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Liberty’s Child (Part Eleven)

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!



Day Eleven: Piggy, Mok and Griff


            It was a crappy little condo so near the road you could see the intersection from where I was standing as I walked up to the door. You could also see Macomb Community College on the other side of the intersection, which wasn’t too bad. It was cross corners so it was kind of nice. However if you looked the other way you could see a Big Boy, which kind of sucked. There was nothing across the street the other way, and long may it be that way. This township looked like it was staging  war against trees and grass for a while there, but now that the economy has ground to a halt they seem to have stopped their campaign of destruction.


            I could smell the exhaust, coming across the parking lot and bumping up against the building like it did. Garfield is a busy street, and even as late as it was getting enough traffic that the fumes wafted over to where I was standing. I didn’t reach into my coat and pat the revolver, feeling the extra weight of it was enough for me to know it was there. I rang the bell and waited until the door opened.


            For some reason, I was expecting a great big guy with lots of bristling hairs that stuck out in every direction. I didn’t expect to see a rather neatly trimmed guy about my height but no where near my size. He was wearing a tank top and jeans so low that they showed about five inches of his boxer shorts. He blinked at me, and then the tough guy that lurked within him tried to come out.


            “What the fuck you want?” He demanded.


            “You would be Piggy.” I said smiling slightly.


            “Who’s asking?” Piggy demanded lifting his head to try and look tough.


            “Piggy.” I sighed softly. “Where do they have her?”


            “What the fuck you talkin’ about pal?” he asked.


            I didn’t really want to rough him up too bad, so I merely tapped him in the stomach. I barely put my hand in a fist before hitting him, but the strike was enough. He looked trim and fit, but he was pretty soft. He doubled over as the air blasted out of him. I pushed him into the condo and pushed the door closed behind me.


            He was already getting up, and looking like he would start to get resentful at any moment about my giving him a tap. I decided that the best thing to do here was to establish my dominance over him as a bigger dog than he was. I whacked him one quick jab across the cheek, which put him down on the ground. I stood over him and took two steps to look into his living room. There was nothing, so I stepped over him and went up stairs. The rooms upstairs were empty of people, so I came down stairs to talk to him. He had gotten up and was clearly getting ready to make a phone call as I was coming down. I slapped the phone out of his hands and sent it flying into the kitchen, I then slapped him upside the head like an older brother might.


            “What’s your damage man?” He nearly shrieked as I grabbed him by his short hair and pushed him down into his big leather couch.


            “Where is Columbia?” I asked pulling the Webley out from under my coat. It’s the bigger of the two guns and never fails to impress. “I should warn you that if you say something stupid like ‘Columbia who’ or something I will shoot you.”


            “Aw fuck.” He managed.


            “That would be an accurate appraisal of the situation.” I commented.


            “She’s okay, she ain’t been hurt or nothing.” He said quickly, his eyes watching the revolver like a bird watching the biggest snake it’s ever seen.


            “Don’t you think I should be the one to establish how alright she is?” I asked.


            “Yeah, whatever man.” He was shaking pretty badly at this point and I decided that he understood the fact that I had a big gun. I put the gun back in its holster and sat down on a chair near the couch. He looked really scared, which was good, I wanted him scared.

            “Shall I tell you what we are going to do now?” I asked, “We’re going to go and get her so I can take her home.”


            “B-b-b-but Dee would kill me!” He whimpered.


            “You should have thought of that before embarking on this kidnapping lark.” I said and his desperate look was enough to tell me more was needed.  “Look kiddo, I know right now I’m being a big bad heffalump to you, but I need you to be brave for a few minutes and help me do what’s right.”


            It didn’t make any sense to me, I thought I was just babbling words out, but it seemed to make some kind of sense to him because he nodded with renewed determination. He stood up, grabbed his jacket and started to put it on. I happened to look at a picture frame and noticed a picture in it. I wondered for a moment why a kid like Piggy would have a picture of The Duchess framed in his place. Now I could have gone the rest of the day wondering what the connection is, but I decided instead to just ask him.


