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Hard Boiled Christmas (Day Twenty-Two)

Hard Boiled Christmas

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay



Day 22: Mr. Smith Goes to Hell


            As I stood around waiting for Church, I started to go over the whole business in my head. It formed an unfortunate picture in there, which I tried to change around to no avail. The problem was that I had sort of been told who had done it and pretty much how from the beginning.


            No one could get close to her, so it had to be someone on the inside. Of course it hadn’t been her, and when the chips came down no one was around to save the fake her. However, it could easily have been someone who was inside for her, but then they would have known about the fake. It could have been someone who had gotten a little carried away, or it could have been someone had been told to destroy the face. They might have wanted her dead, but messed it up. Maybe Sandy Cloose was a stronger fighter than they knew. The lights were just to try and look like they were making a point.


            Why then, if the lights were just for show? Well, she had wanted to get away, out from under as she always put it to me. If everyone thought she was dead, and if someone got Church and the Fat Man to kill each other, then they would be dead and she would still be alive. And wouldn’t it be oh so nice when she appeared and announced that it had never been her? Church and the Fat Man would be dead and she would be alive and…


            No, it didn’t work. Why would Opus and be with Hardrock and Cocoa and Joe then? Why would either Opus fake his death or would Church perform that fairly elaborate charade for my benefit? Why would Hardrock and Cocoa and Joe have let anyone just shoot their boss and walk away?


            I remembered the Fat Man putting his hand on Hardrock’s head, and the fact that Hardrock didn’t like it. In fact, he seemed to dislike it intensely. I would bet that if the right person told them that they were going to kill the Fat Man and take over, those three would be delighted to follow them. Someone beautiful, someone that everyone loved, someone like her.


            I couldn’t tell if I was worried, or thought I’d given Church enough time, but I got back into my car and started to go home. I think I was being paranoid and that he got me to go somewhere else while he kicked my door down and shot Christmas. I got behind the wheel and started for home.


            Mithras has said she would had to have done it to herself, though that might not be what he meant at the time. Everyone I’d talked to in fact had said that the only person who could have done it was her, but there was a problem there. She didn’t have the arm strength, in my experience, to smash someone’s face in. I then thought of what the Fat Man had said about sending Hardrock and Cocoa and Joe to beat someone. They would get carried away, they would kill someone instead of just scaring them. Christmas wouldn’t have been able to do it, but they would have.


            It would of course take a cop to fake paper work, and check her double in as Christmas of course. Noonan wouldn’t bend for money, nor power, but he might for Christmas. He had fallen in love with her too, in a more unrequited way than I had, and he would have sacrificed everything for her if she asked him to. And then someone had shot him in the back, to cover him up along with the rest of this case.


            I didn’t like where my mind was going with this, it seemed like there was no other alternative though. She had wanted to get away, out from under, and this would get her out from under. The only problem for her would be getting away, making sure that no one knew that she’d done this. I pulled around to my street and saw something that was worse than the last sight I saw in a parking lot. A big black SUV was parked in my driveway, the doors hanging open. For that matter, my front door was hanging open too. I pulled out the Webley as I walked up the drive, intending to shoot Smith through the head. I got to the front door and found that I was too late.


            He was face down on the ground, blocking the door with his body. He had been walking out of my place when someone decided that he had lived on the earth long enough. I bent down and looked at the small black hole behind his right ear, where a river of blood was pooling and permanently staining my welcome mat. The bullet had gone out through his left eye and broken his big stupid mirrored sunglasses, which now hung limply from his right ear. I couldn’t help but notice the spent shell sitting about three feet away on the carpet. I stood up and noticed another body in my living room.


            I walked in and looked at another agent, with three shots in his chest. He must have been about fifteen and had he lived, shaving would come soon. His gun hadn’t been out so he hadn’t been expecting it. She probably pushed that little Drexel into Smith’s ear, pulled the trigger and then turned to shoot the young agent before he knew what was going on. My shoulders slumped as I looked at the two of them, looking so damn pathetic.


