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In the Cabinet (Part Eight)


In The Cabinet

A Jack Collier Short

By Brett N. Lashuay




Last week’s entry can be found here.



Day Eight: Eddie the Bear and his Friends


            I drove to Eddie’s place as quickly as I could without attracting any attention. That’s not the easiest thing in the world to do when you drive a classic way outside the classic season. The Dream Cruise was two and a half months ago after all, but as I only have the one car I had to drive it. This means that driving to Macomb Township late at night, in a classic roadster, would normally make me something of an item of interest. I had to go as fast as I could without speeding beyond the local accepted limit. The problem is you can only go 5 or 10 over in Troy, through Clinton Township you can get up to fifteen in the right spots and you can tear through most of Macomb if you stick to the dirt roads, which are becoming a rarity as that area gets more built up.


            Eddie’s friends were still having their big Bonfire, and it looked like nothing had changed beyond their host being a bit more nervous than usual. When my car pulled up a small group came walking out to greet me. They didn’t look like they were looking for trouble, rather they looked like they were afraid trouble had come looking for them. Someone called Eddie’s name as I opened the door and by the time I walked towards the group he’d scooted them back and was telling them to have fun. He yelled to some guys on a small makeshift stage to keep playing.


            “Hi Eddie.” I said as I approached him. “Sorry to keep busting up your party like this.”


            “Nah it’s cool.” He said smiling, and looking a little worried.


            “So what do you got?” I asked.


            “Let’s go sit with Owlie for a bit.” He said pointing towards his barn.


            We had to go past the revelers, and through them in some clumps. They were all kinds. Some were young, some were middle aged, and some were actually old. They were all some variety of hippie or pagan type though. There were a lot of cotton skirts, rough silk pants, blue jeans, t-shirts, and of course there were those hemp and wool sweaters that were still being worn despite the fact that I remember people wearing them when I was in high school.


            Walking through the youngsters in that crowd, I might have been back with a crowd from high school. Only I wasn’t, I’d gone past the line, I was over thirty now and not to be trusted. I couldn’t see it in their eyes, but I think they could see it in mine. I’d heard times had changed somewhat though, that some of the college aged girls weren’t as out of my range as I would normally think. Kids now had all these complex formulas, rather than the old ‘no one three years older or younger’ that got guys my age through our twenties. Of course, since I had a habit of breaking silly rules like that I shouldn’t have felt so out of place in this crowd of youngsters as I did. Particularly when there were guys my age and a couple of guys who were even older in the crowd.


            Something must have happened to just me then, something had separated me from the people I used to hang out with when I was younger. It might have been my own paranoia, or my attempts to do right by too many people, or maybe I just was too much of a snob. They looked friendly and inviting now, but I knew if I got to know them I would notice the cracks pretty quickly. They would be so dumb that talking to them would be pointless, or pseudo-intellectuals trying to sound clever in order to get laid or they would be a bunch of drama producing machines. I couldn’t even walk through them being casually caressed by their flesh as they accidentally, or not so accidentally bumped into me, without thinking only of the negative aspects. There was a time when I would have concentrated only on the delightful aspects of their attributes. Clearly the thing that had changed was me, and for a moment I wondered how that happened. Of course a moment after wondering how it happened, I remembered exactly how it happened.


            Eddie and I walked into his large metal sided barn, where the fluorescent lights shone down on his hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of plants. A smallish man with big glasses was sitting at a table where there was something like a chemistry lab that had been set up. There was a lot of equipment that I didn’t understand and two computers and even a large video microscope with a flat screen monitor attached. The little guy at the table was about our age, maybe a little older. I didn’t remember him from the old days, but I didn’t know everyone Eddie knew. That was one of the benefits of only sort of knowing Eddie, I didn’t have to know all his friends.


            “What have you got?’ I asked as we stopped at the table.


            “This is what he was on.” Eddie said handing me a printed sheet from the printer as it rolled out.


            “I know what some of these are.” I said. “And not just the cannabis.”


            “Should I describe what I think happened?” Owlie asked adjusting his glasses.


            “I’ve read some of the Marquis De Sade.” I said, “So maybe I can guess.”


            “How is that relevant?” Eddie asked.


            “If you’d read him you’d know.” Owlie said.


            “I’m going to guess that there was a mixing of drugs. These that I think are from the truth serum family were used to break down his will. These that are hallucinogenic were used in combination of some physical abuse, probably shocks or something like that. The uppers and these other things that cause euphoria were for reward.”


            “That would be my conjecture.” Owlie said lacing his fingers and resting them over his stomach. “It would take me days to slice up the hairs properly and keep a record going, but I think it was a brain washing operation. He was on everything basically, but he was being manipulated to a great degree.”


            “So what does that mean?” Eddie asked.


            “A lot of these aren’t your run of the mill street hooch.” I said looking at the list again. “Pharmacies don’t even have a lot of this. Who would have this much stuff Eddie?”


            “How the fuck would I know?” Eddie asked. “I’m a pot supplier, not the fucking King Pin. I don’t know every crooked doctor in the state. Fuck man, I mostly hang out here.”


            “Don’t really have time to argue Eddie.” I warned.


            “There’s a guy in Grosse Pointe, Doctor Calgary.” Eddie said as if he were giving up his best friend in the world. “He’s bent and he’s got connections.”


            “Where is he?” I asked


            “Aw, c’mon Jack.” He whined slightly.


            “Eddie.” I said with more warning in my voice. “I really want to shoot someone in the knee. It can be you, or it can be this Calgary guy.”


            “Shit Jack!” Eddie spouted and then looking at me he turned and wrote something on the list. “I did not give you that. If you produce it as evidence I’ll still deny it.”


            “You did not lead me.” I read the scrawl. “Even if you did, you didn’t. It won’t matter anyway, because I’m not telling anyone anything anymore.”


            “You gonna go roust him now? Cause he doesn’t live at his office or anything.”


            “No.” I said, shaking my head. “I’m going to go home and go to bed. I’m sure he’ll be at his office in the morning.”


            “You wanna hang out here for a while?” He smiled, or tried to. “Everybody’s chill, and I think Kylie likes you. She’s the cute blonde in the red and blue skirt.”


            I had noticed Kylie, Kylie was the sort of girl I would go for. I could spend a nice time with Kylie, listening to her talk about the bands she likes and tell her about philosophy and art. Kylie and I could probably spend a good night together, and if she was really neat I could even call her later.


            “No.” I shook my head. “Work calls.”


            I left then, walking through the gauntlet of flesh and alluring glances back to my car. I have to mention I saw Kylie again, and she was still cute. I doubted if any of them could see the blood on my coat and shirt, which I was going to have to throw out because it certainly wouldn’t get clean at this point. I got into the car, decided it didn’t matter anyway, and drove back to the office. Char used to say who cares what they think, you’re probably never going to see any of them again. She also uses salutations as her standard greeting though, so it’s a toss up between her being a fountainhead of wisdom and a dingbat.


            I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that Debbie was still in the office when I came back to check on things. I almost always come back to the office before I go home for the night. Even if I don’t punch in and out, it gives me a feeling of closure for the day.


            “Hi there.” She said as I entered the office.


            “Hey.” I said, looking at her behind her desk.


            For the first time in our relationship, she was behind the desk and not typing. Normally if it was just me, she wouldn’t hold off her typing at all. She’d just look up and carry on the conversation while tip-tapping away. Now though, she was leaning back in her chair, one leg crossed over the other. She had a look on her face like she was contemplating something of great importance.


            “I’ve been sitting here, thinking, ever since you left.” She said.


            “Oh yeah?”


            “Yeah.” She said rocking in the chair a little. “You were right. It does cause nothing but troubles.”


            “The money?” I asked.


            “Yeah.” She nodded. “I mean, I could go do just about anything couldn’t I?”


            “Yeah.” I said.


            “If I got some high yield bonds, or made some good investments, or let someone else do it for me, I could live off that money in style for the rest of my life. Even just sitting in a bank it’s making quite a packet.”


            “Yeah.” I nodded.


            “But then what would I do about you?” She uncrossed her legs and leaned forward. “You earned it, I’d owe you.”


            “Nah.” I shook my head. “I owed you from when you broke your keyboard over Church’s head.”


            “I owed you before that.”


            “And I owed you for the other things.”


            “If you decide to leave, where will you go?”


            “No idea.” I said shrugging. “I’ll get in the car and drive off.”


            “I think I’d go to Chicago.” She said. “My sister lives there.”


            “That sounds nice.” I said.


            “We could just go now.” She said with a twinkle in her eye. “We could drop this thing, which is going to get a lot nastier before you’re done with it.”


            “No.” I said. “No, I can’t do that. If you decide you want to go, you’re the boss now. You can do what you want.”


            “Nothing but trouble.” She said. “I think until you decide that this job is over, we should say that you’re the boss here. In Troy, you’re the boss. In Chicago, I’ll be the boss.”


            “Okay.” I nodded. “But you know that means that I stick until this job is done.”


            “Yeah.” She nodded. “I know that.”


            “Is it having the gun to your head?” I asked.


            “No.” She shook her head. “It’s the whole thing. This isn’t like the other times, this is worse than anything we’ve done before and if you were right about what you had Eddie testing then it’s the worst thing ever.”


            “Well, I was right about it.” I said, “It is the worst we’ve ever dealt with.”


            “Even worse than Christmas?” She asked.


            “Christmas at least had a reason. I can’t see any kind of reason or profit in this. This is just madness.”


            “What do we do next then?” She asked.


            “You get ready to go to Chicago.” I told her. “Set up office out there, go as soon as you can, go tomorrow morning and come back for your things later.”


            “Jack?” She asked.


            “Even if I solve this one, I’m done with this place.” I made a sweeping gesture with my hand. “You and me, we’re going to be the last two to leave Detroit. One of us will have to turn off the lights when we go.”


            “What are you going to do?” She asked.


            “I’m going to get the bastard or bastards.” I said with resolution. “I’m going to go home, clean up and then I’m going to shoot some mother fuckers.”


            “I’ll have to arrange some things.” She said. “I couldn’t possibly go until tomorrow night.”


            “Well, that’s when you’ve have to go then.” I said. “And hopefully I’ll be able to come to you for a job when you set up in Chicago.”


            “Do you have any references?” She asked.


            “I once killed seven with one blow if you believe my key chain.” I said walking towards my office. “But between you and me, the seventh was a delayed reaction.”


            I took the holster off and put it in the safe. I then pulled the empty holster for the Marley and tossed it into the safe as well. I didn’t bother with the fire safe because I would be grabbing it first thing in the morning. When I left the office, Debbie had already left to go home. I turned the lights off in the office and walked down the stairs towards me car.


            If Knock had been standing there with a big knife, ready to filet me, I wouldn’t have been surprised. He wasn’t there though. As it turns out he was busy filleting someone else at that hour. I wouldn’t learn about it until later of course, but I might as well save you the suspense and tell you that Eddie doesn’t make it to the end credit sequence of this one. Roo and Tig don’t make it either. Owlie made it, but he spent the time between those events and this writing in a hospital bed. As far as I know he might never wake up. I’ll save further details until I get them in the chronology, but I just thought you deserved to know that Eddie didn’t make it.


            I went home, took off my clothes on the way to the bathroom, and stood under the shower for nearly and hour before I felt clean. Hewie’s blood had dried on my hand and up my arm. I had to do quite a bit of scrubbing to get all his blood out from under my nails and away from my skin. I felt sick the whole time I was washing him away, the only proof I had of his existence going down the drain. I felt worse about him the whole time I showered, but it had to be done. When I got done I stood in the shower, just dripping dry for a while.


            I dried my hair and went to bed. I felt sick and angry with myself. I hadn’t wanted him to die, I wanted to protect him. I was getting angry at the fact that everyone kept dying on me like this. I managed to go to sleep though, and didn’t wake up until the next morning when I got a call from officer Obie of the Grosse Pointe police on behalf of Cramer and District Attorney Mandelbaum.


            It seemed that I was requested to come to a doctor’s office in Grosse Pointe and when I compared the address I was given by Obie with the one I got from Eddie, I knew there was trouble ahead.


This is part eight of thirteen, 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 Cabinet tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Greenfield Village with Fall Colors (Part Three: Facotry and Stuff)



October 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

It’s like they don’t even know we think they’re evil

I I am really mystified here. I honestly am blown away by the stupidity and arrogance of the insurance companies right now. They know their asses are on the line, they know a lot of people want to see their entire industry lined up against a wall, and yet they keep denying coverage left and right for reasons that sound insane. Claiming and infant is overweight, claiming another is underweight. I mean really, a woman was told her breasts were a pre-existing condition. Every story only confirms the prejudice that these companies are evil and need to be taken down, and these stories keep coming. Now that we’re looking for it, we can find an evil act everyday.

And yet, they keep pulling this shit. Not only that, they aren’t doing any sort of PR campaign to tell us why we should like them and thank them for saving us or anything. All I hear is teabaggers yelling “Rar, rar, socialist, nazi, commie, fascist, pinko, faggot!” and Mike Steel proudly declaring he’s a cow on the tracks of progress. A statement that pisses me off since if my cousin could have afforded some health care, as early as august, he probably wouldn’t be dead right now. It seems to me that obstructionism killed my family member. But never mind that, we’re not talking about the few idiots who are trying to protect their corporate masters. Although, I have to say that besides a few astroturfers and the elected officials who get campaign dollars from these guys, I find very little support for the insurance companies in the wild. Even the intelligent hard right wingers I know admit that there is a serious problem and reform is needed. We might disagree on the solution, but I haven’t found anyone informed who isn’t admitting that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

You’d think the insurance companies would be doing a bit more not to be portrayed as the Snidely Whiplashes of America, since it makes anyone who calls for a system were we don’t actually need them all the more the Dudley Do-Rights here. I keep thinking that they’d want to do something to counter all the bad press instead of constantly being shown twiddling their mustaches while throwing another orphan out into the cold and tying another woman to the tracks.

At the very least, you’d think they’d realize they’re under the microscope at the moment and maybe not deny every claim that comes across their desk.

Give you another example. Holly had a doctor’s appointment almost a year ago. The insurance company bounced the claim because the bill was sent wrong, then they admitted they needed to pay for it. Nearly ten months later, they announced that they had cut a check for the amount, but it hadn’t been sent yet. To this day, it still hasn’t been mailed. They’re sitting on a check, hoping that they won’t have to mail it or something. How can this be a system that works? Even when they admit they should pay, they still avoid paying.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment