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Christmas Noir: Day 25


I woke up in the hospital bed that I’d been sleeping in for a few days and found that the trouble had not ended yet. Frost was standing over me, watching me as I woke up. He didn’t look amused, but he didn’t look angry either, he didn’t look anything.

“Oh fuck.” I muttered. “Look, I know I didn’t do what you said, but there’s a good reason for that.”

“Oh yes?” He asked.

“Yeah.” I said nodding as best as I could. “I just can’t think of what it might be at the moment.”

“Well, never mind.” Frost said, “You’ve got enough problems as it is.”

“It’s all going to be blamed on me, isn’t it?” I asked.

“No.” Frost said shaking his head. “It’s all come down on Church actually, but as he has good lawyers and there isn’t much of anything in the way of proof, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“What about Christmas?” I asked. “Is she okay?”

“That’s why it’s all coming down on Church.” He said.

“Because she told them everything she said she was going to?”

“Because she’s dead.” Frost said. “Church shot her three times, she only got him once in the side.”

“So he’s okay?”

“Yes, just like you’ll be soon.” Frost said. “You’re lucky she was using such a small caliber. The bullet in your side got caught in your ribs, the one in your legs didn’t go far enough in to hit your bone and the shot in your arm is little more than a deep cut. You’re in for a few weeks of physical therapy rather than a few years.”

“Yeah.” I nodded. “I’m so lucky that someone who planned out the deaths of, what is it, eight people?”

“Something like that, probably more.”

“So, yeah.” I said, looking Frost in the eyes. “I’m very lucky that someone who meticulously planned the deaths of eight plus people managed to only have very weak rounds in her guns, despite having two snipers set up.”

“Pardon?”

“She had two snipers set up to take out Church.” I said watching his expression for the tiniest sigh, even a little flicker.

“How do you know that?” He asked.

“They could have shot us at any moment, and a good moment would have been when I was leaving because they might not have another chance with me.” I watched and thought I saw a slight change. “And if she’d died there then Church would have known I’d hunt him to the end of his days. Besides, she seemed sort of disappointed that I’d killed all of them. So they were there to plug Church, which is why she was ready with small little bullets that would hurt me but not kill me. She was going to have them kill Church and then shove me out of the way without killing me. Then she would have come back for the show and everything would have been wonderful. Then she would have come for you.”

“Oh?” He said, and I think he was beginning to grow uneasy under my gaze. “How do you figure that?”

“Easter’s dead, Patrick too.” I said staring into him. “She and the fat man had been pushing the others out of the way or killing them so she could slowly take over the whole year. Her stuff already was starting in September, and despite everyone being very afraid of Sam, she was moving in on his turf. She would have taken out Thanksgiving, and no matter how powerful she’d have come for you one day.”

“Well that won’t be an issue now.” I almost thought he was beginning to look slightly flustered. “She’s dead and the world need never know about the rest of it?”

“Why not?”

“Because everyone thinks she died in that hospital bed.” He said. “She’s was dead before she died.”

“No.” I said shaking my head slowly. “Sandy Cloose died in that hospital bed and I’ll back her parents if you don’t acknowledge that fact.”

“Would you?” Frost asked, and in his emotionless demeanor a person could imagine a threat.

“You tell the truth about her or I’ll tell everything about everything. Including all those who have died under your watch.” It was my turn to sound vaguely threatening. “And because of our agreement I can’t exactly be just done away with, you won’t have much recourse but to try and fight it out in the streets.”

“I’ll have to word it carefully.” He said, actually sighing.

“All you have to tell the truth about is how Sandy Cloose died and that Church killed Christmas.” I reminded him, “We can just leave all the rest alone and when they ask questions we just tell then we don’t have the answers yet.”

“All right then.” He said.

“What will you do about the show then?” I asked. “I mean Yule might be able to take over this year but she’s not really up to the whole thing.”

“Oh that won’t be much of an issue.” He said waving the idea away with his hand. “I’ll just go ask someone else for a performer in that area. The show has been going on just the same for thousands of years, only an occasional actor has changed. It was once Mithras, then Yule, then Christmas, maybe I can get someone from Buddha to play a part.”

“What?” I asked incredulously. “You’ll get candy canes for Buddha day?”

“Why not? It’s all part of the Vague Early Winter Possibly Religious Festival my dear boy.” He stood up and slid his coat on. “Get well soon, I’ll see you later.”

It was another week before I was able to leave the hospital and go home. Home however had been closed up and was still the sight of ongoing investigations. I went back to the office, wondering what I might find there. I had to take the building’s elevator as my leg wouldn’t support me up the stairs. It might have been a small wound, but it hurt a lot and I was told that I’d probably not being running much in the future. There was also my arm that was probably going to be in a sling for sometime and then if I was able to raise my hand over my head that would be remarkable progress.

I opened the locked door of the office and looked at the empty desk where Debbie no longer sat. She must have taken the money and ran for it, which was just as well because I was thinking of closing up shop. I wasn’t going to be able to be much of a detective anymore, not with a limp and a bad arm. I left the door open and limped across the floor to my desk.

The whole thing was over now, all over and there was no more. No more home, no more detective agency, no more Christmas, no more me. I leaned back and closed my eyes, wondering what exactly I was going to do with myself now. I heard someone walk into the office and opened my eyes to see them. Church was standing at my desk and looking at me. I leaned forward and looked back at him.

“Hello Jack.” He said after a while.

“How long until you have the trial?” I asked, assuming he was just out on bail.

“No trial.” He said smiling slightly.

“Pardon?” I asked.

“They decided not to press charges.” He said.

“But you shot Christmas.” I said flabbergasted, “Surely they still charge when you kill someone.”

“I can prove she shot you first.” He said smiling a bit more. “I had someone with a camera watching the whole thing.”

“You were ready for it all huh?” I asked.

“I was.” Church nodded. “She shot you and tried to shoot me so I shot her dead and then I took you to the hospital and you got blood in my car.”

“I’d offer to pay you, but I think my secretary ran off with the company funds and besides, I’m closing up shop.”

“I thought you might.” He said and reached down for a gym bag at his side. “I brought you this though, as a last payment.”

He set the bag down in front of my and pointed to it. I opened the bag and found it stuffed with neatly stacked hundred dollar bills in ten thousand dollar bundles. I looked at the money and then looked up at him. He in turn looked down at me, which made it nice and circular.

“There’s a little over half a million.” He said nodding to the bag. “I’m sure you could find some way to make a bit of money on your own with a start like that.”

“Yeah.” I said considering the money. “I probably could.”

“Well, I’ll be seeing you.” He said and walked out of the office and into the hallway.

I looked at the money for a moment or two before the door opened again and Debbie came walking in with a bag of fast food. She smiled at me behind my desk and came into my office. She placed the lunch bag next to the gym bag, pressed her palms on the desk and leaned over to either give me a view of her cleavage or get a good look at me.

“I thought you’d have gone.” I said.

“Where was I gonna go?” She asked me. “Besides, with two million in cash I’d have been found pretty quickly.”

“Oh, so you did go to the box?” I asked.

“Well, yeah.” She said nodding. “You said to.”

“It’s nice to know you kept the office open.” I said.

“I didn’t have anywhere else to go.” She said. “And after what happened I figured I didn’t need to fear anyone.”

“Not so long as you still have your keyboard handy.” I said.

“Yeah.” She nodded. “How are you?”
“I’ll be fine.” I said, trying to smile. “We might need to close the office, or change our line of work, but besides that I’m good.”

“Okay.” She said and walked out of the office with her lunch.

After a while I could hear the clatter of her keyboard and considered how much had been destroyed over the last couple of days. It was too much though, and after a while I just looked out at the clear sky as it darkened. I could see a long way out the window, but not half as far as Christmas had gone. That's probably a lame ending, but at the moment it's the only one I've got.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ciarrainic
Dec. 27th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
It's a pretty decent ending. All the ends are tied up pretty neatly (or at least as far as I can remember them). There's someone to replace Christmas, so the show can go on. A couple of people, if you count Yule too. I assume Jack and Debbie will go on taking cases and typing until Frost puts them out of work or blows up the office.
sparkfrost
Dec. 27th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC)
I liked it. :) It was fun, it was irreverent, it was very noir.

Just so you know, for the past month you've had me as riveted as my favorite fanfic authors. That's some damn high praise, so you know. :)

Oh, and my art for you will be on its way in about two weeks. Bills added up and I won't get paid for a bit, but when I do, one of the first expenses will be shipping. Mine isn't as labor intensive as yours was, but I hope you'll like it anyway.

Happy VEWPRF!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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