Daily Archives: January 6, 2021
He had a good look at the back of the bartender from his seat but she wasn’t his type, a bold bodied Jessica Rabbit sort from the Roger Rabbit movie franchise, a mixture of cartoon and caricature. The person actually sitting at the bar nearer him was more interesting, but not necessarily in a sexual way. More like she had information he needed to know — he didn’t know how he knew this but he knew. He *knew* he knew. He was becoming aware of who he was. And this dame — woman — was going to help him over the edge. Back to Canada and Picturetown and the alley with the 102 signature and Charlene the Bigfoot punk and all the other stuff. She was reading — he liked to read, at least the red book. He asked what it was; this was her cue. She turned to face him, scars and all.
“Axis,” she requested. “It’s time to give up the gig.”
Axis? Wendell “Biff” Carter thought. Was this role play? Okay, he could go along. “I’ll give up the gig, then, if you tell me what you’re reading.”
“I’m reading the book you have read. I’m reading the book you have *written*.” She showed him the cover, emblazoned with an inky black swastika as big as an alternate 3rd Reich that actually won WWII. Still didn’t mean anything to him. This was 1939 after all. The big switch hadn’t happened yet.
“Okayyy.” He calculates how to further advance this strange conversation. It had been a strange day. First he was awoken at 5 in the morning and asked to fill in for Philburg down at the station, who was sick on pill. Then during his beat (back on the beat!) he encountered a highly dangerous criminal named Orkley Andy — so close to Oakley Annie! — but turned out to be a sweet guy who had lost his dog Hunter who was just hiding under the couch because of all the gunshots. Never mind the cat stench and the almost cleaned up blood stains. Never mind Phyllis down at the Red Dress diner. Orkley Andy had him phone her up on his phone. She’s okay! Orkley Andy wasn’t a bad sort, just a gun sort. Biff had to ask. “Are you related to the famous gunslinger Oakley Annie?” “Never heard of her,” Orkley lied through his gold capped teeth.
How blind could Biff be? He refocused out of his thoughts and onto the stranger’s face again. So familiar. “Don’t I know you?” — making her huff and leave the place. She’d have to try another time.
Wendell “Biff” Carter was going to run away as far as possible, leaving danger and possible death behind. But he stops when he sees the red dress. He hovers over it. Phyllis, he realizes. He turns toward the hangout. She must be inside. In danger!
But the red dress was actually Phyllis’ co-worker Wanda’s who’s the sister-in-law of Philburg’s 2nd cousin Ethel. Philburg’s revenge continues into yet another post, and perhaps yet another and another. This goes beyond danger into the great beyond. If only he could smell the cat stench all about the place. Soap, the new, extra gritty stuff bought at the local Hurdy Gurdy to wash out all the crime stains.
Orkley Andy had stopped shooting a while back, with everybody dead that was hot on his trail. In this way he snuck up on Biff. He looked over, understanding the red dress bait had glued him to the spot, heh heh heh. He laughs aloud: “Heh heh heh.”
Biff Carter was filling in for Philburg Johnson Jones, sick with the pill. Back on the beat for the first time in a while. Cpt. Henry needs to get these boys a new set of wheels, Biff thinks while staking out a rough joint and catching up with his red book, the one with him in it (the *other* Biff Carter). Paper, he ponders while rereading chapter 2 for the 17th billionth time. Sure glad it beats scissors or we’d all be in a fix.
Suddenly: gunshots in the distance. The City was a tough, rough place, he knew. He was not a cop now but a private dick, forced to retire from the force after the Oakley Annie debacle. Gun selling was illegal in the Great Black Swamp and Biff Carter well knew it. He just let it slip, like all those dickhead cops before him. He was just unlucky enough to get caught. Oakley Annie gunned down a bigger gun this time: the mayor of Swamp Fox. And now he’s stuck in this ruddy city of all places. New Eden, pheh. But now: a possible opening. Philburg has a history of illness and may not make it this time, with the pill harder and harder to get over. Phyllis the waiter told him this down at the Red Dress Diner. She’s popped enough; she should know. More gunshots. Should he go check? Nah, not his responsibility. He may not even remember how to fire his pistol after all this time. What was it: Alcatraz? Or maybe Gettysburg. Yeah, the latter. Philburg would know. He was the one who got hit in the foot by the stray shot. This started the pills. Ahh, it all goes in a big circle. He shot Philburg, Philburg shoots pills, Pills shoot… ahh, he’ll work on it. Point is, he may get Philburg’s job because of an accident that happened a number of years back now. Last time he filled in on the force. He could work up to 30 hours a year per his early retirement agreement. And this is 10 of ’em today. Now’s his chance, he senses. No more shooting people (or himself!) in the foot.
The gunshots get closer. At a certain point, it’s obvious they are heading his way. “Shoot and darnit,” he cusses, trying to start the old police jalopy in order to run away from danger. But the tires had gone flat in the meantime. He’d have to face whoever was causing all the trouble head on. Most likely this was their hangout. Was Philburg behind this? he suddenly guesses. Was he… getting back at him? As soon as Biff Carter thinks this, he knows it is truth. This is…