The Return of Jack Collier
A Jack Collier Story
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter Forty-Three: Holding Out For a Hero
Chapter Forty-Three: Holding Out For a Hero
I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light.
If Jack’s going to complain about this Legend of Jack Collier thing he’s going to have to stop doing things like this. It’s really not fair of him to both behave like the sort of character that’s stepped out of the kind of books I used to make myself wet as a teenager and complain about people acting like he’s some sort of superman. He’s going to have to pick, which I keep telling him anyway.
The first thing I saw was some sort of flashing in the house, like someone had started a fire. Then there was the crump of an explosion and the house did burst into flames. The front room of the house was flaming in a few seconds and who was on the front porch? Who was standing here in his trench coat and fedora, looking like some kind of mix between the man with no name and every detective from every movie I ever saw? I almost thought he was in black and white for a moment as he stepped away from the door, his feet crunching on the glass that broke when the fire exploded.
“Red King.” He said pulling out one gun and then the other. “I’m calling you out bitch!”
“What the fuck?” King asked, looking at Jack as he walked down the porch steps.
“I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of gum.” Jack announced and raised the two guns.
I ran, since no one seemed to want to keep an eye on me. They were all interested in what Jack was doing, far too interested to bother with me. Jack started shooting them, and as far as I could tell he hit one of them with each shot. There were nine of them all together, and they fell like flies under his onslaught. What’s odd is how fast it all was. He fired six shots from the old Webley and then four shots from his Marley, all within about ten seconds. I stopped running and turned when the shooting had stopped and saw him standing with only Red King left alive.
“So Red.” He announced as he put the Webley back in its shoulder holster. “It is down to you, and it is down to me.”
He opened the Marley and spilled the bullets into his hand. He made a show of throwing away the empty shells and replacing the two good rounds. He then loaded the other four bullets into the gun and closed it. After doing that he tossed the gun to Red’s feet and pulled out his pocket knife.
“Okay Red.” He announced. “You saw me load it. Let’s see if you can grab that gun and shoot me before I get to you and cut your guts out with my knife here.”
“I could get that in an instant.” He said looking at the gun.
“So go for it.” Jack said, taking a step closer.
“Don’t do it King!” I hadn’t seen Alice coming from the side of the house, but there she was, beautiful in the fire light. She was aiming a pistol at King, but looking at Jack. “This isn’t the wild west. We can take him in.”
“Who flipped you?” He asked her. “Who gave you up to this prick?”
“We’ll find out.” She said as the first started to catch on the second floor of the house. “We can take him in.”
“What do you think Red?” Jack asked as he walked closer. “You want to go with her or me? I’m ready to use your guts for garters, she’s ready to arrest you and put you away for the rest of your life. I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t think either one is very attractive. If you decided to walk away though, I’ll let you get arrested and I’ll back off. I won’t kill you if you go with her.”
“Oh you are such a sweetheart, aren’t you?” King sneered.
“Just shoot him Alice!” I called out. “We can put the gun in his hand.”
“No.” Jack said. “No, he’s got to make up his own mind. Free will, it’s got a beat and you can dance to it.”
“I’m not going to give myself up.” King announced.
“Well, I’m tired of this so I’m not even going to cut you now.” Jack closed his knife and slipped it in his pocket. “I think if you go for that gun now Agent Liddell will probably shoot you though. I mean unless this has all been some massive game where Alice is really on your side.”
“No.” She said, “I’m on your side Jack.”
“Good to hear.” He announced, not taking his eyes off King.
“Fuck you.” King said and reached down to grab the revolver.
Alice fired one shot, which went through the big man’s thigh. He fell to his knees, gun in hand and shouted. He looked at Jack and then looked at Alice. I could see from where I stood that the gun she was holding was out of bullets, the chamber of the automatic was stuck in the open position. He couldn’t see it though, I think he thought it was trapped. He stuck the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. His head didn’t explode or anything, the bullet didn’t even come out. He just shot and fell over.
“Well I didn’t see that coming.” Jack said as he walked up Red and took his gun away from the corpse. The two of us walked towards him as the roof started to burn.
“Is it over?” A voice called out from the side of the house.
“It’s over Cindy.” Jack said, an arm around each of our necks, kissing each of us on the forehead.
“All over.” Alice said. “I’ll go take care of her and get a car.”
“You know Debs.” Jack said, his arm still around my neck. “I’m glad we live in the suburbs of Michigan.”
This sounded like crazy talk to me. So much so that I could only react with surprise after he told me it. I think I even came him the weird mutant look after he said it.
“Are you?” I asked.
“Oh yeah.” He announced turning to watch the burning building as Alice pulled her car away from the burning. “Because the suburbs are so calm and quite. You never get weird religious cults that want to rape girls for no good reason in the suburbs. Nope! The suburbs of Michigan are dead boring. Never get international gangs of assassins kidnapping industrialists daughters, don’t have serial killers. You’re ex girlfriend never turns out to be a psycho, trying to get you to help murder her ex-husband and her business partners and rivals. Not in the suburbs of Michigan!”
He was beginning to raise his voice now, as part of the house began to collapse in on itself. It wasn’t because I couldn’t hear him though, he was just starting to loose his cool a little. I think it had all been too much for him.
“You don’t have kidnapped girls shooting you, you don’t have to live in a coma for three years, none of this trading of children, no fathers raping their own kids, no incest so complicated you need a flow chart to work out who is related to who and why they shouldn’t be fucking! Oh and being chased by psycho cult leaders across the country while everyone has some super secret they refuse to share doesn’t happen either. OH NO! Never have to set an entire house on fire because you can’t depend on anyone besides yourself not to have be part of the conspiracy against you. Yeup. That never happens here in Michigan! I’m so glad we live here! Imagine what it would be like if we lived in one of those immoral cities! I might have to solve a simple jewel heist or something. Oh the ignominy! I SURE AM GLAD WE LIVE IN MICHIGAN WHERE WE DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF SHIT!”
As he shouted that, the house collapsed completely and ash and cinders flew up so high into the sky you’d think they got lost and became new stars. He stopped and watched as they went up and up. He then put his arms around me and kissed my neck.
“Are you okay?” Alice asked as she approached.
“He’ll be okay.” I said patting his shoulder.
“Should I?” She pointed over her shoulder, looking at me with a question in her eyes.
“Come on.” I said waving to her. “He needs a hug.”
She put her arms around him, and I put my hands on her arms because that was the furthest I could reach. I kind of got the idea that it would be okay now though. It had passed, he would be alright now. She kissed my finger, I stroked her chin, we were okay together. It was comfortable the three of us could probably be comfortable.
“We probably should call somebody.” Jack said finally. “Make sure the fire gets put out properly. Go get Karen and Jill, go home. Go to bed.”
“Where are they?” Alice asked, still holding onto him and rubbing her cheek against my hand.
“Flat Rock.” He said, still holding onto me.
“Where the hell is Flat Rock?” She asked. “Is that in Ohio or something?”
“See?” He laughed. “No one knows about Flat Rock.”
“Where is it?” She asked.
“I’ll take you there.” He said. “I’ll show you. You’ll see. No place worth going.”
“Jack?” I asked. “Are you okay?”
“No one in their right mind would go to Flat Rock.” He said. “So it’s the perfect safe house. I’ll show you.”
We all got into what he told us was his Grandmother’s old car and he started us away. Alice made a call to the local police, but none of us stayed at the crime scene. An hour and a half later, we were pulling into a drive way in what he assured us was the town of Flat Rock. It was a little place, hardly worth visiting. He got into the house where Jill and Karen were waiting. Jack called the police and told them to come get the two hit men he had in a tool shed behind the garage.
While it should have been the end with Red King shooting himself, it was only the beginning. The local police, state police and the federals, all showed up at the house, which got to be quite small with all the people in it and it wasn’t very big to begin with. After a few hours, we were all taken from Jack’s Grandmother’s old house, to the local police station to give statements and things. That took hours, and they kept wanting to go over it again and again until I got fed up and told them I was only going to talk to the feds.
“What’s the matter with us?” A big state bull called Harris demanded.
“Look.” I said, feeling like the only girl in the world with the four big cops standing around me. “I’m tired and I’m not going through this again. I’ll talk to Agent Liddell, but the rest of you can leave. If you want more from me, arrest me and you can talk to my lawyer. I’m done.”
Much of this infographic is accurate, although I would argue more for The Internet and Computers in general instead of just Google.
It is also an example of history repeating itself.
I’m reminded of a part from The Day the Universe Changed when James Burke was talking about memory palaces and how the need for them was destroyed by the printing press. Pretty much everything in that infographic can be said about how books affected people as well, on both the good and the bad sides.
We went from remembering stories as narratives “I remember when they started working on the castle because that was the year Cassie was born. They opened the castle when Cassie got her first tooth, and she was about eleven months old then. Now she’s fourteen, so the castle was built thirteen years ago.” to remembering a series of facts “The castle was built 13 years ago.” and with the internet you can look up “Castle Tooth was built in 1998. LOL! 4:20! I smoke weed every day of my life.”
Everything they are saying here about Google, someone once said about books. And we know this, because they or someone else wrote it down. I can’t remember where of course, because my memory Palace is full of viewing screens with high def audio. I’m a visual and auditory learner, I’ve got a memory theater going on. Well, that and the memory warehouse, but we leave those boxes sealed and stacked for a reason.
Every once in a while someone mentions tarot card readings, or palm readings, or astrology, or even diving the future through pizza crumbs. Invariably, I decline the offer, often swiping away any errant crumbs of whatever pizza I’m eating at the time.
Actually, I have a great deal that I would sort of like to say, but this is neither the time nor the place. Continue reading
Okay, so you need to look at this post.
Long story short, the sweetest girl in all of California is in dire need of some funds.
She’s selling some stuff on e-bay, she has an Art Fire Store and doing readings. Go check out what she’s got going on, okay?
The One Night Stand. I’ve heard it called many things over the years. I don’t intend to mention all of them here, but I do intend to talk about a couple. Not so much the terms, but the euphemistic ways they talk about it.
One friend slightly callously, in my mind anyway, referred to the event as “I picked her up, and when I was done I put her back down again.” However, it was only slightly callous and to be honest, it was extremely accurate. Besides, she said something similar about them, so it balanced out really.
Another friend, sort of romantically and playful said of such a situation, “We were at a party, and she followed me home.” I like that one a bit better, it’s got some breath of innocence and fun to it.
My favorite however is still “She threw herself at me, and I caught her.” which provides me with all the things I enjoy, forward women and gallant souls who accept offers from forward women. Well, I really like forward women, if I’ve never mentioned that before.
Now… the Michigan Renaissance Festival facebook page has this as Dr. Infernal’s Shock and Awe Show. When the show was done, Dr Infernal told me where to find them on facebook, but I forgot the name of the show. As you can see though, I at least found his facebook page, so that’s something. That might even be the name he gave me, who knows, I sure don’t.
The show is your basic fire-eating, whip cracking, head nailing, bed of nails laying show and as such is entirely dependent on the skill of the performers to be any good or not. These photos are not the best I’ve ever taken, because the light and hunger were working against me. However, I got some good shots and computers are wonderful things for fixing mistakes right?
Anyway, let’s look at some pictures, shall we?
This is the man himself, and he gave a very good act.
The assistant in the show was a young lady who goes by the name of Jade Ashekerra.
The Return of Jack Collier
A Jack Collier Story
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter Forty-Two: The Angriest Song Ever.
Alice Liddell’s Diary
I have never seen that kind of savagery in my life and I hope I never see it again. It wasn’t just that he was angry, it was that he approached pure viciousness to a level I’ve never seen before. All while Daydream Believer played, imprinting it’s new meaning on my brain.
If you investigate certain kinds of crimes, there start being songs you can’t listen to anymore. You can’t read some books, or watch certain movies, but it’s songs that are the worst. I can avoid watching the Texas Chainsaw movies, I don’t have to read Lewis Carol, avoiding the Billy Joel song Uptown Girl is a little harder. You see things, you hear things, you know that someone murdered fourteen children because they think The Beatles told them to, and it ruins a song. As a result, I will forever think of Daydream Believer as the angriest song in the world.
“Look cunt!” Pete snapped as he slammed the door and shouted through the glass. “You’re gonna get fucked to death. So you better just shut up, or it’ll be a lot worse! He ain’t gonna just suddenly come back and save you’re dumb bitch ass.”
Then it started, and went all at once. He was laughing at one moment, and then there was a flash of movement and the world turned into pure violence. I didn’t even realize what had happened at first, just that someone was behind Pete. For a moment I thought I was in even more trouble than I was.
Jack stood up, grabbed the back of Pete’s head and smashed him into the window. There were two more smacked into the window, but it didn’t break. He opened the door and shoved Pete’s head in and slammed the door twice, all while Davey Jones was singing that the six o’clock alarm might never ring. Jack stood back a step and gave the door a healthy kick, which caused a disgusting crack sound. There were convulsions from Pete’s body and a sound escaped his throat.
Jack opened the door, which let Pete slide out of the car on to the ground. He reached into Pete’s coat and grabbed his automatic. He stood up, checked the gun, glanced at me and spoke in the gentlest tone I’d ever heard him use outside of the bed room.
“You okay?” The sound of his voice was like rubbing silk across my face while kissing my ear.
“Yeah.” I said.
“NO!” Cindy’s voice cried out again. “Please! God! NO!
“B-R-B.” He said with such a sweet tone that you’d never know how angry he was.
He walked away toward the front of the SUV and crossed in front of it toward the bushes that they’d dragged Cindy to. I saw him in the headlights as he passed in front of the truck. His head was down and in order to look any angrier, he would need a cartoon storm cloud hanging over him. He didn’t walk towards them, he stalked. I lost him after he passed through the lights, he just vanished into the dark. Sleepy Jean was being advised to cheer up as he vanished from the realms where visible light had an effect and he became a force of nature.
Then there were the gun shots. Eight of them, several overlapping to soon for it to all be from one gun. I saw the flashes, but couldn’t see anything else until Jack emerged back into the headlights with Cindy’s wrist in his hand. She was trying to keep her jeans from slipping down her hips, since they were still open. I think they only got to opening them and she just hadn’t buttoned the fly or redone her belt. I got out of the car and ran towards him. He waved at me with the gun hand.
“Get in back, we’re going to get the rest of them.”
“Are you okay?” I asked Cindy as we got to the SUV.
“I’m okay.” She nodded, clearly shaken. “I’ll be okay.”
She got in the back, so I got into the front seat. Jack walked around to the driver’s side and opened the door. He then looked down where Pete lay and fired two more shots from the gun. He tossed the gun to me and got into the car.
“You once thought of me.” He sang sweetly with the music. “As a white knight on his steed.”
He started the truck and started it away. I thought he might turn the song off, but instead he turned it up, way up. He kept singing along, except he was getting angrier as he did. By the time the chorus came around again he was banging his right fist into the steering wheel with his fist and roaring the words.
“Cheer up sleepy Jean!” He roared as we raced through the night. “OOOOh what can it mean!? To aaa daydream believer and a… HOME coming queeEEEEN?!”
He turned the lights off as he drove, clearly knowing where he was going, or not caring anymore. He was nearly screaming the lyrics by the last time the chorus was repeated. He stopped as we approached the house, which was just as well since the song was over by that point.
“You keep the gun.” He told me. “Back me up.
“What are you going to do?”
“Take back our girlfriend.” He said.
He walked toward the back of the house, where it looked like the kitchen was located. I saw Quayle sitting at the table with is back turned to the door, he was preparing something that looked like a Molotov cocktail made of a gas can and a rag.
“We’re not gonna take it.” Jack whispered as he walked toward the back door. “No, we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it, anymore.”
“See, we make her drink this stuff. Get it all over her, and the fire will start to burn inside her.” Quayle was telling one of them men sitting at the table with him. “You then light this and toss it in, it exploded under her and you have bitch flambé.”
Jack yanked the sliding door open and walked quickly into the kitchen. There was a gun on the counter next to the door, and I know that because he grabbed it and put a round through the head of Quayle’s companion. The sound was soft and almost not there, and I saw after he threw it on the table that it was one of his Rutthowers.
“You want to burn someone?” Jack asked, so calm and sweet that I thought that voice might scare me the next time he used it to talk to me. “Let’s try you.”
He grabbed the cup of gas off the table, dumped it on Quayle and then smashed Quayle’s head with it. He yanked Quayle up and shoved him towards the hall, grabbing a lighter and setting the man alight. Quayle screamed as the flame took him and Jack gave him a kick in the chest.
“Fucker.” He turned back to the table and grabbed his things, mentioning them as he did. “Webley, Marley, Laguiole, persuader, keys, wallet, phone and my mitts. Sweetheart, take the two Rutthowers, then no one will know where you’re shooting from.” He snatched the gas can from the table and started toward the hall.
“Go around the house, this is about to turn flamey.”
He walked into the hall and raised his right arm swiftly, throwing his left hand into the crook of his elbow. The result was that his right hand snapped into the air and half way through its flight he let the gas can go. He just kept walking, cool as sour cream towards the front door. I heard a thump a scream and jumped to the floor as I realized what was going to come next. There was an explosion of flames and the screaming stopped, but a moment later the screaming of a smoke detector started. I ran out of the house through the back door and ran around to the front, not coming all the way around because I didn’t really want to be seen. There were eight or nine of them, all standing around Debbie as the flames really started to catch the house in earnest. Jack was walking down the stairs like a gun fighter, the wind blowing his coat around dramatically.
“I am up to seven for this evening!” He announced as he stepped off the flaming porch towards King. “I am looking to break my old record.”
“Kill this asshole.” King waved his cane around.
I started towards them, shooting with both of the Rutthowers at once, just like we were told never to do. It was amazing to watch him though as he shot at them with that antique revolver of his. He took no stance, not an approved one anyway. It didn’t seem to matter much though, he seemed not to miss. I’m not sure how much help I was being, since I’m still not sure about the range the Rutthowers had, but it didn’t matter. His gun handling would have given my old sergeant an aneurism, but he seemed to have them all taken care of so it probably didn’t matter.
It only took a few seconds of shooting before I was out of bullets, but it looked like we got everyone but King anyway. I decided to approach the situation, picking up one of the dead men’s guns as I did. Jack looked even angrier, if that was at all possible. I almost thought I saw a cartoon cloud over his head.
“You really want to kill me, don’t you?” Jack asked as he slung the big revolver into his shoulder holster. “Go on, draw your steel.”
“You little son of a bitch.” King snarled.
“I’ll help you.” Jack said, taking a small revolver off his hip and tossing it to the man’s feet. Then he pulled his knife out and opened it. “Let’s see what you’ve got. Go on, it’s fully loaded. We’ll see if you can draw and fire that before I can stab you with this.”
“I’ll kill you.”
“Let’s see you try.” Jack told him.
“Fuck you.” King said grabbing the little ivory handled thirty-eight.
I pulled the trigger once and hit him in the leg, a fleshy part of the upper thigh. Jack looked at me, and I looked back at him. He then looked at King and smiled, closing the knife. He tossed the closed knife from one hand to the other while King grabbed at his thigh and moaned of pain. I’m not sure either of them could see from their angle, but there had only been one round in the gun. The breach was stuck open, taunting me, looking like a baby bird that wanted to be fed.
King looked at me, then at the gun in his hand. He grabbed the revolver in his meaty fist and put the gun in his mouth while pulling the trigger. Blood exploded from the nose and ears, but the bullet didn’t exit his head, it just deformed the skull. The body sat up for a second before the muscles lost their power and let the weight fall.
“Huh.” Jack said. “I did not see that coming.”
He walked over to where King’s body lay, blood pouring from the nose, mouth and ears, and took his gun back. He took out a handkerchief to wipe off some of the blood and put the gun right back into the hip holster he had for it. I watched him do it too. I didn’t say anything about evidence, or crime scenes, or anything like that. If I wanted an excuse not to say these things, the fire broke through the roof and began to burn away at the last remaining supports for the place.
Instead of complaining, I walked to Jack and embraced him while Debbie did the same. We held him as he breathed heavily and squeezed us tight against him. I could feel the handle of his gun pressing into my chest, but I was hardly about to start complaining about such a thing now.
“Is it over?” Cindy asked as she emerged from the side of the flaming house.
“It’s over Cindy.” Jack said, an arm around each of our necks, kissing each of us on the forehead.
“All over.” I said. “I’ll go take care of her and get a car.”
Jack tossed me his keys and we walked to the skylark he had driven here in. I pulled the car around and stopped next to them as Jack was shouting something about living in Michigan being so great because you never have gun fights with gangsters in Michigan. I got out of the car as he was shouting about how much he hated living in this state and then broke down, holding onto Debbie to prevent from falling.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Come on.” She said, waving at me to approach. “He just needs us to hold him for a while.”
I put my arms around him, and Debbie put her hands on my arms. She put her hands up near my shoulder and I kissed her fingers sort of spontaneously. She touched my face with her fingers, rubbing my lower lip with her thumb. I kissed her thumb and gently bit the tip. Her fingers stroked my chin and I sort of knew it was all going to be okay. It would take a little while, but the three of us would be okay together. That was something of a break through, although it’s a strange one to make when surrounded by dead bodies.
One Step Further is the show presented by Delirio del Arte