The Mayonnaise Murders, Chapter 2, Scene 2

TMM1 Single Cover

Ten minutes later, after we’d each ordered a steaming cup of crocka to go, Vee and I were walkin’ down the sidewalk toward her local transport, which was parked about three blocks away. We’d agreed to meet up later the next day to put together some details on how we was gonna handle this thing, so neither of us felt like sayin’ much during the walk. Then, suddenly, I feel Vee’s hand grab mine. I start to ask her what the deal is, but she just says, “shh!” then points across the street about a hundred feet away to what I recognize as her transport.

Most transports look pretty much the same, like a stretched out drop of colored water. Seamless. Damned near all of `em are black or some other dark color. Only way you knew where the doors were was when you gave the voice identification code. Transports are only supposed to recognize the voices of their owners, but try tellin’ that to all those owners who got their transports snatched. The distributors say they’re still workin’ out the kinks. I figure they oughta be workin’ on givin’ some of these folks their money back, but nobody ever listens to me.

Anyway, Vee’s transport was hot pink. How she found a distributor with that color I’ll never know – and neither does the transport regulatory council – but since there’s no rules on the books saying a transport has to be a butt ugly color that looks like everybody else’s then they pretty much leave her alone.

Except for tonight.

“You know that guy?” I whispered.

Vee stared at the tall, slouched figure smokin’ the smokey, leanin’ back up against her hot pink transport wearin’ plaid pants and a checkered shirt that came up nearly to the gills. The unfashionable clash of colors was not lost on me. I may be just a scavenger, but at least I keep my colors in order.

She shook her head real slow.

“Then maybe I should take you home. We’ll come back and pick up your machine tomorrow when more folks are around.”

“They’ll just find me again,” she said, sounding more tired than scared.

“Who’s `they’, doll? I thought you weren’t knowin’ who this guy is.”

“Not knowin’, just suspecting is all. I’m suspecting this has something to do with…”

“…Johnny Beardy?”

“Exactly.”

Right about then the mysteriously unfashionable critter in the plaid pants turns to look at us and grins. Motions for us both to come on down.

“So how were you knowin’ we were there all along?” I asked our fashion-challenged friend, once we got close enough to where he could hear us. He just smiled, and I was thinkin’ back to the last time I’d seen one any uglier. Teeth bent up inside his mouth like they were confused about what they were doin’  there.

“Oh let’s see now; You’re Vid and you’re Vee. You’re the scavenger, you’re the scratcher. You’re the eenie. You’re the meenie. You’re the…”

“Hey. You. Poetry Man. Cut the idiot routine, all right? Now see, you’re leanin’ there with your scrawny butt all up against my friend’s nice pink transport. She’s tellin’ me she don’t know you, which leads me to believe you’re either a total stranger with no manners, or a long-lost cousin that hasn’t yet been properly introduced.”

Mr. Fashion, he keeps his grin on tight.

“And you call me the poetry man. A regular wizard of verse thou art. I do believe you missed your calling.”

“Look, spud, if you don’t…”

“Johnny Beardy.”

“Wha..?”

“I told you,” said Vee.

I glance over at Vee, but she’s got her eyes locked on the stranger, who’s got his eyes locked right back on her.

“Johnny Beardy,” he said again.

“What do you know about Johnny Beardy?” I asked.

That’s when he decided to un-butt the transport. After giving us both a wink, which I thought was pretty corny, he starts walkin’ away towards another transport parked near the end of the block. It was your regular ugly color.

“Follow me,” he said.

“At the very least I’m gonna be needin’ to know your name. I suspect anybody got the courage to dress like that must have a real winner.”

“At the very least, you may call me Deep Cluck. And I suggest you beware of the chickens. Oh, and by the way, Miss Vee, simply marvelous stories you wrote about dear Johnny’s disappearance in the local screamer. If only they were true.”

“Hey, I was there when it happened. I know what I saw, hey?”

“Hey hey, my dearest. So was I. Hey?”

Beware of the chickens…?

Like what you’ve read so far? Get the book to see how it all ends! Then get Part 2!

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kaoblues
Writer and musician.

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