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Wonderland (Part Five)

Wonderland

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

 

Part Five: Awaken Dream Child

 

            I woke up to the sound to my phone ringing, which is never a good sign. Only a limited number of people have my cell number, and only one of them would bother calling me around the time I get up in the morning. However, I don’t like just picking up the phone so I checked the caller ID window anyway. It was Debbie’s cell phone, which was a little surprising because she normally calls to ask me if I’m coming into the office. It was too early for her even to be at the office though, which meant something else must have been going on.

 

            “Yeah?” I asked as I pressed the phone against the side of my head.

 

            “What the hell happened last night?” she asked, in a voice filled with more indignation than I knew she had.

 

            “Um, lots of stuff?” I asked.

 

            “Is she still in bed with you?” she asked.

 

            “Sadly,” I said with a heavy sigh, “two women sort of came on to me at different parts of the night and yet I still ended up alone.”

 

            “Poor baby.”

 

            “Why do you want to know what happened last night?” I asked.

 

            “Mister Flopston Rabbit has called me three times now,” she growled with all the anger of a woman who had been denied two hours of sleep. “It seems that his brother and secretary are missing.”

 

            “Oh yeah?” I lifted my right hand to wipe my face. The pain made me stop and I decided to go forgo that activity for the moment. “Did he mention his merchandise?”

 

            “Nooooo,” she said, drawing it out.

 

            “Okay,” I said biting my limp in lieu of being able to rub my chin. “I’ll give him a call then and we’ll see what’s going on. I’m sorry they woke you up, you can probably take the morning off if you want.”

 

            “Well, I’m up now,” she complained.

 

            “Well then take the afternoon off,” I suggested. “I’m doing my best to offer you compensation.”

 

            “Are you coming to the office?” she asked, sighing slightly.

 

            “Probably, I’ll have to see what Rabbit wants first and find out if I need to go sort anything out for him.”

 

            “Call me at the office when you know something,” she ordered.

 

            “Alright,” I agreed, because while I’m not the sort of boss who lets his secretary organize his entire life, I see no profit in arguing for argument’s sake. “Talk to you later.”

 

            “Alright, bye.”

 

            “Bye-bye.” I said, as I have always done no matter how silly it sounds for a grown man to perform the verbal equivalent to waving at a person when you leave the room.

 

            I got out of bed, walked to the bathroom and did the sorts of things a person does in the morning. I’m not going to describe them, because you don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to tell you. The details would be pointless anyway. Suffice it to say that I was clean, free of internal physical pressures and without facial hair when I left the bathroom.

 

            I picked up the foam rubber ball that sat on my dresser and squeezed it a few times in my right hand. I managed to squeeze it fifty times before my hand started to ache which was progress. I’d been adding a few more squeezes each week and had gotten myself up to that. Soon I would be able to start lifting dumbbells again and my right arm might start to look less like a withered stick version of my left arm.

 

            After my morning workout, I picked up my cell phone and gave Mister Rabbit a call. He must have been on edge because the phone only rang once before it picked up and his voice quavered in my ear. If you never heard an actual quaver in a person’s voice, I don’t suggest you try to induce it, it isn’t pleasant.

 

            “Collier?” he quavered at me.

 

            “That’s right Mister Rabbit,” I said, trying to sound confident and alert and not at all in need of several cups of coffee, two of which should have Irish cream in them if we’re already dreaming. “I understand you can’t find Peter and Mary Ann.”

 

            “That’s right.”

 

            “Well I only left them about,” I checked my bed side clock, “maybe seven hours ago? I’ve not even had five hours of sleep, so I would suggest that you check their beds.”

 

            “I have, hours ago.” I could swear I heard him shudder through the phone. “I’m afraid something might have happened to them.”

 

            “What?” I asked, making a decision not to expose the fact that I knew what was really in the chocolate eggs. “Did they run off with the merchandise? When they left me, Peter was driving your stuff back in the truck those mutants used to take it away in.”

 

            “No,” he said impatiently. “The truck was outside the warehouse when I got to the warehouse. We checked it and it seems that everything is intact.”

 

            “So what’s the problem?”

 

            “I think you should come down here, it would be better if I could talk to you face to face.” He sounded a little frantic. “It’s not something I want to discuss on the phone.”

 

            “Oh Fuckmonkeys,” I muttered. “How bad? Should I call for support, or look out for people following me?”

 

            “No,” he quavered, which is not a nice thing to hear. “It’s not like that, and no one should be following yet.”

 

            I had another one of those moments that people sometimes report having, where they can see the future. I knew that all those kids in that Wonderland Hovel were dead, and I knew that Mister Cat and Amy Heart had killed them. I was sure that Rabbit knew that too, even though he’d claim otherwise, which is why he didn’t want to discuss it over the phone. Of course I will continue to tell myself that this is just deductive reasoning, because if I’m to rely on psychic powers I might as well quit now.

 

            I called the office and told Debbie that I was going to go and see Mister Rabbit at his warehouse. I then got in the car and drove down to Mt. Clemens, which I still find slightly distressing. It’s not that the place is as dingy as Detroit can be, but it’s smaller and far more pokey. When Detroit started to go downhill, it hurt towns like this and made them freeze in place and stop almost dead. While it’s still a county seat, as a town it’s barely holding on and mostly because of the county being seated there. The small town center might have thrived once, but people abandoned the small city and went to live in the suburbs, leaving it bereft.

 

            When I drove up to the warehouse I saw the truck parked outside, but no one was actually doing anything. It’s always a bad sign when three people are just standing together looking at something inside a warehouse. I got out and walked towards the small gathering and then saw why they were just standing there. It must have been shock for them, but I don’t shock so easy. Seeing young Jabber Walker’s head on what looked like a camera tripod didn’t stop me like it clearly stopped them. There was a lot of blood smeared on the floor, as if there had been people moving around in the blood. I looked around to see if anyone was looking and then started to shove them inside the building.

 

            “What the hell?’ Rabbit asked as I shoved.

 

            “You want the whole neighborhood to see?” I asked as pressed the button to close the large rolling door. “When did you discover this?”

 

            “When I called you.” Rabbit’s voice was still quavering.

 

            “Anyone been here since?”

 

            “No,” he said shaking his head.

 

“Okay.” I realized that if I didn’t call the police soon I would be officially in trouble. I was going to have to either call them soon or not let them know I was here at all. “Have you been to Peter’s house?”

 

            “No,” Rabbit said shaking his head. “Bill banged on his door a while ago, but I haven’t been there.”

 

            “Okay,” I nodded and looked at the two assistants. “Bill isn’t it?”

 

            “Yeah,” Bill said.

 

            “Could you go see if Peter’s at his house?”

 

            “Sure,” he said, anxious to get away.

 

            “Take Pat with you,” I said as I turned back to Jabber’s severed head. It was a ragged cut, the spine looked like it had been torn away.

 

            “Okay,” Pat said and the two of them left in a hurry.

 

            When they were gone I bent down and looked at the smears of blood, which weren’t very old but weren’t exactly new either. I had a feeling I knew where Peter had gone, and I had a feeling I knew who had taken him. I was a little worried about where Alice might be though, if Mister Cat and Miss Heart had discovered she wasn’t called Mary Ann, it might be going badly for her right now.

 

            “You said gold coins,” I said to him as I turned to face him.

 

            “Yes?” Rabbit said.

 

            “Heroin isn’t a Krugerrand, nor is it a gold sovereign,” I told him. “And now you’ve got Mister Cat decapitating people and delivering the head to you.”

 

            “I didn’t tell him to do that!” Rabbit nearly howled. “They were supposed to find out where they’d taken my merchandise.”

 

            “And they just happened to decapitate one or more of them and bring the head or heads back here?”

 

            “Heads?” Rabbit asked.

 

            “There is a lot of blood here for just one head.” I told him while pointing. “My guess is they took all the heads away and after bringing them here, took the other heads away leaving this one.”

 

            “Why?” Rabbit asked.

 

            “Because that’s what a grinning lunatic like Chester Cat does,” I said frankly. “He and his little helper are very deranged and very dangerous. Why would you hire hit men to investigate for you anyway?”

 

            “Chester is an old friend,” Rabbit said. “He’s worked for me a lot off and on. He’s never done anything like this before.”

 

            “Never?” I asked

 

            “His kills are really quiet,” he said, and I could see tears in his eyes. “I’d never have anyone killed anyway, I don’t do that.”

 

            I was going to press the point some more when his phone rang. He grabbed it from his pocket and answered in a hurried voice. If anything, his voice quavering even more as he spoke.

 

            “Yes? Yes. Okay. I understand. We’ll be there in a moment.” He closed the phone and looked at Jabber and then me. “Peter’s at home now, he’s scared though and he won’t open the door. Bill thinks if we come over, you and I might persuade him out.”

 

            “Okay,” I said nodding slowly and glancing at Jabber’s head. “Let’s go see Peter then and find out where he’s been.”

 

 

This is part five of twelve, come back next week for part six and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Wonderland tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

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January 28, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Glass King

Charles VI of France was reportedly so nutty that at one time he became convinced he was made of glass and took precautions to protect himself. Every time I read that, I just think of him storing himself in a box with a Styrofoam cube that has been formed with a king shaped cavity on the inside. Then I think of him being carefully placed on a shelf in the closet and only being taken out for special occasions. Because that’s what my mind does. It makes jokes about the hell that is schizophrenia without my wanting it to. Poor guy was really, genuinely crazy and I’m making jokes. Not sort of crazy, not “you did a thing I wouldn’t do” crazy, not even he has bad days crazy but sheer blow-out “dude thinks he’s made of glass” batshit crazy.

And how do I react? I can’t help but make a joke about it.

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’d shout Kaaahn, but my throat hurts too much.

Dear universe,

Lay off you fucking whore’s douche!

Srsly!

I don’t need computers crashing, holidays happening, basements flooding, garages breaking, weddings, sickness and then having my father get laid off from a company he gave almost 20 years to. Just cut it the fuck out! Let me catch my breath for Bob’s sake.

Hugs and kisses,
me

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Because Obama won’t do it, I am declaring a universal sick day. Everyone, just stay home from work today. Stay in bed and be sick. This is not a holiday so DO NOT see family members. Family members never help anyone get better. They only stress you out and make you want to kill someone. That is unless it’s your carrying spouse/homie/step above fuckbuddy/whatever. However, since they’ll be laid up too, forget it.

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Syd is sick too, just less sever than me. She feel crap but she doesn’t have the chills then fever then chills then wash, then rinse then repeat that I’m having. Holly is healthy, and doing her best to provide soup and juice when we’re still a week from pay day. I’m avoiding them both as much as I can, I don’t want anyone to get my death germs. I’m selfish like that. It’s noble and shit, keeping oneself away so the sickness will only kill me. It does make one feel awfully lonely though.

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When I eat, I start to cough. When I cough, I do it so hard my body spasms. When my body spasms, my stomach spasms. When my stomach spasms, it freaks out. When it freaks out, I puke.

I’ve tasted an entire bread bowl of French onion soup twice now. Not fun. Also, a lot of ginger ale and orange juice has gone away too.

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Good sick drink. Get a big glass and pour in an ounce or two of orange juice, then pour in a can of gingerale or other strongly effervescing drink. It tastes of orange, but it fizzes like crazy. Awesome.

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Instead of grossing you out further, I’m going to go watch more TV.

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If I don’t live through this, tell my folks that I was alive all this time but I couldn’t be bothered to get in touch with them.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do not forsake me oh my darling, on this our weeding day.

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Lots of pictures from Greenfield Village will now commence. (Circa May 2008 )

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Put this in sepia, and then faded the color out again because the program I use thinks sepia is a mixture of brown and orange.

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Nothing much changed here.

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Took the color away, messed with the contrast, probably one or two other things.

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Sepia, brightness, color fade

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Pumped the color all the way up, and i think I put up the blue gama a bit too, but that mgiht be another shot.

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I think I punched the color saturation up here too.

