Chapter 5: Further Tales of the Plumber

Further Tales of the Plumber #4

Larry the Brain was sitting at his table, the table in the corner and under a window in his tenth story deluxe metro apartment, and he was typing on his computer. Or he had been. He had stopped to meditate on his progress, and he was thinking about the author Charles Beaumont. Charles Beaumont had written several famous Twilight Zone episodes and one of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adaptations before succumbing to a mysterious hyper-aging disease at the age of 38. That had been back in the sixties. The reason he was thinking about Charles Beaumont was because he’d once read Beaumont’s idea for beginning writers: write one short story per week for a year, and at the end of the year you’ll have 52 short stories. Of course, now that he thought about it, it could’ve been that 60’s horror author Nolan who had said that. At any rate, Larry was working on his tenth consecutive story. He would’ve finished, too, but something had creeped up in his mind and stolen his attention. Not the author Beaumont… it was Kodek.

Fuck.

Larry picked up the phone and dialed.

Somewhere, miles away, a driver named Thad was handing a car-phone over to Kodek who was sitting and bleeding in the backseat. After some idle chit-chat, Larry got to the point. Kodek listened.

There’s another job.”

Or another set-up,” Kodek said, still suspicious.

Believe what you want, but nobody from the corporation set you up.”

But you’re a mercenary,” Kodek reminded Larry.

That’s really beside the point, isn’t it?”

Is it?”

Shut up for a second, Kodek. We’ve already thought this all out. That means you don’t have to, so you can cut it already.” Of course, Brain knew Kodek wouldn’t stop thinking about it. Wasn’t in Kodek’s nature. He was actually a meticulous puzzle-solver. And Larry the Brain appreciated that. But that didn’t make Kodek any less wrong.

You ever read any Charles Beaumont stories?” Larry suddenly asked him, genuinely curious.

Read his stories? Wasn’t he a writer on The Twilight Zone television program?”

Yes he was,” Larry agreed without elaborating. Kodek though he could hear a smile on the other end of the line. Or at least an appreciative grin.

So, what’s it going to be?” Kodek asked, deciding to leave the nagging idea that Larry the Brain had set him up that morning tucked away for the time being.

There’s a gun under the backseat. With a silencer. Morimoto wants you to take it and shoot the driver.”

Kodek’s eyes went to the back of the driver’s head. “Are you serious?”

No.”

Kodek rolled his eyes.

In the meantime, Larry had switched to a hands-free headset with a single earpiece and was now leaning back in his chair, stretching his hands up and cracking the knuckles in his laced fingers.

Kodek, still on the other end of the line with the car-phone receiver in his left hand, was now digging under the seat. There was nothing there.

There’s nothing under the seat,” Larry told him.

Yeah, thanks.”

All you’ll need is a deck of cards, a martini glass, and a Micheal Jackson tape.”

What?”

Thriller, to be exact.”

Kodek’s head was spinning again. “Where is it I’m going?”

I said a deck of cards. Where do you think you’re going?”

Kodek plucked his cut shirt away from his chest, the fabric glued to his skin and hairs with his won coagulating blood. “Can I get cleaned up first?”

Yes,” Larry said, and he hung up. He had his story to get back to.

And somewhere else, miles back along the road, there was a smashed yellow Ferrari who belonged to an unconscious Latino woman with a used-up bazooka and a beautiful sliced-open face, bleeding in a pile of goo. And on that beach down the cliff below that curvy road, her brother was weeping in the ocean’s tide as the waves splashed in around a forgotten trailer-truck.

Larry hung the headset over the corner of his computer monitor and stared at the open word document. Eventually, the computer went into sleep-mode and the screen went blank. He was still staring at it. He was going to have to make another call. He was going to have to get that girl back to The Asylum. Either that, or The Factory… He’d have to check with Morimoto’s lawyer about that one.

Fuck.

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