Spare the Rod

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Rod B takes on a case to find a stolen football and help and old high school classmate!

Submitted: July 25, 2016

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Submitted: July 25, 2016

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Rod B- Spare the Rod

 

Good morning Flour City, I’m Casey Flynn Toyota, and here are today’s top stories. Two more homicides took place last night, both on the city’s south side. These new murders increase the total for the year past the previous record, and there is still over a month to go before years end. Plus, a fire broke out at the abandoned Fiesta Center mall last night, and fire investigators believe that one of our furry friends, as well as a healthy dose of neglect, are to blame. Finally, Flour City High’s class of 1990 is getting together for their 25th reunion this Friday night. It’s a chance for them to look back on what was this city’s most famous sports memory when their football team won Flour City’s only state championship. These stories and more, on Flour City’s number one news program.

 

Ooooh my head… What the hell happened last night? At least I’m in my office, and I’m dressed (for the most part correctly). All I remember is last night at the nudie bar they had “Throw-rack Thursday” where they charged $1 for beer and $5 for lap dances. I doubt that promotion made a lot of money, but I didn’t care, they can charge 1970’s prices all day long, even if it did mean fighting a huge crowd and listening to 8 straight hours of Beegees music.

I straightened myself up somewhat and went out of my office door to grab the paper. I didn’t really feel like attempting to pleasure myself to the black and white bra ads from Macy’s for once- I decided to actually read the paper for the articles.

Let me see what’s new this week. Huh, my class reunion is happening tomorrow night. How come I haven’t heard of this until now?! Oh yeah… probably because every year of high school, I only showed up for the first day of class, then the last day of exams. I was only given a diploma because student accountability of that era was a joke, and even at a young age I discovered the importance of bribing and forgery.

I still managed to keep up with the comings and goings of the people who went to our school. Mostly due to my acquaintance and sometimes ally Doug Taro- he literally spends all day on his computer absorbing information, and occasionally he will do a brain dump about everything he uncovered about my former classmates.

It seemed odd that there was a 25th reunion… Wasn’t there a 20th also? Oh well, I didn’t care if it was my 100th reunion, and everyone was cryogenically frozen and someone just wheeled in our arctic tombs into a room together- I still wasn’t going. Nope, definitely not attending this thing.

*KNOCK*KNOCK*

Oh, a client! Hopefully one paying in cash and not in Nigerian currency this time (hey, if someone waves a 100 billion dollar bill in your face, you’ll take notice too!). I called out to whoever was behind the door, “Come in!”

In front of me stood a man who was exactly my age and race. Your prototypical middle-aged white guy, only he kept his appearance in strange way, like he just walked off the set of filming a John Hughes movie. His hair was kept in the horrendous “mullet” style, with it being cut short in front but in the back it went down almost to his shoulders. He was also wearing jeans and… was that a letterman jacket? Not only was he wearing a high school varsity jacket, but he was wearing a Flour City Segregators jacket from many years ago (the school team name was changed in the mid 90’s as it was deemed, “horrendously racist and outdated for at least the last five decades”).

Before I could take in his appearance any more, he began, “It’s me man- your old class of 90’ quarterback; Jeff “four touchdowns in one game” Biedel!” After finishing his sentence he struck a pose looking like he was about to throw a football.

Yeah, I knew who Jeff Biedel was. Way back in the day, Jeff WAS the man… or at least a slightly bigger boy amongst lesser boys. He had it all- good looks, good physique, quarterback of the varsity football team, cheerleader girlfriend, parents who owned a dealership and who constantly went out of town leaving Jeff alone at his lakefront house.

Call it a cliché, but girls wanted him, and boys wanted to be him. Hell, just being in his inner circle and reflecting off his glory was often enough to get a guy a handjob. Plus, what he did on the football field was legit; he really was mister “four touchdowns in one game”- having scored four during the state championship game, winning Flour City it’s only state championship in history.

Jeff Biedel, for a scant two years, was on top of the world. The only problem with being on top of the world at age 17, is that there’s only one direction you can go from there, and that is to say “straight down”. I didn’t know all the details, just a few rumors Doug Taro told me in passing, but I was to understand that Jeff Biedel couldn’t quite hack it as a college quarterback. In the world of high school sports, just having the right birthday and genetics is often enough to ensure success. But at the college level a lot more true athleticism and understanding of the game is needed.

Jeff couldn’t have gone back to his parent’s dealership, as the market for Yugo’s took a sudden nose dive when Yugoslavia kind of ceased to exist, and the dealership was shuttered. So Jeff was relegated to working at a local fast food joint, a position which he’s kept for the last two decades. It was kind of fun for him at first- as people still recognized him as the boy who scored “four touchdowns in one game”, and some of the staff who worked there were still in high school at the time that game happened.

But as the years went on, the memories of that game were relegated to a few dusty trophies and a yellowing newspaper article. It was a memory which Jeff Bidel, judging by his attire, still couldn’t let go of. I suppose Jeff could have done something else with his life… literally almost anything else would have been better. But he was stuck in a time warp, in his mind it was forever a Friday night in the fall of 1989. Only the roar of the crowd was replaced with the roar of the gas heater on a deep fryer.

So back to reality again, and I stood up to greet the former high school hero. "Jeff, how could I forget you? Four touchdowns in one game! Still impressive. But other than that, what have you been up to this last quarter of a century?"

Jeff dropped his pose, shook my hand rather limply, and took the seat right in front of my desk. I joined him and sat back down too, and prepared to listen to his reason for walking through my door this morning.

He began, "Well Rod B, it's funny you ask that question. Really since that game, things haven't been that great... and that's why I need your help."

I interrupted, "Ummm Jeff, while I do run a highly successful private detective agency, I'm hardly a life coach. I couldn't tell you how to spruce up your resume or meet a supermodel."

Jeff explained, "No, that's not what I mean. Did you know, shortly after that championship game back in 1990, someone stole the game ball?"

A quick note for those not familiar at all with ball-related athletics. A game ball in football is the actual ball used in a game, particularly a winning game of substantial importance, which afterwards is kept as a memory of that particular game. Most of the time game balls are displayed in trophy cases, or perhaps paraded around on special occasions, before ending up being sold for ridiculous amounts on eBay thanks to rich/stupid buyers. The game ball Jeff was talking about referred to the ball used on that game day which he scored all of his four touchdowns with.

Back to the conversation, I replied to Jeff, “Yes, I think I remember that. It was right after the game I believe. Was it ever recovered?”

