Arthur “Art” Huck had bigger dreams for the small-time auto garage and filling station he’d inherited. The small-time crook and part-time mad scientist had transformed the oily floors and smoky, squealing lifts into a smouldering den of sex wreathed in cigarette and exhaust smoke. LA was full of pimps in ’36, preying on girls that came to the big city with stars in their eyes, but people tended to notice when they turned up with a shiner or rigor mortis. Art Huck’s girls, though, had no such problems.

All they needed was an oil change every six months or 3000 miles. Whichever came first.

The first client into Art’s garage bordello, illuminated only by the late-afternoon sunshine streaming through grimy windows, was Officer Richard Bichovic, LAPD badge number 1138. He might have been handsome had he not been so irredeemably greasy, but luckily Art’s robot gals liked ’em greasy. “Rich the Bitch,” as he was known behind his back, had a fixation with Art’s number one bot, Rosie, that was matched only with his fixation for money and self-affected swagger. Rich’d been hustling Art and his young wife for protection money for years, ever since being put on the beat.

All that was about to change, though.

“Hey, Art,” Rich said. “What are you doing, standing in my way like a rock out of Stonehenge? You know how much I love shaking you down for quarters to put in Rosie’s slot, but that cycle of life doesn’t work unless I get in there to meet her.”

Art, as much a thick cut of beef at 42 as he’d been in his prime, was unmoved. “Look, Bitch-ovic. You and me, we got business.”

“It’s pronounced Beak-o-vick,” Officer Bichovic snarled. “In the old country it meant ‘fierce warrior,’ so show a little respect.”

“Well, it don’t mean that here,” Art said. He shifted his oily cigar in his mouth. “Bitch,” he added, with a deliberate cloud of smoke.

“You just keep at it, then,” said Rich, shaking with barely concealed fury. “I’ll slap another percent onto your ‘rent’ foe every time you say it. Now beat it. I got a hankering to see Rosie again, put some more of your quarters in her slot.”

Ah, Rosie. Rosie the riveting. Art’s first robot creation, with a copper bodice molded onto her like the hood ornament of a Rolls-Royce Phantom III. She was a robot with a heart of gold, Rich knew. He’d seen it. He knew where the hatch was.

“I got another thought for you,” said Art. “You’re not gonna take any more of my quarters from now on…Bitch.”

“Beak-o-vick!” Rich snapped.

“You’re gonna put your own quarters in Rosie’s meter from now on, or you’re going to sit at home with your new gal Hoover. Unless, of course, you want the boys at the precinct to see this.” Art held up a pair of lacy lavender ladies’ lingerie, Lovelace-brand panties, up with one finger.

Lacy lavender ladies’ lingerie, Lovelace-brand panties with a 42-inch waist, that was.

“Those could be anyone’s drawers,” Rich said, trying his best to hide the nervousness in his voice.

“Rosie’s got a photographic memory,” Art said through a cloud of fresh sun-dappled cigar smoke. “Want to take my word for it, or would you like to see the newsreel?”

Inspired by Fiasco by Bully Pulpit Games, specifically the Los Angeles 1936 playset.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!