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Metal Memento

I pulled my ringing phone from my pocket and checked it- Glew. I flipped it open. “What’s up, killer?”

Glew took a few breaths. “Hey, stud. I need your…assistance.”

“Shoot.”

He took a long breath. “A client of mine has a pest. This guy has stolen two packages off her porch. I swung by a while ago and watched it for her since she’s at work. I had a Nutty Buddy. You know, I think they’re making them bigger these days. They usually leave me feeling a bit-”

“Glew. What about the thief?”

Glew coughed. “Oh right. He just ripped off two packages I put there. Now she’s missing an I-pad and an Elvis Presley painting that he swiped two days ago. The idiot hit the same house in the same week. I’m on his tail on the highway. Gear up and call me back.”

“You got it.”

I hung up my phone and locked up my shop and house. I filled my thermos with coffee and jumped into my car. I called him back twenty minutes later and caught up to him. When he pulled into the driveway located one house up from the thief’s, I pulled onto the shoulder of the road and climbed out with my phone pressed to my ear. “All right. I’m circling around back. Just give me five minutes.”

Glew said, “Work your magic. He’s too busy putting up his loot to pay us attention just yet.”

The neighbor’s house sat vacant as far as I could tell. So I cut through their yard and pressed my back up to the side wall of the thief’s house. I hunkered down near the corner.

Glew pulled into his driveway ten minutes later. He sported a pair of coveralls and removed a seeder from his trunk. Then he pulled a baseball cap on his head with the words “Lonny Lawn Service” adorned on the front. After placing ear buds into his ears, he made three rows across the yard with the seeder before the thief stepped out of his house. He yelled, “Hey! What are you doing here?”

Glew kept at his seeding. The front door closed. I took a look at the neighbor’s house. A woman who looked around sixty watered a plant in the backyard. “Damn it.”

The thief came back out and walked onto the lawn. Glew kept at his seeding like nothing else in the world mattered. The thief looked back at the house. When he turned back toward Glew, I jumped over the porch rail and crept inside.

The living room looked standard- flat screen TV, sofa, love seat, a few pictures on the walls. He’d already stashed the loot somewhere out of sight. I peered through the window. The thief shook his head while Glew spoke to him. I darted into the hallway. A twin bed sat in the first bedroom. I checked the closet but found nothing. I slipped out.

In the second bedroom, I checked the closet and found two large brown packages. Right there on the floor beside them, the Elvis painting leaned against the wall while the I-pad lay on the floor, still in the box. I scooped them all up and crept out of the room.

One peek out the door revealed the thief pointing ahead while Glew scratched his head with his jaw gone slack. Sometimes Glew played the idiot part with too much conviction.

I rushed into the kitchen on to the dining room where I found the biggest window in the house. I slid it open and tossed the packages outside. Then I eased myself down and closed the window. I picked up the packages and stepped around to the side of the house where I bent down low, watching Glew still argue with the thief whose voice reached higher levels. “If you don’t leave, I don’t want to call the police. I don’t want to do it, man, but you best go now before I change my mind.”

Glew scratched his head. “Aw, you wouldn’t do that to me. Would you?”

The thief stood shorter than Glew but he squared up to him and pointed his finger in his face. “Get your ass off my lawn!”

Glew looked my way as he bent down and picked up his seeder. Then he turned his cap around to where it sat backwards on his head and got back in the guy’s face. “I’m going to take my business elsewhere, bub!”

A laugh escaped me. “Damn you, Glew.” A look toward the neighbor’s house choked me. The old woman pointed at me. She yelled but I couldn’t hear her. Damn, lady. Not now.

Glew loaded his seeder back into his trunk. The thief marched back into his house. When Glew turned on his ignition, I bolted across the neighbor’s lawn. By the time I got the packages loaded into my back seat, the little old woman made it to her front porch, pointing at me and yelling “Timothy! Timothy!” When I took off down the road in front of the thief or “Timothy’s”, house, he sprung onto the front porch, looking around. He looked over at the old woman and then at my car. He yelled at me and then ran back into his house while I pulled on down the road and turned left.

