Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

There's a wooden chair just by the elevator door here in the office. Today when I came in, there was a big cardboard box on it, full of wristwatches. All different kinds. I poked through them and they were all stopped at 3:45 a.m. A post-it on the side of the box said, 'Hold'.

So I'm holding.
According to the Empire City Moon this morning, that guy Greyghost pulled out of the luggage compartment was Marauder, and they figure that he's the one who killed Manxcat. I don't think the story's over, though, because Greyghost and Surefire were lurking in the office plotting all day.

The thing I have to do for Greyghost, more than any other, is the drop. That's where I drop off (or pick up) one of his costume briefcases, or some other piece of equipment, in a dumpster or hollow tree or some other clandestine location about town. So far I've had to leave these things in train station lockers, public washrooms (both men's and women's), parks, a sporting goods store, a construction site and a McDonald's PlayPlace. Tonight, however, was the worst.

It sounded easy enough; just lock it into the trunk of a car in the long-term parking lot out at the airport. I had the keys, the license plate number and the description of the car, and the approximate location of where it was parked. Seemed easy.

The shuttle to the airport took forever; there was traffic and we had to make dozens of stops. I had plenty of time, though, and was trudging across the parking lot at 6:30, case in hand.

It didn't take me long to spot the right car, but as I approached it, I noticed a couple of things. The trunk was ajar, and all I could see through the windows was smoke. And . . . what was that smell?

I peered in the driver's side windows. There were a couple of teenagers making out in the back and a third one in the passenger seat smoking up. For Christ's sake. I pounded on the windshield.

The couple in the back giggled and ignored me, and the one in the front gave me the finger. Dirtbags. I went around and unlocked the passenger side door, and hauled the smoking guy out by his ear.

"Shit, take it easy, buddy," he said. "What's your problem?"

"This isn't your car," I said. "Screw off." And slapped him in the back of his head.

The couple in the back seat were sitting up now and adjusting their clothing sullenly. The girl said, "You're an asshole."

"Out," I said.

They got out, and the three of them trudged off. They were about three cars away when one of them turned around and threw a Coke at me. It was still mostly full and bounced off my collarbone. Hurt like a son of a gun.

The state they left the car in was beyond disgraceful. They must have been living there for days. The footwells were stuffed with empty chip bags and other garbage. Cigarette butts. Bottles. Should I clean it out? No. I don't get paid enough.

I took the costume case back around to the trunk, which had been jimmied open. When I lifted the lid, I got hit with a wave of stench. Apparently the trunk had been the toilet for these three during their stay in the car.

Breathing through my mouth, I grabbed a stray plastic bag from the front of the car and lay it down on the piles of human poo in the trunk. Then I put the costume kit down on top of that, and locked the cable to the trunk hinge. I slammed the trunk shut and tested it; it stayed closed. Walking away, I couldn't shake the smell of the trunk. I checked myself and it turned out I had a long streak of dung along my jacket forearm. Wonderful.

Damn airport security. Where were they all week while these kids were messing up the car? I'd have gone to tear a strip off them except I didn't want to attract a lot of attention to Greyghost's car. I took off my jacket, pulled the sleeve inside out and carried it the rest of the way back to the shuttle bus.

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