THE BIG COOL LONG HARD HAND

by Jerzy Plates

Episode One: "The Velveeta Communique"

Call me Murph.

The license in my desk drawer says different.

Orson Different.

Call me Murph.

Then call the cops. This is the story I'm sticking to.

I woke up in my office as usual, feeling a little chalant. I was coming off a cheap pastel chick-drink drunk. Bereft of vital substance and plagued by doubt I took my morning toilette. A check in the mirror. I looked like I could eat a child. Did I? I had to think.

Sometime during the night Wanda had lobbed a certain dossier over the transom on her way down the hall and out of my life. Wanda. Swanky Wanda. I fell for her like an egg from a tall chicken. She smoked Chesterfields, had one of those haircuts, and when she crossed her legs, lightning shot out her butt. I like that in a woman. She was in the forefront of the backlash of the post-feminist movement, the daughter of a high official. But I digress. Live with it.

I have this guy on the payroll who follows me around blowing muted trumpet whenever he thinks my mood calls for it. At the moment he was moving through some smooth minor thirds on the chorus of "Angel Eyes", a neat trick, laying down, in the tub, on your back, your legs all akimbo.

"You sleep okay Jules?"

The FAX machine bleated out a sound and Jules wrapped a snakey pentatonic around it enough to make the Trane blanch. I don't pay him enough.

Lupe brewed a piping hot pot of joe, yesterday. Mr. Coffee never sleeps. I poured what looked like fecal sludge and smelled like war surplus mutton, spooned in four or five sugars and I was ready to face the FAX and the dossier.

Fuck me. More encoded bullshit spook stuff. A message from Mingo.

[REPORT FILED VIA SECURE CHANNEL ECHO]

Buenos whatsis from Puerto Velveeta!

Flew in for the semiautomatic convention with two stews named Barb and a pony keg of Blatz. Still a sucker for the glamour of hardware.

CommSecOps sent us down here to buttress our posture, free the restrictees and garner some of them kudos. No directive against cruisin' for spoozy while we're here though. So young, so bad, so

what, right? Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen, I always say.

Down to brass tacks...

Look, slick, the skinny I hear from the tom-toms is you're a marked man. You got a big chunk to defray. Maybe you're connected. Maybe you're so connected you can take the heat. I'm all over the map in my walk of life and it's who is who and who is what to who that counts. They're either at your throat or at your feet, amigo. I mean it's all about ass, either you kick it or you lick it.

So I says to these systems mongers up north this guy and me are buds, we've breathed the same air for chrissake and these paranoid chess players suggest a certain anatomical impossibility back at me. They got me believing my own cover story wanclazz sprzzerty merp pahzba-hoopy

[COMM ERROR 4E: Line disconnected after modem speed fallback]

Standby for Episode Two: "La Semana de dar Gratias a Dios que no Somos Mujeres"

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