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The Return of Jack Collier (Chapter Thirty-Five)

The Return of Jack Collier

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Last week’s entry can be found here.

 

Chapter Thirty-Five: On the Road Again

 

            I was thinking that I should go across to the other office and try to console Shiri when my cell phone started to vibrate in my pocket. I’ve begun to hate that stupid thing. I’m not a Luddite, I just don’t like people being able to get in contact with me every damn second of every day. I pulled it out, seeing it was the office and answered it.

 

            “Yeah?” I asked.

 

            “Is my car smashed?” Debbie’s voice asked.

 

            “No.” I said.

 

            “Why not?”

 

            “It never came up.” I said.

 

            “You didn’t run over the fucker who killed Dale?”

 

            “No,” I told her. “I half drowned him in the bathtub.”

 

            “Half drowned?” She asked. “Why only half?”

 

            “Because fully drowning him would have been murder and I couldn’t do it, but I made sure he got arrested, he’s in jail with rest of them. Shiri I.D.ed him and everything. He’ll go to jail for a long, long time.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “You should have smashed my car through the bastard though.”

 

            “Why?”

 

            “I’ve arranged another car for you.” She told me. “I was so sure you’d smash my car up I got Shiri to buy it the day before yesterday. She and Dale were supposed to have picked it up and taken it to her place for safe keeping.”

 

            “Well that’s gonna be a happy little memory then.” I told her. “Everyone here is pretty broken up over Dale. This was a close little family they had and I think this is their first death.”

 

            “Shit.” She said. “Well, we’ve got some insurance, we can give that money to his survivors. Make sure they know we’ll pay for the burial and everything, okay?”

 

            “Yeah.” I said. “I’ll make sure of that. You going to fly out for that?”

 

            “Probably.” She said. “I mean, I guess I should.”

 

            “Alright.” I said. “I’ll have to work a few things out though. Like where we’re going to keep Jill and I for the time being.”

 

            “I have confidence in you.”

 

            “Thanks.” I said. “I should go try to do some damage control with Shiri.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “I’ll call you later.”

 

            “Okay.” I said, and then decided to add that little thing that guys are supposed to say sometimes, but often don’t. “Love you.”

 

            “Love you too.” She replied and we hung up on that note.

 

            I walked across the office and knocked on the door of Shiri’s office. It took her a few seconds but I did finally hear her say “Yes?” through the glass after a lot of shuffling around. I didn’t blame her, I’d want to have a moment to make sure I was composed too if I wasn’t a completely unfeeling bastard who is ready at a moment’s notice. I opened the door and got a good look. She’s wiped the tears away, but they’d only just stopped a few seconds ago and could start again at any moment.

 

            “Hi.” I said as I closed the door behind me. “You okay?”

 

            “I’ll be okay.” She said. “It was just, you know, sort of a rough night.”

 

            “First time?” I asked her as I sat down.

 

            “First time I was kidnapped and nearly gang raped or first time I fucked up and lost someone on the job?” She asked me with more self recrimination that was good for her.

 

            “Either.” I said.

 

            “Both.” She said as her face scrunched up and a tear started. “You think you’re tough until something like this.”

 

            “The first time is always bad.” I said.

 

            “Does it get easier?” She asked,

 

            “No.” I shook my head. “It never does. However, you get used to it and you with time you’ll feel good again.”

 

            “Is this how it was, when you did that thing?”

 

            “Are you asking about the seven with one blow thing?”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “That was a fluke.” I told her. “I was scared shitless that whole time. It was just a lucky strike that I killed Chester Cat.”

 

            “Luck?” She asked.

 

            “Luck.” I agreed. “I was so exhausted that day. I can hardly remember all of it now. You’d think every detail would be imprinted on my mind, but actually it’s sort of muddy now.”

 

            “You weren’t scared last night though.” She said.

 

            “I was pissed last night.” I said. “That was the end of a very long road and I was tired of everyone’s bullshit. Then it turned out that there was more bullshit this morning.”

 

            “Should I have tried to save you?” she asked. “Come after you?”

 

            “No.” I shook my head. “You probably did the right thing. It’s just that I don’t have a history of cooperating with people. It’s sort of my standing policy not to cooperate. I’ve gotten this far on my looks and my balls, which is classic tough guy stuff.”

 

            “I’ll try to remember that.” She said. “I’ll get a pair of balls and start getting by on my looks.”

 

            “Why don’t you just do what works for you and I’ll do what works for me and we’ll both get our respective jobs done.”

 

            “Sounds slipshod.” She said, trying to laugh. “If we’re going to get ISO 1200 certification we need a process and stuff.”

 

            “Fuck certification.” I said, giving my best go at a smile. “They can take us as they find us or not at all.”

 

            “Okay.” She said and then looked at the phone like it was an accusing aunt. “I’ve got to call Dale’s boyfriend and see what they want to do about his burial.”

 

            “Well.” I told her. “Don’t go spending any money. We’ll pay for everything. Debbie said that we’ve got an insurance policy on him and she’ll give the money to whatever survivors he has.”

 

            “That’d be Jim.” She said.

 

            “Then she’ll give the money to Jim.” I said. “Until then, make plans, do what needs to be done, just send us the bill.”

 

            “Thanks.” She said.

 

            “Not to change the subject too suddenly, but I understand there is a car.”

 

            “Yeah.” She said, “Debbie got me to buy it because she was sure you were going to crash her car.”

 

            “You want to go look at it?” I asked. “Get out of the office for a while?”

 

            “Okay.” She nodded.

 

            “Let’s grab Jill and got for a ride then.”

 

            It turned out not to just be a car. It turned out to be a nineteen fifty-seven Heron Roadster convertible, complete with tailfins and rear lights that were really cones to resemble rocket jets. The front end looked sort of what you’d expect if you turned a woman in a low cut dress into a car. Or rather it looked like someone had seen a beautiful woman and tried to express how he felt about her by rendering her in the form of a car’s front end. The car was the expected cherry red, the leather interior was the sort of candy shop red and white that Debbie would like. All in all, it looked like one of the more sexual cars I’d ever glanced at.

 

            “Well…” I said looking at it as we walked around it. “It is exactly what she would pick.”

 

            “It’s awesome.” Jill said, running her hand over the door and leaning across the hood in a pose that was designed to make you think bad thoughts. “You could fuck all night in that back seat.”

 

            Shiri and I both froze in our tracks at that. I can’t say we both went to the exact same place, but I’m pretty sure that if we looked up from our own private worlds we’d be close enough to see the other one waving. Jill smiled at us, placing her finger on her lower lip and letting the tip of her pink tongue press against her finger nail.

 

            “Yes.” Shiri said finally, proving I could even hear her from her own private world. “I expect you could.”

 

            “This is just the sexiest car I’ve ever seen.” Jill stood up in a very provocative way, sliding her breasts across the slick looking hood before walking towards the passenger door and straddling one leg over and then swinging the other leg around.

 

            I am fully aware of the age difference, but I’m also aware that the last three years had been exceptionally formative for Jill. She had rounded out in some places, tightened up in others and over all filled out. I have no idea what Shiri was thinking, but I’m guessing it was an all girl version of what I was thinking. I was pretty sure she must be, which made me want to tell her that she should be ashamed of herself. I’m not one to admonish the subordinates for what they think about when not on the clock, but if Shiri’s thoughts were even one tenth as filthy as mine then she should be ashamed.

            “Shall we see how she handles?” I asked, which I might have gotten away with if I hadn’t then fucked it up. “The car! I’m talking about the car. Not Jill. I’m not suggesting we bang the eighteen year old until she can’t walk anymore. Obviously! I wouldn’t suggest that.”

 

            “Is it this sly talk that gets them all into bed?” Shiri asked. “Do straight girls think differently? It’s not doing anything for me.”

 

            “You could crawl back here with me Jack.” Jill said as she clambered into the back seat. “She can watch, I don’t mind.”

 

            “Must think pure thoughts.” I whispered, just loud enough for Shiri to hear. She laughed and we got into the front seat.

 

            The car, while looking very feminine, handled very masculinly. The Hudson looked sort of male, but it handled like a woman. It was soft and yielding, warm and fluid. This thing was like arm wrestling, or something guyish like that. I suppose Debbie would be able to handle it, she was good with guys. For me though, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. We had a good afternoon though, driving around and seeing some sights, with Jill sticking next to me, making suggestive comments all day. By the end of he day, Shiri was stretched out in the back seat while Jill leaned against me like lovers in an old fifties teen romance.