“No”, Jeff said while looking down at the ground and letting out a sigh. “That’s why I need you Rod B.” He looked at me in the eyes, and I could see true sadness in them as his greying mullet flapped in the breeze of my window fan. “I need that game ball man. Ever since I lost it, my life’s been all downhill. My parent’s dealership closed, head cheerleader Yvonne Brown left me, I live in a studio apartment with a roommate who binge watches reality television all day, and I still work at Popeye’s. Sure, I’m a manager now, and I get all the free leftover popcorn chicken I can eat... But this isn’t what I wanted out of life! I just know… I just know that if I can get that ball back, I can turn it all around.”

I could tell by his posture and his tone of voice that he was sincere. I also realized that he really needed a good therapist and not his game ball back. But, I’m a private dick and not a guy who actually helps people. So if his money was green (ish), I’d help him find the tooth fairy if that’s what he wanted.

I replied to him rather bluntly, “Well, if I can help you find the game ball, would you be able to cover my fee? I’m a highly experienced professional with many successful cases under my belt.”

Jeff spoke back, “I’ve been saving for years for this… I’ve got $300 cash. I can give you $150 up front and another $150 when the job is over.”

Holy crap! Three hundred big ones! I had to try and stifle my excitement, as I made it a point never to accept the first offer. Since he was a Popeye’s manager, I presented my counter offer of, “Three hundred dollars and a gallon jug of Bayou Buffalo sauce, and I’ll help you find your missing game ball.”

Jeff mulled it over, “You got it, Rod B!” From there hands were shaken, and the case accepted. But now this just brought up a big question… where did I go from here? I figured that I would ask Jeff a few questions so I could begin to formulate some kind of a plan.

Settling back down in my chair I asked Jeff, “Since there likely isn’t anything useful in the police report, I don’t think we will need to go down that road. So let’s start here; tell me everything you know about the theft.”

Jeff had a look on his face like he was recalling some kind of past trauma (or maybe just ate a tainted burrito recently) and began his story. “There isn’t much to say man. After the big game, I took the game ball home for one night, where me and Yvonne Brown… ummm never mind. The next day there was a big celebration at school, and the game ball was put into the trophy case. The following morning, it was gone! The police looked the trophy case over and didn’t find any signs of forced entry- who ever opened the case had a key for it! It had to be an inside job, a fellow student or maybe faculty member did it.”

I got to thinking about the whole situation, and I didn’t like where this was going. Jeff kept on explaining. “Of course at the time I asked EVERYONE about it, but I didn’t get anywhere. I just know someone had to have known something. I’ve even tried talking to some of our former classmates about this recently, but they won’t have anything to do with me. They are all like, ‘stop living in the past’, and ‘get on with your life.’ Whatever losers… let’s see if you can throw four perfect touchdown passes with laser like precision while River City high’s finest linebackers are bearing down on you. I bet none of them could even through ONE damn touchdown pass!”

Damn, Jeff was getting pretty worked up over this, I had to bring him down a bit. Even though I knew I would come to regret what I was about to say. I interrupted his rant with, “Jeff… err, ‘Mr Four Touchdowns in One Game’, listen to me. I know you’re pissed off but I think I’ve got the solution here. I’m sure you are aware that our reunion is coming up Friday night, hell I’m guessing that the reason you sought me out is for this reason. But how about we go to the reunion, and I do the casual questioning about the game ball. Give it a few hours, let the drinks pour… I’m sure a few lips will loosen.”

Right now I was sighing on the inside- The last thing I wanted to do was go to my damn reunion, but really it was the only lead we had. I didn’t really think we’d get anywhere, there was no way we could get any information that would lead to the game ball or anything. I’d go, watch my peers (all of us over 40) try to dance to MC Hammer and pound watered down cocktails, and secretly judge each other’s life choices. Still, I’d have a couple free beers out of the deal, and I’d keep the $150 advance no matter what. I’d only have to deal with social awkwardness, and not another shootout. Although on second thought, part of me would rather have the shootout…

Jeff thought about what I said and responded, “You’re right Rod B; the reunion was why I stopped by after all this time. This is probably my last shot at getting the game ball back, and I wanted the cheapest man for the job. So hey, how about I pick you up here at seven- I’ve still got that 82 Trans Am. You remember: black-on-black with the bird on the hood? Spread eagle baby.”

I resisted face-palming as best as I could but still replied sardonically, “See you at seven Jeff.”

He turned to leave my office, when I realized he had forgotten something. I made a loud and guttural, “AHEM!” Jeff looked at me, upset that I hadn’t forgotten, “Oh, right bro… your advance, here you go.”

Jeff reached into the pockets on his Zubaz sweatpants, and pulled out a crumpled wad of bills. Mostly $5’s and $10’s it looked like, of course they were all wet for some unknown reason. “Umm… thanks.” I spit out, wondering how the hell I was going to, literally, launder this money. I know that the strip club only cares if the money is real, but even they wouldn’t tolerate this level of currency moisture.

 

Flash forward to the night of the reunion. It’s 7pm, and I’m waiting patiently in my small office, black suit with black tie on (why change just for my old classmates?), and sitting around patiently for Jeff to roll up. I was leaning back in my office chair, enjoying a fine Lucky Strike cigarette and playing with my .44 mag revolver. So shiny and chromey it is… kind of makes me feel like an even dirtier Dirty Harry.

I hear a loud engine roar from outside, followed by random automotive clicks, clacks and bangs- my chariot had arrived. Going outside (damn it was getting cold, I’d soon have to snag a coat from one of those charity coat drives soon) I saw the black Trans Am in all its glory. I’m shocked he was able to keep the thing running all of those years- even though the suspension was sagging so it looked like a poor man’s low rider, there was almost as much rust as paint, and it sounded like a robot having an interrupted orgasm. At least it would get me out of the cold until we arrived at the reunion.

That is, until I realized he took the freaking t-tops off. “Jeff, I don’t have a toasty warm varsity jacket stuffed with warm memories and even warmer cotton fabric… can you put the tops back on please?” He looked out of the corner of his eye and said, “About that… I lost both T-tops back in 2007, after the big homecoming game that year. Damn kids didn’t even know who the hell I was, don’t they study the Flour City High hall of fame any more??”

I didn’t reply, I just squatted low and crawled into his dilapidated Pontiac. Jeff tried to continue on, “This is it man, 25 years, but I know tonight’s the night I get that game ball back! Plus I might even get another shot at head cheerleader Yvonne Brown!”

“Don’t talk any more right now, I need happy time.” I grumbled back, hoping that scientists could simultaneously invent and deliver a teleportation device to me to spare me the upcoming 5 minute car ride with this man.

 

The Trans Am sounded like a World War Two bomber, which I guess was perfect to announce Jeff “Four Touchdowns In One Game” Biedel. Walking through the double doors at the convention center, Jeff was greeted with a reception that I didn’t expect. Suddenly the last 25 years of his life were forgotten, and it was like 1990 all over again. The king had arrived.

Despite some of our classmates achieving great social, financial, and other personal success way beyond anything either of us had accomplished since high school, Jeff was still the hero. It was weird to see doctors, attorneys, city government representatives, military officers, and even a few local entertainment personalities come out, yellowed old yearbooks in hand, hoping for one more chance at Jeff signing it. It’s possible all of this fawning was all just done ironically, like one giant in-joke. Or perhaps they all pitied him, and just wanted to give him just one night where his life had meaning.

I didn’t care which quite frankly. The distraction afforded me the opportunity to grab a Schlitz from the open bar, jam on a nametag (“Hi, my name is Rod B”) and put in some work. I started scanning the crowd for people I recognized that might be able to lead me in the right direction. I noticed a lot of people there… slightly more than I remember our graduating class being. There were a few names I didn’t recall, a couple guys wearing Flour City High t-shirts, yet the shirts had a different colored ring around the collar, as if they were wearing another shirt underneath the Flour City T.

Also I noticed a much older man sitting at the bar. He looked to be almost 80 or so, just hanging out as people came up to him, patted him on the back ,and bought him a continuous stream of drinks. He only shook hands with his left hand, as his right arm just dangled at his side, all shriveled and small.

Why cut off my nuts, and call me Caitlyn… it’s One Armed Wilson- our old custodian! Damn… he’s aged terribly! Then again, he was very old 25 years ago, but here he was in the flesh at our reunion! This guy was famous for performing all the high school custodial duties with only one arm- his other arm was shrunken and non-functioning because he had polio as a child, if I remember the story. He contracted it exactly one day before the vaccine went on the market.

Finally, I saw all my other, now middle-aged classmates milling about. Some of the former football players all had their old jerseys on (stretched to the maximum as most of the former players bolted on 75+ pounds since then) and were all together in a clique. The former cheerleaders also were in their little clique once again, appletinis in hand, but clad more appropriately (although… it looked to me like Becky Wellstic might still be able to look good holding pompoms).

I tried valiantly to strike up some conversations with my various former classmates, but nothing went as planned. Turns out, my largely avoiding classes for 4 years had the unintended consequence of either A. No one knew who the hell I was, or B. They only knew me as a local private detective, and assumed I was here working a case. Well, to be fair, I am here only to work a case…. But I was a graduate as well. I even had my picture in the yearbook, albeit it was a file photo someone had of me in mid-sandwich consumption.

Despite that I was a fully vested Flour City High class of 1990, I was getting comments like, “I thought they found your body in a sewer?!” and “Can you get me another drink please… oh, you don’t work here?”

Feeling dejected, and unsure of what to do next, I sat down at the bar next to old One Armed Wilson. “Grrr…” he mumbled under his breath as he looked over at me, the look on his face said to me that he either had no idea who I was, or just voided his bowels.

Still, I know the best way to open up a conversation at a bar, “Wilson, buddy! Long time no mop am I right!?” He only replied with a slightly louder, “Grrr…” Damn, those poor pants of his…

It was time to up my game. “How about I buy you a drink?” He merely groaned again and nodded towards the bar in front of him, as there were already three open beers lined up. Apparently I wasn’t the first person to try this tactic. Ok, plan C.

I pulled out my packet of Lucky Strikes and my lighter. Half my memories of Wilson (all three of them) involved him having a smoke in his mouth, and what octogenarian didn’t like to light up with the Woodrow Wilson era flavor of a Lucky Strike?

Since right now he wasn’t even using words with me, I simply pulled one cigarette half out of the box, and motioned to him. I wouldn’t say a smile crossed his face, but his grimace slightly flattened out, and he grabbed the smoke with his good hand. I flicked my lighter into action, and ignited the that glorious North Carolina tobacco. Wilson leaned back in his bar stool slightly, took a long drag, before exhaling and uttering an, “aaaahhhhhh…” Point, Rod B!

With the ice successfully broken, I could begin. “I’m Rod B, class of 90 also. I know you don’t remember me, but I remember you. Hell everyone does, you’re a legend!” Which was true, he was a legend- among Flour City High custodians, for whatever the hell that’s worth. I kept my momentum going, “So what brings you here tonight, other than the free Old Milwaukee?”

Wilson looked at me, suddenly looking sad. He took another drag of my Lucky Strike and simply said, “Cancer”. I gave him a puzzled look, as if the man has cancer, he should probably see like a doctor and not a bartender. Before I could interject, he explained, “I don’t have long, Rod Z, and I wanted to tell someone my story.”

Oh crap… I’ve been down this road before. ‘Blah blah blah here is everything I regret in life. My love who got away, my kids don’t want anything to do with me, I’ve worked my whole life and I have nothing, this one time I went to buy jelly donuts and they gave me vanilla cream, waah waah waah!’ Nothing is more annoying than someone who’s dying reflecting on a life of poor choices. There was no way this one armed custodian was going to talk about anything related to the missing game ball.

Wilson sunk his head and said, “It’s about the Flour City football championship game, and the stolen game ball.”

I did a double take, as normally important information doesn’t usually fall into my lap magically like this. Blinking slowly, I took in the words he was saying and tried to act cool. “Go on Wilson, you can talk to Rod Z.” I replied in my best therapist voice.

The ancient ex-custodian took his sweet time. Another drag of the Lucky Strike, a swig of one of his beers, and he finally said, “I did it. I took it from the damn trophy case all those years ago!” His tone suddenly turned angry, “But it was always my ball to begin with, I made it, and that’s how they won the damn championship- with my ball!”

I had no idea if this guy was succumbing to Alzheimer’s or what, so I pressed him with, “Wilson, what are you talking about?” I leaned in closer, smelling his acrid breath and hoping what I was about to hear was worth it.

Speaking softer now, he continued his (hopefully) epic saga. “I wasn’t always a damn janitor you know. Back in the 50’s, I worked for the American Football League. At the time, the footballs they used weren’t very good- they either held in too much air, or deflated real easy. I was something of an inventor, and I made a small device that fit inside the football itself. It had a tiny radio controlled valve and CO2 cartridge built in. From the sidelines, you could inflate or deflate the ball at will by a few PSI. Take out some pressure so that on a running play, you get better grip. Increase the pressure so that on a passing play you can throw a tighter spiral. I was never a very good inventor, but my ball worked damnit!”

Knowing how these things go, I was willing to bet this was the part in the story where everything unraveled.

Wilson took a deep breath and said, “But the AFL merged with that blasted, new-fangled National Football League, and I was kicked to the curb. They didn’t care about my auto-adjusting football at all. After I was let go I moved to Flour City, and tried to start over. The only job I could find was slinging a mop bucket for Flour City High. It wasn’t much, but at least it kept a roof over my head.”

He was starting to lose me… I know he was saying some important stuff, but I guess I just wish people spoke in Cliff’s Notes. I couldn’t even look at cat videos on my iPhone either, I had to focus here.

He droned ever on, “After a while, I wasn’t just a custodian at your alma mater- oh no, I became the equipment manager for the football team, having learned a thing or two about the old game of pig skin in my AFL days. One day, the coach asked me how I knew so much about football gear, and I sat down and told him about the AFL and about my invention. He was intrigued, so I showed him the auto-adjusting football. He thought it was the bees knees that it still looked and felt exactly like a regulation ball, but you could change the pressure of it any moment you wanted. For fun, he even threw the ball straight up in the air, and deflated the whole thing before it even hit the ground. It landed like a giant pancake on Charlie Chaplan’s face!”

I think I saw where this was going, I was still losing patience and wanted to think about pancakes, but I exercised tremendous mental focus and allowed him to keep rolling on. Wilson kept going with was rapidly becoming a monologue, “Neither the coach or I thought much about that day, until it came time for Flour Cities big championship game. The coach asked me to use my auto-adjusting ball, just for fun in the pre-game practice he said. Being naïve, I let him have it. Dag nabbit, that coach… during the big game, the score was tied going into the 4th quarter. Our quarterback over there had already thrown four touchdown passes, and now it was time for our defense to hold rival River City from trying to score on the last drive of the game. As I saw the River City team take the field, I saw the auto-adjusting ball in their quarterback’s hands! I knew what that cotton picking coach was up to- hijinks a plenty! Every time River City went to throw the ball, it deflated in mid-air, making every pass miss it’s mark! The ball re-inflated right after the plays had ended, so the referees were none the wiser!”

By Satan’s horns…if what this cantankerous old bastard said was true, then Flour City’s most enduring sports memory was a total sham! Sure, Jeff Bidel (I refuse to address him as “Mr. Four Touchdowns in One Game”, if nothing else it’s too damn wordy) did a legit great job on offense, and Flour City might have won the game anyway… but they still cheated, and cheated pretty hard at that. Still, I wasn’t overly concerned about that, this was a “cool story bro” as they say, but I just wanted to know where the damn game ball was now. This verbal Wikipedia entry was really just unnecessary dialogue at this point.

I acknowledged the gravity of what Wilson was explaining while trying to get to the point. ‘Wilson, wow, that’s an amazing story, thank you for sharing (ugh, I feel nauseated talking like this). Still, what happened to your ball now, did you take it from the trophy case?”

He replied flatly, “I did- my invention was perverted into a tainted win! What’s worse, I didn’t even get anything out of it- not a promotion, a bonus, or even a thank you! I didn’t want to blow the coach in- you kids were so excited that Flour City won the state championship that a few of you little bastard would have slit your damn wrists if you learned that the game was a fix! So I just took my ball back, and it’s been at my house all this time, where it belongs!”

Wow, this was great! The ball not only still exists, but I’m one good con away from getting a hold of it! Maybe the full $300 for completing this case would be mine after all! Unless of course I had to commit moral atrocities to get the ball back from old One Armed Wilson. Depending on the atrocity of course, there are a few sins I’m always down for (not sodomy though, of course. Usually).

In my excitement, I stopped applying tact, and went straight in by asking, “So now that I have heard your story, can I… see this legendary ball? You wouldn’t want to die and have that ball end up in a garbage dump or auctioned off until someone at least sees it and knows the full story!”

Wilson replied, “Sure, you can be the last person to see this thing. I needed money for my last days, I wanted to go out in style. So I went to one of those stores where they get on the computer and try to sell your things. I put my beloved, self –adjusting ball up for sale, and some mysterious stranger offered me a million dollars for it! He’s coming down from Massachusetts tonight to give me my money and pick it up. What luck! Next week I’ll be out of this frozen hell hole and spending my last days hooked up to morphine drip on a beach, while brown-skinned people wait on me hand and foot!”

My head was swimming, I needed a plan and fast, but Wilson kept talking. “He’ll be here in a half hour, and I just wanted to show up tonight to tell my story to someone from your class before I head to that big end zone in the sky.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “Oh yeah… you wanted to see the ball, right? Well it’s not here but it’s nearby. Meet me out back and you can see it one last time before the new owner takes it. Maybe he can do something good with it for a change…”

One Armed Wilson thanked me for the smoke and the ear, and just stared forward. He was done talking- the old man just needed to unload the contents of his conscience to someone, and I was the lucky winner I guess. Even though I knew he wouldn’t respond, I thanked him for the story, and told him I’d see him out back in one hour. I needed to get to Jeff to let him know what was going on.

Jeff ‘Mr. Four blah blah blah’ (I’m not doing it anymore) was still the hero of the reunion. I found him in the back area of the bar in the middle of doing a keg stand while holding on to his old MVP trophy. Don’t ask why there was a keg in a bar, a place that already serves alcohol, but that’s what he what he was up to. I pulled Jeff down back to terra firma, he wobbled for a minute, but much like a Weeble… he didn’t fall down. Man, a Weeble reference, I bet you didn’t think you’d hear one of those ever again.

Once Jeff had somewhat come to his senses, I pulled him aside (the crowd around him disappointed and letting out a group, “aaawwwww”) and talked to him. “Jeff, listen, there’s no time to explain, but I found the football!” That got his attention.

“Wow! Oh my God bro, where!” he excitedly blurted out.

“Listen to me Jeff, it’s a weird situation, and I think we need some more bodies to throw at this case. Your old teammates here, do any of them have guns?”

Jeff thought about it, “Yeah brah, the Billdozer over there is all about that, he hunts and stuff, so he’s always got a full gun rack in his pickup truck.”

I replied, “Perfect! Now this is important, get your crew together, with whatever guns you can snag, and meet me out back in 10 minutes. That’s our best chance to get you your ball.”

With a puzzled look on his face he queried, “Why do I need to get my team and some guns?”

I decided to be totally honest with him here, as I bluntly spoke back, “For some reason the last few cases I’ve had all ended in bloody, excessive violence. Call it a hunch but I just expect this to end the same way.”

I didn’t know if it was the upside-down ingested beer in him talking, but after a few moments of mulling over my words, he smiled and yelled “GO FLOUR CITY! SEGREGATORS UNITE!” Jeff turned around to his aging and drunken former teammates, struck a pose like he was about to “hike” a football, and yelled, “AAAAAGGGGHHHH!” which was met with a thunderous reply. I guess for the first time since the state championship 25 years ago, it was game time for Jeff Biedel once again.

 

I had just enough time for another cigarette and a lizard draining before I went out back behind the bar. Sure enough, 4 guys from Jeff’s old offensive line were present; all clad in their original Flour City football jerseys (now stretched out like a sausage casing. Damn that makes me hungry for some meat! Damnit, not like that you pervs.) and carrying a random mix of long guns. I spotted two hunting rifles- one bolt and the other lever action, and two pump shotguns. Not ideal, but then again I wasn’t exactly expecting a specific threat either.

Jeff didn’t have a gun himself, he was still too attached to his stupid MVP trophy that he (literally and figuratively) couldn’t let go of. There weren’t enough guns to go around anyway, so I guess if things went south we would have to make do.

I spoke to the lineman in terms that they would understand, “You guys are just blocking on this play, ok? Jeff and I are the ball carriers here- follow our lead and don’t commit any penalties.”

They stacked their guns right in a corner where a trash dumpster met the building wall. It was out of immediate sight but close enough for quick access. I myself patted my shoulder holster- even though I always felt the heft of my .44 magnum (that I still need to nickname someday) but it just comforts me knowing I’ve still got it on me. Like a shiny silver security blanket, one that tends to explode heads.

Everything was in a position not a moment too soon. The bar’s back door slowly opened, and out came One Armed Wilson, slowly shuffling his ancient body into the alley. Wilson looked us over- Jeff in his varsity jacket, and his former lineman still in their jerseys- and just shook his head while lightly groaning. Apparently just the visual of it all was so pathetic it caused him physical pain.

But aside from secretly judging everyone’s poor fashion choices, in his one good arm Wilson was carrying an old cardboard box! The box itself was an old banker’s box, and usually these were filled with dusty old reams of paper or a few dozen porno mags. But today it was filled with the answer to Jeff’s prayers, and by extension the answer to how I was going to keep the lights on in my office for another month.

I wasn’t sure what to do here- I was so focused on just getting everyone together that I really didn’t have a clue how I’d convince the old man to give up the game ball. If Wilson really was getting a cool million dollars for it, and was dying, there wasn’t anything I could offer him in exchange. I certainly could just yank it out of his hands and throw HIM into the dumpster… It certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to recycle a senior citizen, but there would be long lasting consequences that would outweigh any benefit I’d get from such a course of action.

Look, we were all adults here (well, we all could be tried in a court of law as adults at least), and maybe we could talk this whole situation over. I spoke to our antediluvian bearer of the sacred pigskin, “Wilson, you know who this is right? Jeff, ‘Mr. *sigh* Four Touchdowns in One Game’ Biedel! He’d really love to see that game ball one more time.”

“Oh, all right I guess… but don’t you whipper snappers try any shenanigans!” Wilson bellowed.

Jeff and myself gathered in front of Wilson, as he handed the box to me, then slowly reached over to lift the lid. I looked over at Jeff, and I could almost hear a chorus singing “Hallelujah!” inside his mind. His eyes became wide, and I think he even started to salivate (gross!).

If this was a cartoon, then beams of white light would have shined out from that box, as a collective “Oooohhhh” emerged from the crowd of former varsity players. However all I saw was a rather flat, old football. Clearly it was a fifty year old piece of crap that needed to go straight into the dumpster right beside of us. But this dingy, ragged thing apparently had loads of financial, as well as sentimental value.

Jeff Biedel, former quarterback extraordinaire, carefully lifted the game ball out of the box, and held it high above his head for all those to see. A single tear streamed down his right eye…

Our rather sad and perverse moment of glory was suddenly interrupted. At the end of the alleyway a car stopped, then slowly backed up into the alley. It was a limo, long and black, with custom Massachusetts license plates that read “DEFL8G8”. I’m thinking that this was the anonymous but stupid-rich buyer that One Armed Wilson was talking about. I knew the wealthy rode in style… but this was one serious limo. It looked to be a Mercedes, and not too long by limo standards, about 20 feet or so; Just enough for a 55 inch 4k TV and a few high end Hungarian hookers.

Everyone stopped to glare at the incoming limousine, with Wilson getting excited, and the football players looking confused. Jeff stopped holding the ball up into the air, saw the expression on Wilson’s face and piped up with, “Wilson, what’s going on here man? These guys aren’t here about our game ball… right?”

Damn… this was about to get real awkward. Ok… time to think of a new plan… ummm…. I know- I’ll just smoke a ciggy and sit back to see how it all pans out!

With that, I literally stepped back right up to the entrance of the door that led back into the bar. I was reasonably confident that my hands-off approach would reach some kind of resolution without my input. Hey, don’t judge me- I only promised Jeff that I’d help him find his game ball, which I did. I never said anything about helping him actually get it back. But, I still wanted that other $150 I was due… so I figured I’d at least stick around and see how the exchange all went. While I’ve technically solved the case at this point, I wasn’t realistically likely to get me other half of me fee until there was some kind of resolution to all of this.

Oh yeah… the limo, the old one-armed man, the football players, and an ancient football. I lit up another Lucky Strike and watched the show unfold.

The limousine stopped and was put into park, but the engine kept running. In the meantime, the ex-football players were arguing rather loudly with former janitor One Armed Wilson. I could hear snippets from the former players such as, “This belongs in the trophy case you old mop slinger!” and “Four touchdowns… that ball saw the end zone four freaking times in one game man! How could you dude!”

One Armed Wilson, with a million dollars on the line and not long to live, wasn’t about to let this trash talk go on without getting his own verbal jabs in. He spouted off classics like, “That’s not what your grandma said in bed last night!” and “The only balls you are going to get in your face tonight are each other’s!” Damn, he was a pervert… good for him! I’d have offered to take him to my favorite strip club some time if I didn’t think a hot pair of saline-filled DD’s would cause him to keel over (sooner than he already is anyway).

