A Cure for the Common Curse
by Steve Lazarowitz
One day I turned around and found Lisa sitting in life’s back seat.
I don’t really know how she got there, but I can say she’s
made it one helluva trip.
I rarely have use for trees or growing things but that night was an
exception. This particular tree had everything I needed—a
number of low branches making it easy to climb, an unimpeded view
of the bedroom
enough distance from the street to make it unlikely anyone would
I clutched my Nikon SLR tightly, knowing if it dropped I couldn’t
easily replace it. The telephoto lens made it front heavy and
its safety was never far from my mind. My own safety, by contrast, was never
much concern to me. Sooner or later my occupation would be the
death of me, so there was no use worrying about it.
I used the telephoto lens as a telescope and kept the camera
pointed toward the bedroom. I didn’t look away much. That’s how you
miss things, and this was one shot I didn’t want to miss.
I had wedged myself carefully between branches, so I didn’t need
my hands to hold on. I needed them to steady the camera though, which
was heavier than its digital counterparts, but for some uses you still
can’t beat 35 mm. This was one of them.
Digital images are too easily tampered with, and thus not
accepted by most judges. An actual photo could be altered
too but not
as easily. As I waited (and waited and waited), I reviewed
everything I knew
Evan Snider had approached me a couple of weeks ago with
suspicions his wife was cheating on him. After a look
at her photo and
another at him,
I could see why. Snider’s face was red and round,
and the perpetual sheen of sweat that suffused it made
him look like a newly washed apple.
His wife was fifteen years younger, thinner, and far
more likely to be found on the cover of Cosmopolitan,
or the centerfold of Playboy
For all intents and purposes Snider was an idiot. What
did he expect when he married a bombshell like that?
of us all.
Not that Mrs. Snider was a model but she could have
have paid quite a lot to see that luscious body unclothed.
would be my chance.
Movement from the bedroom window drew my attention.
I tensed slightly, shifted, and almost fell. I
then forgave myself because I’m basically a nice guy. I had to be careful—I
was being paid a lot of money for this surveillance and couldn’t
afford to muck it up. So I pulled on my most professional
demeanor, totally wasted on the tree but it made
me feel better, and once again
the window through the viewfinder.
As I adjusted the focus, her perfect body crystallized.
It was as if she were standing only a few feet
before me, talking
someone out of
" Son of a bitch!"
They must have entered together and I’d missed it. I kept one eye
glued to her. I would have even if it hadn’t been my job, for Mrs.
Snider was slowly, tantalizingly, removing her clothes. Instinctively,
my finger moved on the shutter. I took two shots of each stage of her
striptease, in case one didn’t come out. I felt a tad ignoble thinking
about another man’s wife as something akin to a boxed lunch, but
only for a moment. It wasn’t like they
were going to be married much longer anyway.
While I clicked away, keeping in mind the
number of shots I’d taken
and how many were left, I kept hoping her partner would come into view.
Otherwise, I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Pictures of a woman
stripping by herself are not grounds for divorce. Snider was rich and
I was overcharging him. He knew it too but would rather give the money
to me than to her. That’s the theory at least. But it only worked ’cause
I could deliver, another theory I would
have to prove.
For another five agonizing minutes she
kept up her dance. I stopped taking pictures,
stepped into view and I almost fell again.
The newcomer was just as naked, just as
just as delicious.
fondled and kissed. When they moved to
the bed, which I unfortunately couldn’t
make out from my vantage point, I packed
the camera away and began my careful descent.
I had enough film to prove her infidelity
and publish my own porn magazine.
My client would not be happy but he would
pay, which was all I was interested in.
I’m sorry, Mr. Snider. I know this must be very hard for
I was again wearing my most professional face. I had to make
a conscious effort not to gawk at the
pictures on the desk and instead
myself to look at him. It was a bad
trade off. After he left I’d find
someone more pleasant to look at. Perhaps
someone who might get some pleasure looking at me.
This was, of course, pure male fantasy.
I’m not that much to look
at. At six-two, I’m too tall, too thin—almost gangly except
for the beer gut, making me look like a snake that had only recently
eaten—with a large nose, a receding hair line and eyes that have
bags under them even when they aren’t bloodshot. The combination
of my demeanor and appearance makes me look every bit the private investigator
I am, though I’m no longer young or attractive enough to bring
home the kind of women I am regularly called on to photograph. That hasn’t
always been the case, but age comes
for us all. So I did what any self-respecting
man would do. I found an angle in the
mirror that almost flattered me and
only look at myself that way. Believe
it or not, it helps.
A Cure For The Common Curse is not only unique but one of the funniest stories I've ever read. Steve Lazarowitz is a writer that I enjoy immensely because his twists and turns surprise me every time. I was pulled into A Cure For The Common Curse totally, even to the point of thinking about one or two people I would love to curse with these little buggers and all of the mischievous deeds they could perform. This book has made itself a permanent spot on my shelf to be brought out again and again when life’s little problems get to me. I ended up laughing so hard I almost cracked a rib.
Reviewed by Nikita, Enchanted in Romance Reviews
Lazarowitz has written a comic look at the private investigator and their strange array of cases. Missing persons, clandestine affairs, and murder are some of the cases that pop up in this delightful offering. Lazarowitz continues to impress us with his ability to change genres and entertain us equally in any of them.
Reviewed by Barry Hunter, Baryon Reviews