Monday, May 20, 2013

Story a Day - Copycat

The assignment for today was to write a story that was a copycat of another short story that we enjoy.  I had a brief struggle with this as Saki, A.A. Milne, Poe, and Spider Robinson engaged in an intercranial shouting match to determine who was my favorite at that moment.  It was hot, and our air conditioner was broken, so Spider won pretty much because Callahan's Chronicles take place in a bar and a pint sounded really good right about then.  In addition to being a copycat of Spider Robinson, this is my subtle and slightly odd (one of those words describes me, anyway) tribute to my pathetic celebrity infatuation.  Not that the celebrity is pathetic, the infatuation is.  Right. 

Alexander Humphries - Interstellar Bounty Hunter
It was Saturday.  I was thinking about lying in bed, but then the phone rang with a job and it saved me the trouble.  It was the Chancellor of Qed, personal appointee of the Emporer Himself and living proof that money does not buy class.  Or competence.  Turns out Ayto Zetelbroad had jumped bail, bad for the Chancellor, worse for anyone who liked to keep their phlanges handy.  Ayto posed as a salesman down at Salyer's Quality Solar Vehicles, one of those buy here, pay here sorts of places (No Credit Needed-Just Salyer Sol), but if anyone who showed up with his business card in their grubby little hands was actually in need of a car, I'll eat my left shoe with relish.  He was one of Benden's boys, and to say that he was a loan shark was an insult to sharks everywhere.  He'd finally gotten picked up after one too many of his associates was found resting in pieces, posted bail instantly, and come his court date was nowhere to be found.  The Chancellor was in a tizzy, as usual, kept panting and shreiking that Zetelbroad had just up and vanished into thin air.  I assured him that was an ungrounded assumption and started to pack my gear.  I grabbed some shoe polish, documents in two different names, cash, weapons, and a case of Vesuvian Cephalopods with Eight Gumball eyes.  Those things tasted terrible, bu tthey were my best sellers.  Kids thought they were out of this world.

A lot of people are confused as to why a bounty hunter would choose an ice cream truck as a vehicle. It's simple, it doesn't matter who they are or what they've done, even the biggest, baddest, most hardened criminal is going to come running when they hear the music start to play.  I've seen a dude known for strangling eight men at a time (Octosapiens could do that. .. and play the piano really well) squeal like a little girl over a push up.  But back to Ayto. My first stop was to some journeymen friends of mine who, for a fee, would clamp a little doohickey on the top of the phone towers they were working on that would allow them to monitor calls made by certain numbers.  I know I wasn't the only one who used them for such.  Social climbers they were.  Anyhow, they pointed me to some construction workers down in the industrial part of town who had some riveting news.  Turns out they'd been down to Lucky Louie's after work the night before and he's got a new waitress who is the ugliest woman anyone had ever seen.  I got a bit irate for a minute.  Ugly women at Louie's were hardly news.  Turns out this one still had Ayto's signature moustache and hadn't yet learned how to bend in a skirt.   They seemed trussworthy, so I gave them a round of ice cream sandwiches on the house and headed down to the river. 
First, though, I stopped in a men's room, at least I think it was, on Qed it can be a little hard to tell, and polished up my hair.  See, I'm a ginger and even though Ayto and I had never formally met, well, I thought news of my arrival may have gotten there a hair ahead of me.  By the time I got done in the bathroom I had a glistening mop of Soldier's Boot Black hair and a line five Quedians deep around my ice cream truck.  I sold some cephelapods and one nutty cone and hit Louie's just before dark.  I found a table by the door and ordered myself a pint.  Sure enough, one of the waitresses had a moustache.  I tugged on her hair, expected to pull of a wig, but found out it was stuck fast.  She stuck fast, too, and I had to take a minute to compose myself after pulling her pen out of my hand.  Turns out it was the wrong girl with a moustache.  Just then, I saw him, smacking some gum and batting his eyelashes at a couple of guys up by the bar.  I kept an eye on him 'til closing time, then pulled around outside.  I could see him eyeing me suspiciously as I pulled up in the parking lot, reaching under his skirt and most likely looking for his gun.  But then I turned on the chimes.  Sure enough, his eyes lit up and here he came.  "Oh," he said, "you have chocobars," He reached for the frozen treat that I'd laid just on the edge of the window.  "Hey buster, can you give me a hand?"  "No," I said, snapping the cuff around one wrist, "why dont' you give me yours."  He tried to play the tough guy, which I had to admire, being dressed as he was, but after he'd cooled his high heels in the back for a while, he was nearly ready to talk.  By the time I was licking the last bits of chocolate off the stick he was crying like a baby.  I reached into a cooler and pulled out another one.  And that's how I got everything from Ayto Z.

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