Episode 16: Never On Sunday – Part 1

Note: To read the entire story from the beginning click here.

The ladies had reached some sort of truce, but it was an uneasy one. I stepped into sullen silence as the two watched each other from far sides of the room, two cats trapped in the same cage, both knowing that only one of them could be on top. Lola Fanutti had the position nearest the door; I had to push past her into the crossfire of sharp glances. I think that meant she was winning the battle.

Though with the blonde hair and simpler dress she didn’t really look like the wife of a deceased crime boss. “Not bad,” I said, and I wasn’t just making it up. She looked good. In the stifling heat of that room the thin fabric of her dress was clinging to her, making her curves all the more… curvaceous.

She flashed me a smile and said with her Meredith from Kentucky voice, “Thank you.”

The smile took on a hard-edged quality when Alice said, “How does it feel to be blonde again after all these years?”

“Rather refreshing, actually. You should try it some time, when you’re tired of looking like that.”

“Who’s hungry?” I asked. “Let’s get out of this oven and find a bite to eat.”

“I’m starving,” Meredith said, “What have you been up to all this time?”

“I’ll tell you later,” I said. I’d tell her as soon as I’d thought of something. She accepted that, assuming I meant that I didn’t want Alice to hear. By the scowl on Alice’s face, that’s how she took it, too.

“Come on,” I said. “Bring your things. We’re going to find a place farther out of town, where we won’t have to worry about running into people we know.” I handed Alice most of my remaining cash. “Put this somewhere safe,” I said. “We have more.” Meredith looked surprised but she didn’t contradict me.

“I have a car,” she said. “We can get as far as we need to.”

“We’re not going anywhere near anything that has the stink of Lola Fanutti on it,” I said. “That’s just asking for trouble. We’ll get our own wheels once we’re off the island.”

“And how are we going to pay for it?”

“Cash. Come on.”

“You don’t want me to come with you?” Alice asked.

“Not yet. I need you here for a stakeout.”

Her eyes got slightly rounder. “Really?”

“Yep. For this job I’m making you a full partner. After expenses you get half the dough.”

Poor girl, she was much more excited at the word ‘partner’ than at the word ‘dough’. “But I don’t have a license.”

I had to laugh at that. “You can make yourself one tonight if it will make you feel better.” I told her the bar to watch, what to watch for, and the signal to give if she saw anything. “Be careful, Alice,” I finished.

“I don’t think you’ve ever used my name before,” she said.

“Just be careful. Try not to go to any of the usual places, they’ll be watching for you. Stay on this side of town.”

“All right,” she said, happy. I’m not sure she heard my warning.

“We’re dealing with killers, here, Toots. Keep your head on straight.”

That calmed her down a bit. “Yes, sir.” I sent her on her way.

“Can you trust her?” Meredith asked. That was funny, coming from her.

“She’s very reliable.”

“She’s having money troubles, you know. Someone could buy her off.”

“It didn’t work when you tried it, did it?”

Her face darkened and she shot me a look that was pure Lola Fanutti. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I picked up the bags with her old clothing in it. I scanned the room for any remaining evidence that a quick-change had happened here. Satisfied I stepped out into the hall. Let’s get out or this steam bath,” I said. We went down the stairs to the lobby where we were watched by the ever-present manager. Nothing to be done about that. maybe the new look would confuse him. We stepped out into the sweltering afternoon heat and turned up the sidewalk. “I’m going to need some more of your cash.”

She didn’t like my new tactics, and tried to regain the upper hand. “I paid you all I had, and that should be plenty.”

“Look, Mrs. Fanutti, you’re playing a dangerous game. You need my help. If I’m going to help you, I need two things: money and answers. We’ll start with the money.”

“Honest, Charles…”

“It hurts my ears to hear you use that word.”

She stopped, knowing that there would be no more bluffing. “All right,” she said, reaching into her handbag. I wondered if she would pull out cash or her .45. I let out a breath when I saw the green. “I always intended to tell you,” she said. “When the time was right. It’s just, I was just —”

I took the dough. It was more than I expected, and I was confident she had more. “Spare me. All right. That was part one. Now for answers. Where’s the painting? The Blood of the Saint?”

“It was stolen, I told you.”

“Look, Mrs. Fanutti. I’m still willing to help you. I even like you, some of the time. But the lies are going to have to stop.”

“Don’t ever call me Mrs. Fanutti again. That man was a butcher and a bastard, and that is the absolute truth. I’m not Lola Fanutti anymore.” Her voice was rising in pitch. “That man — he did things to me. Made me do things. I don’t know who killed him, but if I ever meet the guy I want to shake his hand.” She was shaking now, and clinging to my arm.

Dames. Even the vicious killers are always blubbering. I didn’t let her distract me, though. “The painting?”

“It’s safe,” she said, drying up. “But we can’t get it for a few days. Not until Sunday. How did you know?”

“That whole thing was just a setup, wasn’t it? You staged a shootout just for me.”

“The wasn’t part of the plan. I lost some good friends last night.”

“You wanted there to be some trouble, though.”

I tensed as she opened her handbag again, until she pulled out a cigarette case. She held one to her lips and looked at me expectantly. I shrugged. She reached back into her handbag and produced a lighter, which she handed to me. Dutifully I flipped it open and held it up to allow her to light her cigarette. I flipped it shut and handed it back to her. “Keep it, you’ll need it again. Yes. I wanted there to be some excitement. That was why I was so slow to react when a real attack came. I really did intend to tell you when the time was right.”

“So you thought you could get me on the run, acting without thinking, and get you out of the frying pan. Then leave me behind or maybe kill me and have all the loot for yourself.”

“At first, maybe, before I knew you, I would have left you behind.”

I didn’t see the point of discussing that one. “Let’s find a place we can lay low until Sunday, then.” Sunday seemed like it was a long, long, way away.

Tune in next time for: Ambush!

16 thoughts on “Episode 16: Never On Sunday – Part 1

  1. I realized as I sat down to poop out this episode that I had titled myself into a corner somewhat. The story started on a Tuesday back fifteen episodes, and now it’s Wednesday. I considered a hand-waving “Then stuff happened, and it was Sunday,” but opted against. “Never on a Sunday, part two,” will come some time later in the series.

    Also I did some modifications on the layout of the titles. Let me know if it works for all you windows folks who haven’t caught on to Firefox yet.

  2. Is there going to be some kind of gadget up ahead? I’m not saying National Treasure or McGuiver or anything quite like that, I’m just anticipating some cool device/trick our hero uses to … lose a shadown, find the picture, defeat a booby trap, etc..

    Perhaps the time between now and Sunday can include a trip to see someone like Q for … telescope, flamethrower, trumpet like sonic weapon for incapacitating guard dogs, or ???.

  3. The main shortcoming of Firefox vs. Exploiter for me is that, when I’m about to type in a password, Exploiter warns me if I’ve left my caps-lock key on. But on all other features, I prefer Firefox (like, who wouldn’t?).

  4. pL,

    Exactly. The bad guy tails our hero to the train station where he opens a dusty storage locker, pulls out the flamethrower, and the shootout ensues.

  5. The flame throwers hit some innocents in the crossfire, burning and pealing away plastic skin to reveal metalic skeletons, thus alerting readers (although not our protagonist, who doesn’t notice, despite the piece being written in first person narrative) that the Kafka-esque world of the story is in fact populated with only robotic automatons, excepting the protagonist and just maybe a few of the blog’s readers. Dogs are overhead barking in the distance.

  6. Perhaps you never been to a train station, and most likly you have never used a flame thrower… Storage locker? Give me a fuckin break, jerk.

    Bad guys don’t have tails, only them flying monkeys.


  7. Bob,

    If you are going to put on persona’s like Jerk McSwede, you really must disguise yourself better by eliminating the telltail typing malapropisms such as “likly.”

    You and I both know there are really only four contributors to this blog in addition to Jerry: You, me, John and Jesse. All the women (lew, Carol Ann) are just Jerry writing when he is in touch with his feminine side.

  8. Hi Keith,

    The only thing you got right is the notion that one can detect Jerk’s true identity (here’s a hint, his previous postings had an e-mail that was the same as pL’s) from his spelling errors. If there really is such a thing as emotional intelligence, then pL has it in spades when it comes to spelling.

    However, I’m not surprised to read your accusation. You lashing out at me is a bit like Germany invading France; it’s got to be force of habit by now.

    I am not deep throat. I’m not Jerk McSwede. I was Mr.7K, but I got over it.

  9. Speaking of dogs overhead, did I ever tell the story of when I was on a flight the day after air traffic started back up again after 9/11?

  10. Like going to Sea World the day San Diego was in the Super Bowl. Nearly all of the visitors to the park were collected in the gift shops, where there were portable TVs. We spent a half-hour walking backwards on the moving walkway under the shark tank and didn’t have to step aside for another person.

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