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Wonderland (Part Eight)


A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!



Part Eight: Alice in Wonderment


            I barely gave Debbie her required nod as I went into my inner office and saw Alice sitting in what is the left hand my client chair as I face them from my desk. It amazes me how some people can sit in a chair, and other people can make it seem like the chair is being graced with their presence. Alice however looked like she wasn’t even aware the chair was there, that she had just sat down expecting something would catch her.


            If I didn’t have a rule against dating sworn officers of the law and psychopaths, I would have fallen in love with her on the spot. I’ve had the rule about officers ever since I’d first met Smith, deciding that anyone with a badge couldn’t be worth the hassle. I only added the second part of that rule as part of a New Year’s resolution. Still, maybe if I offered to do her on the desk, that wouldn’t be a date. No, I had to be strong. That wasn’t the good and proper way to treat a professional woman, but damned if I could help thinking it anyway.


            “Do I call you Miss Liddell?” I asked as I sat down at my desk.


            “Alice will do.” She said and smiled. “Do you know where Peter is?”


            “Peter?” I asked, trying to look dumbfounded. “Peter who? Peter and the Wolf? Peter Pan? Peter Pumpkin eater? Possibly you mean Peter Cottontail. I can assure you that he is hopping down the bunny trail.”


            “Okay.” She said, smiling sweetly, which went a good way to lowering my defenses. “I’ll assume you know but don’t want to tell me.”


            “Or I was just trying to be amusing.” I said smiling back at her.


            “Is he safe?” She asked, looking serious for a moment.


            “Yes.” I looked at the ceiling and then nodded.


            “Okay.” She smiled at me again, a little less worried than she’d been a moment before. “Can I see him?”


            “I said he was safe.” I told her. “I never said I know where he is.”


            “Do you?”


            “Where were you all morning?”


            “Well, I had to report didn’t I?” She asked. “And then they had to go tell the police what happened and start an investigation and everything.”


            “I thought you wanted to get Mister Rabbit’s business partners.”


            “Are you saying you’ve come all this way and not heard about it?” She narrowed her eyes incredulously.


            “Heard about what?” I asked.


            “If you know Peter is safe, how can you not know about what happened last night?”


            “Well,” I said, trying not to look to self amused. “The bunny trail is a very safe place to hop.”


            The look of confusion on her face was worth it. Anytime I can achieve that look, the day has not been wasted. I think it’s the furled brow I enjoy so much.


            “What?” she asked.


            “Well I did tell you that Peter Cottontail was hopping down the bunny trail.” I said.


            “If you’re going to make fun of me.” She stood up, which put a lot of parts of her body into motion. I’m not even a little ashamed to say I noticed as it proves there is still blood moving in my veins.


            “Sit down.” I said standing up as well, just to show her that I wasn’t incapable of motion.


            “Why?” She asked, sounding angry.


            “Because I want to know what you know.”


            “I know a lot of things.” She said, crossing her arms across her chest. “You’ll have to meet me half way at least. I mean I’ve got a badge, but I figured that would just make you resentful. I mean I know women aren’t supposed to have jobs and certainly shouldn’t have any authority or anything, it always makes boys angry when I flash the badge.”


            Ah, so that was the problem, she’d never been taken seriously. That was good, because I’ve always had the big gun for that one. I sat back in my chair, because my leg was starting to hurt, and smiled up at her as a laced my hands behind me.


            “You’ve got me all wrong.” I said grinning.


            “Really?” She asked.


            “Yeaup.” I said with a sharp nod. “I’ve always thought women should work. No one should have to be beholden to anyone else. Women should work as much as men. I prefer it when everyone is even and equal, that’s the only time anyone is ever honest. If everyone knows the other could just walk out at any moment, everyone behaves a little better. It’s only when both parties are independent that you get any really good sex.”


            I then, having appealed to her sense of sexual fairness, went in for the kill. The kill is always good, and I pretty much had her anyway. I was only really going in for the kill because she was dressed in a good suit and if I needed a professional favor from her, the best time to ask for it would be when I’d complimented her for dressing like a professional.


            “Besides, I like how women look in professional clothes. Business suits conceal and enhance in ways most people just don’t appreciate.”