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Took away the color, pumped up the black, played with the brightness.

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BLah, blah, blah spoons, blah blah blah sword fish, blah blah blah sharpness filter.

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No changes.

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color

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Part 17

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A big dry spot, very damn hot. This is just down the hill from the last spot
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First of the trees
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A bit off the desert
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Close-up of a bit of twig
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First sight of the dead trees
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Just some other shapes
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You see these markers? I started to hate these markers by this point. I fucking hated this trail at this point
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More stuff
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More dead trees
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And then I ran out of shots

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

I ponder while I’m puking

SO I’m shivering really bad right? Big time chills. Thermometer says 99.7, but what does it know? It said I was 100.1 earlier and I felt groovy. Then it said I was 96.5 and I felt too damn warm. I figure I’m either dead or the thermometer is insane. I bundle up because I want to see an episode of Poirot on YouTube to make sure I really want to buy it (I do) and then read this one article. Then I swear I’m on the couch and watching Nero Wolfe or some shit. Then I start coughing so bad that I actually have to run to the toilet with bile in my mouth. YUM! Awesome! I hope you can never eat again.

Anyway, the story (for the link phobic) is a review about Star Trek The Motion Picture. It’s pretty hard on it, but in a loving, comedy website sort of way. ANYWAY.

It gets me wondering, because these things do, if you were going to re-write the lyrics of We Didn’t Start the Fire using Sci-Fi references, how would you go about it?

I expect your answers by 5 pm, with YouTube linkable videos.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You know…

You know what the interesting thing about Space Nazis is? They’ve got no knees. As a race, they have only one long bone for their legs.

That’s why they goose step all the time.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

16

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I found the trees fascinating, because they’re sort of half dead. A lot of the branches only have a few leaves on them.

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Another Star thistle
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Some scrub and stuff.
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Close up of a branch
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Syd’s whatisit. No idea what this flower is and she wants to
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Part one of the longest damn walk. This was a hellish walk by the end because I was tired, and the heat sucked the life out of me. I had only a little bit of water and only kept going out of tenacity.
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A beach just a few yards away.
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Could shoot a spagetti western here.
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January 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Part 15 Beach

I’m feling sick today. Shoulder started acting up too. If it would behave the same I might be able to deal with it. One day it doesn’t want to move, other days it doesn’t want to move in different directions, and then OTHER days it just hurts if I put pressure on it. Pressure like leaning on a table (which is what happened when I hurt it) or pressure like brushing against the couch. FUN!

Anyway, let’s have some pictures while I cough up a lung.

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The beach and lake Michigan
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A leaf in sand
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Sand and more sand
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Stones under the water.
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Stones, not underwater.
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Surf and stones
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HUMANS! ON A BOAT! I decided that since I had to have people in the photos I might as well have get some shots.
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I tried to get as low on the water as I could, it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.
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My left foot
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Wet sand
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Dry sand and stones
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Holly tried to do her little three hearts stone thing in stones
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Did better in sand, have to get a shot of it on paper sometime.
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Plants
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More fucking sand!
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January 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Part 14

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So after we climbed the dune, we went on this little driving tour thingy.

Just the first spot we stopped to look at things.
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Second spot, I think this is over looking the big climbing dune
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This is a star thistle, almost the only flower that grows on the sandy dunes.
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Now this is the big drop area. I’m at the top here, the beach is about 500 feet down and is down a nearly 50 degree angle. Looks like the Bahamas doesn’t it? I found that you could shoot a lot of this plac eand make it look like you’re somewhere else.
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I’m essentially next to the tree in the last shot.
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People starting down the BIG hill, despite the signs warning you that it’s a bitch climbing back up. You might notice that I actually have people in these pictures. Normally I don’t but I couldn’t avoid it this time.
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That deck is for observation. I’ll be on it in a moment.
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That is the BIG hill.
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Just to the left, looks biblical don’t it?
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See those people? That’s not from an airplane, I’m on the deck in that photo a few shots ago. That’s how far away we are.
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I’m really trying to show how deep and far the hill is. I don’t think I managed, you should come see it instead.
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January 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment