Happy Holidays from your friends here on the Inter-Web-A-Tron. We hope that your holiday is off to a great start, and that you enjoy spending time with and / or avoiding your family. We know that you made the right choice – whichever one you made – and we hope that you get to spend the rest of the day in a food coma, hopefully drunk.
If it is entertainment you’re looking for, you should check out our previous Thanksgiving Leftovers programs, which usually feature stuff that we just didn’t get a chance to play the rest of the year. (Plus: we throw in some other thematic bits and bobs.
You can also enjoy my #NaNoWriMo2015 Novel, You Spin Me Right Round.
And, when you’re done with all of that, I recommend you check out archive.org’s amazing collection, “100 OTR Thanksgiving Holiday Shows,” which features an amazing collection of old radio programs of every variety, from the late ’30’s to the mid ’70’s. It is not only worth your time, but is a great resource to have on the web.
And that’s it for the day. I mean, it’s a holiday, for fuck’s sake. What else do you want me to do?
9: Lady Luck
Fish glared at Fred, and without a word Fred grabbed me and walked me into Miles’ office, pushed me down into the nearest chair, and said, “I would stay here if I were you.” Fred shut the door behind me and I looked around to see if anything had changed since the last time I was here. Aside from a few files and stacks of records having been moved, there was little different in the office. But, as Miles was missing, it was also likely that he was the one who was on the gurney.
I didn’t get a chance to really see anything on the way in, but I saw Robert, the outline of a woman I couldn’t recognize, and another gentleman in a suit who was pacing around in the store. It appeared that an officer was in Johnny’s old office, but I couldn’t make out much else that seemed odd to me.
I stood up and listened at the wall that was shared with the bathroom, but couldn’t make out anything. Listening at the door did me no good either, but it was apparent that no one was in any hurry to talk to me. I relaxed and wandered around Miles’ office leafing through his desk, to pass the time. An envelope labeled “Marcus Little” caught my eye, partially sticking out of a lower drawer, and in it was $200 cash and four more joints, all of which I pocketed. But aside from Miles’ office stash, there was little else of real interest to be found. My phone buzzed but I ignored it, and began to glance at the photos on the wall. I recognized Angie from a Dig Your Grave flier, and there were a few other musicians and artists mixed in. I remembered the “Photograph” index card suddenly, and scanned the wall that was at eye-level when I was in the room before, and found a shot that read, “You Spin Me Right Round Staff Party.” There was one woman with her arm around Miles, and she was the same person I saw talking to “T A” the morning previous.
I paced the room a smidge, and glanced at my phone. It was a message from Carla saying, “Uhm, why did you give me a Weeknd CD last night?” I glanced at the message a few times, but wasn’t sure what she could mean by it.
“Don’t you mean ‘Mission of Burma’?”
She responded with a photo of the CD. “No, this is what you gave me last night.”
Something didn’t add up. I had given her the Mission of Burma tape for safe keeping, as I assumed she would never get rid of it, and most likely it was a clue. But now this?
I hammered out, “What are you up to later?”
“Working and avoiding you.”
“Can you bring the CD? I want to look at it.”
I paced some more, then fruitlessly sent a message to Sam, asking when I could see her next. But I suspected that she would be contacting me the next time we would get together. A slight twitch in my goin reminded me of some of the things we did last night, but if I had my way, we wouldn’t be so drunk and horny this time. Still, the thoughts were fleeting and pleasant, but by no means caused her to write back.
After a few minutes of working off the remaining nervous energy, it became clear that Detective Fish was going to be a while before he was going to talk to me, so I started futzing with a phone and rolled a J out of some clippings in Miles’ stash. I assumed that I would be in no more trouble than I already was, and Miles’ office always smelled like weed anyway. (And, if my guess was right, he wouldn’t be missing it at this point.) I started to feel a little sad about him getting knocked off. Miles was a nice enough gent, ran a good store, and seemed like the kind of guy I could be friends with in another lifetime, or under other circumstances. Up until now I assumed that he had a small case on his hands, internal fraud or an insubordinate employee. But now it was clear there was more going on than I suspected, and now that the stakes have been raised, I was wondering if I would be able to sort this out before I risked my own life.
Having worked up a pretty good buzz, I lit a cigarette and turned on the radio. Frankie was already in the middle of his morning block, where White Lion and Whitesnake were doing a back-to-back set that made my stomach crawl. As the songs ended, Frankie’s voice came on:
“That’s right, KLOW rockin’ it a loud as me can with our Metal In The Morning, as I paint myself into a White Corner of The ‘80’s. The hair may be receding and the spray has washed out, but the hair bands of your childhood roam the airwaves every morning on K L O W, with your fantastic DJ-tastic air-spastic host, Frankie Diamond!” I was almost ready to retch. “Now, we’ve got some terrible news, and this next track goes out to the friends and family of You Spin Me Right Round Records, who have suffered enough this month. It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Miles Dangerfield, the owner of said palace of platter, who has been added to the great cut-out bin in the sky. You’ll never know how much you were missed here in this world, but let’s hope where you are are the turntables never stop. Now, here’s ‘Landslide’ in honor of this incredible force in the local scene. Some of us built our entire record collections around you, and we are afraid of loosing you and changing our lives completely. Here’s to the crew at You Spin Me Right Round, here on K L O W.”
At first I let Frankie’s bullshit wash over me, but as I started to piece together what it was all about, Detective Fish threw open the door. “Put that out, and turn off that crap. What are you, a teenager?”
I looked Fish up and down and said, “Well, at least I still look good enough to pass.”
Fish began to pace and said, “Well, have you got your alibi, or should we just take you back to the station with us?”
“Does drinking count as an alibi?”
“Oh, here and there. I don’t spend a lot of time in The City.”
Fish rounded on me, and leaned in. “I’m sort of glad you think this is a game. It’ll make pinning all of this on you all the more sweet.”
“What exactly are the rules to this game? I’m a little slow.”
Fish’s arm twitched, like he was going to slap me, but he relaxed and went back to pacing. “It’s funny, you show up at two of my crime scenes, and both times you’re looking for the person I was called in about.”
I shrugged. “Guess I’m a comedian. Is he alright?”
Fish turned around. “What do you think?”
I sighed. “He was a nice guy, he didn’t deserve this.”
“Tell me about it.”
“And he was found in Johnny’s office?”
I pointed to the office next door. “Where the boys in blue are working.”
Fish shook his head. “You seem to know a lot about what happened here.”
“And I saw a lot on the way in, too. So you think I did it?”
Fish cleared his throat. “You’re a suspect, for sure. Where’s Sam?”
“Is she a suspect too?”
“Cut the crap. Where is she?”
“How should I know?”
“Weren’t you wish her last night?”
“Who told you that?”
Fish’s eyes narrowed, and then turned away. “Nevermind, we’ll find her soon enough.”
“What about Angie?”
“What about her?”
“Seems as if she’s connected to KLOW and this store, too.” I pointed to the photo on the wall, to which Fish turned. While he looked away, I cast a spell and hammered something out on my phone.
Fish looked at the photo, then his pocket buzzed. He pulled out his phone and glanced at it briefly. “Shit.” He typed away on his phone, then turned to me.
“The Sham? Probably in the used LPs. Here, let’s take a look.”
Fish came over and grabbed my by the bow-tie. “Look, dipshit. I’ve seen you two more times that I would have liked to see you today, and you are lucky that you actually are a detective, or your ass would be downtown quicker than you can say, ‘Black Mask.’ So, while we’re on the subject, maybe you just give up this case right now before we get to three strikes, at which point I’ll no longer be responsible for what happens to you.”
I said, “But Miles was my client.”
Fish growled. “Of course he was. Well, he paid you in advance, didn’t he?”
“And if I know you, some of his stash has been ‘lifted.’”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Right.” Fish mulled this over. “I’m probably making a huge mistake, but just so we’re clear: if your phone rings, and its me, you answer, or so help me, it will be worse than going downtown when I catch you.”
“You have my word. I’ll be waiting for your call, all night long if I have to.”
Fish grunted and walked out, leaving the door open. I snapped a close-up of the woman on Miles’ arm, then re-read the message I’d sent Fish (forged from a “neighbor” as per the spell): “I looks like your car was stolen. Cops just showed up.”
I gathered up my stuff and leisurely followed him out. I glanced over at Johnny’s office, but saw that the uniforms were largely done. I looked in. Evidence markers were in one part of the room, and a small splatter and hole in video monitor (and the wall behind it) was clear on the far side of the room. The other monitors were on, and from there you could largely see most of the various sections of the store, save for the front counter. I glanced around some more, but aside from a spent condom (presumably from Angie’s rendezvous’) and a box of LPs that looked like crap mostly, there appeared to be little else of interest in the room.
I made my way to the store proper, and walked behind the front counter. I knew I didn’t have much time, as the guy in the suit made me and was heading over. I found the camera that was pointed on this spot, and then looked around the frame of what would have been visible to see what would have been in the monitor’s screen previously. Obviously, the register would have been visible, but mostly likely there wouldn’t have been any money there at night. There wasn’t anything behind the counter either, or at least nothing missing. But someone went back there after the screen had been shot out to make sure they weren’t captured on the surveillance camera. For what, exactly, seemed unclear.
I glanced around briefly, then noticed that beneath the counter there were stacks of items on hold for customers. Once shelf was empty, and sitting on it was a QR code. I ducked down and saw that it was similar to the other two I’d found. It seemed as if there had been other items there, but where now missing. I palmed the QR code just in time for the man in the suit to appear behind the counter.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” he asked.
“Marcus. Marcus Little. I’m a friend of Sam, but I see she’s not here.”
“Yeah, she doesn’t work today. Why are you behind the counter?”
“Who are you?”
“Look, I can just go and get the police and see if they can get you to answer.”
“I’m sorry, let me move to the floor. I guess I knew I shouldn’t have, but I was looking for another copy of this tape I was supposed to buy. Sam had set it aside for me. A Mission of Burma live tape? I paid over the phone… my name’s Marcus?”
The guy in the suit looked me up and down. “She’s not here, and given the current situation, you’ll have to come back another day. We’re closing. Maybe for a few days. I hope you underst-.”
The guy in the suit rubbed his temples. “Then let me give you a full refund.”
“I’d much rather have the tape.”
“And I’d much rather that you leave. Someone has died here, or is your perpetually dazed and confused mind so addled that you can’t see that?”
“That’s awful, for sure. And I’m not trying to be insensitive, believe me. But it was a Live video that I was really looking forward to. Can you tell me when she’ll be back?”
There was a buzz, and the guy in the suit reached for his phone. “Shit,” and he answered it, “Angie, I’m in the middle of something, I’ll call you back!” in a sort of whisper. Suddenly, I recognized his voice.
The guy in the suit pulled out his wallet and took out a $20, then put it on the counter. “How much was the tape again?”
“The cost isn’t -” but he took out another $20. “Sir!” I insisted, but when he put down a third I scooped up the money and left before he could change his mind.
All in all, it was a pretty good day. Usually I show up at a record store stinking of weed, and drop $260 on vinyl. But I had never score drugs and a $260 payday, merely by getting accused of murder.
By now we’ve all worked out what happens next, so I’ll do my best to neither denigrate the actions within nor to boast too bro-fully about how the evening transpired from here on out. While I do not want to be accused of leaving out “the good bits,” I can only agree that they were, in fact, quite good bits, but only in the most relaxed definitions of the words could I claim this was even remotely “work-related,” and more pointedly, it seemed so cliche as to almost be too foregone – and thus, irrelevant – to mention. It is with that in mind that I will be editing my own narrative here to my own taste, if for no other reason than to maintain the sanctity of these highly enjoyable acts.
Sam & I eventually got our food from the Tunnel, ate, drank, and flirted, and stayed one drink past when we should have, which was perfect. I negotiated our tab, and met her outside where she was smoking a menthol and bobbing back and forth. I explained that I was too drunk to drive, and she explained that she didn’t live that far away. I rolled a cigarette and we walked down the sidewalk, occasionally bumping into each other like two spinning tops, that occasionally bounced into each other.
We went upstairs to her place, which largely consisted of a huge living room, a smaller bedroom & bath, and a kitchen that led off to one side. She immediately went to her stereo and put on Funhouse, and as I fumbled around for a hatrack and bench to store my things, she produced a bottle from a modest liquor cabinet, from which she poured us each another drink.
The evening gets fairly hazy from that point on, but soon enough we were sitting next to each other, and from here I’ll let your imagination continue for me. While we were busy imitating teenagers we flipped over a few records, drained another beverage, discussed watching the tape again, but instead found our way into her room, for a little more [censored] and [scene deleted].
Sooner than either of us would like to admit we found ourselves exhausted, the alcohol having as much effect on us than our unchecked libidos. I was of the opinion that I could wait her out, and disappear once I was positive she was asleep, and took in the spare room that contained only a few dressers, two end tables, and the bed. Just as I was sure she was dozing, I found myself too tired to actually go through with it, and found myself too tired to do anything about it. Against my better judgement, I let myself fall asleep, and blissful oblivion overtook me as the various drinks, smokes & food of the day washed over me and did their work.
My dreams were obscene and repetitive, but not unwanted.
When I awoke, two things were immediately apparent: it was light out, and she was gone. I let this sink in as I retraced where I was, and what most likely had happened. It was clear I had been drinking. That was most evident, and soon enough I pieced together the sex and the staying at her place, too. Before long I had caught myself up to the story thus far, and was putting on my pants feeling fairly confident that I hadn’t made any more mistakes that I was used to making anyway.
I texted Suzanne at The Office to tell her I was on the case and making progress, but that I might have to spend a few more days working on a new suspect. It was largely an excuse to get a glimpse of the time, and see if there were any other messages.
Suzanne pinged back, “How tall is she?”
I put my phone away and finished getting dressed. I poked my head out into Sam’s apartment, but she was nowhere to be seen, and there were no sounds for any adjoining showers or kitchen to indicate she was home at all. I combed back through the night, but couldn’t find any reference to her leaving or having an early appointment. I noticed that she had moved my stuff to the couch, and on the stereo she had placed a note, standing up using a cute sort of origami that propped up the back end.
“Feel free to browse. I should be back with breakfast. Work up an appetite Little-man. I’ll certainly be ready for more.”
I took the invitation to nose around the place a bit, but as I expected, there was no way she would leave me here with anything other than the record collection. Aside from wardrobe and various accoutrements, typical kitchenware, and everything you’d find in a usual bathroom, there was little that was unexpected to be found in her apartment. Not that I was the kind of person that regularly found things in women’s apartments that let to me suspecting them of something, but given enough time I can find a few interesting things in just about any place, but this apartment seemed entirely focused on the living room, the record player and the collection.
“Feel free to browse.” Was she giving me a clue? Or was that all there was to find here? There were a few thousand LPs in the collection, and all of them were in meticulous order. Almost, unused. The place gave off the vibe of a prop, or a set, and her nonchalant attitude to the record collection’s safety seemed a little off-brand for her. Any dedicated collector would never leave a stranger – even a fuckable stranger – alone if there was anything of real value here.
I rooted around in the collection a bit, impressed by not awed, and found a cabinet that I opened that contained some CDs, tapes, a few odds and ends, and strangely, an exact copy of the Mission of Burma tape I just bought from You Spin Me Right Round. I opened the case to find a QR code that fell out too. I compared the code to the one in my wallet from my copy, and saw that they were both very different. I put the code and the tape back in the cabinet and paced around a bit. I scanned the QR code with my phone, but instead of the digital data transfer, a flash of magic crossed my screen, and after a few moments, it took me to a page located at fifthelephant.com, and simply said, “Thank you! Your package was delivered successfully.”
I paced around again. I couldn’t trace the spell, but I can only assume that Marcus Little recieved something.
I checked the fridge, but it was no wonder that Sam had left to get food, so I put on Nation of Ulysses The Embassy Tapes, grabbed my bag, retrieved one of the joints Miles gave me, and my mind twitched. Something didn’t seem right. Of course, long ago I realized that I can’t trust my own mind, especially given the abuse I’d been putting in through recently. I texted Sam, “There’s a rumbly in my tumbly. What’s the 411?” I sat in thought, and puffed.
“I got held up. I might have to cancel breakfast.”
“But I’m horny now.”
“Haha. Maybe after lunch? My morning got complicated. Sorry.” And that was followed by an emoticon that completely failed to communicate to me anything useful.
I took a few more puffs on the J, then stubbed it out and applied some air-freshener to the area before closing the window. I let the album finish, then made my own piece of origami for Sam that read, “Just let me know when I can get a rain check.” I did another search of the place that revealed nothing useful, then I split. It was at that moment that my phone started ringing, over and over again from a number I didn’t recognize, and was not leaving a message. It persisted for quite a while, and I debated blocking it, but after five attempts it quit. I made it a policy to never answer a phone number I didn’t recognize, and in particular to never do it while high. I can only assume this practice has saved my ass innumerable times.
The truck was just where I had left it, with the addition of a parking ticket. I climbed in and got myself settled, and plotted my next move. It seemed worth it to get in touch with Miles again. KLOW and Angie seemed to be connected in some way, and it might be worth it to get a little background on Dig Your Grave and see if there’s anywhere to move in that direction. Plus, it would be nice to get some more cash and grass for my troubles. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Sam yet, but so far I was committed to finding out as much as possible.
It seemed odd that there was a magic imbued QR code in my Mission Of Burma tape, and I couldn’t quite make sense of what that was supposed to mean in the way all of this played out. Sam didn’t strike me as the type who would fuck around with magic, and it was certainly not a part of the way that tape was originally packaged. With magic involved as a part of the case, it sort of upped the ante. This could be bigger than philanderous employees and a few broken sales dates. What kind of spell would someone buying video tapes at a record store want to purchase? If someone was using the store as a front, it seems like a very limited customer base. There’s not enough traffic to indicate drugs, or worse.
I stopped in at one of the hundreds of breakfast food carts and consumed two waffle and sausage items that soaked up the remaining alcohol quite nicely, and made me feel human enough to want a cigarette. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, as a CRX came up in my blind spot when I tried to merge back into traffic, but when I tried to make the vehicle again I couldn’t find it. Darren couldn’t be that good of a tail, so it must have been another car. However, a few blocks later it surfaced again, and this time I was absolutely sure. I must be really around the bend this morning, because I didn’t even notice him. My phone rang again.
I played a hunch and pretended I didn’t see him, and he seemed to get comfortable, so much so that he wasn’t even letting a car between us. I shook my head internally, but my hunch paid off, as he suddenly peeled off my tail when it became apparent where I was headed. My guess was that he didn’t have an endgame ready for when I stopped my car, and whatever connection he had to all of this was in danger of unraveling if he tried to keep an eye on me at The Record Store.
I was feeling very confident for the next couple of blocks, but when I started noticing police as I got closer, a sinking feeling collected in my being that got worse when I got closer, and found an ambulance outside the store, too. Part of me wanted to just keep driving, but as this thought crossed my mind Detective Fish made eye contact with me, and his jaw dropped. I parked the truck, got out, and strolled over with a cup of to-go coffee and said, “Well, what’s all this, then?”
Fish turned to Fred and said, “Cuff ‘im.”
“Excuse me?” I asked. Fred came over and whispered in my ear, “Don’t push it.”
Fish glared at me. “Turning up at two different crime scenes – randomly. Most people would get the hint the first time.”
“I’m not most people.”
“You certainly don’t answer your phone like most people.”
“You should try leaving a message. I’m pretty quick on the response.”
“Well,” Fish said, and smiled angrily at me, “then you should be able to answer this very quickly: where were you last night.”
“With a friend,” and my heart sank. A gurney began to move through the doors of the record store, and I knew instantly who was on it.
“And they can provide a pretty solid alibi for you between Midnight and 6 AM?”
I looked around, and stuck out my hands. “Well, if you’re going to cuff me, get it over with. I’m not gonna get any less guilty in the next few minutes.”