What is Duckett & Dyer About?
The Duckett & Dyer: Dicks For Hire series of novels is a labor of love, which results in me mashing up all of the various genres of fiction I loved growing up. Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Mystery. It’s all there.
So, obviously, I thought it would lend itself to the schmaltzy genre of Christmas Specials, which – let’s be real – are basically a parody of themselves at this point. I mean, did you even SEE The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again?
But, I digress. To that end, I decided to put together a Christmas Special in the Duckett & Dyer: Dicks For Hire vein, which is titled Duckett & Dyer: St. Nicks For Hire, because of course it is. But, unlike some other Christmas Specials (which shall not be named), this one is 100% canon. Yes, it takes place after The One-Hundred Percent Solution, the second book in the series, and after the previous short I released, The Strange Little Life of Adrian Pancake.
I’ve included an excerpt from the story below, so if you like what you read and want to check out the rest of Duckett & Dyer: St. Nicks For Hire, you can pick it up today on Amazon for 99 cents.
In the midst of a historic blizzard, Michael Duckett & Stephanie Dyer have to beat the crap out of Santa Claus.
That’s it. That’s the story.
Michael Duckett stuffed a second pillow down the front of his furry red suit, adding a bit of heft to his belly. Having lost his job months ago, and with the detective agency money going mostly to repairs for the Garbagemobile, Michael had decided to earn some extra scratch as a Santa at the Pembroke Mall, though he didn’t really look the part. The red fur suit hung off his gangly, awkward frame with very little flesh to fill it out, and the pillows looked weird and rang false.
Michael glanced at the floor mirror leaning dangerously against the wall by the bed and took it all in. He frowned past his wispy cotton beard. The kids weren’t going to buy it one bit. Why’d the mall even hire him?
“Steph!” he called. “Could you c’mere a minute? I could use a little help.”
“Sure thing!” The muffled voice of Michael’s best friend, roommate, and amateur co-detective Stephanie Dyer vibrated through the frosted window of their bathroom door. “Give me a sec.”
Michael sighed as he angled himself for a side view. Maybe a few more pillows would manage to push him out of the uncanny valley.
The door to the closet-sized bathroom creaked open and Stephanie stepped out, dressed in a similar set of Santa Claus regalia.
“Ho ho-hold up.” She eyed Michael up and down. “Great. Now one of us has to go home and change.”
“Steph, we are home.” Michael pulled down his beard. “And why are you dressed as Santa Claus?”
“I’m going Extreme Clausing,” she said, as if the concept was self-explanatory.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Extreme Clausing,” Steph repeated slowly, extricating a camera from her fur-lined pocket. “I dress up as Santa Claus and explore abandoned buildings with a GoPro strapped to my head. Then I upload the footage to my YouTube channel.”
“If the GoPro is strapped to your head, how do your viewers—if there are any—know you’re dressed up as Santa Claus?”
“I guess they just take it on faith, Mike.” She placed a saccharine hand on his shoulder. “After all, isn’t that what Santa’s all about?”
Though the whole thing was irritating, Michael was most perturbed by how much better Steph’s Santa costume looked. She pulled it off way too well, despite the fact she was going to drag it through the city’s seedy, distressed underbelly.
“Whoa!” Steph’s cry evaporated Michael’s cloud of jealousy. “It’s really coming down out there.”
She had moved to the window behind their shared wooden desk and pressed her nose up against the glass. Over her limp red stocking cap, thick snowflakes hurtled diagonally to the ground.
“Aw, crap,” he said. “That’s not good. They’re gonna cancel my gig. I was really counting on this cash.”
“Well, you can always come Clausing with me,” Steph replied, her nose streaking up and down the windowpane.
“Yeah, no, I don’t think I’m going to do that. There’s no way I’m stepping out in this mess.”
One of Michael’s cavernous red pockets buzzed. Shoving his hand in there, he fished around until he managed to locate the offending phone. He bit his lip as he looked down at the screen. “Okay. That’s weird.”
Michael twisted the phone so Steph could see the three numbers on the caller ID. “911 is calling me.”
Steph grimaced. “What is this, Soviet Russia?”
Michael placed the phone on the desk between them and switched on speaker mode. “Uh, hello?”
“Hold, please,” said a stoic voice.
“But you called me!”
“Hold, please.” This time, it was clearly an order.
The line went silent except for a flat beep repeating every five seconds. Once the beeping stopped, the phone rumbled with a growl only produced by one man: the current Chief of Police, with whom they currently shared a relatively amicable détente.
“Rexy!” Steph beamed. “How’s it going? You seeing this snow outside? Crazy, huh?”
“Yeah, uh, hello, Rex. What’s . . . uh . . . what’s going on?”
The phone emitted a low rumble, which Michael eventually figured was Rex mumbling something underneath his breath.
“Sorry?” Steph said. “Didn’t catch that.”
A slightly louder rumble.
“You’re going to have to speak up.”
“I. NEED. YOUR. HELP.” Michael could practically feel Rex’s voice gurgling up the back of his throat and straining its way through his clenched teeth.
Steph broke out an unabashed grin.
“Stop smiling,” Rex snarled. “I can hear you smiling.”
“Right, right, okay.” Steph cleared her throat and pulled herself together, straightening her Santa suit and deepening her voice. “What can we do for you, Chief?”
“Don’t call me that,” he shot back. “I’ve got a problem.”
“We’re all ears, Rex.” Michael leaned closer to the phone.
“There’s a killer on the loose who I’ve been trying to nail for years. Thing is, guy only comes out when the snow is fierce enough to cover his tracks. Given this shitstorm, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts he’s coming out tonight.
“Now, normally, I wouldn’t ask you yahoos for anything, but because of this blizzard, our idiot mayor decided cops are only to be used for extreme emergencies, and this doesn’t count. So now we’re just sitting around here like idiots with our thumbs up our butts!”
“So like, what?” Steph cleared her throat. “Like . . . each other’s butts? Or is it more of an ‘every man for himself’ kind of situation?”
“This isn’t a joke!” Rex roared.
“Uh-oh, Steph.” Michael smirked behind his ratty false beard. “Better not make him mad or he’ll put his thumb up your butt.”
“Listen, you morons. If you keep jerking me around, someone might die tonight.”
“Alright, alright,” Michael nodded to Steph, who was stifling her laughter. “Who is this guy and what’s his MO?”
“We call him the Santa Claus killer. He has a thing for Mall Santas. There’s been at least one or two abducted—possibly killed—every winter for the past few years. All from the Pembroke Mall.”
“Oh.” Michael bit his lip as he glanced at his and Steph’s current fashion choices. “Great.”
“Now, all I need for you to do is to ID the perp. Maybe snap a couple of pics. Or track them back to their hidey-hole. But whatever you do, don’t engage.”
“You called the right people for the job, Rexy,” she said. “In fact, I’d say we’re uniquely qualified for this case.”
“I don’t know what you’re getting at, but don’t make me regret this more than I already do.”
“Just one question before we hop on out of here.”
“What?” Rex barked.
“You need to fire whoever came up with the ‘Santa Claus Killer’. The ‘Santa Slayer’ is sitting right there. This is why I always insist you come to me first so we can workshop these things. Otherwise, you end up embarrassing yourself with a subpar product.” Steph was met with a click and silence. “Hello? Hello?” She turned to Michael. “I’m sure he’s taking it under advisement.”
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About the Author
G.M. Nair is a crazy person who should never be taken seriously. Despite possessing both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a job as an Aviation and Aerospace Consultant, he writes comedy for the stage and screen, and maintains the blog MakeMomMarvel.Com. Now he is making the leap into the highly un-lucrative field of independent book publishing.
G.M. Nair lives in New York City and in a constant state of delusion.