 

            My phone rang while we were driving back to the office for a few things. Had I known what it was going to be… no, I still would have answered. I couldn’t leave Debbie hanging like that. If I’d know what the call was going to be, I would have been on my way already.

 

            “Yeah?”

 

            “Hey Jack.” Debbie’s voice was quick. “Where are those take out menus?”

 

            “Take out menus?” I asked,

 

            “Yes.” She said, putting a note into her voice. “The take out menus. You know, if we need to get take out?”

 

            “Are you taking in code?”

 

            “Yeah.” She said. “I can’t find any of them?”

           

            “Can I talk?”

 

            “Yes, I looked there.” She started sounding annoyed, but I could tell it was faked.

 

            “Are you in trouble?”

 

            “Well of course!” She snapped. “Would I be calling you if I could find the stupid things?”

 

            “Are you hurt?”

 

            “No.” She said. “Not there.”

 

            “Are you in danger of being hurt?”

 

            “I don’t think so.” She said.

 

            “How many are holding you?”


            “Out of the three places I was thinking of going, none of them have online menus.” She said. “It’s really annoying because there are more, but I can’t be sure who has them or not.”

 

            “Tell them I’m taking Jill back to Banbury Cross.” I said.

 

            “What?” Jill sat up and I had to wave at her to shut her up.

 

            “Okay.” She said. “I’ll check there.”

 

            “Is Karen alright?”

 

            “No.” She said.

 

            “She’s being watched too?”

 

            “Yes.” She said and I started hearing things that sounded like my desk drawers being opened. “Your drawers are just a fucking mess. All fucked up. You need to do something about this.”

 

            “I’ll be home as soon as I can.” I told her. “I love you babe.”

 

            “Yeah.” She said. “I’ll see you when you get back from Georgia. Bye.”

 

            “Fuck.” I said as I hung up the phone.

 

            “What’s going on?” Shiri asked.

 

            “Debbie’s got people sitting on her.”

 

            “What?” Jill asked.

 

            “There are parties unknown, at least three of them though, at the office holding Debbie hostage. They’ve got Karen too. She’s going to act as if I’m on my way to Georgia, but we’re going to have to go back to Michigan right away.”

 

            “You want me to come?” She asked.

 

            “No.” I shook my head. “Jill and I will go. I’ll keep her safe. You stay here and run this place.”

 

            “What if something happens to you?”

 

            “Come to Michigan and you can have my Webley-Fosbery.” I told her. “This shit is just going to keep going though. Possibly until I shoot every mother fucker in the tri-county area.”

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “Michigan reference.” I told her. “Who knows about this car?”

 

            “I guess the guy that sold it to us.” Shiri said.

 

            “All anyone would know is that the car was sold to the company? What?”

 

            “I bought it for me, using company funds.” She said. “It was easier that way. I was going to do the transfer stuff later.”

 

            “Well, we will do it later. So long as no one knows this car exists, I can use that.” I smiled at Jill. “No one’s looking for a fifty-seven Heron. They’ll never see us coming. I’ll need whatever petty cash you’ve got lying around Shiri. Not being tracked will be very important. And hide Debbie’s car. No, better yet, let me give you a couple of my credit cards and you get someone to drive down to Banbury.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “But what are you going to do?”

           

            “Go home, shoot the bad guys, save the day, win the girl.” I said. “And then, when I’ve done that, I’ll crawl under my desk and never come out again.”

 

 

 

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Parody & Genre

I sometimes have a problem with parody. The main problem being that a genre parody will try and include every silly thing the genre has. As a result, even though very few sci-fi movies have laser swords, EVERY parody will include a laser sword. Every blaxploitation movie will include a Brothers Army variant and so on. Things that only occur very rarely will seem like they are staples of the genre because of these things.

As an example, would you say that the self-narrating detective is a staple of Film Noir? Well, if you would, then you’d be mistaken, because it only turns up in a couple of movies. However, everyone knows that detectives narrate their adventures in those kinds of movies because parodies always have the detectives self-narrate. As a result, the rarity becomes the expected norm, which disappoints people when they realize how rare the actual thing is.

No, I didn’t really have a point to make, just that little thing I wanted to say.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment