The Return of Jack Collier
A Jack Collier Story
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Going to Grandma’s House <
I’ll admit something that I normally wouldn’t tell you. I usually think more clearly after having and orgasm. I don’t fall asleep after, I just go into a different plane of thought where things all fall into place. If I could just orgasm every five minutes or so, I could work out all the worlds problems. That would be difficult to achieve though, and possibly it would be illegal. I couldn’t really go to crime scenes like that for one. It would make people uncomfortable and they’d have a hard time coming up with answers for what to tell the children.
I’d sort of decided to worry about whether I loved Jill or not after all this was over. For the time being, it seemed she had enough love for the both of us, and had energy to spare. If she was willing to do all the heavy lifting on this love thing, I didn’t see the harm of letting her do the work for a couple of days. And I did like her, a lot. She was smart and funny and could suck a golf ball through a garden hose if I ever needed to get a golf ball through a garden hose by suction alone. She wasn’t bad at fellatio either now I come to think about it.
The point is that I was laying in a hotel bed next to her, my mind clear of clutter or noise when the idea sort of dropped into my head like a weight tossed into fresh snow. It was a perfectly formed idea, wrapped in its own justifications and had answers to all my questions ready and numbered. It’s always nice when an idea prints up a spreadsheet so you can check its numbers.
“Grandma’s house.” I said aloud, to make sure it sounded okay outside of my head.
“What?” She asked, leaning her head in my direction to try and fix her unfocused eyes on me.
“I will take you to my grandmother’s house.” I said.
“I’m not sure I want to hang out with your grandmother.”
“She died years ago.” I said. “I got her house and my sister got our parents’ house. We made a deal about it. She sold mom and dad’s place when my nephew was born though. I just never sold Grandma’s house, but no one will have been there except the care taker for years.”
“Won’t they know about it though?” She asked. “I mean they know about everything else.”
“No.” I told her. “Even if they did, no one would go there.”
“Where is it?” She asked, and I figured it was a good time for a transition.
Flat Rock is not a big town. It’s one of those places that just has dozens of little streets with small houses set one right next to the other. It was someplace close enough to the factories for the workers to get there, but far enough away that you could almost raise a family. Not a large family because Flat Rock’s not big enough for a big family. You get too big a family and you’ll expand into Rockwood. Flat Rock’s not an impressive town, made up of crumbling concrete steps and failed attempts at improvement.
As we drove though I almost commented that the place had done down hill, but if anything it had actually improved. They had a Walgreen’s now after all, even if the rest of the town looked like it had been slapped together by whatever materials sounded like they’d cost the least when they were buying it. It’s not that I’m insulting the town really, I’m just describing small towns in Michigan. It wasn’t the idyllic places that nostalgic idiots would try and tell you small town America is made of. It was a dirty little factory town after a lot of the factories had closed down. Granted, the Mazda plant was still going, but it’s about the only work these days.
We drove to Grandma’s old place, and I noticed that in the bright light of a summer day it looked alright. You’d never want to really live here, in the almost thousand square feet that was decorated five years before I was born. However you could be comfortable for a while, so long as you didn’t mind that the place was clearly built before my mother was born. It was nice though, the power was still on and the refrigerator still ran, so I figured it must be okay.
Jill looked sort of skeptical about the place as she came in. I didn’t blame her, being asked to hang out in someone else’s dead relative’s house. It couldn’t have been that comfortable for her, particularly when you consider that she’d never really seen how the working class lived. She sat down on one of the old chairs carefully and looked around.
“It’s, um, nice.” She said, trying to be polite.
“No it isn’t.” I said looking through a drawer for Grandpa’s keys. “It’s a working class cracker box. It’s a little hovel to remind us of the stupidity of following the American dream of home ownership to its very pathetic conclusion.”
“Oh.” She said, and I think she probably didn’t understand what I’d said.
I found grandpa’s keys, the brass key fob with the large blue enamel bulb on it, the golden square and compass forming a box that contained the G shining out at me from the drawer. I pulled the key ring from the drawer and walked to the back door that we had just come through. I’m not sure I’d ever come through the front door of Grandma’s house. It was always something we just did, coming through the back door.
I hit the garage door opener and watched as the garage, set about forty feet back from the house, relieved its meager prize to me. A few tools, the ones Alex didn’t want when Grandpa died. A riding lawn mower and the shale gray ninety-eight Skylark that grandma drove until she died. The caretaker was supposed to charge the battery once a month or so, make sure it still worked. I guess I was about to find out if they actually did it or not.
