Life Hack: Never Giving Up


5 – Pickle Utters a Double Entendre


Courageous was fighting hand to hand combat with his demons who were encouraging him to heave himself through the window and plunge to his death at an accelerating speed of 9.8 meters per second, per second. Life isn’t fair, his demons argued, Gillis and Pickle are decorated veterans of the homicide department. Yet, they are the two most incompetent, bumbling detectives on planet Earth. Why is it, everything always turns out right for them? And, all I get is angina pain, a hiatus hernia, and hemorrhoids. 

 “You’re deep in thought, Cap. Thinking about how to turn the Mrs on? I hear sardines are an aphrodisiac. What you do is to place a sardine between your lips and feed it to your wife,” said Gillis.

Courageous tripped over his feet in an attempt to stick a complicated pirouette and fell backward into his chair. He swirled it around. “My sex life is none of your business. Just solve the damn murder.”

“Don’t take it personal, Cap. Me and Pickles are here to help. I’m no Dr. Phil, but I have my way with the ladies. The way I see it, you may be suffering from erectile dysfunction. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. Lots of overweight men in high stress jobs, suffer a similar fate. Fortunately, there’s help…”

“I don’t need help. I don’t want help. I only want you two to leave,” Courageous pleaded. 

Pickles chimed in, “Listen up, Cap. Gills is right on at ED. You want to be ready when the moment arrives. Know what I mean? Me and Gills are going to relieve your stress. We’re over this killing like sprinkles on ice cream, like barbecue sauce on your breakfast cereal. We’re on it like genital warts on a porn star. We’ll get the killer before the killer gets the next Monkey,” said Pickle.

Courageous mumbled a string of curse words seldom heard anyplace but in the depths of hell. The muscles in his forearms bulged pushing as hard as he could against his temples in a desperate attempt to crush his brain.

Gillis said, “Didn’t quite catch that, Cap. Did you say the killer is a son of a bitch? No need to use that language. There’s no evidence the killer was a son of a bitch. I personally checked the lead out. I’m sure the killer was not a dog and I’ll tell you why. See, a dog wouldn’t be able to neatly cut off a head and place it by the Monkey’s feet. Moreover, I never heard of the dog community and the monkey community being at odds with each other. Now, I’ve heard of friction between the dog and feline community. What they got going on makes the Israeli and Palestinian stuff look like kids play, know what I mean? What do you think, Dill?”

Pickle responded, “All in all Monkeys are a good natured lot. Every once in a while you get a bad monkey. Lot’s of folks might tell you to slap the …”

Gillis interrupted, “Don’t go there, Dill. What you’re getting into is a double, maybe triple or quadruple entendre.  Now, pit bulls, that’s a whole different matter. This makes me think the killer was a pit bull owner.”

“I, I, didn’t say the killer was a son of bitch. I, I think you misunderstood me,” said Courageous pushing his left index finger against the pulsating vein in his left temple.

Gillis said, “Your cussing, Cap. See, you said son of a bitch. Now, when I say it, it’s not cussing because I’m helping you out. And, the way I say son of a bitch is that I am talking about a male dog who is the offspring of a female dog. Now, if the male dog is not the offspring of a female dog, this presents a whole new line of investigation where we have to bring in forensics, dermatologists, and the Mayo Clinic. If you want to cuss or curse or swear, it’s okay by me. I know some choice words you might want to use. I’ll give you a couple of hints, one starts with mother, two more are four letter words so they’ll be easy to remember.”

Gillis stopped talking when Courageous got up from his seat, and pulled his chair back with such force it ricochet off the bullet proof window and rolled back to the desk. Courageous steadied himself with his two hands placed firmly on the desk, leaned forward bit. He would have leaned forward a bit more but his belly was resting on the desk top.

“Excuse me, Cap,” said Pickle. “I’m only thinking of you. One of my ex girlfriends works for a trusted weight loss program that lets you eat all you want to eat, whenever you want to eat, for as long as you want eat, and you’re guaranteed to lose weight. The program is covered by most medical insurances. You’ll need to check with your plan’s provider to make sure you’re covered. If you don’t mind me saying so, you got a spar tire that probably gets in the way when you’re trying to do the dance with Mrs. Courageous. That is, if she isn’t frigid.” 

Courageous’s left eye started twitching. He lifted his right hand and placed a forefinger on on his eyebrow and thumb below his eye in a futile attempt to stop the twitch. 

“Botox will take care of the twitch, Cap,” said Gillis. “It’s okay to have an eye twitch. Some women find it very attractive like Clara your secretary, if you know what I mean.”

“Not another word. Not another word,” shouted Courageous.

Gillis stared at Courageous’ left earlobe, a trick he learned in communication class in community college. Pickle steepled his fingers and placed both thumbs on his lips against his teeth. He used the tops of his fingers as a gunsight trained along the part in Courageous’ white hair.

A long two minutes later, Courageous plopped into his chair and drew himself as close to his desk as his belly allowed. He said “I now remember why I created the Bizarre Crimes Unit and assigned this case to you two. Listen up. The dead monkey was a beloved friend of Folsom Sampson. Folsom Sampson has the mayor’s ear.”

“And, something else I might add,” said Gillis winking at Courageous.

Courageous placed two angina pills under his tongue. He closed his eyes and appeared to mumbling an incantation or prayer, we’ll never know. He opened his eyes, and said, “The mayor said solve the crime, solve it fast or he’ll recommend departmental cuts. Now, leave and don’t come back until you have something to report.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” said Gillis. 

“Excuse Gills, Cap. He should have said, void of conference. The expressions are almost interchangeable.”

Gillis ignored Dill. He smiled at Courageous, and said, “We’re on this, Cap like peanut on butter, like grill on cheese, like dog urine on a fire hydrant. As soon as Wendy finishes with the corpse and she and I spend the night together, Dill and me will get right on it. You know if she is still living with her husband? With your permission, if she isn’t, I’d like to hit on her. I don’t want to commit adulatory unless you authorize it.”

Courageous attempted to process the rapid flow of information coupled with a racing heart rate, and bile rushing up his esophagus at the speed of light, said, “You know what sexual harassment is Gillis?”

“Don’t worry, Cap. She can harass me all she wants. I won’t make an issue of it,” said Gillis.

“Gills is right, Cap. I’ll close my eyes too. If I don’t see it, I can’t report it. We got your back. You got nothing to worry about,” said Pickle.


© Ray Calabrese 2018

4 – Detective Pickle Theorizes About The Mayor’s Affair


Chief of Homicide Detectives, Captain Horatio “Halo” Courageous, stood two feet away from the window, forty-three stories above the street, stretched his arms out, and placed his two beaver tail sized hands against the window pain and leaned his six foot five inch frame toward the window. Courageous placed full blame on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, any flavor, any item menu at Flippetti’s Trattoria, and the presence of sugar within ten feet of the coffee maker for his forty-five inch girth that prevented him from pressing his entire torso against the floor to ceiling window. Courageous made an unabashed effort to bend forward and press his forehead against the window pane so he could stare down to the street. 

“Whatcha looking for, Cap?” asked Dill. “See any cute chicks with great cleavage or wearing a halter top?”

“I’m not a pervert. I’m happily married. I’m doing this to relieve stress and because of the scene in my all time favorite movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Recall when Ferris stuck his nose against the window at the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago?”

“Can’t say I do, Cap. But begging your pardon, is Ferris Bueller a suspect? Since he got a day off, he had time to take out the deceased. You want me to put out an all points bulletin to bring him in?” asked Pickle.

Gillis moved his head toward Pickle and shook it gentle trying to warn Pickle there was no such person as Ferris Bueller. He was a movie character. Gillis stopped moving his head and chose to stay quiet when he saw Courageous turn from white to tomato red.

Courageous slowly backed away from the window and turned around to face Gillis and Pickle. He stepped forward and placed his two mitts palms down on his desk. He glared at Pickle, “Are you an idiot, Pickle? Are you trying to make fun of me? We have a homicide and you are making jokes. The only reason I’m not sending you out on foot patrol is because I don’t want a grievance and all the union crap that goes with it.” 

Pickle answered, “I got no grievance with you Cap. I’m part of the solution. You raise an interesting question. Can we technically call killing a monkey a homicide? Maybe the case needs to be turned over the animal control. See what I’m saying?”

Courageous bellowed, “It is a homicide. Mr. Sampson is an important part of the community. He considered the monkey a good friend. He wants it investigated by homicide detectives. The mayor whole heartedly agrees with him.”

“Question, Cap,” said Pickle.

“What!” demanded Courageous.

“Does the mayor know Sampson is banging his wife? It could be a conflict of interests. Maybe the mayor’s wife was jealous of the monkey and she killed the poor fellow. It all adds up. How about we pulling her in for questioning?”

Gillis saw Courageous grasping hold of the edges of his desk and tilting it as if he were going to tip it over. Even out of shape, Courageous was a powerfully built man and might be able to take the muscular, but gentle Pickle. Gillis decided to intervene, “Cap, your high blood pressure pills are in your right desk drawer. Your anxiety pills are in the center drawer. And, your angina pills are behind the lovely photo of your wife on your desk. You’re very lucky to have a wife who is faithful to you and won’t fool around.”

Courageous let go of the desk and let it drop with a thud. He turned around and returned to his Ferris Bueller meditative state, arms outstretched, hands bracing him on the window, and his forehead pressed firmly against the window pane. He stared out across the city. His sport coat, a Walmart special, hung behind his chair. Gillis and Pickle stared at his back. 

Pickle whispered to Gillis, “Cap’s wife is doing the mayor. Think I should tell him? I’d want to know.”

Gillis said, “You already know, so that takes care of your wanting to know.”

Pickle mulled Gillis’s thought over, “I never thought of it that way, Gills. Thanks for the assist.”

Gillis and Pickle turned their attention back to Courageous who was chanting, “Take me soon. Take me soon. Take me soon.”

It took five minutes, but Courageous’s color slowly returned to its normal pale white, his muscles relaxed, and he turned from the window and faced Gillis and Pickle. He said, “From this height the city looks peaceful, the kind of place you want to raise a family, own a home, build something special. I’m telling you boys, this city is a swirling cesspool of human excrement. The city is going down the toilet faster than a power flush. You want to know what stands between the sewer line and the city?”

“I think I know the answer to that one, Cap,” said Gillis. 

“It’s worth a million dollars if you do, Gillis. Every big city in this country is a creeping swarm of maggots. The vultures are circling above wanting to swoop down on the carcasses. The cities have become nothing more than giant landfills of human waste. Every time I look out my window on this city …”

Gillis interrupted, “I get your point, Cap. I’m only interrupting because you’re mixing metaphors faster than a chef mixing batter for waffles on the Food Channel. The answer you and every chief of homicide detectives is looking for is the Atomic Plunger. I saw it advertised on cable for $19.99. It’s supposed to clear out your toilet if you plug it up with one quick plunge. No offense intended, Cap, but looking at your size, I bet you have some massive bowel movements. If you order before the end of the week, they’ll send you a second free, and toss in three toilet water refreshers.” Gillis felt proud of the way he caught Courageous’ meaning and offered a quick solution.

The Bumbling Detectives, Gillis & Pickle Return Tomorrow

Tomorrow’s Fun Read on the Bumbling Detectives – Pickle suggests Ferris Bueller is a suspect in the killing.

The Bumbling Detectives: Gillis & Pickle Return Monday

Monday’s Fun Read on the Bumbling Detectives –

Captain Courageous asks Gillis and Pickle if they know how to stop the city from becoming a giant landfill of crime and corruption. Gillis has the answer.

3 ~ Gillis Has All The Moves


Dill bent over the corpse and stared into the deceased’s cleaned out intestines, “I only hope the deceased was dead after the killer cut his head off.”

“Novel idea, mind explaining it to me?” asked Gillis picking up the deceased’s head and snapping a selfie with it.

Dill caught the selfie action. “Why the photo, Gills? This one puzzles me.”

“I think it will turn Wendy on. She’s a medical examiner. She’ll see me taking an interest in her work when I show her the selfie of the deceased’s head and me.”

“Brilliant strategy. You ought to send your strategy into one of the men’s magazines. They’re always looking for great pickup lines. With this move, you took pickup lines into a whole new level. As far as my theory about hoping the deceased was deceased after they cut his head off it goes like this. Consider for a moment that the pain center is in the brain. I got to figure a monkey’s brain works somewhat like a human brain only because they have fingers and toes. So if the monkey’s brain is in the head, which is now in your hands and the monkey’s body is in front of me, there’s no way they can communicate unless both body parts have blue tooth or are on the same network. That’s what I was doing messing in the monkey’s cavity. I was looking for wifi or a modem. Since I couldn’t find a modem or other technology in the monkey’s cavity, it’s my theory the killer took it. Find the modem, find the killer. It’s a possibility we have to consider if we’re going to solve this case.”

When Pickle made a valiant, yet futile, attempt to talk smart Gillis inevitably suffered from a gas buildup in his lower intestine. The level of gas in his lower intestine was directly proportional to the absurdity of Pickle’s intellectual discourse. This time was no different than other times. Gillis had no alternative but to lift his left leg and let one rip, “You hear that? I think a car backfired.”

Pickle looked up and said, “I think you set a world a record. That was about seven seconds long. I told you not to eat the bean burrito at lunch. Oh my, that really is bad, might be a top ten classic. If we an record these, you might make the Guinness Book of World Records. Remind me not to use the men’s room when it’s your time. If Wendy says anything we’ll blame the smell on the monkey. He won’t be able to disagree.”

Gil tossed a half smile at Pickle, “Thanks for the confidence in getting a world’s record. Normally, when I let one rip, they’re silent. Nobody knows it’s me. There’s no way to record them. It’s like a tree falling in the forest. If no one hears it fall, does it make a sound?” Gillis said and then immediately regretted saying it.

Pickle answered, “There’s like ten ways to look at this philosophical problem, Gills. First, you got to look at from the point of view of the tree …”

Gillis interrupted Pickle hoping to change the conversation, “Dill, you know why they call the medical examiner the ME? If you read it, you think you’re talking about yourself.”

“I got no answer on that one. That’s another of life’s pearlexing questions.”

“Do you mean, perplexing questions, Dill?”

Dill put his hands in jeans pockets, he hunched his shoulders and took a step toward Gillis, “I know you are the senior partner. I know you are much smarter than me. One thing about me, I’m autistic and I have a gift for remember how to spell and the meanings of words. I mesmerized the entire dictionary when I was six.”

“You mesmerized it?” asked Gillis trying to carry a meaningless conversation a little further.

“It was as easy as filling a paper cup with a urine sample for my fiscal exam, which by the way I passed with flying geese.”

Gillis quit trying, he didn’t want to challenge the misuse of fiscal in play of physical. Pickle would never admit to being wrong on word usage. Gillis turned his attention to the driveway. He said, “I think I see Wendy’s car pulling up the driveway. I hope she doesn’t try to  bust my balls, Dill, because she knows it’s a definite turn on for me. I’ve been playing hard to get. It’s crazy, but the harder I play to get, the more she throws herself at me. It’s all I can do to stop her from ripping my clothes off and doing the dance with me.”

“You have all the moves. I’ve been studying you and the way you work the ladies. It’s like I’m watching the man who wrote the book on how to make a woman fall into your bed in three easy steps.”

“You ever have a question, I’m teh guru on how to turn a woman from flicker to flame,” said Gillis bending over and peering into the deceased’s vacant cavity. Gillis took a ballpoint pen out of his shirt pocket, and stuck it in the monkey’s now vacant cavity. 

Gillis said, “I’m trying to figure out what organs the killer took and what organs he left in the monkey. You know what a kidney looks like?”

Pickles lit up, “I know the answer to that one. A kid’s knee is smaller than an adult’s knee. What size knee does the monkey have?”

Gillis tried to remember what useful purposes Pickles served. He mentally made a list, he plays a good bad cop. He intimidates the criminals with his size. He never questions my direction. 

“Gills, did the monkey wear contacts? I’m thinking out of the box here,” said Pickle sticking three pieces of gum into his mouth.

Gillis wasn’t quite sure where Dill was going with the comment. He answered, “Doesn’t matter, he won’t need them now.”

“I got a theory about the crime, Gills. Want to hear it?” asked Dill facing a maple tree relieving himself. 

“I want to hear it Dill, but be careful where the runoff is heading. You don’t want your urine to confound the crime scene. If you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it,” Gillis laughed.

Dills said, “Thanks for the advice, I don’t want anyone to misconstrue what I am doing. I’m no perverted. Anyway, my theory is this was a theft gone bad. If the deceased was wearing contacts, the killer decaped him to get the contacts. Contacts are expensive, especially if you don’t wear them.” 

Gillis scratched his head, he heard a rumbling in his lower intestine, it was the first sign of another gas build up. Listening to Dill wore him out. He thought he needed to start recording everything Dill said and put it into a book when he retired. Lots of ex cops write books and get movie deals made from their books. He pictured himself in a second career as a rough tough, ruggedly handsome cop staring in his own television show.”

Dill took him away from the pleasant fantasy, “Listen up, Gills, Wendy, is walking toward u, and the way she is looking over at you, your night is not going to end early if you know what I mean.”

Gillis waved at Wendy, “Hey Wendy, got a cute dish for you, gutted and all.”

Wendy flipped Gillis and Pickle the bird, then added, “Bite me.”

“Nice! Your mother know you talk like that?” said Gillis. Then he whispered an aside to Pickle, “She goes wild when I word fight with her.”

Wendy flipped Dill and Gillis both middle fingers.

“Good thing we got a good working relationship or I might take this seriously. Don’t take this wrong, but you are looking very hot in scrubs. You wearing anything under them? I’m only curious in case I have to wear scrubs at some point in the future. Let’s have beer when you’re through then we can watch Netflix at my place,” said Gillis.

Wendy who has a black belt in Brazilian jiujutsu said, “Give me an excuse to wrap you up into a ball and kick your ass through the goal posts.”

“I love it when you talk dirty,” said Gillis fist bumping Dill.