I would like to quote the truest statement I’ve ever seen about complaints about Science Fiction, and it comes from a Cracked Article…
Don’t tell us we’re over-thinking this, damnit! That’s what sci-fi is for, to make us feel smarter than people watching other movies.
That’s it, right there. Two sentences and they’ve nailed the whole thing.
Have we had a few of these before?
Also, is it just me or does The Velvet Swing sound like a terribly fun act?
A Jack Collier Mystery
By Brett N. Lashuay
Day Ten: Eddie the Bear
As I was driving back to my office, I couldn’t get the image from the video out of my head. There was one single clue in the entire stupid thing, but you had to know exactly what you were looking for and even then it might pass you by. It wasn’t much of a clue, or even a hint, if you had never seen that belt buckle before. It might be that even if you had seen the belt buckle before you wouldn’t recognize it, but I did. It was a custom made piece, and the last time I’d seen it was in early spring of this year. It was possibly also because the wearer had a habit of sticking his thumbs into his belt and holding his hands in such a way as to frame the buckle.
The problem was, beyond the very basic and simple fact that I’d completely solved the case this fact was utterly useless to me. It didn’t help me any to know that Knight was where Columbia was, which meant LION was holding her, because it didn’t tell me where LION was holding her. However, it gave me a place to start looking.
I would have to start with finding this Piggy guy, and from there I guessed he would be able to lead me to them. I then, for no other reason than vague association, thought of Eddie. Eddie the Bear used to hang out with a kid with kind of a piggy sort of face. It could be that Eddie would know about this kid named Piggy, be able to tell me where I could find him. I phoned Debbie and told her that I would be back to the office later than expected and she could just close up the office if I didn’t get back on time. Then, I started towards Eddie’s place, assuming he was still in residence of course.
It didn’t take me too long to get to Eddie’s place since his house is actually somewhat close to my office, while being far enough away that I don’t have to worry about running into him on accident. I stopped on the street in front of his house and looked at the crap that littered the yard. This side of town, no one much cared what you did with your yard since the houses were far enough apart. He lived in an old farm house on a fairly large parcel of land that had mostly grown into woods. He had three big barns though, and it was in there that he grew his product for distribution. I have no interest in his product though; I just wanted to talk to him for a bit. The door was open with the screen door closed to prevent too many flies. I knocked on the door and waited nearly a minute before banging on it again.
“Yeah?” a tremulous voice asked.
“Where’s Eddie?” I shouted through the door.
“Wait a sec,” The voice asked and after a little while a young man came to the door and looked through the screen as if trying to divine a lighthouse through a thick and heavy fog. Eventually he decided to talk to me. “You a cop?”
“My name’s Jack Collier,” I said through the door, trying not to sound angry. I could smell the wide variety of smokeable substances as the odor drifted through the door. “Is Eddie here?”
“Jack?” a voice I recognized asked and a shape came jumping and leaping through the collected riff raff inside the house. He bounced his way across the floor and opened the door to get a look at me. The speed freaks eyes were wide and wild as always. He laughed his stupid laugh as he bounced in place. “Nice to see you man, how you been?”
“I need to talk to Eddie, can you go get him?” I asked.
“Sure thing!” He smiled his rotten toothed smile at me, and his breath could have killed a small village. “C’mon Roo, we’ll have to drag him down.”
They went up the stairs and a few other faces came up from the floor to examine the newcomer. They were the usual kind of rodental people who hung around Eddie’s place, sucking off his kindness and stupidity. He always had a great deal of people, one might call friends if one was feeling uncommonly generous, about the house.
After a bit of waiting, down came Eddie the Bear down the stairs. Bump, bump bump on his head as Roo and Tig dragged him. As far as I know, this is the only way Eddie’s ever taken the stairs, and I wonder if he knows there are better ways to do it besides being dragged down by his friends. I felt the fact that they’d brought him as he was sleeping, naked but for a red t-shirt, was a little uncalled for but I let it pass at the moment. Tig seemed to notice and threw a blanket over his nudity as Eddie came to.
“Get me some bread and honey huh?” Eddie said as he sat up.
“Right,” Roo said and hopped into the house to get it.
“Hi Eddie,” I said to him from the other side of the screen.
“Oh bother,” Eddie muttered to himself and stood up on the second try. He wasn’t a trim man, and having been dragged down the stairs was something you needed a few moments to recover from. “Gimme a second.”
He managed to get the blanket tied around his waist to make a sort of kilt, which he deemed enough to talk to me on the porch in. He came outside with me into the strong July heat and looked at the sun, which was already low in the sky and would be setting in another hour or two.
“What do you need?” he asked as he closed the screen door behind him.
“You hear about what happened to Columbia Freedom?” I asked.
“Why the hell would I care what happens to her?” he asked, leaning against the door.
“She was kidnapped, you knew about that?”
“No,” he shook his head, still confused as to why I was mentioning someone he’d barely even heard of. “When’d that happen?”
“I was here man,” he said waving a hand around. “We ain’t left here in like a week.”
“No,” I said shaking my head. “I don’t think this has anything to do with you.”
“What are you bugging me for then?” he asked. “I don’t need the hassle man.”
“You know that kid you used to hang out with all the time, the one with the sort of piggy face?”
“Piggy?” Eddie asked.
“Yeah, the piggy face.”
“Yeah, his name’s Piggy,” Eddie said nodding. “What about him?”
“I need to find him. Some people are saying that he’s the last person seen with Columbia.”
“Oh bother,” which was the most explosive profanity he ever used.
“Exactly,” I agreed. “So I need to find him and get that sorted out before the police decide to find him and he goes saying he was here all weekend or something and then the police might come and really bother you.”
“He’s got a place out by Hall and Garfield.”
“Where?” I asked and then smiled. “Because if I find him first no one has to even know he might have ever stopped here at all.”
“Hang on,” Eddie said and stumped his way into the house. A few minutes later he came back with a slip of paper with an address written on it. “It’d be nice if no one ever finds out about this.”
“Keep your kids quiet,” I said pointing into his living room.
“I’ll do my best. You need anything else?” he asked, a twinkle of an idea in his eye. “I could give you a bag, or maybe one of the girls would like to blow you or something? I mean to seal the deal.”
“This will do,” I said holding up the address and smiling at him. “You just keep your nose clean.”
“Sure,” He said and let the door swing closed as I turned and walked back to my car.
I got to the office just as Debbie was shutting down for the night, and started to explain what had happened today. She looked disapprovingly at me when I mentioned talking to Liberty in her room but she let it go for the moment. I kept telling her as I walked into my inner office and went to the safe. She followed me into the office but I could hear her breath catch when I knelt down to open the safe.
“Jack?” she asked as I started to work the combination.
“Yes?” I asked looking at her.
“You’re…” she stopped for a moment I could see worry in her eyes. “You’re getting them?”
“I know what’s going on now,” I said pulling the fire safe from the big floor safe. “I can’t take a chance.”
“Yeah, but can’t you get some back up or something?”
“It’s just a kid,” I said smiling at her as I slipped my shoulder holster on and slung the Webley into it. I checked the Marley thirty-eight and slipped it into the belt holster Debbie had bought me as a present after my trip to the hospital. I put the belt holster just above my left butt cheek, so that I could grab it with either hand when I needed it. I then grabbed a full moon clip for each gun and slipped them into my pocket.
“Okay, you’re gonna tell me you need all those for some kid?” she asked.
“Debbie, I’ll be fine, I’m just making sure,” I said, trying to make sure I didn’t talk with a quavering voice.
“Can’t you call someone?” she asked. “What about this Liddell woman?”
“Can’t risk it,” I said slipping everything away and standing up. “Official presence could cause trouble; they might get in the way.”
“Does her mother really fuck that good?” she asked. “You need to go charging off like a knight on a quest?”
“That’s quite enough of that talk thank you,” I said slamming the safe closed a little harder than I meant to. “If we do this right, it can all be done quietly.”
“What do we care about quiet?” she asked. “You care about Major Freedom’s deals?”
“Not really,” I said.
“I mean the major is so out there he needs to call ground control.”
