I'll come up with something in a minute.

Second Bet

Here’s my second bet, if things don’t improve in two years time, the comments you’ve heard from the right about socialism will be nothing compared to the comments you’ll hear from the left. Communism fell just long ago enough that people have greatly forgotten about it, and since it’s becoming increasingly hard to put your faith in capitalists, several people will begin to think communist.

The argument works like a statement I saw a few times during the election, “You say they’re going to take wealth from the rich and distribute it to the poor. So these rich… would they be the bastards that told me I could afford that huge mortgage? Would they be the ones who encouraged me to run up lots and lots of credit card debt? Would these guys be the one who sank my 401k? Would they be the ones who are now taking away my house and letting things collapse so I got laid off and making it hard for my kids to get health care? Would these rich you speak of also be the ones who have been stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down for the last ten years or so? Because frankly, I would like to see them get stripped of their possessions. I’d like to see them lined up against a wall and shot for their crimes and I don’t mind living under Communism for a while if it means that’ll happen.”

And then Barack Obama was elected and everyone said he’d defeat the White Witch and bring Christmas back and everything.

No, I’m not saying Obama is a closet socialist, I’m saying that claiming he was might have actually been and advertisement for him because people with nothing left to lose don’t care anymore.

I’m also saying that if confidence in capitalism isn’t restored soon, we could go communist. Being Americans, we’ll go commie in a big way too. This will not be social liberalism, this will be hard core commie. I mean let’s face it, we don’t do anything halfway in this country. We’ll be everything Stalin ever dreamed of being, and it will suck like a Hoover with a black hole in it.

The only way I can see to avoid it is to treat these corporate criminals real criminals. Give them hard time in hard places. Quit letting them off with light sentences in soft prisons. People want vengeance, and they’ll take justice if it comes along with it. If we can’t show people that the people who really hurt them are being punished, then they’ll go to someone who can show them that.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Place your bets!

What do you want to bet that the victims of Bernard Madoff will get another great big check to replace their losses? I would say they would probably get at least $100 billion dollars to offset their pain and suffering. No restrictions of course, they’ll just get the money without anyone bothering to make sure that it’s used properly or that it doesn’t all go to executive bonuses. And while that’s going on, they’ll tell the auto makers to go whistle until they either go under or break the UAW’s back.

I’m just saying that they only hand out money to the super rich who can pawn a few yachts, or (in the case of David Vitter for example) people who literally suck their dicks. I would like to point out at this time that when the new congress convenes there will be a historically large majority tilted towards the Dems.

I’m merely suggesting that maybe there is a reason the republicans were voted the fuck out of their majority. I’m also implying that if they continue on their current path then the whole pack of child molesting whoremongering, bathroom fuckers won’t get back into anything like a majority anytime soon.

Step right up, place you bets, five will get you twenty, and you can’t win if you don’t play.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hard Boiled Christmas (Day Fifteen)

Hard Boiled Christmas

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

Day 15: Church in the Office

 

            “Dead?” Church asked.

 

            “Well yeah, being shot in the chest a bunch of times usually does that to you.” I said, wanting to re-use Noonan’s Shiatsu joke but knowing better.

 

            “And they think Opus shot him?”

 

            “Exactly.” I nodded.

 

            I was keeping the Marley thirty-eight in my hand, and his automatic on the desk next to my left hand. If Church suddenly decided that playing nice wasn’t what he wanted to do today, I was perfectly prepared to shot him with as many bullets as each gun carried. He didn’t look like he was going to jump me though. In fact, he looked confused.

 

            “Opus was with me all day.” Church said after a moment’s thought. “We were collecting today, that was what we were doing in that store. He was collecting a debt from someone when the three helpers came out from the back and started shooting.”

 

            “Noonan says that Joe is down at the station giving a statement.” I tried to keep my voice steady and my finger actually off the trigger, hooking it around the trigger guard instead.

 

            “He might be now.” Church said. “But when you found me he had just pumped a lot of bullets into Opus’s chest. I got Cocoa and I winged Hardrock. They probably sent Joe because I missed him.”

 

            “So you didn’t have Opus kill the Fat Man earlier today?” I asked.

 

            “He was with me.” He leaned forward and hit the arm of the chair. “And I didn’t know he was dead until you told me. If you remember, I said I was going to kill him when I got in your car. Am I going to kill him in retaliation for his guys trying to kill me, which was in retaliation for my killing him? How many times am I supposed to kill him today? For that matter, how many times are we going to kill each other?”

 

            I leaned back in my chair and the springs sang out as they stretched to support me. I rubbed the stubble on my chin and looked at his face. He wasn’t thinking when he told me he was going to kill the Fat Man for this. He had just been talking. He was angry and out of sorts and if he had indeed killed the Fat Man, he wouldn’t have sworn to end the Fat Man’s life. I thought about it, but I considered that Church could be a far more clever player than I was giving him credit for. After all, the number of people who had underestimated him and lived was a very small one indeed. In fact, it might not really be a number after all, but merely a place holder that had been invented somewhere in the Middle East in some year I can’t really remember.

 

            “So the police are trying to frame you?” I asked leaning forward again. “They shot the Fat Man and they want to pin it on you?”


            “Someone is.” Church said leaning forward in his chair, crossing his arms and setting his elbows on the table. “It’s not like I haven’t got enemies. Ambitious people and little groups who would like to push me aside.”

 

            “But who would be able to get past the Fat Man’s people and shoot him?” I asked leaning forward.

 

            “I don’t know.” He said leaning forward a little more. “But I intend to find out.”

 

            Now if I were a smart guy, I wouldn’t have gotten into that position of leaning halfway across the desk while he was doing likewise. My desk isn’t really big enough to try and use as a fortification, otherwise IKEA would be selling a version of my desk as a combination desk and fortress. Of course, since my desk didn’t actually come from IKEA, I’ve only got my own thoughts on this project.

 

            The point here is that I am not a terrifically smart guy, and it is proved by the fact that I let myself get into a position where all Church would have to do is snap one of his arms up to hit me with his fist. It was actually his elbow that smacked into the side of my jaw and then his fist came down and smacked into my cheek. I’m not exactly sure what happened after that, but I didn’t pass out, it just all happened very quickly.

 

            I was knocked to the ground, and I began to get up I noticed something cold against the side of my head. The barrel of Church’s gun was about the size of a sewer tunnel and fired bullets approximately big enough to crack the world asunder. I put my hands flat on the floor, and it was then that I noticed I no longer had the Marley thirty-eight in my hand. I wondered where it was briefly, but then I heard the chamber open and the bullets fell and tapped out a short rhythm on the wood floor. I was fairly certain that I was in deeper trouble than before. Or at least I was in the same trouble but had gone down a few floors. I was only slightly gratified to find that I was right about the size of the trouble. This trouble had been big enough for the Fat Man to be swallowed up in.

 

            It wasn’t much of a comfort as my lifeless body was looking to be tossed in after him. I waited for Church to finish me, but I only heard the sound of the Marley clattering against the wall and then to the floor. I then felt the pistol pull away and wondered exactly how long that had really gone on for. I sat up and saw him walking towards the door of my office. I opened the middle drawer, yanked the Webley out and stood up aiming it at Church’s back. He opened the door when I decided to let him know how things stood.

 

            “Church!” I said, and he turned, pointing his gun at me.

 

            We stood looking at each other for a long time, neither wanting to fire incase the other one had better aim and got a chance to fire. He stood watching me and I watched him and eventually it became clear that neither of us was going to shoot the other. He took a few steps back and was probably as surprised as I was to have Debbie’s keyboard smash him across the back of the head. The keyboard broke and keys flew in every direction. Church turned suddenly and Debbie’s knee came up to meet the spot where his legs split. Unlike Opus though, he didn’t turn his hip away from her knee, which smashed into his pelvic bone. She then hit him with the edge of the keyboard which broke both his nose and itself. He dropped his gun and went to the ground after it, and she hopped around gripping her leg in pain.

 

            I ran around the desk and kicked Church’s automatic away from him as he rolled on the ground and moaned about the fact that his testicles were now somewhere in the region of his kidneys. I stood over him and this time put the barrel of my gun to his head and thumbed back the hammer. That didn’t actually seem to accomplish much so I let the hammer down slowly and moved away a bit. I looked at the keys to Debbie’s keyboard, scattered as they were around the front office like seed casings long after the seeds have been eat by birds or flow away on the wings of the wind.

 

            Debbie was sitting on one of the chairs, rubbing her knee with the heel of her palm and looking at me. She seemed amazed at the fact that he’d gone down so quickly, and that striking him had hurt so much. Church began to recover and got himself up onto his hands and knees. Blood was pouring from his nose and right onto my floor, which caused me a moment of worry, but I figured the janitors could clean it up if they tried hard enough.

 

            I walked out of his reach, leaned over to pick up the Marley from the floor and tossed it onto my desk. I then picked up Church’s automatic and placed it on my desk as well. I kept the big Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver trained on him and started trying to think about what I was actually going to do with him. I would have been happier, in the end, if he had just walked out of here and left me alone. However, I preferred the idea that if anyone tried to pull a gun on me they’d have to deal with my secretary. Being quick with your fists is one thing, having a secretary that could strike fear into the heart and the nose of the underworld was another.

 

            “You stupid son of a bitch.” I said as I walked towards him.

 

            “I didn’t kill the Fat Man.” Church muttered. “I didn’t kill anyone.”

 

            “That hardly matters now.” I said, “You tried to stick me up and you’ve faced the wrath of my secretary and her keyboard-fu. I hope this has taught you a lesson.”

 

            “Collier.” He said looking up at me. “I didn’t kill the Fat Man, I didn’t have it done. I told you, Opus wasn’t there.”

 

            The phone rang and I put the muzzle of my gun up against Church’s head, to inspire him to stay put and stay quiet. He seemed to understand the message because he froze when the barrel touched him. Debbie’s face seemed to fall as she listened and then pointed at my phone. I kept the gun trained on him as I walked to my desk and picked up the line.

 

            “Yeah?’ I asked.

 

            “Jack?” Noonan’s voice said. “It’s Tom.”

 

            “Hi Tom.” I said, “What’s up?”

 

            “The attack on Christmas is now being handled as a murder.” He said, and I thought I heard something that wasn’t quite a sob catch in his voice. “She died about five minutes ago. I thought you should know.”

 

            I felt as if I’d been shot and all my blood had drained away in a few seconds. My legs felt too weak to hold up my bulky frame, I had to put my hand on the desk to keep from falling over. My head started spinning and my heart began to pound something fierce. I don’t know how many days I stood there, but I would guess at least forty.

 

            “Thanks Tom.” I said. “I guess I’m going to have to… uh.”

 

            “I’ll work it out so you can get paid.” His voice was calmer than it should have been during a time of national tragedy. “I’ll see about getting you temporarily deputized too, we’ll keep you on this case.”

 

            “Thanks Tom.” I said, trying to think of something else lest I start to repeat myself. “I’ve got a few leads I’d like to chase down, let me get back to you.”

 

            “Sure Jack.” He said. “Sure.”

 

            I hung up and it suddenly occurred to me that I was training a gun on my only remaining paying client. Not only that, but my secretary had broken the nose of the only person left besides Solstice who had offered to keep our hand funded so it could remain in the game at all. The fact that they were going to try and tie him to the murder of the Fat Man, if he indeed had nothing to do with it, was a little troubling but there it was. I was going to have to make amends. If nothing else, I was going to have to find a way to explain the current developments.

 

            “She’s dead.” I decided that there was no use in beating around the bush. “So you’re the only one left that I can claim to be working for.”

 

            “What?” He asked looking up at me.

 

            “She’s gone.” I said taking his gun from my desk and sliding it across the floor. “The wounds proved to be too much. Christmas is dead and for what it’s worth I believe you when you say you didn’t do it.”

 

            “Dead?” He asked, and tears welled up in his eyes.

 

            “Yes.” I confirmed with a nod.

 

            He placed his hand over his eyes and I think he actually began to cry. Debbie walked over to him and placed a box of Kleenex in his hands. He took them and wiped his eyes with them. He then proceeded to stuff his nose with them to stem the bleeding. He looked up at me, and his eyes were still wet with tears. He got to his feet, the box of Kleenex still in his hand, and he reeled a little.

 

            “We’re going to find out who did this.” He managed to sound strong, even through the now stuffed nose. “Anything you need… anything.”

 

            “Yeah.” I said nodding.

 

            “Sorry for breaking your nose.” Debbie said.

 

            “It’s okay.” He managed as he opened the door. He then sounded sort of distracted and apologetic as he told her, “I should have been looking out for it.”

 

            He closed the door and walked down the hall, his steps sounded about six times as loud and deep as they should have as he made his way towards the elevator. I heard the door to the elevator open and close a few moments later. I then went out to check and see if he was still around, but he had left.

 

            I came back into the office and found Debbie on her hands and knees picking up the stray keys from the floor. I looked at the broken board in the garbage and I felt like I wanted to cry. That was the only thing she ever used and this case had destroyed it. Christmas had that way about her, and I suspected she was still going to, even dead.

 

            “I’ll get you a new keyboard.” I said following her into the outer office.

 

            “No need.” She said brightly while throwing the keys into the garbage behind her desk.

 

            “Oh, come on.” I pleaded. “Don’t tell me you’re going to quit.”

 

            “Of course not silly.” She said pulling a new keyboard from the box it came in. She blew off the top and plugged the keyboard into the side of the computer. “I wear these things out in about a month, I’ve always got at least one back-up.”

 

            The computer made that little sound that lets you know that the computer has recognized there is a new piece of equipment plugged into it. She then smiled up at me and went back to typing madly. I walked back into my office and closed the door behind me. I picked the bullets up off the floor and sat at my desk to reload the Marley.

 

            I can’t tell if it was resignation, confusion, or just some inner coldness, but I never did breakdown about it. I didn’t even feel particularly sad about Christmas’s passing. I just felt like I’d had a minor setback and now had to redouble my efforts to make up lost ground. I put the Marley back into the holster and slid the Webley back into the desk drawer. I leaned back and turned my chair around to look out the window. The glare of lights usually bounced off one of the buildings and I could see the glow on the side of the opposite building, but not today. It wasn’t quite dark enough for it yet, but I had a feeling they wouldn’t be lit up tonight. Tonight they probably would be dark, dark and quiet.

 

            I looked at the gray sky and wondered if it was ever going to snow, snow would have been nice. I didn’t expect any snow though, just the cold and the dark that was coming.

 

This is part fifteen of twenty-five, come back tomorrow for part sixteen and every day this month until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The HBC tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Fiction | | Leave a comment