X-mas Files 2 (v.2)

How the hell do you get yourself into these situations?  There’s no way you can pick up the dog, get little Allen his birthday present, pick up the alimony check from Stan, and still make that dinner salad for the potluck tonight all in the next hour.  Sure, maybe if you were Helen Slater you’d stand a chance, but face the facts, super powers is what you ain’t got, baby.

The big asshole who just stepped in your way isn’t going to help things any either.

“Hey, pretty lady.  What’s say you an’ me, we uh, do the wild thing.  waddaya say.”  So not only is he oafish and ugly, but moronic as well.  “They oughta change your name to Pretty Lady, pretty lady.”  It’s inconceivable that you just heard him say that.  No one, but no one says something that retarded.  There’s no way you can possibly let that one go unchecked.

“Well, what do you know.  My name is Pretty Lady.  You must be psychic you fat piece of shit.  Oh, I’m sorry, you probably don’t know what psychic means.  Even piece of shit might be hard for a mush brained, ugly ass loser of a washed up garbage bin searching butt nut like you to understand.”  He just stares at you, his eyebrows slowly furrowing.  You really don’t have time for this.  “Is your face always that red?  Maybe you’re having a heart attack.  You know, they have medication for fat asses like yourself who have nothing better to do than gorge, guzzle, and fart.”

And like a charm, that snaps him.  He swings one of his meaty fists for your face, but Santa himself would be faster than this guy.  With a simple bat of your palm, you re-direct his blow, throwing him off balance.  With your other you give a shove to his armpit, and as you feel the dampness of it, you just know your hand is gonna stink.  He topples clumsily, and crashes to the sidewalk, hitting the three point five mark on the Richter scale.  For emphasis, you drive the two inch heel of your shoe into his groin, which produces the most entertaining of squeaks from his chubby mouth.

His coat falls open, and sticking out of his pocket you see a brand spankin’ new pack of Marlboro lights.  Now why’d those have to be there.  Bending down you relieve the man of one more unhealthy vice in his life.  You’re really doing him a favor.

“You know,” you say, looking as sincere as possible while breaking the cellophane, “I was going to quit today.  I told myself a hundred times that this was the day.  But nooo.  You just had to push these cigarettes on me, didn’t you?  So, maybe tomorrow.”  And with that you toss a cancer stick into your mouth, light up, and resume the impossible task list.

That is, until the building across the street sends an explosion of flame, glass, and cement flying everywhere.  The shockwave throws you to the ground, and you can only lie there, blood running from the numerous cuts and abrasions, wishing to high Heaven that you could suck in a lungful of air.  But through all of that, one thought reigns prominent in your mind.

Your dog was next door to that raging inferno.

The cell phone in your purse starts ringing, and you want to laugh at the irony of the situation, but all that comes out is a hacking cough.  Nonetheless, you reach for it, ignoring the cries ringing out around you.  Hey, that’s what paramedics get paid for, not you.  With stinging eyes you manage to find the “send” button, and cradle the phone to your ear.  “Yeah?”

“We’ve got a situation downtown.”  It’s Sinclaire.  Your boss.  “A toy store was taken out by what we suspect to be a terrorist bombing.”

“Oh,” you croak out. “You don’t say?”  Damn, that’s some fast intel.

“I don’t think I like your tone, missy.”

“Gee, I’m sorry, sir, but I just happen have some of the glass from your little bombing embedded in my ass.  It isn’t comfortable.”  There you go, running your mouth again.  Maybe this time they’ll only send you to Alaska for some reprimand job.  “By the way, sir, how the Hell did you get this so fast?”

“Missy,  this is the fucking CIA.  I know the PH balance of your piss when you squat in the ladies room.  If you weren’t so busy pushing pencils all day, you might remember what it was like to be a real agent.”  Now is not the time to hear this.  Fortunately, before you blow what’s left of your career by telling a very powerful man to go suck on something,  you manage to get a grip.

“So how does this involve me?  I just happened to be here.”

“Well then, we’ll make the most of it.  Give me a detailed description of the area.  Suspicious vehicles?”  He’s got to be kidding.  “Anyone leaving the scene?”  This can’t be for real.  “Is there-”

“Whoa!  Just a second, sir!  I can’t even see for cryin’ out loud!  Cut me some freakin’ slack why don’t you?”

“Missy,”  he replies quite seriously, “You will do exactly what I tell you, and nothing less.  I want a full report within the hour, as you are now on this investigation.”

“That’s crap!  I’m clerical now!  Remember?”

“I don’t care what you are now, you belong to us.  No matter what kind of a slacker you’ve become,”  that’s not true, you use the stair-master for at least a half hour every day, “Don’t you ever forget that you are trained for this, and we will use you whenever we see fit.  Do you understand?”  Oh yeah.  Sure do.  Call me a slacker will you?  “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

“Yes, sir.  Perfectly.”  By any rule in the conduct book that’s far more than enough to imply consent, so you hang up on his annoying ass.

This really sucks.  Not only is your dog most assuredly a roasted wiener, but the most annoying man in the world has just made every other aspect of your life into a living Hell.  So much for that checklist.

