Sixty years ago, there were parts of Seattle that were untouched for decades. More than a half a lifetime later, they still were untouched by developer hands. Myron worked at a loose brick just above the flood-stained waterline near the far end of such a block. The smell of the bay hung heavy in the air. The rhythmic chug of fishing boats heading out for the evening providing a heartbeat.
The brick slid free with a small drizzle of ancient mortar. The Detective peered into the vacated hole and smiled. He pulled out the spare key he placed there, and slid the brick back into place. He stood, and walked a few paces to a heavy iron door. The lock slid easily, but the door took some effort to convince that it needed to once again move.
The Detective brushed away a web and flicked the switch and light returned to the room after more than sixty years. The musty room was filled with dust and cobwebs, but it was nowhere near as bad as he had expected. He yanked a bed linen that covered an old desk and chair. He spun the chair and sank into it with a heavy thud. The chair groaned and complained loudly, possibly having grown comfortable with not having any weight on it for several decades.
This was his first office. Although he always hated where it was and the lingering scent of under processed fish that tainted in the air most mornings. He fully planned on getting rid of it when he gotten the better office, but kept it partly out of sentiment. Some of that nostalgia involved his being unable to sell off the place.
There were reasons that this section of town was untouched for decades.
Myron leaned back and pressed a heel hard against a top drawer. He kicked free and the drawer popped out with a clatter. He reached in and withdrew two items. One was a shot glass, the other was a bottle of now 100 year old whiskey. He didn't bother cleaning out the glass. The rot gut would kill of whatever happened to be mummified inside of the glass anyway.
He swished the amber liquid and bolted it down. Aging, it would appear, only helped whiskey that had some form of worth to begin with. This firewater was just as much a combination of turpentine, gasoline and floor wax as it was when he last stuffed it into the back of his drawer. He winced and forced the burning liquid down before he lost his war with his gag reflex. He felt the liquid fire tear down his throat like swallowing a white hot bucksaw and the angry lumberjack still holding on to it.
It was perfect.
He was free. Free at last. Free of the damn Furlong, Free of that damn idiot who's head he'd been locked up inside. Free of the dull tedium of Boise. He was free to pickup where he left off and help bring justice to Seattle.
He spun the revolving chamber of his trusty service piece and slid it home into the hard leather holster. He'd have to oil it later, but he was happy, truly happy. He was back fightin' crime.
He poured himself another celebratory drink and began to hum to himself.
Had he known it was a "They Might be Giants" song, he probably would have stopped.
"The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace "
Captain Industry and Roger both stopped, mid lyric, and gave each other a curious look.
"I still don't see why I need the two of you following me around like this." Zrng grumbled as he slapped a large head of celery against the Captain and headed over to the fruit. The Captain fumbled with the vegetable as Roger rushed to catch up to the little alien. Roger and the Captain were dressed better than they were a few weeks ago, albeit more casual than Captain Industry preferred. He still felt that his cape didn't quite go with Levi's and a blue oxford shirt.
"It's just that," Roger answered, "we know that Krullux is planning on kidnapping you for some reason, and we just felt it would be a good idea to keep an eye out in case you needed help."
"It is prudent to have a reserve." The Captain added, still not quite figuring out the secret to the plastic veggie bags.
"Yeah, whatever." Zrng grumbled as he inspected the beans.
Roger and the Captain exchanged confused looks. "You don't seem horribly concerned by that", the Captain asked incredulously.
"Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do," Zrng replied in a conciliatory manner, "but I've been well trained to handle any number of situations. Besides, what's the worst he can do?"
"Summon an army of heavily armed, mechanized warriors and then attack with an unknown ray capable of resurrecting a group of heroes that were killed off forty years ago?" Roger replied flatly.
"Look, you weren't really dead" Zrng blurted out as he gave up careful selection and just stuffed a few heavy fistfuls of greenbeans into a bag. "You were, just.. not here for a while. He probably just zapped you with the same ray he did last time."
"Krullux didn't zap us last time," the Captain interjected.
"Whatever," Zrng brushed off the comment with a wave. "plus we have no idea what he wants. For all I know he's just looking to file a tourist visa."
The Captain raised an eyebrow, "With an army behind him?"
"Ok, so it's a lot of visas, maybe it was a school trip." Zrng tried to look calm as his rising paranoia started to scream inside of him. "But whatever the reason, we won't know until he shows up, now will we?" Zrng grabbed the grocery cart away from the Captain. "Now if you don't mind, I've got shopping to do, or are you looking forward to Chris' cooking?"
Both Roger and the Captain would make horrible poker players. If it were humanly possible to cook worse than they did, Chris managed to achieve it.
Zrng smiled to himself, "If there's any problem, I'll be happy to let you know. Now Shoo!"
Roger looked to the Captain for help. The Captain simply rolled his eyes and headed for the exit. Roger lingered for a few more minutes still not sure that giving up was the right thing to do.
"Go!" Zrng commanded. Roger did, but not as far as the Captain did.
Uhm, Becky Sue?
