A Private Eye Crossbones Tale.
By John Pirillo.
"Ain't nothing tastes finer than a fresh pinkie on a hot toasted bun." From the Port Demon's Cookbook for ignorant eaters.
Call me Crossbones. Everyone else does. Private Eye Crossbones to be exact, though I was born with the name Samuel Henry Cross, but that seems just too normal in the world I live in now, being as it is filled with demons, werewolves, vamps, sicks and the worst monsters of all Corporate Demons...the head honchos that now run the United States of Corporate America.
Seems like every time I show up somewhere, there's heads rolling, legs torn off, chests burst open and general mayhem and death and dying. Pretty sad situation for a guy who just wants to make a living, even if it is a lousy one. Being made the symbol for everything that's not sugar and nice is just downright frustrating to say the least
They used to hide behind Senators and Representatives, Presidents and Corporation Boardrooms, but now they are out in the open as the gap between the rich and the poor, the evil and the good has become so wide that any kind of monster can now slip through into our world and often does.
Seek out problems and never get paid for them.
Or find problems, get paid and then get my ass kicked and money stolen before I can spend it.
Such is the life of a Private Eye.
As a child I never stuck anywhere long enough to remember any names. Friends were like cold showers. They woke you up, but were gladly forgotten. Most of my friends hated me because I was so honest. If they asked what I thought of their toy. I explained in no uncertain terms exactly what I thought. Parents were afraid to let me into their houses because I would answer and ask questions they didn't want to even consider...like how many heads can dance on the head of a pin, why aren't marshmallows put in the mouths of victims of cannibals, and why do vampires only have two teeth. You know the ordinary kind of questions a young kid asks who's dumber than an outhouse.
And this is my story:
I took his hand.
"And what do you want from me?" I asked.
"Passage to India."
I laughed. "With that kind of dough you could buy a plane!"
"But I would be spotted immediately. I need a companion. Someone to take their attention off me. You will be both my bodyguard and my diversion."
"Deal!" I said, shaking his hand vigorously with my right, while reaching for the stack of thousands with my left.
"Oh and one more thing." He added, as he noted with amusement my fingers clutching the cash.
"You might not return alive."
"That's always the risk."
"No, I mean...you might return undead."
That stopped me for a moment, and then I shoveled the cash into my jacket pocket. "No problem."
The things we do for money.
Andy, who was a fabulously rich sort of guy in this crazy world where demons pretty much ran everything outright and in the open, had wanted someone astute and brave to help him with a very important operation.
To secure a safe passage to India.
An Englishman with an American name. Nothing special to look at, when you could see him. He could become invisible. How? Another one of those strange magical things that have happened since America slid into the dark abyss of Demonic Lords.
But getting back to that passage to India. To you folks, that might sound like a phone call, or an internet click of the mouse to secure such a deal. But nope. That just doesn't work anymore. Most people who fly don't come back the same. So smart folks don't fly anymore, they make their own boats, or submarines, and sail and fly the world incognito. Otherwise the Corporate Demons took notice of you. And once that happened.
Now to you folks, that might sound like a phone call, or an internet click of the mouse to secure such a deal. But nope. That just doesn't work anymore. Most people who fly don't come back the same. So smart folks don't fly anymore, they make their own boats, or submarines, and sail and fly the world incognito. Otherwise the Corporate Demons took notice of you. And once that happened.
Kazam. Kazoo, it's all over for you!
Yeah! It's that bad.
Now, I only had one regret if I didn't make it back alive. Sassie Lassie. My gal. My girl. My best friend who loved me like a dollar cursed by a dragon, but was afraid to let go of it for fear another dragon even bigger would step into her life and not be half so nice.
"Sass!" I celled from my cheap disposable, which was untraceable to me. Her I didn't worry about, because her father worked for the IDS, the Internal Demon Service, and they gave them a lot of legroom to screw up before the collected any souls or demanded pounds of flesh. And it also didn't hurt that he was part demon too, which I guess makes her that way too, except that he had a parent full demon and a parent full angel.
Yup. There are angels running around too, as if demons weren't enough to cock up the mess. All we agnostics, and unbelievers got faced with the glowing crowd who could cut a demon's head off with a flaming sword...and actually get away with it.
Why God didn't turn them loose on the whole bunch, only he knew for sure. Maybe he was waiting for the rest of us to earn some kind of karmic freedom to be worthy. Just a stupid guess. I don't know. No one's telling either. Not even the angels I manage to run into from time to time, or rescue.
Yeah. I do that too. Figure even if there's no real God, at least I can make sure that if there is, I'll have a safe passage to you know where once it's all over with. Sigh. Ain't life complicated?
I sat up in the airliner we were traveling in, my eyes hurting from the sudden leap to consciousness. I was kinda leaning towards happy with all the internal gossip I had been handling, but coming back to reality is always a hard blow, especially when it is a hard blow that wakes you.
I rubbed my head and gave Andy my worst stare. Which is another way of saying that I looked like a third grader who had just got a deserved spanking and couldn't open his mouth without making it worse?
"You're a creep, you know it?"
Andy's right hand wafted the cash he had given me in it.
I gulped. He smiled.
"Okay. I apologize. You're not a creep."
He relaxed and handed the mother over.
"You're a damned waffle butt!"
Andy broke into laughter. I couldn't' figure out why until I looked at the thousand dollar bills and saw they had turned into soft rose petals. "That just plain stinks."
"No, not really. Rose petals smell..." He smiled again. "...Heavenly."
I turned away from him so he couldn't see the death in my eyes. I didn't want to get on this guy's bad side, if he had a good one that is. "Wake me when we arrive."
He shook me.
"What now?" I groused, turning to look at him with my bloodshot eyes.
"We just landed."
I sat straight up and realized that we were the only ones still on the jet. "Damn! We gotta scramble and fast!"
I grabbed my overhead bag and he his under seat one and we ran for the debarking ramp, where the last of the passengers were descending. We hurried up and mingled with them. And a good thing too because the Port Demons, these big burly purple haired freaks with bushy eyebrows that held poison darts for weapons, were starting to deploy around the ramp. Had they seen us running to get in line, we would've been Little Needled Annie and kaput, fast throttle dead and stinking hurried off to hell in small chunks.
The Port Demons earned their pay and ate their captures.
I felt sweat beading my forehead and even Andy passed a few jewels as we descended. He eyed me. "Sorry for the joke."
"Forgiven." I told him, and then tripped him as he stepped off the ramp.
He stumbled into the nearest Port Demon. I nimbly caught him back and smiled big into the angry Port Demon's face. "My mistake. Please don't eat us."
I held up a chunk of meat I usually carried for such occasions. He sniffed it and snapped it with his fingers, and smashed it down his ugly maw.
I counted to ten, silently praying and urging Andy along as we closed in on the Sacred Door, beyond which Port Demons are not allowed unless they want an Angel to sear their bowels from them. Angels only at such places. A small disposition from God I heard.
Some kind of balance between good and evil, though again I couldn't understand why the Big Guy just didn't take them all out.
"Arrgggh!" The Port Demon cried out, causing the other demons to glare at him angrily. They hate it when someone else screams.
He pointed to his mouth, then to us. They didn't look at us; they looked at the thousands of black scorpions that were pouring from between his closed lips, causing layers of steam to cloud his face and small rivulets of purple blood to spill down his chin.
Then they got it. They dashed for us.
I shoved Andy through the doorway and dove after him.
The nearest Port Demon grabbed my right foot. Big mistake.
He got the bitter end of a nice little onion bomb I kept in that heel.
He screamed like a fat pig about to die, because he was, and then as the others stumbled over him, they all caught fire, then vanished in a holocaust of purple smoke and burning flesh.
I picked myself up and found myself staring directly into the smiling eyes of an Angel, who stood about nine feet tall with a flaming white sword. "Not bad for a human." He complimented me.
I blushed. "Don't tell the Old Man, I really don't want Sainthood or anything."
The Angel broke into laughter, and feeling like a scorned lover I hurried Andy along to the lift that would bring us to the walkway that would tread us to the dock where an advanced hydroplane would scoot us swiftly across the water to the main coast of India.
Oh by the way. India broke up in the early two thousands. One too many tsunamis and earthquakes did what Pakistan's nukes never could, it split the continent in half.
We ran the walkway, because the exercise leaving the plane had delayed us by ten minutes, and Air India never leaves even one minute late.
We quite literally leaped onto the deck of the hydroplane as it ramped up and shot away from the dock, which was great for us, because a whole squadron of Port Demon goons reached the dock the same time we made our leap for freedom.
So it was either the polluted waters of the sea or a searing death from the Port Demons, along with a few bites that would hurt like hell...pardon the pun...or landing safely on the hydroplane.
I got my footing perfect, but Andy insisted on dragging his heavy bag with him. I had dumped mine right away, knowing how balance was our only safety at that moment. As he started to fly head over heels back into the sea, I jerked him forward past me and tumbled after him.
I landed on top him.
"Get off me, you jerk." He warned.
I rolled off, and then gave him a hand up. I eyed the big black bag he carried. "What's so important about that thing that you'd be willing to die the thousand deaths or choke on polluted seawater?"
"Just get me the rest of the way to India." He warned me, and headed up the flight of stairs towards our cabins.
I had a corner cabin reserved for the lower castes. No bathroom. No carpets. No bed. Just a heap of blankets for the floor and a hole in the floor to relieve myself. He went into a luxury suite complete with dancing girls and loud Indian music and chapattis.
I could smell them as I laid down to resume my mystical musings, but all I could think of was chapattis and rice, pakoras and samosas, and Tikli chicken.
Then I went to sleep.
But Sassy would just not let me be. She interrupted my dream with an intervention. You could buy those from some of the Angels if you were pure enough. She stood before me in the dream, her arms crossed over her lovely breasts, her eyes steaming with anger. "Did you think you could get away from me that easily?"
"Sassy!" I protested. "I'm on a gig."
I waved the thousands dollar bills.
Cha-ching. Dream ended.
I fell into a peaceful slumber knowing that my loving gal's heart was once more settled in peaceful thoughts about our future together.
Man! I really do have to get a life, don't I?