The car started which was something of a relief to me, because the Heron was just too easy to identify while the Skylark could blend in. I pulled the Skylark out into the extended parking lot that Grandpa poured in eighty-two and put the Heron into the garage. I then decided I would have to get Jill something to eat so I drove to the store with her and we did a little grocery shopping. That attended to, I had to leave her.
“Why can’t I go with you though?” She asked.
“Because you’ll be safe here.” Told her while I was plugging the DVD player into the TV. “I need you safe so I don’t have to worry about you.”
Entertainment attended to, I kissed her with one quick peck and grabbed my coat. I looked at the stack of movies we’d bought at the grocery store and drug store next to it. Hopefully she didn’t have complex tastes in film because there wasn’t a hell of a lot of choice.
“Wouldn’t they come looking for me here though?” She asked.
“No.” I said. “This is Flat Rock.”
“That’s right, you don’t know about the real Michigan. You only know the parts rich people know about. This shitty little town is the real Michigan sweetie. This is how it is once you get away from robber barons and tycoons. It’s a filthy little place that no one in their right mind would come to. This isn’t a place to go to, it’s a place to come from. No one in their right mind aspires to Flat Rock. Most people who don’t have some connection to this place wouldn’t ever think of coming here. No one would ever think of looking here, for anything of value. Ever. You’ll be completely safe because even if someone noticed I own a house out here, they’d never believe I’d put something as valuable as you in it. It’s all so damn worthless, they’d dismiss it out of hand.”
“You sound pretty confident of that.” She said.
“I spent quite a few summer months here.” I said. “I know what I’m talking about. Trust me, this place is almost mystical for being ignored”
“You’re sure then?” She said. “I won’t need a gun or anything?”
“Just that pre-paid phone we bought in Kansas.” I said. “But you only call me in a real emergency. I don’t need my phone going off while I’m trying to sneak up on a gangster just to discover you can’t find coffee filters.”
“Yes Jack.” She said, having picked that habit up in the last few days. It must be me, so many women do that little ‘Yes Jack’ thing to me, in that same quick way. “You really think I’m valuable?”
“Yes.” I said, and I meant it.
“Because you like to fuck me, or because you like me, or because my father offered you a lot of money for me?” She asked, and while she was trying to be playful I caught the edge in her voice.
“The first two.” I said, guessing it was the best answer.
“I’m sort of thinking he can go fuck himself.” I told her.
“I love you Jack.” She said.
“Okay.” I gave her a kiss and a hug and another kiss before going out the door and to the Skylark. It wasn’t much of a chariot, and it sure as hell wasn’t a white charger, but a knight errant can’t always choose his steed.
Sadly, I forgot that I was driving in Michigan and it took two and half hours to get from Flat Rock to Troy because it was a week day and I was starting to driver at five in the afternoon. A drive I can normally do in about forty-five minutes took two damn hours as a result. By the time I got to the office, it was empty. I wasn’t sure if it was empty because they hadn’t been there that day, or if it was late and they’d all gone home. I would have to find out and a good way to discover came through the door as I sat down behind my desk.
Someone opened the outer door, so I slid the central drawer of my desk out and set the two silenced Rutthowers in it and half closed it. I then switched on the light at my desk, which caused the shuffling outside to stop. I then cleared my throat loudly, to remove any doubt.
“Johnny?” A large man asked as he came through the inner door. “I forgot my stick, I thought you’d left.” He stopped because he got a look at me, which caused confusion to cross his face. “Who are you?”
“Fuck you.” I said. “This is my office, who the hell are you?”
“Ah, you’d be Collier then.” The man sat down in the big red leather chair, not filling it to the capacity that The Fat Man had done, but filling it quite well. “I thought you were in Georgia.”
“You were meant to.” I said. “And you the hell are you? I won’t be asking a third time.”
“I’m Red King.” His accent became pronounced and maybe even a little more southern when he said his name. “My son was Cole King and my granddaughter is Cindy Eller.”
“You’d be the grandfather then.” I said.
“I would be.” He drawled at me. “Where is my granddaughter?”
“No.” I shook my head. “Where is my secretary?”
“Not until I can have Cindy.” Red said. “I’m going to take her home and restart our family.”
