Friday, March 25, 2005

Tales from the Way Down (part 3)

How Mimir & Judas Janet Founded the Way Down

Judas Janet and Mimir had been hanging out for a few weeks. She'd slept on the concerete floor of the Way Down till her dust high was gone. She'd shivered and downed rancid brown water until the cops stopped looking for her.

With someone to replace the boy, Mimir had finally shaved. He'd cut his hair, and then decided to shave it bald because he didn't have anything to wash it in. He had ciggarettes, and he had gin. The fermented brown water had turned out to be too toxic, even for Judas Janet. But it did a number on rust, and soon they had a couple rough metal tables.

Booze was a problem, though. They needed booze, but they didn't have the money. They couldn't buy the booze, they couldn't steal it, and they couldn't bribe anyone to steal it for them. A dust head with her thirty pieces of silver, and a cursed bar owner with a sewn on head. Legends in the occult underground, perhaps, but they weren't millionares. Judas Janet had bought wholesale into Mimir's dream of a bar, of having people walk the way down to the Way Down. They needed money for that. And if you needed money in Necropolis, and didn't go to the Bank, you went to one man.


They say that back when Tom was a thug for the mob there was a boss who wanted him dead. Something about the boss' wife and a box of plumbing tools. So the boss sent a dozen goons after Tom. They never made it three blocks. After two were hit by a bus (the same bus, backing off the first guy and onto the second, the driver swore he never saw either), one fell through a sewer grate and broke his neck, and a fourth and fifth ate bad street sausages, the rest lost their nerve. That's how Tom got his name. Anyone that messed with him got dead. Real quick like. And it wasn't anything deliberate, anything that screamed violent intent. Anyone could get a martini olive stuck in their throat, like the homicidal boss. Anyone could mix the sugar up with the rat poison in the middle of the night, like the don's maid (it was so odd, they said, that he never noticed the difference).

And so Tom'o'Troubles became the head of the mafia. And he got into the occult underground. So his gang became the Magic Mafia. You didn't fuck with them. Not for fear of bullets, or fear of knives...but for fear of something worse. Because as soon as Tom'o'Troubles got himself some magic enemies, he got himself a magic bodyguard. But she's got a story of her own, and she isn't real important right now.

So Tom'o'Troubles had money. He had LOTS of money. And he liked to lend it out to the occult folk who weren't activly trying to kill him. And he happened to have a thing for Judas Janet, so, seeing as Mimir couldn't leave the Way Down anyhow, she went out to find him.

It wasn't that hard finding Tom. She knew where he lived. She'd lived there to, once. A long time ago. Before Tom had moved in. The estate had been a bit greener then, but not really. And it definitly wasn't now. Tom'o'Troubles was all high hell for his enemies...but plants didn't like him much, either. The gras was brown, the flowers were grey and dead. There was a stench about the place that only someone with a keen occult nose could smell. Someone's luck had up and died there. Or maybe lots of people.

Tom didn't have regular bodyguards, and the gates were wide open, so Judas Janet strolled right in. She strolled right on up to the front doors and pounded on them. Bam bam bam. And the butler opened. Not a real butler, mind. Tom had a necromancer or twelve in his thrall, and liked his best employees undead, if only because they talked a whole lot less then. The zombie butler led her up to where Tom held his little court. Through rooms of stripping wallpaper, pounding music, and swaying bodies. Tom was having his party night. Necropolis had a lot of big spooky mansions, but if you want a real party, with real danger, and real necro-dust, you went to a Trouble Party.

Tom'o'Troubles held his court in the biggest room in the house. Maybe it was a bedroom once, but now it was a parlour. Tom sat in a tall backed chair with a snifter of something green and noxious resting in one hand. Around him, to the pounding of the music, men and women in leather and lace danced and drank. It's because of the music and the bodies that no one to this day knows exactly what it is that Judas Janet said to Tom'o'Troubles to convince him to lend her money. Some say that she offered him her soul. Others say that she gave him the last remains of the Cup of Christ, some surviving fragment that didn't currently rest on her face. And one dancer swears that they didn't say anything...he knew what she needed and took it for granted that he'd take his price in flesh and blood at a later time.

Whatever it is she said, though, it worked. Judas Janet walked into the home of Tom'o'Troubles without a penny to her name, and when she walked out she was bankrolled by the single most important criminal figure in all Necropolis. Mimir was ecstatic when she got back, or at least as ecstatic as the dour Mimir could get. And Judas Janet was tired of sleeping on pavement. So they curled up in the corner on an old matress she found on the street. Then there was something about a bottle of gin, and some of that fermented brown stuff, and somehow Mimir managed to get inside her pants. And that's how Mimir got laid. And afterwards they started building the Way Down with the money that Tom'o'Troubles gave them.

But nothing comes for free, especially not when that nothing is a favor from Tom'o'Troubles. And the tale of how he collected his due is a story for another time.

NEXT: "G is for Glaistig" (OR "How to Get Blood from a Stone" or "There is no 'bad-ass' in Mimir")


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