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Liberty’s Child (Part Twenty-One)

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

 

 

 

Day Twenty-One: Aftermath

 

            It was bad, but not as bad as I feared. Liberty was sobbing at the door to the office when I got there. She looked at me and ran towards me, putting her arms around me without checking to see if I’d been shot or anything. Jenicia was sobbing on the floor of the office, her knees up against her chest, looking at the place where her dead father lay. Only if Columbia was right, it wasn’t her father, jut a man she lived with for a long time.

 

            “First things first,” I said placing my hand on the back of Liberty’s head. “We’ve got to get to your room and you and Jenicia need to be locked in.”

 

            “Huh?” she asked. “Why?”

 

            “The police are going to be here in five minutes and we don’t want them harassing you. You two are all that’s left of my clientele.”

 

            “What about Columbia?” Liberty demanded. “What happened?”

 

            “She was killed,” I said, and then realizing I left that a little vague I added to it. “I shot the bitch that killed her though.”

 

            Liberty shrieked and tried to push past me, clawing at my shirt. She was hard to hold onto and I thought I needed some backup. I couldn’t have her running out there though, she’d seen enough for one night. Besides, letting her at Amy’s body would be hard to explain to the police.

 

            “Bendis!” I shouted as I held her as tightly as I dared.

 

            The butler appeared at the door, his face a mask of shock. He seemed to understand though and scooped up Jenicia after a moment. I picked Liberty up bodily and threw her over my shoulder. It was a bit caveman, but I was going to have to deal with that later.

 

            “We’ve got to get them upstairs before the police get her.” I said over Liberty’s sobs.

 

            “I can walk,” she screamed at me.

 

            I set her down and let her go the rest of the way on her own. Thankfully she didn’t try to run past me and get to one or the other of her dearly departed. The four of us went upstairs to her private apartment and Bendis locked us in, bless his heart. Liberty flung herself onto the bed and screamed into it, Jenicia just collapsed onto the floor and drew her knees up to her chin again and cried. I sat down next to the child and put my arm around her.

 

            “Are you okay?” I asked.

 

            “I’m okay,” she said, barely above a whisper.

 

            “I’m sorry I kicked you,” I said. “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t get shot.”

 

            “It’s okay,” she said with a sniffle.

 

            “You should go blow your nose,” I suggested, and she nodded and walked towards the bathroom. “Wash your face too.”

 

            I got up and walked to the bed, sitting down next to Liberty. I touched her shoulder, expecting her to pull away. This proves how little I know about women, because she grabbed my hand and then shifted her body so that she more or less wrapped herself around me. Her thighs pressed against my right thigh while her breasts pressed into my left hip. She reached up and took my left hand in both of her hands and kissed it gently. The water started to run in the bathroom.

 

            “You own Freedom Corp now, right?” I asked.

 

            “I guess,” she said and wiped her nose on a pillow case.

 

            “Columbia had an odd idea about her father’s deal,” I said.     “She thought she would guarantee his deal going through by killing him.”

 

            “What?” she asked, a confused looked screwing across her face.

 

            “If he were killed over it, the board might decide that they need to make sure that everyone knows that no one can threaten Freedom Corp,” I said with a sigh. “They might also see it as his legacy, his dying wish. Columbia thought she was going to make the deal a forgone conclusion by killing him. Or, you know, she hated him and decided that to kill him and that was just an excuse. I doubt that though, because she explained to Amy that was why she killed him which is why Amy shot her.”

 

            “You’re not making any sense,” Liberty said sitting up and looking into my face.

 

            “Aren’t I? Wonderful!” I muttered. “That means that I really am as tired as I feel.”

 

            There was a banging at the door and I could hear Crammer’s voice booming at me. I touched Liberty’s hand and stood up as Crammer called to me. The door to the bathroom opened and Jenicia poked her head out as I started to walk to the door.

 

            “Come on out Collier!” he said. “I know you’re tired but I need you out here.”

 

            “Coming,” I said so softly it was almost a whisper, and then found myself annoyed that he didn’t hear me and started knocking again.

 

            “Come on,” he said banging again.

 

            I opened the door and nodded to the three officers standing in the door way. They looked tired, not as tired as me of course, but tired none the less. I stepped through the door and only resented it a little when Crammer laid his big hand on my shoulder. I looked behind me at the two women and shook Crammer’s hand off.

