The Maltese Falcon: Film Noire Detective HubNuggets

Image by RedElf: original photo from wondersinthedark.files.worres.com
Image by RedElf: original photo from wondersinthedark.files.worres.com

It was dark and cold. Every bone in my body ached like I'd rented myself out as a taxi dancer in a cheap, gin joint marathon.

I finally managed to peel one eye open. Coarse, patterned fabric swam into view. I was lying face down on the floor of my office, my head pounding fiercely. Dust from the threadbare carpet tickled my nose.

Dragging myself to my feet, I staggered over to my desk and slumped into the chair. I pulled open the bottom drawer, wincing as the band of my fedora rubbed against the goose-egg forming on the back of my skull.

Tossing my hat on the desk, I pulled out the half-empty bottle of hooch and two glasses - one for me, one for my partner. I knew he'd turn up soon - just like a bad penny.

I poured a stiff one and sat staring out the window, waiting. It was raining - two a.m. and as dark and cold as a witches' heart - as cold as the day she first walked in.

Musical segue...wailing, lonely saxophone...Please play while reading for the full, Noire experience

Shamus & Gumshoe - B.T. and I had just opened our office: Image by RedElf - original photo from commons.wikimedia.org
Shamus & Gumshoe - B.T. and I had just opened our office: Image by RedElf - original photo from commons.wikimedia.org

The HubNuggets Team in Action

Zsuzsy and I reconciling the monthly accounts - photo from classicfilmshow.files.wordpress.com
Zsuzsy and I reconciling the monthly accounts - photo from classicfilmshow.files.wordpress.com
Mr. Big and Paulie - photo from cinemademerde.com
Mr. Big and Paulie - photo from cinemademerde.com
Miss Wonderly was a doll-face even if her story wouldn't hold water - photo from billsmovieemporium.files.wordpress.com
Miss Wonderly was a doll-face even if her story wouldn't hold water - photo from billsmovieemporium.files.wordpress.com
I could tell Zsuzsy liked the Cairo dame - photo from 1.bp.blogspot.com
I could tell Zsuzsy liked the Cairo dame - photo from 1.bp.blogspot.com
Checking in with my snitch about B.T. - photo from cal.nau.edu
Checking in with my snitch about B.T. - photo from cal.nau.edu
Of all the gin joints in all the world, this was B.T.'s favorite - photo from generationfilm.files.wordpress.com
Of all the gin joints in all the world, this was B.T.'s favorite - photo from generationfilm.files.wordpress.com
The lobby of the Hotel Huston - photo from classicfilmshow.files.wordpress.com
The lobby of the Hotel Huston - photo from classicfilmshow.files.wordpress.com
Chatting with Anderson's Dicks - photo from bemoresmarter.squarespace.com
Chatting with Anderson's Dicks - photo from bemoresmarter.squarespace.com

How It All Started

It was one of those cold, grey mornings that made you wish you'd stayed in bed. Even the sun seemed reluctant to shine. Its faint watery light, barely pierced the fog that shrouded the city's grime.

The sign on the door reads "Shamus & Gumshoe: Detective Agency", but it's really Zsuzsy that keeps us going. She already had the coffee on when I finally wandered in. Zsuzs is a smoldering doll-face with great gams...and boy, can she brew a great cuppa joe. Her greeting that morning stopped me cold - colder than a bag of Birdseye frozen vegetables.

"Jason's waiting in your office..."

Jason Big - rumored to be the master marketer behind the Hub Pages Mob, with his mysterious "fixer", known only as "Fowler". No-one ever saw Mr. Big in public without his bodyguard - a huge gorilla named Paulie, who could tie you in knots quicker than you could say, "Pass the bananas."

Jason Big was waiting in my office alright, but not with his goon. His companions were both lookers - a blond bombshell and a gorgeous redhead. He introduced the doe-eyed blond as Maddie Wonderly, recently returned from Egypt. He said she had an interesting story. To be fair, Miss Wonderly was a great communicator, but while she spun her tale of mystery and intrigue, I noticed that the redhead was watching her like a falcon watching its prey.

"So, you'll find out who's been following me?" It was the blond, Miss Wonderly. I could see Mr. Big watching me closely.

"Of course, Miss. We'll put our top man on it - my partner, B.T. Gumshoe. He's one of the best," I reassured her. Her eyes widened when I mentioned B.T. and I wondered if she'd already crossed paths with the wily jackalope, but then, B.T. had crossed a lot of paths in his travels.

Mr. Big seemed satisfied with my response. As they left, though, the redhead lingered. She held out her hand. Her warm fingers clasped mine. She leaned close, the heady scent of her perfume filling the air. I was drawn to her like a kitty to catnip. She whispered in a throaty voice, "I'm Patty Cairo...c'mon up and see me sometime." Then, she was gone, the click-clack of her high heels echoing in the hallway.

I looked down at the note she'd pressed into my hand - it read, "Miss Wonderly's a fraud. She's after the Maltese HubNuggets. Hotel Huston. Tonight. Room 314."

I felt a chill run up my spine. The Maltese HubNuggets - legendary three-part golden treasure of the Hub Pages Mob. I had to get hold of B.T., and fast. I put Zsuzs to work phoning his usual haunts, starting with HubNuggets Hank's Pool Hall and Greasy Spoon, and the Australian Ale Tasters' Club. Then I hit the bricks to do some sleuthing of my own.

By the time I'd walked into all the gin joints in the city, it was getting late. I ducked into a phone booth to check in with Zsuz. As luck would have it, she'd just reached B.T. - in some hotel bar, she said. Calling the number she gave me, I discovered it was the Hotel Huston. "Funny," I thought, "That's where Cairo's staying..."

I quickly filled in B.T., asking him to meet me in Cairo's hotel room. I could hear women arguing in the background - a real knock-down drag-em-out. "B.T. hangs out in some tough places," I thought as I raced across town.

I wondered briefly if I should call the local fuzz about Cairo and the HubNuggets. As it turned out, they were there ahead of me. A couple of plainclothes Dicks tried to stop me in the hallway - two of Anderson's boys, Richard Hubs and Dickie Pages. I pushed past them into Cairo's room.

Manuscripts, writers' guides, and style manuals lay everywhere - Taurabian, MLS - but no trace of the Maltese HubNuggets, and no trace of the redhead. The trail had gone cold again - colder than an Eskimo's nose in a snowstorm.

Chief Detective Anderson sauntered over. She's one of those tall, leggy dames that make a man's suit look great - any man's suit. "Red Shamus," she greeted me. "You after the Maltese HubNuggets, too? Hub-terpol managed to locate part of the shipment, but Cairo made off with two pieces."

Anderson held out a wooden box. I raised the lid, and suddenly there it was, staring me in the face - the first of the Maltese HubNuggets. Detective Anderson picked up the black statuette and cracked it open, revealing the fabled list of golden HubNugget Wannabe hubs...

Which one of this week's Books & Writing nominees is your favorite?

  • 12% Doctor's Diary: First Day In The Dissection Hall
  • 5% Memoirs of a Field
  • 9% Mystery on the Hawkesbury River
  • 7% River Rats
  • 54% The Women on Thespian Lane (Part 1)
  • 12% Writing Creative Fiction: Setting
107 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

The Plot Thickens

A few hours later, I'd heard the whole story - or so I thought - of how Hub-terpol's Agent Ripplemaker had tracked the fabled Maltese HubNuggets.

Apparently, Senior Editor Greenstreet read them from Moscow to Lisbon, then passed them to Professor Lorre, who spell-checked them to London. Ripplemaker followed him when he sailed for New York, but somewhere off the coast of England, he mysteriously vanished overboard. Ripplemaker picked up the trail again in Hong Kong, when the HubNuggets surfaced in the hands of Master Grammarian Patty Cairo. After that, the trail went cold - as cold as last week's macaroni salad.

Then Cairo turned up here, presumably with the Maltese HubNuggets - and in the company of Miss Wonderly and Mr. Big, with Agent Ripplemaker in hot pursuit.

As Detective Anderson and I compared notes, she told me she figured Miss Wonderly had a partner - someone who was helping her stay a step ahead of the cops. Suddenly all the pieces of the puzzle began falling into place, whirling in my brain like a kaleidoscope on a roller-coaster. I had to find B.T., and fast!

I managed to duck out, and headed back to the office.

Wonderly was there, looking as beautiful as she had the day I first saw her, and perched on the desk were two more wooden boxes.

"I'll share," she whispered, her voice soft and inviting, as she walked towards me with one of the boxes.

Mesmerized, I watched as she lifted the lid and handed me the black statuette. It was heavy - heavy as gold. As I cracked open the statuette and gazed at the golden treasure inside, I didn't notice her reach behind me...

Which one of this week's Gender & Relationships nominees is your favorite?

