Sunday, May 30, 2010

THE PRINTS AND THE POPPER ~ ~ Epic*sode 12 ~ "MIDNIGHT COWBOY" ~ By Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford of Harbinger*33

  The *TERROR*
t e a s e s





Epic'sode 11 ~ The Shadow Knows
Epic'sode 10 ~ The Pissing Match
 Epic'sode 9 ~ Chain, Chain, Chain 
Epic'sode 8 ~ Too Cool!
Epic'sode 7 ~ Meet Virginia
Epic'sode 6 ~ I See the Light
Epic'sode 5 ~ Lucky Shot
Epic'sode 4 ~ Hi Jinks
Epic'sode 3 ~ Groping Against Grope
Epic'sode 2 ~ The Clot Thickens
and the original mystery of it all ~  Epic'sode 1 ~

~ ~ EPIC*SODE 12 ~ ~
 ~ or ~

~ or ~

"Keep the Change
from the Dozen, Cousin"

~ Har and I had a plethora of Epic'sode titles;
Care to help us out?  ~

~ By Absolutely*Kate 
Harry B. Sanderford

"There is an elegant art to detection my new friend." Caracas smiled complacently at the amber in a glass which had the sense to have a bartender who maintained it at more than half-full. 

"Yeah? What's that?"

"Observation. Reflection." His tumbler swirled. His trained demeanor wouldn't dare. "On occasion, Refraction -- seeing how what once enlightened can be lit in entirely different perspicacious perceptions."

"So that's what you've been doing all this time -- Detecting, refracting? Here I thought you were just drinkin' and swallowing up the local atmosphere. Top you off?"

Go at it, Caracas nodded, simultaneously intent on all The Lucky was pouring out this evening --  the detective discourse with the eager-eyed lad to his right, the press pondering front and center, the Lieutenant and the shadowy lady near the front of where the back room took over, and the twitch of the suave barkeep each time he opened a conversational pundit upon . . . detecting. Palpable at best, there were tensions under talents. He'd bet his bottom euro and the villa in the south of France, if only he still had it. That's why this case mattered. Coffer-filling manner to means. On both sides of the coin. This Anthony of the Lucky Shot local saloon had tasted out-of-luck and spit it out once or thrice. He could tell. Types always told. This one? Too quiet for his own bold. What was he in on? And could he be trusted as a fast foil?

Though a dozen conjectures appeared humid and hazy in Hazelton from a day's worth of liquidation duty, an InterNoir gent must do what an InterNoir gent must do. Someone had to. He'd been called in on the crime when it was still in the making. Best way to see a spin before it had a dangle to tangle, a pot to spit in, a skein to unravel --

"You're Paul Caracas, orbiting InterNoir star, correct? I have questions. My readers appreciate succint answers."

Though he'd seen her purposeful stride, and the solemnity in her eye of a woman who got what she came looking for, Caracas liked what he was looking for all the more from private eye to public view.

"Ahhh, Penelope Payne I presume. Reporter of rabid rep. The minute you walked in the joint I could tell you were a dame of distinction -- "

"Yeah, yeah - a real big spender of quality time. Listen artful dodger. You have a who to who-done-it?

"Could be."


"Could be."

"You sharing?"



"You know."

"You mean?"

"I should."

"But you won't?"

"Must finish the job I've been started on Miss. But then -- "

"Yeah, yeah. I've heard it all - true bliss?"

Caracas smiled way back in his eyes where the low growl on out-of-town nights preferred to prowl. Payne's not a pushover. This held sport. He rather favoured sport.

"Let us count the ways . . . "

Her eyes flickered but her retendree never blinked.

"Don't swerve. Who pulled the plug on Sparky? Where's the beloved BIJOU film reviewer Jeanette? Why was Chester seen in town when Sparky Denton was known to be his replacement because he was up on misdemeanors out of town? You know how to make the room move when you meet a lady worth the tango?"

Paul Caracas didn't flinch. Not even with that billiards babe Carrie-something-or-other gesturing a frantic thumb in the air configuration and mouthing, well, never mind.

   "One - The prone projectionist was a clear cut case
      of poison popcorn made to preoccupy
      the premiere crime scene. 

   Two - Smoke and mirrors make better illusions
    come to play.

   Three - Some say it packs the house. 

   Four - A packed house leaves an open door. 

   Five - An out-of-town job
    needs and out-of-town perp. 

   Six - Misdemeanors are never what they seem.

   Seven - Never met a tango needing turned down. We've got five more numbers to even the odds on a dozen by midnight. You got a nickel Penny? Stoke the nickelodeon. Play Misty for me."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Leon finished his drink and made a bottoms up gesture for Eddie to pick up the pace with his beer, “We have to stop and pick up a Happy Meal on our way, better get moving.” 

“You’re going to see Fat-Cop!” Stine accused. “What did you find?”

Alan Burger’s nickname started out Fat-Al, a play on the word fatal due to his propensity in the early days of his career to shoot rather than chase a suspect. His natural laziness coupled with a proclivity for the food that shared his name, numbered his days as a beat cop. Before he hung it up to ride a desk full time, a suspect who did survive to see the interrogation room asked of Al and his partner, “What is this, good-cop fat-cop?” It stuck.

“So, now you want to share information?” Leon grinned. 

Stine knew there was no point in reading Leon the rulebook, “Cheeseburger, curly fries and a rootbeer’s the goin’ rate. If he talked you into a shake you’re getting old my friend.”

Leon paid his bill and bought another round for Stine, “Looks like your InterNoir date’s getting chummy with the press Dan. Be careful.”

“Copy that Podnah.” 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sappy’s cowering whimper ended with the short report of Jeanette’s derringer pistol. Click…Click. “Godammit!” Jeanette broke Virginia open to stare in disbelief at the two empty chambers staring back. Sappy uncoiled from his fetal position still reeking of urine and cowardice and never once thought of counting his blessings.  He swept a leg catching Jeanette off guard and sent her sprawling. He leapt upon her and seized her by the throat. 

Jeanette hammered with her fists and bicycled her legs but she hadn’t drawn a good breath. She was leaving and she knew it. She hated going at the hands of such a pussy. She did not close her eyes, wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She couldn’t talk but if looks could kill, she meant to stare this son of a bitch straight into hell . . . and then, over Sappy’s shoulder she saw an angel. Oh crap, what’s next trumpets? she thought. Before she finished her thought the angel clobbered Sappy with an enormous nickel-plated pistol and sent the bastard tumbling. The angel went on to kick and stomp the living shit out of the once again cowering sap and with each gasp of sweet oxygen her angel came more fully into focus. “Harry!”

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Mary Lou came with their order and placing the tray on the table read back the receipt, “Okay, that’s 8 mini cheeseburgers and an order of 9 chicken nuggets to split. Comes to 10 dollars and 11 cents.” 

Sugar was between paychecks and down to laundry quarters, most of which she had spent on combs from that damn irresistible vending machine in the men’s room. Zelda dug around in her pocketbook and came up with a five and eight ones. She smoothed the wrinkly pile keeping one dollar for her lotto ticket and slid the pile to Mary Lou saying, “Sorry Doll, all I have right now is 12 bucks, but you keep the change from the dozen cousin!”

Legs stretched out, sitting sideways in the Dairy Queen booth, Zelda spun the little bullet on the table between her and Sugar. 

“You know, technically that is evidence,” Sugar pointed out dipping a nugget. 

* C * L * I * F * F * H * A * N * G * E * R * !


Enjoyably return to next Sunday's Matinee
for the next gut-gripping epic'sode!

" The Prints and The Popper "


Carrie Clevenger said...

Gorgeous prose! Fun, fun. Will Jeanette get out of there, now that Har' has her back? Great leave-off!

Pamila Payne said...

Still going strong. I love the shift in tone from group to group, and jeez, good cop, fat cop - that got a laugh out of me.

Wendy said...

Jeanette must be part kittykat purring through some of those nine lives.
Har with angel wings...well, move over Travolta.
Z and Sugar at DQ...dang, I wanted a Dilly Bar!

Ms Kate and Har, P&P just keeps getting better.

Anonymous said...

A laugh a minute. You gotta admit Jeanette has stamina, but I think Har is the only one that will save her in the end.

Kevin Michaels said...

Very cool and very well done! Great job Kate and Harry!

Matthew S. Magda said...

Seems to me that Caracas and Payne will come to an agreement. loved that banter between the two. Harry just has that special sense for timing things just right--though he is far from being an angel. That good cop, fat cop routine always works for the police. Well this tale becomes more and more intriguing. How do you keep coming up with those cliff hangers? Nicely done Kate and Harry.