 

            “Give me a minute,” I said to him. “I’ve got to talk to these two for a second and then you can get all our statements.”

 

            “Look Collier,” he started.

 

            “Crammer!” I shouted, and I must have looked a sight because the two guys with him both stepped back. “Give me a god damn second. I’m not going to run away and there is no one left to catch. Columbia killed Major Freedom, Amy Heart killed Columbia, and I killed Amy. The package is nice and neat! I’m not going to run off, and these two weren’t witnesses to any of the shootings so I can’t be said to be influencing them. Give me a fucking minute or I swear to god I’ll put a forty five round through your brain and the way I’m feeling right now I won’t even need a gun to do it.”

 

            There must have really been something in my face, because Crammer just stuck his cigar back into his mouth and bit down on it. The other two officers didn’t bother trying to regain the ground they’d backed away from.

 

            “Five minutes,” Crammer said, as if I had just politely asked for some more time. “Come down in five minutes if you don’t mind.”

 

            “I’ll be down directly,” I said and stepped back into the room. “They’ve decided to give me a few more minutes.”

 

            “I heard,” Liberty said.

 

            “This group your daughter got mixed up with was trying to stop The Major’s deal. They pretty much faked everything for reasons I’m clearly too dumb to work out. They thought they’d ruin the deal or maybe it was money, or maybe it was something else. They killed the guy Columbia was in love with, or thought she was in love with anyway. She thought if she shot Tom, then his Middle East deal would have to go through as part of his legacy. That was her stated reason for doing it. She got kind of hysterical and started screaming that no one had ever loved her when I caught up with her. She then told me some things about the year Jen was born. Then Amy came along and shot Columbia, and then I shot Amy. That’s pretty much everything.”

 

            “What did she tell you about the year I was born?’ Jenicia asked.

 

            “It doesn’t matter,” Liberty said, and I let it go at that. “I think I know what he means.”

 

            “Okay,” I said nodding. “I’ll go down first. I’ll get Bendis to call whatever family lawyer you have.”

 

            “I can call Paul myself,” she said.

 

            “Okay,” I nodded and opened the door.

 

            The hall was empty, so I was being trusted to go down the stairs and talk to Crammer on my own. I could have turned left and climbed out a window, but that would have looked bad. Instead I adjusted my tie and started down the stairs, feeling like the world might just fall down on my shoulders at any moment now. My eyes wanted to close, and my legs ached something awful, but I had to keep going. It wasn’t going to get any better by stalling.

 

 

This is part twenty-one of twenty-three, come back next week for part twenty-two 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 Liberty tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

The Branson

Does Richard Branson ever strike you as an odd sort of guy?

I mean, he started with music, yeah okay fine. He sold records out of his car and then moved up to making records and got his own music stores. No problem. How did an airline become part of it? Or a mobile phone company? Or a line of vodka and cola? Or any of the other things he’s got his hands into. Was he flying back and forth and just saying to himself “Wouldn’t it be more cost effective if I owned the plane and gave other people a lift in exchange for gas money?” and then went to his accountant and asked “What’ll it cost to buy an airline?” and the accountant said “Probably forty-five million or so.” And Branson pulled out a wad of bills and tossed it to the accountant saying “Well, here’s fifty, make it look pretty and get Acoustic Alchemy to play live in the planes during the cross Atlantic trips.” True story.

Did he then realize that they were spending a fortune paying for the soft drinks they were serving on the plane and again he went to the accountant “How much for a cola company?” And the poor guy looks and says “Twenty-six million” and Branson throws him another wad of cash (I assume Branson is the kind of guy who keeps a billion in his jeans just for flash) and says “He’s thirty, use the change to buy yourself something pretty.”

And the phone company? Was he talking on the phone and just couldn’t stand paying T-Mobile? Did he again go to the accountant? “How much for a cell phone company?” And the accountant just looks at the camera and says “I’d stop him, but it always seems to work out.”

It just seems odd, because most the time you can see the logical progression and with him I can’t. Walt Disney started with cartoons, then went to live action movies, a record company, TV and ended with an amusement park. All entertainment, you can see where he’s going. I fail to see the connection between music sales, soda, air planes, trains, and a space fleet. Unless the guy is really Cobra Commander and has planed to spike the cola with a mind control substance that will be triggered by the phones all carried by his trains and planes before the orbiting death lasers set up by his… I’m going to be killed before the day is out aren’t I?

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment