Who Stole the Zmulobeast? Chapter 4, Scene 2


I took up a squat next to Georgie, then gave him a playful nip behind the ear. He grinned, mostly because he knew I did it as much to let whoever was watching know we were tight as I did to be friendly.

“My days of looking for action in all the wrong places are over, Georgie. You know that. I’m too old for that kind of carrying on. Gotta act responsibly now, you know? Be a role model and all that.”

Georgie gave me a surprised look, then cracked up.

“Role model? That’s hilarious, Spike. You know, you always could make me laugh. That’s why I like having you around. You’re nuts. But seriously, why’d you come? What’s up?”

Oh well, so much for that approach. I decided to go ahead and play it straight.

“Nothin’ much, really. I’m just out here tryin’ to find that owner of yours. I figure he must be around here somewhere. Something I need to ask him about.”

“Yeah, he’s around here somewhere all right, but suppose you tell me what this is about. Who knows, maybe we can take care of this between us.”

Like I said, Georgie always looked out for Stool Pigeon. Even though he and I were close friends, he still was on the job whenever it came to Stool Pigeon.

I shrugged.

“Maybe so, maybe no. But I don’t mind telling you if you’re that interested. You know I don’t keep things from you. When I can help, that is. It’s about this kid he calls ‘The Little One’. I’m trying to find him so I can ask him a few questions.”

“About what?”

“You know who The Little One is?”

“About what, Spike?”

“All right, all right. He may know something about a kidnapping that the Squad and I are lookin’ into. I need to find out what he knows. Something I heard he said doesn’t quite square up, so I need to check it out.”

“So tell me about this kidnapping.”

“Georgie, you and I both know that’s where I gotta draw the line. Pi Squad business. If I told you, I’d be in more trouble than I could handle. You know the rules.”

Georgie kept looking at me hard for what felt like a long while, I guess hoping maybe I’d break down and spill the story, but I held my ground. Now it was his turn to shrug.

“Georgie, you know The Little One is one of Stool Pigeon’s sources, right?”

“Sure, I know that. And I know Stool Pigeon would give me a rough time if I gave him up. So just forget about it, Spike.”

“Come again?”

“You heard me. I said forget about it. Stool Pigeon will never budge. Some sources, if you push him enough, he’ll budge. But not on The Little One. The Little One’s special.”

“Oh? And why’s that?”

“Just is, that’s all.”

I was starting to get pretty ticked off.

“Great. Just great. So you’re saying I wasted my time coming down here, right? I’m trying to solve a kidnapping – a big-time kidnapping – band this kid may be able to help me, but because this kid is ‘special’ I’m not gonna find out what he knows. Which, by the way, might be the crucial piece of evidence.”

Georgie sat really still for awhile, not even looking at me. Just watching the street. Then, when I’d started to think he was done being bothered with me, he yawns. Then says this: “I said Stool Pigeon’s not gonna give the kid up. Didn’t say what I was willing to do. Did I?”

See, this is why I loved Georgie. If it was a pinch situation, he’d always come through. I knew he was putting himself and his position with Stool Pigeon on the line by taking me to see The Little One, but he was willing to do that for a friend if you gave him a good enough reason. Canine brotherhood is a wonderful thing, man. On the way over, I must have told Georgie a million times that I’d never tell Pigeon I talked to the kid. Georgie would just nod, then switch the subject to something else.

We got to where it was were it was we were going about 20 minutes alter. We were standing in front of a broken down little place that looked more like a warehouse shack than anyplace somebody was supposed to live. The roof, made out of tin, was all crooked, and the door hung off the hinges as if it had never been closed. There was a dim light peeping out of the one cracked window, looked like a candlelight, but other than that it was pretty much dark. The smell was kind of wet and greasy, with some smoke mixed in. No kinda party for the nostrils.

“So this is it, huh?” I asked, already knowing it was a stupid question.

Georgie nodded, and I noticed how much his mood had changed. He looked like something was hurting him on the inside.

“So what do we do now?” I asked.

Georgie barked three short times, almost like he was yipping, then he let out one long howl. He did that about two more times, then sat down and watched the door. About a minute later, a little kid shows up in the doorway and…oh man…

He was in a wheelchair.

Like what you’ve been reading so far? To find out what happens next, I hope you’ll consider purchasing the book here. Available in both print and ebook format. 

Thanks so much for reading!


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