Glew pulled over a few streets down. I stopped and got out of my car. Glew popped his trunk. I moved the packages to Glew’s trunk and rapped on the fender. Glew took off. Then I popped my own trunk and removed the spare and the tire jack. I had the jack up under the car and the tire raised up off the ground when Timothy’s truck stopped behind me.

When Timothy reached me, I waved a hand. “Thank you, friend, but I’ve got this under control.”

Timothy spat at me when he said, “Where’s my shit?”

I picked up my tire iron and stood. After a twenty-second stare, Timothy averted his eyes. He took a few steps toward his truck and then peered back at me, squinting. I stared back at him until he found his way back into his truck and drove away.

After tossing the tire and tools back into my trunk, I took off down the road and called up Glew. “Howdy, partner. Looks like another job well done.”

Glew sighed. “I wish it was so, stud.”

“Damn. What is it?”

I stopped at a red light.

Glew said, “It turns out that she wanted a particular item back. A watch that her father gave her when she was a kid.”

“Aw now, Glew-”

“He gave it to her before he departed for Iraq. He never made it back.”

I sighed. A horn blew behind me. I took off in time to make the yellow light with the driver behind me stuck back there. I said, “We’ll wait a month and then hit him again.”

Glew said, “Looks like she needs it back by this weekend. Her mother’s visiting and it would break her heart to see that she didn’t still have it. And she will ask about it. She only visits now and then. In fact, she’s thinking her mom might have bad news.”

I said, “That’s a lot of conjecture.”

“I know it’s ridiculous, Fairfax. But we have done stuff like this before. What do you think?”

I scoffed. “Give me an hour. I’ll think of something.”

Night fell over Timothy’s house. I didn’t see any cop cars pull up or lingering around. The old lady neighbor might call a cop but Timothy wouldn’t. In fact, his truck did not sit in the driveway. Still, she could have called and warned the police and given them my description. A cruiser could be rolling around as we speak. I rode with Glew this time. He said, “I did a little digging. Timothy is Tim Moore. His folks ran a renovating business for years before retiring to Florida. Tim worked with them here and there but more or less seems content with doing nothing, along with the occasional theft. Maybe mommy and daddy are sending smaller checks these days.”

“Wow.”

He said, “Yeah. At least we’ve got the darkness covering us this time.”

I said, “If darkness doesn’t cover us, we always find it.”

Glew chuckled.

I said, “Circle around but don’t go far.”

“No, sir. I’m going to play interference. That old lady next door could be a problem.”

I said, “You know…I think you’re right. I’ll be up by that bush when I’m done.”

“You got it, stud. Should be out of there within an hour.”

I stepped out of Glew’s car, pulled on my mask and gloves and walked to Tim’s house. His gravel driveway sat empty. With no lights on inside, I figured that I could do as I pleased. However, I stepped around to each window first. Even a determined fellow can get bored enough to play on his phone and phones light up. After peering through every window, I saw nothing.

I removed my pick set from my belt and picked the back door lock with no trouble. I crept onto the third bedroom. Then I pulled out my own phone and cast the light across the floor. I searched the closet and then under the bed- nothing.

I returned to the living room where I looked under the sofa and the love seat and then I searched through his china cabinet. Still, I didn’t see anything.

In the kitchen, I searched through the cabinets and the pantry and then up under the sink as well. I’d been inside for fifteen minutes and turned up squat. So I eased the attic door down. I climbed the stairs but I paused at the top of them. A look outside revealed nothing. So I climbed on up. The attic sat as bare as the day he moved in. I shined my flashlight across the plywood slats all the way to the ends of the roof. This fellow sure knew how to hide a watch. That is, if he even still had the thing. He could have moved it by now without any problem. I climbed back down and eased the door on up. I leaned on the hall wall. Then I pulled my mask from my face and drew in a deep breath. I shifted my weight a bit. Then I felt it.

A bump protruded from the hall wall. A tiny imperfection in the drywall let me know all I needed to know. After all, Tim had a background in renovation. I removed a wallboard saw from my belt and felt around near the bump. I sawed through the wall until I formed a five inch by five inch square. I pried the mesh out and reached inside the hole. When I pulled the object out, I shined the phone light on it-the watch.

Plop.

I slipped the watch into my jacket pocket and bent over. I picked up a necklace from the floor there. A diamond dangled from it. This piece could bring a grand with ease. He went to all the trouble to hiding these but why? He could have moved them by now, I would think.

I slipped the necklace into my jean pocket and then slipped out the back door. Before I pulled it all the way to, the old woman’s voice creaked. “That’s right. Walk yourself right to us, young man.”

I turned. The old neighbor stood there with a revolver aimed at my stomach. Tim held Glew’s arm twisted up behind him. The old lady said, “Now you step yourself back inside, boy. You two have got yourself a heap of trouble now.”

Tim shoved Glew toward me. “They sure do, Aunt Rosa.”

Rosa said, “Get inside now!”

I stepped back into the kitchen. Glew followed behind me, whispering, “Sorry.”

I patted his back and stepped into the living room. Rosa said, “Uh-huh. Don’t you go any further than that. Turn on the light, Timothy.”

Tim did as she ordered. I stood there in the living room with my black mask covering my face and black gloves covering my hands but I’d never felt so naked. I said, “What’s the plan?”

Aunt Rosa took a seat at the dining table, keeping the revolver aimed at Glew. Tim crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall. “Look at you two now.”

Rosa lit a cigarette. “Show us what else you planned to steal off us.”

I said, “I didn’t-”

She aimed the revolver at my groin. “Just do as you’re told, young man.”

I swallowed. Then I blinked a few times. After a sigh, I removed the watch from my jacket pocket. Rosa snapped her fingers. Tim snatched the watch from my hand and gave it to her. Rosa examined the watch. “Oh my. This is a nice piece. You’re such a good boy, Timothy.”

I said, “This is a surprise. I thought you might call the police on me.”

Rosa chuckled and shook her head. “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiett.”

Glew and I shared a laugh. Tim’s smile faded. Rosa waved a hand. “The only time I called the law, that boy they sent out just tried to interrogate my bloomers. Law ain’t no law.”

She handed the watch back over to Tim. Then she smiled at me. “Now, young man. Give me the other thing you took.”

I opened my mouth.

She said, “Don’t give me that. There’s always something else. What else did you lift?”

Glew swallowed. I shrugged and removed the necklace. When I handed it over, Rosa paused. Tim brought his hands out of his pockets but he didn’t get any further, like a man walking through the arctic who’s just figured out he’s now frozen. Rosa stamped out her cigarette and clasped the necklace to her chest. She turned to Tim. “Timothy…oh Timothy…”

Tim said, “Aunt Rosa, I was keeping it safe. It was just-”

She set the revolver on the table. Then she peered at me and winked. I winked back. She smiled so big that I could swear twenty years left her face. A few seconds later, she gripped the necklace and the years all came back. She said, “You boys get on down the road.”

Tim said, “What? No way.”

He reached for the revolver but Rosa grabbed it first. “Go to your room, Timothy.”

“Aunt Rosa-”

She aimed the revolver at his foot. “Get to your room, boy. I won’t repeat it with words.”

Tim wore that same look from earlier in the day, like he wanted to do something but he knew he faced an opponent he would not defeat. With his head hung, he walked to the last bedroom and shut the door.

Aunt Rosa picked up the watch and held it in the air. “Give this back to whatever poor heart he broke.”

I walked by and grabbed the watch. When Glew and I reached the back door, she said, “Don’t you ever come back around here.”

We both said, “No, ma’am.”

In less than an hour, we reached Glew’s client’s house. She didn’t mind having late visitors. She still wore a shirt and jeans and smoky circles around her eyes. When we gave her the watch, she jumped and gave us each a kiss on the jaw accompanied with huge hugs.

She said, “Oh you men. You’re the best. But you can’t know how much a metal memento means to a lady.”

Glew said, “Well, um…”

I said, “Oh, ma’am. I’m pretty sure we do know.”

Thank you so much for reading!

Check out five more Fairfax & Glew tales in this collection…

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The Green Storm

Shawn Tanner showed up to the party with his green hat on and without question, some illegal substances flooding his veins. After a year in the county lock-up, one could feel for the guy. After digging up how he put his girlfriend in the hospital for three weeks before going in, sympathy becomes a bit more difficult. Glew installed motion cameras in each of the four bedrooms of the party house. Shawn had to cut loose like an Irishman. After all, Saint Patrick’s Day brings that out in people. Everyone could be Irish for one night.

Glew sent me a text message that indicated Shawn chose to take his pleasure in the back bedroom upstairs. I already had the ladder set up leading to the back window. Call it the luck of the Irish. I climbed my way to the window and slid it open.

Between the punk rock music and the disco ball, Shawn didn’t notice me. He salivated over the girl who lay on the bed. His friend kept the door cracked, watching the hallway. His other friend undressed her. The girl slept with her head turned to one side and her arms spread out. Green ribbons held her wrists in place. The doorman smiled at Shawn but Shawn kept his eyes on the girl and his hand down his pants. The other friend slid the last of her clothes off and then bound her ankles to the other bed posts. I drew a breath, leaned back and then dove into the bedroom.

When I rolled to a standing position, the friend on the bed turned around in slow motion as if he saw a friendly ghost who he could engage in a deep conversation about life and death. I nailed him on the jaw with a right hand. He dropped to the floor in a heap.

The doorman lunged at me. I ducked his right handed shot and then drilled his gut with a left uppercut. He stumbled but grabbed onto me. So I tossed him into the wall. Shawn slipped out of the room like a man on parole leaving a crack den. The doorman jumped into me but I made light steps backward until he fell to his knees where I drilled him with a right hand to the chin. I shoved him into the closet. After pushing a recliner against the closet door, I bolted out of the room.

Glew held onto Shawn’s ankle who kicked at him. A trickle of blood oozed at Glew’s right nostril. He’d tried to take him down himself, poor guy. I ran toward them. Shawn peered back at me and then kicked Glew’s hand away and ran downstairs into a crowd of green hats. His own hat fell off, revealing his shaved head. I knelt beside Glew. “You all right?”

He leaned up and dabbed at his nose. “I’ll make it…I mean, yeah…I’ll make it, stud…”

“The girl’s tied up in there. Go set her free.”

I helped him to his feet. He patted my shoulder. “You got it.”

I ran downstairs. Shawn caught sight of me and bolted through the patio door. I followed him out there until we got to the center of the backyard. Shawn stopped and turned toward me. I stopped. He shouted, “Hey, guys! Hey, guys! Who wants to see a fight!?!”

A sea of green hats and clover shirts turned toward me. A few guys yelled, “Yeah!!”

Shawn cupped his hands over his mouth. “Who wants to see me fight this guy?”

Everyone cheered and raised their green solo cups into the air. I shook my head. Shawn said, “What? You backing down?”

I shrugged and stepped toward him with a pawing jab. Shawn circled me with leopard speed. When I turned, he caught me with a quick right. I threw a wild right in return but missed. I stepped toward him, tasting my own blood. Shawn ventured a left up high. I swung a right hand over the top and caught him but he fired back with his own straight right hand.

Bop!

The blow caught me in my eye. I reached out for his arms but he kicked my shin and then pivoted and kicked my calf. I stumbled. He dug a right uppercut into my gut. I grabbed his arm but he wrestled free of my grip. I shot a few jabs and then another right hand. Shawn backed his way out of range.

The beer-fueled crowd roared at us. One fellow there yelled for Shawn to kick my rear end. A heavy red beard protruded from his face. Glew pointed him out to me earlier. This fellow had one sister- the girl upstairs.

Shawn caught me with a quick jab. I retaliated with a right cross. He stumbled. So I drove a left hook into his gut. He doubled over. I kneed him in the face. Shawn fell back against the crowd. I stalked him but a few fellows got in between us. The red-bearded fellow pointed at me. “You stand your ass back. Who are you anyway?”

I stepped back. Glew emerged from the living room with the now clothed girl in his arms. He laid her in a lawn chair. Then he produced his phone from his pocket. He headed over to the crowd of cheering drinkers.

Shawn bolted toward me. I turned but he caught me in the gut.

Thunk!

We hit the ground. He scrambled on top of me and drove a right hand down, but I dodged it. He grabbed my wrists with the amphetamines pumping through him. I struggled back until I yelled into the night. Shawn let my wrists go and punched down at me with both fists. I blocked most of them with my hands but the flurry got faster. His knuckles connected with my temple and my forehead and then my jaw. I parried his shots but they got closer and closer. This pumped up fool just wouldn’t stop throwing. His heart would have to explode before he’d stop. My hands and forearms ached. I tasted my blood again.

Thump!

Jeans and boots surrounded me. I kept my hands up in front of my face. The group smothered me, stepping all around me. I tried to inhale. Someone stepped on my toe. Another tripped over me, spilling beer on my shirt. Another icy cold gush covered my face. A hand grabbed my wrist and yanked me through the crowd.

Glew dragged me over by the patio. I let my hands down. He patted my shoulder. I shook my head. The whole crowd kicked and struck poor old Shawn right there. He didn’t have enough amphetamines in him to fight them all. I’ve seen a pack of hyenas with less brutality. Glew’s camera feed went straight to his phone. So he had shown the brother what Shawn intended to do to his sister. Glew lit a cigar. “Maybe we should step in.”

I spat blood onto the patio. “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

Glew helped me to my feet. I followed him onto the patio where I patted the girl’s cheek. She made a slight groan, followed by a concentrated purse of her lips. She’d be searching her memory bank later on. She’d never know for sure. That would be the worst part of it. I can rest easy though, knowing that we kept her safe.

When we made it out of the house, the crowd all stormed upstairs. I reckon Shawn’s friends would be dealt with as well. “Maybe we should recruit a few of those fellows. Lighten our load.”

Glew puffed his cigar. “The funny thing is that they’ll all forget about us. They’ll be heroes in their own minds. Still, though, it’s pretty sweet.”

Shawn crawled his way through the fence out back to the front yard. Blood streaked from his eye. Mud covered his head along with beer I’m sure. He checked behind him once but then he crawled on ahead. Glew popped his trunk open. I wrapped Shawn’s mouth and wrists with duct tape.

The next day, the girl must have wondered a lot about what happened to her but she had her brother and friends who could let her know that a few strangers kept her safe. Shawn, on the other hand, woke up naked and tied to his own bed with his blood smeared on the sheets and a few sex toys lying nearby. I can’t be sure what he thought at the site of all that. But I do know that he left town the same day. Now I’ll drink a green beer to that on any day of the year.

Hitchcockian Reality

I have seen the whole Alfred Hitchcock Presents… series and I love it. The stories are great and could even possibly happen but I usually am just glad to be entertained. If these things never happened, who cares? Cool stories come from the imagination anyway.

When looking at this case, this feels very Hitchcockian as it’s just the sort of thing that old Alfred would do to rev up the suspense. I can see the guy burying his wife and then the chest pains start and he agonizes about covering it up while still saving himself and ultimately failing. I am sorry for the victim of course and send prayers to the family but this story is unreal. Read on…

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/05/11/sc-man-dies-burying-woman-strangled/9731141002/

Murder Trial Evidence Stolen By…A Monkey?

A monkey has allegedly stolen key evidence in a murder trial including the murder weapon. Apparently, there was a key evidence packet that was stored under a tree due to lack of space. This is when said monkey struck and fled the scene with the evidence. I wonder who came up with the tree storage idea. I understand lack of space but under a tree provides no protection at all…in any way. You couldn’t put it in a more open place. If a monkey didn’t get it, a squirrel might have or a raccoon or virtually any decent-sized creature wandering by…any of them!

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/monkey-stole-key-evidence-indian-26892579?fbclid=IwAR1Y88ACYpx15OF0G1_o3-8yAudNhWNXQr0_iSLtz273bvMhkD7f8dxJPMI