“Her cousin took an unnatural liking to her.” He said. “It was an obsession with him. It clouded his mind.”
“How can he be her cousin if you’re his father and her grandfather?” I asked. “Or do I really want to know the answer to that?”
“Cole was a bad boy. I’ll admit that.” Red said, ignoring my question. “My daughter married a man unsuited to her, but she thought she was getting away from me.”
“I wonder why she’d want to do that?” I asked. “What with her brother being the cousin to her daughter.”
“I was always gentle with her.” He snarled. “I never made her be with child.”
“How sweet of you.” I said.
“Cole was a weakling from the start.” He seemed to not even know I was there. “I understand you were with him when he died.”
“How do you understand that?” I asked.
“Father William explained it all before he died.”
“That was quick work.” I told him.
“I can do things.” He said. “Cole died on his knees?”
“You kill him?”
“Nope.” I shook my head and decided to make him angry since I had guns right in front of me. “He died like a little bitch though. I told him to put the gun in his mouth and he did it. I didn’t even have to tell him twice.”
“He was no damn good.” He told me, and when into his own little world again. I wasn’t sure he even heard me. “A fucking weakling. A pansy, faggot who liked the taste of his own ass on his daddy’s cock. He’d cry, beg me not to make him suck it, begged me not to fuck his ass, but he loved it. I should have cut his tackle off the first time I fucked his ass. Just made him a girl and been done with it. His mother never fought, his sister never cried when I’d fuck her ass. She just bit the pillow and took it like a good girl. His mother was a stupid whore though, had to make her take too many of them percodans with a load of smack and some speedballs. Fucking bitch’s heart exploded.”
“Charming.” I said. “You should write this story down. It would make a lovely book that people could burn every Buddha Day.”
“You should just give me what I want. I can be really mean if I don’t get what I want.” He told me. “You give me Cindy and I can just let you walk away.”
“And if I tell you to go piss up a rope?” I asked.
“You’re just a thing in my dream.” He drawled, sounding more dangerous than a bandersnatch. “I could roll over and crush you without waking up. Or you can give me my little girl so I can start a family over again and do it right.”
“Just kill her when the brats have ejected from her this time.” He muttered to himself. “Her daddy been fucking her since she started bleeding, she’s fucked family plenty, she won’t fight. Her mother died of an overdose you know that?”
My right hand rested on the silenced Rutthower in the desk drawer, just a quick motion and I could end it all. One quick pop and it was done. I could have killed him right there and then. Something stopped me though, probably my not knowing where Debbie was or what they’d do if he didn’t come back in due time.
“Where is my secretary?” I asked again.
“You drive out to Chicago.” Red said standing. “I’ll give you two days. You go get my little whore and I’ll give you back your whores. Fair?”
“I could shoot you right now.” I said.
“Naw.” He shook his head. “Cause you know they’d cut her head off if you hurt me. Don’t you see I just want to make a pure bloodline? Just bring perfect children into the world? Cindy is all I’ve got left. I’ve never even tasted her quim. I’ve got to have a go at her. I’ve got to make her have my perfect child and then kill her, you understand that, don’t you?”
“You are out of your fucking mind.” I asked.
“I knew you’d understand.” He said as he stood up and slipped a cowboy hat on. “You got two days, and then I start cutting bits off the bitch.”
He got all the way to the door and out of it before I had a reaction. When the outer door closed my hand finally grabbed the Rutthower, but it was too late as he’d gone. I set the gun back down on the desk and looked out the window, seeing him get into a large black sedan that drove away a moment after he’d closed the door.
If I lived through this case, I was going to write an article for Incest Monthly. It would easily be the cover story, unless one of those families with fourteen children suddenly reveled that they were one big incestual orgy, I didn’t see how we could loose the cover slot.
1. I should get some canvas and start painting some more.
2. My web presence needs more presence. I’ve gotta make some custom headers or learn some code or something. Make things look a shade spiffier.
3. I’ve got to post the rest of those chapters.
4. Get back on schedule.
5. Start eating right. Started
6. Need to manage my content a little better, in order to show more focus and range.
When talking about the DC reboot, I’ve heard many, many anti-reboot complaints. The commentary has been almost entirely negative in fact. That is a source of annoyance for me because I welcome rebooting. The DCU is a big, snarled mess of contradictions and retcons, let’s not pretend it isn’t.
