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Wonderland (Part Nine)

Wonderland

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

 

Part Nine: Putting Together Pieces

 

            “He didn’t do anything,” I said. “Someone is trying to make him the fall guy for some nasty business they pulled and I don’t want to let them.”

 

            “That’s what you’d like?” she asked, putting her hands on her magnificent hips that no suit would ever hide.

 

            “Believe me, that’s not how I’d like to spend my one favor from you,” I told her. “The sort of favor I would like from you involves the sort of thing that I’m not even sure I’ve got the stamina for at this point. Maybe that’s why I’m wasting my favor, because I want to wait until I’ve got full strength in both my hands and legs.”

 

            “You want to get him immunity?” she asked, ignoring my implication.

 

            “Yes.”

 

            “What about you?”

 

            “What about me?” I asked. “So far no one has tried to frame me.”

 

            “What do you want for all of this?”

 

            “Oh, virtue is its own reward Miss Liddell,” I said smiling.

 

            “If that were true, we wouldn’t need big cash rewards for information.”

 

            “You know, it’s very sad to see a young woman like you being so cynical,” I informed her.

 

            “Yes well, the justice system will do that to you.” 

 

            “Can you call your bosses and stuff?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah,” she said nodding. “But I’m going to keep wondering what you want out of this.”

 

            “Okay,” I said smiling at her. “You keep wondering if it isn’t obvious.”

 

            “I’ll see you later the,” she said and turned to walk out of the office.

 

            I rubbed my chin with my left hand, trying to decide how much trouble we really were in. I suppose I wasn’t really in any trouble, I wasn’t going to be wanted by anyone, at least not for official reasons, and that was an interesting point. There was only one reason I could think of that would cause that situation, but it didn’t seem to fit the evidence at hand. That meant either my evidence was bad, or I was paranoid.

 

            To be perfectly frank, calling myself paranoid was getting a little old, so I decided that some of the evidence at hand must have been flawed. Having made that decision with only a tiny bit of proof to back me up, I pulled open the second drawer on the left and shuffled through it for a few seconds. I got out a small notebook where I had a great deal of numbers written down that I didn’t care to get rid of. Why I still keep a little black book instead of leaving the numbers on my computer is a mystery to most people, including myself. It’s an odd little compulsion that being shot just hasn’t made go away. I flipped through it until I found a number and called it.

 

            “Hello?” Amy Heart said as her line connected.

           

            “Hello Miss Heart,” I said into the phone. “I was wondering if you were free?”

           

            “I’m very, very expensive,” she said, and I could hear the smile warm her voice like a candle under a snifter of brandy. “However, I’m not busy. Why?”

 

            “Well I was hoping I could see you for a little while.”

 

            “Well, I’m across the street right now,” she said, which caused me to turn my chair around a little too suddenly. “You spin around like that and you could rip the phone out of the wall.”

 

            “You’re watching?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah,” she said. “I’m supposed to see if you know where Peter Rabbit is.”

 

            “Well I do,” I said scanning the buildings to see if I could spot her. “Why don’t you come over? We can talk about it.”

 

            “Really?” she asked. “I’ll have to tell Mister Cat.”

 

            “Okay,” I said nodding. “Where are you anyways?”

 

            “Me to know,” she said and hung up suddenly.

 

            It occurred to me, once again, that she tended to act like people acted in movies. It was like she had never really had contact with the real world and only experienced what it should look like through television. If nothing else, it would explain her warped view of the world. I hung my phone up and turned back around so I was facing the door. I didn’t really need to get a gun, because the fact of the matter was that she’d been infatuated with me from our first meeting. Fortunately, something had always gotten in the way of us having to discuss any outcome of that infatuation, because I’d hate to be on her bad side. With my new rule about nut jobs in place though, it could get messy.

 

            A few moments went by and the door opened with Amy coming through. The problem with my rules and with Amy as a whole is that while she’s insane, she’s also very attractive. I’m fairly certain that if she weren’t crazy as a waltzing mice dancing across a cheese stick taped to a nuclear bomb, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be the object of her desire. Of course, if I was right about her, the fact that her sense of loyalty seemed to involve killing people for me made me rethink our prospects.

 

            She reached into her coat and pulled out a Ruger with a silencer for a barrel, set it down on the edge of my desk and sat in the left hand client chair. If she wanted to shoot me, she would have to flick her hand five inches to get that thing. She smiled at me though, and that smile told me I was still in her good graces.

 

            “I hope you don’t mind,” she said shifting in the chair, her voice liked honeyed silk. “That thing pokes into my side when I sit down in these chairs.”

 

            “No problem,” I said, smiling at her. “You had a busy night last night.”

 

            “Yeah,” she nodded. “Cat works me hard.”

 

            “You sure?” I asked.

 

            “What do you mean by that?” she asked.

 

            “Well, it just seems that Mister Cat would rather blame someone who actually has a couple of kills on his record than some junkie porn star for that slaughter of yours,” I said. “I also think that Mister Cat wouldn’t subject someone who can call him Chester to what you guys did last night. He wouldn’t beat up an old friend like that and he wouldn’t frame him either.””

 

            “Oh no?” she asked, resting her hand on the desk, the tip of her middle finger touching the gun.

 

            “Even if he didn’t like Peter, he does like Flopsy,” I said leaning back and trying to remember why it was I tend to put guns in the safe. “So I have a hypothesis.”

 

            “Really?”

 

            “Yeah,” I said. “I think you became the boss. I think when you took out The Duchess you decided to become the queen. You’re not going to be someone’s protégé anyhow. You already know how to kill people.”

 

            “How did you ever get to be so smart?” she asked.

 

            “Lucky,” I smiled, ignoring the lie of calling me smart. “So why did you make Peter bury those five other heads?”

 

            “Well it was his fault wasn’t it?” she asked. “All of that was really caused by him and his problems. I mean they told us how he helped them arrange it. So he should have to pay for it.”

 

            “So you made him bury the other heads?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah,” she said. “And I had Chester write down the location of each one after having Peter get his prints all over lots of things that will incriminate him later.”

 

            “Why slaughter all six of them though?”

 

            “Because they beat you up,” she said. “I don’t like that.”

 

            “Where is the sixth body then?” I asked.

 

            “Oh, you darling,” she ran a finger along her cheek in a way that was suggestive. “I didn’t think you’d notice all that. We’ve got it on ice somewhere, in case I need it. I mean if I needed to finish Peter up I would have it.”

 

            “But I screwed that up huh?”

 

            “Not completely,” she said. “I could still frame him.”

 

            “Could we not frame him?” I asked.

 

            “What do you have in mind?” she asked.

 

            I told her.

 

Amy left a little over an hour later, leaving me her calling card. This isn’t a euphemism, but rather a small card with her name on it. This was one of the things that led me to believe that Amy was the sort of person who had learned about humanity from books and movies. It was a relic from the Edwardian era, just a card with her name and where she could be found. No phone number, but the location of a hotel written in her hand. It had a device I recognized though, a small heraldic unicorn was rampant in the upper left hand corner of the card, which was the emblem of the group she was working with.

 

            I forget what UNICORN is supposed to stand for, and I suspect that whatever it does stand for was shoehorned into the name which was undoubtedly picked first. I had heard about the group a few times, Smith had muttered about them once or twice in our dealings. He had muttered them because when the Tweedle Twins had their big breakup there was talk that the fallout between them had been because of the group.

 

            It was nice to know that Amy had found herself in with such an interesting group of lunatics, but it worried me too. This wasn’t just a matter of getting Amy angry at me after all, it was getting an entire gang that did naughty things for a living angry. I’m not a panicky person, I’ve pointed guns at the likes of Church after all, but one doesn’t remain healthy and happy by annoying large international syndicates that the authorities like to pretend don’t exist.

 

This is part nine of twelve, come back next week for part ten 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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February 26, 2009 - Posted by | Fiction, Jack |

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