  • 2% Fighting Clean
  • 14% How real marriages work
  • 10% I Can See Clearly
  • 11% Life With the Lunch Lady
  • 7% People Users, Abusers, Manipulators & Sociopaths
  • 55% Won a Trip, Made a Friend
97 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

The fabled Maltese Hubnuggets statuette - photo from blogs.sfweekly.com
The fabled Maltese Hubnuggets statuette - photo from blogs.sfweekly.com
Chief Detective Anderson and one of her Dicks, arresting Miss Wonderly - photo from 1.bp.blogspot.com
Chief Detective Anderson and one of her Dicks, arresting Miss Wonderly - photo from 1.bp.blogspot.com
Start of a beautiful friendship - photo from pullquote.typepad.com
Start of a beautiful friendship - photo from pullquote.typepad.com
Well it was nice to hold it, just the once... photo from commons.wikimedia.org
Well it was nice to hold it, just the once... photo from commons.wikimedia.org

The Final Chapter

It had all started with the dame. I stared out the window at the rain and took another sip of hooch. It always starts with a dame, and this one had been a real knockout. She'd knocked me out cold - colder than a poached mackerel left over from Friday's dinner.

The Maltese Hubnuggets were gone - every last golden one of them. Gone like the dame... like they'd never been here at all.

"Too bad, Red." B.T. sauntered in and leaned over my desk to help himself to a drink. His trench-coat was still damp from rain. Damp, but not wet. "How long had he been here?" I wondered. "She was quite a dish," B.T. continued. "When did you figure out she wasn't on the up-and-up?"

His question swept the last of the fog from my brain. I peered up at my partner and friend for all these years. Just thinking about it left a bitter taste in my mouth - as bitter as the stale dregs of last night's Australian Ale.

"About the same time I realized you were in it with her," I replied. I stared at B.T., wondering what was going on behind that cuddly, give-away-nothing, jackalope face. "Where are they now?" I asked him. "Does the Wonderly dame still have them, or have you double-crossed her, too?"

For a minute, I thought he'd try to bluff. Then his shoulders slumped and he sighed deeply. "I should have known I couldn't put one over on you, Red. I don't suppose there's any point asking for a head start before you call the coppers - for old time's sake?" he asked, his ears perking up hopefully.

"Better drink up, Gumshoe." Detective Anderson stood framed in the doorway, raindrops sparkling on her badge. "That's the last hooch you'll be tasting for some time."

Slapping the cuffs on the dejected jackalope, she perched on the edge of the desk. "We picked up the Wonderly woman trying to book passage for Katmandu. Agent Ripplemaker's on her way to Jason Big with the last of the Maltese Hubnuggets - we'll be able to read and vote for them shortly."

"Don't look so sad, Bunny." Detective Anderson knew how much B.T. hated his first name - she grinned at him as her two Dicks led him away. Picking up B.T.'s glass, Anderson raised it to his departing back, and downed the last swallow, grimacing as the hooch burned her throat.

"We did well together, Red." Holding out her glass for a refill, Detective Anderson winked. "You can call me Shirl," she said, raising her glass in a toast. "Here's to the start of some beautiful HubNuggets."

Which one of this week's Religion & Beliefs nominees is your favorite?

  • 5% HAUNTED AND CURSED
  • 7% How to change the world
  • 7% Path of a Shaman - A spiritual journey into the mystery . . .
  • 12% Shadows in the Corn
  • 60% Soul Work: Joy
  • 9% William Blake Ponders the Source of Evil in "The Tyger"
57 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

More by this Author


43 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

Three boxes full of fresh HubNuggets Wannabes are hotter than a fresh cuppa joe! And joe goes good with yesterday's cold macaroni salad, so I read and voted over a snack, see?

How about joining me in voting, ya big mugs?

--Patty Cairo and a hot cuppa joe


pinkylee 6 years ago

Another great bunch of nuggets! got my votes in good luck to everyone.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hey, there, Miss Cairo - glad to see ya! Think I'll pass on the poached mackerel - the macaroni salad looks better, anyway. See ya Sunday - keep the joe hot... --R.Shamus


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Excellent hub! Shamus you sure figured out how to foil the bad guys this time. Too bad about BT - looks like you might need a new partner...


renoelle profile image

renoelle 6 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning

Read and voted! What a great bunch of Hubs! Some really interesting reading here! Love detective films, too. Thanks!

Hey - Shamus & Lamb...that sounds like another detective agency ;)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

Like my pals, B. Cool & Donald Lam, detectives. They sure are a great team when they're not arguing.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 6 years ago from Hell, MI

I may be coolin' my heels in Sing Sing right now, but they ain't built a joint that could hold a jackalope, yet. I just hope I'm sprung in time to vote!


pinkboxer profile image

pinkboxer 6 years ago from Louisiana

My first time reading the Hubnuggets and voting. A great collection of writers. My thanks to Science Officer PI. I had a hilarious time on the holodeck!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

this is awesome and the nominees are all good, Voted!Maita


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

Can you play it again Dam ? ejoyed reading these hub a lot. futer hub leaders there...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I don't how you put all this together. To me you are a marvel. I it is so fantastic. To vote is absolute agony. Thank you for putting me through this. What have I done to you? hahaha


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

I see you mugs have your work cut out for you, reading and voting. Better put on another pot of joe...


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

Did my voting duty - yup! :)


calicoaster profile image

calicoaster 6 years ago

Voted and rated up as well!! Cool hubs!! :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Just popped in and will have to vote tomorrow. I'm the coordinator of my friends daughters wedding... been busy-busy since yesterday at dawn... but just walked by the computer and couldn't resist while I rested my 'great gams' for a mo' and drank my cuppa joe...

Awesome hub Red,

Congrats to all the hubnuggeteers and good luck... don't forget to promote your hub to all---family, friends, next door neighbors, the kissin' cousins, including Tom, Dick and

Harry, they can all vote for your hub.


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Did my voting! Another good bunch


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

Im hubnugged out now! *burp*


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

It is surely a delicious serving of nuggets this week. Thanks for voting, Everyone!


liljen23 profile image

liljen23 6 years ago from Shreveport,LA

Great hubbers to come...


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Voted! Great work!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

sorry about the spelling in this comment i did it in the middle of the night under poor light


John B Badd profile image

John B Badd 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Sorry I meant to say thanks for the Hubnugget Nomination, I'm half asleep. ;)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

Congratulations John (but could you promote elsewhere than links in HubNuggets comments [or forum]?) Thanks very much. Do try Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, your blogs, emailing friends, other social networking etc. Good luck!


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 6 years ago from Hell, MI

It looks like the voting is coming right along!It's good to see another big turnout! I was finally able to tunnel my way out of the hoosegow and make it to the polls.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

This dame here did not shirk her civic duty... she read, she contemplated deeply and then voted.

Once again 'Good luck Hubnuggeteers' these were some mighty fine nuggets to peruse.


MyInfo411 profile image

MyInfo411 6 years ago

I was congratulated recently for the nomination, but being new to hubpages, I had no idea how to even find this hub...until some kind hubber posted a link for me. :0)

Thank you for the nomination of The Tyger by William Blake. I feel honored. And thanks for all the warm welcomes!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

Congratulations, MyInfo411! Glad it was a *pleasant* surprise. We always post an announcement every Friday in the "Hubbers Hangout" forum on Hubpages with a link to this type of roundup Hub, and the annoucnement gets highlighted in blue and placed at the top of the forum for a week. Changes on Fridays. Cheers!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hey, John, I have included your comments here without the link - so glad to include your hub this week.

John B Badd 23 hours ago

Great Hub and gratz on the Hubnugget Nomination.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Wow a lot of great writers again this week. Great Job on the hub, RedElf. :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, MG! it's a great crop again this week!


cupid51 profile image

cupid51 6 years ago from INDIA

Voted and rated up; nice hub!


Margaridab profile image

Margaridab 6 years ago from Lyon, France

Very good!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

My first ever vote, I must admit I enjoyed reading through some of the hubs, ones that I would never have normally looked at..


valery elias profile image

valery elias 6 years ago

Awesome!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hi cupid51, Margaridab, and LeanMan - nice to see you all voted! Glad you enjoyed reading articles from soem new "hubbers".

Valery - glad you enjoyed it!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Love the hub/movie, RE!! Such intrigue! I feel like I should be donning those stockings with lines up the back and finding some really big shoulder pads and dark red lipstick.

Excellent read, glad the HubNuggets were found, what would we do without them?


Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

Nice job Hubnuggets team, you guys are keeping us well informed about the new hubbers on Hub Pages!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Detective Anderson. You and your Dicks did a great job helping us locate them!

Greetings, Dobson - it's a job we all love to do!


CaribeM profile image

CaribeM 6 years ago

Very good.. when we can see the movie? ;)

RedElf you should write screenplays.!!!

Take care... be careful with the counterintelligence. ;)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, CaribeM - and thanks for the warning - that's why I usually let other be intelligent and I just write :D


Leptirela profile image

Leptirela 6 years ago from I don't know half the time

:))))


Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

Congrats kaltopsyd, that is two weeks in a row!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Greetings, Leptirela! So glad you stopped by.

Hey, dobson! Glad to see you, too!

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