Future Plans

25 03 2008

I had this Idea for a story that I was kicking around even before Colony Alchibah started up. It will turn into a kind of science fiction eventually but everything will take place at the present time. I was thinking about where TCE was going and to keep my fingers busy I typed the intro to the thing. No rush on this one but when I need a break I will add to it. When Mike gets his site going I think I could write it over there.

Working Title — Sometime In Time or Something

“Where do they keep the dwarfs?”

I looked over my bifocals and stared at Renee‘. I had thought of her as “’Sweet Renee’” when I hired her two weeks ago but that was long past and ancient history now.

“The dwarfs — Yes I have wondered about the dwarfs myself. Tell me, what is your precise concern at this time and what can I do to help heal your pain?”

She glanced in my direction, blue eyes open wide with a deer in the headlight kind of look, and that same kind of tone in her voice, as if deer could speak, and said. “I see them in the movies all the time. But I can’t remember ever seeing one up here. Like what’s the problem? They gotta’ be somewhere.” She was breathing hard and the strain showed.

“Well of course they do and they most certainly are. But very discrete. A dwarf would no sooner interfere in most of what we do than — well words fail here Renee’. They are around, and I am sure very thankful for your concern. I think most of them moved to California and are doing just fine. Now to change the subject, any word from Jessup on the Franco divorce?”

“Let me look,” she said, brushing away some of the strands of her long blond hair that fell from under her knit cap and were covering her eyes and obscuring her vision— in a most appealing fashion. Then, as if the conversation was forgotten and had never happened, went back to typing at her monitor, concentrating so much I began to think she really cared about the job. A minute later she perked up and said. “Got one, he just reported in.”

“I’ll see it in my office.”

My office was the desk opposite of Renee’s, the mat and aisle from the door’s entrance separating us. But the office chair in the 12’ by 12’ room was on my side.. After all I was paying the bills — for now.

‘The Drake Detective Agency’, that’s what the sign under the large wooden mallard perched over the door said. And the listing in the phone book said the same. I retired from my accountant’s job down state, and moved back north right after the plant closed and as soon as I could make arrangements. Now on half a pension with $5000 in the Peoples State Bank and a one year lease on an office in the old ‘Resale Shop’ building, the one that had just gone out of business, I was living a dream. With ‘Sweet Renee’ and Dave Jessup to help make it come true, how could I fail?”

I hired Renee on a hunch. She hadn’t worked so out well in her last position at the Munising Bakery and Restaurant, but I was going to handle all the counting and money matters and she had something else to offer. Dave Jessup was a different kind of hire. I had been a close friend of his dad’s, he might have been my best friend, before I went off to school downstate.

Old Dave, — Old Dave? Hell, he was my age when he died in a logging accident five years ago. Young Dave, his mother making sure he worked at it, finished high school and was working part time at the paper mill when I came back into town.

The Franco divorce case was the second of our projects. The first, paying $125, with two weeks of work photographs included, was catching Mrs. Gamins fair haired son Billy buying substances from an “Unidentified” seller. Dave and Renee both knew who the dealer was but all Mrs. Gamins wanted was some photos to show her son and that could be turned over to the local cop force, the one her husband was a fifteen year veteran there of.

I chalked that up as a loss leader until Dave said we could sell the other pictures at $50 a pop to the other kids that he had on film, if we gave them the negatives and said neither the cops nor their parents would get a look.

“Won’t that make you pretty unpopular?” I asked.

“Naw, they’ll understand. This is just a job and you are gonna’ be the bad guy.”

We didn’t make a profit on that first job—but we didn’t loose much either.

With a population of 2100 Munising had a seven man full time police force. The Michigan State Police Post for this half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was two miles east just outside the city limits.

The city had been losing population for 30 years. It was a slow process but steady. The big town in the UP was Marquette, pop 32,000 when school was in session. It was 55 miles to the west. Aside from a Wall Mart Store, Marquette was notable as the one and only location of Northern Michigan University. Home of the fighting somethin or other, I forget. Ambitious children or those with ambitious parents attend, and those that graduate go off to find jobs somewhere else.

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