            “Who’s this?” I asked tapping the glass.


            “My mom.” Piggy said as he grabbed his keys.


            “I worked with her once.” I said as we left the condo and went back into the pervasive heat of summer.


            “Really?” Piggy asked as he locked the door.


            “Yeah.” I nodded, “Years ago though.”


            “It would have to be.” He said. “She was killed six years ago.”


            “I know.” I said. “I heard about it.”


            “Left me a lot of money though.” He said. “I did alright with it too.”


            “Yeah.” I said. “I’ll bet, so where are we going?”


            “You really serious about this? We really have to go get her?”


            “I’m really serious.” I said. “We really have to go get her. C’mon, her father’s worried sick about the whole thing.”


            “Yeah, like he even knows who she is.” He grumbled as we walked to my car.


            I let the comment pass, but I realize now that I should have given it more time to slosh around. At the moment though, I was guessing that I was about twenty minutes away from calling Debbie and taking Columbia home so that her parents could explain the great dangers involved in going with guys whose nicknames described their faces.


            We drove to, a location that wasn’t too far away from his house, only a few blocks really. It was just one of the sub-divisions that littered the landscape in that part of Michigan, sitting like little island of deadly banality. We pulled up to a house he specified and I drew out the Webley from its holster.


            “What are you doing?” Piggy asked, his eyes growing large.


            “You and I are going in there to get her.” I said looking at him calmly while thumbing back the hammer. “You think I was going to get them to give her up by asking nicely?”


            “It’s not like that.” He said walking towards me, “You got it all wrong. C’mon, I’ll show you.”


            He walked to the door and twisted the handle, pushing the unlocked door open with ease. I slipped the Webley into my front pocket and let my suit coat drape over it. I followed him into the house and I saw something I must say I didn’t expect but I probably should have.


            Columbia was sitting on an orange leather couch with her feet propped on a glass topped coffee table, a channel flicker in her hand, watching VH1’s I Love the 80s on a big screen TV. There wasn’t anyone else in the room at the moment, but I sort of knew that would change soon. She looked up at Piggy and a smile crossed her lips before she looked at me and then her face crashed.


            “Shit.” She said turning the TV off and tossing the remote down on the coffee table in front of her. “Hi Jack.”


            “Stockholm syndrome kicks in this quickly now does it?” I asked, pulling the gun from my pocket, easing the hammer down and putting it into its holster.


            “So you’re the ground control he called?” She asked grabbing a bottle of water and taking a sip of it.


            “You are no doubt aware that right now your mother is a bit worried.” I announced, just to be saying something. “I mean if I shot Piggy here and dragged you back home they would call it case closed and give me a big fee.”


            “It’s not like that.” Piggy said while cringing. Columbia stayed cool though, her eyes just flicked from him to me.


            “Hey, what’s going on?” A fairly thin guy with tortoise shell glasses and a mullet that made his head look like a calf’s body came in.


            “My mother called her paramour.” Columbia said with irritation.


            “I prefer the term fuck bunny myself.” I said looking back at her, but keeping the tortoise shelled calf boy in my sights.


            “Whatever.” Columbia said. “Don’t worry about it Mok, just get Griff.”


            “Griff?” Mok shouted down a hall way and a pair of heavy boots came stomping down the hall.


            “What’s up?” A spiky haired kid who was built like a small continent asked.


            “They’ve sent someone.” Columbia said pointing at me.


            “We could kick his ass.” Griff said, smiling at me with a set of grills that must have been intended to blind me because they didn’t scare or impress me.


            “I could kill you before you got three steps.” I announced.


            “Wanna bet?” Griff asked cracking his knuckles.


            I don’t claim any great speed, I’ve got no aspirations to be a gun fighter, but I am no slouch. The Webley was out pretty fast, the hammer tugged back and ready for action in a little less than a second. The way Griff reacted I might have actually shot him. He jumped back and tripped over his own feet to tumble to the ground. Piggy actually ran around the corner and hid down the hallway, leaving Mok to face me on his own. Mok just stood and shivered, I assume because no one had ever pointed a gun at him before.


            “Now Columbia,” I said looking at her, but keeping my gun aimed at Griff. “Not to repeat myself too much but do you want to explain what the hell is going on, or should I just shoot everyone and claim that I got your kidnappers?”


            “Oh crap.” Mok whimpered and collapsed onto the floor.


            “God damnit.” She muttered and stood up. “Can I get my purse or will you shoot me too?”


            “Get her purse for her Mok.” I told him and then looked at Griff who was lying on the floor with his hands up by his face as if terrified of the world. “Piggy, help Griff up.”


            “Right.” Piggy said and bent over to help get Griff to his feet.


            “You don’t need to pull this tough guy shit.” Columbia said as Mok came back with her purse.


            She snatched the purse from him and started towards the door. I followed her, swept up in her jet stream. We walked to the car and she got in, near to tears I thought. As I got in and started the engine, I noticed that in fact a few tears had started to escape. I put the car in reverse and started out of the drive way, when we got on the road she started to speak. It was a cracked voice though and she had to start over.


            “So now you just take me home?” She asked, through her sobs. “Take me back so they can treat me like I’m ten? I’m twenty-two you know! If I want to go hang out with friends for a few days I should be able to.”


            “That would be fine.” I agreed. “It was the video where they were demanding money that got to the old man.”


            “Of course it was.” She said, and it looked like some sort of damn was breaking. “All he fucking cares about. So now you’ll take me back there?”


            “No.” I said shaking my head. “We’re going to my office. You’ll tell me everything, and then together we’ll decide if you want to go home or back to hang out with Piggy or what.”


            “Really?” She asked, light seeming to break through for the first time. “You won’t just take me back?”


            “You’re a grown up.” I told her. “You’re old enough to know what you want to do, but we are going to discuss what you and your friends think you’re doing.”


            “Well we…” She started but I held my hand up.


            “When we get to my office.” I said pulling out my cell phone. “Right now I’m driving and I have to consider the fact that I nearly shot some damn kid who has probably never even seen a real gun before.”


            I scrolled through until I found Debbie’s cell phone number and called. She didn’t answer, but I decided to let the voice mail system go through its long list of options before it finally let me record a message.


            “I’m a full hour ahead of schedule and on my way back to the office, just letting you know.” I said and then hung up. “When we get to my office, we can talk about everything.”


            “Okay Jack.” She said and touched my hand. She then ran her fingers up my arm and rubbed my bicep for a moment before retreating to her side of the car.


            It wasn’t an entirely unwelcome feeling, but it did make my skin crawl a little. It was nice, because she was a beautiful young woman who looked a lot like her mother. The problem was that I’d known her since she was ten and that made me feel a little creepy enjoying that sort of contact. She was just a kid in part of my mind, even if another part was informing me that she certainly wasn’t a kid anymore. I put the thoughts out of my mind, which meant they migrated lower and caused more problems, but my suit isn’t so tight that you can tell while I’m driving.


This is part eleven of twenty-three, come back next week for part twelve 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.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Covered Bridge


It’s a bridge, and it’s covered.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

From the “Please tell me you can see it too” file!




June 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment



Sorry about that, but my contract clearly states I have to shout (if only virtually) random obscure phrases (inaccurately I might add) from movies you’ve probably never seen or books you’ve never read at regular intervals and it seems the intervals haven’t been regular enough lately.

It is from Heat though, so there is a higher likelihood that you’ve seen this than most the things I talk about.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cats in Nature

And then there were kittens and stuff.

OKay, so I saw Fancy watching the white heron in the pond, I mean really watching. So I grabbed the camera, but by then she lost interest in the bird. I tried to take a photo like what I saw, but she wouldn’t cooperate.

Fancy and Al in the tall grass.


Folly doesn’t hate Vienna when they are outside. Folly will tolerate the kitten outside.

They even sniff each other.

Just look at the damn bird!

I put her up that tree, but she liked it.

Hello turtle.

Fancy still won’t look at that damn heron.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment