Monday, December 3, 2012

Freedy Filkins, International Jewel Thief, 28.

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Whoever was approaching, it didn't sound like guards.  Whoever it was, was talking to himself.
"Idiots.  Building a data center smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley.  Whose brilliant idea was that?"
"Not me, dear boy," another voice answered.  Then Freedy realized it was the same voice, different tone.
"Yeah, well who axed ya."
"Good thing the new monitor arrived before the storm hit."
"You think?  Dumbshit."
The door started to open and Freedy looked for somewhere to hide and realized it was useless.  Instead, he stood straight with his hands up, with what was undoubtedly a dumb smile on his face.
A small pale man walked in, carrying a large box and not looking up, still muttering to himself.  He was dressed in Levi's and a gray sweatshirt and his face showed the results of the diet of food along the walls, being pockmarked by pimples and a sallow, gaunt cast and bottle thick black glasses.  He looked like a Mole, Freedy thought.
As hard as it was to believe, Freedy realized he lived here.
He shuffled toward the workstation and almost ran into Freedy.  He jumped back with a yelp, dropping the box, which fortunately landed on the bedding and landed softly.
"Holy cow!  Who are you!
"Hey, hey.  I don't mean any harm," Freedy said, soothingly.
The man was frightened, but he couldn't seem to stay focused on Freedy.  Even as he cried out, his eyes were hungrily devouring the pictures on the monitors of the workstation as if he couldn't help himself.  He pushed past Freedy and tapped the screen showing the scene above.  "You're with this lot, ain't ya."
He looked at Freedy, but his eyes were blurry, as if he was having a hard time seeing what was in front of him, as if the visions on the screens were his only real reality.   His eyes kept being drawn back to the flickering images even as he spoke to Freedy.
"Why'd you break in here?"
The voice was slow, drawled out as if the he was drunk. No...stoned.  Freedy remembered his summer of experimentation with drugs and half the guys he'd hung out with had sounded like this.
"I didn't mean to intrude," Freedy said.  "I'm lost."
"No shit, Sherlock," the Moleman said.  "But howd ya get lost?"
Freedy didn't really have an answer, so he changed the subject.
"Do you live down here?" Freedy asked.
"None of your bloody business..."  Moleman's voice changed in the middle to another tone.  "Yeah, I live down here.  My name is Fallom."
"Now why'd you go and tell him that?" Moleman said, peeved.
Freedy decided to try to appeal to the more reasonable sounding of the two personalities.  He tried to sound calm, as if it was all just a big mistake, nothing to see here.    "Well, Fallom, my friends and I were taking a tour of the facilities when the tornado hit.  I got separated from the others..."
"Yeah, then why are these guys being pinched, eh?"
Freedy was starting to realize that he had appealed to the weaker of the two personalities.  He tried a different tact.
"Look,  I was just trying to escape the storm.  I'll get out of your hair..."  He started to push past Fallom.
"Like hell ya will!" Moleman screeched.  He pulled a revolver from behind one of the keyboards and waved it triumphantly.
"Now is that necessary?" Fallom objected. 
"Shut up." Moleman said, into the air.  Then he turned to Freedy, again trying to focus as if Freedy was an illusion.  "You ain't going nowhere, bub.  I'm going to have to rub you out.  Can't let you tell anyone where I'm hiding."
"I'm afraid I agree," Fallom said, sounding almost regretful.  "We are most vulnerable down here."
Freedy looked up to the ceiling as if seeking help from above, and his eyes landed on the posters.
"You like old movies?" he said aloud.
"Yeah, what's it to you," Moleman said.  "I love old movies," Fallom rejoined.
"Probably haven't seen as many as I have though," Freedy said, sounding regretful.
"You wanna bet?" Moleman said.  "I doubt that very much," said Fallom.
"I'll tell you what.  Let's play a game of movie trivia.  I'll name a movie, and you have to name either one of the stars or the director.  If I win two out of three, you let me go.  If you win two out of three, you can "rub" me out."
Both Moleman and Fallom seemed excited by the prospect.  "It has to be a talkie and it has to have been released in the U.S.A.!"
"Fair enough," Freedy said.
"O. K.!  You start!
Freedy thought it likely that Moleman/Fallom was stuck in the Golden Age of movies.  He'd try something from the 1970's, a movie he'd liked but no one else had.
"Quintet," he said.
Fallom didn't even hesitate.  "Paul Newman, directed by Robert Altman.  Ask me another!
"It's our turn, dumbshit," the Moleman said, disgusted.  His face took on a crafty look.
Oh, oh.  Not a good start.  Freedy didn't have a clue.  Was that the Animal House knock-off?  No, that was UP THE CREEK.  He pondered, decided he would try to guess at least.  His eyes landed on the posters again and he realized there was a preponderance of one actor –
The Moleman's face fell. 
Freedy decided that both Moleman and Fallom liked genre pictures, so he wracked his brain for a drama instead.  Sometimes simple is best.
Moleman/Fallom paced the floor, and Freedy knew he had him/them.
"No such movie!" the Moleman finally exclaimed.
"Yes, starring Daniel Craig, even," Freedy said, smugly.
"Very well, if you want to play tough, I have a great one  -- THE WEDDING MARCH."
Freedy had heard of the movie, and thought it was probably an old one.  Probably too old and it was never shown on T.V.   He cursed himself for getting into a game he couldn't possible win.  This guy -- these guys --  probably watched movies all day, every day.
"I don't know," he said, finally.  "DeMille?"
"Directed by Eric von Strohiem, starring Fay Wray!" 
This was unfair, Freedy thought.  Two against one.
"My turn," he said.  What was the movie he'd watched by accident that time, that was like a B-movie of a B-movie?   Oh, yeah.
 Both personalities made cogitating noises, but Freedy could tell right away they didn't know.
Follom said,  "I give up."  Moleman snorted:   "But part of this game is you have to know, too."  He looked blurrily at Freedy as if expecting him to fail.  Are we making up rules? Freedy wondered.  But he had to admit, it was a fair rule.  Fortunately, the thing about the Zombie movie was, he'd only remembered it because of the two actors with a memorable name who had never starred in anything else.
"Oh, you mean Larry and James Raspberry?"  
Moleman looked disgusted, and went to the monitors and looked up the movie.  He turned around again, dejected.
"All right.  You want obscure movies?  How about this one:  THE RED COUCH."
Freedy's heart sank.   He didn't think he'd even heard of such a movie, much less watched it. He wouldn't even bother a guess, since he didn't know what era it came out of. 
He stopped short.  Wait.  What had their first answer been?  'No such movie?'  Oh, ho.  So that's the way they were playing it!
"No such movie," he said, knowing he was right and he was immediately rewarded by the Moleman's curses.  He was one up.  All he needed was one more winner.  But what tact should he take?  He'd tried old, he'd tried new.  Drama's and B-movies had worked, but frankly he was deficient in those as well
His hands went into his pocket as he paced, and he could feel two flashdrives there.  That was weird.  Where had the second one come from?
"Two of them?" he said aloud.  He saw the thunderstruck look in Moleman/Fallom's face, and he repeated it:  "TWO OF THEM."
"I know that, I know that!" Fallom said, excited. "It's a documentary, with Dan Ackroyd and Bo Derek."
"No you fool!" Moleman cried.  "That's "JUST THE TWO OF US!"  
"I win," Freedy said, angling his way to the door.  
"No!" Moleman cried.  "You cheated.  I saw you fingering your pocket -- you were talking about something in your pocket, and you took advantage of us -- me! Come back here!"
Freedy ran out the door and into the darkness.  A couple of shots rang out, and a bullet sparked against the wall next to him.  He kept running.
"Come back here,  you cheater! Come back and play fair!"

1 comment:

Duncan McGeary said...

Sorry about the change in looks. Lost my original post and this was the copy.

I'm about halfway to a real book here, in 14 days. So I'm doing the book in a month thing, just sorta straddling December instead of all in November.

If I could get away with a first draft book, more or less, I could write endlessly!

This one has a loose, easy quality that I like. But then, I always do like my first drafts, it's only later I have second thoughts.

But by now, the second thoughts should have appeared.

This is meant to be light -- meant to be a fast read.