“Who is she?” he asked, heart still thumping from all the excitement.
“Goes by Helen.”
Helen, Guy pondered. Like Troy. Destroyer of Men.
Time to reset to Zero.
“It was the black nun again,” relayed Fisher Rig about his dream. “Or… black… something else.”
“Lady in mourning?” D’Eddy (Daigle, Eddy) guessed correctly.
“Maybe,” Fisher said back. “Could have been evening.” D’Eddy had to chuckle. Poor, dim Fisher Rig. But he knew he was right.
“She bowed,” Fisher then said. “I was in my prison outfit. I was chained to the couch or bed or whatever I was laying on. I felt… exposed.”
“Go into that more,” requested D’Eddy. They had nothing else to talk about, since both were incarcerated because of the break-in. But that Poop Pool file was gone, much to D’Eddy’s relief. Probably worth it, then. 5 more days and they’re out. Ever-running neighbor Tommy Abbott promised to stop long enough to feed his cat Smiley and his goldfish Mister Mischief.
“She had that cross over her head from my angel.”
“Angle,” D’Eddy corrected again. “Go on.”
“I didn’t see the (backing) Abbot until later.”
Abbot, D’Eddy ponders here. Like my neighbor. “Spell ‘Abbot’,” he requested, and Fisher Rig did… with the two “t”s. Could have been Fisher’s dimwittedness showing up again but maybe not. He was trying to put the pieces of the dream together to make a whole, just like I’m doing with Nautilus in the overall world I live in, real or virtual. Enzor (sim) here represents the latest part of the puzzle, somewhere between Lips or One Pink and Helicon. In fact…
“I’m going in there Fisher. Do you see me?”
Turning, the lady answers instead. Just as I suspected. Helen (in disguise). On her way between the two still. But what is she mourning? Maybe it just means morning after all. Dawn breaks outside. The monkeys behind me, male and female, start to chatter in excitement. Sun is coming, they seem to indicate with their whooping and hollering. Darkness over!
“Darkness overrr,” the voodoo skeleton creature hissed beside me, light coming into his eyes.
Some say he looked like Jimmy Stewart, sitting behind his desk with the guns in back as they entered. But they were just for show: R.V. never toted a pistol himself. He believed in the basic decency of man, and that issues, however dire on the surface, can be reasoned through and ended without mayhem or bloodshed. Perhaps his reward for this positive viewpoint was the finding of Helen, our Mayan Marauder, our Publius Enigma, close to public nudity but not quite there, not quite breaking the law either, then, despite the continuing opinion of deputy Andy. “We agree to disagree about the matter,” he settled the matter with his sidekick, his buffoonish underling who *always* carried a gun albeit one without bullets. Sheriff R.V. saw to that.
Skeleton outside and perched vulture — just another show, mainly for the tourists to this here retro town of One Pink, also known as Lips, or that’s what the post office wants to retain as the official name. But the dispute, some say, is just part of the antique feel of the village, as things often happened like that in the Wild West of olden days, often settled — again — with mayhem and bloodshed before a single name could be selected. If a settlement wanted to call itself Bradshaw and others disputed it, just kill off all the ones who want Bradshaw. Sheriff R.V. is versed in the olden ways; he’s a student of law enforcement in the past. He studies to *escape* it, though, unlike some who want a return to the wildness, the wilderness.
Aunt Beatrice is about to get out of church, and R.V. needs to pick her up since she doesn’t like walking home in the sun. Ruins her complexion, she says about our nearest star; a flaming ball of poop, she sometimes calls it, especially when a new wrinkle develops on her 60-ish skin. No one really knows her age, and all that use to are dead, some say: killed — by Beatrice herself in her extreme vanity. Sheriff R.V., an actual nephew and not just a namesake one, knows differently. “That’s just her rough exterior,” he defends to others. “She fights the elements all around her, people, place, things. *Circumstances.* But inside, deep inside — somewhere — there’s a decent, wholesome person that loves the world, that loves her relatives — the few that remain — and, above all — and I think this is very important even though we don’t share the same faith — loves God.”
The police department’s steam carriage stalls out on the railroad tracks. Looks like R.V. is in a heap of trouble again, especially since Beatrice will have to walk about 100 feet from the front door of the church to get here. R.V. figures he might actually need a loaded gun this afternoon to fend her off.
(to be continued?)
“So close to public nudity, this Publius Enigma she called herself,” explained deputy Andy Trailer to sheriff R.V. Fife about the lock-up. “Couldn’t take any chances on her accidentally or purposely removing the rest, see.”
Just arrived R.V. looked over at the cell containing the new prisoner, wondering how he could untangle himself and the department from this latest arrest by his oft bungling and misguided sidekick. “I see,” he spoke as neutrally as possible, checking her out. “Looks like some kind of Indian costume,” he bemusedly said of the rest.
“Mayan, she said. The Mayan Marauder, she also called herself. Said she was on the way to Helicon to perform at a private pool party. Sounds like a convenient cover-up, aherm, to me (sniff).”
“Dancer?” R.V. envisioned the rest coming off, like Andy before him, like Opie the town drunk, happily sharing a cell with the costumed woman and giving her the up and down from his bunk at every opportunity.
R.V. looked again. “The pipe came with the, uhem, costume? I’m mean, you surely didn’t let her into my private stash without asking?”
Andy turned a bit red here. “Sorry — it’s just that she said she needed a smoke to calm her nerves, especially before your arrival. We, aherm, didn’t have any cigarettes.” His voice trailed off. He realized he probably did a bad thing in bringing her here. Should have just let her go with a warning. But the name Publius — so close. No, he had to do what he had to do, he justified again in his head.
