"What's wrong with that?" Sam said as soon as I finished explaining my day to him. "This town could use a good vocal group. You know that as well as I do."
"Got the car back, thanks for borrowing it.” He added.
Sam always said that whenever I borrowed his car and had to go pick it up himself. I used to reply by saying "Thanks for letting me borrow it. Sorry you had to go get it." then he'd shake his head at me and change the subject. Eventually, I just started saying "You're welcome." that works out better for the both of us.
Sam placed a beer in front of me and mixed himself a drink.
“Well, let's start at the beginning and go over what we know like we're idiots." I suggested as I sipped my drink.
“Sure, yeah. We could do that” Said Sam while lighting a cigar.
Sam smoked the worst cigars I've ever had the pleasure of being around. They looked like twisted and knotted fingers or sticks, depending. They were consistently inconsistent in both width and size from batch to batch; I have no idea where he gets them or why he gets them. They smell so bad that it flipped over to smelling good somehow. I guess my brain just didn't want to have to deal with the stench and relabeled it as something pleasant.
"Or" he paused to allow a storm cloud of smoke waft out of his mouth. It was grey and purplish and began to assume the shape of a skull. Smoke shouldn't assume shapes, it should billow.
I swatted at the smoke skull until it faded and swirled into normal cigar smoke.
"Can't go summoning the Baron every time we don't feel like dealing with stuff on our own. It's only five mummies against two of us and one of us will have a flamethrower. That's fifty percent. Maybe we can talk Danny into coming with us too. He likes killing monsters."
"He sure does, doesn't he?" Sam went on to add "That would cut flamethrower coverage down to thirty three percent. Can we work with that?"
"Yeah, that’s why I said it." I said in answer to his question.
Then added "It would also increase our manpower by fifty percent." to reply to his follow up comment.
"Well, can't argue with those numbers. They don't mean enough to argue about. We should have used different ones from the get go. How much time do we have?" Sam asked while gulping his rum.
"I have to see Judy at 7:30, it's almost 3 now." I answered.
"Judy? That's like the fifth time. Getting pretty serious, don't you think?"
"She's a thumboligist, not a gal pal."
"You have had more thumb problems since you started seeing her than anyone I've ever met. Don't think I haven't noticed is all."
Sam had a point. I had been seeing Judy much more than is considered proper. Wasn't my fault, though. She was an excellent thumbolgist. I looked at my thumbs and thought fondly of Judy. I could almost smell her hair. It was somewhere in between peaches and vanilla. Shit. Sam was right.
I didn't want to talk about my newly discovered and inappropriate feelings for my thumb doctor right now. I wanted to solve this mummy problem, but Sam wasn't having it. Thankfully, right before he launched into a rendition of "TJ and Judy sitting in a tree" machine gun fire filled the bar.
Sam didn't flinch. He just stood there finishing his rum. When his glass was empty, he calmly set it on the bar and pulled a pistol from his pocket. I had leisurely dropped to the floor and covered my ears. I would have grabbed my gun as well, but it was in my office still and my arms aren't that long. It's something I've learned to live with.
The shooting stopped, and a rock wrapped in a piece of paper came through the window and landed in front of my face. I stood up, and the shooting started again, so I got back down on the floor. While I was there, I thought about how casually I'd begun to treat machine gun fire.
"I could be a little more concerned. " I thought to myself as I unwrapped the rock.
The paper was blank. Usually, there's a note or a warning or something along those lines. This was just a piece of paper wrapped around a rock. It wasn't cursed; it didn't release a spell or burst out into flames or anything. It was just stupid.
The shooting stopped again, and Sam fired two shoots out of a broken window. At least one of the bullets must have found a target because there was a scream, then the sound of tires screeching and a car driving off.
"What the hell was that about?" Sam asked no one in particular in a tone of voice that indicated in no way that something involving machine guns just happened.
"Let me see the note."
I handed him the note, and he read it like it wasn't blank. "Typical mummies. This note is empty."
"I could have told you that." I said.
"Then why didn't you? You know how stupid a person looks while trying to read a blank piece of paper?" Sam replied.
All of a sudden Danny suddenly stepped out of the men's room. Two of those beautiful woman that always surround him and sometimes sleep with him walked out behind him. If you didn't know Danny, you might be tempted think there was something interesting going on in the men's room. The truth though, was that Danny refused to touch his own penis. Just wouldn't do it. If you asked him why, he wouldn't tell you. He just looked at you with disgust in his eyes. Those women were his handlers. That's as much as anyone dared to know about that.
"What happened? This place looks like a car full of mummies came by and shot up the joint.“ Danny said while his handlers nodded.
"That's about what happened." I said.
"Well, let's get the flamethrower and take care of it."
That's exactly what we did.
As far as daytime raids on mummy infested houses go, this one went pretty well. Subtlety wasn't an option at this point, so that saved time. When we arrived at the Davis estate, I simply knocked on the door. Mrs. Davis answered and I politely explained that I had an important appointment at 7 pm, which I intended to keep and that because of this, we were going to take her mummies and forget this whole thing ever happened. I told her about how her husband hired me and what I had seen earlier that day while spying on her.
As I was explaining all this to her, I noticed something in the back of her eyes. It was a shadow, an ill defined humanoid shadow that made my stomach shake. I think it was staring at me. It was hard to tell if it even had a face.
It was a demon. Not as bad as mummies but still pretty bad. Nothing I couldn't handle.
Right after I noticed that shadow in her eyes but before I said "Hey Sam, how about lighting a cigar?" I noticed that Mrs. Davis hadn't heard a word I said.
The thing with demons is that they can't really do much if you know they are there. The whole being a demon game is built around either not being believed in or not being noticed. Once you notice them, it's like enduring a temper tantrum from a toddler, but with potentially murderous overtones.
The smoke from Sam's cigar took on that grey and purple hue and shaped itself like a cross. The shadow faded. I turned to look at Sam.
"You see that thing? Explains it all."
"I saw it." Sam said. "Leave us alone for a few."
Danny and I went out front to smoke and chitchat. Occasional moaning and wailing could be heard from within. Par for the course and nothing to be concerned about. Sometimes I could hear Sam shaking his head. He's got a loud head and a mighty shake.
"Can't you just burn demons?" Danny asked.
"Nope. Got to make them realize that you're not into putting up with them."
"Eh, well thing is, he isn’t much help in these situations either."
I took this opportunity to glance at Danny's watch. It was half past five. There was still time to clear this up and get to my appointment with Judy. I took a peek at my thumbs and noted that they seemed happy where they were. That was odd.
All of a sudden the sound of Mrs. Davis bursting into tears and Sam laughing filled the house. That was a good sign.
"Sorry you got drug into this Danny." I said while I stamped out my cigarette beneath my foot. "Thought there'd be stuff to burn."
"That's alright; it's still early."
Sam called out that it was safe to enter the house again, so that's what we did. Danny was a little disappointed about not being able to burn monsters, but he usually got over that pretty quickly.
Once that shade was gone from Mrs. Davis' eyes she was as nice as could be expected considering how three strange men and one flamethrower just stopped by to remove a demon from behind her eyes and accuse her of summing mummies. She even served us some lemonade and those cookies with the cherries in the middle. I could easily see now why Mr. Davis was so concerned.
After we finished our snacks, Sam and I loaded the unactivated mummies into Danny's truck while Danny watched.
I'd contact Mr. Davis in the morning and deal with Youmotepp when I had to. I was just happy to have earned my fee in time to keep my appointment with Judy. The rest could wait.