Friday, February 26, 2016

Chapter 292: You Don't look so good


Dad, you don't look so good,” Simon said, putting his cell phone down. He went to the counter grabbing a cup and filled it from the coffee pot. “Here, you need this more than I do.”

Thanks, Simon,” Victor said, gratefully taking the coffee and slumping down at the table.

I'd ask if you had a rough night except I know you went straight to bed after putting the kids down for the night,” Simon said. “Can't be that taxing, can it? Or...Are you ill?”

No, barely slept... had one stupid dream after another,” Victor said, rubbing his tired eyes.

Simon grinned. “Dad, need I remind you you first have to be asleep in order to dream? So technically you were sleeping...it just wasn't restful,” he said.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Chapter 291 Victor gets Scrooged


Mmm, what is that lily-white girl thinking? She should be hitting that fine looking man every chance she gets,” Jocelyn murmured while watching Victor sleeping, a lustful gleam in her silvery eyes. She pulled the sheet down exposing his chest and smiling broadly, she pulled it further down. “Mmm-mmm, look at that muscle.”
She then burst out in song.
♩ ♬ … It's raining men, Hallelujah! It's raining men, Amen…♪ ♫

Oh, crap! Victor recognized that voice too, and it was hardly better than the last one. He seriously didn't want to deal with another episode of...what was this? Getting scrooged seemed about right. Perhaps, he thought to himself, if he ignored her and kept his eyes closed this apparition would fade away or something. Then he felt the sheet slip ever so slowly down his nude body.

Hey, where did his pajamas go? He always wore them now that he had little kids who occasionally got frightened in the middle of the night and liked to sneak in and sleep their fears away in his safe, welcoming bed.

As he debated what to do, Jocelyn switched to a new song.  …Baby, baby when I look at you I get a warm feeling inside...I feel for you,I think I love you …♪ ♫ and that's when Victor felt her hand on his ...let's just say skin.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Alternate Violet part 6: Foiled again



Victor stepped onto his front porch, blinked into the sunlight, stretched, and yawned. It had been a week since the first crazy woman had stepped out of the bushes and fired 15 shots into his chest, and then fed him to polar bears. A full six days since the second crazy woman had followed him around town taking pot shots at him, her aim substantially worse than that of the first lunatic, who hadn’t missed even once.
He remained intact throughout the second assault but a flag pole, a coffee cup and Violet’s house had suffered collateral damage.
Ah, Violet, he thought; just about time to drop over and be obnoxious for the sweet girl’s benefit. He really was feeling like his old self again!
A loud “Hwooomp” sound detonated somewhere around the side of Victor’s house, from the vicinity of Mrs. Dinwiddie’s Russian olive hedge.
“Hwooomp? What the hell is “hwooomp?” muttered Vic, as he stepped around the corner of his house to find out.
It was, of course, the sound of a wormhole in space-time slamming shut but how was Victor to know that? He recognized the next sound though. It was that of someone pulling the starter rope on a gasoline engine, followed by a stifled curse, another pull, a LOUDER curse, a THIRD pull and then a muffled roar as the engine caught.
It seemed to Vic that Mrs. Dinwiddie was making good on her long threatened intentions of trimming the hedge, but, damn her eyes, he was co-owner of that hedge and he intended to make his feelings on the subject known.
He strode toward the hedge in question.
“Excuse me, my good man!” he called to the as yet unseen presence on the far side of the hedge.
His good man picked that moment to step through the opening which had been left in the olives to form a gate between the Romanov and Dinwiddie properties. There was a great deal of good man, at least 6’ 6” and 300 lbs. was Vic’s guess, strikingly dressed in work boots and a blood spattered apron over what appeared to be denim overalls. But it was the mask that hooked Victor’s attention. It was made of leather, covered his good man’s face, and appeared to have been crafted…from another face??
Victor froze, staring.
The apparition stared back, then raised the saw and charged, howling inarticulately.
“Be careful with that thing! Shouted victor, I’m an attorney and…”
Whatever else he was saying was drowned in the roar of the saw as the giant goosed the gas.
Victor flung up an arm, defensively and
The giant swung and
Victor watched his hand, trailing bloody streamers, spin off into the sunlit sky and
He felt a blow to his neck and then he was flying up, up, spinning and then at the apex of his flight, looking down to where a crazed giant swung an enormous chain saw at a still standing headless corpse and
The world went black.
The saw ran for a very long time.
There, thought the giant as he switched it off. Forty five, maybe fifty pieces at least. No band aid gonna help poor Vicky-Boy!
He smiled a smile unseen behind the now bloody mask.
“Never send girls to do a serial killer’s job” he said to no one in particular.
He took two strides and vanished.
“Hwooomp!”

Had he stayed just a bit longer he might have observed tiny rivulets of blood, streaming from one severed Victor-bit to another and the strands of nerve filaments that followed.
It’s difficult to discourage a pig headed lawyer. Violet knew this all too well.
The boys and girls at the Shed?
They were learning.

©2013 Mac Pike All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chapter 290 Dreams



Victor sighed as he plopped down on his pillows. He stared up at the ceiling and wished for the gazillionth time that he had someone—we all know who-- warm in the bed next to him.

You never know...Violet might have stayed tonight, had you bothered to ask,” Heidi said.

Dream on, ” he muttered to himself. 

He had to admit, it had been simultaneous elation and torture to have Violet in the house, but there was nothing to be done about her. She was a lost cause and he really ought to move on.

Question was...how and with whom?

