Daily Archives: February 18, 2019

Mack Smasher: Renegade Straw Cop – Chapter 13

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It wasn’t exactly an out of body experience, but all the same, I sat back and watched as firefighters pulled my hide out of the deflated wreckage of Princess Paulina’s bouncy castle. Bryant came next, flipping out like a madman.
“I want this man arrested!” he hollered. “He’s out of control! I was just out for a breath of fresh air when this psychopath assaulted me and threw me off the side of a building, without so much as a…”
I watched as I gave the jerk a right cross, knocking him out. The remnants of the bouncy house broke his fall as well as mine. At that moment, I hadn’t considered the fact that knocking down that worm would bring me down with him.
Jeffries rushed over and undid the cuffs. Rosie followed, taking me by the hand, leading me away from the scene as cameras snapped away.
In my chair, I watched as Rosie led me past one of many finely coiffed, neatly pressed reporters on the scene. He looked into his camera. “I’m Alexander Guadalupe-Daniels and I’m on the scene at the Museum of Historic Antiquity, where renegade straw cop Mack Smasher just kidnapped a random, helpless, hardworking lobbyist and hurled him off the side of this building that holds some of our country’s most prized treasures. Public opinion on Smasher is that he’s a disgrace to the uniform and…”
Wham! I laughed and laughed as I saw my fist connect with the fool’s face. I grabbed Captain Braddock’s remote control and paused it just in time to capture a frame in which one of the reporter’s capped teeth went flying.
“Smasher!” Braddock said.
“Hold on, boss,” I said. “Let me run it back again. I want to see that prick get cold-cocked one more time.”
“I’ll have no more of your monkey shines, Smasher!” Braddock said.
“You ever notice that all of these reporters are whiter than snow yet they all have a Hispanic surname hyphenated onto their white bread last name?” I asked. “Seems like cultural appropriation if you ask me.”
“Cut the crap, Smasher!” Braddock said as he held up a stack of papers. “I just finished the fiftieth page, turkey. How do you like that?”
“What?” I asked as I grabbed the stack and poured through it. Every line had words written on it. “How did you do that? It’s only been a couple hours.”
“I told you,” Braddock said. “I’m the best of the best. Meanwhile, you’re the worst of the worst. What the hell are you doing? Kidnapping lobbyists, throwing them off buildings, punching out reporters.”
“I didn’t do that,” I protested.
My boss pointed to frozen frame on his TV.
“OK,” I said. “I did that last one. But that lobbyist walked himself out onto that ledge. He refused to leave it. I saved his life!”
“Yeah, well,” Braddock said. “You should have left the shithead out there until he fell off from exhaustion.”
“And you wouldn’t be chewing my ass out in that scenario?” I asked.
“Of course, I would,” Braddock said. “You do shit and I chew your ass out over it. Someone’s gotta keep your ass in check, Smasher. Speaking of checks…”
“Let me guess,” I said. “The mayor called.”
“You’re damn right he did,” Braddock said. Your ass just bounced a big, fat check and now I’m expected to pick up the tab. Smasher, the mayor’s head is so far up my ass that he just farted in my mouth and the smell was not pleasant.”
“It wasn’t?” I asked.
“Not one bit,” Braddock set. “It had a hint of skunk with undertones of onion and rotten tuna fish salad. Disgusting. And all that’s in my mouth and this paperwork? That’s the mouthwash.”
“Come on, sir,” I said. “It is not.”
“Oh, you’re damn right it is, Smasher,” Braddock said. “I’m going to swish this paper around, let it burn away at my oral rot, then spit it out and when I’m finished, you’ll be long gone.”
“Sir,” I said. “In my defense, I was asked to help on this one.”
“Bullshit,” Braddock said. “Don’t you lie to me, Smasher. You lie to me I will reach up into the heavens, pull down the spear of Aries and I will chop off your stupid head with it.”
“You can’t really chop anything off with a spear, sir,” I said. “They’re usually operated with a thrusting motion.”
“Enough gobbedly gook from your diseased sewer hole!” Braddock said. “Jeffries called me.”
“He did?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” Braddock said. “You know what he said?”
“That he likes to wear women’s undergarments?” I asked.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Braddock said. “But screw you, bigot. It’s 2019. The man can wear any kind of underbritches he damn well pleases.”
“I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.”
“Jeffries said he had the whole scene under control,” Braddock said. “That the perp was about to voluntarily come inside when you waltzed onto the scene, threw your weight around, took over and tossed that shithead over the side, laughing all the while like you were having a grand old time!”
“Sir,” I said. “That is so far from the truth.”
“Neal Jeffries is a decorated department veteran,” Braddock said. “And a company man who knows how to take orders and not give any guff to his superiors. You, on the other hand, are a fart trapped deep inside a boll weevil’s asshole, just waiting to come out so you can impress the world for two seconds with your incorrigible stink until you fade away into the bleak, nothingness you deserve.”
“That book club is really paying off, sir,” I said.
“Are you calling Jeffries a liar?” Braddock asked.
“I am,” I said.
“You?” Braddock said. “A weak, sniveling, puss filled boil growing inside the urethra of a horny toad that’s been left out to die of thirst on a steamy rock, boiling under the crushing oppression of the hot, desert sun? I’m supposed to take your word against Neal Jeffries? Son, I would gladly karate chop your dick off and feed it to the devil himself if, by some sort of mysterious, predetermined arrangement, I would be able to trade you for Jeffries. Believe me. I would do it in a heartbeat.”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” I said. “He’s lying. I’m not.”
Braddock turned to his paperwork. He mumbled away as he wrote. “Offending officer lies like a rug, recklessly puts his life and the lives of others in danger and his uncouth, obnoxious behavior is probably just him trying to compensate for a tiny Irish penis.”
“My penis is gargantuan!” I said.
“Sexually harassed his commanding officer with inappropriate talk of his penis size,” Braddock mumbled as he scribbled away.
“I’m not even Irish!” I snapped.
The old man moved his pen. “Racist against Irish people. Told me in a direct quote that he wants to throat punch every red-headed bastard who would dare cross his path.”
“I never said that!”
The pen kept moving. “Contradicts his superior constantly.”
I stood up. “Whatever,” I said. “Let’s just both stick to what we’re best at, boss.”
Braddock looked up. “What’s that?”
“I’ll go save the world…”
I lowered my shades. “…and you keep that chair warm.”
“Wow,” Braddock said.
“Yeah?” I asked. “Good?”
“It gave me chills,” Braddock said.
“It did?” I asked.
“No,” Braddock said. “Now get the hell outta my office and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
I entered the hallway. Rosie was waiting for me. “How far has he gotten?”
“Fifty pages,” I said.
“Damn,” Rosie said. “He works fast.”
“He does,” I said. “But he’s still got ten thousand to go. I’ll be fine. Your boyfriend won’t be when I kick his ass.”
“My boyfriend?” Rosie asked.
“Jeffries,” I said.
“He’s not my…”
“Yeah,” I said. “I saw the way you looked at him.”
“I didn’t look at him in any particular way,” Rosie said.
“Who cares?” Smasher said.
“It sounds like you do,” Rosie said.
“I don’t,” I said. “But he’ll care when he’s picking his teeth out of my boot heel.”
“And why is he going to be doing that?” Rosie asked.
“He lied to the captain,” I said. “Told him the whole thing today was my fault.”
“He did?” Rosie asked.
“He did.”
Rosie stopped. “Smasher, this is simple. I was there. I’ll just go back and tell the captain…”
“No,” I said. “Women handle things by tattling. Men handle things with their fists. Next time I see that douchebag, I’m going to beat his face like it owes me money.”
Speak of the devil, Rosie and I bumped into Jeffries outside as he was heading up the steps.
“Jeffries!” I shouted. “You wang chomping shit flinger!”
The lieuntenant laughed. “Have a good time with el Capitan, Smasher?”
“You know I didn’t,” I said. “How could you deceive that old fart like that?”
“Easy,” Jeffries said. “Everyone loves me. Everyone hates you.”
“What?” I asked. “That can’t be true.”
Suddenly, a random man on the sidewalk pointed at me. “Hey everyone! Look! It’s Mack Smasher, the renegade straw cop that everyone hates!”
I grimaced.
“Come on, everyone!” the random man cried. “Let’s all boo and hiss at him to show our displeasure in his misdeeds!”
Jeffries smiled. “I have to admit, it’s nice to be out of your shadow, Smasher. Everyone loved you for years. Everyone cheered and applauded when you beat the shit out of hoodlums but now that you’re going nuts over straws…”
“I saved your ass back there!” I said. “That guy never would have gotten down from that ledge safe had it not been for me!”
“Yeah,” Jeffries said. “But you screwed me over with Mo-Mo and I owed you one.”
“So,” I said. “Are we even?”
“Not by a long shot,” Jeffries said. “You see, Mack. When you screw people over, the screw is obvious. You punch people in the face. Shoot them in the head. Blow their shit up. I, on the other hand, know how to play the game.”
“The game?” I asked.
“Law enforcement is all one great, big game,” Jeffries said. “Shake a hand here. Kiss an ass there. And when there’s a dirty job around, get the filthiest cop to do it so you can keep your hands clean. I knew there was no way that imbecile was coming off that ledge without a cop willing to bring him down and better you than me.”
I clenched my hand into a fist. “Why, I oughta…”
Rosie pulled me away. “Come on, Smasher.”
I relented, for my partner’s sake. We walked away.
“Hey, Rosie!” Jeffries called out.
Rosie looked back. “Yeah?”
“Scrape this barnacle off before he gets so fat he drowns you, will ya?”
Rosie looked ahead. “Goodbye, Neal.”

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Mack Smasher: Renegade Straw Cop – Chapter 12

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Inside an empty office on the top floor of the museum, I opened a window and stuck my head out.  A cool breeze hit my face.  I looked down.  Two fire trucks pulled up.  The firemen poured out, all hustling and bustling.  From this vantage point, they looked like ants.

I turned my head right and looked at Bryant.  He was shuddering.  There was a chill in the air, his coat was flimsy and the pajamas he wore underneath weren’t helping much.

“Hey,” I said.  “Buddy.”

Bryant recoiled in terror when he realized I was there.  He flattened his back against the stone wall of the building, his feet holding a precarious grip on the ledge.  “Who are you?  Don’t come any closer!”

“Yeah, no worries,” I said.  “I’d rather stay in here where it’s nice and warm than freeze my ass out there if it’s all the same.”

The jumper nodded.  “OK then.”

Bryant and I were quiet for a time.  He was petrified, refusing to look down.  Me?  All I could do was look down but then again, my body was secure.

“You a cop?” Bryant asked.

“Yeah,” I said.  “Well, for at least another week or two.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bryant asked.

“Let’s just say my boss doesn’t like the cut of my jib,” I said.  “Well, deep down, I’m not entirely sure he feels that way.  But he’s got bosses who don’t like me and they’ve got bosses who don’t like me and you know how the game is played.  Everyone’s gotta do what they gotta do.”

“It’s a dog fuck dog world out there,” Bryant said.

“Yeah,” I said as I pulled out a cigarette and lit it.  “And we’re all just trying to not be the last bitch poodle.”

I puffed on the cig.  “Damn, I wish Rosie was up here.  That would have been a good line to pull down my shades on.”

“Huh?” Bryant asked.

“Nothing,” I said.  “You smoke?”

“Not usually,” Bryant said.  “Up until recently, my body was a temple but now?  Yeah, sure, why not?”

I nodded.  I pulled another cigarette out of the pack, lit it, then ever so carefully, reached my arm out the window.  Suddenly, I thought better of that move and pulled my arm back.

“Not for nothing, Kevin,” I said.  “But this is a little trust building exercise.  You grab my arm and try to pull me out there and throw me out this building and I’ll take you down with me.”

“I won’t,” Bryant said.  “Honestly, I’m starting to consider the possibility that this whole thing might have been ill-advised.”

I reached my arm out.  Bryant reached down and grabbed the smoke without taking his eyes off the world ahead of him.

“You think?” I asked as I pulled my arm back.

“Yeah,” Bryant said.  “I’m sorry.  I just needed someone to pay attention.  I need those straws, man.”

“I know,” I said.

“I don’t think you do,” Bryant said.  “Someone introduces something into your life that you need, that you gotta have and then one day, boom, it’s all gone.  Shit, if I could find that cop who destroyed Wisenheimer’s, I’d give him a piece of my mind.”

I sighed.  “I heard he’s a good fellow.”

“No,” Bryant said.  “On the news, they’re saying he drove a bulldozer through the joint then started juggling lit sticks of dynamite around while soccer moms and little babies were watching.”

“You can’t trust what you see on the news anymore, pal,” I said.  “Haven’t you heard of the term, ‘fake news?’”

“Fake news?” Bryant asked.  “No.  All journalists are wise, seasoned professionals and the fruit of their labors is unassailable.  Why, to even think of criticizing them is to assault the freedom of speech.”

“Whatever,” I said.  “I’m sure that cop had his reasons.”

“Yeah,” Bryant said.  “Well, he fucked up my life.  I need those Wisenheimer straws and I can’t get them.  I tracked down some of the employees who worked there.  They didn’t have any.  They threatened to kick me in the nuts if I ever contact them again.  I contacted some customers.  They didn’t have any either.  They too threatened to kick me in the nuts if I ever contacted them again.”

I puffed on my cigarette.

“I called the corporate office,” Bryant said.  “They said they couldn’t help me and that if I called again, they’d send a lawyer to kick me in the nuts.”

“I’m beginning to sense a pattern here,” I said.

“Yeah,” Bryant replied.  “That the world’s happy to have you as long as you don’t cause trouble but oh boy, have one little problem and everyone will just gang up on you and threaten your nuts with bodily harm.”

“Something like that,” I said.

Bryant took a drag on his cigarette.  “Aww, listen to me.  Going on and on like my problems are everyone else’s fault.  I admit it.  It’s crazy.  Straws.  What a silly thing to be addicted to.”

“It’s not that silly,” I said.

Bryant ignored my comment.  “I tried to stop.  I tried to stay away.  But all I could think about, morning, noon and night was straws, straws and more straws.”

“Kevin,” I said.  “You and your fellow addicts, of which I’m sure there are more out there, are blameless in this.  You didn’t sign up to…”

“My wife can tie a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue,” Bryant said.  “And my girlfriend can fit an entire cucumber up her…”

“OK,” I said.  “No one likes a braggart.”

“True,” Bryant replied.

“Plus,” I said.  “I’m sure that lifestyle isn’t easy.  Having to keep those broads from finding out about each other.”

“Not at all,” Bryant said.  “Amber and Brandy are best of friends.”

“You’re shitting me,” I said.

“I shit you not,” Bryant said.  “They hang out all the time.  We have three ways every Sunday, go on vacations as a threesome.  They send each other Christmas cards.”

I laughed.  “Damn it, Kevin.”

“What?”

“I’m so jealous I’m liable to throw you off this ledge myself,” I said.

Bryant smiled.

