Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tales From the Waydown, part 1

Yes, I'm finally posting the damn things. I need to get back into writing. Haven't written anything non-Cam based in months. Been burnt out on the job search, distracted by all sorts of things. Lost discipline, lost will, need to begin fresh.

...so let us begin. Excelsior.

Tales from the Waydown
Chapter 1. In Which Our Protagonist Fails To Eat Lunch

I’d been hit by a car on my way to lunch. Lying there in the gutter, my face pressed down into the muddy runoff, I took a minute to consider how many bones I had probably just broken. It was around that time that the men in the car got out and decided to make my life a little less pleasant.

Normally when a PI gets beat up this early in a case, it means he’s on to something. My problem was that I I didn’t have a case…I just wanted a sandwich. So I wasn’t really sure why someone had driven a car into me. But I was sure on one thing: The fact that they were stopping to get out probably wasn’t a good thing.

You don’t stop after you hit someone in Necropolis. Rule of thumb. There are too many things abroad in the night. You don’t stop. Chances are good that its just some poor human schlub who had the bad taste to wander out into oncoming traffic. But there’s also a chance that its something that crawled down to the darkest hole in the world, the city at the centre of decay, looking for a bite to eat. You can understand why Necropolis’ travel agents make a good business in one-way trips. So generally when someone DOES stop after they hit you, they’re up to no good.

Up to no good, like the trenchcoat clad man who lifted me dripping out of the gutter. He was bald, overweight, with a double chin and rheumy eyes that squinted out from behind tiny spectacles. He was marked on the neck with the small black silhouette of a half moon tattoo, identifying him as one Papa Moon’s hired thugs. Papa Moon ran one of the biggest illegal important businesses in town. I hadn’t seen Papa in a while, not since I’d made the mistake of taking a missing persons that led right to his front door.

The man held me by the collar of my own trenchcoat, muscles rippling under the fat, and threw me down on my knees on the pavement. The fact that my knees held my weight told me they weren’t broken, or at least were holding together well enough to fake it. My chest wasn’t so lucky. I gasped as my ribs reminded me that they didn’t like being hit by half a ton of Detroit steel.

“Ow,” was all I could think of saying.

“Get up, Mister Fetch. Papa Moon wants a few words with you.”

“You didn’t have to hit me with the car,” I said, slowly standing, holding my side, “We could have just talked…like normal people.”

My trenchcoat was soaked with the cold water from the gutter, and it helped a little with the giant bruise that seemed to be covering my body from head to toe. It didn’t help the ribs, though, and I resisted the urge to prod my chest just to see if anything was broken. I spotted my rumpled, much abused hat sitting in the water, and painfully bent down to pick it up, almost falling over when my ribs complained. I felt better with it on, though, and at least my knees seemed to be recovering.

It was times like this that I wished I looked a bit more impressive. Its hard to look impressive when you’ve been thrown down in a gutter full of rain water, but I knew people who could pull it off. But average height, balding PIs in shabby trench coats and second rate suits rarely inspire confidence or fear. At least the hat covered the bald spot on the back of my head, and shaded the receding hairline in the front, but the fact that it too was soaked with gutter water and street dirt ruined the effect.

The thug opened the door of the car, a great black sedan in one of the older styles, and ushered me in. I trudged along, dripping all the way, and collapsed into the car’s plush back seat. Any chances of me relaxing were undone when I saw who was sitting beside me, sipping a martini. He wore a white linen suit and white panama hat, his skin black as ink, but worked over with tribal scarring that showed darkly under the shadow cast by his hat. The hand holding the martini had the scars around the odd shape just beside his little finger, the place where his sixth finger had been removed well after birth. Papa Moon, the Baron of Midnight himself, the man who rivaled the mafia in his reach.

“You don’t look so good, Fetch,” he said as the thug closed the door. Moon still had that heavy French accent, slurred a little by the weird design of his lips. They’d been sewn shut once, sewn shut to shut him up, and forever after he’d always had that weird sound that was all his own. “I think next time maybe I just have Milo rough you up a little. But I always wanted to see how much the great Adelaide Fetch can survive.”

“I’d have thought that shooting me in the chest would have proven something,” I replied with a grimace. I spared a poke at my chest. The ribs didn’t feel broken, though considering how I work, they could have been shattered and still felt solid. I am very hard to kill. “If you don’t mind me asking…you got anymore of those martinis? I missed lunch.”

Papa Moon laughed and poured me a drink. I took the fact that, the car aside, he hadn’t tried to kill me yet as a good sign. Hope springs eternal.


Post a Comment

<< Home