The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby starseedjenny » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:20 am

A day and a half later. I haven't slept much. I want fresh fruit. Vegetables. Not the outside, that's not what I want, it isn't. I go. Not far. There's a farmers' market. I wander around for a few minutes. There seems to be a break in the clouds; the sun feels nice on my shoulders. I gather peaches, a head of lettuce, raspberries, a lemon. A crusty Italian loaf.

It hits me while I'm paying for them that I don't actually want to go back to the Cave. I hate the idea, I have to hold back tears, and I have to finish and leave quickly, without trying to talk around the choking thickness in my throat, conscious of how rude it is.

I do go back, though I leave the food in the car. Just long enough to grab an armful of clothes out of my room and get back out.

Alfred asks no questions. Thank God for him.

The next morning, though, he's less willing to look the other way. He stops me as I'm making yet another tired circuit of the penthouse.

"Miss Clara, you aren't smiling."

I shrug, already looking for an escape.

"You haven't been like this in months. And you walked around all night."

"It's just a little...funk, that's all." The lie falls flat.

"Is it, Miss Clara?"

I bite my lip and look away. Shake my head. "Something...something happened, I'm not going back." Looking away doesn't do any good when you start crying, which is what I've done.

"But you want to, don't you?"

"I--" I shake my head again. Vigorously. "It doesn't matter what I want. I have to do what I have to do, that's all."

"I've never known you to be easily stopped from doing what you want to do. Are you going to start now?"

"It's not that. Now isn't the time to take a stand. Or this is the stand I'm taking, I don't..."

Alfred pats my shoulder. "Of course, Miss Clara." When I walk away, he doesn't say anything more.

I wrap my arms around my knees in an armchair. He gave up too easily. Something is wrong about it. Why would he give up so easy, if he wants me to go back? If he thought going back was the right thing to do, and that I'm giving up something by not doing so? He thinks I'm, what, not strong enough? Going soft? Am I going soft? I'm not. I'll prove it. I'll go back to the hospital one more time to prove it. I pull a light jacket on over my shoulders, grab the keys, head out the door. I'll go right now. I'm not going soft.
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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby the_shankmaster » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:32 am

I don't ask for much for my dressing room. Just some water--the brand doesn't matter--and some pie from Pearl's. I can't eat it now, though. My hair and make-up are being done. It'll have to wait until after the show. When I'm stage-ready I exit my dressing room and make me way out to the lounge to hit the stage. When I get out there, I see that the crowd is much larger than it was the last time I played here. There's a buzz going through it, and at first I think it's just general excitement to hear me sing. Then I catch snatches.







Eddie the booking agent and Randy the Fedora manager are standing next to the stage. The agent is talking frantically, waving his arms around while the manager listens silently, arms crossed. Their faces are serious.

"Excuse me!" I interrupt in a half yell, to be heard over all the conversations filling the place. The Agent stops talking and he and the manager both look at me. I continue, hesitantly. "Is... is it... true?" Eddie sighs deeply and nods.

"Yeah. Word just got in that O'Shamus is dead."
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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby xkazzoo » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:15 am

I was right, Norm did need some cheering up.

He's fairly good at hiding it, but a person's face displays all emotions. This dame Clara's worrying him. I know the type, they just can never make up their minds. But I guess there also the best ones, 'cus they care enough to think if they're good enough for ya.

Hmph, can't remember the last time I've had a relationship like that. Most of the girls over the years just fell for something other than me. O'course, I wasn't very much there back then anyways.
Cindy was there, though. She was always around, checking up on me. Always so worried...

"Hey, Franco, you listening?"

"Hmm?" Norm's waving a hand in my face.

"You sort of zoned out there. Something on your mind?"

Well, there are quite a few things on my mind, but Cindy...I need to figure this out.

"Heh, dames, Norm. They never fail to confuse,"

Norm chuckles, then something catches his eye behind me.

"So is that all you have to say?" says a familiarly angered voice.

It turn around and there's the lady in question. Red business-wear, high heels, blond curls, funny to picture a twelve-year-old girl in boots and a ponytail.
But if there's one thing I've learned about people, it's that they change.

"Dollface! What're-"


"Franco Joseph Lombardo!,"


"I have been looking for you for a week. I thought you were dead! First Billy went running off to Russia again following that woman. Then you disappear leaving me alone and worried! And when I finally went to that detective he told me I could find you at the hospital. What was I supposed to think. You are simply the most irresponsible, unthinkable, dispicable, EERRRR!" and she turns around and storms out, leaving a nice red hand print and a bewildered expression on my face.

What the hell did I do?

I turn to Norm, who has this frozen expression of terrified surprise on his face.

"You were saying about dames, Franco?"

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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby helios » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:49 am

I step off the train into Wasusy.
Wasusy. City of the Damned. City of Wonder. City of Light. City of Terror and Crime. A city that couldn't decide whether it was a paragon of culture and progress, or a cesspit of decay and corruption.
I breathe deep. The smell of salt tickles my nostrils. I'm near the docks. Makes sense, given the name of the station being Dockside. The Docks District is a good enough place for me to start my work. I duck into the toilets. A few moments later, I leave, slightly rounder looking, with blond hair rather than brown, glasses, and a different suit.
I adjust my new hat, and hail a taxi. I pay the man, and he takes me to some seedy hotel. I thank him, and he drives off. I enter the Hotel and hire a room. I flash one of my driver's licenses, and pay for two nights. Cash, small bills, old. I head up the elevator, and enter my room.
I strip the bed, and lay a grey sheet from my duffel bag carefully across it. I empty my suitcase and my bag onto the bed, careful to keep track of everything. Pulling on a pair of disposable gloves, I carefully pick up a steel component.
The gun in my hand assembles quickly from it's various components. It's brother follows quickly. The TT-33 semiautomatic pistol, Soviet Engineering at it's best in black steel, 853 grams worth of it, chambering a 7.62x25mm Tokarev round. I slipped them both into their holsters. I placed the components of their siblings back into their case, closed it, and placed it underneath the bed.
I grabbed a few items, and carefully packed them into my briefcase. I shine my shoes, switch on the radio, and leave the room behind. I hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.
Outside, I walk to the Public Library. I leave a changed man. Specifically, a bespectacled academic with dull red hair, and a closely trimmed goatee.
I take the train to the Post Office, where I receive a package for a man who does not exist. I thank the clerk in a New Yorker accent, and take my package away.
Once I'm safely in the darkness of the local cinema complex, I open the package. Inside I find several tubes and a revolver. I smile, and slip on a new pair of gloves. I screw one of the silencers onto the M1895, which I then tuck securely into it's shoulder holster. My TT-33s receive the same treatment.
I leave the film no richer culturally, but more than a little bit richer in strength. The gloves go into a bin between empty popcorn cartons and Hershey bar wrappers. Various parts of the packaging enter different bins. Not obviously so, as it pays to be careful.
I duck into an alley, and into an abandoned shop. I lose the hair, and the goatee changes to a light brown, and covers most of my lower face. I change to a larger nose, and swap the glasses for a pair a little lighter. I change my tie to a burgundy and grey striped, and swap my cuff-links to a pair in gold. The elbow patches on the jacket come off quickly, and I change the embossed logo on the briefcase.
I climb on the bus, paying with exact change. I hop off once in the docks once again. I apply an obvious scar over my right eye, and purchase a small warehouse. I pay cash, and a touch over the asking price. The owners ask now questions. By now, night's fallen over Wasusy, and my proper work can begin.
I watch out my hotel window as the sun rises slowly above the Wasusy skyline.
It is a beautiful day. A perfect day. I check my watch. The second hand glides across the 12, and the minute hand snapped forwards to counterbalance it. The hour hand clicked smoothly exactly halfway between them. Oh-Nine--Three-Oh. Nine A.M. It is time.
Time for Wasusy to die.
I sip coffee, as a pair of synchronised explosions shake apart a single art deco office building.
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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby the_crankmaster » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:08 am

Whatever problems Clara and I may have, at least we're not like these two. Matters more for me than for Clara-- if she's right about being tougher than me then I'd probably be dead right now, and not because of criminal canines. Franco rubs thre fresh red spot on his face.

"I think that says it all."

