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Bearing Witness
by Eric Miller

Pretty much everyone around town acknowledges that Studd Sluthe is the man. No one knows that better than Studd. That should tell you a lot about him. All you really need to know, though, is that if you’re looking for a private eye, he’s the guy to look for.

Studd can usually be found hanging out at O’Leary’s Bar. You can’t miss him. He’ll be the one talking. If you want to catch his attention quickly, get two bottles of Heineken at the bar, walk over to him, hand him a bottle, click yours against his, and say “Here’s to you, Studd. You’re the man.” You’ll have him eating out of your hand. Just don’t talk about witness protection. He’ll shut you right out.

It seems that one day some guy approached Studd using the two Heineken bottle ploy to get his attention, while purporting to know him. Studd didn’t recognize or remember him, and they went back and forth with each other.

“We used to be tight, Studd. Don’t you remember?"

“And what do you mean by tight?.”

“We worked undercover together.”

“I hope you mean that in the investigatory sense.”

“Don’t worry, Studd. We never kissed under the mistletoe.”

“Well, if this game must continue, at least give me a clue. After all, I am a private eye.”

“Witness protection.”

“Okay, let me guess. I knew you. I don’t recognize you. So, you must be in witness protection.”

“Ah, it’s good to see that you’re still quick on your feet, Studd.”

“Well, according to the rules by which you seem to be playing, all I have to do now is identify you, right?”

“I’m hoping you can, and that you’ll be glad to see me.”

“It may not be politically or socially correct for me to say this, but I sense that you have had some plastic surgery. You appear to have had state of the art dental care, as well as some facial bone augmentation. Did you have a beard or mustache when we worked together?”

“No, but good question.”

“You know, I’m rerunning the videotape in my mind of everyone with whom I did undercover, but I’m not coming up with a match. I can think of several people you might be, but I don’t see enough of a resemblance to really believe it.”

“You’re making my day, Studd.”

“Do you have an old photo of the original you?,” Studd asked.

So the guy pulls out a photo from his wallet. Studd takes one look at it, becomes ghostly white, and faints.

“The punch line? You really want to know?

It was Onna Offa, a former ecdysiast of great notoriety. She and Studd had a long term on and off relationship. They hit it off immediately, saw each other frequently, and then boom, that’s right, boom, it was all over. Oh, an ecdysiast is a euphemism for stripper. Hey, come on, give her a break. Some dentists I know call themselves odontologists.