            “Oh.” She said blushing so deeply that I wondered if her hands were the same bright red as her entire head and neck seemed to be.


            “So why don’t you and I just talk like professionals who are more or less on the same level with each other and be honest?”


            “Okay.” She said sitting, and still blushing. One day I’m going to do this to a young woman in front of another man so he can ask how I do that.


            “So what happened last night then?” I asked, trying to get her to tell me everything without my telling her anything if I could get away with it.


            “Did you meet Chester Cat last night?”


            “Yes.” I nodded.




            “Before Peter and I called you on our way to the garage.” I said.


            “Did you see his little assistant?”


            “Yeah.” I nodded. “He was with her at the time.”


            “Well.” She said with a sigh. “When we got to the warehouse, they were there waiting for us. The Heart woman was putting the head of one of those men that attacked us on a tripod. When we came in and saw what was going on, Cat came up behind us with guns in his hands and told us to keep quite. Then Heart hit Peter a couple of times and told me to go home.”


            “Did you?” I asked.


            “Cat took me to my car and watched me drive off.” She said. “I went to the office and told them what had happened. I made a pretty full report of what I knew. It took a little while, but they got with the Detroit police and found out where the Wonderland Gang hung out. There were five decapitated bodies. I guess they took all five heads away with them, because they didn’t find them at the scene.”


            “There were six of them there when we went there.” I said opening my desk drawer and looking at the envelope. “And if it doesn’t go beyond you and me, I shot part of Jabber’s ear off.”


            “We didn’t find any bullets.” She said.


            “Some one took them out of the wall, placed them in an envelope, and left it at my office.” I said taking the envelope from my pocket and tossing it on the desk. “Of course my providence on this envelope is very shaky. What this means though, is that one of the six either ran in the two minutes tops that we weren’t in that house or they have a hostage somewhere.”


            I said this all without voicing my privately held suggestion that they had a headless corpse lying around for an emergency. I didn’t want to upset Alice unduly if I didn’t have to.


            “Why would they need a hostage?”


            “I have no idea.” I said, shaking my head. “It’s totally possible that when I shot Jabber in the ear one of them ran.”


            “That girl.” She suggested, “They had a nervous looking girl with them.”


            “No.” I shook my head. “Can’t be her.”


            “Why not?”


            “Because your bosses are already using identification marks besides her head to confirm her identity.” I said, trying not to show what a god damned idiot I was. Smart people don’t fuck up like this.


            “How do you know it’s not her?” She asked coldly.


            “I just know.” I said shaking my head. “It’s a lucky guess that she wouldn’t run is all.”


            “Jack.” She said leaning towards me. “Don’t make me take off my belt and beat you.”


            “Why not?” I asked. “Your pants would fall down and besides, you have no idea how kinky I am. I might like that sort of thing.”


            Not only did she blush, her eyes bulged to their maximum size. I then leaned forward so that the two of us were very close, I decided to whisper because of the closeness.


            “Look Alice.” I said, trying to sound like a conspirator. “Peter is safe, but I’m very worried that someone is trying to frame him.”


            “Is this still Mister Cottontail?” She asked with a sharp snap.


            “No.” I said shaking my head and smiling at her in that special way. “Mister Rabbit.”


            “Mister Peter Rabbit is safe?”


            “Yes.” I said letting my dark eyes drill into her.


            “Do you know where he is?” She asked. “Have you spoken with him?”


            “He’s safe.” I said.


            “What do I need to do to get you to tell me anything?” She leaned closer and pressed the tip of her nose to mine. “What do I need to do for you Mister Collier?”


            Her tone suggested that I might make several interesting proposals to that question. I would have made several extremely unprofessional suggestions to that, but I have a rule against dating people with a badge. I moved my head around hers and whispered into her ear.


            “Talk to the Federal Prosecutors.” I said moving my lips to they brushed her ear lobe. “Tell them that Peter will turn state’s evidence in return for any possible wrong doings.”


            “What?” She pulled back and was suddenly standing up straight.



This is part eight of twelve, come back next week for part nine 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.

February 20, 2009 - Posted by | Fiction, Jack |

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