Player: Daniel Cabrera
Card: 2007 Topps #54
Errors: Statuesque. Player may be hiding secret government information in glove clutched to his chest. Player allowed 5-year-old son to sign Major League Baseball card.
Comments: The dame walked into my office like a gumball machine spilling on an ice rink, chewy bits dashing all over the room. Of course, I knew she was trouble. What I didn’t know was how much trouble was paying today.
“Are you a detective, mister….”
“Pignatano,” I answered, coolly chewing a piece of licorice so red it would have made the Pope whistle. “Detective Joe Pignatano is what it says on the door - right below 'fire escape'. Can I help you?"
The dame wore a hat so high it nearly scratched the ceiling and blouse cut so low, it nearly touched the Devil. She leaned in like a cat toying with a wounded frog. Or so I imagined.
“Well, you see detective,” she said, lighting a pipe. “It’s my boyfriend, Danny. He’s a baseball player. But he’s got a little trouble.”
There was only two reasons a dame with a high hat and low standards comes in talking about her boyfriend. To kill him or to kill me. And that’s one more option than I can handle on a Tuesday.
“Boyfriend, huh? Well, what’s the trouble with the big lug?” I asked, trying not to look directly at the booger that was dangling from her nostril like a mountain climber clinging to Matterhorn. “Can’t find his way around the bases anymore?”
She started to cry and I almost felt bad about the wisecrack. Almost.
“It’s just that, well, he took some pills because we were having some problems, you see?”
“And the pills,” she said, pausing to dab her face with a quilt so big it could have covered the third Hawaiian island. “Well, they didn’t work quite right. And now his arm has been erect for more than four weeks. He's just standing there, staring off into space, immobile. He can't drive. He can't go to the movies. He can’t even sign his name - he had to use his toes to cash his check. We couldn't consult a physician. So we came to you.”
She paused and looked me over like a parrot stalks a cheese doodle. I didn’t budge.
“So, can you help?” she asked.
Sure, I could. But what was in it for me? A few laughs? A quick thrill? A trip to a non-descript spring training field where only the light posts grow higher than the palm trees?
Then, she reached into her purse and pulled out $2,500 cash, like a druggist unwrapping cyanide pills.
Suddenly, it became clear. If this guy was gonna be slipped a Mickey, I was the bloodhound for the job.
“Okay, dame, I’ll take your case. Under one condition: I drive.”
Dames. They drive like a chocolate syrup on a pack of cigarettes. If you catch my drift.