A Little Fairfax & Glew For the Weekend…

A little Fairfax & Glew for your weekend…

Apples & Pears…

Glew rolled over in bed and placed his arm around the warm body beside him. He gave her a kiss and sniffed her hair. It smelled like…it smelled like…dog?

He woke up and looked at the back of the beast’s head beside him. A German shepherd leaned back and licked his lips. He smirked and patted the dog’s head and said, “Hello.”

The dog licked him some more. He said, “Okay, boy. You’ve got to try a different toothpaste.”

He rolled over and placed his feet on the floor. The previous night rolled through his mind. He’d gone home with the woman from Gil’s. They came home and drank some whiskey. Then they came back to the bed and did…other things. Then what happened? He must have fallen asleep.

Why didn’t I just leave? Oh damn. I guess I rode home with her. Why? I never do that. It’s the easiest way to get trapped. I need to come up with an excuse and get out…wait a second. Do I smell bacon?

As if reading his thoughts, the German shepherd bolted out of the bed into the kitchen. Glew said, “Right, boy.”

He entered the bathroom and urinated until a dizziness took hold of him. He sat on the toilet for a minute and then he remembered that her home was a trailer. Now there’s nothing wrong with living in a trailer but he’d never left a bar and gone home to a woman’s trailer. It was always a house or apartment or the occasional hotel room.

Am I losing my edge?

He returned to the bedroom while a good sweat oozed out of him. He found his pants and socks but no shirt or shoes.

Does that mean no service?

He inched his way to the door and peeked out into the hallway. He tip-toed toward the kitchen. The woman stood at the stove, tending to the bacon. The dog stood behind her with its tongue out and its ears perked up. So he walked on in and said, “That smells wonderful.”

The woman turned toward him.

Goodness. She’s pretty for her age but what age is that exactly? I’ve got to get a hold of myself.

She said, “Come over here to mama.”

He crossed his arms and said, “You wouldn’t know where my shirt is. Would you?”

She motioned him toward her with her index finger which featured a long nail with pink nail polish that was nearly worn off. He walked over and kissed her cheek. She kissed his mouth, shoving that tongue back to his wisdom teeth. He didn’t feel too wise right now. Then she slapped his rear end and said, “It’s in the washer.”

“The washer? Why?”

She turned back to her cooking and said, “You spilled whiskey on it. You don’t want to wear that out and get pulled over. The cops around here won’t bust a thief but they hand out DUI’s like candy.”

He wiped his forehead and said, “That’s true. Thanks for looking out for me. Should I put it in the dryer?”

“The dryer’s busted.”

“What? How can I dry it?”

She turned and ushered him into a lawn chair by the dinner table. When he sat down he hit something with his feet. He looked down. Two worn-out boots sat there spaced apart like a ghost sat the table and has its invisible feet in them. She said, “Go on.”

He looked at her and said, “What?”

She said, “Get them in.”

“Huh?”

She scoffed and then got down and forced his feet into the boots. He tried to move them but he couldn’t. Were they glued to the floor? She said, “Sit your butt there and get ready to eat. What’s your hurry anyway? Don’t you want to be here?”

He said, “What’s with these boots?”

“They were my husband’s.”

“Why do you want-

“Shut up!”

He stroked the frayed threads on the lawn chair and said, “I got some things I need to…”

Hold on. That’s right. That guy left a note on my jeep about helping me out on a job!

He searched his pants pockets but he came up empty. He said, “Hey, did you see a note anywhere?”

She brought a plate with bacon and eggs to the table and said, “Eat.”

“But-

“Whatever your problem is, it’ll keep until after breakfast. Besides, you need some meat on your bones. Now get to eating.”

He sighed. Besides the bacon being a bit burnt around the edges, it smelled great. The eggs smelled nice too but they had a rotten taste. He choked the breakfast down, shifting his feet in her dead husband’s boots but it did no good. She handed the dog a few bacon strips and then she sat across from him and sipped her coffee while watching him eat. He coughed on a hunk of eggs and said, “You’re not eating?”

She said, “I already had a cinnamon roll. I like to stay sweet.”

“That’s good.”

She said, “I’ll hang your shirt up on the line. It’ll be dry in a few hours. In the meantime, I like staring at your chest. What do you think about that?”

“That’s great…um…”

“Nessy. I didn’t figure you’d remember my name.”

“Nessy. That’s right. I’m sorry. I-

“Don’t tell me about how you’re not good with names. I’ve heard it all before. I’ll let you know something. I don’t remember your name neither. Now what do you think about that?”

He kept on eating. The German Shepherd whined.

She said, “The simple fact is that I got nothing to do today. So you’re going to entertain me.”

“But I have things to do.”

She tapped her fingernail between her teeth and said, “That’s too bad. I got your shirt and your phone and we ain’t even close to town. I don’t have any neighbors neither. You’re going to show old Nessy a good time.”

He stopped eating and said, “Why are you doing this?”

“Because I can. And because I’m not no fast woman. I want to get to know you and meet your family and pick out gravestones.”

He narrowed his eyes and said, “You don’t even know my name.”

She winked at him and said, “Are you afraid of commitment?”

He winked back and said, “I really am.”

“Why?”

He shifted in the dead husband boots and said, “I don’t know. I like to have a good time and then leave. I’m a busy man. I don’t have time for a relationship.”

“That’s all right. Old Nessy just needs one day from you.”

“But what will we do?”

“Hang out on the couch and watch TV. Drink a little more whiskey. Put on some music and dance. I got more food in the fridge and we can play cards. And I want to eat dinner by candle light. Never done that before.”

“You really haven’t seen any note? I need that.”

“You left it in my car.”

“Can I see it? I need to make a call. Speaking of which, I need my phone, too.”

“No, no. No contact with the outside world. That ain’t romantic and I need romance.”

“It’s important, Nessy. Please.”

“Nope. You can make your call tomorrow.”

“So you’re…kidnapping me?”

She shook her head and said, “You’re here because you wanted to be here and you still do…right?”

He swallowed. “I…

“Right?”

“Yes, Nessy.”

They watched Gunsmoke reruns for most of the day and followed it up that evening with a candle lit dinner consisting of frozen pizza and then they played dozens of hands of spades with his feet getting sore from the dead husband boots but several whiskey shots eased the pain a bit. He shivered without his shirt through most of it. Her German shepherd whined whenever she spoke. She yelled at the poor animal to be quiet and then led Glew back to the bedroom where she showed him a collection of pictures of her husband from years past. They were taken at several different angles and times during their marriage but the dead husband was lying on his back in every one of them. Whether he was in the bed or on the sofa or on the floor or passed out in the yard, he was lying down facing up. In some of them, he looked like he might be dead already. Then she jerked him into the bed where she had him cuddle with her until they fell asleep. When he woke up the next morning, he found the bed to be empty.

He found Nessy on the couch with her German shepherd seated next to her. She said, “Howdy, Mr. Romance. You ready to get out of here?”

He said, “I really should be going.”

She got up and kissed him and said, “Thank you for the day. I can’t remember the last time I spent a whole day with a man. And never one with a man so handsome. I wish I’d fallen for a private detective twenty years ago instead of the old thief that I married. I bet you’ll make somebody a happy woman. Now, get you a shower and I’ll bring your stuff to you and run you back up to Gil’s.”

Glew showered and dressed and found his note and cell phone. She rushed him out the door and drove him Gil’s. Before he got out, he said, “You don’t want to know my name?”

She said, “Nope. Get on, Mr. Romance. I’m at Gil’s a lot. I’m sure I’ll see you again.”

“For more romance?”

“Nope,” she said. “We had a good thing. We can leave it at that. Don’t go getting jealous when you see me hugged up on another man now.”

“I’ll definitely try not-

She said, “Now, git.”

“But I-

“Git!!”

She turned in her seat and kicked like a dog paddling up a river at him until he fell out of the car. Then she sped off.

***

Glew climbed into his jeep and blinked at the Gil’s Bar & Grill sign which seemed to smile at him, like it was saying, “We guarantee that we’ll get you to make a bad decision in here.”

Oh alcohol. How many strange adventures have you caused in this world? Hold on. That guy. I gotta call him.

He pulled the note from his pocket and dialed the number. When the guy answered, he said, “Hey…um…”

He checked the note again and said, “Fairfax. Hello, Mr. Fairfax?”

“That’s me.”

“Hey, man. Thanks for leaving the note. Sorry for the delay. I was tied up with a lady friend.”

“Literally?”

“You know, there were no ropes involved but pretty much literally.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Fairfax said. “I’m on my way to the bus station anyway. Going to find me a place in the mountains.”

“What?” Glew said. He adjusted his hat and said, “Come on, man. You can’t. I was serious. I need your help.”

Fairfax didn’t respond.

Glew said, “I looked up your address. Altoid? I can’t tell you how cool that is that you’re named after a breath mint.”

Fairfax still didn’t respond.

Glew cleared his throat and said, “Hookville is in the dumps, man. We can clean it up. What do you say?”

Fairfax grunted.

Glew said, “I’ll tell you what. Meet me at Shaky Wayne’s coffee house and we’ll talk things over.”

Fairfax didn’t say anything.

Glew said, “My treat?”

Fairfax said, “I’ll meet you there. And Dutch treat is fine.”

Glew said, “That’s great. I-

Fairfax hung up.

So Glew drove over to Shaky Wayne’s Coffee House where a sign stood tall and read ‘We will do anything to Serve Your Hot Needs’. Since the Cindy Lake affair, he’d stayed clear of Bakey, Lakey Bakery and preferred to get his coffee and bear claws here although their pastries paled in comparison. When he arrived, he saw no sign of Fairfax’s Chevy Bonanza. So he walked inside and ordered a coffee and a bear claw and then returned to his jeep. He gobbled up the bear claw, checking his mirrors for any sign of Fairfax. He got the last bite down and gulped his coffee. A cat strolled up to the dumpster in back and stared up at it. Something hit his passenger window. He choked on the bear claw and opened his eyes. Fairfax stood by the window. He unlocked his door and washed down the bear claw. Fairfax climbed inside with his own cup of coffee from some gas station. Dil’s Slow Drip Gas Station maybe? Glew got his bearings and then said, “Hey. How’s it going?”

Fairfax shrugged.

“Okay,” Glew said. “I haven’t found much work. I mean, I have a few possibilities but I haven’t found any real work like you did the other night.”

Fairfax said, “What’s that?”

“You know, where you went after that Yowder guy.”

“Right.”

“I loved how you not only took that guy down, but you also returned the goods to the other guy. What’s his name?”

Fairfax didn’t respond. The cat climbed up the dumpster and pawed at the closed door.

Glew said, “I thought we’d hunt down the real low-lifes here since it seems to me like the local cops don’t do their jobs.”

“I know they don’t.”

Glew said, “So do you know anybody we could go after? Somebody that the cops don’t go after?”

Fairfax drank his coffee and kept his voice even when he said, “I don’t know.”

This guy sure isn’t offering much. I need to try harder. Or maybe I should sit here until he talks.

The cat clawed its way up and then jumped on top of the dumpster and leaned down where it sniffed the garbage inside. Glew rolled his window down. A pot-bellied man grunted nearby. He cursed as he got a jack into place under his car in front of a flat tire. Fairfax said something but the guy’s grunting drowned him out. The guy stepped closer to the jeep and apparently, he sweat a lot even in the cold. Glew thanked God it wasn’t the summer time. Pew. Pew. Pew.

A few minutes later the grunting settled down and Fairfax shifted in his seat and said, “I have found that hunting thieves down can be fun.”

“Hunting them?”

“Yeah,” Fairfax said. He seemed a bit more animated when he said, “I know a place. Ride with me.”

Riding with Nessy sure landed me in a mess on Friday night. Fairfax seemed cool but he’s different today. He’s a little too quiet for comfort. This is a bad idea.

Fairfax said, “Well? You coming?”

Damn. I do want this work, though. I need it. God, please give me a quick death if this is how I end.

***

Fairfax drove them to an old warehouse in downtown Hookville. Faded painted letters spelled out the words “Shiphead Distribution” on the warehouse walls. The place had shut down decades ago. No one had bothered to do anything with it. Despite this, the foot traffic appeared to be decent. Within a few minutes, five people walked by. Fairfax got out and pulled a bicycle from his truck bed and carried it over to the front of the warehouse where he stood it up beside the wall. Then he returned to his driver’s seat. Glew said, “So you’re waiting for somebody to steal it?”

“That is the idea,” Fairfax said.

“And then we go after them?”

“Right.”

“Isn’t that like…entrapment?”

Fairfax snorted and said, “What would the problem be? If the thief doesn’t try to steal it, then we don’t do anything. They have to do something wrong before we act.”

Glew rubbed his jaw and said, “That’s a fair point. I mean, even if you find a wad of money sitting there, it’s actually not yours. Who knows? It may be drug money and the dealer’s going to come after you. Maybe he shouldn’t have been careless with his money and maybe he did get the money in an illegal way but still, you don’t take what’s not yours. Right?”

“That’s the way I see it.”

“Hhmm. Have you ever found money on the sidewalk or on the ground and picked it up and kept it?”

“Yeah.”

Glew chuckled and said, “How do you justify that?”

“It’s apples and pears.”

“Don’t you mean apples and oranges?”

“No. It’s apples and pears. I never picked up a whole bicycle that didn’t belong to me.”

“So it’s a size thing. Like how apples are bigger than pears?”

“No. Pears are a lot like apples, especially green ones. But they’re a little different in taste and texture. They’re sweeter. It’s possible that a person with lousy taste could confuse the two. No one confuses an apple with an orange. It’s similar to finding a twenty-dollar bill and to finding a wad of twenty-dollar bills. But one is most likely the result of someone being dumb and losing it. The other is a pile of money put together. It means something to somebody. A twenty is not a giant loss. Whoever lost it most likely ain’t coming back. Heck, they may never realize it’s gone. So I find it and I spend it. They shouldn’t have lost it. If you misplace thousands, you probably deserve to lose it too, but I don’t know. Something’s wrong with that. That could be somebody’s whole year’s income. If I found a pile of money, I wouldn’t take it.”

“Would you turn it into the police?”

“In this town? Hell no. Those lazy bastards would divide it up among themselves and not think twice about it.”

“So what would you do? You’re really telling me you wouldn’t take it?”

“I’m really telling you that.”

“I don’t believe you. I know I’d take it.”

“That’s some moral code you got there.”

“I’m getting a headache.”

“Maybe you talk too much.”

Glew shifted in his seat. “Boy, you’re a salty fellow.”

“I’m not very sweet. I don’t eat many pears.”

A man walked over by the wall but he didn’t get close to the bicycle. He stood by the wall and stared up at the sky. After a few moments, he looked around but then he looked back up at the sky. Glew looked at the huge side mirror on Fairfax’s truck. A car pulled up to a four-way intersection with stop signs. Another care pulled up on the other side. The first car pulled up but stopped as the other car pulled forward and stopped. Then they did this again, easing forward but then stopping and most likely waving the other one forward. They didn’t make much progress. Glew shook his head and said, “How long do you think this will take?”

“Given that several folks have walked by and with night coming on, not long. This town stinks with thieves. I bet a few have walked by and thought about it already.”

Glew said, “I see.” He yawned. “I sure hope so.”

“Hell, we just got here, Glew.”

“I know. I guess I’m an action guy.”

Fairfax gave no response. Glew kept his hand on his thigh and ran his index finger back and forth. Then he scratched behind his ear. A few folks walked by and one of them must have worn something that smelled like vanilla, which Glew enjoyed. He peeked over at Fairfax who watched the bicycle and nothing else. It reminded him of a cat watching a closet door for a mouse to run out. He didn’t budge. He watched some more folks walk by and then ventured another look at Fairfax who hadn’t moved a bit.

This guy’s weird…but I don’t know. The focus is kind of impressive, too.

He leaned back and narrowed his eyes. A new potential thief strolled by every couple of minutes while the night started taking over. Maybe one of these folks would make a move soon. And Glew’s private investigator career could take off.

Fairfax shook him and said, “Damn. You’re asleep?”

Glew smacked his lips and said, “I guess I dozed off.”

“You’re the private investigator. You should be used to this.”

“My old partner in Memphis always got onto me for that. It’s not my strong suit. Maybe if I had a box of Goobers or something to snack on. Possibly some sunflower seeds might work or even a cigar to smoke.”

Fairfax pulled a recorder from his pocket and set it on the seat and hit play. The sounds of a crackling fire filled the cab. He said, “Maybe this will help.”

Glew said, “I think it just makes me want to sleep more.”

Fairfax returned to his death stare on the bicycle.

Glew said, “I appreciate you trying to help, though.”

Fairfax didn’t move.

“Really, I do,” Glew said.

Fairfax remained like a statue.

Glew wiggled his fingers and looked down the street and then up the street and fidgeted around. He found a hang nail on his middle finger. He picked at it, considering whether or not to pull it off or wait until he got back to his apartment and use the nail clippers. After two hours of waiting, he wondered if he’d ever got back to his apartment. But then Fairfax said, “All right. I don’t think we’re going to get a bite, tonight. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Glew said, “That’ll be fun.”

***

The next night, Fairfax called Glew and told him he’d pick him up at his place in Pardon You Apartments. Glew gave him the code to the front gate. Fairfax rolled through in his ’76 model Bonanza which was bound to draw looks since the vehicles here were all 2010 and above. One white-haired lady stared at him from her porch on the first floor. She kept her large phone to her ear while running her mouth. He stopped the truck and stared back at her. She stopped talking and stared back at him. He kept his expression even. She placed her hand over her mouth when she spoke as if he were trying to read her lips and she wanted to block him. He drove to Glew’s apartment.

Glew came down the stairs with a spry step and opened the passenger side door and said, “You care if we take my jeep this time?”

Fairfax said, “Yeah, I do.”

“You do…you do mind?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh,” he said. “I guess um-

“Are we doing this or not?”

Glew climbed inside. Fairfax passed by the staring woman who kept her hand over her mouth. Glew waved to her. She waved back to him and smiled. Fairfax shook his head and said, “She sure keeps an active watch on things.”

Glew said, “Yeah, that’s Urlene. Nice lady.”

“Yeah.”

They got back to the Shiphead Distribution warehouse twenty minutes later. Fairfax set up the bicycle beside the building again.

Fairfax sat inside for a few minutes before Glew pulled a box of Goobers from his pocket and started chomping on them. Fairfax said, “Do you have to chew so loud?”

Glew smacked a few times and said, “Sorry. It helps me stay awake.”

A tall fellow walked by the bicycle and stared at it as he walked along but he didn’t stop. He did walk back by a minute later. Fairfax said, “This could be something.”

Glew leaned forward and popped another Goober in his mouth which he started smacking on again. Then he peeked at Fairfax and said, “Sorry. I’ll be quiet.”

The tall fellow did stop and stare at the bicycle but then he looked around as if he was checking for folks watching him. When he spotted Fairfax and Glew in the Bonanza, he stared at them and then he glanced back at the bike and then he ran away.

Fairfax said, “Dang. It’s almost like he knew.”

“Yeah,” Glew said. “That’s kind of creepy. Of course, this truck does kind of stand out.”

“You think we should take yours, Glew?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Sure. A red jeep doesn’t stand out at all.”

Glew looked over at him. Fairfax met his gaze. Glew turned away and chomped on another Goober.

A few more folks passed by but none of them stopped although a few glanced toward the bike in between staring at their cell phones. He popped his neck. Something beeped in different tones and sounds. Such noise didn’t help his concentration. He turned toward Glew who played a game on some kind of handheld device. He said, “What’s that?”

Glew kept his head in his game but said, “House of Noir.”

“Damn you, Glew. You keep your head in that when there’s potential crime here. Hell, this whole thing was your idea. You came to me.”

“Nothing’s happening right now. I like to stimulate my mind.”

“I think you just get bored too easily. That’s not the best characteristic to have when hunting folks down.”

“Whatever, Fairfax.”

Fairfax smiled. “Is that right? Just whatever. Huh?”

“Damn it. You made me screw up.”

“How are we supposed to catch anybody when you act just like most of these sheep and keep your head up that game’s ass?”

Glew tossed the game aside. It bumped into Fairfax’s leg. Fairfax raised an eyebrow and looked over at him but Glew looked out his own window and popped another Goober into his jaw. He chewed on it with his mouth closed at least.

A new guy walked up and stared at the bicycle. He looked around and tiptoed over to the bike while wearing a guilty grin. He took out his phone and snapped a picture of himself with his back to the wall. Then he got close to the bike and snapped another picture. He even got on the bike for another picture but he took one and found that he’d cut the bike out of the shot. So he angled the phone up and maneuvered himself so that he’d be in the shot with the bike to the point that he fell over with the bike landing on top of him. Glew burst into a laugh and said, “What a dunce.”

Fairfax stared ahead.

Glew said, “He almost looks like a guy I went to school with back at Lurnem High. Did you go to Lurnem, Fairfax?”

“No, I went Snoots.”

“Snoots? Damn. How many millions does your family have?”

“I’d rather not get into that.”

“Wait a minute,” Glew said. He pointed his finger upward and said, “You’re not from the Fairfax family that owns the Glazy Mazy’s Donut franchise. Are you?”

Fairfax bit his fingernail. “Maybe.”

“Wow. I had no idea. How come you don’t work for them?”

“Like I said, I’d rather not get into it.”

“Okay. That’s cool, man. You know, I didn’t come from money but my Dad won the lottery a few years back.”

“I heard about it. Have you gone through all the money yet?”

“Definitely not. Why?”

“I always read that most folks who win the lottery tend to spend it all right quick. They don’t have any sense about money.”

“I read that, too, but that won’t be me. I bought this jeep flat-out and I spent money on a few things I shouldn’t have but I’ve still got most of my money. I’d like to make a little more with the private eye stuff, though. I always knew if I stayed busy, I should be okay.”

“I reckon so.”

“I know Memphis has more potential but I think there’s quite a need around here. If we can get going and busting a few guys, we might get some business. I mean, I’m sure you can rely on your folks if you need money.”

Fairfax rolled down his window and spat. Then he said, “I don’t think making money is the point of this. I’ve always wanted to do something about the crime around here. My Uncle Altoid kept me out of trouble for a long time but he up and left last week. So now, I figure I’ll do what I want.”

“I hear you, there. Family is great but I don’t know. Sometimes they hold you back without meaning to. My sister can be like that.”

Fairfax returned his focus to the bike where a new guy approached the guy who tried to take his own picture on the bike. This new guy took the guy’s phone and took a few pictures for him. The first guy seemed to be happy with them. They talked and then the first guy walked away. The new guy got on the bike and tried to take his own picture on the bike but he couldn’t get it right, either. Fairfax chuckled and handed Glew back his handheld device and said, “Go ahead. I’ll keep watch.”

Glew took it and said, “You sure, man?”

“Pass me one of them Goobers?”

“You got it.”

Fairfax watched the bike for another hour while Glew played his game and looked back and forth a few times. Fairfax called it off at eight o’clock and they agreed to return the next day.

***

Glew sat on his sofa, talking on the phone to a young lady he’d met the previous night at the Dope Club. Watching out for thieves for hours with no results got him to feeling antsy. So he’d gone in and danced and bought the bar a round which drew her right to him. She seemed like a nice girl with her head on straight. So he got her number and left and they’d been texting since. He told her he would like to hang out tonight but well, he had business to attend to. So when Fairfax beeped in with a message letting him know he was downstairs, he wrapped up his conversation and then headed on down.

Fairfax sat in his Bonanza and watched him walk all the way to the truck. Fairfax’s focus is impressive but it’s kind of scary, too. A date with the lady sure would be more fun right now.

He opened the passenger side door and climbed inside. Fairfax said, “You want to take your jeep?”

Glew stared at him and said, “Why the change of heart?”

“Eh. I thought about it and I think my truck does stand out more. You were right…”

“Thanks a lot. I try to-

“…for once.”

Glew smirked and said, “Right.”

So they loaded the bicycle into Glew’s jeep and then headed back over to the Shiphead warehouse. The area felt abandoned tonight except for a mouse standing on its back legs. Glew said, “Look at that.”

The mouse ran off.

Fairfax said, “What?”

Glew said, “Nothing.”

Fairfax sat there staring and didn’t say anything despite missing the mouse. Glew played his game. His phone beeped, signaling that he’ d received a text message. A wad of garbage rolled by like a tumbleweed. He shivered and said, “Man, I don’t know, stud. Who’d commit a crime in this cold?”

Fairfax sighed and looked away.

Glew’s phone beeped again. He sniffed the air and look down the street a ways where a window sat open with the light on. He focused and saw that a fresh apple pie sat there on that window sill. Glew said, “Man, just look at that. A fresh apple pie sitting on the window sill cooling. You can smell it. It was made with care and clearly she isn’t worried about it being stolen. Why else would she just leave it sitting there like that? What do you think, stud?”

Fairfax didn’t move.

Glew’s phone beeped. He read the last several text messages and smiled and said, “Now look at that. My new girl is texting me about what she’s doing which isn’t much. She’s lonely. She’d love to have me there. After all, there isn’t much going on here.”

Fairfax sat there like stone.

Glew played his game for a while.

Fairfax sighed a few times. Glew said, “What is it?”

Fairfax said, “You really ought to be watching people walk by. It gives you a sense of the place.”

“So you can’t watch and I play my game and then we jump on a thief when he strikes…if any actually ever do?”

“We can.”

“All right, then.”

“I just don’t think it’s best.”

Glew set the game down. “You know, I gave up a great date tonight to do this shit.”

“This shit?”

“I mean, you could at least be cool about it.”

“I’m supposed to be cool with you half-assing things?”

“I’m not half…assing anything. I’m here. Geez.”

“You ain’t going to ‘whatever’ me. Are you?”

“God. Will you just relax? I mean, it’s not a big deal.”

“Look out.”

“If we can’t even sit here without…what?”

Fairfax pointed ahead. A guy in a striped pullover shirt and jeans and white running shoes picked up the bike and looked around.

Glew said, “Uh-oh.”

The guy got on the bike and pedaled away.

Fairfax said, “All right. Let’s get to it.”

Glew said, “I can’t believe this worked.” Then he put the jeep into gear and pulled onto the street.

***

Glew kept at a steady speed, following the thief down a few streets and then on down an alley and on through to a road where set of train tracks crossed. The thief bicycled on through. The alarm sounded and the railroad arms slammed down like guillotine blades. Glew stopped the jeep and said, “Man. Of all the times for a train to go by.”

Fairfax said, “Yeah. What a pain.”

Glew said, “The damn thing will put us way behind and that guy’s going to get away with your bike and then we’ll have to start all over. Man, three nights of watching and this. It’s ridiculous.”

“It’ll be all right.”

“I’m canceling dates and I’m not even making money from this stuff. It’s like fate is working against the two guys who are trying to make things right. The stars are aligning for the hoods of Hookville and there’s not a damn thing a person can do. The decent people have no chance and we’re all doomed. I could die thinking about this. I could just die. What a world. It’s not fair and it’s not…”

The two-car train passed by and the arms lifted.

Glew swallowed and said, “Well…anyway…”

He stomped on the accelerator and spun his tires, leaving a squeal in its wake. Fairfax said, “Glew, what are you doing?”

“I’m sorry,” Glew said. “I’m sorry.”

Glew drove across the tracks and sped up but then he slowed since the thief rode ahead of them in plain sight. He kept the speed down while other cars passed him by.

Fairfax said, “Get in the passing lane.”

“What? Why?”

“Don’t underestimate him. Get in the other lane and pass him or he might figure us out.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Glew switched lanes and sped on ahead down the four-lane road, leaving the thief way behind. When they reached the intersection, Fairfax said, “Turn into that church parking lot.”

Glew did so and they sat, waiting. A light came on in the church window. Glew watched it.

No. We woke somebody up in there. They’ll call the police and they’ll tail us and it will all be over. No more going after bad guys. There’s no cleaning up any town. The world can’t be changed.

The light in the church window went out. Glew took a deep breath. Fairfax said, “You all right?”

Glew said, “I wonder if he turned off somewhere. Aren’t there bike trails down through there?”

Fairfax said, “Yeah, but I see him.”

“How?”

“The reflector.”

“I see. I guess we’re lucky that it came with a reflector.”

“Yeah,” Fairfax said. “It’s not like I put the reflector on there in order to catch the guy.”

“Right…oh wait. You did? That’s good thinking.”

The thief turned right at the intersection. Glew edged toward the exit. Fairfax said, “Steady, Glew.”

“Shouldn’t I go now?”

“Let the light change.”

Glew pulled out and the light flipped over to red. A few cars pulled up behind him and the traffic died across the intersection but the light stayed red. Glew honked his horn and said, “Come on…”

Fairfax leaned over into his face and breathed hot coffee on him when he said, “Are you trying to sabotage us?”

Whoa. This guy is intense. And his head is bigger than I thought.

Glew said, “Sorry, man.”

Fairfax leaned back. The light changed to green. Fairfax said, “Take it slow now.”

Glew did as instructed. They drove on but the thief did not appear. Glew sped up a ways on by a few streets and said, “Damn. He’s gone.”

“No,” Fairfax said. “Turn around at the next street.”

Glew did so and then Fairfax had him pull into a driveway that wasn’t connected to any of the others on up the street. Glew said, “I can’t sit here in the guy’s driveway and not arouse suspicion.”

Fairfax said, “I know. Pull out and then pull down a little ways and park on the shoulder.”

Glew pulled forward but Fairfax said, “Stop.”

“What?”

Fairfax said, “Stop now.” Then he pointed to his ear. Glew listened. A police cruiser raced by with its blue lights flashing. Once it passed, Glew parked and said, “Why are we here?”

“The driveway was made of clay. Real soft orange stuff.”

“So?”

“The thief had on white shoes with orange clay on them.”

“He did? How could you notice that?”

“That’s why you watch and get your head out of that game.”

“Well…okay.”

Fairfax said, “You sure you’re a detective?”

Glew said, “Okay. Good point. So what do we do now?”

“We get out and walk over by those trees and watch for the thief.”

“I just leave my jeep here?”

“Yeah.”

“What if it gets towed?”

“Then you pay to get it back. If you want to know things, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.”

“How about you go down there and I’ll drive around? You call me if he comes out.”

“No, Glew. Come on.”

“But-

“Glew, do you want to do this or not?”

“Not.”

Fairfax tilted his head at him.

Glew sighed and said, “But…now that we’re getting somewhere, I can’t walk away.”

“So, come on.”

***

Fairfax hunkered down by a tree while Glew sat behind a dead bush which didn’t matter much in the darkness. They’d been watching the house for over two hours. Glew popped a Goober in his jaw.

Fairfax said, “You ain’t getting sleepy. Are you?”

Glew got up on his haunches and said, “I’m really not. The guy could walk out of there any minute. It’s like when he grabbed the bike a while ago…I didn’t really think anybody was going to take it and then bam. It just happened and off we go.”

“Change happens quickly, Glew. You wait for it and think it’ll never happen and then it shows up and you ain’t ready for it. You didn’t ever get this thrill in Memphis?”

“We mainly did background checks and small stuff like that. I never got on anything exciting. I worked in a nice area. That’s why I came back here. I know thieves are everywhere in Hookville. Only, when I got back, I didn’t know how to get started really. How are you so good at this?”

Fairfax rubbed his chin and said, “I’ve always liked watching people. I’ve done it as far back as I can remember. I watched neighbors when I was a kid. I saw one of them steal some tools one time. I took off after them on my bike.”

“Did you catch them?”

“No. I can still see the guy’s face but he got away.”

“You never saw him again?”

“There was a guy coming out of the Waffle House one day. It could have been him.”

“You didn’t try and find out?”

“He had lady with him. So I let it be. I always watch people, though. You have to pay attention to their actions. You can usually ignore their words.”

Glew nodded for a while. Then he stared at Fairfax for a moment. He cleared his throat and said, “Do you think that of me? That I’m not trust worthy?”

“I don’t know yet.”

Glew scoffed. “That’s a heck of a thing to-

Fairfax pointed ahead at the thief leaving the garage.

I knew he had the clay on his shoes. I’ve passed by this driveway more than once. It’s the only one with a driveway like that within a few miles. Where else would he go? Glew couldn’t have known any of this, having been out of town for a while. I don’t think he’d notice if he did live here but at least he’s trying. That’s all a fellow can do.

The thief made his way down the driveway, kicking a pebble which bounced off of Fairfax’s shoulder. He studied it- limestone. Glew leaned toward him and whispered, “What are you-

Fairfax shushed him. When the thief walked by them, Fairfax leaped up from behind him and tackled him onto the clay, knocking the wind out of him. He held the thief on the ground while Glew ran over and said, “What do we do with him?”

Fairfax pulled a length of rope from the back of his belt. Glew said, “Hey, I didn’t even notice you were carrying that.”

Fairfax tied the thief’s wrists together and kept his knee in the small of his back. The thief raised his head and opened his mouth but Fairfax shoved his face into the clay and said, “Keep quiet now.”

Glew said, “Now what?”

We need to get him away from here. His boss might come out of there any minute if he’s keeping an eye on his boy.

Glew said, “Well?”

“I know a place.”

“What?”

“Let’s load him up in your jeep.”

“In my jeep? I don’t…know…”

Fairfax heaved the thief up and dragged him down the road behind him. The thief stumbled along, spitting out clay. Fairfax loaded him into the back of Glew’s jeep and then Glew stuck an old sock in the thief’s mouth. When they got in, Glew said, “Where are we going?”

Fairfax said, “You know where Redemption Road is?”

Glew’s face lit up. He said, “I sure do. This will be so poetic. That’s the perfect name for what we’re doing.”

Fairfax frowned and said, “Go to Redemption Road. We’ll turn off onto Steeler’s Trail.”

“Steeler’s? That sounds like thieves. That’s not poetic. That won’t work. Let’s go to Redemption Road instead.”

Fairfax said, “We’ll go to Steeler’s Trail. Move your ass.”

Glew drove them over twenty-five miles into the country. The thief moved around in the back. Fairfax pulled the mirror down on his side and kept an eye on him. The guy looked young.

He’s probably rattled out of his mind. To be used to stealing things and then caught all of a sudden by a couple of guys who didn’t look like cops and now to be taken out this far. He’s probably wondering what we’re going to do with him.

When they made it to Steeler’s Trail, Fairfax instructed Glew on where to turn in on a little trail, off the trail. When he did so, he had him drive on in a half-mile. Then they stopped, got out and Fairfax dragged the thief from the back and tossed him onto the cold ground. The thief waved his arms in the air before he hit. He’d broken the ropes. Fairfax said, “Damn it.”

He got the thief down and wrestled his arms back together but the ropes was still in two pieces. So he tied them into a square knot while the thief beat the ground and shifted around. Fairfax grabbed one wrist and wrapped it and then the other and pushed them together where he tied them back together. Glew walked over to him and said, “What good does this do?”

“He’ll think twice about stealing next time.”

The thief snapped the rope again. He reached into his pocket. Fairfax got down and wrestled with the thief who’d retrieved his cell phone. Fairfax got the phone from his hand. Then he stood and placed his boot on his back. The thief spat out the sock and said, “Hey, man! You can’t take my phone. That’s theft!”

Fairfax and Glew shared a laugh. Fairfax took the thief’s wallet and found the driver’s license picture where it looked like the thief was focused hard, like he was burning ants with a magnifying glass. “So, Chet…”

The thief or “Chet” sounded disappointed when he said, “Yeah?”

“This address here doesn’t match the address where we picked you up.”

“My mom’s already missing me. She’s a big worrier.”

“Shut up,” Fairfax said. “Now who lives there? Who are you stealing for?”

Chet spat a few times. No one could blame him for that. Orange clay and old sock doesn’t exactly build the appetite.

Fairfax said, “Look, Chet. If you tell us about the guy, we’ll take you back to your house.”

Chet looked at Fairfax over his shoulder, studying his face as if he were a statue and not a person who could study him back. Then he glanced at Glew. He sat on his rear. After wiping some clay off his face, he said, “So I tell you about him and that’s it. I’m free to go?”

Fairfax massaged his own neck and shared a look with Glew. Then he looked back at Chet and said, “That’s right.”

Chet chewed his lip and shifted his eyes to the ground. He rubbed his wrists and said, “Zipp.”

“Zipp?” Glew said.

“Mr. Zipp. He has me take stuff sometimes. And he pays me.”

Glew looked at Fairfax and said, “Do you know anybody named Zipp?”

Fairfax shook his head and kept his attention on Chet when he said, “What all does he have you steal?”

“Ah, bikes and ATVs. Stuff like that. I got him a golf cart a few weeks ago.”

“Has he moved all of it?”

“No, man. He’s still got all of the stuff I’ve got him. I think he’s letting enough time go by where people don’t get suspicious.”

“So he’s going to sell the stuff locally?”

“I think so, man.”

Glew smirked and said, “Not very smart.”

Fairfax said, “All right. We’re going to need you to ride back with us.”

“But my mom…”

“We’ll put you on speaker phone with her and you tell her you’ll be home soon. Right?”

Chet sniffed and said, “Yeah, I guess so. What are you going to have me do?”

Fairfax picked the old sock off the ground and sniffed it and looked at Glew and said, “Arm and Hammer?”

Glew whistled and said, “You have a good snout, stud.”

Fairfax told Chet what they wanted him to do.

***

Chet knocked on Zipp’s front door. Then he backed up to the edge of Zipp’s porch and whistled. A man with a lively face opened the door and stared at Chet who waved at him and took one step forward like he had something to say. Zipp wore a grin as he jogged toward Chet like he thought they were playing a game. Fairfax and Glew each grabbed him from opposite sides and wrestled him to the floor. Fairfax held him down while Glew found an extension cord and tied his hands. Then he shoved the old sock into his mouth. Zipp kicked and screamed in his own living room while a Roomba vacuum cleaner hummed its way across the hardwood floor.

Fairfax followed Chet into the shed out back where three bicycles and three four-wheelers and a golf cart sat. Fairfax said, “Chet, do you remember where you got all these?”

Chet sighed. “You’re going to return them?”

“That’s right.”

“Man.”

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Chet shifted from one foot to the other and said, “I know, but I did all that work for nothing.”

Fairfax said, “That’s why you put your efforts toward good things, son. Now, come on.”

They loaded up the bikes into Glew’s jeep. They placed Zipp into his closet for safe-keeping and rode around to the houses where Chet had taken the bikes, returning each one to the driveway and driving off. Then Glew ran by his apartment where they switched to Fairfax’s truck. He drove them over in the Bonanza and found that Zipp had nearly busted the lock on his own closet. So Fairfax opened the door and socked Zipp in the jaw. Zipp dropped to the floor. They closed the door back and shoved a bookcase against it.

They loaded up the four-wheelers where Chet revved the first one up on his way to loading it onto the truck bed. Fairfax told him to keep it quiet, but then he breathed in the exhaust fumes. Is there a bigger turn-on?

After returning the four-wheelers to two different residences, they took the golf cart back to the last stop. They got it unloaded down the road and then drove it up the driveway and walked back down the driveway before a man bounded out of the darkness and blocked their path. He wore a cap and a bandana over his mouth and said something but it was muffled.

Fairfax said, “I didn’t get that?”

The man said something else muffled but then he paused. He lowered the bandana and said, “Fairfax?”

Fairfax squinted at him and said, “Cloyd?”

Cloyd stepped off the four-wheeler and embraced him. He said, “Damn, man. What have you been doing with yourself?”

Fairfax said, “Man, I just-

Cloyd stepped back and put a hand on the pistol in his holster and said, “And what in the hell are you doing out here with my golf cart?”

“I’m returning it, Cloyd.”

“So you took it?”

“No.”

“Who did then?” Cloyd studied Chet and Glew and said, “Which of these two did it?”

Chet lowered his head.

Fairfax said, “Neither of them. They were helping me return it.”

Chet looked up with his mouth open.

Cloyd said, “But where did you find it? And how did you even know it was gone?”

“You know how it goes,” Fairfax said. “I came across it and I’d heard you had it stolen and put two and two together. It is yours. Right?”

Cloyd nodded and said, “Hell yeah, it’s mine. It’s got that dent in the back. It’s got to be mine.”

“Now you have it back.”

Cloyd studied them all and said, “Well…thank you.”

Fairfax said, “You’re more than welcome. Glew, Chet, meet Cloyd Cleek, owner of Golden Stream Outdoors Store.”

The boys all shook hands. Cloyd thanked them, although he did return his hand to the holster when they left.

On the ride to Chet’s house, Chet said, “Man, I thought that guy was going to kill us back there.” He turned to Fairfax and said, “Thanks for covering for me.”

Fairfax bit into a stick of beef jerky and filled his mouth with meaty spices and said, “Sure. Cloyd’s a nice guy but there are other folks out there who would hurt you and hurt you bad, Chet. You’re young. Get out of this stuff now. Of course, it’s not like you got any choice now that Zipp knows you betrayed him. Do you think he’ll make any trouble for you?”

“I don’t think so. He knows where I live but his mom is friends with my mom. If he did anything, his mom would never forgive him and I don’t think he wants that. He’s not a good guy but he loves his mom. He mentions her a lot.”

They dropped Chet off a few houses down the street from his Mom’s place. Fairfax nudged Glew and said, “Give him some money.”

Glew drew back and said, “What? Why? He’s a thief.”

Fairfax said, “Yeah, a thief who just helped us return everything he stole for nothing. Give him something.”

Glew shook his head and handed Chet fifty bucks and said, “Here you go, kid. Keep your nose clean.”

Chet smiled at the money and then looked up at Glew. Glew said, “No, really. You have dirt all over your nose.”

Chet wiped the dirt away and said, “Zipp pays me way more than this.”

Glew said, “Well go work for him then.”

Fairfax nudged him and said, “Cough up a little more, man.”

Glew scoffed and handed the kid another fifty.

Chet did a back-flip and cheered. Then he said, “Thanks!” He wiped his nose again and ran for home.

***

Fairfax drove them toward Pardon You Apartments. On the way, Glew said, “Wow. Now this is worth doing, Fairfax. Man, you were awesome. Such a stud!”

Fairfax said, “Appreciate it, bud.”

“Man, we found a thief with the bait and then got the big boy Zipp, too. The cops around here aren’t doing what we do. But do you worry about Zipp? About him coming after us?”

“He’s locked up and he’ll figure his way out. He’ll be mad about it but he lost Chet and he’ll have to find somebody else to steal for him now. He has a pretty nice place. Obviously he does something else. He’s got to know how close he came to getting caught and locked up. Really, he got off easy.”

“He lost all of his merchandise.”

“He’ll get over it and if he doesn’t, that’s too bad. He doesn’t know who we are and Chet doesn’t either really.”

Fairfax stopped at a stop sign. A Siberian Husky stared at them from the yard beside them. When they started off, the beast ran alongside them for several moments. Fairfax slowed down and the Husky followed along even further and then it barked and ran back toward the house.

Glew said, “Man, this is so awesome! I do kind of wish we got paid for it, though.”

“Maybe one day, Glew. At least we can set some things right for now.”

“Yeah, man. I’m going to go call my new girl. I won’t tell her about this, though. I figure we need to keep this under our hats.”

Fairfax said, “For now and maybe forever. Folks can be funny about understanding sometimes. But sleep well. Heck, there are going to be some happy folks tomorrow thanks to us.”

He dropped Glew off. Glew said he was going to meet his new lady friend and then he popped a mint into his mouth and when he shook Fairfax’s hand, he breathed a minty cloud on him. Fairfax asked him for one and Glew gave it to him. Fairfax popped it into his mouth and sucked on it. Glew jammed out to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” when he drove away. Fairfax drove by Urlene who stared at him the whole time again. She also kept her hand over her mouth while speaking on the phone again. Fairfax honked his horn at her. She threw her hands up at him. At least someone’s paying attention to what’s going on. He smiled and left.

After returning home, he sat up on his porch for a while but then he slept in his bed. When he woke up the next morning, he put on coffee to brewing and peeked outside. He said, “What in the…”

He walked down to his driveway where a pair of Yamaha four-wheelers sat side-by-side. A Grizzly and a Raptor. A Card was attached to the Grizzly. He opened it up and a pop-up smacked his nose. The pop-up was of a man flexing huge muscles. He shook his head and read:

I never thought I’d see that golf cart again. My grandfather bought it for me before he passed. I’m awful sick of folks stealing around here. Here’s a little thanks for shining a ray of hope over things.

Cloyd

Fairfax called Glew and said, “You know, about our work last night…”

Glew said, “Yeah?”

“And how you think it wasn’t going to pay off?”

Glew groaned and said, “Yeah. Why?”

Fairfax said, “I’ve got a good feeling that it will.”

Glew said, “It’s fine, stud. I’m not worried.”

“You’re not?”

“No,” Glew said. “Because I just got a call about a paying gig.”

Making the World a Better Place

I write about a couple of guys named Fairfax and Glew. They seek to clean up the town of Hookville, Tennessee. They believe in justice and above all, helping people. And I have found no better way of helping this world than giving to Saint Jude Children’s Hospital.

Most of us are very lucky in our daily pursuits and lives. We have more than perhaps people ever have had throughout human history. However when a child has the terrible disease of cancer, it ripples through their lives and their parents’ lives onto so many others. Making the world a better place is all about helping others and I can’t think of any finer organization to do just that.

Please give today. Even the smallest amount provides a family with hope.

Thank you.

https://www.stjude.org/

250 and Counting…

Well, folks, I reached 250 sales for Fairfax & Glew Volume 1 yesterday. I’m very happy to reach this goal. I’m also very glad that 250 folks have enjoyed these Fairfax and Glew stories and I hope to entertain many, many more. Here’s to future sales and readers! Thank you all so much!

250!!!

A New Kind of Vigilante

I’ve read numerous books and stories about vigilantes. Some wear masks and fight crime as super-heroes. Others wear no cool costumes. They just go out and bust up criminals. Others even shoot criminals like Paul Kersey from Death Wish. And there’s Dexter who kills other serial killers in seclusion. All are interesting but well, they’re usually taking on pretty serious stuff. Batman’s villains are usually up to some very dastardly stuff, even involving murder sometimes. Kersey’s victims were thieves and murderers. Dexter’s were other serial killers. This is all well and good but what about a vigilante who goes after the more petty stuff?

In the normal course of a day, many things can get on your nerves. Litter bugs and rude people and so forth. I like to envision vigilantes who do something about these types of people. I’ve held the door open for folks at the store before. Most people are polite and thank me. Others are not so polite. Some are downright rude. This always gets me. I mean, I’m taking the time to help you out even though I don’t know you. Do I expect a thank you in return? I don’t expect it, especially now, but it sure would be nice to get that. I’d like a vigilante who opens doors and calls out those ungrateful folks who say nothing. It’s not huge but can it be good enough to hold a reader’s attention? I can tell you that it would grab my attention in a hurry and I’d keep reading.

Of course, now we get into the realm of vigilantes who take care of heavier stuff but they also do things like this during less tense moments of the story to keep it moving. I really like these smaller moments because I think they relate more to the common person. I’ve never been close to a murder but I’ve definitely had the experience of rude people. We all have. So I don’t know. Fairfax and Glew battle smaller thieves and more petty stuff which I love writing but I also can envision a vigilante who steps in and does the small stuff like this.

What do you guys think? Would stories about small stuff like this appeal to you?

Revised

Every new activity I do as a writer is another hill I’ve climbed. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Anyway, I have gone back over Fairfax & Glew: Volume 1. Instead of five stories, there are now eleven. Instead of no stories giving Fairfax and Glew proper introductions, I have now included one. And instead of a super-short read that you can finish off in an hour, this version might actually take you two hours. An hour and a half at least. I hope you guys enjoy!!

Coffee Twister

Folger raised his fist. Then he drew in a few breaths. A few blinks later, he tapped on the black door.

Wow.

The door creaked open just from a few taps.

The man greeted him and removed his glasses.

Folger said, “Stewart?”

“Stew,” the man said, putting on a warm smile.

“I’d like to…I mean…what I…it is your coffee maker.”

Stewart pointed to another part of the house which lay hidden behind the door. “The special coffee maker?”

“That’s right.”

“And,” Stewart said. “How would you know about my special coffee maker?”

“Oh darn. Yes. I haven’t told you. I believe you know my father, Tupper. You’re friends with him?”

“Yeah…yeah, I know Tupper. Heck, I didn’t even know you were grown now. Come on inside. How’s he been doing?”

Folger followed Stewart inside and sniffed the air. “Dad’s great.”

“Good, I’m glad to-

“Oh my God,” Folger said. “Is this the masterpiece?”

Folger descended on the coffee maker which sat on the kitchen island.

Heavens, what a thing of beauty.

Glass siphons comprised the top of the coffee maker. They held a green tint to them, giving the appearance that the coffee glowed green. The glass pipes leading down to the cup formed a credit card-sized dollar sign. A hot green river of deliciousness.

Stewart chuckled and poured a cup full and handed it over to Folger and then he filled one for himself and took in the aroma and enjoyed a long sip and said, “Ah. Now that is coffee.”

Folger smelled the coffee and then closed his eyes and drank. He grimaced and spat the coffee back into the cup. “What is this?”

Stewart frowned. “It’s a Robusta and Arabica blend. Quite delicious.”

Folger wiped his lips and shook his head. “No. You must go with pure Viatnamese Excelsa. This fine machine shouldn’t be filled with that crap.”

“Crap?”

Folger said, “I’ll buy it and give it a proper home.”

“Hold on.”

Folger held up his hand. “No. No. Despite your mistreatment, I’ll give you a fine price. You deserve it…for the machine at least.”

Stewart said, “It’s not for sale.”

“I will offer you double the price. Come, now. You are an engineer. You can produce another one.”

Stewart patted the fine machine. “I put a lot of work into this one, young man. I don’t want to make another one. This one is perfect for me.”

“We have connections, Dad and I. We can organize you a team to do the work. It will be great. I can’t wait to share a cup of this fine brew with him. He’s going to love it.”

“No,” Stewart said. “I won’t sell it.”

“Everything is negotiable.”

“Some things aren’t.”

Folger stroked the fine machine. Drool fell from his bottom lip onto his shirt but he didn’t touch it. The drool held a magical quality-the kind of drool that must have cascaded down Edison’s lips when he finally got the light bulb just right.

Stewart stepped between Folger and the machine.

Folger said, “What are you doing?”

“I’m keeping you from humping my machine.”

“Humping? Come, now. There’s no reason to use such a foul word for this occasion.”

“There is no occasion. You’re not buying my machine.”

“But I must! I love coffee. My price is more than fair. Dad will pay it. In cash even! Now, I’ll just take it back and show him.”

Stewart blocked the machine.

Folger reached around him.

Stewart pushed him.

Folger said, “What are you doing? If Dad saw this-

“I’ll be happy to talk to Tupper about it. Have him call me. Now you need to leave my house.”

“But why won’t you sell?”

“I already told you why. Now go.”

Folger swallowed. “Listen, civilization only exists because men can make deals with one another. Otherwise we become savages. We should be civilized about this for your…our, safety. Correct?”

Stewart started dialing on his phone. “You can’t have civilization without the police.”

Folger left.

When he talked to Dad, he almost told him about Stewart’s ridiculous actions but he decided against it. Dad often took Stewart’s side or anybody’s side over his. The old man made sense on a lot of things but he still looked at Folger as if he were a child. Folger would be twenty-three in ten and a half months. How can he be a twenty-three-year-old child? Dad didn’t know everything.

This required further negotiations or else civilization just might have to break down for a minute.

***

Fairfax parked his truck a few houses down the street from Stew’s home. Glew got out of his silver Taurus and walked over to him. He carried a small case. Fairfax pointed to it and said, “What’s that all about?”

Glew held up the case. “It’s my pool stick. Glew’s cue, my man. This stick has won many a billiard game. And more than a few dates.”

Fairfax shut his truck door. “We’re here to work.”

“Yeah, yeah. But Stew’s got a pool table. It’s in the center of the house and it’s not even visible from the street.”

“You start clacking them balls into each other…an intruder might sneak up on us.”

“I’ll take my time between shots. I need to work on my game. It’s been a while. You can play, too.”

“I ain’t ever been any good at it.”

“There’s only one way to get better.”

They walked to Stew’s house. It sat in the middle of a street in a decent part of town. Most of these folks made upper-middle-class money. Many of the houses stood two stories tall but they wouldn’t catch your eye. Stew’s mechanical engineer salary he earned at Rubber-Dub-Dub Specialty Wheels and Tires Company made him comfortable or as comfortable as a divorced guy can be. He’d asked Fairfax to watch over his place for the weekend. When you start house sitting and protecting folks’ homes from thieves, word gets around quickly. Fairfax preferred to sit in the dark of the home and just listen. When nothing happened, you got a lot of time to think and relax. When someone did break in, you got to bust him up and run him off. What’s not to like?

Glew did not possess Fairfax’s focus. His attention would collapse into news feeds or games on his phone or he would have to snack on some Goobers or fidget around which usually led to noise- not ideal for the official private detective of the duo.

After Fairfax picked the lock on the back door and got them inside, Glew walked in behind him and pointed to the security system. “Did he give you the code?”

“Stew disarmed it before he left which was about twenty minutes ago.”

“Thirty,” Glew said. “He pulled out when I parked.”

“I love an open house.”

“You think he’ll get hit? I mean the last two house jobs haven’t turned up anything. Maybe the thieves are figuring us out.”

“Stew grinned at me when he asked me to do the job. I think he knows something we don’t.”

“You don’t think he’s setting us up?”

“No, he’s always been a good fellow. His drinking got a little out of hand over the divorce but it’s been a couple of years now. I think he just has an enemy out there.”

“Don’t we all?”

“You and I have plenty at this point. I just hope they’re too stupid to figure us out.”

They climbed the carpeted stairs while shadows covered the coffee bean twist color. Glew turned on the billiard room light. Fairfax flipped it back off.

Glew said, “Come on, stud. What are you doing?”

Fairfax flipped on the pool table light above. “Only the necessary light.”

“I have a stick,” Glew said. “You? You are a stick. And you stand in mud a lot.”

“Shut up and shoot.”

Glew removed his cue from the case and screwed the two ends together, forming “Glew’s cue”. “You sure you don’t want to play?”

Fairfax sat on the floor with his back to the wall. “Maybe later.”

“Watch and learn then.”

Glew racked the balls for an eight-ball game. He shot and clinked off the cue ball which moved three inches to the right and rolled to a sad stop.

Fairfax said, “I’m no expert but I’ve heard you’re supposed to chalk the cue’s tip.”

Glew twisted the cue’s tip into a blue chalk square and said, “Your no-talking rule sounds good right now.”

***

Cathy shut her front door and she didn’t ease it shut either. Ham always wants her to stay close by him but half the time the big lug sleeps in his recliner with his keg belly hung out, looking like a freshly-glazed piece of hog in the oven on Christmas day. She wanted to stretch her legs and if he woke up and found her gone, then he could just deal with it. A good boyfriend wants to do things with his woman.

She walked up the street, dressed in overalls and cowgirl boots. The weather called for a light jacket but heck. Sitting around wrapped up in a throw like so many gals do never appealed to her. How could you have any fun wrapped up in a permanent straight jacket?

A car slowed down close to her. The driver leaned his head out of his window, gawking at her. That slug kept time with the easy chick who lived down on the corner. Did he know that five other dudes visited her on the regular? At this moment, he only thought of Cathy or so his eyes indicated. As low-down as that chick could be, she deserved something better than that ugly mug. Cathy stopped and stared at him. His little hint of a smile remained. She threw her hands up at him, wearing a stern expression. The driver dropped the smile and puttered away.

Yeah.

He got the message, the old buzzard.

She walked on ahead.

Well, hold on, now.

That truck- a bicentennial Chevy Bonanza- powder blue with some red and white and blue design on the doors, in celebration of the USA’s birthday.

That truck could only belong to one man in this town.

Let’s see.

He wouldn’t be at the house right there. He didn’t tolerate such snooty folks’ company long. He wouldn’t even be at the next house up either. The man who lived there didn’t allow any visitors ever. He probably hid something but he kept his secret so hidden that any chance of figuring it out remained hidden.

That next house up there, though.

Stew’s house.

Stew would be his kind of speed.

She stuffed her hands in her pockets and walked in a bee-line to Stew’s house. She peeked through the windows. It looked vacant. She tried the front door. It opened. She stepped back. Why would she just try the door without knocking? Was she losing it?

Well, she had walked in here a few times when visiting Stew.

Still, this house held that vacant creepy vibe and here the door just opens right up?

She pulled the pepper spray from her pocket and stepped inside and said, “Stew?”

***

Glew dropped the nine-ball in the side pocket. Fairfax whistled. “Man, at that angle, I didn’t think you could do it.”

Glew chalked his cue. “When are you ever gonna realize that doubting me is pointless?”

Someone opened the front door and called out Stew’s name.

Fairfax killed the light and hunkered down.

Glew got down as well, holding his cue by the top end so he could swing the broad side at somebody’s head…or shoulder…or well any body part really.

Fairfax peered into the hallway. Glew duck-walked to the other side of the doorway. Each man watched for movement. They gave each other nods. Then Fairfax slipped into the hallway, keeping low. Glew followed six feet behind him, holding his cue with both hands. Fairfax peeped around the corner.

The front door stood open. The intruder stood with his knees bent and his hands out. He held something in his left hand.

Pepper spray?

What was that smell?

Pantene?

A very alluring Pantene shampoo?

Was that a woman?

He looked back at Glew who raised his eyebrows at him.

Fairfax shook his head.

He called out, “Cathy?”

Then he stood up.

Glew’s mouth hung open. Fairfax motioned him toward the billiard room but Glew didn’t move. Fairfax leaned toward him and whispered, “Get back in there.”

However, Cathy drowned him out when she said, “George! Where are you at? Where’s Stew?”

Glew said, “Huh?”

Fairfax smirked and flipped on the light in the billiard room.

“I thought that was too much light,” Glew said.

Fairfax sloomped down the stairs until he met Cathy halfway.

“Little sis.”

She said, “Big bro” in a deep voice. “How are you?”

She stirred a heap of southern sweetness into those last three words. Fairfax embraced her. She kissed him on the jaw and then gave him a little shove. “Where have you been keeping yourself?”

“I don’t keep. I move around so I won’t spoil.”

She cackled. “You nut.”

He swallowed and glanced at the front door and then back at her. “How did you know I was here?”

“Please,” she said. “You’re the only one on Earth that owns that truck.”

“Oh. Right.” He shut the front door. “You live kind of close to here?”

She rolled her eyes. “You might know if you paid me a visit sometime.”

“I…have been…busy and um…”

“Save it for your wife, if you ever get one. Anyway, Ham’s laid up on his worthless butt. So I went out for a walk. Where’s Stew?”

“Um, he’s out of town.”

She shrugged. “You’re just house sitting for him?”

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

She scanned the room. “Are you allowed to have light?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, but I’ve just been hanging out in the pool room upstairs.”

“I got time for a game. I always could whoop your butt.”

Fairfax returned to the billiard room with Cathy trailing behind. “That sounds good,” he said. He pointed toward Glew and said, “But you’ll have to beat him first.”

She stepped in just as Glew pulled the rack off the balls. Fairfax picked out a cue from the rack on the wall and offered it to Cathy but she slapped it away and picked out her own. Then she stared at Glew. “So big boy, you like a challenge?”

Glew smiled at her. “I sure do.”

He proffered his hand toward her.

She slapped it away.

“We’ll shake when it’s over. How does that sound?”

“I like it.”

Fairfax said, “Cathy, Glew. Glew, Cathy, my sister.”

Glew kept his eyes locked on her. “You’re related to Fairfax? I’m sorry. That must be painful.”

She sunk the five ball and smirked at Fairfax but spoke to Glew when she said, “You have to just make do with what you’ve got.”

She dropped the three and then the four and then the six. She chalked her cue and said, “I guess you should sit down. You won’t be getting a shot.”

Glew kept standing and said, “You’re about to miss.”

“Is that so?”

“You said you ‘guess’ I should sit down. You’ve got doubt, little lady.”

She got into position for a shot on the one-ball. She drew the cue back.

“Go ahead,” Glew said.

She shifted her gaze from the ball over to Glew.

The front door opened again.

Fairfax killed the light.

Glew got down with his cue in position.

Cathy opened her mouth but Fairfax covered it and whispered, “Take it easy. We’re protecting Stew’s house from intruders. Be quiet. Okay?”

She spoke behind his hand.

Fairfax shook her. “Quiet. Okay?”

Someone stirred downstairs.

She patted his hand. When he let her go, she got her own cue into fighting position.

Thank you for reading! For the rest of this story and four more Fairfax and Glew tales, follow the link below and check out Fairfax & Glew Volume Tew! Thank you again and happy reading!!!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08F5HT77T?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_calw_1&storeType=ebooks

What a Book!

What a book!

Good pacing, solid structure, developed characters, corny names…very corny names.
Relaxing and yet stimulating…
This may not end well but I want to keep reading…
Woohoo! What a read!
Aw, dang, piggy.

If you’ve got an hour to kill, I recommend this book, along with a pot of coffee.

Axe Kick

Fairfax stirred his fireplace with his poker. The birch logs crackled. Sparks flew up. Glew slept on the sofa while an episode of Archer played on Netflix. Glew had insisted on watching something even though Fairfax rarely turned on his TV and had no subscription to any streaming service. So Glew started Fairfax an account and tacked it onto his monthly bill. Considering he was worth millions, he would probably be okay.

Fairfax stared out the window. The snow fell hard on his yard and on his truck and of course, on Glew’s car. Glew mentioned nothing about spending the night. He never checked the forecast either. Now he would pay for this. Fairfax smiled to himself. The city boy hated being stuck in the country. He could wake Glew up.

Yeah.

He could.

A pair of headlights made its slow way along the road. It couldn’t have been going more than twenty miles an hour. Good harsh conditions show people their own toughness or well, lack of toughness. He’d been stuck in the cold plenty of times. Of course, snow was not common in Tennessee- even in January. As a kid, a couple of dudes locked him out of a sleep-over one time. They giggled inside in the warm comfort of the house. Fairfax managed to build himself a small fire with a match he found on the bottom of one of his friend’s shoes. From there, he had a pretty good time for himself. Hours later, they checked on him and invited him inside. He smiled and slept like a baby while a few of them woke up with colds the next day.

From then on, Fairfax tended to spend some time out in the cold whenever the temperature dropped in a big way. Why not? He could gauge his own toughness. If nothing else, it’s so peaceful.

Glew grunted. “Oh, man. Archer’s at it again. He…hey! What’s that?”

Glew sat up and wiped his eyes. “That’s not…oh, man.”

He drew the “man” out for a few seconds.

Fairfax said, “You’re stuck with me, old buddy.”

“Aw, man. I was going to go out tonight. A client was getting out. This guy has all kinds of friends and lots of ladies hanging around. He invited me out and yet, here I sit with a blizzard on the way.”

Fairfax poked at the fire. “Sounds like a good time.”

“Yeah. Damn. Maybe I could call a wrecker. He could hook my car up and drive me to the bar. What do you think? Want to go?”

Fairfax set the poker down. “I had another idea.”

***

The two twin four-wheelers sat there side-by-side. A pair of cammo beasts ready to ride off into the night. Fairfax and Glew had protected a lady’s house from a couple of bums. She rewarded them with the four-wheelers she acquired in a divorce which stemmed from another bum trying to get into her house after numerous affairs. That man’s loss is their gain. One look at the machines switched Glew’s priorities like a light. Fairfax pulled his gloves on. Glew shook his head. “You wear gloves but no sleeves?”

Fairfax climbed onto his four-wheeler. “It’s called style.”

Glew slid onto the seat of his beast. “If you say so.”

He took off through the backyard.

Fairfax followed.

The snow pelted Fairfax’s face. Glew wore a baseball cap but Fairfax wore nothing on his head. He’d never gotten into wearing a hat of any kind. The icy breeze covered his arms as he sped through the yard on into the woods behind them. He slowed his pace, picking his way through trees. Glew took a different route and got stuck by a frozen creek at one point. Fairfax waved to him and kept on going.

Once he got out of the woods, he crossed the snow-covered road to the other side where he passed through a field as the snowfall increased. The flakes covered his eyebrows and nose. He licked some flakes off his top lip.

He passed through another stretch of woods. Then he stopped and killed the engine.

A two-story house stood just beyond the woods. People talked and yelled and laughed. The lights blazed forth from the windows. Plumes of his breath floated up into the sky and then vanished. Glew rode up behind him. He revved the engine. “Get a move-on!”

Fairfax motioned for him to kill his engine. Glew did so and listened. “Wow. There’s a party after all! Let’s check it out.”

***

Micah walked upstairs to the first bedroom on the right. There were eleven folks present at this little get-together, including his friend Colton who kept watch. Micah peeked inside. The light was off. So he turned on his phone’s flashlight and kept the beam aimed at the floor. He walked through and searched until he found the goods- a Playstation 4 and an Xbox.

Yes.

He detached them from the TV and slipped them into his bag. He bumped into the bed frame. He put his hand over his mouth. This would stifle any noise. Colton kept a good watch. He had these people where he wanted them. The snow provided the perfect cover. This is where his weather app paid off. He scanned the room with his light until he spotted an LG laptop.

Right on the money.

He scooped it into the bag.

Colton coughed downstairs.

Micah left the bedroom and shut the door behind him. Then he placed the bag in the hall closet. Colton kept on coughing. Someone walked around downstairs.

Micah walked down the stairs. Colton glimpsed at him and then walked into the kitchen. Micah followed him. Two of the women cracked open a bottle of wine and toasted to the two handsome men in the room. Colton grabbed his own glass and toasted to himself and Micah. They offered him a glass but Micah turned it down. He still smiled, though. It is best to keep these people at ease.

The women giggled and looked at them. The one said, “We’re not talking about you two dorks.”

Colton said, “Sure you are.”

The one said, “There’s two studs outside that pulled up on four-wheelers.”

No.

This wasn’t part of the plan.

Micah walked to the window. Colton joined him. One lanky guy rode a four-wheeler in the yard, carving out doughnuts. Micah could kick him right off that ride.

The other guy though was stockier and wore no sleeves out in this icy rural hell. He sat on his four-wheeler watching the lanky guy but still. He watched everybody else at the same time. He would be tougher to deal with if it came down to it. He probably wasn’t a cop but he had been in combat of some kind.

Colton said, “What do you think?”

Micah watched the two women in the kitchen pause by the door. He motioned toward them. Colton said, “Y’all ain’t running back out there already.”

The one said, “Yeah we are! Dorks!”

They giggled their way outside.

Colton said, “So?”

Micah said, “I do not know. They may be up to something. I have the merchandise in the hall closet, secured safely behind coats.”

“You want to head out now?”

“No. Let’s step outside and determine the risk factor.”

“Um. Sure, dude.”

“What?”

Colton chuckled.

“You’ve got to loosen up out there. You’re too like, business sounding. We’re here for fun. Right?”

“Fun. Yes. Yes. You are correct. Okay. I will blow caution to the wind and have a good old time with these people. Or these, folks. That is it. Folks.”

They put their jackets and beanies on and stepped outside on the now white front lawn.

***

Glew spun the four-wheeler around yet again. When he stopped, he looked around. The snow had stopped. He howled into the air. The others joined him. And that brunette gave him the eye. He gave her the eye right back. He drove over to her. Then he revved the engine a few times. She laughed. “You sure know how to make that beast purr.”

Glew adjusted his cap. “Yeah. That’s what I do.”

She smiled and directed her focus up to the house. On the second floor maybe?

Fairfax rode over. The brunette looked at Fairfax and then at Glew. “So who are you guys? I’m Lori.”

Glew said, “I’m Wally. That’s Fairfax.”

Lori’s eyes bulged. “Wally. I like that. Fairtax?”

Fairfax shook his head.

Glew said, “Yeah. He catches hell over it.”

The other folks all stood around bouncing a beach ball across the yard in a circle. There were four guys and two ladies. Two other women made snow angels on the other side of the yard. Glew pointed at them. “So y’all are having a beach party in the snow?”

Lori said, “We are. Want to join in?”

Glew said, “You bet. Come on, Fairtax.”

Fairfax grunted and stepped off the four-wheeler. Lori took Glew’s hand. Glew winked at her. She led him over to the circle. He looked back. Fairfax stood over by Glew’s four-wheeler. “Fairtax! What are you doing?”

Fairfax ambled toward them.

Lori said, “Isn’t he cold with no sleeves on?”

“Nah, he’s one hell of a man.”

She said, “Kind of like you. Huh?”

Glew said, “Well, I-

The beach ball bounced off his face. A few of the guys laughed. Glew studied the group. Now there were six guys and three girls, counting Lori of course. The two guys laughing were new. Where had they come from?

Fairfax came up behind Glew and said, “Great defense, Walter.”

Lori said, “Walter?”

Glew rubbed his cheek. “It’s Wally.”

They bounced the ball around the circle. The other guys seemed younger from the way they spoke. Maybe early twenties or even late teens. The two guys over there though seemed different. They kept watching Fairfax and himself. The other guys just bounced the ball.

Fairfax jumped in and protected Glew from getting beaned again. He nudged him. “Get your head in the game, Walter.”

Lori stood close to him. She was warming up which was fine, but he needed to let Fairfax know about those guys. He always picks up on this stuff and yet here he played along with his focus on the ball.

They played the bouncing game for a while with Lori moving closer to Glew. He bumped her hip with his own. She bumped him back and smiled. Any other time, this would be great.

One of the guys spiked the ball into the center of the circle and yelled, “It’s beer-thirty! Who wants one?”

From there, the group broke into small factions. The two women who’d been making snow angels bounced the ball between them.

Lori said, “Do you two live around here?”

Fairfax said, “A few fields away.”

She looked up at the sky. “The snow may be coming back. Y’all want to go inside?”

Fairfax said, “Sure.”

Glew watched the other two guys who stood by the porch talking. He said, “Lori, you go ahead. I need to ask Fairtax here a question.”

She paused.

“Secrets don’t make friends, Walter.”

Fairfax chuckled.

Glew looked at her. “So we’re friends now?”

She said, “If you’re lucky.”

Glew said, “I’m always lucky.”

Glew draped an arm over Fairfax’s shoulders. “Walk with me for a second, pal.”

Lori said, “Well since you two boys want to be alone…”

She walked toward the door, holding her hand out for fresh snow.

Fairfax said, “What’s up?”

“Those two guys by the steps. They keep watching us.”

“No shit. Why do you think I got these?”

He held up both sets of four-wheeler keys.

Glew said, “Oh. Good work. We should keep an eye on them.”

“Will do. You go on inside with the lady.”

“I almost want to stay out here.”

“You? Really?”

“I know. Maybe the winter is messing with me. I’ll head inside but I’ll keep my eyes open.”

***

Thank you so much for reading. For the rest of this story and for four more Fairfax & Glew crime tales, follow the link below and check out Fairfax & Glew Volume 1. Thank you and happy reading!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084LBRR67/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?keywords=fairfax+%26+glow&qid=1581192688&sr=8-2-fkmr0