PAIGE 103 - SAGE, P.I.

=

The lass was a stroppy one. I kicked up my heels on the wooden desk and took a swig of the ol' O.J. I don't take none of that business. "What you come here for?" I asked, "ain't got no time for babysittin'." She stared at me with one eyebrow raised. These blue-haired folks have their ways, I say, but subtlety was never one of them. "So ye're after a box that belonged to your family," I said, "must be pretty somethin' to come to me about it." "I already told you it's mine, it used to be my sister's." Ah, yep, there you go, another one of these calls with family attachments. Emotions. Always gets messy. But come right down to it, they're the ones that pay. "So what's the deal?" I said. "The deal?" she said. "Gotta sweeten the pot," I said, flicking a piece of dust off my corduroy jacket. These places are always dank, but they're on the cheap. "My sincere thanks?" the lass said. I kicked back my shoulders. "You think I do this for laughs?" I said. The lass smirked. "Just who exactly do you think you are?"

I hadn't said? Forgive me, lass, the name goes back a long time. I'm Sage. Bolivia Sage. Crack detective, one-shot killer of Whack-A-Mole. They say my name in these parts sets the lowlife twitching. Yeah, you can see the fear in their raised eyebrows, and how their eyes roll uncontrollably. It's terrifying, but not to one stoked up on the ol' O.J. Nah, even without the old liquid gold, fear shuns my name.

"Olivia," the girl said, and I swung around. "Nup. Ain't no Olivia Paige. Friend of hers and all, top all-round woman, has my respect. But you see here this shirt is gray-green. Name's Sage, twice the sleuth-hound, half the cha-ching. Yep, name your case, and I'll solve it for less than these other pretenders." I folded my hands and took another swig. "So what'll it be? Care to have an old dog teach you some new tricks?" The lass smiled. "Tell you what," she said, "Miss... Sage, I'll show you where Susan hid those sparklers."

The lass combed her hair. Violet Beauregarde was speaking my language. Ah yep, the old girl knew a thing or two about my pals. Got two friends you see, one of them goes pop, and the other one goes boom. The first is me old chum rice crispies, the second we call Yo. Fro Yo. "Yeah," I said, "you got you a deal, miss." So I stood up and fired off two shots. One was my old pal O.J., the other that went crack was my chair. Tell you, they don't make these things the way they used to.

- Sage.