Dick Tracy and nearly all of the characters named within this fanfic were created by Chester Gould, and are copyrighted by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate/Tribune Media Services. Other characters appearing in this story are from the animated Adventures of Dick Tracy television show, and are copyrighted by Classic Media and the UPA cartoon studio that created them.
As is usually the case with fan fiction, the author (that's me) is not affiliated with any of the above. I do not own anything referenced here. This fanfic is a labor of love, and as everyone knows, labors of love never make any money… but they sure can be fun to write! (And hopefully fun to read as well.)
And now – on with the show!
CHAPTER 1: Mysterious Envelopes
There is a world, one not too far removed from our own, where certain types of human beings have faces that seem to reflect their very souls. A world where one can indeed judge a book by its cover and not be wrong, with few exceptions. Let us examine several volumes of these unsightly, shoddy-jacketed "books," shall we?
Dawn was breaking hesitantly over the nameless city, as though the sun itself was ashamed to show its face upon it after the events of the previous night. Not that any of the past night's activities had been unusual for this crime-ridden community...
In a "borrowed" room at the Peach Teaks hotel (known unaffectionately to its tenants as "Cockroach Towers"), two criminals were sleeping off a hard night's work of burglary and other generally lawless behavior. One of them was bald, scarred of face and reeked of cheap cigars. Without a doubt, his most disturbing features were his eyes. Black, beady and close-set, they had a tendency to roll in his head whenever he got too excited. Currently however, they were lidded and still, while their owner slept the restless sleep of the wicked.
Lying in a separate bed, the other felon's appearance was even more grotesque. His face was like something out of an old circus sideshow. Nature, perhaps displaying a streak of cruel humor, had given him a malformed skull; one that was wider than it was tall, and flat as a table on top. As if this was not enough, he also had an ugly little mouth; tiny, fishlike lips pursed in a perpetual pout, even while he lay sleeping. His cheeks were dusted with freckles that might have looked appealing on anyone else, but here they only served as the bitter decorations on a very unappetizing-looking cake.
Both men had automatic revolvers lying within easy reach on their respective nightstands. Beneath their beds was stashed the loot of the previous night's job – an assortment of jewelry and cash, liberated from the display cases and cash register of Roxy's Gemstone Emporium. The caper had gone well. But now the heat was on, and the two of them intended to lay low in this fleapit of a hotel until it blew over. Or so the evil pair had planned.
But the best-laid plans of mice and mobsters often go awry…
There was a sound of something being slid under the door. It might have been the morning paper being delivered, except that the Peach Teaks did not offer complimentary newspapers to its patrons. Two sharp raps on the door shattered the silence of the dawn like gunfire.
Instantly, both crooks were awake. Snatching up their guns, they flung aside the threadbare blankets and sheets (revealing that they both had slept in their "work" clothes) and sprang to their feet, rods at the ready. Outside, the sound of footsteps receded hastily into the distance.
Wary of a trap, the flat-headed one approached the door, his sleep-wrinkled topcoat and rumpled bow tie adding to his bizarre appearance. With his finger tense at the trigger of his automatic, he stood to one side of the door and eased it open. His partner, who had experienced an agonizing head-rush from getting out of bed so quickly, stood where he was, clutching at his temples while his eyes rolled crazily.
There was nobody outside, of course. But there at the gangster's feet lay an envelope with a slight bulge at one end. Written on the envelope in an unfamiliar script were the words:
TO FLATTOP AND B-B EYES.
Meanwhile, near the edge of town, a similar scene was taking place.
Someone had slipped another mysterious envelope under the front door of a condemned, decrepit old mansion believed by many to be haunted. However, the "ghouls" that inhabited this mansion were decidedly flesh and blood – corrupted flesh and bad blood, to be sure, but mortal all the same. The unseen messenger rang the doorbell, which tolled like a knell of doom. But by the time one of the mansion's occupants answered the door, said messenger was long gone.
A withered hand the color of a faded plum picked up the envelope that lay on the doormat. Eyes that were almost lost within a mass of creases and wrinkles scrutinized the envelope. Like the one left at the Peach Teaks hotel, it had a round, flat bulge in one end, resembling a miniature hockey puck – or a thick coin. Unlike the other one, it bore the legend (in the same unknown handwriting): TO PRUNEFACE AND ITCHY.
"Hey, Pruneface – what's up?" a sharp, prickly voice that sounded like it was attempting to stifle a yawn asked. "Who would be coming here so early in the morning, anyway? Can't be the cops – they wouldn't bother to ring the bell…'
"Quiet, Itchy." The ghastly-looking man known as Pruneface glanced outside, but saw no one. With the envelope clutched in one hand, he slowly relaxed and lowered the other – the one that was holding a .45 Colt pistol. He was wearing a fancy, burgundy-colored bathrobe, which had been hastily thrown on the instant he had heard the doorbell ring.
Behind him, his associate shuffled into the foyer, scratching his head with his right hand and his armpit with his left. Unlike Flattop and B-B Eyes, he had not slept in his usual attire and was currently wearing nothing but his boxers and an undershirt. He did have on his glasses, though – a pair of black horn-rims with a sinister slant to them that somewhat offset the fact that he looked ridiculous standing there in his underclothes, scratching himself like a chimpanzee.
Itchy (whose actual name was Itchell Oliver) gazed curiously at the envelope. "Where did that come from? What's in it?"
"To answer your first question, I don't know," replied Pruneface in a voice that sounded a bit like monster movie-legend Boris Karloff. "And to answer the second, I'll soon see." Using a dagger-shaped letter opener, he slit the envelope open very carefully, cautious of a possible booby trap. Nothing threatening came out, at least not immediately. There appeared to be some paper or parchment inside, along with the disk-shaped object. It was the latter that Pruneface was the most suspicious of. Finally, however, he shook it out onto the floor, where it bounced and rolled around in a tight circle before rattling to a stop. Both villains stared at it.
It was, of all things, a golden Spanish doubloon.
Who is this mysterious envelope-pusher? Why is he (or could it be a she?) giving gold doubloons to these base villains? Stay tuned, the next chapter is on its way...