Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best Side: Part 4

It was my turn to pause. “No,” I finally said. “I honestly never thought about it.”

“And back to stupid,” the Dame said, letting go of my arm. “I have information. You have a strange, almost Buster Keaton-ish ability to survive. If you can protect me until the war ends, I’ll tell you why the ninjas have been after you all these years.

I eased back down into the chair, keeping my left leg out straight to the side. “Give me a hint.”

She nodded and after a quick glance around, leaned forward. “Fresno,” she said quietly, barely above a whisper.

“Fresno,” I said, in one long breath. The world slowed and faded. A petite girl in black was looking over her shoulder at me. There was a hat made of paper. I staggered away from a field, my vision blurring as I looked down at my red stained hands. A grape was squashed in slow motion. In the distance, a cow farted.

A sudden shock of cold brought me back to Iggy’s. The Dame had an empty water glass and I was soaking wet, ice-cubes in my lap.

“I really, really hate flashbacks,” she said.

“Well,” I said, as I flicked ice-cubes off my trousers, “at least you didn’t shoot me this time.”

“I didn’t want to cripple your other leg.”

“Oh, my leg’s fine.”

“Then why are you walking like a geriatric peanut salesman?”

“It’s a secret,” I said. “And I completely don’t get the analogy.”

She shrugged. “Lots of shells. So, do we have a deal?”

“I don’t know. Fre- that place has a lot of ghosts. And raisins,” I added. “Besides, despite my ability to survive, we may not last the next ten minutes.”

“Why is that?”

“The ninjas are finished and the mimes are pretending to sharpen knives. Once everyone goes potty, it’s going to get dangerous.”

The Dame glanced around. The lone waitress was nowhere to be seen, though a small bucket of dead flies had been left behind. The doves started to fly back out of the kitchen, then realized that they were early and flew back in.

“There’s only seven of them,” she said. “Hell, we could just let them fight it out and then shoot the winners.”

“Not a bad plan,” I replied. “Except that there’s about 30 ninjas outside hiding in the shrubbery and about the same number of mimes in a tour bus out front.”

“And how do you know this?”

I tapped my head. “Sometimes clever, remember? My dad told me to never go into a buffet without a good recon.”

The Dame took a deep breath. “So we’re boned,” she said. “Guess I could’ve kept smoking after all.”

“Not necessarily.”

She frowned at me and I tapped my left leg. There was a metallic ‘ping.’

“I’ve got a secret.”

Next: Part 5

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