My head was singing a familiar song. It was in the key of "A" minor concussion. The song was terrible.
From the sound of the tune I couldn't be not sure if I had been black jacked, pistol whipped or if I just simply succumbed to the foul smell of the foul smelling man. It read a mystery to me, one I feared I would not have the pleasure to solve.
I gradually became reacquainted with my surroundings and found myself not where I left my me. All my metaphors were as scrambled as fried eggs.
I was in a dark room, lit by a naked, inept and shameless light bulb which dangled languidly above my head with no regard for my feelings. Shadows sauntered and loped both though my mind and across the walls. That was to be expected.
The room was empty except for me and the chair I was sitting in and a chair I wasn't sitting in. There was a door, like always it was locked. Until it wasn't.
Can't say I was the least bit surprised when the door opened, and my least favorite mummy walked through it. I know several mummies and have ranked them from least worst to most worst. This one was most worst.
I hated him. Hated him so much that I couldn't bring myself to allow myself to hate him too much. It was Youmoetepp, the mummy who ate my girl.
He wasn't just a mummy. He's also a local crime boss and prefers smooth jazz to real jazz. Unlike most arch enemies I've had, he knew the game was a dance. Because he knew that, he didn't want to kill me, not really. He sure liked to have me hit on the head and kidnapped a lot, though.
"Hello Tj,” said the mummy as he sat down in the other chair. Well not really said, when a mummy talks it's a mixture of weird audible noises coming out of the mummy's mouth and telepathy. You hear what the mummy is saying directly in your mind's ear, but your ear's mind hears a bunch of moans and mumbles. It's a terrible way to converse.
"I bet you're wondering why you're here."
Before I could answer, he told me why I was here. Told me all about it. I was here because Mrs. Davis was summoning mummies, not for evil purposes, but musical ones.
Youmotepp needed five mummies for his new tax shelter project. He needed those mummies for a vocal group so he could provide entertainment for a string of nightclubs and appear to be a legit business man instead of an undead crime boss. He wanted me to back off and not interfere with the mummies alive time five ritual that I saw being prepared.
This put me in a sticky pickle of a situation. On one hand, this city could use a proper five man vocal group. On the other hand, fucking mummies.
"Why the hell did you need to hit me on the head to tell me that?
"You know exactly why."
I did know exactly why. That's what was so infuriating about the entire thing.
"I'll take it under consideration." I said as I stood up to go.
"I'll just have you hit on the head again if you continue to interfere."
I lit a cigarette and flicked the match at Youmotepp. Then I spit on the floor while I muttered under my breath. It wasn't a spell I muttered, but a promise. A promise, when made sincerely and correctly, is better than a spell.
"You can try, but I'm not afraid to kill you anymore." I spoke over my breath.
"You should be. Most of your work comes from me, my associates, or my influence over this town."
"Don't matter what should be no more." I said, and I squinted my eyes and smoked real slow and deliberate. Slow and deliberate movements show whoever is trying to scare you that it's not working.
Locking gazes with the undead is dangerous. Someone who is capable of doing such a thing is also dangerous. I didn't particularly enjoy seeming dangerous, but it beats looking like it's OK for a mummy to eat you.
"What are you going to call this vocal group?" I said in my head while my ears listened to him react to the flicked match and my spit muttering like it was a bullet to his stomach.
Names are important. You can pretend they aren't, but you're just pretending. If I knew what he was planning on calling the vocal group, I'd be able to glean his true intentions.
Youmotepp didn't answer. If he wouldn't spill the name, that meant he was lying about those mummies being for strictly musical, non evil purposes.
He just kept staring at me.
He sat there, trying to make me afraid of him with his eyes.
I met his gaze with practiced nonchalance while I pinched the cherry of my lucky out between my thumb and forefinger. Then I dropped the butt on the floor and showed him how my fingers weren't burnt or blistered. There was no indication of discomfort in my face, eyes, or posture. I made sure he noticed that I noticed he noticed that.
"I need to leave. I'm going to see Danny. "
Youmotepp knew Danny. Damn near everyone who ever needed to rent a flamethrower knew Danny. There're a lot more people in need of a flamethrower than you think there would be. If you're not one of those people, chances are you know one. If you don't, you could easily meet someone who does. Just the way it is.
A phone rang somewhere down the hall. "That's for me," I said. Youmoetepp knew about telephone letters, but he didn't know I had a set. A moment later one of his henchmen came into the room with a cell phone and handed it to me. It was my thumboligist, Judy. She was calling to confirm my appointment for this evening. I hung the phone up, dropped it and stepped on it. I did so with a dancer's grace.
I didn't look back as I walked out of the room. There wasn't a need.