Hard boiled – Saint and Company

“See, I just poofed my candle on.”

“That’s preety cool, Lou.  Can you make it bigger?”

“Are you serious?  Is that all you think about it that and the woman you use it on?”

“Dude, think what I can do.”

“Stop that thought.  I just saw a woman pass by the door.  I think she’ll come back around.  Probably lost.”

“I can find her for you, Lou.”

“No, sit your sick ass on the seat and shut up.  I’ll find her.”

Louis Saint stood from behind his desk. Books, cups and beer cans fell from his desk.  He stepped over the trash and around his desk to the door.  He opened the and stepped out into the dim, lit hallway.

She stood twenty feet from him and cupped her hands over the dirty glass of the door next door.  A beautiful woman, far surpassing the dingy apartment slash business condo Lou and Jed worked in.  He swallowed hard before he spoke and almost swallowed the few words he was able to say.

“Excuse me, are you looking for a…”  Lou stopped and his jaw fell loose.  The woman, so beautiful from the expensive pumps on her feet to the perfect white blouse, stared at him with greenish eyes.  The irises with the eyes extended horizontally.  Her nose was large and extended forward.  Her skin struck with orange hair and black stripes.

“I’m looking for Saint detective agency.  Can you help me?”  She asked.  Her voice sweet behind a pair of sharp, meat-eating incisors.

“Um, certainly.”  Lou said, stumbling a bit.

“Hey, is she hot!”  Jed asked loudly.  Lou tried to ignore him then recalled what the room looked like.  The beautiful tiger woman began to walk toward him and Lou stuck his head back into the room.  Large piles of trash lie in the corners of his office.  His desk was partially buried in paper and beer cans.

“Get the desk cleared off.”  Lou said between his teeth.  Jed stood up immediately and began to shove the trash upon the floor.  Lou winced and partially closed the door.  The woman stood in front of him.

“Is there a problem?”  She said.

“You know.. ”  Lou stalled. “My office is not very clean.”

“It’s Ok, Mr. Saint.. I assume.  This whole building is not very clean.”

“That is very true.. well if you would like.  You can have a seat in front of my desk.”

“Yes, please.”

Lou Saint stepped to the side and heard a crash.  He stepped into the room to see Jed struggling to stand after falling from his chair.

“Excuse my partner.  He is a bit clumsy.”

The tiger woman kept quiet.  Adjusted her skirt and stood in front of Lou’s desk.

“So what can I do for you?”  Lou said.

“Well, I may have killed my husband.”

Opposite Day – Part 1

Bobby walked slowly down the faded boardwalk.  The long boards of the wooden walk way jutted up here and there making it a small challenge not to trip.  The shops were long boarded up.  Former neon signs now looked like dark broken tubes which helped to keep people away instead of bring them to the shop.  The windows were long boarded up due to a hurricane which blew in years ago.  No one turned the power back on.  No one walked the rickety, broken floor.  No one cared much for boardwalk anymore.

Bobby rounded the corner.  An abandoned toy store stood sad and depressed.  The plywood that held up the large picture window had fallen slightly and Bobby could see something strange.  A red glow from something inside.  The power had been cut for the whole board walk so to see anything but black and gray over here was weird.  Bobby pulled on the plywood, which gave easily and walked into the building.  The small red glow sat in a corner of the toy story.  Bobby could not yet tell what was making it.  The shelves of the small toy store sat empty.  It’s shelves fallen face first onto the dusty ground.  A few toys were scattered but most were covered and dust and unwanted by the looters years ago.  Bobby had to climb over a couple shelves to get to the red object.  It sat over a thin cover, dusty like everything else.  Bobby covered his mouth and pulled.

Under the cover was a coin-operated magician.  A partial man, hat, head and shoulders, stood staring away from Bobby.  Inside his small square prison he looked like he just came off the manufacturer’s floor.  His hat was a tall stove pipe with a brim.  His face was painted on ceramic, wrinkles and all.  The partial man wore a half tie and suit.  The red light shone brightly from the top of the square glass case.

“Alfonso, the Great,”  shouted the letters as it spelled out the name.  Underneath the glass box was a steel slot and beside that a tin sign, bent slightly at the corner, that said 25 cents.

Bobby shook his pockets and found a quarter.  He pushed the quarter into the slot and the magician came alive.  First thing it did was straighten its gaze.  It looked forward into Bobby’s chest for a moment then upward.  It’s painted on eyes seemed to become real as it soon caught Bobby’s gaze.  “Young man, how are you?”  Said the magician his halved body moving back and forth as he continued to stare right at Bobby.

“I’m so sorry staring is rude,” he said as he adjusted his gaze to something less creepy.  “You don’t understand its been years since I’ve seen a young boy your age.”  The magician laughed.  It’s voice was metallic, his accent slightly British.  “I am Alfonso, the Great.  Magician extraordinaire.  I am hear for your pleasure.  “Would you like me to perform a trick for you?”

Bobby shifted uncomfortably.  Fear doubled up in his legs and gut.  “I think I’m just going to go,” he said but his legs would not move.

“Don’t be frightened, young man,”  said the magician.  “What am I going to do, I’m in a glass box for Christ’s sake and I have no legs.”

Bobby attempted a smile which peaked slightly at the edges.

“Let me get my small arms working so I can take off this old hat.”  Two small wooden arms moved slowly, stuttering at first, then eventually pushing upward to remove the magician’s black hat.  For a few seconds the magician’s gaze disappeared behind his hat.  Bobby breathed in deeply till his gaze returned.

“Alright,” said the magician, “let me reach into my hat and pull out a trick.”

Bobby watched as the magician’s hands moved mechanically into the hat and pulled out a small card.  The magician then turned, while still watching, and dropped the card into a large black pit area.  The card dropped and the magician asked Bobby to remove the card.  Bobby pushed himself forward.  He reached carefully.  Pushing the tin cover in.  The card sat face down at the bottom of the pit.  Bobby picked up the card.  He watched the magician carefully for any sudden moves.  The magician looked forward.  The paint in its eyes chipped slightly.  It’s two arms sat at the base of the glass case.  Bobby stood.  The light above the magician flickered then went out.  The magician suddenly disappeared into the darkness of the abandoned toy store.

Bobby shook off the nerves and turned back toward the only light he could find.  He stumbled over the fallen shelves and toys until he reached the front of the store.  He stepped out into the salted air and onto the uneven boardwalk.  He placed the card into his pocket and walked away.

Reaching home, just after midnight Bobby pulled the card from his pocket and sat on the bed.  He stared at the neatly typed letters on a business card shaped magic trick.  The only words displayed showed ‘Opposite Day’.  Bobby huffed.  Upset at the commotion this little incident caused him.  The fear and the weird gaze only to get a card that says Opposite Day.  He placed the card on his bedroom dresser and slipped into bed.