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Sometimes magic is hidden; hidden in plain sight.
“Rocket Man’s hurting. He’s gotta know he’s screwed in every possible orifice.” Shazi said to his partner Pete DiMennaco.
“Yeah,” DiMennaco replied with an impatient sigh. “I’d wager getting screwed in every one your holes doesn’t exactly tickle.”
“No!” Shazi continued. “It’s for real. Rocket Man’s going down like The Edmund Fitzgerald.”
DiMennaco tried his best to show patience. Drawing an annoying partner made serving on the Huntsville, AL PD a harder job than it had to be. Shazi, also known as Shane Zeeberlin, made life miserable for anyone who endured the extreme misfortune of riding in the same squad car as him for an entire month of shifts. That’s how long DiMennaco’s longstanding partner Chuck Sedley would remain in the hurt locker for foiling a bank job.
Jiggy “Rocket Man” Watts was small time. He was a hoodlum, and a churl who would suffer a vile and well earned fate. He would get shot by a rival, get locked down in someone’s Incarceration Hotel, or he’d just go on being his no-account, jack-shite, good-for-nothing self. Behind any of these three doors, “Rocket Man” would go down like the aforementioned Great Lakes shipping vessel. The only question remaining involved just how fast Jiggy would take on excess water.
“So what’s up with Watts this time?” DiMennaco asked in a tired voice.
“He stole a necklace from Roddie Nailon’s wife.” Shazi replied.
“And I suppose Nailon's pissed. How nice a necklace?”
“Not even, it’s like the principal or something?” Shazi answered. The concept of there being a principal had Shazi way more confused than DiMennaco would have liked to see in a fellow police officer.
“Not the principal, Shaz.” DiMennaco answered. He adopted the patient tone that a teacher would offer a none-too-promising Sixth Grader who was still a good enough kid to give the tough math problem a try. “It’s the honor.”
“I don’t follow.”
“It’s the street cred.” DiMennaco continued. “We both agree “Rocket Man” wouldn’t get off the ground if he lit his own ass as a fuse. This Nailon cat, whoever he is, knows this good and well.”
“More importantly; so do all of Nailon’s jerk-off flunkies. Watts just dissed Nailon’s piece of ass. He couldn’t care jack about some stupid, costume jewelry necklace.”
Shazi then got a look on his face like he knew something The Teacher Man didn’t. “Yeah,” He said like he was about to drop a but, “but that’s not what he said to me when he came running for cover.”
“Interesting.” Replied DiMennaco. And what was more, he actually meant it. Up until now, he was wondering what anything involving Jiggy Watts could possible have to do with him, his three fair-haired daughters or his beautiful house in the burbs. Now he figured his partner had actually ginned up some good cop work and maybe they’d bring in a collar.
“Ok, Shazi, brief me in.”
“Rocket Man comes in to the station house early this morning.” Shazi began. “He’s looking like the ass end of The Taco Bell Chihuahua.”
“Charming.” Replied DiMennaco.
“He’s not talking straight; like he’s been burning down all night or something. I figure it was darn considerate of him to get hopped up and then deliver himself to me at the station so that I could score a bust.”
“I prefer my pipe-heads with appropriate manners as well.”
“He tells me Nailon ‘put the whammy on him bad.’ And that if Nailon got the necklace back, all sorts of evil stuff would go down.”
“You don’t say.” DiMennaco replied. “What sort of stuff?”
“He was claiming that Nailon was becoming the next Julius Caesar, and was collecting historical archetype relics.” He continued. “Whatever those are….”
“So why would he go after Nailon’s wife’s necklace, if he was stoned into being afraid of the guy?” DiMennaco wondered. He had seen druggies do stupid things before, but usually in accordance with their stoner delusions, not athwart them. Either Shazi was fubared as usual, or Watts wasn’t playing to type.
“He claims the necklace is an historical relic. He says it’s made from a metal alloy that was part of The Space Shuttle Challenger.” Shazi continued.
“Ok, so I guess this metal came off during maintenance before the fateful launch a couple of decades back…” DiMennaco mused. “But so what? What does a lowlife like Watts care if some other scum-suck hood gives his wife a garish necklace he bought at The Space Camp tourist bin?”
“He says Nailon will use it to charge up, or some such nonsense…”
“He’d getter a better charge off the crap Watts was smoking.”
“So Watts tried to snatch the necklace to prevent Nailon from charging up?”
“That’s the story. Now he claims he’s being chased by The New Atlantis Society.”
“Let me guess?” DiMennaco asked. “Nailon also channels Jim Jones and serves cool aid at every meeting.”
“No, they’ve supposedly collected a junk yard of historical relics and use them to perform something called ‘The Back-Gate Ritual.’” Shazi replied in a dubious voice.
“Just what we need; a frikking cult.” DiMennaco mused. He was now worried. “What about this sicko ritual?”
“Watts claims they’ve built a vehicle of some sort from pieces of historical cars and metal from space vehicles they’ve stolen from NASA disposal sites.”
“They are trying to send people back in time.” Shazi continued. “They claim they are sending people back to Ancient Rome to learn what Caesar was actually like and get a sample of his DNA. They want to graft his stem cells onto Nailon so that he can gradually turn himself into Caesar.”
“Sure…” DiMennaco thought as he shook his head and chuckled. “I suppose Watts got caught up in all this mess because he went outside without his tinfoil hat.”
“Oh yeah,” Shazi continued enthusiastically, as began to laugh a bit. “I haven’t told you the weird part. Watts claims they shipped his brother back to some place called Cisalpine Gaul and he stole the necklace to blackmail Nailon into returning his brother.”
“Oh my God!” DiMennaco laughed. “I paid 65 cents for that coffee and now I have to clean it off the windshield! That was funny though. Man, you’ll here it all as a policeman.”
“Yeah, I stashed Watts until the boys in the white coats show up.” Shazi replied. “They came and got him about an hour later.”
“That was fast.” DiMennaco remarked. “How’d they get here from Madison General so soon?”
“I don’t know.” Shazi answered. “The weird thing is, some lawyer broad called.”
“That’s never good.” DiMennaco replied. “Representing Watts?”
“No, representing Nailon’s wife. She wanted to make sure Mr. Watts was getting good mental health care. She told me she wanted to make sure Mr. Watts’ needs were properly accommodated.”
“No, mi amigo.” DiMennaco replied. “She wanted to make Damn Skippy sure Mrs. Nailon wasn’t going to be bothered by that freak show anymore.”
“Yeah, Rocket Man is screwed through every orifice.”