PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…
AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…
The doors opened and we found ourselves in small, unfinished cement room, barely big enough to lie down in. A neon ceiling light bulb flickered on and off, providing spotty illumination.
I looked behind me.
“There isn’t exactly a big line of people waiting to get in.”
An expressionless voice to go with the face.
“Detective Jacob R. Hatcher, P.I. and Delilah K. Donnelly, Esquire. We have an appointment with Informant Zero.”
The goon’s eyes perused a single sheet of paper on a clip board.
“Hmmm. Yes. Your names are on the list.”
“Finally,” I said. “Can you let us in already?”
“One moment please,” the goon said as he looked toward the ceiling, where a speaker was mounted next to a video camera. “Boss?”
The broadcasted response came in the form of an artificial, demonic sounding robotic voice. It was low, deep and menacing, the stuff that nightmares are made of. It filled the room and echoed off the walls.
“Good evening Mr. Hatcher. Ms. Donnelly.”
“Informant Zero?” Delilah asked.
“Indeed. I apologize for the cloak and dagger treatment, but it is necessary to ensure my safety. If you’ll indulge me, Ms. Donnelly, I’ll ask the final question our mutual contact provided you.”
He really leaned into that “why.”
“Why…did the swallow wear a sweater?”
Delilah broke out the note again.
“Because,” she read. “It’s very chilly this time of year in Colorado.”
Informant Zero was not impressed.
I drew Betsy and had her pointed at the chump before he could get his hand on his automatic.
“WAIT!” Delilah cried.
It was the loudest I’d ever heard her speak before.
“Capistrano! Because it’s very chilly this time of year in Capistrano!”
There was a pause.
“You may enter,” Informant Zero said.
“Quite a blunder, Ms. Donnelly,” I said.
I gave her a hard time but in truth, it was the first mistake I ever witnessed her make as well.
“Personal responsibility, Ms. Donnelly. Personal responsibility.”
“My man will take Betsy, Mr. Hatcher.”
Interesting. He knew my revolver’s name.
I took my finger off the trigger and forked her over.
“I’m going to need her back.”
The goon nodded.
“And your cell phones, please.” Informant Zero said.
Delilah handed hers over. I followed.
“That you can keep for all I care.”
The goon ran a metal wand up and down my body.
“What the hell is that thing?” I asked. “Some kind of weird sex toy?”
“Metal detector,” the goon said as he ran the wand over Delilah. “It finds hidden weapons.”
“Better check her twice then, Jack. She’s packing some serious heat.”
Delilah shook her head. I assumed she was once again thinking, “not the right time.”
The lady lawyer handed over her clutch and all of our items were secured in a lock box.
The door buzzed and we were in.
It was a small, dimly lit office. Sitting at the desk was a shadowy figure with a hood pulled down low over his head. The lighting was such that it was impossible to make out his face.
“Please be seated.”
He was still using the voice changer.
“Ms. Donnelly, rumors of your beauty do not do you justice.”
A courteous “thank you” was Ms. Donnelly’s reply.
“And Mr. Hatcher, your appearance is just as refined and ruggedly handsome as described in the tales on the Bookshelf Battle Blog.”
I looked over to my blonde confidant.
“Is this another one of those generation gap things I don’t get? Do men just hit on other men at random now and I’m expected to nod and smile politely?”
Informant Zero laughed. Fun fact. Robotic voice changed laughter nearly pops your eardrums. Delilah and I both reached for our ears.
“No, no, Mr. Hatcher. I assure you my interest here is strictly of a business nature.”
“Yes,” Delilah said. “I must say, Mr. Battler was quite intrigued by your proposal.”
Battler was in on this? Why was I always the last to know about these things?
“As he should be,” Informant Zero said.
A cloud of smoke emerged from the shadow man’s facial area and I could see the feint red glow of a cigarette grow brighter as he inhaled again.
“I have the power to grow his website’s reader count far beyond a paltry 3.5, though that’s not an offer I’d make to just anyone.”
Copyright (c) 2015. Bookshelf Q. Battler. All Rights Reserved.
Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.