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Picture Post #49: Paintings – Part Three

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February 21, 2012 Posted by | Photo | | Leave a comment

The Return of Jack Collier (Chapter Fifty-One)

The Return of Jack Collier

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Chapter Fifty One: Suspiciously Like a Happy Ending.

 

            I’m sitting at my desk right now, finalizing this little treatise as four beautiful women wait out by Debbie’s desk. They expect that I’m going to either point at one or two of them or say everyone come on, or maybe just reject all of them and head for the hills. Something. I want to do something, I just don’t know what. So I’m staling by editing and reading over this nice long document, acting like I want to see what everyone has to say and how before I say anything. This was the only suggestion left to me, the Dracula method, where we all donate some journal notes to build up one coherent story.

 

            Two problems with that are of course that we’ve got dangling questions at the end. How can we have the end of a story if we don’t have all the answers? I’m fairly worried about this, and it should help me stall for a good twenty minutes.

 

            I never did find out why Jill was so important to Red King. I guess though, since I put my Marley in his mouth and shot what brains he had all over the Piper lawn it doesn’t really matter. It no longer matters what was going through his mind, since the last thing to go through his head was a Simon and Weschler Thirty-Eight Special round. So fuck it, I never find out why they wanted her, they’re smashed and all arrested so it doesn’t matter. I managed to top my former single night kill total by one. This, despite not hitting a single one of King’s henchmen. If Alice hadn’t been there shooting with those Rutthowers, I’d probably been blown to pieces. Still though, I got King and that made eight. I’m not going to have my keychain changed. The Seven with One Blow event was something to be remembered so that I can avoid doing that again later. I would rather not remember the night of the great Piper house fire at all if that’s okay.

 

            The second problem is that they still don’t know who Alice’s mole is, so they could still be in place and handing information out. Alice was informed though that mole hunts go on for months and sometimes years, which is a very comforting thought really. Whatever rat fuck bastard is in there doing this has lots of other opportunities to get her killed. So that’s nice.

 

            That’s not why we’re here though, and of course I know it. We’re here so I can work out what the hell I’m going to do when I open the inner door and look at the four of them gathered around Debbie’s desk. That might be my biggest problem, besides the money of course, but money will always be a problem. The thing is, even though there are four women, they represent more than four problems.

 

            You see, if I stay with Debbie and only Debbie then everything becomes a very delicate dance. First, I know what will happen to our relationship. We’ll end up playing at the office, she’ll wear collar and cuffs to work and deliver the mail crawling on the floor with the envelopes in her mouth. It sounds sexy, but it causes comment if she does it while I’m talking to clients. There is also the issue that if I’m only with her, she’s not only with me. She’s with Karen even if I’m not, and that will cause complications as well. It won’t cause many, since I don’t think I’ve ever had a relationship where I was the only man the girl was with. Cuckolding seems to be a specialty of mine. Still though, I love her.

 

            So what if I go for Alice and only Alice? Well, then I’d have to move to D.C. to be with her, which will mean I’ve got to leave Debbie, and that idea does not appeal to me. It also means I’ll have to adjust to the idea that she’d be mine and mine alone. That would just be plain weird because I’ve never been there before. It also seems sort of restrictive on her. She’s admitted to wanting to try a group thing, and here I’d be saying that we should be one and one. Still though, I love her.

 

            I think I can only cross being with Karen off the list right here and now. That won’t work. She’s got too much going on to give that kind of attention to me, I’d be a drain. Alright, that’s not really it. The real reason is that while there has been a recent warming between us, there is still and immense gulf of icy water between us. It’s going to take more than a reunion and a kidnapping to get us anywhere near back to where we should be. I think I love her, but I’ll need a lot more research into the question to decide.

 

            So, Jill? Okay, time for honesty. She’s great to be with in the bed room, she’s good to have on your arm, and she’s very smart and engaging. While her taste in music leaves something to be desired and she was born when I was in high school, she’s a wonderful girl with a sharp mind and a quick tongue. And she adores me, thinks I hung the moon and everything. She’s exactly the kind of girl young men fantasize about meeting someday. Well, I fantasized about meeting that sort. I could marry her, and we could get a terrier and start drinking a lot. The problem is, her adoration could turn sour and become something very nasty indeed. When a girl idolizes you, and you fail to live up to the image, then disappointment becomes contempt. There is also something not quite right with her, something is wrong there. All that might be excused if it weren’t for the last problem with her. I don’t love her. I like her a lot, but I don’t actually love her.

 

            So then, what if I decide to keep that being with them all won’t be a problem? Does Alice move? Do we move? Do we live separately and only see each other when we can get away? Debbie won’t want to move away from Karen, Karen won’t leave her husband and wife, Alice isn’t going to want to leave her job, Jill isn’t established and can go anywhere, but we have other problems there. I don’t want to make anyone have to leave the place where they’re comfortable and happy, but I also don’t want to only see someone every four weeks or so. If I’m going to do this, I want people accessible. If I decide I want a three way, I should only have to snap my fingers outside of their hearing and then go and try to gather up lovers for the event, wooing them with suavity and not letting them know I snapped for them.

 

            Which of course starts another problem. It’s not just the sex, there is something very comfortable knowing that everyone feels the same about everyone else. It’s nice knowing that the three of you (for an example) each love the other two as much as the other two love you and each other. You don’t have to avoid a subject if everyone loves everyone else. I know Alice and Debbie have been talking. I know they’ve been bonding behind my back. Jill and Debbie have been going out to get things for Jill’s apartment, taking Karen with them. I’m not sure if anything besides curtain rods have passed between them, but I know Alice isn’t terribly fond of Jill and she’s very wary about Karen. So no matter which combination I go with, I wouldn’t really have a circle of amour.