We chat a while longer. Not about dames. Too scary. Much too scary. Then Franco has to go. When he's out of the room, I take the opprotunity to settle back into my bed to get some more sleep. Then it occurs to me that I still haven't spoken to my mother. I cringe. Cringe some more. Cringe some more. I really don't want to do this, but I have to. I sit up again. I grab the phone off the bedside table and call home.

Mommom gives me an earful. First it's how happy she is to hear my voice and how glad she is that I'm all right and how badly she wants to see me. Then it's how stupid I am and how careless, and how I always make her worry so much she could just die. About what I expected.

"I have to know for myself that you're all right."

Not what I expected.

"Wait, wait, what?" I say. "You mean coming out here? Mommom, you can't do that."

"Oh, I know," she dismisses. "Your father would never allow it. But I am sending someone whose report I can trust." My stomach drops. No no no. Not him. I wouldn't be able to face him, wouldn't be able to handle his searing disapproval.

"What? No, Mom, you don't mean-"

"Yes, Nomnom."

"Mom, you can't send Dad out here!"

"Oh, no, not Dad," she dismisses. "Harry. Harry's going."

"Harry?" My brother. Is that better or worse? I don't know. I really don't. "But what about the kids? And... Jainey?"

"Your father and I will look after them. Don't you worry about a thing. Now get some rest, Nomnom. He'll be there tomorrow."

We say our goodbyes and I hang up the phone.

Maybe I should've just died.

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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby Seamus O'Seamus » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:54 am

The sun rises gently, it's light caressing the city's architecture and making the many, many, many gargoyles atop office buildings seem out of place. As I walk down the sidewalk, I'm calm on the outside, but thinking the whole time. So now it's just Seamus, all on his own in the big city, with Briggs laughing her caustic, silky laugh at him.

I can hear her laughing at me. I can hear her laughing through the valleys and canyons that the buildings in this city make, I can her hear laugh rising to a banshee's wail, ready to rip and tear apart anything I hope to create. I grin just a little bit, my eyes still burning holes in the sidewalk. Like I planned to create anything. Like I could create anything, at this point...Hell, like I ever could.

The city looks peaceful. Tranquil. Not blissful. It knows what's happened and it fears what's to come. But it puts on a stiff upper lip and keeps a straight face, even as that maniac laugh echoes throughout.

I tear my eyes away from the ground, looking out over the bay. The morning sun reflects off it, making a big mirror that doubles the city's size and power. I decide I don't like that ugly laugh mocking it. The next time anyone laughs that laugh, they'll be in Hell.

An office building decides to explode behind me. Tranquil. Yeah.
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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby starseedjenny » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:27 am

In and out. I won't be here long. And I won't come back. Just to show Alfred. I'm not weak. Just to show me.

He's asleep. There's a chair next to the bed. I wish it were a little farther away, but I sit down.

After ten minutes or so, he shifts, wakes up. Norman looks at me, smiling groggily. "Cupcake..."

I wish he wouldn't call me that. I force a smile. "H--hey, Norman..."

He stretches a little, cringing. Stretched too far, I guess. "Mmmwhere've ya been?"

"I...had to go home to do something and then I couldn't leave Alfred alone, I'm sorry."

He blinks. "Oh.... is 'e sick?"

"No, just...lonely." I shake my head. It's probably a good thing he's tired. These excuses are pretty weak.

"Mr. Wayne too busy to keep 'im company?"

"I guess so. I think he left town. We don't really know. But um..." I reach behind and scratch my neck. "How've you been?"

Norman waves a hand at himself.


"Feelin' better now, though. I was..." He looks away. "...startin' ta think ya weren't comin back...."

Bingo. I bite my lip. "What on earth made you think that?"

"You kinda bolted outta here like..." He looks back up at me and pulls himself up a bit, until he's sitting. "Well, it doesn't matter, you're here now."

I look down, wrap my arms around myself. "Yeah..."

"Oh!" He brightens visibly. "Franco came by to visit yesterday! Made my day. He's a real good friend."

I smile a little. Can't help it. He's so happy. "Oh, that's nice. Good you're getting other visitors."

