Jimmy Plush and Mittens O’ Hara in “Murder at Little Stonehenge” Part 2

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

[This is a continuation of the new Jimmy Plush story I began last week. To read the previous part go to https://chainsawnoir.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/jimmy-plush-and-mittens-o-hara-in-murder-at-little-stonehengeparton/]

Murder at Little Stonehenge Part Two

The cat pondered the word.

“Maybe she misspelled “dragon”. It’s easy to misspell things if you’re under duress.”

I didn’t buy it.

“Might be somebody’s name.”

“Like Henri Dagon?”

“If someone’s name were Henri Dagon, it might be like their name.”

“There is a guy named Henri Dagon. He’s a French magician.”

“Then yes, it’s like his name. I don’t suppose he’s in town.”

The cat glared at me. Being a cat, he glared at me a lot.

“Don’t you read the papers?”

“Not often. Reporters rub me the wrong way.”

“Plush, I can’t imagine anyone rubbing you any way if their life depended on it.”

“Dagon.”

“He’s playing at the Prufrock.”

It didn’t ring a bell. I had to think about it.

“You got no class, Plush. I can’t believe you ain’t been to the theater! It’s on the North Side. I suppose you ain’t been there much because it’s for a certain class of people.”

“Well, there’s the problem, Mittens, I’m into dames.”

“Must’ve taken you a long time to cultivate such bad manners.”

“You should talk, cat, they let you out of finishing school half finished. You couldn’t pass for medium rare.”

The back and forth could go on all night, so I decided to put an end to it.

“Fine. I’ll go look into Little Stonehenge, you see if anything’s up at the Werdegast brewery.”

“What about Dagon?”

“Won’t be much help if I don’t know what Rosey had gotten into.”

“You got a point. We’ll meet back at your office at seven. Good luck, Plush.”

“Good luck, cat.”

I got into my limo and we took off for Little Stonehenge. From what I’d heard, Little Stonehenge was going to be another industrial district, factories, warehouses…work, which meant money, which meant progress and that meant fewer people resorting to lives of crime. But the first night after they started building there, a big caern of stones appeared and bad luck started to follow the construction projects, accidents, illness, things falling apart for no good reason. And when trees started springing up, Irish and Welsh and Scottish immigrants started flocking to the standing stones as a magical symbol for a religion old enough that nobody knew anything about it. I don’t pretend to know what made the trees grow, I don’t pretend to know how a man’s own hammer hit him in the back of head of its own volition. I’ll admit to it being a little spooky, but at that point I would have told you that rocks can’t convince a man’s hammer to beat him to death.

It was nice to see some green in Nero City. I could see why people flocked to the place. Trees as far as the eye could see, a dense forest at the center surrounding the standing stone. Giant fronds, freestanding ten foot high coral reefs that nubile nymphs sat under reading books of Celtic myths. Hairy fat men wearing only flippers and diving masks. Dead fish gasping for air on the ground. Robed mystery men building a boat. The simple arboreal charm I had anticipated was not exactly what I got. I got out of the car and was immediately presented with a garland of seaweed by a shapely brunette with a phony mermaid tail.

“Welcome!” she announced, “to our kingdom beneath the sea!”

There was at least one thing wrong with that statement. Could’ve said something. Didn’t. If I got contentious, I wouldn’t be able to find out what those loonies were up to and from my experience as a detective in Nero City, I learned that if a person doesn’t know something as simple as whether or not they’re Chinese or whether they’re on land or underwater, they aren’t likely to ever figure it out.

“I appreciate it, sweetheart. I’ve sailed a long way…in my submarine…to get down here. And I was wondering if maybe you could answer some questions.”

She closed her eyes and tapped her cheek with a finger.

“Umm…I might.”

“Well, there’s a start, at least. Could I ask you some questions?”

She tapped her cheek some more.

“A seeker with some questions comes, answer some or answer none?”

Her body began to shake. She began to foam at the mouth. Salt water. Fairly disgusting, although she didn’t look half bad shaking all over like she was. She fell to the ground, waving her arms, making a swimming motion. She rolled over onto her back, kicking her mermaid tail. A fishy smelling liquid sprayed from her nipples. Funny occurrences for Little Stonehenge, which was nowhere near the water. The docks were literally on the other side of town. A tall man in a fine black suit with an awful rabbit mask on his face  stepped out from behind a tree, shook his head at me, then disappeared behind another tree. I felt sick. As I thought I was about to get really ill, the “mermaid” seemed to get better, standing up and opening her eyes.

“I’m sorry, I’ve been told that I can only answer your questions if you’re Jimmy Plush.”

Exactly the opposite of what I was used to hearing. Refreshing.

“But I AM Jimmy Plush.”

She looked me over.

“You are and you aren’t. You lie often. You always lie. What’s your question?”

If the rabbit mask hadn’t been  enough to spook me, her knowing that I wasn’t actually Jimmy Plush, that the bastard bear had tricked me into switching bodies with him, would have done it.

“You know a girl named Rosey.”

“Yes, but I don’t. I’ve never met her in my life.”

Frustrating, but I understood what she was doing. Had to figure out a way around it. Wouldn’t be too hard, she might have had a keen insight into my condition, but she didn’t have a whole lot going on when it came to brains.

“Was Rosey killed or kidnapped?”

“She wasn’t killed. But she might have been kidnapped.”

“Do you think Werdegast had something to do with it or was it a strawberry shortcake?”

“It was a strawberry shortcake.”

“Do you know where I can find the…the high druid?”

“He’s around, but I don’t know where he is.”

She was being uncooperative, but I knew she could be broken. So I figured I’d try something more likely to elicit a response.

“Do you know anything about Henri Dagon?”

She turned snow white.

“I don’t, I mean, I do, I mean, Lapin doesn’t like us saying that name, he…”

I should’ve expected what came next. Happened often enough with witnesses I was shaking down. She screamed. Died.  Harpooned in the back.  At least the killer had a sense of humor. This time I was lucky enough to catch sight of a big, burly thug escaping into a thick grove of trees. From his white shirt with red stripes and his sailor hat I could deduce that he was a sailor. The harpoon helped me reach this conclusion. I ran after him, into the grove that didn’t belong, hoping to get some information or a clear shot at the big ape.

For what was supposed to be an industrial neighborhood, the grove was thick with trees, dark and mysterious. Furries on all fours dressed as deer, wolves, cougars and bears darted in and out of sight. Trees that looked older than this country that couldn’t have been around for ten years seemed to be watching me. The sailor must have panicked, since he hit a dead end, cornered himself between me and a giant redwood. Since he didn’t have much a shot of taking down the redwood, he took a swing at me.

Clearly a strong man, but not fast and not particularly concerned for the welfare of his kneecaps. I struck precise pressure points, making the best use I could of my knowledge of the Chinese fighting arts. He wobbled. I kicked him harder. He fell. I put a foot on his neck and pointed my custom teddy bear .45 at his face.

“Who do you work for?”

TO BE CONTINUED MAY 15th

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