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Smoking Ruin

Smoking Ruin - D.R.  Martin Hooray! Want to introduce you to my new BFF, Marty Hjelm, St. Paul, Minnesota. To those of you who are not friends (or family) of Marty, it’s Marta Hjelm, P.I., thank you very much.

I was thinking about some reasons Marty and I are friends and came up with a few of the things we have in common and it occurred to me that you would want to hear them.

• A Daddy’s girl
• Photography
• Newspaper and advertising background
• A bit snarky at times
• Lovers of rock, jazz and blues (not rap so much)
• Opinion on those “cutesty---ootsy” giftshops
• Both say ‘chicks’
• Love of slang terms

There are more but let’s not get too personal here since Marty and I do have some ‘not to share’ secrets.

And since we’re so close, she told me about her latest P. I. case which includes her exciting but as Marty is quick to say, mostly boring life as a P.I. Marty was talking directly to me, honest, just like I’m talking to you now.

To begin let me explain that Marty and Rick, her significant other, have a side by side his and her business in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. She’s a P.I. and he’s a professional photographer mostly taking stock photos of outdoor family scenes, zoo shoots, action ski shots; you get the picture. (Sorry, had to say it.) She helps him as his assistant lugging equipment, setting up shots and such and he helps her in her business, mostly grunt P.I. legwork.

But she wants to get out of the P. I. business due to an incident last summer when a woman she was trying to help in a domestic violence situation was murdered. Rick says she shouldn’t leave the profession because she really loves it. Still , Marty was undecided until her latest, shall we call it adventure? Yes, it’s an adventure to me and Marty tells a great story, always.

We sat right down at her and Rick’s house and she started from the beginning over coffee and Danish, then we ended up walking a few blocks away her finishing the story during slugging sipping down a couple of martinis each, with two olives stuffed with anchovies. We know what the rich 1% like in their martinis. And, yes, we definitely caught a cab back to her place since it was so damn cold by then with freezing wind gusts. We may be drunk (oh my, that was three martinis, wasn’t it?) but we’re not stupid enough to freeze to death on the streets of St. Paul.

photo bc38685d-9dd8-4484-aa96-bc53c7da8229_zps5e1ae842.jpg
Marta's Office is Located Just a Few Blocks Behind the Taller Building on the Right

Rick, who had moved back home after a long week at his bro’s, was out of town on a photo shoot, so I slept on her couch after she heated some leftover pizza for us.

Like me, my BFF, has such a difficult time with men, sometimes, anyway, like me. So there’s always a story to tell and let’s go back now.

She got a call from ex-husband Terry, asking her if she wanted a pretty easy gig at the going rate, too. Damn, happens every time; those guys mucking up the water. Rick was mad at her at the time, and was staying with his brother who was a “walking-talking form of chick repellant.” She did say that he was not my type but he’s really sweet and nice, just that…not my type. I trust Marty so fine with me. And Rick, being the nice guy he is, figured it was a good time to spend with his nerdy little brother.

She was trying to settle things down with Rick, the apple of her eye, and I just love him, too, of course when as I said, Terry her ex pops up out of nowhere with a job. Great timing, buddy, oops, I mean great timing, you idiot, is what she said. They’ve been divorced seven years after she found out he couldn’t keep his zipper closed on his pants outside their home. Good reason to divorce the jerk, I think.

Her and Rick were in pretty desperate need of a couple of iMac’s so when Terry asked if she wanted some work, it took just minutes to decide to meet with him. What harm, Marty thought? Her philosophy is money’s money and I tend to agree.

The job offered $75 per hour plus expenses which could surely buy them the much needed computers and catch up with some other outstanding bills.

The drawback though, she has to work with Terry and Denny Ryan who was once her boss and fired her in the street outside a bar when he was drunk. Tacky, tacky, tacky. (Newspaper/ad men and women, do co-mingle at times, if you get my drift.)

The job which seemed easy enough, was to find out why a group of tobacco terrorists were demanding via emails, that the advertising agency tycoon Herb Gottwaldt, drop the test marketing campaign for a new tobacco cigarette. The cigarette was named Hemo and was aimed at young adults “who are into those vampire books and movies.” Fun stuff, the agency contended with a red filter, black cigarette and a huge potential with mega bucks coming into the pocket of the agency and entire team. The team members were all capable and interesting people and knew each other pretty well. So the obvious question was is this an inside threat?

Why not go to the police my logical friend Marty asks? Gottwaldt says a scandal will bump the account to a competitor and everyone loses.

Well, the story goes…wait a minute. You’re going to have to read it yourself but my bet is that you’ll like it, like it a lot, just like I did. Damn, I need to say this differently. It’s a great story that my BFF Marty tells and she’s so cute and funny, sharp and witty. It’s a story I won’t forget soon and lands with a big surprise.

Although I don’t want Marty in any danger, I sure would like to hear another tale preferably over more of those delicious martinis. Marty knows that the rich do breath different air and definitely they like their ass to be bailed when needed and will pay the price. It’s Marta Hjelm, P. I., St. Paul, Minnesota, if you need her. She travels, if you pick up the tab.

Just remember she’s my BFF first…so take your place behind me.

Marty, I think, can go eye to eye with Elvis Cole, P. I., Los Angeles. Maybe they could double team it. Ahhhh now I’m dreaming.

Here are some, just some of Marty’s quotes which I particularly enjoyed hearing from her and were even funnier after the first martini:

• “Gottwaldt said in a voice like Drambuie.”
• “ ‘feeling like a mouse suffering the attentions of a “friendly” cat.’ ”
• “The big cheese looked at me…”
• “I met his personal secretary---Margie Polish-name..” (I have hard time with Polish names, too, Marty.)
• “Just be careful, big boy. Silicon can bruise you pretty badly.”
• “…I lowered myself onto yet another piece of black leather furniture—I hated to think of how many black cows died to furnish this place…“
• “Jo, the hen cockatiel and senior bird from Rick’s pre-me days, looked displeased to see me---her dreaded rival. She hadn’t given up on her chance to laying Rick’s egg.” (This one is just too funny, girlfriend.)

Bonus Interview and Author Information

***D. R. Martin is a Goodreads author and his link is D. R. Martin

***D. R. interviewed my BBF Marty and that sweet thing, Rick, at breakfast in downtown St. Paul at the iconic, Ace Cafe and here's the interview. It's was nice for D. R. to catch up with them...of course, we're (me and Marty) in more closer touch touch than D. R. Sorry, D. R.

D. R., Marty and Rick Interview Update