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.