Noir (From Thereby Hangs A Tail)
“Chill, Thurman,” said Crash. “You’re gonna screw up the whole – “
“No one tells me to chill,” Thurman said. And all at once he took a big roundhouse swing at Crash. I wouldn’t have thought Crash capable of moving real fast, but he was. He ducked, just like that, almost quicker than I could see. I’ve only had one encounter with a duck, and it didn’t duck at all, attacked me, in fact, so I don’t get the ducking thing; but that’s another story. Thurman swung. Crash ducked. And Thurman’s huge fist caught Disco square on the chin. He toppled over and lay still.
Thurman moved on Crash. Crash backed away, ending up against the RV, no place to go. “A hundred and seventy-five bucks or you’re next,” he said.
“Don’t have that kind of bread right now,” Crash said. “And this is a real bad time for you to – “
“Then I’m takin’ the dog,” Thurman said. He wheeled around toward me. I growled. I hated the choke chain and never forgot things like that.
“Not an option,” Bernie said.
Thurman faced Bernie. “You stay out of this,” he said. “The dog’s bought and paid for.”
Bernie moved slightly, stepping between me and Thurman. “When did this happen?” he said.
“None of your business. Take my word for it.”
“Don’t hear too good, do you, pal?” said Thurman.
“Anywhere near Red Butte, by any chance?” Bernie said.
“You lookin’ for trouble?” Thurman’s eye twitch got going.
“Trouble’s already here,” Bernie said. “Now the only question is how it gets handled.”
Down on the ground, Disco moaned and began to stir.
“You’ll get handled, you don’t get out of my way,” said Thurman.
Bernie didn’t budge. “And I hear just fine, by the way,” he said. Huh? Bernie really thought that? “Sharp enough to pick up the sound of a loser.”
Thurman’s mouth opened. All that black hairy beard and then a very red tongue in the middle: it had a strange effect on me, made me feel like scrapping. At the same time, I noticed Crash sidling toward the cab of the RV. I sidled over with him. He looked at me and mouthed some word. Mouthed, like with no sound. What was I supposed to make of that? I had enough trouble with ordinary sounded-out words; if you weren’t careful, you could get impatient with humans sometimes. I showed Crash my teeth, didn’t know what else to do. He stopped sidling.
Admin: to see the Little Detective Agency business card, please scroll down to January 16.
Also, to Megan and Lisa Trotter – no mailing addresses have come in yet, re sending out your pop quiz prizes.
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