The EMT’s are arriving, and the last thing you want to deal with is some idiot asking you if it tickles when he touches your feet.  It all adds up to leaving time.  You can pick up little Allen on the way home, change, get cleaned up, and still make it to the office in an hour.  Get rid of one list, and another one pops up.  So this one doesn’t include a potluck, if there’s still a diet pop in the fridge, you’ll take it as a substitute.

 

Forty-five minutes later sees you with one hand on your cell phone, the other on your laptop, and your knee steering the car.  Who ever said that being a mother doesn’t teach you useful skills?  You hear a click on the other end of the line.

“Sinclaire.”  Boy, chipper as ever.

“I’ve got something for you.  The explosion looks to have been caused by some sort of chemical explosive, probably in a paste or clay form.  There was a lot of it in that store, sir, and it appears to have had multiple points of detonation-”

“That’s fascinating.”  Yeah, well up your’s too.  “Just how did you come by this information?”  Uh oh.

“Well, sir, I got it from the P.D.  They already had people on it, and I figured that since you wanted as much info as soon-”

“That’s good.  Really.  First hour, and you’ve already screwed up big time.  Now I remember why we tucked you away.”  This is bad.

“I don’t understand what’s wrong, sir.  You wanted a report, and-”

“Oh.  Right.  I forgot that now we’re sharing trade secrets with all the local yokels.  You didn’t think, that’s what’s wrong.  It looks like maybe you should have spent that extra fifteen minutes getting a clue, instead of trying to unsuccessfully impress me.”  You really don’t want to be hearing this.  “Don’t bother coming in until you’ve got more.  And don’t even thing about pulling another little stunt like this, or you’ll have more crap on your head than you know what to do with.”  There is another click through the receiver, signaling the farewell of quite possibly the biggest prick you have ever known.  Well, maybe the second biggest, but equally painful in an entirely different way.

At the next red light you flip down the vanity mirror to see what all your primping has done for you.  Not much.  Michele Pfeiffer definitely won’t be eating her heart out.  Here you thought you were actually doing well.  How were you supposed to know?  It’s not like he actually said don’t go through the cops.  Did he expect you to organize, mobilize, and operate your own team to produce results within one hour?  Not a chance.  Even if you did have the clearance, you still haven’t got the experience or the personnel.

Wait a minute.  Who the Hell are you trying to impress anyway?  It’s not like you’re up for a promotion.  So you got stuck on this lousy job out of the blue.  Anyone who’s important would realize that you don’t belong on this investigation, so it doesn’t really matter what happens.

Don’t you wish you believed that?  Sad thing about being a mom, it’s all got to be nice and tidy.  Which is what this case isn’t.

You run through it all in your head, and it becomes more ludicrous than before.  Why would there be explosives in a toy store?  Great statement, guys.  What, are you gonna blow up the Value Giant next?  Okay, maybe instead of motive we look at something else.  Like what?  The charred head of Winnie the Pooh staring back at you?  Maybe they just didn’t like Winnie.

Or maybe they didn’t like some other toy.  There were multiple detonation points,  which means there must have been  multiple displays of the toy.  Well of course!  Some local left wing group of freakshow crazies must have gotten pissed off at some commercial.

Oh yeah.  That’s a great theory.

Out of the corner of your eye you notice the sign for Wizz Bang Toys, and a siren goes off in the back of your head.  Oh shit.  Little Allen’s Christmas present.  That’s what you forgot to add to your list.

Cutting across two lanes of traffic and quite possibly making yourself the target of numerous homicidal drivers, you screech into the last parking slot just ahead of some jerkweed in a BMW.  He honks at you, waving his cell phone around, shouting what must be obscenities at you.

Yeah, yeah, you beat him and you both know it.  You get out of the car, slam the door, and set the alarm.  You just love the way it sounds.  Why else would you put an alarm system on such a crappy car?

Santa’s elves and reigndeer wave you on as you enter the store.  The big man himself must be on break, as there’s no sign of the jolly old guy.  Pushing your way through the throngs of other last minute shoppers, like yourself, you search for the item Little Allen was sure to put at the top of his list.  The Super Tough Cosmo-Warrior with Battery Operated Punching Power.  Man, what ever happened to Leggo’s?

It’s not hard to find.  In fact, they’re everywhere.  It must be a popular toy this year.  You wouldn’t know, since you spend more hours at work than at home, and Little Allen probably thinks the day care lady is his real mother.  Well, that can of worms can wait for a new year’s resolution.  Right now you’ve got shopping to do.

Grabbing the toy off of one of the nearest display racks, you hope that this wasn’t the toy someone was trying to blow up in the other store.

Uh oh.  Details start rattling in your brain.  Multiple points, random in location, none of them easy to conceal.  In fact, some of them could have been in the aisles.  You look around the store, checking out the displays for different toys.  They’re everywhere, but none with the same on more than one rack.  You look down at the toy in your hand.

Nah.  It’s coincidence.

Twenty minutes of line waiting and incompetent cashiering later finds you knowing in your heart that the batteries in your alarm remote are dead, as you repeatedly push the button with no avail.  Swearing as only a mother not accompanied by her child can, you unlock the door manually, get in, and drive off, the car sounding like a broken ambulance.

 

Just as you are drifting off to sleep, that alarm in the back of your head wakes you up again.

 

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