There are several good reasons for being for the reboot, like…
1. Giving archetypal characters their archetypal status again.
Quite frankly, you can only see Batman punch The Joker and take him back to jail (or Arkham Asylum) so many times before you start counting the bodies left in the clown’s wake and wonder why someone doesn’t just do the sensible thing and have him “Accidently Shot” 37 times in the head while “Resisting Arrest” in the back of the squad car. There comes a point where proving you’re not as bad as he is must give way to simple survival instinct. I have to think that very few people would question the cop who unloaded his gun into the right ear of someone with as high a body count. The same applies to Lex Luthor, or Sinestro, or Granny Goodness, or whoever it is that The Flash fights. There comes a point where having your hero fight the same damn villain YET AGAIN becomes an exercise in futility. The never ending struggle will never end, and as such, it becomes as dull as dishwater. You know that everyone will be fine by the end, because they’ve all got to come back to do it again next week.
The tale of Odysseus is re-readable because you’re not reading a slight variation every month. Le Morte D’Arthur is always the same, but when new writers take on the story they add their own flares. Bits and pieces are put in by each new writer, but they do not pretend that this is the sequel to Le Morte D’Arthur, but their own take on the tale. So King Arthur remains an archetype. Super heroes have archetypal status, but with a continuing burden that makes repletion and the phrase “Oh just fucking kill him already” inevitable.
While there can be drama in a well written story, those stories aren’t as thick on the ground and some might like you to believe. In truth, the really great stories that come sandwiched inside a dense continuity are rare and wonderful things to behold. They do happen, but they’d happen more if the area were cleared away a bit. When you can start over, and tell the tale from scratch, you can have little variances and let each author bring genuinely new ideas forward.
2. Do you really want it all to be in continuity?
I tried to re-read Knightfall again recently, and I was struck once again at what a lame and lightweight villain Bane was. The whole Az-Bit thing still doesn’t work, and today really strikes me as an attempt to make the DC Universe go a bit EXTREME! For a brief period, Batman became just another Image knock off character without personality or readability. Bruce Wane was promptly brought back at the end of that story line, making it even more annoying. What had seemed like a cynical attempt to cash in on Image, was really a cynical attempt to re-do The Death of Superman. I would like that whole thing to be erased from memory please. Both stories sucked the balls off a dead donkey, and I’d like them removed from continuity and thrown to the dustbin forever.
While I’m at it, do you want the story where The Joker made all the fish have smiles like his to still be canon? Granted, it’s actually a good story, but still. All that Urban battle ground stuff from the 70s? All the downright foolishness of the 50s? Do you want Rainbow Batman to be canon? And that’s just Batman, each character has some really bad things in their past that it would be best to just let go away forever.
More than that though, we must re-jigger the time line at least, otherwise Batman is about 100 years old. He fought crime in the late 30’s, even with the flexible comic book aging system, he’s got to be old. Unless you want to explain how he managed that, rebooting is a requirement.
None of this is DC’s reasoning, at least not as far as I’ve heard it. Their reason is that the labyrinthine stories that have littered the past 20-30 years do get in the way for new readers. Continuity seems to block the path for new readers who are intimidated by the length and breadth of stories they think they’re going to have to look up in order to read issue 847. Actually, they really don’t need much to get caught up. You’d be amazed how much you pick up as you go along and how little the current writer knows about the last 70 odd years of storylines. Sometimes, it can be shocking to realize that they don’t even have much of a grasp as to what happened a year ago, even if they were the writer for those issues, but that’s a complaint for another time.
Every time I start to read some literature, I get annoyed because it reminds me how ill-prepared our teachers left us and how they failed at the relatively simple prospect of teaching English to English speaking students.
And to think, it wasn’t until years later that I got even more pissed when discovering that the story had merit beyond it’s literary value! That story has a greater context, and it was never mentioned. Not once. he most interesting thing about the story was left out.
Today, an old woman told that that because Sony’s current ad campaign is “make.believe” that we were probably selling make-believe Sony products.
Because, you know, pirates are that stupid. They put right on the front that this is a fake product, for everyone to see.
She also demanded that the Sony I showed her wasn’t the one in the ad because the one in the ad never mentioned having AM/FM radio capabilities in the six (6) words that encapsulated this product in the ad. She then said she didn’t want the unit that was easy to get at, but the one behind it, the one wrapped in security items that are hard to remove. Her reason was that there was a small blemish on the front of the front unit. She then neglected to notice the large slash in the back of the box she took, the one she made me show her the removed security unit to prove it wasn’t the one with the tiny blemish on the box. Having finally gotten her out of the store, and begun ranting to my young apprentice, she CAME BACK because she didn’t think the unit played CD’s despite saying it was a CD player in big letters on the front.
At no time did I snap at this woman, at no time did a single cruel or even wayward thing leave my lips. I didn’t punch her, or stab her, or tear her stupid head off her shoulders so that I could crack the skull and prove there was no brain in side her head. I was the peak of politeness and understanding, a customer service rep well worth the $8 an hour I get, and more besides. As a result, she’ll come to me again next time and a little more of my soul will be battered out of existence.
I only tell you this tale because otherwise it will go unremarked and unremembered. My young apprentice saw it, but who will he tell?
If the aliens come tomorrow, or should the minions of hell decide to rise up next week, or if perchance the zombies put in an appearance, they’d better watch their fuckin’ step. I am SO ready to curb stomp a motherfucker and quite frankly their death lasers don’t scare me none. I ain’t scared of nothin’ no more. I help the elderly purchase electronic equipment, there is nothing left in this world that can frighten me.
I finished watching the first season of Leverage last night, and I was really very pleased with the show over all. They start the show off right, making a first episode that drew me in and kept me watching, and then pulled a fast one by having each episode a more or less self-contained story. I mean that in the sense that you can miss an episode because it’s not some damn photo-novel that needs ten minutes of “Last time on Lost” bullshit to make sure you remember what happened before and not get blindsided. Instead here, they pull a job and go home. The DVD has the episodes out of order and that didn’t present a problem for me viewing. The first two episodes and last two are the only ones that needed to be presented in order and those were presented as such.
If you can picture The A-Team mixed with Ocean’s Eleven (right now to the mock-Brubeck music) you can picture this show. Thieves go (sorta) straight and decide to help people who have problems and folks who no one else can help, and hoping that each leap… will be the leap home. Sorry, different show, they never talk to a hologram, sadly.
It’s not a direct lift, none of the characters port over directly, but you can tell that someone watched their A-Team Box set back to back with the Oceans movies. They’ve got a guy who looks like a budget version of Brad Pitt, a hacker who is geeky without being a dweeb, a cute socially anxious girl and that one chick from Coupling, so you do have something for almost everyone. They do tease out a little bit about each person’s character through out the show and I look forward to how they continue to develop them in later seasons.
When I first heard about the show, it was a criticism that the cons the crew pulls are unrealistic. That’s just people trying to sound smart, but being hugely uneducated. The only main quibble I have with the show is that none of it can be done as quickly as they show them doing it. However, I understand that events need to be compressed for TV and tension must be maintained, so I forgive them that. Pretty much, as far as I know, everything on the show could really be done. There might be some computer things that are in the realm of fantasy, I don’t know as much about computers as other things. The things I do know about though, they’re pretty much accurate… except for how much time things take.
I was impressed by the hacker character, since he plays WoW and makes fake identities with the names of people who played Dr. Who, but he’s not ever shown to be a maladjusted freak of any kind. They actually make the hacker almost human. As a result, his crush on his teammate is cute and sweet, rather than creepy and stalkerish. He’s not so much pining silently after her as much as he’s trying to feel out what her feelings might be for him. I like the other characters too, but geeks get such a hard time being portrayed as anything like cool that it’s nice to see once I a while.
You’d think social networking web sites would make it easier for introverts to network socially. I would like to suggest that’s wrong, or at least not quite right. As far as I can tell, I’ve not really networked with anyone new for more than two years. Maybe I’m wrong, but it feels that way. I’m still as bad at networking as I ever was. I’m just not good at meeting people and the groups I’ve seen don’t really work for me on pretty much any level.
I’m sure that there is probably some kind of effort I need to put forth, but all of them more or less boil down to “Stop being introverted and weird, you fuckwit.”
I forget which of my friends explained that she can’t really look at all my photo post because it’s too much. She called it an assault of beauty, which ws nice in one way.
If you walk with your head up high, then people say you’re too proud.
If you walk with your head hung low, then people say you’re skulking.
You can try to walk with your head perfectly level, but someone will always claim you’re holding your head too high or too low.
Personally, I hold my head in my hands while screaming “The WORMS! They’re in my head! They’re eating my goddamn brain!”
People leave me the fuck alone about where my head is.