Deal 1284: Changed Man

You’d never guess by looking at me now, but I used to be footloose and fancy free. Free to the point that people thought I was feral and untamable. And then it all changed. I straightened up and got right with the world, and now I am a good little slave to the groupthink that drives the world. Don’t rock the boat is my new motto.

I was up to my usual shenanigans when I met him. A tall dark and quiet stranger, well dressed, and looking slightly out of place.

Rather a lot out of place now that I think about it.

He gave the impression that he was more present than even the rocks, trees, and front porches of the neighborhood. I could never tell you what he really looked like, there is just a blur left where any memory of his face ought to be.

But he was a handsome devil.

He called me by name, too.

We had never met before, and he knew my name as if it was written on my face.

Which it might as well have been. I had a full tribal tat covering the left side of my head. I had run out of money when it reached the bridge of my nose. Since it hurt like hell, I had never quite found the time to spend any of my money on finishing it. Everyone called me Quart since my giant white face looked like a typical first quarter moon. It made about as much sense as my real name, so I went with it. After all, when the crowd names you, you usually don’t get much of a say. So if they name you something you can live with, its usually best to just let it ride.

But the stranger knew my real name was Monroe. Monroe Apollo Eagle, to be complete. Not that anyone would presume to call me that, aside from my Momma, of course.

He came around every few days for a while. Then suggested I might find him here and there if I was interested. Never said what I might be interested in, of course. Naturally I wasn’t interested.

And yet, a day or two later I found myself wandering away from my usual haunts.

Must have found him. My memory is just a blur. More a collection of impressions. They tell me that I wandered away from the hood for several months. I don’t believe them. But it is true that I’m not the same person now.

I just don’t remember the process.

I correct people who call me Quart. I don’t while the days away gambling on street corners for petty cash. I have a nice place of my own, and a job of some sort.

I’m a little unclear on the job part.

I go somewhere every day, then come home later. Sometimes with a paycheck.

Where I go and what happens there is also lost in a fog.

Some from the old gang tried to question me.

I broke their arms. Apparently more changed than just my name. I broke their arms in several places.

But I don’t really remember that either.

I do remember something shiny. And eyes. And a calm voice. But never what the voice said, or what shade the eyes are, or what the shiny thing is.

I get up. Dress nice. Drive somewhere that fades away when I get there. Stay there. I presume I have coworkers. I don’t know that either.

But I’m out of trouble.

For now.


Deal 1270: No body

The scene was a mess. The spreading pool of blood was still able to flow, so whatever happened here was recent. There was no sign of either a body or a struggle. And yet, there was a lot of blood. Too much blood.

It had been found by the roommate, which was suspicious enough. His alibi was about as strong as tissue, but there were other factors. The largest was that the room was locked until he arrived. The windows were painted shut after too many years of just adding a new coat of paint. There were no other doors, and the door was locked when he got home.

He opened the door to find a pool of blood, and panicked.

The blood was all over the floor, and some was on the chair before the small table where a typewriter stood. A real antique beauty of a typewriter, all cast iron frame, black gloss paint, gold leaf details, and chipped white keys with worn black letters.

There was paper in the typewriter, a stack of blank sheets to one side.

No blood on anything above waist height.

No trail of footprints.

Anyone sitting at those keys who started to bleed would have left a trail as they moved around.

And yet, we have no body. No trail. No footprints. No fingerprints.

The paper was blank.