He'd have to find someone to date...several someones perhaps... anyone decent! This life he was leading of the celibate, saintly type was wearing thin. It wasn't going to get him what he wanted and it certainly wasn't going to gain his kids the mother they desperately needed which, as evidenced by the boys hogging Violet at dinner and Georgiana confiding in Violet and not so much in him, was clear to him now. His one attempt with the crazy Helen and her gruesome teenage daughters had failed miserably, but did it follow that another try would bode as ill?

Alternate Violet part 5: Kill the Bastid



Delacroix slapped the back up magazine into the ancient Colt and put 7 more in Victor's chest where he lay, motionless, on the blood stained deck.

"Let's see you get up from that, you bastid" she muttered.

Turning to the nearest worm hole she had to 
pause briefly to let the family of hungry Polar bears exit. The largest one flashed her a crooked bear-grin.

"Gee thanks, Lacey!" He said.

"Bon apatite" Said the killer, and vanished.
 
 Lacey was cleaning her antique 1911 Colt. There was a knock at the shed door. It was Mr. Bear. He looked sheepish. It was an odd look for a 2000 lb. carnivore.

"C'mon in," said the ever, er, occasionally cordial Delacroix.

"Erm. No thank you. Too many trophy heads on the wall. I don't want to tempt fate."

"This is FaceBook." observed Lacey, "I've been told that the average FaceBooker has the attention span of a gnat. Was there something you wanted?

"I have bad news. It's the lawyer"

"Ah! The late Victor you mean?"

"Yes. Or rather, no. There was a bit of a problem. You put an awful lot of lead in him. Little Winkle broke a tooth."

"She's still a cub, and has her baby teeth. Is that all?"

"No. Have you ever eaten a lawyer?"

"Not as such, an African spitting cobra is about as close as I've come. Why?"

"Well, they upset the tummy. Me and Ma and little Winkle and Frosty had some, how to say this...rather disappointing bowel movements."

"Oh I AM sorry to hear that, will that be all?"

"You don't understand. They were, er, runny. And have you ever seen mercury on a glass table top? How it will all run together into a single silvery mass? Well that's what our poop did. Only not silvery."

Lacey was getting a bad feeling...

"Once it had formed into a single malleable mass it assumed a lawyer-ish shape and mode of locomotion, and trotted off toward Catalpa Valley."

"You're shittin' me?"

"No, I shat him. You weren't listening."

"What does it take to kill this guy?" mused Lacey, who was generally very good at it.

"I dunno, but next time leave us out. Our tummies hurt."

"So sorry. Come back in a week I'll have a stegosaur haunch for you."

"Ooh! We like stegosaur haunch! G'bye Lacey!"

"So long, Mr. Bear."

Lacy closed the door and looked ruefully at the pistol on the table.

"Maybe a flame thrower?" she muttered.
 

Victor stumbled, regained his balance and walked up the sidewalk to Violet’s front steps. A newspaper lay at the bottom of them. He stared at it, trying to recall just what it was. Then he remembered. It was Violet’s newspaper. 
He felt so…queer. As if his mind had taken the day off. He didn’t remember driving here, although surely he hadn’t walked. Had he? And that dream kept playing over and over in his mind like a scatological version of Ground Hog’s day. First the hail of bullets, then the polar bears and then the hideous rite of passage through four separate sets of bear intestines.
It was simply unbearable.
He bent for the paper and several things happened at once.
He heard a sharp sound, like the crack of a muleskinners bullwhip. Seeming to pass just over his head, the crack morphed into a loud knock, like a heartfelt hammer blow on a plank. This also was right over his head. Additional sounds of collateral wreckage ensued, apparently from inside of Violets house.
Several seconds later came a sound Victor knew well. It was the sound of Violet venting her spleen and threatening to vent someone else’s as well.
Victor stood up, newspaper in hand. He looked at the porch pillar in front of his nose. It had a largish hole in it. The hole had not been there a moment before.
“Be damned.” said Victor.
Violet burst through the door, eyes wide, face flushed. She stopped abruptly when she spotted Victor.
“Victor what…”, she began, but Victor interrupted.
“There’s a hole in your house”, said Victor, grinning affably and pointing at the pillar. 
“Yes!” said Violet, “there is a whacking great hole all the way through my house including the outside wall here,” she slapped the siding where a hole about the side of a quarter lined up nicely with the porch pillar, “the kitchen cabinet and my second best soup tureen, the living room wall, Great Aunt Smother’s cuckoo clock – took cuckoo’s head clean off – and through the far window. The big one. The expensive one. What the hell did you think you were doing?”
“Don’t blame me, I was retrieving your paper for you, “said Victor, “Hey look! I’m a spaniel! Anyway next thing I know there’s a hole in your house. Want your paper?”
He extended the paper, weaving side to side and grinning maniacally.
“Victor?” said Violet, “have you been drinking?”
“Not since Bendem, Ouvre and Schtickem’s “We Won A Class Action Lawsuit” party three weeks ago. I had Sherry.”
“You don’t drink wine!” said a startled Violet.
“No I had scotch and soda. Sherry is their receptionist. Violet, I want to tell you could learn a few moves fr…”
“Victor you a-hole! Why the hell did I blow up John Yearly and waste a perfectly good bomb in the process? You, you cad! You bounder! You, what is the term of opprobrium I am groping for here? You Lawyer!”
She calmed, but only slightly. Gesturing at the hole in her porch pillar she said, “Don’t you realize somebody took a shot at you?”
“Is that what happened?” Victor sidestepped awkwardly, teetered, then got his feet back underneath him.
And focused on Violet. “Be the third time today then; I was wondering what was going on. I stepped out of my front door and something spanged off of the flagpole. Then later at the 7 – 11 I put my cup of coffee on the roof of the car and it just seemed to, I dunno, vaporize in front of my eyes. Damn good cup of coffee too, might actually have been fresh.”
“You’re delusional,” said Violet, “wait here a sec.” 
She entered the house.
When she reemerged a few moments later she held a pair of binoculars and a drinking straw. She handed the former to Victor.
“Try not to drop them,” she said. “They belonged to great great Uncle General Gordon. It’s all that remained to the family after Khartoum.”
“General Gordon was an uncle of yours?” asked Victor.
“In a manner of speaking, sorta. He was related to the family my Grandpapa burgled these from. Close enough.”
“I guess,” said Victor.
Violet gently slid the drinking straw through the hole in the porch pillar and looked through it. A blood shot eye glared back at her.
“Victor! Get out of the way!”
“Oh! Sorry love!”
Victor busied himself trying to peer through the bullet hole in the siding. With her view temporarily unobstructed by the legal community Violet was able to follow the line of sight that lead through the straw, across the road, up the immaculately trimmed lawn that formed the hillside to a rather impressive patch of what some folks like to call delphiniums.
“Hmmm.” hmmm’d Violet. “I’m calling the cops.”
Plucking a mobile from a pocket in her apron she did just that.
“Violet…” Victor was gesturing vaguely at the hillside across the street. 
There was movement by the delphiniums.
Retrieving the binoculars violet saw that a woman dressed in part at least in camouflage gear and carrying a rifle had stepped from behind the flower bed.
Violet, who now knew much more now about firearms of all types than she had even a year before watched as the stranger worked the weapon’s bolt. Something flashed in the sunlight as it fell to the ground. She closed the bolt and hooked the carrying strap over one shoulder.
Raising binoculars of her own she studied the house, almost immediately spotting Violet watching her. For what seemed like eternity but was really only a few seconds the two studied one another. Then the shooter dropped her binoculars, raised her outspread hands in a “What are you going to do?” gesture, took two odd little hop steps to her left, began a spin and…
Vanished.
Her disappearance was accompanied by a kind of dull “whoomp” sound, as of air collapsing into a vacuum, loud enough to be plainly audible even over the 100 yards or so which separated Violet from the would be killer. 
Right on cue, the police arrived."