“And the Red Dragon?” R.V. further interrogated his deputy and not the prisoner. He’d smelled it at the door before he opened it. He figured a new prisoner was awaiting him inside and most likely a woman. Andy only gives favors to the fairer sex.
“Out of Blue Pennant, sorry (again).”
“This is a *mistake*,” R.V. had to say here, but couldn’t help smiling underneath it all. “A *cardinal* mistake — one for the books, my my (shakes head; looks over again). Can you at least put her in the other cell so that Opie can calm down?”
Andy dare not admit he’d given the second jail mattress to his cousin Goofy to sleep on while he’s staying for the weekend from Fort Braggard. “Um, sure R.V.”
“Opie!” Andy barked, walking over. “Give me the mattress. Give it to me now. And stop bobbing your head up and down like that! Leave the woman in peace.”
“Oh *Andy*,” the drunk said, but got up and helped the deputy tote it to the only other cell in the building. Both R.V. and M.M. smiled at the scene, and then caught each other smiling. R.V. rambled over in his unassuming fashion after the cell had been cleared of the others.
“Helen, actually,” she said, eyes twinkling as if she knew what would happen, could see into the future.
“Helen, yes. Now I’m sorry about this. If I let you go, uhem, then you have to promise either to put some more clothes on or get out of town as soon as possible. Now you’re not breaking the law as far as I can tell,” and he gave her the up and down again, but without lust in his case — not much, or he tried to put a damper on his beastly side. “But you’re close. Andy was bad to bring you in. He should have let you off with a warning.”
“I see.” The twinkle again. She knew he was caught in her lasso.
(to be continued)
They had to talk in code because of the presence of the (righteous) nun to their right, obviously some kind of spy and listening in. “Daigle, Eddy” felt he had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other: Fisher Rig to his left, fresh from helping the beasts with another killing spree. “Beasts must have their feasts,” he says, rationalizing his actions. “Besides, I’m not part cat like you,” he might add to D’Eddy here (as he also likes to be called sometimes). “I don’t have protection.”
“You don’t have to *stay*,” D’Eddy could reply here. “I *do*. I’m married to this place,” he might continue.
“Because of the pool?” Fisher Rig would say here if so. “I thought you deleted that file, those (particular) actions. Like Schitt’s Creek, nobody needs to know the proper name. Like, well, your *own* name. Edward.”
“Don’t call me that,” he would certainly command at this point, perhaps pulling a small gun out of his pocket and pointing it for emphasis. “Don’t *ever* call me that.” For Fisher Rig, he preferred D’Eddy, simply because the simple fisherman had trouble grasping the comma centered moniker he chose in the 5th grade, after his cousin had humiliated him in a… well, better save part of the story for later.
(to be continued)
Oh what the heck. It was a game of TILE, then just called Alphabet Soup. Edward traversed the alphabet three times before his cousin finished one. Full alphabets were especially important for Daigles of whatever first name, including Pierre, including Bradbury. The Oracle demanded. And since Edward was *also* named Edward, the humiliation was increased at least 3-fold. Probably more. He had to get rid of it as best he could according to the laws of the land.
In a place run by cats, there were always a lot of naptimes to get the information he needed. Like the actual scoop on the Poop Pool, as it was called locally, at least behind closed doors, often in the middle of the night when a faint whiff of the former smell could be caught by those who’re perceptive. Deputy here had been out since about 8 now, hugging her little froggie toy until the wee hours of the morning. Eddy Daigle, cousin to our Edward Daigle already met in part one and originally sharing the same name, sniffed the air. Faint but perceptive. He hit delete on the sheriff’s computer and the file about it was permanently gone, as if the problem never existed. Much like Edward from his name, revised and revamped to the more colloquial Eddy after 5th grade when he also switched first and last names to hide the connection even more. “Daigle, Eddy” he liked to be called after that, 2 steps or functions away. And he was from Montana, not Louisiana or Maine or, especially, Illinois. Unlike that John L. Brown we’ve yet to come across in the current novel but who played a part in the last one, small but effective, like a rat silently and stealthily tearing away at the insulation in your walls, leaving you eventually laid bare to the elements. John L. Brown was a bad one, and deserved to be behind the bars of this here law enforcement establishment.
Uh oh. Deputy’s rolled over and lost her grip on her little, favorite toy. Sheriff’s snores on the couch over there are getting a little shallower and further apart, REMs increased. Soon dreaming will be over for the fellows, Eddy knew. But he still couldn’t find the second file he wanted. Best to pack it up, come back tomorrow. Or after, actually, the next town animal banquet when the ferocious gazelles would bring more fresh kill from the beaches and the water. Snorklers this week. Could even be some deep sea divers mixed in next. That would put them even more under for his clandestine night operations; would allow him to get more work done, dig deeper.
“Daigle, Eddy,” knew he wasn’t kosher and that saved him many times from being on the wrong side of one of these feasts. 9 times he had been saved in fact, making him part cat himself. Thank you Great Great Grandma on my father’s side! He licked his hand softly as he does instinctively every now and then and shuts the laptop off and heads home.
No one in the cell right now except a member of the Bad Katz Gang, who was turning her back to the illegal nature of his visit. He hoped to change that soon.
“”What’s wrong, honey? (no answer) Oh dear, are you channeling again? (no answer) Is it… the triangles?”
She sat there all glassy eyed for a while like 2 marbles were planted in her head in place of eyes. Then…
“What you cooking today Eddy?!” shouted the runny man, passing by.
“Hot dogs!” he called back. “But made with veggie stew!”
“Cool! Catch you later, then!” Tom shouted, his voice receding in the distance as he headed toward the far corner of the strange, rectangular green pool that centered the apartment complex they both lived in, this Paradise Town as it liked to call itself. The pool begs to differ, because it also has a name, usually unspoken. Tried to be forgotten.
Common denominator: umbrellas.