As this less than epic oral sparring match got more heated, the two rear doors on the limo opened. Out came a duo of burly men in black suits with matching black ties. Aside from their race (one guy was black, the other white), they looked nearly identical. In addition to their matching wardrobe, they each wore wraparound sunglasses (at night… ugh that’s so dumb), and in each of their right ears I saw a telltale wire leading down into their suit collars. These were clearly high-end hired goons (which are way better than low-end goons, as the more expensive ones are less prone to violence, although they are usually better at if things to devolve to that).

The black hired goon was holding on to a briefcase, which I’m surprised wasn’t handcuffed to his wrist for extra dramatic effect. Speaking loudly in a sexy baritone voice so everyone could hear, he said, “We have business to conduct with a man named ‘Wilson’.” To which one of the players replied, “You can’t have the ball dude, it belongs to the Segregators!”

The white hired goon took a turn at talking, when he yelled out, “We have a deal with Wilson, everyone else just get out of here, this isn’t about you.”

This time, it was Jeff who spoke passionately, “It’s not his ball to sell… it’s a piece of my history, Segregators history… Flour City’s history! Through that ball, a bunch of teenage boys became men. We brought something to this city that gave people joy and hope. This is more than just a game ball… it’s a symbol. That through teamwork and determination, anything is possible in this world. That you can make your dreams come true. That the little guy can stand up against a big guy, and win. That the light of truth and justice is more than just a fading dream. Look dude, you may take our lives, but you can never take THIS BALL!!!”

A moment of silence followed as everyone stopped talking and tried to make sense of what was just said. I was tempted to start clapping slowly, but I didn’t as I worried no one would join in and they’d look at me funny.

The black hired goon and the white goon looked over at each other, but didn’t say a word. They each touched their ear pieces- they were likely receiving new orders. Since negotiations had failed, this likely wouldn’t end well…

Both goons nodded to each other, and the black goon spoke up. In a voice that was calm but loud said, “We had a deal, give us the ball NOW!”

Jeff, his mouth really getting him in trouble said, “You know what, I’ll do better than that, here are TWO balls for you!” With that he pulled down his Zubaz sweatpants, and showed both the hired goons the full moon (complete with bonus asteroids). The hired goons did not have a sense of humor about scenarios like this.

Simultaneously, they reached into their coat pockets and pulled out silenced pistols, pointing them squarely at determined ex quarterback Jeff. His teammates, who for a couple years during the last century backed him up on the football field despite risk of serious personal injury, did not back him up when presented with risk of serious personal death. I couldn’t blame them… I think I even heard on former teammate yell, “I’ve got minivan payments I need to make, screw this!” They all bolted back to the door, not even bothering to pick up even one of the weapons that were brought out.

Wilson, while not afraid of death necessarily, just didn’t have the patience to deal with us Gen Xers. He walked up to the goon that was holding the briefcase full of money, and just snagged it out of his hands! The goons didn’t offer any resistance; after all, they knew One Armed Wilson wasn’t the one trying to keep the ball out of their employer’s hands.

Wilson just turned and walked back towards the bar door muttering obscenities under his breath and (setting the briefcase down for a moment) using his one good arm, grabbed his other tiny t-rex like arm and used it to slap Jeff right on his exposed nutsack (he was really holding that mooning pose for an awkwardly long time).

I wasn’t out of sight of the hired goons by any means, but since I was just standing by the door smoking and minding my own business, they didn’t seem to care about me. They just wanted the football, so I really wasn’t worried despite the fact there were handguns aimed in my general direction. I was still pretty confident that cooler heads would prevail, and that a shootout wouldn’t be necessary.

After that tiny-armed slap to the nads, Jeff finally realized the seriousness of the situation. He stood up straight, fixed his pants, but still held onto the coveted game ball. Damn, he really was serious- his eyes never wavered, his mouth never quivered. Jeff Biedel really would die right then and there for just a few more seconds with a crusty deflated football.

Now, not that I really cared if two rent-a-thugs dropped my former classmate and made off with an ancient piece of leather, but damn it, I had a case to finish, and more than that, $150 more big ones coming my way. At first I considered trying to gun my way out of this one, but even I couldn’t have gotten out of this situation without at least some level of collateral damage, so I tried to reign in Jeff via the power of sounds from my word-hole.

I piped up, trying to sound as soothing and casual as I could. “Look Mr. Quad Touchdowns, I know your life sucks…” To which Jeff looked back at me and scowled, while I continued on. “But do you really want to bleed out in the back alley of a hipster bar on the night of our reunion? Sure your best days are long, LONG past...” Jeff finally interrupted, “This isn’t helping guy!”

Since I was never very good at these inspirational speeches, I cut right to the point. “Just give them the damn ball, you at least have your trophy still- you die here you get nothing. You live, at least you still have that.”

Jeff pondered my pearls of wisdom for a brief moment, all the while the hired goons still kept their pistols trained on us. That’s another thing I like about high-class goons: they really exercise patience in tense scenarios like this. Minimum wage goons would have been all tire-irons-to-your-face by now.

Without saying a word, Jeff tossed one of the goons the ball. Also without saying a word, the goons put their pistols away, and examined the ball briefly to verify its authenticity. The white hired goon touched his earpiece to communicate with someone (presumably his boss) and said, “BB this is Pat. Package is secure, and verified authentic- departing to Foxborough…. Err, home base now.”

With that communication sent, the goons casually embarked back into the limo, and started to drive away. Well, I guess that was that- I’ll just go back to the reunion and have another drink…

“C’mon Rod B, to my Trans Am, we’re going after them”, an undeterred Jeff growled.

Before I even had the time to swear, Jeff grabbed his trophy with one hand, and grabbed me by the arm (he still had a meaty set of hands and a solid grip- I’m willing to be there weren’t any unopened pickle jars in his house) and dragged me back into the bar. The reunion crowd had thinned a little, and Jeff’s former teammates were long gone, so it didn’t take but a few moments until I was hauled back out the front door. My attempts at snagging a half-drank bottle of beer from one of the cocktail tables were unsuccessful.

He yanked me all the way out of the bar, where in the distance I could still see the limo. The driver was really taking his time getting out of there, plus it was stuck at a traffic light. Jeff’s old Trans Am was right nearby. As soon as we got within ten feet of his car, he dove right in through the roof (the T-tops were obviously still off), dropped the trophy in the back seat, slammed the key into the ignition, and the old engine roared to life. Trying to follow Jeff’s sense of urgency, I too trotted (Rod B doesn’t run) over to the passenger side and climbed in. I suppose I would have buckled my seatbelt had it actually still worked.

Jeff popped the clutch and we were slammed to the back of our seats while the Trans Am shot forward, tires squealing and white smoke billowing out the back. The Trans Am looked like a hunk of junk on the outside, and I doubt you could take it on a road trip to Delaware, but it was still fast when it needed to be.

We were on a beeline straight for the limo, which had just started lazily accelerating after the light turned green. Once we got within a few hundred feet, they spotted us and floored it. Now, it was a limo and not a Trans Am, so it was only going to go so fast. We got right up to the rear bumper of the limo, doing nearly 45mph in the heart of downtown. There was a red light a quarter mile ahead of us, we had to think fast.

So, I did what seemed completely logical. Reaching into my black suit coat and then into my holster, I pulled out my handy .44 magnum revolver. Let’s see how they like this! I stood up in my seat, pulling my upper body through the t-tops. The freezing wind stung my face, and the roar of the engine became overwhelming.

My right arm slowly pointed towards my target. The world suddenly slowed down- there were no streetlamps passing by, no glare off the headlights of oncoming cars, no loud engine, no icy wind, no tie blowing into my face, no bouncing up and down as we ran over manhole covers… there was only my gun and the limo.

I was aiming right at the blacked out window of the limo, slightly on the left side. My powerful .44 magnum could penetrate the glass with ease, and right into the back of the head of the driver. He’d be dead before his face even fell into the steering wheel. In slow motion, the Trans Am weaved slightly into the exact position behind the limo that we needed to be. My finger put pressure on the trigger, and a dozen metal parts inside my revolver clicked in unison. The hammer cocked back.

*BOOM!*

The hand cannon exploded with a deafening echo and a blaze of raw light and fury rocketed out of the muzzle. The 44 caliber slug sped out of the barrel into the world, spinning on its axis, with a kinetic energy that would give even Satan a reason to touch himself at night.

Then, as the round reached the end of its short but glorious journey…

*PING!*

Suddenly the world sped up back to normal, and I snapped back into reality. That was a perfect shot… what happened?! I sat back down in the Trans Am, and tried to get a look… I hit the rear glass clean on, but there was barely even a crack! I know sometimes that auto glass can deflect bullets, in particular small caliber rounds, but even weak bullets won’t bounce straight off, and especially not a .44!

I knew what this meant, so I yelled to Jeff (who like me was partially deaf for the moment), “Bulletproof! The limo is bulletproof!”

Jeff responded with an, “OH SHIIIIIIIII….”

He never got to finish his sentence, although I think I know how it would have ended. The limo, now going over 50mph downtown, ran through a red light! A mobile taco vendor was going through the opposing intersection at exactly the wrong moment.

*CRASH!*

The armored limo, which probably weighed upwards of ten tons, demolished the poor taco truck. The front bumper went just under the taco truck, literally throwing a delicious mélange of grade F beef and toppings of all kinds up into the air! Jeff and I were right on the limo’s ass, and as we went through the intersection as well, we looked up and saw the taco truck, being tossed like an anorexic midget, as it flew only a foot above us-right before it crashed down the instant we cleared it, narrowly missing the taco truck landing on the Trans Am and an giving us a chorizo-flavored death.

We didn’t have long until the next stop light, and we needed to think of something fast. Jeff moved over into the right lane, still doing 50mph (which was way too fast for where we were), and I tried to get a good look at the limo. The front bumper was barely even damaged, and it looked like it could smash into a hundred more delicious taco trucks.

Ramming it was definitely out. Shooting it was out. Chasing it wasn’t a great option, as at the rate of speed we were going the Trans Am would smash into something, and we didn’t have half a foot of armor for protection. I holstered my revolver and turned to Jeff, shrugging my shoulders and giving him the “I got nothing dog” facial expression.

Jeff looked at me, then looked back at his MVP trophy which was still in the back seat. I saw a face twitch for a second like he was about to do something he might regret later (more so than risk his life and freedom for a football), when he yelled a simple command my way, “Grab the wheel dude!”

I put my left hand on the steering wheel, and kept the Trans Am going straight on the roadway. Jeff reached into the back seat and grabbed his old MVP trophy, which was basically a big, fake-gold plated football on a stand. Using his right hand, he smashed the trophy into his dashboard, shattering the stand that held the golden football. The trophy was now just like an actual football, albeit much heavier- but it was perfectly balanced.

Jeff held the golden football in his right hand, and with his left hand, he pulled himself up through the open roof just like I did a few moments ago. He was tall enough that he kept his foot on the accelerator, and even though there was a red, light not too far ahead of us, he gunned it!

The steering wheel was totally devoid of Jeff’s hands, I alone was keeping the ancient muscle car steady down the right lane of the road. I looked up at Jeff, and there he was- mullet blowing in the wind, Trans Am accelerating briskly, and holding a golden football in his right hand. What the hell was he thinking?!

Soon, we were right alongside the limo! This was a definitely a horrendous idea. I glanced over and briefly saw the limo driver’s face! I couldn’t say much about what he looked like, but I did make out a smirk. One quick jerk of the wheel, and it was all over for us! There were parked cars all along our right side- if we took a love tap from that limo and we’d crash faster than a model at Bill Cosby’s house.

Suddenly… time slowed down (hey, I thought only I could do that?!). Jeff’s right arm cocked back. There was no limo driver, no impending death, no excess speed, no gorgeous hockey hair billowing in the breeze. It was only Jeff, and his football. In Jeff’s head the roar of the engine became the roar of a crowd, the streetlights morphed into stadium lights on a Friday night in fall, and the icy wind of the road became the icy wind of the Segregators Stadium. Jeff Biedel was no longer middle-age, washed-up fry cook Jeff Biedel. He was seventeen year old stud Jeff “Four Touchdowns in One Game” Biedel.

Jeff looked at the front passenger tire on the limo, and in his mind that tire morphed into the waiting hands of his favorite wide receiver. He could even here a commentator in his head narrating his actions.

“It all comes down to this: it’s the final play of the game! From the shotgun, Biedel takes the snap. Biedel goes back to pass, he looks downfield for his favorite target. Number 83 is open! Biedel heaves up a prayer…”

Jeff hurled the golden football right at the limo… only he wasn’t aiming exactly at the tire. The ball flew in a perfect spiral, hurtling towards a small spot right between the tire and the limo’s wheel well. Despite standing in a rapidly moving vehicle, and throwing at a moving target that was barely the size of the ball itself, the ball slipped right in- wedging itself perfectly between the tire and the wheel well.

“TOUCHDOW BIEDEL! SEGREGATORS WIN! SEGREGATORS WIN! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE, THE IMPOSSIBLE HAS JUST HAPPENED! TOUCHDOWN!!!”

The world went back to full speed, as the moment the ball found its mark, the right front wheel of the limo abruptly locked. However, the ten ton car had too much momentum to handle a whole wheel stopping up, and their whole car spun wildly out of control!

First, the limo started to fishtail, as the driver frantically tried to regain control, but he couldn’t steer with a golden football jammed into its wheel well! Right as the limo started to totally lose control, Jeff sat back down, and in one smooth motion took his foot off the gas, and jammed the break and clutch to the floor in an attempt to get the Trans Am to stop before the next intersection.

Jeff did his part, and while the Trans Am locked its brakes, our speed dropped fast enough to get us to a complete halt in time. The driver and the goons in the limo on the other hand, were about a harsh lesson from Mistress Inertia.

The limo went around in a massive spin, like they were on some kind of terrifying carrousel. Actually any carrousel that has clowns in it is pretty terrifying by itself, but this was like a clown carrousel that you couldn’t escape but possibly explode as well. On second thought, I’d trade a potentially armored tomb that could incinerate me over clowns. Sorry, I’m getting off track here.

The limo kept spinning in circles, one rotation after another, all the while drifting towards the left side of the road. While there was no oncoming traffic at that moment, there was a gas station right before the intersection that we were all once fast approaching. The massive heft of the armored limousine was on a collision course with the pumps. Sure, the limo had lost a lot of momentum with all those rotations, but it was just so heavy and moving so fast that there was nothing that would stop it from travelling another 40 feet or so.

The limo spun over a curb, grabbing and taking with it streetlight in the process, and then crashing directly into the fuel pumps at the gas station. Sparks flew everywhere as the streetlight was ripped out of the sidewalk, and then the limo obliterated the pumps on its way to a finally coming to a halt. The streetlight actually wrapped around the middle of limousine, almost like a big steel neck tie.

The heft of the limousine broke off the gas pumps as well. Even though it was past closing time for the gas station, and the pumps weren’t on, there was still enough gasoline left in the pumps hose system for several gallons of fuel to spray everywhere. Plus, with the pumps smashed off, the outlet from the underground fuel tank was completely exposed. The underground tanks must have just been filled, as fuel was actually bubbling upward from the ground where the pumps broke off, further saturating the area in golden petroleum goodness.

The Trans Am came to a halt, and Jeff and I ate a mouthful of dashboard and/or steering wheel as we both lurched forward with the sudden stop. But a busted lip was a lot better than what the limo went through. We were still a few hundred feet away from where it crashed, and the refined petroleum fountain the impact created. We were at a reasonably safe distance, and I didn’t dare get any closer.

I saw doors on the armor limo vibrate- the hired goons, what was left of them, were trying to kick them open! But with all that armor and the fact that the limo was twisted to hell meant that they weren’t getting out that way. As I was watching this spectacle of impending doom, Jeff said to me, “We’ve still got to get that ball back!”

Ugh, this guy just won’t let up about the stupid ball… I spat back at him in the least annoyed tone I could muster, “I’m not getting near that limo. Let’s let those goons get out first and then we’ll make a play.” I had no idea what that play would be, I didn’t want it to entail shooting at them, what with the potential for a massive explosion. But we had to act fast, as the fire department, and eventually the police, would be on their way soon. Sure, the police had a notoriously slow response time, but this gas station also sold Dunkin Donuts, so any emergency response to this location was likely to be under two minutes.

As I sat there pondering the potentially lethal conundrum, I saw a set of hands start to peek out the moonroof. Apparently it was still intact enough to open with a liberal application of brute strength. Since the two hired goons looked like they rather enjoyed arm day at the gym, forcing the moonroof door open was a valid option.

Listening closely I made out some totally non-sexual male grunting, as I watched the goons pry the moonroof open, and the white one peeked his head outside. To his horror, he saw the remains of the limo as well as the rapidly spreading pool of petroleum surrounding him. It was at this moment I knew I had him, I’d simply use the most blunt, yet most effective tool I had on hand to solve this problem.

Stepping out of the Trans Am, I pulled out my .44 magnum, and aimed it straight at the pool of gasoline. I looked at the shell-shocked hired goon and shouted, “Throw us the ball and we drive away. Or you can keep the ball, and find out just how flame retardant those suits are!” While I’m sure those suits could tolerate the occasional crack pipe scorching… there was no way they could handle a few hundred gallons of nature’s greatest accelerant.

The goon resigned to his fate- he ducked back into the limo, and popped back up holding the football. He tossed it as best as he could in our direction and Jeff Biedel snatched it up like he was Jerry Rice with superglue hands (ugh, what a dumb simile). Looking over at Jeff for a moment, I swear I could see again see that white angelic light shine on him accompanied by Gregorian chant. He found his holy grail at long last… which meant it was time for me to get paid! But there were just a couple more steps we had to think about.

While the police response time in Flour City was arguably slower than the average pizza delivery time, the fuzz was probably only a minute or so out. I’m sure my name would come out of one of the goons mouth’s somehow, and I’d have to talk to the cops myself… and worst of all- there would be paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. Sworn statements, affidavits, diagrams of where we were, timelines…

I put a Lucky Stroke into my mouth as I cocked the hammer back on my .44, and shot the remains of the gas pump that the limo was stuck on. A massive explosion ripped through the night, obliterating the entire service station with an epic fireball that could have awoken the gods. The flame roared towards me, coming right up to my nose! But I stood there, unflinching, as the sea of fire abruptly stopped mere inches away from my face, but still kissed the end of my cigarette lighting it up and saving me from reaching for my lighter. I took a long drag, and as I exhaled I said to Jeff, “Now we can go.”

So that about wraps up another case. As always, it was the best of times, it was the dumbest of times… but at least I made $300 Canadian (well, he did promise it wasn’t Nigerian at least) and I helped an old friend. Actually, he wasn’t really a friend at all… and I doubt triple homicide is justified to recover stolen property of insignificant value. But at least I learned something. I learned that… actually I didn’t learn anything or grow as a person either. Let’s just chalk this case up to an event that occurred, and now I sit back and wait for the next one.

Until next time kids!


© Copyright 2017 Rod B. All rights reserved.

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