"Yeah, but..." Norman frowns. "They're not all welcome. My brother's coming by today... I'm not looking forward to seein' 'im."

I frown, too. "Why?"

He lowers his eyes. "We've never exactly gotten along...."

"Oh." I pause awkwardly. "I'm sorry."

"It's all right... I mean... No, at the time it wasn't, but I haven't had ta worry about it much since I left. Anyway, when I really needed someone I had Walsh."

"Another friend?"

"Ah... yeah. A good friend. Best I ever had. Maybe. Franco's working on that one."

"Oh..." Had? "What happened to him?"

"Ah... well...." Norman looks down. "...he died.... a while back...."

I put my face in the palm of my hand. Great. This is great. "Do you--how long ago?"

"Three years, just about. About as long as I've been out in the field."

I don't have anything to say to that. "Was he FBI, too?"

"Yeah. He was good, too." He smiles, a little. "Looked up to him a lot. And he was always lookin out for me..."

He's smiling so sad. I hesitate, then reach out and take his hand. "You miss him?"

He cringes a little, looking down at my hand around his. After a minute he looks back up at me. "Yeah. I do. He..." He's not looking at me. "God, he was so young! My brother'll be the age Walsh was when he died soon and... Well, I mean, Harry's got kids, but Walsh didn't get the chance and-" His eyes squeeze shut. "Clara, shit. It's all my fault."

Taken off base, I stammer, "What do you mean? What's your fault? That he didn', what..."

"God, Clara, I... I killed him! I mean, I didn't kill him, but I let him die! I let him down, and I let him die! That's what I do! I let people down and then people die."

I furrow my brows. "Just, just slow down. What are you saying?"

He's still looking away. "We were out on assignment. I mean... he was. He took me along, ta give me a head start, a little exposure 'cause he didn't like ta see me rotting away at the office. We were after this cop killer.... Farkas. And I figured out where he probably was so we went ta look. We split up and I stopped ta...." He hesitates. "Well, I didn't get back ta him on time. Farkas shot 'im. I was too late. I was too late ta stop him...."

I squeeze his hand. "You didn't do anything."

"I know! That's the problem! I can't do ennethin!"

"You weren't even there."

His voice breaks. "I should've been!" He's crying. Why is that hurting me? "God, I should've been...."

Not letting go of his hand, I move from the chair to sit on the bed next to him. "C--come on, sometimes there's just nothing anybody can do...can't always be there, sometimes things just happen."

"I know.... Some things... some problems... are too big. Too hard for people to handle. On their own, I mean. That's why the ARI is so great. Makes up for so many human shortcomings..."

I cringe.

"Can--I don't... Why did you just jump from your friend to the glasses?"

"Wh-what? Did I? Oh.... Well, I got 'em a couple days after he died. My first day back at work. I was feeling pretty shitty, you unnderstand, pretty worthless. Then I find these glasses on my desk and.... Hell, I was being trusted with this amazing piece of equipment! They must've thought I was worth something if they gave 'em to me."

I close my eyes as he finishes speaking. That. That's it. That's why the Ingrams. There it is. Quietly, I say, "I'm sorry, baby."

Norman sighs. "You don't have ennethin to be sorry about, cupcake."

I wasn't going to come back. "M--everyone has things to be sorry about."

He sighs again. "Look, cupcake, I hate ta ask you this... but could you leave for a bit and come back later?"

Curious, I tilt my head. "Why?"

"I, I, well I need to rest some more....."

"Oh...okay..." I stand up slowly, still holding his hand. "Is there anything you want me to get for you?"

"Ah.... maybe a slice of pie?"

"You got it." Squeezing his hand, I lean over and kiss his forehead before I go. I'll get him some pie.
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Seamus: The biggest problem in zombie apocalypses is poor planning and not enough ammo.

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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby the_crankmaster » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:58 am

The nurse walks in, and from the way she’s got her palm pressed against one flushed cheek I know she’s seen Harry.

“Your brother is here to see you,” she informs me. Moments later the man himself appears in the doorway. The nurse follows my gaze, and I can’t see her face anymore, but her ears turn read, so I know she’s blushing even more deeply as Harry smiles at her.

