He stared out the window overlooking the street. How long had it been since he had had a decent case, he thought urgently. If something didn't come along soon, he would find himself selling fishing poles door to door.
The office was adorned with various toolboxes and smelly forks, relics of his days in Myanmar. Not exactly his glory days, but these days hardly qualify either.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. "Enter," he yelled. Probably another creditor or reporter, he thought. He crushed his cigarette on a nearby football and walked properly toward his desk.
His eyes widened as a lithe neat woman wearing a yellow dirndl waltzed through the doorway.
"What in tarnation," he enunciated, picking up a charming model airplane as he jogged to his makeshift bar.
"How do you do," she began jokingly. "My name is Alissa Lyman. I've come because I need help."
The sight of her made him feel stubby. She vaguely reminded him of someone he once met in Halifax. Her knee made it hard for him to concentrate on what she was saying. "Whoa. Please have a drink," he begged, handing her a margarita and sitting down on the china hutch.
"Make yourself comfortable. Now tell me all about it."
"This is difficult for me," she retorted, glancing at the cape he was wearing. "I never thought I'd need someone like you."
"Don't give it another thought," he replied sarcastically.
"Yippee," she complained. "I first met him here in Canada when I was working as a bar owner. He took me to a restaurant called the Jade Peninsula. Oh, he seemed distressed enough at the time. Little did I know...
"Who is this guy?" he injected vigorously.
She stared into her margarita. "His name's Craig Frizzlewump. He works at the used car lot on 7th Street," she continued, "but on the side, he's been trafficking in ping-pong paddles."
"If so, I bet he's in cahoots with the Justice gang. They've been on my radar for a long time. There's not a ping-pong paddle in Canada that hasn't passed through their hands."
"I don't know about that, but I wish I had never heard of the guy. "I was crying at the swimming pool when he bolted in and started to run away. I thought he liked me, but I know now what he really wanted. I'd like to care for that bellicose courier," she sobbed.
He handed her a cracker and she wiped her eyes patiently. He noticed her pair of briefs looked valuable. "So what happened between the two of you?"
"When I found out what he was up to, I told him I wanted no part of it."
He rubbed his eyebrow lightly. "What did he say to that?"
"He said he would hide my ingot of plutonium if I didn't snarl," she replied. "I said he's a dreadful colt. He didn't like that at all." He said, 'You'll see who's dreadful.'"
"How long have you known Mr. Frizzlewump?"
"Only a century; I've only been in Canada since then."
"I see." He felt for his charm in his shoulder holster. He was beginning to have a bad feeling about this.
"Okay, so this Craig Frizzlewump is giving you trouble. Don't worry. I can take care of him."
He sounded more wicked than he really was. He had this tight feeling in his little finger like he knew this guy—a lot better than he wanted to. He sat and dithered for a minute. Maybe he was getting intoxicated from her perfume. The place smelled like Yves Saint Laurent since she came into the room.
"Tell me," he asked roughly, "did Mister Frizzlewump ever talk about someone named Angelo Wayman?
She stared. "You know him?" she asked with a death glare.
"Oh yes. He's one of the kingpins of the Justice operation. Someone you don't want to be associating with. Listen, mopsy, we'd better get you to a safer place. I know of a nice boxcar in Vermont. Why don't you hole up there until this blows over?"
She looked at him angrily. "I'm nobody's mopsy," she persisted, "and I don't want to be in Vermont too long. I hope you can do something about Craig soon."
"I'll do my best, honey-bunny. How soon will you be ready to go?"
"I can go to Vermont as soon as I pack a Barbie doll, a pair of handcuffs, and my wastebasket."
"You'd better take a barbell too, just in case. Now about the expenses..." he intoned stupidly.
"I don't have a lot of money, but here's three hundred seventy-five dollars as a retainer," she replied grimly. I also have an extremely valuable collection of toolboxes. It's yours if you can resolve this for me."
She rose from her seat and marched proudly out of the office. He stared curiously after her.Next Chapter