Tuesday, August 30, 2005

When pushing comes to shoving P.2 ...

"

Blake was being used by some tough boys. After the fact, one person was sure it was the Russian mob, another was certain it was the Irish mafia, and another was sure it was Rupert Murdoch. Who it was never really mattered, it was what was going on that was important.

Blake had a crush on eye-grabbing Gwen since they went to grade school together, so she decided to test his love for his Chicago-resident girlfriend one night at a bar she knew he haunted. Blake broke down and admitted the relationship in Chicago was a cover story for a delivery he made. Blake, it turns out, was a runner. All Blake knew was that a guy from work, who was nothing more than a stockboy at the same grocery store Blake worked at, would give Blake $300 and a suitcase. The rule was that the suitcase was loaded into the trunk of Blake's car by a friend of the stockboy’s who would show up at closing time. The suitcase was to stay in the trunk and remain unopened – no touching for Blake. Blake would then drive to Chicago, and go to a little bar on the North Side of the city. I think it was Johnny O’Hagan’s… or Fado’s... anyway, it doesn't matter. Once at the bar, he’d go inside and ask the bouncer for a Luke. Blake would pull his car to the alley, and Luke would come out to meet him. Blake would pop the trunk and step back. Luke would first give Blake another $300, then take the case and send Blake away. Blake usually blew the $600 bucks partying downtown all night, but that's another set of stories. He’d drive back Sunday and go back to life as usual. He always figured that each trip was going to be the last one, but each month, his co-worker would ask him if he’d do it again. It was a recurring date. Until Gwen found out.

- This is supposed to make me trust you?

The truth shall set us free, Jimmy. For a long time, Blake just hopped back in his car, and drove off, not wanting to peek at Luke, who always checked the case before re-entering the bar. Curiosity eventually won out on Blake, who watched in his rearview mirror, to see the stacks of bills in the case. In fact, anyone could’ve dragged this info outta Blake once he saw that – even a measly $600 a month planted the seed of greed, and was pretty pissed off that he was being paid pennies compared to the loot he was transporting.

Enter the Dream Team. Our job, Jimmy, was to convince Blake to miss a trip. We sat him down one Thursday night, before his upcoming trip, to bombard him. At first he was pissed off, but all 6 of us were masters. We had a whole plan – we’ll drive just out of state, stage an accident, throw in some corrupt cops, and we all become rich. Blake bought it, and we were off.

We followed our plan to a T, Jimmy, and our surprise came when we found out there was more in there than just $500,000 in that case. What was in there, Jimmy, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we all used those fortunes to build ourselves – it’s the foundation of all of this – but it came at a price. People don’t like to lose things like that, Jimmy, and we were good at convincing people of lies. Blake wasn't. As a result, I’m the only one of that group still alive. If they ever do find me, they’ll kill me. But, time has long passed, and the person you see before you is what the world… and under-world… know.

- Wow. Great. I’d like to be sure I don’t get a ticket, so if you don’t mind –

I know a lot of people, Jimmy. People who want this Cube. They know what it does. Or at least what it might do. This thing has stirred up every good, bad and ugly buyer of mine across the globe! Everyone wants it, yet no one can find it.

- So you’re giving me a raise, is that it? This isn’t about money.

No, Jimmy, it isn’t. This is the first time in my life I can atone for my past. This Cube… I’ve already arranged a team. Scientists, researchers, mathematicians. Once you find this, Jimmy – you – we bring it here and dissect it. You and I, together, will find out what this is. Then, you, yes you, and I will decide together what the next step is. You’ll be paid in full and get to help decide what happens next.

- What an empty promise.

This is a win-win, Jimmy. If it’s a bad thing, then you’re one step away from all the unsavories I know that want this. You’re in the belly of the beast, so you’re closer than anyone. If it’s a good thing, then you can easily tell the world where I’m at if I don’t give it back to its recent owner, Mr. Kiteway. If I'm lying, you're still the one who gets the Cube first. And, if I’m telling the truth, then you really don’t have a thing to worry about.

- What if someone else finds it first?

We’re not at that bridge yet, Jimmy. We’re still waiting to see if you’ll stay in the hunt…

[Dammit.]

- You said something about security?

[He smiled. Jackass.]

Perfect solution. I have a pair of twins who need a little… lighter work. Katrina and Melina. Very good. You have nothing to worry about with them watching your house.

- I don't know... I don't know...

[Mr. A. came back around and sat back down behind his desk.]

I'll get on the dog-nappers. In the meantime, I need your brain on the matter at-hand. Have you gotten any cards yet yourself?

- No, I… I don’t know how to do the thing online.

Tell you what. Bernice can show you, outside. I want you to buy as many packs as you can, see if they let something slip through they didn’t mean to. If this is as bad as you think it is, Jimmy, I want this to go the right way, too. With your help.

- I guess.

Am I still the villain?

- I don’t think it matters anymore.

Our fates, Jimmy, you and me… their intertwined now. This has no escape hatch anymore, no parachute."

-----------------------------

I hit stop, here. I left with Roxie. Welcome back, Jimmy!

I know.

One other weird thing. I got a letter in the mail today. From a “Gertrude Stein.” She was a friend of Emily’s. She says she’s new to the area and wanted to see how I was doing. She left her phone number and mailing address in case I want to say hi. The thing is, I was married to Emily for 25 years… and I never heard of this “Gertrude.” Strange, indeed.

Well, now that the arthritis is acting up, I need some sleep. No news from Potter, but it may take a while.

Goodnight, E.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Pushing comes to shoving...

This is going to take me a little while to type it all out, but it’s worth it. I guess. This happened on Friday, but I have a hard time typing for long… a small case of arthritis. Here goes nothing. I’ll just start from the start of the tape.

------------------------

“- I’m starting the tape recorder, then.

That’s fine with me, Jimmy. I told you already, as long as you don’t use my name, you can do whatever you want. This is all a work of fiction, right? [Mr. A. laughs]

- Look, I came here to do this like a professional.

You’re in a wheelchair, now? What happened?

- I’ve been having complications lately. Nothing serious. I’ll be walking again in a few weeks.

Jimmy, Jimmy… Christ, I knew I wasn’t hiring a spring chicken, but if you need to see a specialist, I have a lot of connections that…

- It’s fine, Mr. A, I’ve got my own quacks… so, you been keeping up with my weblog, then?

Jimmy… you’re my eyes and ears on this puzzle. You’re my lead investigator. I keep up with your log, sure.

- So, you know why I’m in here.

You came in to tell me you found the Cube, didn’t you, Jimmy?

- I wanted to tell you that I am going to have to leave this case. I’m a professional, Mr. A., and it's always proper to tell your clients face-to-face, when you have to give up the hunt.

You were the one on the internet, Jimmy, not me.

- It’s more than that.

What if I were to tell you that your security would never be a question again?

- What if I were to tell you that I’m sick of being tricked by you?

Jimmy… we’re friends here.

- I don’t think so.

Jimmy… you still think you’re being tricked? You still think this is all an elaborate game? Well it is. There are certain questions I don’t have the answers to either. But, I want that Cube, Jimmy.

- There’s a girl, Mr. A. Her name’s Scarlett. She’s onto something. She’s getting closer to finding out what this Cube can do. And I don’t like where it’s headed.

I thought you said this was all a game. I thought you didn’t believe any of it.

- Well, Mr. A., I go back and forth. The line between reality and fantasy is a blur for me nowadays. If this is real, then this Cube may be much more dangerous than I ever thought possible. And maybe for some other P.I., the ‘if’ would be enough to keep going at it. But, I tell ya, Mr. A., this ‘if’ almost lost me the only other friend in my life last weekend… Emily would never have forgiven me if I put Roxie in danger…

Jimmy. Listen to me. I don’t know who or what you think I am, but that really doesn’t matter. But, I hired you to find this Cube and to give it to me instead of Mr. Kiteway. Why would I steal your dog? You’re the investigator, Jimmy, think about it! What purpose would that serve me?

- Then you have enemies?

[Mr. A. picked up a pencil and rolled it around between his fingers. For the first time, I feel I kind of hit a nerve with this stone-cold business man.]

Jimmy, we all have enemies. If you really want the truth… what you see here… the office, the business cards, hell, even my name that is on the business cards – the name I don’t want you to repeat… it’s all a lie.

- Not really working up the trust level, Mr. A.

Jimmy, if I go on, will you at least consider rejoining the case?

- … Every word out of your mouth has been a half-truth or outright lie. I’ve wasted my time.

Jimmy… you gave me the courtesy, can you let me do the right thing and explain myself?

[I was already there. I shook my head.]

- I got 10 minutes left on the meter..

[Mr. A. got up from his seat and walked over to his office door. He slammed it shut. He then got a glass from his liquor cabinet and poured himself a glass of a clear alcohol. He looked at it with a grin after taking a sip.]

You ever watch those movies, Jimmy, where the successful businessman, usually the villain, has a bottle of gin in his office, and before he’s about to reveal something big, he takes a nice big sip?

- No.

The person never winces. He drinks the straight alcohol like its water. You know what’s funny? It was water! The director couldn’t have a drunk actor midway through a shooting day, so real water and poor acting helped create this image - an archetype, to throw some Jung at you - in people’s minds of what a secret-filled businessman does when he takes a big gulp of hard alcohol. He drinks it with ease, which evokes a measure of power. But that power, that image, is built upon a truth and a lie. Things like that interest me, because it’s a big part of the reality of our world, Jimmy.

[Mr. A. then, of course, swallowed the drink down in one gulp.]

- I just assume their alcoholics.

[Mr. A. laughed really loudly, almost faking. I see right through his bravado, and he hates that.]

I offer you double the reward to locate a lost object, and from Day One, you’ve been suspicious of me. Now you’re here to drop the biggest crime in the history of our planet! Well, maybe my story will change your mind… or at least reconsider.

[I sighed here, getting a little antsy. Roxie was tied to the receptionist’s desk in the waiting room just outside. I don’t leave Roxie out of my sight anymore.]

10 years ago, I was trying to make a name for myself in New York, doing what I do.

- Which is hire old men to find a Cube?

I was in the stock market. I worked for a brokerage firm, working the phones all day long. It was my dream to be a part of something like that… it truly excited me. But, as you may imagine, that excitement began to fade, since I was merely an ant. I worked the show, but never was the star. Or even a guest star. I wanted to be thee man. So, a few friends came to me one day with an idea. A way to make it.

[He poured himself another glass and took another sip right here, if I remember correctly. He stared at the glass, too, as if the booze took him back to that memory.]

A friend of a friend of ours, let’s call him Blake, was a real blockhead. He was dedicated, loyal, honest… but dumber than a pet rock. He was telling all his friends, if you call them that, about this girlfriend of his in Chicago that he saw once a month.

[My ears perked up at the mention of my hometown. I’ll explain that later.]

Well, our friend, let’s call her Gwen, always thought he was lying. She was real good at picking up liars, as she was in sales. And, we were all friends because we had been either rivals or allies or both at some point in the sales or stock market games. Our specialty was convincing people to do stuff they didn’t even realize they wanted to do.

Gwen arranged for a little get-together at an old bar of ours, the Ear Inn, and she got out of Blake what he was really doing during those monthly trips to Chicago. There was an opportunity here, but she would need all of our help. It would be a little dangerous, but very lucrative. So, she began by telling us how she found out Blake was driving around with half a million dollars in his trunk."

----------------------------------

I'll stop there, better place than any, since my hand is really hurting right now. I promise I'll finish this tomorrow. It should explain a lot...

In the meantime, remember I mentioned that Chicago connection. I gave a call to my old friend, Jack Potter, and he's going to do some research for me. Hopefully, by the time I finish typing this, Jack will have found what I think he's going to find.

Some answers. Roxie's safe and sound, and of course, says hi.

Goodnight, E.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

New friends...

Just got back from the vet hospital. I wanted the doc to take a good look at Roxie, make sure she was all right. It was a crazy weekend… well, I should start from the beginning, I guess.

Thursday night, I posted my thing on the thing here, and Roxie was nowhere to be found. I figured she was off playing. I ended up not being able to wait for her to come back, so I left the door facing the water ajar and went to bed, assuming I’d be awaken in the morning by a tongue licking my face.

Friday morning came, and still no Roxie. I called next door, and I talked with Amanda. She hadn’t seen Roxie, and she didn’t know where she might be.

Friday came and went, and still no Roxie.

Saturday I was frantic. I called Penelope, I called Jamal and Amanda, I even called… well, another old friend in the area. I wanted a search party started. I searched as much as my body would let me, then got to work on my computer here on fliers. I couldn’t eat, sleep, do ANYTHING all weekend.

Sunday night, I was beside myself, when I heard the doorbell ring. I heard tires screech and I wheeled to the door as fast I could. I opened it, and there was Roxie, sitting on my doorstep. She stumbled in, and I was relieved. The search was called off, everything was fine, and Roxie looked OK. I should've remembered my life these past couple of months...

So, once the excitement calmed down and the neighbors left, I noticed the thin string tied around Roxie’s neck like a collar. It was extremely thin. There was a plastic separating (or holding) piece and realized it was actually a piece of paper rolled real thin. I unraveled it. It read:

“We’re reading. And watching. If you can’t find the dog, how can you find the Cube?”

I took Roxie to the vet, and that’s where it’s at now. I’m not sure the next step… not even sure I want this to go on.

I mean, this is all ridiculous anyways! This isn’t real! Someone’s trying to fool with me, thought it was funny to tease an old man who’s believing this silly tale of some Cube that fell from the sky hundreds of years ago and landing in Perplex City – a city which doesn’t exist on the planet Earth, mind you – and that it’s now here and everywhere at the same time, and I have to find it by buying cards.

And Mrs. Salk has yet to respond, which leads me further to believe this is all some sick game Mr. A. made up. Maybe it’s my old colleagues from Chicago, messin’ with an old man in California.

I’m not losing Roxie too, especially after something as ridiculous as all of this! I even had to pretend I’m not me so that everyone didn’t think I was in on this Cube thing! I’m tired of the lies, tired of the puzzles, and tired of being tricked and fooled.

I’m done.

Whoever you are... you won.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Trouble on the Beach, yo!

So, like, what would you do? My bf is such an idiot sometimes, I’m like, WHY am I with him? I dunno, he’s cool an stuff, but he can be a real butthole. Like, Jimmy calls me up at, like 2 in the morning last night, and I’m all, EWW, old man booty call. But, no, he’s all, My dog didn’t come home, blah blah. I’m all, what?

Anyways, all I wanted was my bf to drive me to Santa Monica. I, like, have a JOB with Jimmy now, for Jesus sake! He was bein’ all, dude, you know how much gas is nowadays. Take the bus. I was all…. UH!

So, like, my friends are like, Dump his ass, and all, but I’m like, No, just drive me to Santa Monica. Oh, right, Roxie.

Yeah, they found him and stuff. They don’t know where he was, but he showed up at the Robbins next door. They, like, never work – they’re ALWAYS there. Anyways, whatever, then this repairman guy shows up to look at Jimmy’s c3ntral air. I’m all, like, Dude, don’t be such a grandpa – it’s like 70 down here. Jimmy just laughs and stuff, and I’m like, OK, whatever, DON’T listen to me. I’m only going to college.

So, I’m really thinking about not taking my bf to the Start of School Bash ’05 my sorority puts on every year. Get it, the ’05 stands for this year, like 2005? Like, it’s a big deal, but If he won’t even drive me to my job and stuf, then I’m like, whatever. Its next weekend an stuff when all the freshies show up.

I gotta get me one of thses for myself. I had one last year, but it got lame cuz some guy just wrote ‘poop’ like a hunderd times in the comments,and it was really annoying.. but I’m all vented and stuff. The dog’s cool, too, btw. I’m sure jimmy will get on here this later and go over it all again , but he was up all weeken so he’s, like, in bed, and I get to take Roxie to the house this week! The girls will LOVE her!!!

Laterz. The Bravery ROXORS! Hes like the new elvis with his hair and stuff!1!1!!

-p3nny

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Slow-livin' by the beach...

Sorry for the slow-down in updates. I’ve been real tired lately. See, I have diabetes, among other things, and there are some days where I just have no energy at all. Ever since I came back from my hospital stay, I’ve been real tired. Penelope’s been over to help out a little, but she’s real busy. Luckily, Jamal and Amanda have been helping me with Roxie. But, today I felt better, and wanted to get out my thoughts.

It’s sad to admit, but I still haven’t gotten any cards yet. I know, I know, but what’s an old fogey to do when he can’t just drive to Berkeley. Penelope keeps promising she’ll show me how to do go online and order it, but she's busy with the upcoming school year, her "junir" year as she puts it. I guess I could ask Jamal, but I’ve asked too much from him and his wife as it is. If only a store was closer to me… Heck, I might even go there myself if one was in the LA area!

Something went wrong again with my central air. I think this time I’m calling a real repairman. Not to put anything against Jamal, but there’s one vent in my room that doesn’t seem to cool things off at all. The joys of being a home owner, huh?

Although I haven’t been in the internet that much lately, I have a pretty extensive notebook filled with my scribbles and scratches about this case. Both cases, actually. I have ideas for Pietro Salk’s wife, and also about the Cube. I’m going to take the weekend to go through it and put it up on here for all 5 of you to see!

I also have some crazy kids in the neighborhood now. Earlier this afternoon, while taking my mid-afternoon nap (as opposed to my early or late afternoon naps), I was woken up by someone ringing my doorbell constantly. I moved as fast as these old bones could, but by the time I got to the door, the ringing had stopped! Roxie was goin’ nuts and I was out of breath.

These days, anything makes me jumpy.

I still haven’t heard from Mr. Salk’s widow, and maybe she’ll never respond. But, before I even touch the Cube, I want to find his killer for her and her family. Do the job the Perplex City PD is grossly not doing. And that is finding the perp that did this!

Roxie’s been out all day, but I’m sure she’ll be back shortly. Sometimes, she plays with a dog further on down the beachfront here, but it is getting a little late. I’m sure she’ll be back, and of course, she gives a bark or two for my weblog.

Goodnight, E.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Claims and disclaims

First, as you keen observers I’m sure see, I’ve had to put up a little disclaimer on my blog here. Mr. A. had consulted with his legal department, and he thought that was necessary for my own protection, but I think it also protects him. At any rate, it should be clear now to any outside observer my intentions with this blog.

I found out that I can give Penelope her own login and password. I also should show her where the Spellcheck button is – college ain’t what it used to be, eh?

I also decided that my letter to the Sentinel may never get published, and that Sylvia may never read my email, so I’ll just go ahead and make the formal announcement here, on the small chance she hears of this and also to have a record of my intentions.

I am offering my services, free of charge, to find the murderer of Pietro Salk.

Now, obviously, for all us Cube-searchers here on Earth, the path of Pietro’s mysterious demise (and by mysterious I mean malicious), intersects the search for the Cube, just as Fran Mendling’s murderer will likewise be connected.

But, Sylvia shouldn’t have to wait a year or two to find the culprit. For me, personally, Pietro’s murder matters more to me than anything.

I know how it is to lose a loved one. I know how it is to lose a spouse.

So, clearly, I don’t have all the things I would normally need as a criminologist here, but there are some things none of us have right now at all – information. Details. I really think if I had the chance to ask Sylvia some questions, provided she takes me up on my offer, that she could give me (and I would probably ask for some help) some more clues to track down more leads. Right now, we’re at a stand-still as far as information goes on anything, and as my scathing letter I sent to the Perplex City Sentinel goes into a little more detail about my issues with the PCPD, but I want to help her and family directly.

The offer is there, and hopefully the Sentinel will help broadcast it to the Salk family.

One last thing. I’ve gotten some messages recently (or, to be more accurate, questions), regarding the tip that Mr. A. gave me about L.A. being the home of the Receda Cube. For me, I needed to know that this case was solvable for someone like me. I can’t travel that far at all these days, which is why Penelope will come over from time to time when I have some bits of clues and leads I want her to follow up on for me when it requires some heavy traveling. I only said “yes” that day to Mr. A. because he told me the Cube was in L.A. But, given my growing knowledge (and lack thereof) of good ol’ Mr. A., and add in the collective speculation I was a part of on the Unfiction site about how this Cube may be accessible in more than one spot (my brain hurts when I think about it, though), I’m beginning to think that the reason I got into all of this in the first place may be completely false.

But I’m too wrapped up in this to leave now.

It’s not even the monetary award. No, it’s the Salks. It’s the Mendlings. And it’s the perps that think people’s lives are just theirs to be used and manipulated. These criminals need to be caught and stopped. These families need closure.

I do like money, Mr. A. I just may not like yours.

As always, Roxie says hi.

Goodnight, E.

Monday, August 01, 2005

P3nny, yo!

Silly Jimmy! He forgot to submit his post from last night! He still has trouble searching on Google! It’s beneath this one I’m puttin’ up.

Hey folks. Jimmy asked me to write somethin on here so I am. LOL, I have no idea what to do. Anyway, I guess I’ll write bout me.

I’m a junir at USC and I am a Law and Society major, which is kinda complicated, but my guidance counselor or whatever they call themselves gave me this ad that Jimmy wrote for the school paper. They didn’t wanna print it, cuz people might prank Jimmy and stuff.

So, I’m not sure what this case is all bout. Some sort of missing Rubik’s Cube or somethin? Jimmy siad I can search then et and read up on what’s happened an stuff.

I guess that’s all. I have a 3 o’clock class, and traffic blows ass in this city.

Laterz

-Penny