“If I’m right I can just go get her.”
“You think LION is behind this, and you can just go get her?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I nodded and smiled the smile that makes girls go weak at the knees. “You watch, in two hours I’ll be calling you to say I’m on the way home.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“It’s a feeling I’ve got about the whole thing,” I said, walking towards the door.
“How can you just walk into it like that?” she asked as I touched the door.
“If I’m right, I’ll be sliding along the edge and grab something they’re not even looking at.”
“How can you?” she started but I raised a finger.
“No more questions,” I announced and walked out the door, letting it close behind me.
This is part ten of twenty-three, come back next week for part eleven 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.
I haven’t even upgraded to Blu Ray yet and now I find out it’s already obsolete because there is a new even hotter hotness on the horizon.
You know that moment.
That moment when you think
“Surely at some point they’re all going to notice I’m not wearing any pants.”
Only they never do
Because you are wearing pants
And you’re just being paranoid.
You need to see someone about that
People are talking.
1. I am currently staving off (if staving is the word I want) a massive headache by taking hourly hits of Excedrin by the handful. It’s helping a little, but not enough. It also brings its own special new problems with it.
2. Yatzee of Zero Punctuation fame has reviewed Duke Nukem Forever, and it’s possibly the best review for any game you’ll ever see.
3. I have been about three seconds away from a full blown screaming fit for the last week or so. I blame the weather and George Lucas. Because all of us Star Wars fans blame George Lucas for everything.
4. There is a turtle wandering around in the front lawn. Not the back, where the pond is, but the front. I have no idea what he (or she) is doing there, but pictures will come as soon as I upload them.
5. I think it’s time for a Seven Samurai sequel/prequel. That’s not an and/or there by the way. I want a Seven Samurai sequel and prequel all rolled into one. And if you could find a way for Kikuchiyo to have survived (OMG! SPOILER!) and get a smart talking teen side kick, that would be AWESOME!
I can’t help but wonder if in the end this California Ruling will eventually be a good thing. Not today, and not for Californians, but still. I keep wondering if it isn’t going to lead to a lot of other places deciding to man up and do the right thing. New Hampshire, DC, Iowa (fucking IOWA) have all had forward movement on the gay marriage issue since the passing of Prop 8. I think a lot of people did take a good long look at that and decided to do something. I think a lot of people got a really bad taste in their mouths over that whole thing and don’t want to look like California right now. It’ll suck for gays in California of course, but the idea that this isn’t a problem seems to be taking root in places you’d never think… like Iowa. Seriously, I can’t express how blown away I still am about Iowa. It’s just… fucking Iowa?
Then you have the fact that almost everything the Anti crowd said about that situation turned out to be a lie. They said voting down prop 8 would force churches to marry gays, it wouldn’t have. They said they wouldn’t try to force the state to annul the marriages, then they started to try to get the state to annul the marriages, and it just went on like that. When so much of what they were saying was shown to be lies in the cold light of morning, it made some people pause and wonder if you could believe anything they’d been told by these guys. It would have been better had the nut-jobs gotten their way on the annulment, because then everyone would have suddenly realized that legal marriages could be broken up by the vagaries of a few people. That would have brought home the fact that it’s the anti-gay marriage people who are the only ones actually threatening marriages.
In a way it doesn’t really matter that much because it’s going to happen, it is happening. In fact, it has happened. We’re just dealing with the shockwaves now. The places where it’s legal have failed to descend into chaos in any meaningful way and a lot of people are left wondering what the big deal was. Gayness is gradually gaining a sense of normality or at least a sense of being no big deal. I’m thinking in a generation or two, the only way you’ll hear people screaming about “faggots and dykes ruining everything” will be listening to grandparents at holidays.
Really, this is a perfect place for fiscal conservatives to make a stand and win back voters. They’ll probably have to form a new party, because I think the Republicans are going to have to either die-off or spend some considerable time in the wilderness, but they could adapt an old slogan for the new century… “We want government off your back and out of your bedroom!” I think that sort of sentiment could garner a lot of votes right now.
Also… DO NOT CLICK HERE