“There,” I said.  “A sign you don’t want to die.  Now, will you please come inside and bring this foolish spectacle to a conclusion?”

“No,” Bryant said.  “It’s all over.”

“What’s over?” I asked.  “Nothing is over.”

“I’m all washed up,” Bryant said.  “I got nothing.”

“You’re richer than a sultan!” I said.

“All smoke and mirrors,” Bryant said.  “There’s no such thing a free pussy, man.”

“Tell me about it,” I said.  “I field so many calls from my ex-wives’ army of crooked lawyers that I’d hire a secretary to answer them if I could afford one.”

“Every man dreams of scoring that primo snatch-o-la,” Bryant said.  “But you got any idea what you gotta do to keep it?”

“I can imagine,” I said.

“Trips,” Bryant said.  “Private jets.  The best hotels.  Gifts. Clothes.  Diamonds.  Jewelry.  They expect you to take care of their every little need.  Hire servants to follow them around and clean up after them.  And these broads?  They don’t know anything about the value of money.  They ask you for something and they expect you to pull it out of your ass like a magician.  Brandy wanted a pet puma, for Christ’s sake.  Do you know how much it costs to take care of a puma?”

“A lot?” I asked.

“The vet bills alone are staggering,” Bryant said.  “And the titty enlargening surgeries?  Don’t even get me started.”

“Worth it?”

“Yes,” Bryant said.

“I prefer big naturals,” I said.

“Oh,” Bryant said.  “I got a guy in Guadalajara.  Off the books.  Black market stuff.  Not exactly approved by the American Medical Association, if you catch my drift.   I don’t know how he does it but he can make a titty feel like it’s the pillow that God himself would just to rest his head on.”

“That sounds amazing,” I said.

“Yeah,” Bryant said.  “But expensive.  I’ve been living life large on credit for as long as I can remember.  Now that my income’s gone, it will all go bust.  I’ll be crushed under a mountain of dead.  They’ll take my houses, my cars.  I’ll have to file for bankruptcy.  The babes will leave and I’ll be all alone.”

“Now, now,” I said.  “Don’t get all down in the dumps, yet, buster.  You never know.  If your women love you enough, they might just stick around and…”

Bryant and I cracked up together.

“Oh, who am I kidding?”  I asked.

Bryant laughed.  “Thanks.  I needed that.”

“Kevin,” I said.  “None of this was your fault.  Now, I’m not going to bog you down in the details, but you need to trust me.  You are an unwitting pawn in a vast, underground conspiracy, one that, until recently, involved adding trace amounts of highly addictive cocaine to straws that were being dealt under the table at Wisenheimers.”

“Wait,” Bryant said.  “Coke?”

“Yes,” I said.  “As part of an illegal experiment to study the effects of cocaine laced straws on humans.  It’s all part of a conspiracy to force mankind to suck on straws until the end of time.”

“You’re telling me I’m a coke-head?” Bryant asked.

“Looks that way,” I said.

Bryant cheered.  “Yes!”

“I’ve never seen someone so happy to find out they’re hooked on the Columbian snot powder,” I said.

“This is great,” Bryant said.  “Every rich asshole in a fifty-mile radius is hooked on one drug or another!  It’s a right of passage.  It’s to be expected.  Hell, if anything, you’re considered a weirdo if you’re rich and you don’t get hooked on something.  When everyone thought I was offering to suck dick for straws, they thought I was insane, but now that I can tell everyone it was the coke inside the straws that I was after all along, I can get my life back!  My boss and my women will welcome me back with open arms, I’ll do a couple weeks in rehab and…”

“Yeah,” I said.  “That’s great.  Hey, listen man, if you could hold off on the celebration until after you’ve come inside…”

Bryant composed himself.  “Right.”

We both went silent.

“Hey, man?” Bryant asked.

“Yeah?”

“How do I get down from here?”  Bryant asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Bryant pushed his back against the wall so hard it was as if he was trying to push himself through the building.  “I can’t move, man!  I’m too scared!”

“Oh, come on!”  I looked below.  The firefighters had pulled out a giant piece of plastic that was large, pink, and deflated.

I pressed the call button on my radio.  “Hey, Jeffries, what’s going on down there? Over.”

My radio squawked.  “We’re putting up an inflatable device that will, we hope, break your fall if, God forbid, a fall happens.  Over.”

I pressed my button.  “You think it will?  Over.”

“I don’t know,” Jeffries said.  “If I had to bet, probably not, but it’s a department rule that in a situation like this, there has to be one.  Over.”

I scoffed.  “Well, thank the department for me.  Over.”

Squawk.  “I don’t think the department cares about you per se, Smasher.  It’s just an insurance thing.  The department’s policy and you know, factoring in the actuarial tables and so forth, it’s just cheaper to inflate the damn thing.  It’s complicated.  Don’t ask me to explain it.  Over.”

I saw one firefighter hook up an air compressor to a hose attached to the pink piece of plastic.  Like a marshmallow, it grew and grew.

“Friend,” I said.  “I’m going to need you to develop some steel in your shorts.  Think about how you’re going to rebuild your life, how cooler your chicks will think you are when they find out you’re a coke-head.”

“Man,” Bryant said.  “They’ll think I’m so cool.  I bet they’d even let me get a second sidepiece.”

“That’s the spirit,” I said.  “Now, very slowly, and very carefully, without taking your foot off the ledge, start inching your way toward me.”

Bryant closed his eyes and shook his head.  “No, no, no, man.  I can’t!”

“Kevin,” I said.  “Your new life awaits you through this window.  Come on, now!”

The addict shrieked like a little girl.  “I can’t do it!

“Damn it,” I said.

“Maybe if I had one of those straws,” Bryant said.  “They made me feel brave, you know?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Like I could do anything,” Bryant said.  “Like I was invincible.  Say, you don’t happen to have one of those straws on you, do you?”

“Not on me, no,” I said.

“You sure?” Bryant said.  “I might be willing to suck your…”

“That’s not happening,” I said.

My radio squawked.  “Smasher,” Jeffries said.  “What’s happening?  Over.”

I pressed my button.  “He’s pussying out.  Over.”

“I’m not pussying out!” Bryant shouted.  “I just need a straw!  You hear that, people?!  Get me a straw and you can drop your pants, make full use of my soft lips and supple mouth and when you’re done, feel free to leave my face looking like a frozen yogurt truck exploded in my general vicinity!  I don’t care!  Just get me a straw!”

Squawk.  “Smasher.  It’s Rosie.  Maybe I should just go back to the station and get him one of Humberto’s straws. Over.”

Bryant perked up.  “What’s that now?”

I thought about my partner’s proposition.  “No.  I’m not going to help the Illumistrawti turn people into straw addicts.  That’s letting the Strawman win.  Over.”

“The Strawman?” Bryant asked.  “Who’s the Strawman?  Does he enjoy a good pickle smooch, because I’ll do it, man.  I swear.  I will smooch every peen from here to Philly and back again if it will get me a straw.”

“Has that offer even worked on anyone yet?” I asked.

“Not as such, no,” Bryant answered.  “But you know how it is.  You get what you put out into the world and I’ve been putting out plenty off offers to gargle sausage for straws, so sooner or later…”

“Enough,” I said.  “I’m coming out there.”

“Don’t you dare!”  Bryant shouted.  “If you do, I’ll…I’ll…”

“Jump?” I asked.  “Give me a break, cupcake.  If you had the guts to throw yourself off a building, you would have done it by now.”

I crawled out onto the ledge.  I inched my way towards Kevin.  I reached out my hand.

“Take it.”

Bryant shook his head.  “No.  I can’t.”

“What are you going to do?”  I asked.  “Stay out here for the rest of your life?”

“If I have to.”

I pressed the button on my radio.  “Jeffries!  Is that thing up yet?  Over.”

“It’s up,” Jeffries said.  “Over.”

I looked down.  The height messed with my sense of balance, but I kept it together.  The sight I saw filled me with rage – the plastic had been inflated to form a pink bouncy house.  Scrawled across the top in purple letters were the words, “Princess Paulina’s Bouncy Castle.”  It had bouncy spires, bouncy minarets, the works.

Button press. “Are you shitting me?!”

Squawk. “No,” Jeffries said.  “Sorry.  Best we could do on short notice.  It seems stable enough.  It should hold.  Probably.  Over.”

Button press. “Probably?”

“I don’t know, Smasher,” Jeffries said.  “I don’t think this novelty inflatable children’s party attraction has been tested to see if it can take a body after a ten-story drop.  Over.”

“Oh,” I said to myself.  “Fuck me.”

“Man!” Bryan shouted.  “Am I getting a straw or what?”

“To hell with this,” I said.  I pulled out my cuffs.  I cuffed one side around my wrist.  I grabbed the idiot’s wrist and cuffed it.

“What are you doing?” Bryant asked.

“You’re a big man, Kevin?” I asked.

“Not at all!” Bryant said.

“You want to die?” I asked.

“Not anymore!”  Bryant shouted.  “If we’re being honest, I didn’t want to before.  I just wanted someone to pay attention to me.”

“Well,” I said as I looked out to all the news cameras pointed our way, as well as all the cell phones being operated by bystanders.  “You’re going to get your wish, dickhead.  Everyone’s going to know your name now.”

“No!”  Bryant said.  “Wait!”

“Three,” I said.

“Stop!”

“Two,” I said.

“Please!”

“You coming in?” I asked.

“Just give me a minute!”

“Sorry.  You’re all out of time.  One!”

 

Mack Smasher: Renegade Straw Cop – Chapter 11

caipi-377960_1280

“Get back! Everybody just get back or I’ll jump!  I swear to God I will!”

The Museum of Historic Antiquity was ten stories tall.  It didn’t provide the highest drop in the city but still, a fall from that height would easily turn a body into a pile of goo.

The jumper looked like a hobo.  Unshaven.  Bushy hair.  A hole-filled jacket that looked like it came out of the good will box.

Rosie, Jeffries and I observed the situation.

“Remain calm, sir,” Jeffries said into a bullhorn.  “Please do not jump.”

“I’m going to jump!” the jumper said.  “Do you want that?”

“No, sir,” Jeffries said.  “Nobody wants that.  If you could just relax, take a deep breath and…”

“Oh, fuck that noise,” I said as I yanked the bullhorn out of Jeffries’ hand and held it up to my mouth.  “You gonna jump or what?!  I haven’t got all day, so do it already!  What’s going on in that squirrel brain of yours?  You think your so special?  You think you’re so unique? You think anyone down here really gives a soft, buttery piece of possum shit if you…”

Jeffries wrestled the bullhorn out of my hand.  He spoke into again.  “Sorry, sir.  We’re experiencing some technical difficulties but rest assured, the situation is under control.”

“It better be!”  the jumper shouted.  “Because if it isn’t, then I’m gonna jump!”

“Who cares?” I muttered.

“Smasher, you’re going to get that man killed with that attitude,” Jeffries said.

“Whatever,” I said.  “You called me.  You don’t want me, I’m gone.  I got better things to do.”

Jeffries grabbed my sleeve.  “Hang on.”

The lieutenant pulled out a file.  He flipped a few pages until he showed me a photo of a clean shaven man wearing a suit.  “Ken Bryant.  Just a week ago, he was a powerful lobbyist, compensated to the tune of $900,000 a year plus perks and bennies.  We’re talking luxury houses, hot cars, hot women.  Hell, this guy had a supermodel wife with big fake tits and a mistress on the side with a pair of bigger, faker tits.”

“Goddamn,” I said as I looked up at the jumper.  “Respect.”

“I know,” Jeffries said.  “That’s the American Dream, right there.”

Rosie shook her head.  “But is it, though?”

He takes his sidepiece to Wisenheimer’s on New Year’s Eve.

“Cheap fuck,” I said.

“Whatever,” Jeffries said.  “I assume he didn’t get as high as he did by wasting money.  Anyway, since then, according to what we’re told from both women, is that he’s become, well, like you.”

“Like me?” I asked.

“Obsessed with straws,” Jeffries said.  “Can’t stop talking about them.”

I pulled out a pair of binoculars and used them to focus on Bryant’s face.  His eyes were red.  He looked strung out, like he hadn’t slept for days.  Little drops of drool poured out of his mouth.

“I need straws!” Bryant shouted.  “Get me a straw, now!”

“This isn’t like me,” I said.  “This is something else.”

I handed Rosie the binoculars.  She looked at the jumper through them.

“Oh yeah,” Rosie said.  “That’s the coke straws doing their work, alright.”

“Coke straws?” Jeffries asked.

“Straws laced with highly addictive, trace amounts of cocaine were being doled out on the sly at Wisenheimer’s,” I explained.

“You’re shitting me,” Jeffries said as he looked to Rosie, as though my word wasn’t good enough.  “Is he shitting me?”

“No shits here,” Rosie replied.

“You’re telling me all your straw bullshit is real?” Jeffries asked.

“As real as the dumb look on your face,” I said.

The lieutenant’s jaw dropped.  “Son of a…”

I patted Jeffries on the shoulder.  “It’s ok, buddy.  One day, if you wish real hard, you might just become a real cop, like me.”

“Whatever,” Jeffries said.  “No time to measure dicks, Smasher.”

“You’d lose,” I said.

“I would not,” Jeffries said.  “You want to do it right now?”

“I don’t know,” I said.  “Did you bring two tape measures?”

“We could use the same tape measure,” Jeffries replied.

“That’d be unsanitary,” I said.  “And also, both tape measures would be for me.  I might even need a third and…”

Rosie interjected.  “Gentlemen, if we could focus.”

“Right,” I said.  “What’s he doing up there?”

“Wife and mistress both report that after he went to Wisenheimer’s, he started acting crazy, babbling on and about straws, how he needed them, had to have them,” Jeffries.  “Now that you’ve filled in the blanks, it sounds like classic addiction.”

“Oh, the booger sugar will get you,” I said.  “Even when taken orally.”

“He stopped sleeping,” Jeffries said.  “Stopped eating.  Stopped reporting to work.  Got fired and didn’t care.  He just sat around Wisenheimer’s, ordering drink after drink, going on and on to anyone who would listen about how much he loved the straws.”

Bryant cupped his hands around his mouth, creating a makeshift bullhorn.  “I will suck the dick of anyone who will give me a Wisenheimer’s straw.  You hear me, world?  You got a straw from Wisenheimer’s and I will drop to my knees and polish your skin flute until it’s nice and shiny!”

I looked at Rosie.  “Looks like it isn’t limited to rats after all.”

“Conclusive proof, I’d say,” Rosie added.

“Rats?” Jeffries asked.

“Long story,” I said.  “What’s his end game?”

“When he showed up to Wisenheimer’s today and found out you’d burned it down…”

“Correction,” I said.  “A fight caused by the clandestine Illumistrawti hitmen in the employ of the Strawman led to it being burned down.”

“Nothing you ever say makes sense to me, Smasher,” Jeffries said.

“It’s cool,” I said.  “Stay ignorant.  Life will be easier for you, that way.  Continue.”

“He says he’ll jump if we don’t get him a straw from Wisenheimer’s,” Jeffries said.  “We searched the wreckage.  Asked around town.  Nothing.  We aren’t going to be able to comply with this guy’s request and he looks like he’s serious about jumping.”

I looked up at the jumper.

“I am so, totally serious about jumping right now!” the jumper cried.  “You guys don’t even know!”

“What’s the plan?” I asked.

Jeffries looked around, reluctant to speak.

“What?” I asked.

“Um,” Jeffries said.  “That you go out on that ledge and try to talk some sense into him?”

“Me?” I asked.

“Well, why the hell not, Smasher?” Jeffries asked.  “You live and breathe this cowboy shit, don’t you?”

“When it’s going to break open a case, yeah,” I said.  “Not to save the life of some yuppy butt monkey who was…wait, what the hell was he lobbying for anyway?”

Jeffries flipped through the file.  “The International Association of Pesky Telemarketers.  He fought for laws that would allow fly by night companies to call you during dinner and try to sell you socks, novelty goods, assorted anal creams…”

“Oh, screw this guy!” I said as I seized the bullhorn and pressed it up to my lips.  “Jump!  Jump!”

Jeffries took the bullhorn away.  “Smasher, knock it off!  Now, I called you down here to do what you do best.”

“And what’s that?” I asked.

“Crazy,” Jeffries said.  “Because you’d have to be a loon to go up there with that dingbat.”

“Straws!” Bryant shouted.  “Drop your pants!  Give me your dicks!  I’ll suck them off in a line like they’re all part of one big, long, fleshy xylophone as long as I get my straws!”

“You going up there or what?” Jeffries said.

“Fine,” I said.

“You’ll need to go unarmed,” Jeffries said.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked.

“It’s the only way he’ll trust you,” Jeffries said.

I rolled my eyes.   I took off my jacket and to my chagrin, my holster, which contained both Thunder and Lightning, and handed it all to Rosie.  I then pulled my .38 out of my boot and gave that to my partner as well.

“Anything else?” Rosie asked.

I dug into my pockets and my switchblade, my brass knuckles, and a compact pistol, all of which went to Rosie.

“Wow,” Rosie said.  “Is that it?”

“Yeah,” I said as I walked toward the building.  “Wait.”

I stopped.  I reached down the back of my pants, fished my hand around inside my underwear, then pulled out a grenade.

“Holy shit!” Rosie said.

“Relax,” I said.  “You act like you’ve never seen a grenade before.”

“You mean to tell me I was riding around next to that thing this entire time?” Rosie asked.

“It’s perfectly safe,” I said.  “It’s my good luck charm.  I’ve been carrying it for years and I haven’t needed to throw it yet.  As long as the pin stays in it, it’s just a harmless paperweight.  Here.”

Rosie refused it.  “I’m not taking that.”

I turned to Jeffries.  “Neal, I’m trusting you with my ass grenade.  If this goes FUBAR, please find it a good home.”

A tiny tear trickled out of Jeffries’ eye.  He sniffed as he accepted the explosive device.

“What?” I asked.  “You wussing out on me?”

“No,” Jeffries said.  “It’s just, you know.  Allergies.  You’ll be fine, Smasher.  You’ll be coming back to accept this ass grenade yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said as I headed for the building.  “Just keep it safe.”

Mack Smasher: Renegade Straw Cop – Chapter 10

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We sat in traffic.  Rosie was on the phone with her mom, asking how her son, Jeremy, was.  I didn’t hear the other end, but I could tell the gist of the conversation was that the elder Mrs. Quan was displeased that Rosie had been working all night, since the straw law division was supposed to be an easy job.  Damn it.  No one respected the danger of straws.  Still, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible for Rosie’s family strife.

I stared at the bumper of a fancy little hybrid.  The driver looked like a typical poser douche.  Balding head with a pony tail.  Probably blew himself every night just to thank himself for saving the earth, never once giving any thought into how replacing gas with electricity to power a car is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.  What a dingus.

Rosie hanged up her phone.  She joined me in staring at the hybrid’s bumper.

“What you did back there was stupid,” I said.  “Appreciated, but stupid.”

Rosie fiddled with the radio dial.  “Like I said, I’ve never abandoned a partner yet.  I came close to recommending you be put on sick leave for a psych eval, but now that it seems you were right…”

“Seems?” I asked.

“OK,” Rosie said.  “You were right.”

“I accept your apology,” I said.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Rosie replied.  “Your methods still leave something to be desired.”

“My methods get the job done,” I said.

“Good, old-fashioned police work gets the job done slower but with less media scrutiny,” Rosie said.  “And with more of a chance of a successful conviction.  Subpoenas. Warrants.  Due process.  Ever hear of these things, Smasher?”

“Vaguely,” I said.  “Maybe I heard about them on some dumb cop show, but I’ll tell you, jamming Thunder in a guy’s face until he talks is a lot faster.”

“And a surefire way to get us both fired,” Rosie replied.

“Listen,” I said.  “I admire your loyalty but why don’t you take a walk, kid?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Split,” I said.  “Take a hike.  Scram.”

“What are you getting at?” Rosie asked.

“Go to the library and check out a book about straws,” I said.  “Go to city hall and review the permits for every restaurant.  Hell, just go home and spend some time with your kid.  Anyone asks, I’ll cover for you.  I’ll say you were out doing important straw related research while I was doing the next thing that will get my mug all over the news.”

“Maybe don’t do things that will get you all over the news?” Rosie asked.

“Don’t try to change me baby,” I said.  “Mack Smasher will always be Mack Smasher.”

“Whatever,” Rosie said.

“It’ll be the best of both worlds,” I said.  “At the end of all this, you’ll be able to say you didn’t quit on a partner and you’ll still be out of the fray when shit goes down.”

“I’ve never been afraid of shit going down, Smasher,” Rosie said.  “I’d just rather not get my head blown off or my ass fired by the captain because you can’t keep your cool.”

I dropped my shades over my eyes.  “Oh, I’m cool baby.  I’m ice cold.  It’s the world that’s way too hot.”

“Ugh,” Rosie said.  “Please stop doing that.”

“Doing what?” I asked.

My phone rang.  I looked at the screen.  Jeffries.

I answered the phone.  “Fat Freddy’s Handjob Parlor.  How many can I put you down for?”

“Hilarious, Smasher,” Jeffries replied.

“You want them with lube or extra dry?” I inquired.

“Save it,” Jeffries said.  “Smasher, I loathe calling you.”

“Then you probably shouldn’t have,” I said.

“There’s a situation,” Jeffries said.  “It calls for…well, a man such as yourself, who is willing to uh…”

I groaned.  “My unconventional methods that everyone bitches about until they are needed and then they would like to ask me to use my unconventional methods?”

“Bingo.”

“Go jerk yourself off, Jeffries,” I said.  “After the crap you gave me about Mo-Mo the Clam?  No thanks.”

“That was entirely different,” Jeffries said.

“Was it?” I asked.

“Time is of the essence,” Jeffries said.  “A man’s life is at stake and I can’t believe I’m saying this but uh…”

“What?” I asked.

“Your uh…expertise…”

I could tell the lieutenant was using the word “expertise” in a sarcastic manner.  “Your expertise when it comes to straws may, God help me, be useful here.

I laughed.  “So, I’m not the straw nut anymore?”

“Oh, you still are,” Jeffries said.  “Most definitely.  I heard Braddock began filling out your walking papers and I’ve got a bottle of champagne on ice, ready to pop the cork when he’s done but until then, are you in or out on this?”

I grumbled.  “Fine.  For whoever’s life is at stake, though. Not for you, prick.”

“I’ll text you the address.”

I looked the hybrid bumper.  “Screw this.”  I turned on my lights and siren. I had installed into my sweet ride myself.  I nudged myself out into the breakdown lane and hit the gas.

“What’s up?” Rosie asked.

“Jeffries,” I said.  “Suddenly my unconventional methods and knowledge of straws are in vogue.”

A Look at the First Episode of The Umbrella Academy

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I just watched the first episode of Umbrella Academy.  If you’ve watched more, I’d thank you to not give away any spoilers.  I will eventually return to this fine blog to discuss the first season.

My initial impression is its great.  Before I saw it, I scoffed for a number of reasons.

  1. Anything with too many characters tends to be a mess.  There’s like 7 main characters here plus supporting characters.  Seems destined to be a pot of gumbo where everyone gets lost in the steam, but somehow, everyone gets their moment to shine.
  2. Movies about long established heroes are great.  Movies about new superheroes tend to stink.  I’ll give this show credit though.  It is based on a Dark Horse Comic so perhaps if newer heroes have a chance to percolate in comics first, then they’ll shine on the screen.
  3. It reminded me of Watchmen, which everyone said was genius but I thought stunk.  Again, a bunch of heroes you hadn’t heard of before, all thrown at us at once, each getting less than five minutes to show their power.  Somehow that was lame but this looks good.

The plot thus far is that in 1989, 40 (I think that’s the number) children were born immaculately on one day.  The mothers had not been pregnant previously.  The kids just popped out unexpectedly.

An eccentric, reclusive billionaire with a penchant for collecting exotic things adopts 7 of these kids.  He starts a school for superheroes in his house, training his new wards to use their powers.

His methods turn the kids into (mostly) powerful grownups.  Some have gone on to do great things.  Others flounder and fail.  All blame their problems on their father’s cold, uncaring aloofness.  The only source of love the children ever had was their father’s robot wife and monkey butler.

By the way, is there something wrong with me that I think it would be awesome to have a robot wife and monkey butler?  Thus far, there has been little explanation as to how the robot wife and monkey butler came to be but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for more on that in future episodes.  Ironically, in a series with 7 heroes, the robot wife and monkey butler pique my interest the most.

Not that the heroes are slouches.  Overall, the first episode was cinematic.  Lots of cool fights and special effects.  Cinematic quality.  Had this been laid out in a movie that I paid money to see, I would have walked away happy.

Netflix really upped their game here.  I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve watched the first season but so far, I am impressed and willing to watch more.

STATUS; Shelf-worthy.

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