Hi, uh, I don't know if you know who I am, but my name is Sandra Mc
Hi Sandy. So'd Chris ask y'all t' talk t' me?
No, not totally. I mean, he did tell me about you and I thought I might be some help. Look, it's really hard for me to have this discussion with a door, do you think you might be able to come out for a few minutes?
I guess. Hang on a tick, I gotta at least rinse off m' face.
Oh, Becky Sue.. I'm sorry, but you look terrible.
Ok, give me your hands. Now, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Ok, now I know that it's not going to be easy, but we've got to focus on what comes next.
How can I think about
Because you have to. When my sisters got sent to that damn Facility place I felt like I was all-alone. I've always been with them, we were a team. It's like suddenly realizing you'd lost your arms. Now I know that JB meant a lot to you, but you have to realize that this isn't the way that he'd want you to live, now is it?
No, he'd be wanting you to be standing tall, figuring out what happened and see if you can come through on something, right?
Aw heck, who am I kidding? He'd want you to keep up his subscription to Dr. Dobbs and Sidekick's Monthly.
Heh, yeah. Probably while wearin' fishnets.
Heh, ok, that's getting close to too much information.
Ha-heh, Ah'm sorry.
So, what's it going to be? Are you going to keep moping around here or are you going to figure out what happened and kick some little alien jerk in the cohones?
That's the least painful thing I can think of doing to that snake.
See? You're about to start the road to recovery, and if you're going to get there, you're going to need a few things.
Let's figure that out after we get to the mall, shall we?
The bus pulled away leaving him alone at the curb. He was about five-six give or take a few inches. He adjusted the soft cloth horns on his head and checked the address once again. He fixed his glasses and hoped that his wall-eye was behaving. He watched two women walking down the street and get into a Subaru. He checked the address again.
He made his way across the street and stood in front of the door. He felt nervous, particularly considering that this was his first time out, but knew that this was his calling. He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and raised up his hand in a fist.
He knocked quickly. Then shuffled back a few steps to be ready. He mumbled a few times to himself and waited.
And waited some more.
He stretched his arms behind him and blew off some steam.
He reached forward and knocked again, again striking the pose he'd rehearsed again and again. He took a deep breath and held it so that he'd be ready.
The world swam around him and he gasped for air.
He checked the address yet again, confirming it with the number printed on the mailbox. He let out an annoyed groan and this time pounded hard against the door as it sprung open.
"Can I help you!?" Chris barked.
"WAAAGGH! Aaah! Uuhh, errr.." in an instant, all of his rehearsed lines, all of his carefully crafted poses, were lost. He struggled to regain them as he sputtered and stumbled.
"Look, if you don't mind, this is the first time I've had to use my bathroom in two weeks and I'd really appreciate the quality time." Chris snapped angrily. "So unless you want to find out what your spleen tastes like, don't even think of bothering me again for at least two hours. Capiche?" Nearly visible flames of anger danced in Chris' eyes.
"Oh, uh, ok, uhm, sure. Sorry, I'll just err, wait here then."
The door slammed shut.
"Awwwaaugh!" he said in frustration. He'd blown his chance. He sat down next to the doorway and leaned against a hydrant pipe that stuck out of the wall.
He checked his watch. Fine, he'd wait two hours. Then, ah yes THEN! The Pitfall Perp would have his revenge!
"Gurney, M! Front of the cell, please!" The sergeant called out. The Detective waited a few seconds before rising from the creaking bench. He straightened his jacket and tried to regain whatever dignity he might have once had. A few of his cellmates continued to snicker. They were ones to laugh. The could have all fit into a single pair of their pants.
"You Gurney?" The sergeant asked as he checked the printed mug shot.
"Of course I am."
The sergeant unlocked the cell and let the Detective out. He slid the cell door closed with a heavy clang. "This way Gurney, the Detective would like to talk to you."
Myron would be happy to return the favor. He would have been happier to do it without the handcuffs, but he had learned long ago to work with his limitations.
He sat calmly waiting for the police detective to finish going over his report. Myron knew the process far too well. He simply bided his time and waited for the official to finish his mind game.
"I am known as The Detective."
The officer leaned forward and stared at Myron. "Badge number?"
"If you're a Detective, what's your badge number?"
Myron grew slightly uncomfortable, "I'm not a police detective, I am more a private detective."
"Ah, I see, so you have a license then?"
"I was on my way to re-register when I spotted the crime in question. I gave the sergeant my previous documentation. Surely as a good citizen of this city you don't expect me to simply.."
"To simply report the incident to the proper authorities?"
"By that time the criminal element would have made a clean break!"
"No I'm pretty sure that the Blue Stallion would have stopped them. You realize that you're lucky he's not pressing charges, right?"
"The Blue Stallion. Geez Pops, have you been living under a rock for the past ten years?"
There was a knock, and the desk sergeant entered the room. He slid a folder to the detective. He opened it and started laughing. Myron wasn't quite sure what to make of the man's change of mood.
"You..", the interrogator gasped, "you actually expect me to believe that you are him?"
Myron raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
"The Detective died back in the forties, you'd have to be over a hundred years old!" The police detective held up the id card. "I've got to admit, though, this is either a fantastic forge job or you've got something worth a couple of grand here."
Myron decided to try playing his hand. He remained unbothered by the younger man's outburst. "That's a very nice wristwatch you have." Myron stated calmly as he idly drew figure eights in the table grease. "Did you happen to get it from your father?"
The police detective smiled, "No, actually my Grandfather."
"Oh, I see..", Myron said as he smiled gently, "Does it still have the inscription inside the case?"
The younger detective stopped laughing, but remained smiling. Myron had caught his attention. "Yes.. yes it does."
"Ah good, and it still says, 'Sorry Daniel'?"
Myron knew what was going through the younger man's mind. Myron could have gotten that information from a watch repair service, provided the auto-winding watch ever required it.
"Good, I'd hate to have heard anything happen to that watch. I just felt horrible having broken your grandfather's leg in that fall."
The room was silent for a few seconds. Myron continued to run his finger against the desk, enjoying the silence.
The younger man got up, and without a word left the room. Ten minutes later, another, much older man entered.
"Good afternoon, Daniel." Myron said as the man entered.
"My father died back in 1972," the man stated plainly.
Myron turned, "Tommy?" Myron had only met Daniel's son once, when Tommy was three, but that was over sixty two years ago. Tommy took his time scrutinizing Myron, then walked over and sat down where his son had once sat. He took the large folder from under his arm and rested it on the table next to him.
"I'm going to ask you a question, then I'm going to give you some advice." The older man stated.
"Fair enough." Myron replied, still very casual.
"Are you really him?" Tommy asked, his eyes burning into Myron. The Detective stared back at the ice cold expression holding him, like a falcon watches his prey. Myron returned the expression, trying to read the old man for any sign of how to best answer. The only thing he discovered, was that he did not want to play poker against him.
"Yes", Myron stated as he primed his muscles for a rapid escape.
The old man's expression didn't change. "Then leave, quickly."
Myron suddenly entered a new realm of confusion. "Excuse me?"
"This is not the same town you left. It's a very different city. You're not prepared for what's changed."
"Clearly you don't imply that I'm not fit to.."
"There are old feuds that haven't died down since you left, and unlike you they've been gathering strength."
"Ha! I can take on any two bit hood that still thinks he's got the upper hand on "
Tommy said nothing. He simply slid the thick dossier over. Myron looked at it for a few moments, then glanced back at Tommy. The older man wore the same unchanging expression, merely shifting his gaze for a second implying that Myron had best read the contents.
Myron slid the band and opened up the folder. Inside were court documents, hundreds of court documents. Each detailing extensive legal actions from the families, employees, associates, neighbors, claims attorneys and anyone else associated with his previous foes.
Myron felt the blood drain from the upper half of his body. Thugs? Sure, he could handle thugs. Gangs? Myron would just laugh at them. Buy lawyers? No, there was only one way to handle lawyers.
"I'll be out of town by midnight."
eh, urrh So It's true!
Yes, yes, very clever trying to disguise yourself, I was a fool not to consider it before, but thanks to my cataract surgery, I can see through your little deception.
I'm sorry, but I'm at a loss to
Fear me again, Captain Industry! And know that I shall rule supreme, and you will tremble at the walker of The Muck Raker!
Oh for the love of money..
Muck Raker! Attack! Aaaaarrrrraaa -- hack--cough-- arrraaarrrgg!
What are you doing?
I'm -ehh- I'm vicious -ehh- viciously dispatching -ehh- you with my mighty -ehh- muck rake.
That you got from, I'm guessing, Home Depot?
It was on -ehh- sale. Oh, need to -heh- catch -heh- my breath -heh-.
Great-Grandpa, you're, like totally embarrassing me.
Fight him my child! Let him see no mercy! And get me my oxygen.
Look, I'm like totally sorry about this. Great Grand-dad isn't quite himself. He like just turned like 96.
It's quite alright. And just between us, I really am Captain Industry.
Aaah-ha! See! I've warn him down! Soon, I'll launch my finishing move upon him.
Really!? Oh wow! Great Grandad talks about you all the time!
I shall reign you in and.. oh dear. I need a change.
Augh! Great-granddad! Look can I like get your autograph or something?
Ooh, feeling dizzy. Once I have my nap, I shall hunt you down tonight. Wait, no I can't tonight. Touched by an Angel is on.
Ah, here we go, I've got a pen and here's some paper.
Yes my child, stab him with your pen, just not that fuzzy-fluffy part.
Good, To Kimmie, from Captain Industry.
Oh, like, how'd you know my name?
Gah! He's wrestled away your weapon foolish child! Hand me the rake!
No, Great-Grandpa you've had too much excitement.
Ah, look, I think I have to go. Nice meeting you.
Yeah! Like Have a nice day and stuff!
That's it, run. Run you coward! Mwah-ha-ha-ha! oooh.
Will Chris' bank account survive
Sandy and Becky Sue's shopping spree?
What's the deal with the
Anyone else need a change?
Tune in next time for:
Bureau of the Overstocked
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