©2013 Mac Pike All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Alternate Violet part 4: Effin' Ghosts



Richard scowled and checked his watch. 10:15. A bit late to be starting the day but after all, who was watching? He stepped into the hall, turned for the stairs and nearly thumped into Heidi, who was carrying a spectral tea cup and muffin. An elaborate series of dance steps ensued and the two avoided collision.
Richard managed to grab a handful of tookus, en passant as it were. Not bad for an old broad he thought, and not for the first time.
“Uh-oh!” said Heidi, “One of those days, is it?”
“Noonish in the spare bedroom for a little hurgely burgely?” he suggested.
“If you think your burgle is up to it I will gladly hurgle you into a coma” said Heidi and winked. “Deal?”
“Deal!” agreed the ever affable Richard
His affability waned when he entered the kitchen. There was Victor, doing his God’s gift routine, and his sweet Violet, hyperventilating as usual. Belching thoughtfully he pulled the fridge door open.
[No, not Violets refrigerator door. Richard could no more open a material door than he could bench press a Buick. He opened the spectral door, of course!]
Ah! There among Violets neatly arranged health foods, lovingly made and neatly labeled deserts and casseroles and organic veggies were his spectral Coors and half a cold pizza. He tossed the latter on the counter and cracked the former, took a healthy swig.
He engulfed half of the first pizza slice with one manly gulp, and belched again.
Victor. A lawyer, for the love of God. He picked a bit of sausage from his slice and flicked it casually. It struck Victor just to the right of his cosmetically altered nose, clung for a bit and then slid down his cheek to drop to his tie, before disappearing into the ether.
Richard smiled wistfully. Oh, it was amusing enough to besmuttle Vic with random ghostly food items, or cat by-products or perhaps to fill up his shoe when the ghostly beer had worked its magic but ultimately it was profoundly unsatisfying. Victor could not see, feel or otherwise detect such shenanigans and it pissed Violet off mightily when she noticed.
“Hmmm”, thought Richard, “I guess I’m running under her spook detection threshold today. Ah well, how soon they forget.”
Richard finished his pizza, tossed the carton in the trash where, after a few seconds it faded to nothingness. He drained the Coors and turned again to the trash when a thought struck him. Crushing the can into a tiny ball he rolled his shoulders by way of loosening up. Thus loosened he stepped into an open spot, wound up and delivered the high heater that had made him the terror of his high school baseball league.
It struck Victor between the eyes with a satisfying “poink!” which only a phantom could have heard. Ricocheting off the toaster it bounded high into the air and vanished.
Frowning slightly Victor waved a hand in front of his face.
“What?” said Violet.
“Bit early for mosquitoes, isn’t it?’ Said Victor; glancing around. “Well anyway, as I was just pontificating…”
“Oh HO!” thought Richard, “Oh ho-de ho ho!” He felt that! A few years and who knows what wonders a brick might accomplish?
Turning, he regarded the cellar door. “Dickie, me boy”, he thought, “it’s time you took a little walk.”


Richard took one last look at the duo decorating the kitchen, shook his head and stepped through the unopened cellar door. He drifted down the stairs.

“Damn.” he thought, “Just look at my chisels and power tools. She never uses them but worse she never cleans or oils them. Women!”

Resuming normal bipedal locomotion he strode to his work bench. The Garcia Y Vega cigar box was exactly where he had left it last. It held the special chalk he needed, along with other more mundane markers. He reached through the cover and plucked out the worn white cylinder.

Stepping to the brick wall at the north end of the cellar next to the oil burner he searched out the faded remnants of his last visit. There on the wall were the vague outlines of a door sized rectangle equipped with a round doorknob and two hinges. He scrawled over the existing lines, enhancing the image. Satisfied he returned the chalk to Mr. Vega’s care.

“Whoever wrote Beetlejuice knew a hell of a lot more about the afterlife than he should know and still be breathing”, he reflected, “the damned sand sharks for example…”

The thought faded as he squared himself in front of the drawing. Reaching out he could actually feel a doorknob under his fingertips. He grasped it, twisted, pulled and stepped through into…

The Library


©2013 Mac Pike All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Alternate Violet, part 3: Flushing the John





 Flushing the John

“Now the thing about this Pineapple, Honey, is that it’s a talking pineapple.”

“Totally, stark, raving, howling, pig biting mad,” Violet thought, and smiled sweetly.

“And that is where Father Muldoon comes into the picture. Now Muldoon and I go back quite a few years, which is why Ah was surprised to hear that he had taken Holy vows because when Ah knew him, he was an electronics expert. Muldoon always loved children and on the side he’d make special toys for them and what he really liked to make was talking dolls. You remember those Ah expect, you’d pull the ring on their back and those cute little things would say: “Hi my name is Kathy Ah LOVE you!” Pull it again and it’s: “Do you want to play with me?” Again and it’s “Oh eff me Ah just pissed myself!”

“Yes, YES! I remember. Foul Mouthed Kathy they were all the rage! Do go on.”

“Well Muldoon made the same kind of dolls but with thousands of phrases. He used memory chips and interactive software and the dam things could practically carry on a conversation. He still does this for the children of the Parish, but now he works in a little moral lesson along the way. First little Lisa is talking about a tea party and the doll is doing its part, and next she’s being admonished not to biff her brother on the head with a brick bat. It’s very spiritual. Muldoon stays with the pull cord because it reminds him of his own sweet childhood. He’s such a good man.”

“He sounds like he is; but this concerns us how exactly?” Violet said.

“Well, you remember John’s criminal record? I met up with Father Muldoon and he brought out one of his voice boxes and I, as you, recorded all we know about his background and listed all the agencies and jurisdictions that want a chunk of him. I told him that I was going straight to a telephone and calling the FBI, and have a nice day, sucker.”

“Wait wait wait! You recorded it as me? You sound nothing like me! I don’t sound like, like…”

“Alabama trailer trash? I only sound that way when I’m playing, Violet. And this particular job is pretty dam dull, I have to keep myself amused somehow. Anyway you are going to blow Yearly’s mind with your hooker skirt, your stripper stank and your titties wobbling all over the place. Do you really think he’s going to know who he’s listening to? Particularly as heard through an inch and a half of marzipan?

“Where did you get all that information anyway?”

“I, or should I say Ah, tried to tell you the story but you didn’t want to hear it. You were quite rude about it too as a matter of fact. As it happens I still have contacts in the MP’s, the MP’s are plugged into Military Intelligence, and Military Intelligence has contacts everywhere. It wasn’t that difficult.”

“MP’s? Military Intelligence?” Violet thought. “Is she actually that delusional? Or am I reading her wrong? Or both? But now that I think about it, she looks and carries herself like a soldier…that’s why I was thinking cop…”

“So, Violet, I recorded all that, took the voice box to Barkmann, Barkmann sculpted the pineapple around the voice box – see that little green ring? That’s the voice activator – and now all you have ahead of you are 4 minutes of bad acting, just like a high school play. You know your lines, there’s been a change in the weather, you’re going to make all his dreams come true, here’s a nice present, pull the ring after you’ve gone there is a personal message from you, call you later because tonight is the night you make his every wish become reality and then some. Don’t get in a conversation with him, don’t let him touch you, and don’t let him listen to the pineapple recording while you are there he’s apt to be quite upset when he does. Got it?”

“Got it. Do they often do things like this in military intelligence?”

“You have no idea,” Delacroix said.

“My tax dollars at work,” Violet said.

Delacroix grinned.

The Jeep surprised Violet; she had expected a rat's nest filled with half eaten Tasty Cream donuts, food containers, water bottles, paper products, clothing, mysterious crystallized spilled liquids and possibly, a grinning skeleton but she was wrong. The interior was immaculate. There was a cooler on the back seat, and although the vehicle reeked of cigarette smoke there was not so much as a gum wrapper in sight.

“Okay,” said Delacroix. “Hold that pineapple on your lap very carefully and do not drop it. It’s marzipan after all and we don’t want to spoil John’s surprise. Its 9 minutes out by the back road, say 6 minutes tops at Yearly’s, and then 9 minutes back. Say 25 minutes give or take and Yearly is on the run, and I’m history. That is what you want, right?

“More than world peace, a chicken in every pot, and a loving home for all lost puppies.” Violet said, fervently.”

Delacroix’s mouth twitched. “Then let’s roll.”

Seven minutes later Delacroix turned the Jeep onto a narrow side road called Wild Cherry Lane. A minute later, they came to a fork in the road. To the left was a wide gravel street, to the right, a narrow paved one. There was a sign pointing to the left hand fork. It read: “Catalpa Municipal Dump”. A mailbox at the foot of the paved road to the right read: “J. Yearly.”

“Appropriate,” Violet said.

“Fitting,” said Delacroix.

Two minutes later the jeep stopped in front of Yearly’s ramshackle two story colonial. A pathway led to a formal entrance on the right. Another pathway in the opposite direction led to a back door. A small sign with an arrow pointed to the left. It said, Office.

“He’ll be in the office now,” Delacroix said. “He has a little home business running Paraguayan love slaves and Peruvian crack into Elizabeth, New Jersey. Friday is when he straightens out his books.”

“Now put these on.” Delacroix handed Violet an elegant pair of extremely thin black cotton gloves. It’s show time. Remember, 4 minutes max or I’m in after you, don’t let him listen to the message. Walk straight back here and get immediately in the jeep.”

John Yearly sat at his desk, scanning a notebook partially filled with coded entries. Occasionally he ran a few figures on a calculator. Now and then he made a note.

He heard a car outside. He cursed under his breath. “NOW what the eff?”

He lurched to his feet, a loutish unshaven man, badly in need of a shower. He went to the window. A Jeep he did not recognize was parked right up against his building, he was looking at the rear panel. The windows were tinted; he could not see the occupants. He cursed again and was about to move to the door when the passenger door on the Jeep swung open. A bare leg wearing glittering 5” spiked heels extended gracefully. It was a fabulous leg, and it just kept coming.

Yearly was no longer thinking of driving the strangers away with a barrage of epithets.

A second leg joined the first and then the woman stepped out of the Jeep, her skirt, what there was of it, revealing black panties and a fabulous ass. She wore a transparent blouse and “Gulp!” no bra and she looked somehow familiar.

The woman reached back inside and whoever was driving handed something to her. She re-emerged holding an object of some sort. She walked the few feet to the office door. Yearly already had the inner door open.

“Hello John,” The voice positively purred, “May I come in?”

The door flew open, Violet entered. John recognized her at last, but his mind could not wrap itself around what he was clearly seeing, hearing, hell, smelling.

“Violet? What…?” His voice trailed off uncertainly.

“Hushhhh…” Violet said, and extended both arms. She held out her gift.”This is for you.”

“Puh...” Yearly said, “Pineapple?”

“Shssssh John, don’t speak” Violet said. “I have an apology to offer to you, and a confession to make as well. And a proposition too if you’ll listen.”

Violet raised her hands expressively. Things shifted in fascinating ways inside the transparent blouse. Other things, less fascinating, began to stir in Yearly’s khakis. Little if anything stirred in his brain.

“I know I was wrong to treat you the way I have been, John. It was wrong, very, very wrong of me.  And I am so sorry. And I was doubly wrong because you were right all along John. I do want you, you big luscious hunk of man. I yearn for you day and night with an aching passion.”

John remembered to breath, and tried to speak. Nothing came out.

“Passion, John. Did you know that the pineapple used to be called the passion fruit? That’s why I had this one made especially for you. Look at the pineapple John. It symbolizes the passion I’ve always truly felt for you”

John tore his eyes from the lovely hallucination – it HAD to be a hallucination, did it not? This could not be real? He looked at the pineapple. He recognized a familiar smell underlying the essence of Jungle Rape perfume that Violet had doused herself with. My God he loved that scent. But the other odor…marzipan? Yes.

Violet was speaking: “See the little green ring, John?”

John nodded.

“The pineapple is like an old talking Chatty Kathy doll, John. You pull the ring, and it will talk to you. It will give you a special message from me that I’m too shy to deliver just yet. Perhaps later tonight, when we know each other better, then I’ll be able to speak more openly.”

“I’m going now John, wait t’ill I’ve left, and then listen to my message. I’ll call you when I get home and then, well later I’m going to make you a very happy man, John Yearly, if you will still have me that is”

Violet twirled once, her tiny skirt rose instantly, eau d’ stripper permeated the air. She slipped through the door and strode quickly to the Jeep, eased into the passenger seat. Delacroix had the vehicle rolling before she could close the door.

“You’re good Sugah,” Delacroix said, evidently back in Bayou mode. “Four minutes 15 seconds, your first time out. Did he say anythin’?”

“Puh. Pineapple. I don’t think there was any blood left in his head.”

They were 50 yards down the driveway. Delacroix brought the Jeep to a halt.

 “Honey you might want to keep an eye on the house back there. I do believe Mr. Yearly may have a violent reaction to our little message.”

Delacroix twisted around to watch as well.

John Yearly stood at his window. He watched Violet get in the jeep, watched it roll away. There was something heavy in his hands. He looked at it. It was the pineapple. He shook his head, walked to his desk and placed Violets gift in the center of it. Violets gift? Impossible. But there it was. A symbol of passion, a message just for him.

He placed one hand lightly on top of the marzipan sculpture, grasped the green ring, pulled gently. Nothing happened. He pulled a little harder and the ring came loose in his hand.

No one spoke to him.

He looked at the ring. There was no pull cord attached. Instead, the ring connected to an inch of flexible wire, which in turn connected to a smaller ring, which connected to a short steel shaft. It looked vaguely familiar and yet, not.

Shaking his head he looked at the sculpture and froze. It was moving! Ever so slowly one side was beginning to bulge. Yearly took a step back. Something was alive in there, and it wanted to get out.

Out in the Jeep, Violet knelt on the seat looking out the back window, oblivious to the fact that her nearly naked butt was deliciously framed by the windshield. She looked questioningly at Delacroix but the woman just shrugged, eyes glued to the hovel.

 “Keep watchin’ Honey, wait for it…”

Yearly’s pulse was racing but reason was beginning to take over. So that was the bitches game, he should have known. What could be in there, he wondered. A corral snake? A giant venomous spider? A huge scorpion? Whatever it was he would deal with it, and then by God he’d deal with Violet.

The side of the sculpture let go all at once. Something leaped out, struck the wall, ricocheted from the ceiling and dropped to the desk. Yearly stared at in horrified recognition. He leaped…

Violet saw, for just a fraction of a second, brilliant light flare in the windows of John’s office.  All the windows in the house blew out at once, there was loud, but not deafening, WHOOMP!  Glass and other debris flew in all directions; some of it pinged harmlessly off the Jeep. Something struck the rear window with an audible splat. It looked a lot like marzipan.

“Jesus Christ!” Violet said. “What happened?”

Delacroix put the car in gear and drove away slowly, but said nothing.

Violet stared at her for a long minute. Then, she leaned back in her seat, laid her head back, and closed her eyes.

A few seconds later she said, very softly, “shit.”

“Shit, shit SHIT! That was a bomb! I just blew up John Yearly!” Violet looked stunned. “I killed John Yearly! He’s dead.”

“Probably is,” Delacroix agreed, “How does that make you feel?”

Violet stared at her for a long time.

“Actually”, she said. “not that bad, considering, I mean what he is and all. Was, I mean. But dam it you tricked me into that you lying BITCH and I’m the one going to prison!”

“No,” said Delacroix gently, “you are not.”

“Why not? Even in Catalpa you can’t go around blowing up Yearlys every time you feel like it!”

“Ah don’t see why not but Violet, you were never there. You were home all day. You never left the house. You won’t know anything about this until somebody tells you and then you only know what they tell you, and after that you only know what gets reported in the news, nothing more, nothing less.”

“Nobody saw you leave, nobody saw you at Yearlys, and there isn’t a neighbor within 300 yards of him and its all woods in between. Hell if anybody heard the grenade at that distance they’ll just think it was a hunter. They might not find the creep for days if that blast doesn’t start a fire. I mean, who is gonna miss him after all?”

“You wore gloves so there are no fingerprints. There are prints on the pineapple, but there is no pineapple any more. There is no DNA, no witnesses and no reason to suspect you at all. Honey would reach back there in that cooler and grab me one of those can’s? Take one for yourself you earned it.”

Violet didn’t move for perhaps 10 seconds, then muttered something Delacroix, fortunately,  did not catch and leaned over the seat, popped the cooler.

“Schlitz. Isn’t that just effing fabulous? I just loves me a cold Schlitz after a hot murder.”

But when she turned back, Violet had a can for each of them. She popped one, handed it to Delacroix and then popped hers. The two women looked at each other. Delacroix extended her can. Violet shook her head, but then clinked hers to Delacroix’s.”

“Here’s lookin’ up your record!” said the older woman. They both drank. “Well Honey here we are, safe and sound at your own little crib, and its time for me to be long gone. Is there anything you want to know before I move out?”

“Yes! Where did you really get that bomb?”

“Well Violet Ah told you! Father Muldoon. Father Patrick, Paddy, Three Fingers Muldoon, known to his friends as Boom Boom Muldoon. Electronics wizard and former top IRA bomb man, he just happened to have a few M67HE Frags in the basement and that is what Barkmann stuffed the pineapple with.”

“He really does love children; the good Father does bless his heart. Now you ought to get to know the dear man when all of this blows over, if you ever need to get in touch with me he will know how.”

Violet snorted at that. “One thing you didn’t think of. Everybody knows I had trouble with Yearly. I’ll be the first one they look at.”

Delacroix shook her head. “First thing that will come out is who he really was, and then there will be lists of hardened criminals or vengeful victims or relatives of victims with good reason to off the bastard. Everybody knows little ol’ Violet wouldn’t fart in church let alone drop a frag on someone. And where would you get one anyway?”

“Now you get inside, burn everything you have on and that strip of skirt in your bedroom as well. Give me back the shoes though I like those shoes.”

“Violet slid out of the Jeep, walked around to the drivers side. The window was down. Violet drank more beer.

“It really is not that awful.” She said. She removed the shoes one at a time and passed them over. I’ve got to get inside I’m nearly naked and my C’s are starting to freeze in the breeze.”

Delacroix chuckled. “Good luck, Violet.” She offered her hand through the window.

“Stay the hell away from me, you freakin’ maniac.” replied Violet, and took it.

The Jeep slowly circled the house, turned left and rolled on into the deepening twilight.

Violet shook her head, looked at the beer in her hand and drained it. She shivered and entered the kitchen. She had clothing to burn, brownies to make. She had a conscience to wrestle with and she had a feeling that would be a tough fight.

There was also the perpetual problem of Vic and Dick to be brought to some kind of conclusion. At some point during the course of the day, that problem had become much less daunting.


©2013 Mac Pike All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 5, 2016

Alternate Violet, part 2: A worse day all around





            A worse day all around

Violet heard gravel crunch in the driveway and, resigned, turned to the kitchen window. As she feared the crazy woman was back. The vulgar, house invading, cheesecake stealing, pen napping, fake boobied, pistol waving, tobacco smoking maniac from yesterday was back, just as she had threatened. The camo painted jeep with the tinted windows and the “NoBama 2012” bumper sticker could belong to no one else.

And she had apparently been busy during the night as well, because when Violet had roused the children and descended to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, an envelope was taped to the refrigerator. On the outside was a single letter V. Inside, a note written on a scrap of what appeared to be a fast food bag read simply; “Be ready by 1:00 pm. Dress sexy. Delacroix.”

“Dress” and “sexy” were underlined twice.

Violet really did not know what to do about this uninvited scourge. Seldom had she been so alone. Victor, who it seemed was always underfoot had shocked her last Friday, when he stopped by on his way to the airport.

“I just wanted to say au revoir,” he said. “I’m on my way to the Bahamas for rest and recreation. I’ve rented a beach house and I’m going to go spear fishing and skewer some bonitos if I can find them*. I’ll be back in a week.”

Violet had never known that Victor was a trained diver or had any interest in spear fishing but sure enough, the car fairly bulged with swim fins, wet suits, air tanks, diving weights, masks, snorkels, spears and a whacking great spear gun. But the real point was that just when he could have been useful Victor was out of reach and out of cell phone contact.

*To Victor’s credit he was incapable of lying outright to Violet. He had found Consuelo and Marguerite Bonito on their Rio based website (they usually worked the high priced hotels but were willing to travel if the price was right) and by Wednesday night he had rested and recreated so often, and with such ardor and intensity that his spear gun was for all intents and purposes, out of spears. He spent Thursday reef diving just to get some rest.

She had considered, briefly, actually calling the police but decided against it. Catalpa did not have a police force as such, but rather three village constables. These had police powers and some basic training but were not, frankly, capable of more than directing traffic at the various funerals, socials and traveling carnivals.

Chief Constable Wily Stithers was a mild non confrontational fellow in his late sixties who’s sole claim to investigational expertise derived from his undeniable success in solving the Case of the Missing Kitty, now a half decade removed, when after 3 days of intense detective work he had decided to check the local Animal Shelter.  He was re-elected in landslide victories every four years, primarily because he was never opposed.

Constable A.C. Branmuffin was even older than Stithers and functioned primarily as custodian of the Constabulary Office during daylight hours; from which vantage point he would shuffle hopefully forth at precisely 10:00 AM, 12:30 PM and 3:00 PM each day to check the 16 parking meters in the Village shopping district on the off chance that a vehicle from out of town had allowed the red meter flag to pop up. He seldom met with success but he was diligent in his duties.

Constable Branmuffin’s service revolver had not been drawn since it had been first been holstered 45 years ago. By a gradual process of accretion similar to that which causes sedimentary rocks to form, holster and revolver had gradually become one.

Constable Branmuffin also liked geraniums.

Acting Constable Billy Tibbets looked far younger than his twenty two years and was cursed with thinning hair of a peculiar orange tint, pale skin, freckles, a plump and pear shaped physique and what would be a room temperature IQ on a day when air conditioning would not be required. He longed to be called Officer Tibbets but was called Constable Billy by most and Fat Billy Tibbs by others. Billy spent as much of his time as he could on duty and off at The Happy Weenie Restaurant, - Be safe! Use a Condiment! -  trying to impress Jeannie Fettuccini, an adorable double bubble waitress, with his spurious tales of law enforcement heroism.

He put Jeannie, who was half again his age and twice as intelligent into a catatonic trance every time he opened his mouth.

“That kid,”,she once told a good looking truck driver from Green Bay as Billy waddled out,  “is a walking wave of narcolepsy*.”

*The driver grinned and made a mental note to check “narcolepsy” on his laptop, in case it turned out to be something good to smoke.               

These three stalwarts, acting in concert could conceivably have apprehended a drunk, had that drunk been courteous enough to pass out in front of the Constable's office and was not too heavy to carry to the lock up.

Violet correctly judged that putting the massed array of Catalpa Constabulary in Delacroix’s line of fire would be like tossing minnows at a Great White shark.

She momentarily considered calling Handy Man Ed to come over and bring his biggest wrench but Ed was always late to the jobsite  and whatever was going to happen was going to happen fast, Violet was sure of it.

Even the household ghosts had taken leave of absence.  It was uncanny.

Delacroix, unfortunately, was very much present. Violet watched her exit the Jeep, cigarette dangling from her lips, and open the vehicles rear hatch. She extracted a cardboard carton, slammed the hatch closed and turned to the kitchen door. Pausing, she removed her cigarette, looked around and apparently not finding what she was looking for, dropped the butt in the birdbath. Violet rolled her eyes and went to the door.

Delacroix placed the box carefully on the kitchen table. She reached in and removed two large paper cups of coffee with lids and handed one to Violet. A grinning, dancing hot dog logo adorned each cup.  A small white cardboard box followed, which when opened revealed…

“Strawberries?” Violet looked puzzled.

“Give them a little sniff, Violet Honey,” said Delacroix.

“Marzipan!”

“The real deal! Not a roach by product in sight. And wait until you taste it.”

“Ummmmmm!” opined Violet, “and they look so real! And there are even little flecks of dew on each strawberry! I wonder how he does that.”

“Ah told you Barkmann was the best. But this is what is going to solve your Yearly crisis.” Delacroix removed a tall cylindrical box from the carton. She detached the cylinder from its base and lifted it, with a theatrical “Tada!”

“A pineapple? A marzipan pineapple is going to rid me of Yearly? What can you possibly be thinking? It looks more realistic even than do the strawberries though, I will give you that. What’s the plan? Is there a plan?”

“Violet, how much do you really know about John Yearly?” asked Delacroix. "Did you know he has a dishonorable discharge from the army?"

“I never knew he was in the army at all, but if he was discharged, dishonorable sounds about right. I know he is pond slime and darkens my day whenever he’s near. And that’s about it.”

“Yes. Well,” said Delacroix. “Our boy has had a busy life. Yearly is not his real name he has about twenty aliases and in aggregate they are wanted for the followin’.” Delacroix dived back into the cardboard carton and removed a legal pad. She took a deep breath.

“Arson, burglary, robbery, armed robbery, assault, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, assaulting a police officer, spilling the salt, buggery, white slavery, weapons trafficking, failure to keep right, receiving stolen goods, warehousing stolen goods, selling stolen goods, stealing goods and thereby rendering them stolen, Murder one, Murder two, manslaughter, disturbing the peace, rape, ogling, speaking on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle, drug trafficking, hunting without a license, fishing without a license, hunting fish without a license, littering, loitering, menacing, grand theft auto, identity theft, embezzlement, bestiality, poisoning a nunnery, cattle rustling, composing doggerel and reciting same in public. He is wanted in every state of the union and most of South America. If this gets out he’ll have to run for his life, and he will never be able to return.”

Violet looked stunned. “Doggerel? My God I had no idea! But I think I see. We are going to tell him we know all about him and he has 2 hours before we go to the State Police. And then we eat the pineapple!”

“Not exactly,” said Delacroix. “That would not punish him for what he’s done to you. He is used to runnin’. So what we are going to do is tease him with what he wants most, that would be you, and then yank the rug out from under him by takin’ you away and then makin’ him run.

“I’m listening,” Violet said.

Delacroix looked at Violet closely.

“Honey Ah left a note tellin’ you to dress sexy didn’t you get it?”

Violet flushed. “This is sexy! It’s a tight skirt!”

“It’s below your knees!”

“It’s a tight top!”

“It’s an effin’ sweater! And what is that on your feet?”

“Sneakers?” Violet said, weakly.

“Violet! You are hopeless! That wouldn’t be sexy in a Nebraska high school in 1955! Do you have any eff me shoes? Oh why am I askin’? What size shoe do you wear?”

Violet told her.

“Ah have a pair in the Jeep that you can borrow.”

“I can just imagine,” Violet said.

There follows a painful interval where in Delacroix, having retrieved the offered shoes bullies Violet into trying them on. They fit and Violet has to agree that they looked nice in a trashy sort of way. This precedes a trip to Violets clothes closet, where an indignant Violet fumes, arms folded across her chest while Delacroix rummages for something hot in the top department. Her running commentary does little to cool Violets rapidly boiling temper.

“Violet Honey this is just awful! Don’t you ever want to strut your stuff, you’ve got some stuff to strut you know. Oh this is terrible! Oh my GOD would you look at this! This is simply tragic…Violet you need an intervention!”

She worked her way to the far end of the closet, clucking in disbelief and horror. Violet had a sudden unwelcome premonition. A second later it was born out. Delacroix snatched a flimsy garment from the last hanger on the left...

“Now we’re gettin’ somewhere!”

“It was a gift.” squeaked Violet.

“From a close friend,” agreed Delacroix. She held the blouse to the light; most of it passed through undisturbed. The blouse was a sheer garment carrying a print of violet flowers on a pale violet background, and you could read a newspaper through it by candle light.

“It’ll do, Sugah!” said Delacroix.

“That is not going to happen; I am not wearing that around Yearly or anyone else for that matter. And besides you need a special bra to wear that and I don’t have one!”

“No,” said Delacroix.

“No what?” inquired Violet.

“No bra,” said Delacroix. “Put your C’s in the breeze and you’re bound to please. An old stripper told me that once.”

“Are you out of your effing mind?” Violet shouted, and then clapped both hands to her mouth, appalled.

Delacroix’s mouth twitched, she sighed and bending, tugged up the bottom of her black sweat pants, pulling something from her boot. She stood with a very large knife in her hand. It looked sharp enough to split molecules. It may have been sharper.

“Violet, you are becoming a pain in my ass, and more trouble than Ah figured you to be. Ah want you to stand very,very still. Do not move a muscle. Mr. KABAR and Ah do not want to cut you; not by accident anyway.”

Violet froze. Against her will her eyes squeezed shut. She had forgotten, momentarily, that she was dealing with a dangerous, armed, crazy woman.

She felt three quick tugs at her skirt. Something soft fell around her ankles. She thought she would faint.

“Now then Sugah that skirt looks much better. I believe you can open your eyes now.”

Violet did so. Most of her skirt was on the floor. What remained covered the danger zone, but just barely. As long as Violet didn’t reach, bend, stretch or probably, walk, technical modesty would be retained.

“My butts hanging out,” Violet said miserably.

”You have a nice butt, Honey you shouldlet it hang out now and then. Now are we going to have any more trouble about that shirt? Say No, Lacey.

“No, Lacey.”

“Aw that’s nice,” Delacroix returned the knife to her boot.

“Well put it on we are behind our time!”

Violet was finished with protest. The sooner they implemented whatever demented program this lunatic had in mind the quicker she would be gone forever, if said lunatic was a woman of her word. For some reason Violet thought that, although certifiable, Delacroix could probably be trusted to do what she said she would do. Violet certainly hoped so.

She allowed Delacroix to apply her makeup for her, shuddering at the result but making no real protest.

“I look like a whore, but I guess that’s the point.”

“Uh huh. You are a Yearly wet dream. Close your eyes Violet, That’s my girl…”

Violet heard two short hissing sounds and felt a cool mist on her face and neck. An overpowering sweet odor assaulted her nostrils.

“And now you smell like one too. That’s it Sugah we are done. Grab a jacket its not even spring yet.” 

©2013 Mac Pike All Rights Reserved