Monday, December 12, 2011

"Plan B From Outer Space" by Dr. Ace T. Jericho, Rogue Journalist

I was knee-deep in research material, mainlining Swedish Fish and scenting with a classic bottle of Liquid Paper, when something howled nearby, a bloodcurdling noise that froze me to the short and curlies.

"Sweet Mother of Dingos!" I said, leaping from my desk chair and snatching up the whaling harpoon from the wall. "What poor unfortunate soul is getting a Lovecraftian horrors enema?"

"It's your cellphone," Anne, my Trusty Companion, called out from the couch.

"Can't be," I replied. "It's supposed to play from Carmina Burana, not some whacked-out demented bluegrass death metal."

The howl sounded again. I could feel the noise searing into my brain like a flaming railroad spike through the temples.

I bounded onto my desk, the harpoon held at the ready. "Where are you, you damned white whale?"

"Answer it already," said Anne. "I'm trying to watch my show."

"Show yourself, foul beast!"

"Check under that stack of papers next to your computer."

"Those are Important Notes."

"Check it anyway."

I jammed the harpoon into the stack. It toppled, spilling printouts, scrawled-on notepapers, and a bronze kazoo.

Then my cellphone tumbled out.

"O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana blared from it.

"Ha-HA!" I said, snatching it from the pile of papers.

"Told you," said Anne. "Can I get back to my show now?"

"Return to Robin Hood 90210," I said then keyed the speaker. "Begin your utterances!"

"You're late again, you diseased hamster penis!" said the raspy voice on the other end of the line. "Where's the goddamn article you promised?"

Milton Seth Jones was a right bastard. A savage and obscene man who probably enjoyed being shocked with defibrillator pads applied to his left testicle.

He was also an editor.

My editor. At The Oblivious Plethora.

I loathed him with a visceral hatred akin to a sledgehammer hit to the scrotum.

But a good loathing. A friendly loathing. A loathing accompanied by beer and drunken singing.

"Article?" I said. "What in the name of the wind are you blabbering about, Jonesy?"

"You owe me ten thousand words on the steel cage match between print books and e-books," said Jones.

"Would you settle for a thousand words and four boxes of Swedish Fish?"

"Gadzooks!" Jones replied. "I might at that."

I got down off my desk and grinned to myself. Jones and I were both confectionary aficionados with similar tastes and I knew Swedish Fish was one of his weaknesses.

"Excellent," I said. "I'll send those right on over."

"See that you do," he said. "But that's not the only reason I called. I decided to take you up on your offer and run that John Joseph Adams interview you wrote."

"Sounds good," I said.

"Is it true the two of you are buds?"

"We are," I said. "I serenaded him while he was on jury duty."

"So you can get that interview over to me? It'll be a nice tie-in to the news of his publisher-ship and the merging of Fantasy and Lightspeed."

"Not a problem," I said. "Give me three weeks."

"Ha ha, very funny," said Jones. "You got four days to polish it. Don't be late."

He hung up.

The front door slammed shut.

I turned and saw Anne walking toward me, a folded document in her hand.

"Who was at the door?" I said.

"Process server," Anne said and held up the document. "John Joseph Adams has taken out a restraining order on you."

I gaped at her. "What madness is this?"

"Probably from all those emails you were sending."

"I was attempting to gather information," I said. "Jonesy agreed to run the interview."

"The one you haven't written yet?"

"Exactly."

"You might be shit out of luck. If you'd just sent a couple of emails instead of two hundred, you might be talking to him by now. Oh, and that dead octopus in a box was probably a bad idea."

"It was a Cthulhu Gift Basket!"

"Whatever. You're not allowed within a hundred yards of him. Or Christie Yant."

"By Jove's hairy nutsac!" I said, quickly contemplating my options. It wasn't a lot. In fact, it was next to nil. Or minus-nil.

Then a thought struck.

"I'm gonna have to go with Plan B," I said.

"Oh no," said Anne, horror etched on her face. "Not Plan B."

"Oh yes. Plan B."

"Plan B has something to do with that black and green padded barrel sitting out back, doesn't it."

"It begins there," I said, rubbing my hands together as ideas crept forth from the depths of my brain and gave me goose bumps.

"It'll probably end in tears and wailing," said Anne.

Probably. But that wouldn't stop me.

No sir.

I was a Professional.

Come back next week for another entry of The Jericho Files!
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.

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