PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…
Part 1 – Jake gets a late night visit from Attorney Donnelly. Our resident gumshoe freaks out when Ms. Tsang comes home after midnight with a new beau.
AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…
From the moth eaten pocket of my trench coat, I produced a worn out black and white photograph. It was of yours truly standing next to an Asian couple and their eight year old daughter, a precocious kiddo with a wide smile and pig tails.
I handed it over to Ms. Donnelly.
Susan Tsang, Hatcher’s Secret Niece/Unpaid Landlady
“You’re kidding,” was her reply.
“So she’s your…who is she to you exactly?”
“An adopted niece of sorts,” I said. “When my first marriage went up in a cloud of smoke and I was given the bum’s rush off the police force, I didn’t have two wooden nickels to rub together. Ms. Tsang’s old man Joe was a buddy of mine in the war. I saved his hide a few times and he was so grateful that he let me use the room upstairs as my office.”
“How old is she in this photo?”
“Ahh let’s see,” I said. “That was actually taken in 1955. Same year I went under for the fifty-nine year nap. She’d of been eight years old I think.”
Ms. Donnelly handed the picture back and I took another look at it.
“Jumpin’ Jehosaphat,” I said. “That little kid who used to run around this place is older than dirt now.”
“I understand the mathematics of it all,” Delilah said. “Technically, you’ve been alive for ninety-five years, but since you never aged past your mid-thirties, it just seems an odd sight to me to watch you lecture a woman who looks like she could be your mother.”
I tucked the photo back in my pocket for safe keeping.
“I surely do miss Joe and Evelyn,” I said. “They were two of the good ones. Let me use that room for years until my private investigation business began turning a profit. I started paying them rent when I was able to afford it. Kind of feel like a heel that I’m not able to now.”
“Perhaps you’ll find a few more clients with pockets deeper than Mr. Battler’s.”
It was a nice thought, but who’d hire a bum like me other than a second rate cheapskate Interwhatever scribe?
“Perhaps I will, Ms. Donnelly. Perhaps I will.”
“You consider her a niece,” Ms. Donnelly said. “Yet you refer to her as, ‘Ms. Tsang?'”
“To keep up appearances,” I answered. “It’s not like I can walk around and tell people this woman who appears much older than I am is like a kid to me.”
“Some advice that you may take or leave at your leisure,” Ms. Donnelly said. “But she’s not a child anymore and maybe you shouldn’t treat her as such.”
Jake Hatcher, Pop Culture Detective/Secret Uncle
“You’re right,” I said. “Hell, she kept this whole restaurant afloat after her parents passed on and took care of me while I was sleeping in the room upstairs for decades, so I should give her a little bit of credit. Still, it’s hard not to worry about her when she’s out on the town.”
“I suppose a parent’s worries never end,” Ms. Donnelly said. “Or an adoptive uncle’s.”
“I trust you’ll keep this tidbit between us,” I said. “I’ve only shared it with you because of your trustworthy character, Ms. Donnelly.”
“Mum is the word, Mr. Hatcher. Mum is the word.”
Delilah stood up, prompting me to do the same.
“If you’ll excuse me, I must be off. I have to catch a two a.m. flight to Monte Carlo.”
“France,” I said. “Wow, Mr. Battler is pulling out all the stops.”
“Business for another client,” Delilah said. “There are people to work for other than Mr. Battler, Mr. Hatcher. You should try it sometime.”
I held the door open for the lady.
“I’m touched that you trusted me enough to share the truth behind your relationship with Ms. Tsang ,” Delilah said as she walked out the door.
A taxi cab was waiting for her.
“Touched enough to grab a bite to eat with me sometime?”
“Not that touched.”
“Of course,” I said. “Good night, Ms. Donnelly.”
“Good night, Mr. Hatcher.”
I waited and watched until Ms. Donnelly was safely inside the cab and on her way before shutting the door and returning to the table.
I picked up the bottle.
“At least you never turn me down,” I said as I poured a shot.
I swigged it back and opened the envelope. A new letter from Mr. Battler.
A teenage boy. A crazy wild-haired scientist. A limited edition sports car that travels through time when it is driven at precisely eighty-eight miles per hour.
Doc Brown and Marty McFly entertained and thrilled audiences in the three part Back to the Future trilogy. Together, the duo went on an adventure that took them to the 1950’s (which probably doesn’t seem so bad to you), a highly optimistic version of this year, 2015 (will scientists ever figure out how to rehydrate a pizza?) and even to the Old West.
One question the films failed to answer – how the hell did these two know each other in the first place?
I mean, honestly, three movies and not one peep about what kind of a relationship they had.
I’ve got to know, Hatcher. Figure this out.
Bookshelf Q. Battler
What a segue way. Just moments earlier, I’d been discussing with Ms. Donnelly the nature of my relationship with Ms. Tsang and now Mr. Battler wanted an explanation of the relationship between a teenage time traveler and a mad scientist.
It was so convenient that it might as well have been written for the benefit of an Interwhatever site read by 3.5 readers.
And by the way, 3.5 readers, if you could keep the secret about Ms. Tsang under your hat, I’d appreciate it. I never tell anyone because the last thing I need is for one of the criminals I’ve encountered to use information like that against me.
There are plenty of degenerates out there who are more than willing to hurt a fella’s loved ones just to get at him.
Luckily, only 3.5 people are reading this, so the secret should be safe.
Jake, we really need you to get to Doc and Marty.
Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.