OCW Episode X – July 1, 2022

graphix: spwilcen

Episode X – One Down, Three to Go

I watched Tommy Nondescript walk dejectedly down my driveway.  He turned at the curb, took two steps and was out of sight. I lost interest.  Did feel sorry for the man, working hard for a living and all, but was thankful his odd sense of attention to detail left me with functioning kneecaps.

The surge of adrenaline subsiding, I let myself think when Tommy reported to Mr. Lewiston my troubles would be over. At least as far as Jimmy Lewiston’s plans to avenge the spoiling of his niece’s honor was concerned. Being as I ‘wasn’t the guy.’  Then it occurred to me that C Connie Warburton said four nefarious unknows were interested in my whereabouts.

That meant one down, three to go. 

Surely Mr. Lewiston was the only interested party whose “interest” could be a real threat to me.  All the same, I thought I’d check in with C Connie, tell her of this little tete-a-tete, and get her professional re-assessment.

I deluded myself into feeling safe.  Safe enough I cancelled plans to contact the RCMP to get word to the Boss to be on her guard.  No Nondescript Tommy or darkweb Jimmy Lewiston could extend their interest in me to her where she was right then.  Boss and I on the outs, she’d recently, left to visit family in a bit of country known only to folks who live there.  No web, no phones, no Benjamin’s Big Buy Soopermarket. 

When I say ‘remote,’ I mean exactly that. When I last visited her family, it was a four-hour jet ride, two hours’ make-nice with a bush pilot, and two hours in a jeep on mountain trails that probably weren’t there after the next good rain or snowslide.  She was safe.  Probably.  Maybe.

Hopping into my truck, I made for the Warburton office.  The recent drought was packing its bags.  A real gully-washer set sights on the state to take its place.  Driving was nuts. I’d a small section of seedy interstate to cover. As the monsoon hit full stride, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face stride, a gasoline tanker tried to make me cozy-up to the guard rail.  At that very moment my cell started vibrating like a your-table-is-ready chain restaurant pager.  Navigating between the guard rail, the tanker, and two old shits driving fifteen miles an hour with hazard blinkers nervously flickering, I opted to let my cell chat with the passenger seat.

I escaped the tanker, the guard rail and the two old shits.  It was still raining sheets when I parked outside the building where Warburton Agency had its office.  As I hit the outside door, a bolt of lightening touched down right outside the building.  A transformer exploded and everything went stupidly dark.

My cell gave me enough light to navigate the stairs.  The call I’d ignored while paying gasoline-tanker tag was from C Connie. I’d be chatting with her in a few moments, so I let it go, pocketed my cell, and entered the second-floor hallway.  Thunder and lightening made like they were serious.  The hallway, absent windows and electricity, was dark.  I entered the door I reckoned was that into the Warburton Agency.

Bad guess.  Excusable, since I’d only been to Warburton Agency once.  The office I entered was “Flora Wu Massage and Aroma Therapy.” Whether part of the normal ambiance or not, candles in Ms. Wu’s establishment kept me from bumping around in the dark.

“Hello.  You like massage? Special today only, full session, half price.”

“Uh, what?”

“Massage. You here for massage. Right? Good deal. Half price. Full service.”

“Uh. No. Looking for the Warburton Agency.”

“Crazy lady next door. She there. We better looking. Half price. I’m Sue. Flora, my cousin…”

“Sue Wu?”

“Yes. Me. Full service.”

“That’s swell, Ms. Wu…”

“Call me Sue. First names nice, right?”

“No. Yes. No.  I’ve got to see Ms. Warburton. I think I have happy news.”

“Crazy lady maybe do ‘happy’ news. Not here. No happy ending too. Or maybe. Cost extra.  You cop?”

“Uh. No. Not a cop. I’m here to see Ms. Warburton, I’m a client, you see and …”

One tremendous boom of thunder shook the building.  Lighting flashed through the room.  As the lightning strobe faded and my eyes struggled to use only the candlelight, I heard what sounded like two gunshots.  Apparently Sue Wu and her cousin thought they were gunshots too.

“Crazy damn woman!  What she up to now, Flora?”

“I’ll call police, Sue.”

“Not necessary.  This one here a cop. He smells like cop.”

I was about to protest being called a cop when there were two more gunshots.  A pause, and then another shot only louder. As I made for the door to make my way to the Warburton office I heard, “Don’t go there. That woman crazy.”

That gave me pause.  Karl Connie was either making trouble or in trouble.  Either way, there was an odds-on chance it had something to do with me.  My mind argued the logic of Sue Wu’s warning. Logic lost.  I looked at Sue and Flora, yelled “Call the police!” and bolted through the door.

Hallway lights flickered, then stayed on.  The Warburton Agency door was ajar. I went inside.

What the snooker is this?  Late to the show? Missed the cartoon, newsreel, and opening credits? I’ll explain tomorrow.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

3 thoughts on “OCW Episode X – July 1, 2022

    1. THAT, my very good friend, is the kind of comment I covet. Alas, I feel you have diagnosed the effort perfectly. It lacks the color and pulse of some previous episodes. Very well done, sir, and very much appreciated. I myself felt the lack of bite and reality. It was not for any lack of time but the difficulty of all too briefly developing a cameo, following an episode colored with interesting character and circumstance. Too, and thank you very much for the added insight, your comment suggests I listen more carefully to my own worst critic, and not release a piece simply because it is “done,” waiting until it breathes.

      The problem in all that being, my resident critic often does not agree with the larger audience of two on what is “good,” what is a lackluster effort. THAT is why your input is so valuable – I now must learn to think more like my intended audience.

      Hope your travels are safe and pleasant. SP.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad to provide some, if only a tidbit, of assistance. I am now back, safely, thank God, in Europe, on the Aegean and not in Spain, yet, but this is a part of the world that I truly love. Cheers Espie and a hell of a smashing good weekend to you!

        Liked by 1 person

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