boiled... whatever you call it!
By George Garnet

Hey Rembrandt, you paint a pretty picture, keep it up.... If you know what's good for you. Ha.
By Martin Luna

Compelling story!
By Elizabeth Varadan

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