            I heard the sound of a car engine pulling up in my driveway and walked out to greet whoever it was that had come to visit me. Church emerged from his big black Mercedes and looked at me with annoyance. The large white bandage that had been applied to his nose helped him look even more annoyed. He had his gun in hand, and I noticed that he was alone, which probably meant that Opus really wasn’t working with him. I put the Webley back behind my back and he slid his automatic under his coat. He looked at the SUV and then at me.

            “Agent Smith?” He asked, sounding odd because of the packing in his broken nose.


            “Is no more.” I said. “He has departed this world of tears and has gone to the big dress shop in the sky, where all the federal agents look good in chiffon and none of them have to tuck.”


            “She killed them, didn’t she?” He asked.


            “That’s a pretty sudden conclusion to come to.” I said wanting to pull the gun back out. “Considering you just got here and I’ve been investigating for three days.”


            “Tell me I’m wrong.” He said looking at me with a hard pair of eyes, reminding me again that he had been underestimated before. “Tell me that she didn’t decide to get rid of everyone around her in the mistaken idea that killing us all would make her free.”


            “Maybe.” I said, and I felt my shoulders slump again. “But I think there’s more than that.”


            “What else?” He asked.


            “I don’t know.” I countered, which was a brilliant verbal parry in my opinion. I then followed with a thrust. “I intend to find out though.”


            “How?” He asked, which I must admit was a question I hadn’t thought to pose to myself.


            “Never you mind.” I said, translating the age old ‘I have no idea’ into something more palatable. “I’ve got a plan, I just need a little room to maneuver.”


            “You’re only going to get a little, tiny bit of room.” He said looking at my front door.


            “I know that.” I said, wondering if I sounded as full of shit as I felt. “But you’ll have to give me as much as you can.”


            “I’ll see what I can do.” He said looking at me over the white bandages and then at my door again. “You know we’re going to have to either take her in or take her down right?”


            “Yes.” I said, trying to decide if I could just shoot Church and blame everything on him. “I guess we won’t have much choice in the matter.”


            “I’ll be going then. I don’t want to be around if Smith’s friends decide to show up.” And with that he turned on his heel and walked to his car and left. It occurred to me later that I could have shot him right there and then made up any kind of story I liked.


            I looked over my shoulder and decided I didn’t want to be here when Smith’s friends came to get him either. I got into my car and decided to drive back to the office, and then nixed that idea because Smith’s other friends were busy bleeding out onto the pavement. This certainly wasn’t going to look good for me when it was all written down and everyone decided not to believe my side of the story. My phone rang and I pulled it out and pressed it to my ear without looking at the number.


            “Yeah?” I asked.


            “Oh darling.” Christmas said in her most plaintive voice. “I’ve just driven by your office, are you okay?”


            “Yeah.” I said, nodding “What happened at my place though?”


            “They came and said they were going to take me away.” She said in a panicky voice. “I got scared. They said they were going to lock me up for my own good and I had the gun in my purse and that Smith man was being so mean. It just sort of happened. I didn’t mean to kill him, but he broke down the door and he was threatening me and I shot him.”


            “It’s okay.” I said cursing myself for not checking the door like a professional should. “If he broke down the door then it was an illegal entry and you acted in self defense. We just have to work up a decent story is all.”


            “I’m just so scared.” She said. “I thought I saw Opus following me a little while ago. Church knows I’m alive and he’s sent Opus to kill me.”


            “Calm down.” I said, trying to sound soothing. “Church only knows what I’ve told him and I haven’t told him anything. Church is in the dark vis you.”


            “He knows I’m alive.” She pleaded, and then her tone changed slightly, “You have to help me kill him. We have to kill him and then we can be free of all this. We’ll go away somewhere, just you and I.”


            “We can probably find a way to make sure he goes away or something.” I said, trying not to whine. “I don’t want there to be anymore killing.”


            “Well, I don’t know of anyone we can trust who could arrest Church.” She was on the verge of panicking again.


            “Just calm down.” I said, trying to sooth again. “Where are you? I’ll come get you and we can just sit down and talk it out, okay?”


            “Okay.” She said. “I’m at the mall, near the food court.”


            “I’ll be there in a few minutes.” I said, and headed to the most secret public meeting place in the world.


This is part twenty-two of twenty-five, come back tomorrow for part twenty-three 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 22, 2008 Posted by | Fiction | | Leave a comment

And a happy new year

You know what pisses me off?

SHUT UP! Don’t you start listing things yet! It was just an introductory sentence! Don’t you sass me.

What pisses me off when some ignorant fuck claims that saying “Happy Holidays” is stupid and doesn’t carry the weight or have the same value that “Merry Christmas” does and thus people should stop using it. One assumes they say this because being inclusive sucks and besides Christianity is the only REAL religion anyway so you should all just do what they say because it’ll be easier that way. Yeah, once again I’m going after the use of Christmas as a cultural cudgel thing. C’mon! It’s December! It’s a VEWPRF tradition. You didn’t think I was going to go the whole year without going to town on them at least once did you? Think of how disappointed the children would be if I didn’t. Their big eyes, weeping, like a dark haired youth who didn’t get Optimus Prime from Santa despite being a good boy all year.

Anyway, back to people who try to tell me I mean “Merry Christmas” on the few occasions I can get my head above wanting to kill everyone around me and say “Happy Holidays” to another human. This is more of a conceptual complaint, fueled by ignorant people on the internet than a literal ‘this happened to me’ experience because the last time I bothered to actually wish a stranger well was in 1997 and it didn’t end well. Frankly, I still claim he shouldn’t have said “Don’t you mean Merry Christmas” in that tone and that what happened to him is between him, his God and those delightful natives who claimed he pulled a knife on me and I had to do it.

I’m sure these people have nothing against Jews, Muslims, Pagans or Atheist… BUT* they are bringing the whole party down by just existing. Also, fuck them for insisting what I should or shouldn’t say. Telling me to say Merry Christmas (as evidenced by this post) will only earn you a great big “Fuck you and I hope you die in a fire asshole.” There is also an unspoken complaint here, these douche suckers are claiming someone has forced them to stop saying Merry Christmas and is making then, at gunpoint, say Happy Holidays. They rarely come out and say it like that these days, because people like me now have a habit of saying “If the words ‘War on Christmas’ escape your lips I swear I will kill you in ways that will force both science and the law to come up with new terms to express my cruelty.” They do like to insinuate though, and they come off as assholes every time. Someone in the majority trying to get the people in the minority to conform and quit causing trouble is just another asshole anyway.

I don’t mind people saying “Merry Christmas” to me, no really, I don’t. Seriously! I only mind whenever someone insists that I need to say or not say something. And I get really pissed when someone acts like the whole nation said Merry Christmas before 1978 when this whole “Happy Holidays” thing was invented. Here is the thing, Happy Holidays is older than you. It’s older than me, it’s older than any of us, unless you were born in a year that starts with 18. The first Christmas Card that was printed with the slogan “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” were printed when Victoria was still the Queen of England. Anyone bitching about the phrase like it’s something new is someone who is ignorant, pure and simple. Either that, or they’re liars. I’m going for they’re all a pack of fucking liars, because they are.

Also, fuck these bitches for claiming that only “Merry Christmas” gives the impression that the speaker is more interested in the brotherhood of man than other phrases spoken by other people. Any semi-positive phrase can work that magic if spoken correctly. That’s the awesome thing about spoken language. Inflection and speed add so much to the words that come off cold and dispassionate on paper. I could make “Your new haircut looks nice” sound like a marriage proposal given the right context tone and energy. Claiming that only these two specific words can do the work proves that they are liars and just wants to push forward their stupid, tiny minded agenda. I suppose it could also be that they’re just plain unlearned in the use of words, but I find you can’t go wrong when you claim these culture warriors are being intellectually dishonest. It’s sort of like asking where bears defecate and the religious preferences of the Pope.

People like this like to claim that no one would get angry is someone said Happy Hanukkah or anything except of course for the fact that people did, last year. 10 people arrested for beating up some Jews for not wishing them the culturally dominate holiday’s greetings. An isolated incident? Perhaps, but it shows that anyone who says you won’t get beat for not saying “Merry Christmas” are clearly liars. And as we know, lies make the Baby Jesus cry.

Making the Baby Jesus cry… on his pretend birthday. How can these fuckers live with themselves? Of course badly tuned pianos, Mothra, new shoes and bacon are known to make the Baby Jesus cry, because the Baby Jesus has fucking colic. Also, Jesus was born in June. You fucking people ripped off the feast of Mithras in order to get Romanized Pagans to sign on. So get over yourselves. The trees, wreathes, candles, bells, sex in the street, big meal, presents and virgin birth are all stolen from filthy fucking pagans who stank of patchouli and sang folk songs so stop acting like you invented something.

Believe me though, I sympathize with the Baby Jesus crying his head off. I know the feeling of wanting to vent unapproved feelings every five minutes like the little Baby J. It’s only the ludicrously pinko liberal laws we have in this country that stop me from grabbing a Tire Thumper and claiming that everyone in the whole world is a tire to prevent voiding the warranty. And believe you me, Santa is going to get it first. Santa is a fucker. I’m going to get Santa, then behead him, then tie the head to the bow of my ship just like Robert Maynard. That will be the most hard core VEWPRF for like EVER! Motherfucker would know that I was serious about that Optimus Prime figure after that! All those milk and cookies have made him soft, he’s gonna be a push over. I’ve watched Home Alone 37 time already, I’ve got my traps laid. The Fat Man is going DOWN!

Where was I? I seem to have lost my train of thought…

Oh yeah! When you simply walk up and assume that the phrase “Merry Christmas” meant well, with genuine spirit of the season behind it is going to be met with similar feeling then it will be. At least with me and pretty much all the people I know. I can tell when someone is wishing me well and when they’re being a dick. Saying “Happy Holidays” in the same vein will also gain a likewise response. Even wishing me a “Blessed Yule” will get a smile and a same to you sort of response. Again, the awesome thing about spoken language! You can vary how you say things and make the same sentence carry different meanings. If you say it right, you’ll get the right response.

It’s this insistence that one phrase is more important than another that annoys me. It’s the idea that those of us who aren’t Christian are somehow preventing all those poor widdle Christians from saying the word Christmas. It’s the lies that offend me most, that and the fact that I never did get that Optimus Prime figure. Even when I did get one, years later, it was broken in the box and when I returned it there were no more so I STILL don’t have one.

Honestly, I can’t wait for all these idiots to be eaten by their own children or struck by lightning fired from a vengeful (or possibly just bored) feeling Zeus, or buried alive by the decent Christians who think these assholes are making all Christians look bad. It would be nice if people could just say “Merry Christmas” without worrying that someone is going to think they’re another bible thumping asshole who wants to force people to assimilate to their ways. It would take a load off my mind if we could just have Christmas back without all the dickheads insisting that it must be celebrated the way they say and it must be shoved down everyone’s throat whether they like it or not.

Most the Christians I have met in life (say 89%) fit into the group that I like to call “Decent fucking people” and it saddens me to see them worrying that any expression of their faith is going to lump them in with a bunch of semen garglers who just can’t just relax and let things be groovy. It really makes me angry that these people have caused my father, who really loved Christmas even more than I used to, say “Fuck Christmas. Those assholes ramming it down everyone’s throat made it not fun anymore.” You can’t begin to understand how angry hearing him say those words made me. Or maybe you can, some of you know me fairly well by now. Also, I have just spent roughly 1,600 words saying so.

Anyway, my point is…
Lies! They make the Baby Jesus cry.

While this one I bought a couple of years ago and had to return because it was broken is now way out of anyone’s price range… I still sort of want an Optimus Prime figure**.

*As we all know when someone says “I don’t mind (group) BUT…” then something bigoted is going to come out of their mouths.
**Only sort of really. It’s just my version of the Red Ryder 200 shot range model air rifle, except I didn’t get it. I got other stuff, and I moved on with my life.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment