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.


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