 

            We also have the issue of the money, but I talked about it before so I don’t need to rehash it here. The more of it though is that that I’m responsible for other people now. A lot of people. It was bad enough when I had just had to make sure to get enough money so Debbie wouldn’t be kicked out onto the street, now we’ve got payroll to meet. We’ve got the money to meet it, but that’s not much of a comfort if you’re always worried about having to end up living at Grandma’s again at any moment. You can tell me we’ve got millions, and my paranoid brain will just rocket back to the year Dad sold the Datsun because two cars was just too much of an expense. It’s easier to just actually be living hand to mouth rather than worrying about it.

 

            That’s academic though because Debbie takes care of the books and runs the business now. She can manage if I just stay out of her way and let her get on with things. It won’t stop me worrying, because nothing ever will, but it means that I can’t really do anything about it one way or the other.

 

            Those are more or less the main issues. The fact that I’ve entered the news cycle once again isn’t that big a deal, I’ll pass through it like I did last time. They’re already bored with me, I can tell. Someone will make a five minute documentary spot about the event in three years for a cable channel and that will be the end of it. The fact that I’ve become a person of interest to the government is a little annoying, but my girlfriend is in the government, so I should be okay there.

 

            So the question is what the hell do I do now? How do I manage to do this and not hurt anyone else? How do I give everyone what they want? Can I even do it? Should I just follow Debbie’s hint and go to Chicago to give Cindy Eller a try? No, probably not that. There should be at least one girl I haven’t nailed running around, give me something to look forward to. So what do I do? I suppose I could shoot my way out, if I really tried, but I might hurt one of them and that idea is repugnant to me. I could knock my desk over, use it as a shield, maybe tell them that they’ll have to come in and get me. Scream that they’ll never take me alive. Maybe I could push it up against the door, figure out a way to smash out the window and scale down the side of the building.

 

            I’m going to have to think of something. I’ve got the bathroom in here, so there’s water, but I’ve only got half a bag of candy in my desk for food. I won’t be able to hold out and I know it.

 

            Here is a question though, and I want you to really think about. Why can’t I just be with all four of them? Okay, Jill might get tired of me, or I might get tired of her, but with a little persuasion I think I can get her to go to college like she had planned before all of this. She can come home during breaks and that would give us time to decide what we want to do. I have affection for her beyond just the physical, it could grow into real and genuine love.

 

            Karen and I might have some coolness right now, but there is also some warmth. She lives with Pete and Angela in Ypsi anyway, so there would be just enough distance to make traveling seem a hassle on days we didn’t want to see each other but not far enough that going would be that big a deal when we did want to. She’ll be around to see Debbie anyway, and that’s probably a bridge that’s worth rebuilding.

 

            Alice can fly in on weekends, or I can go to her. Debbie and I can go to her, if my suspicion about what’s going on there is correct. Maybe we can open an office in D.C. and move out there. Maybe she would decide that private investigation involves less bullshit from leering old men in suits who want to protect their meager positions. Maybe a lot of things could happen and it will all turn out alright.

 

            Debbie and I could go on in the office like we have been, but better. I have no idea really how she’d feel about a revolving door of extra girls, but if the giggling I’m hearing out there is any indication the four of them at least get along pretty well. You could do a lot worse. Believe me, I have. It could all work out for the best.

 

            Maybe that’s my other big problem here. This is all looking suspiciously like a happy ending. At least, I assume that’s what’s going on, I’ve never actually seen one up close before. I’ve heard about them, but I’ve never been party to one first hand. I’ve only been told in vague terms what they’re like. The hero wins, which I seem to have done, he gets the girl, more than have getting the girl covered, and he rides off in the sunset.

 

            I’d have to get out of the office to ride into the sunset, and that would require passing though the outer office, and those four are in there and I haven’t got the slightest idea what to do about them. I can hear them though… giggling about me. I’m going to have to man up, going to have to go out there and tell them what I think. But not just yet, I’ve got to work this out first, figure out what I’m doing.

 

            They just all cackled together, at once. And then Jill said “Hard!” and they started giggling again. I can still hear them giggling.

 

            Debbie just stood up, I know the sound of her shoes on the wood floor. Today she’s wearing my favorite outfit, and the shoes she knows I like best. Those shoes have a sound, unlike any other pair of shoes in the world. I’d know the sound of those shoes even if I’d just woken up from a three year long coma.

 

            She’s coming to the door. I can see the line of her shadow just under the crack of the door. Hand on the knob now, but as Jill just said something she’s saying something back. More giggling. Giggling! Not laughing, but giggling. The female giggle is perhaps the worst sound a man can hear, we know it means the ovaried one are conspiring against us. It starts when they we’re kids, the giggle when they see a good-looking one and they talk about him. Then they giggle when they’re teenagers because they’re going to do something to him. Later, in their adulthood, they giggle about the things they did to him.

 

            They giggle, they talk, and then they come and get us. If I had any male friends I wouldn’t dare tell them about my troubles because I’d only get shit for bitching about having four girls. Other men wouldn’t understand, other women would be in on the conspiracy, I am very much alone on this one. Still haven’t got an answer to the questions either.

 

            The talking has ended, and the knob is turning. I’m going to have to think of something because the door is opening…

 

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment