“I’m not hard-boiled, I’m just hard,” I said, adjusting my trousers. It was another one of those days in the naked city.
“A hard man is good to find,” Carlotta said, adjusting her cleavage. In her case décolleté was a misnomer. Disrobed was more appropriate. “And I suspect that only a hard man can solve my problem.”
My name is Lance. I’m a private dick. A gumshoe. A flatfoot. I’ve been trained to delve, dig, and dive to the heart of a mystery. I was soon to learn that mysterious was a word that fit Carlotta to a T.
“It concerns my little man in the boat,” Carlotta said.
“Your what?” I said. “Did he drown? How small is he, anyway?”
“He’s rather big, actually,” Carlotta said, “but that’s not the point.”
“Is he small, or big?” I said. “You’re confusing me.” I took a drink of whiskey. I needed it.
“It’s about my love button,” Carlotta said.
“What’s wrong,” I said, “did you lose it?”
“No,” Carlotta said, “I didn’t lose it but the men I’ve been with have been clueless about its location. That’s my problem. I want to know if there’s a man alive who can find my pleasurenut,” Carlotta said.
“This is nuts,” I said. I had to take another drink. “You keep changing the subject. First it’s a man, then it’s a button, now it’s a nut. Which is what I’m beginning to think you are.”
“I don’t mean to be obscure,” Carlotta said. “I’m talking about my spark plug. You must have heard of what I’m referring to?”
“I don’t think so, lady,” I said. I rolled my eyes and took another drink. A big drink. “Now it’s internal combustion engines; I’m getting a headache.”
“I’ve got to find a man who can finger my pearl of pleasure,” Carlotta said. “There must be a knowledgeable man somewhere.”
“Pearls,” I said, “now it’s pearls. My head is splitting.”
I took another big drink. Then another. I looked around dreamily. And passed out, crashing headfirst onto my desk top.
Carlotta was back the next day.
“Damn,” I said, rubbing the bandage on my forehead where I’d impaled myself on a large splinter the previous day. “Don’t you ever give up, lady?”
“I’m desperate,” Carlotta said. “Perhaps you’ve heard of a clitty.”
“Clitty,” I said, “That rings a bell.”
“Nothing’s been ringing my bell,” Carlotta said sadly. “The technical name is clitoris.”
I sat up straight. “I know where your clitoris is,” I said.
“Oh that’s wonderful,” Carlotta said, looking jubilant.
“It’s in your throat,” I said. “Deep in your throat.”
“No it isn’t,” Carlotta said, crestfallen, “you’ve been watching too many movies.”
She got up on my desk, opened her legs, pulled aside her black lace panties and showed me. “That’s it right there,” she said.
“Doesn’t look like much,” I said.
“Looks are deceiving,” she said.
“How long have you had this, er, ah, growth?” I said.
“Since I was a little bitty baby,” she said.
“Have you seen a doctor?” I said.
“It’s my clitoris, Lance,” Carlotta said. “I don’t need a doctor. Surely you know that all women have them,”
“Don’t call me Shirley,” I said.
“Damn you and your movies,” Carlotta said.
“What have movies got to do with this?” I said.
“Goddamn it Lance,” she said. “I’m looking for a man who can find this nubbin, this pearl, this little man in a boat.” She pointed to the item she was referring to once again. “That’s what I’m hiring you for. Capisce?”
Now that I finally understood what she wanted I got right to work.
The first thing I did was take out a classified ad. “Help us find the missing clitoris.” It read. “Desperate beautiful woman. Big reward. Apply at Lance Armstrong Detective Agency, 211 South 4th.”
When I got to my office on the morning the ad came out I found a long line of men stretching around the block. There must have been hundreds of them.
Carlotta was waiting by the door. She was smiling. “There must be someone in among this crowd who knows how to find a pleasurenut,” she said.
“Here’s how we’ll do this,” I said after we’d climbed the stairs and entered my office. I threw my fedora onto the hat rack. “You sit on the desk, be careful of the splinters, and I’ll send in one man at a time. I’ll give him a certain amount of time, let him out if he’s not successful, and then send in the next one. How long should I give them?”
“Five seconds would be enough for a man in the know,” Carlotta said. “But let’s say two minutes.”
“Two minutes it is,” I said. “Now let’s get you up on the desk.”
Carlotta hopped up on the edge of the desk and looked at me. “Should I take my panties off?” She said.
“Why would you do that?” I said.
“You’ve already forgotten where my clitoris is,” she said.
“In your throat,” I said. “Open your mouth. Let me make sure it’s still there.”
“No Lance,” Carlotta said, sliding her panties down her legs. She spread herself out on my desk among the coffee stains, splinters, and flyspecks. She pointed. “It’s right here.”
“All right then,” I said. “Let’s get started.”
I had the men line up on the stairs. I stood by the door and let them in one by one. Four hours later Carlotta screamed. I rushed in. Carlotta was disheveled and bruised.
“This is all I can take.” She said. “Not one of them came anywhere close to my spark plug.” She heaved a despondent sigh.
“Shall we try again tomorrow?” I said.
Carlotta gave a forlorn nod.
I picked up my megaphone, walked down the stairs, and stood in the dusty street. The crowd was even bigger than before. “Come back tomorrow morning,” I yelled. The men grumbled and shuffled away.
And so began a tedious routine. Carlotta would hop up on the desk, her bottom covered with bandages, and I would check to make sure her clitoris was still there. It took me a week to get past her throat. The next week, for some reason, I though her right nipple was her pleasurenut. The week after that I was sure it was her left nipple. The following week I focused on her belly button.
“At least you’re getting closer,” Carlotta said. And then, like she had day after day, she pointed to the exact spot.
The succeeding week, however, I thought it was in her left kneecap. It hurt to watch her eyes glaze over with despair.
Because the poking and prodding had taken such a toll the sessions grew shorter and shorter. It was heartrending to hear her scream ‘stop’. I knew it meant another day of failure.
The subsequent week I went right to the man and his little pink boat. But Carlotta and I were too dazed and confused to realize what had happened. The next day I did it again. We were still too numb for the realization to penetrate. This occurred for three more days.
“I want to jump in the river and drown,” Carlotta said the next morning as she spread her legs. “There’s no man alive who can find my poor little man.”
In my dim stupor I fingered her clit. A light began to glimmer. “Wait a minute Carlotta,” I said. “I can find him. Haven’t I found him for the last five days?”
Carlotta looked at me. Her eyes grew round. Her breathing quickened. Her chest became flushed. “Yes!” She said. “You have, oh my God.”
I knelt down and kissed the little man in his boat. Happy, happy, little man. I touched her pleasurenut with my tongue. I sent sparks through her plug. I nudged her nubbin. I banged her button. I polished her pearl. I caressed her clitty. I licked her clitoris.
Carlotta was screaming with pleasure. Several men thundered through the door. “Is something wrong? Can we help?” One of them cried.
“Go away and never come back. All of you,” I yelled. “It’s been found. The mystery is solved.”
“Oh Lance.” Carlotta said, breathless. “Drop your trousers. I need your hardness.”
So I did. She was about to get what she’d needed for so long.
But first I closed the file on The Case of the Curious Clitoris before opening Carlotta’s legs. And then I entered a brand new day in that dingy office above the streets of the naked city.