“Could you excuse us?” he says to her.

“Of course,” she says, and as she leaves the room she steals a glance at his rear. Yes, I’m definitely glad I sent Clara away. Harry wouldn’t run off with her—he’d never leave Jainey, and I’d like to think he’d only steal the love of my life once—but after seeing him, she might never be satisfied with me again.

“Christ, Norman,” he says in place of a greeting as he walks toward me bed, looking me over. “You really did a number on yourself this time, didn’t you?”

“Not me,” I say, huffily. “A giant wolfman with claws and a hammer.”

“A hammer, really?” Harry asks, eyebrows raised. I look away, wincing.

“Don’t tell mom….” Harry scoffed.

“Trust me, I won’t. You’re not gonna let her see you until you’re mostly better, right?” I nod. “Good. Then I’m gonna tell her you’re just a little banged up, but you’re gonna be fine.”

“She won’t believe that,” I voice.

“Sure she will. It’s what she wants to hear. And I’m who she wants to hear it from, so when she does, she’ll believe it.”

Silence. He’s right. If course he is; he’s Harry.

“How’re the kids?” I ask, finally, though I’m still not looking at him. I hear him pull up a chair.

“The kids are great. They miss you, you know.” I smile lightly at this. They’re good kids, even if they constantly remind me of what should have been mine. Or what I thought should have been mine. You came to terms with it, remember, Norman? When you thought you were dying? Don’t throw that away just because you lived. I look at Harry.

“I’ll be by to see them when I go home to visit mom and dad.”

“Good, they’ll be happy to see you. And so will Jainey.” I nod.

“I’ll be all right seeing her,” I say, which coming from me is a lot. Harry knows that, and probably doesn’t believe me, but as long as I know Clara’s here waiting for me, I will be.

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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby MetalNinja » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:11 am

"King's Hotel, this is where it all started," I whisper to myself as I gaze at the once great hotel from the rooftop of a building opposite.
"They've fixed it up a bit since then."
Images of one of my first jobs with Owen come flooding back to me. The tapes, secret messages, Batman's car hurtling through the wall of my hotel room.

It's been a while since then, it's been a while since I heard anything from Owen. But then I guess he probably doesn't think I'm still in the city. Well guess what? I am here. I've been sticking to the shadows, doing nothing that would lead to anyone knowing that I'd returned, listening and watching, watching the crazed inhabitants of this city go about their business day by day. This city is unpredictable, there's always something happening, always someone waiting around the next corner. There's always something... big.

I've been watching long enough, it's time to come back to the open, time to find Owen. Of course the place to head towards is obvious, there's nowhere else in this city that seems to be as involved as Pearl's Diner.
Climbing down from the rooftop I decide to continue sticking to the shadows, making my way slyly but swiftly to Pearl's. It's time for this Wasusian to get back in the game.
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Re: The P.I. Casefiles, Volume III

Postby starseedjenny » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:51 am

Pearl smiles at me and wraps up a suspiciously oversized slice of lemon pie. I thank her, pay her, and head back to the hospital. I won't wake him up. I'll just leave the pie for him and go. I could probably use some sleep too--if I can get any, that is. Probably not. But it's not night yet, I've got time to kill...

My hand is on the doorknob into Norman's room. I hear a man's voice through the wall and frown. Not asleep, then, but wh--oh, right, his brother. I debate whether I should just leave, but I'll just be a minute, so I go inside.

Both look up when the door opens. Go figure, the guy in the chair looks a lot like Norman. He's cute, too. Good genes.

Norman looks highly distressed about something. "Clara, ah, this is--this is my brother, Harry."

"Nice to meet you, Harry." I shake his hand.


I set the white box from Pearl's on the bedside table and sit on the bed next to Norman, since Harry's in the chair. Boy, Norman is really worked up about something, from his face. Can't imagine what it is. Must be something about how they don't get along. Maybe I should stay after all, try to help ease the pressure a little bit. I cross my legs and settle in.
G: Like helplessness experiments. That's the biggest problem in zombie apocalypses. People who survive will always eventually come to question why they bother.
Seamus: The biggest problem in zombie apocalypses is poor planning and not enough ammo.

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