It was a busy summer. I was building up cash for expansion, so I was taking everything coming down the path. The depressing cheating spouse cases, employee theft cases, background checks, all BS but more plentiful then the more lucrative kidnappings, deprogrammings, and bodyguard work.
The City DID pay out nicely on the whole Egyptian thing, but it went to the Dempster agency, which means rent and utilities came off the top. Then Alice got her consulting fee, and Gert got paid for equipment loaned. Then Abby and Trevor need to be paid. (and God I want to drink urine just to get the taste of paying Trevor ANYTHING out of my mouth) Then we paid our retainer for Dallas and Fielding. After that, of what’s left, a third goes to the Agency, a third to Hal, and a third to me.
Shadowvision host Alan Van Helsing, of yes, THOSE Van Helsings, came out from LA to interview me for the network. No pay, but the coverage is cool. Guys in my line of work generally are involved in a huge pissing match, so this puts me up on Quarry and Vega, and the rest. I also appeared on Bloute’s local “World of the Occult” radio show. His interview was crap, so are his listeners. But he offered me two grand to come on. Usually he gets psychics and people who see “orbs” While I was at the station, I got to meet late night jazz host Lon Midnight. I loved his show, especially when on stakeouts. He was quiet, low key. He shook my hand, and I caught the pentagram shaped welt on his arm. Well, that explained why he was off on personal business three nights a month. He caught that I saw it. I gave him a wink. I wasn’t gonna rat him out.
I finally got a gig acting as bodyguard for an actress I contractually cannot name who was in town in June for exterior filming on a movie being shot here in Chicago. She’s Jewish, and had made some critical comments about a certain baboon running for President, and his followers were tweeting all kind of Nazi-themed death threats. This kind of shit actually happens all the time. The Studio hires on-set security, and then they hire bodyguards, the type that look like CIA agents with those curly cue earphones and dark shades. Talk into their wrists a lot. They’re human wave guards. They infiltrate a crowd en masse with some potter on high, and as soon as something looks unusual, they all jump on the suspect, and make a human shield wall around the prospective target. If everything works, no one is hurt, as long as there’s only one bad guy.
But what happens when there are more than one, and what happens when the target wants to go to dinner or get coffee or go to the bathroom?
So, against the Studio’s wishes, she hired me. I got the real names of the Twitter assholes, ran an online background check, and one of them, one Frank James Biddle, of Joplin Missouri came back as a former Klan member who’d done time for violent crimes. Unemployed, married, on welfare. I love the internet. It coughs up everything. I got his plate numbers, his vehicle title and registration, his recent ammo purchases on his debit card. Close enough to drive. Oh, and some family pictures, including his ramshackle home with the old style satellite dish and rebel flag strung across the front windows. I paid off some CPD patrolmen to let me know if they spotted his plates at any motel nearby.
I spent a week following the young lady around like a guard dog, scaring the absolute hell out of the paparazzi and putting off the black suited pros with their earpieces. Nobody came near her unless she nodded. Then on Friday, the cops let me know Biddle’s van was seen at the Motel Six in Schiller Park.
Next day, the spotters for the human wave mistook the delivery guy from Jimmy John’s to be a potential shooter, and they mobbed him. While they were wrestling with that, Biddle stepped out of the crown wearing body armor and carrying an AR-15. Before he could go any further, I was on him, and snapped his neck. He dropped dead without firing a shot. The police asked me for a statement, and released me. No charges were ever filed. With his posted death threats, no one made a big deal about Biddle’s death. Except for that fat sweaty crying guy that runs a rightwing website that believes in reptilian aliens replacing world leaders and Obama being the Anti-Christ. He thinks I’m an agent of the Illuminati.
The next fun thing was Comic-Con in San Diego. I always have a booth there. It and Wizard World are the only times I sell pictures and autographs, as well as those action figures, and the one-shot comic book Dark Horse did of me. It’s a hoot. I get to meet fans, meet celebrities, see trailers from new flicks I wanna see. Expansion was going slower than I’d hoped. Doctor Velsig had suggested I give myself a vacation so I tied it to Comic-Con. Spent some extra time seeing the San Diego Zoo. Went up to LA, went to the Universal Studios tour and got my picture taken with Frankenstein. Then I thought I might get into the Griffith Park zoo facility they converted to holding sasquatches. Worst that could happen is they’d say no.
Luckily for me they didn’t. Some nice government glad hands took me on the tour. According to Ms. Roberts, the young lady escorting me, in North America there are several types of the beasties. She showed me the “skunk apes” first.
They were, well, kind of like big orangutans. Dirty brown-orange, long arms, short legs. More upright than an orangutan, about six feet tall. Engrossed with digging termites out of wood pilings rather than looking at us. According to the young lady, they’re very rare of course, spread out along the gulf coast swamps, but could be found as far north as Arkansas or southern Illinois. I watched them, and could see they were animals. Bright, and probably not belonging in a small confine like this one, but an animal none the less.
We moved on. Ms. Roberts announced next, we’d see the “Eastern sasquatches.” We rounded a corner, and some behavioral observations were being done by some scientists. These Easterners were absorbed in making gestures and vocalizations at the scientists.
They were tall, almost my height, but lanky, like a track runner or a basketball player. Long brown hair on their heads, shorter brown hair on their bodies. Arms a bit long, but fairly human proportioned. They had a dirty Caucasian cast to their skin, and very human faces, more human than mine. When they caught sight of me, their eyes got wide, and they began excitedly “talking” to each other, arms waving. Then the females retreated in a bunch to the rear of the exhibit, while the two males shouted what I assumed were challenges at me, and threw rocks and branches about. When I didn’t move, they retreated to the females’ position.
“They’re very human-like, definitely of genus homo, but the experts haven’t decided if they’re a living version of homo erectus or an unknown. They require more room, so we keep them in this larger enclosure. This type can be found in very small isolated communities in the lower 48 and parts of Canada. Interestingly, often the hair on their heads doesn’t match that on their bodies, leading some researchers to call them “marked hominids”.
“Pretty amazing how the Feds were able to just have all this in short order.” I said. “You keep my buddy Momo in here?”
“Uh, no,,, he’s kept at a separate research center.” She said cheerfully. Everything she said was said cheerfully.
“Uh, yes, the Eastern variety is actually the most numerous, as far as we’ve been able to ascertain.”
We continued the tour. Some hairy youths were working with some guys in lab coats doing cognitive tests, the whole “round peg in the square hole” thing. Some of ’em looked different, heavier and auburn or black.
“Is this Bigfoot kindergarten?” I asked Ms. Roberts.
“Well, in a way, I guess it is.”
Just put this together my ass. They’ve known about these things for years, probably have had lots of living specimens and corpses to work with over the years. They just moved this bunch here to cover for Momo and the Wendigo I fought. This is just what they will agree to let the public see.
We moved on. She indicated an enclosure on my right.
“Now, these are “Western sasquatches.” These are what people think of when they hear the term Bigfoot.”
Gotta admit, she had the patter down.
These guys and girls were bigger, heavier, the females just under 7 foot I’d say, the two males at 7 and a half. My height. Heavy. The females maybe 500 pounds, the males around 700. Two black females, an auburn female, and two males, one brown and one auburn. Spitting image of the old girl on the Patterson-Gimlin film. Dark grey hide, like a gorilla’s. Big, dark eyes. Faces that were more like a Neanderthal mixed with an ape. They watched me, turning to keep an eye on me as I slowly walked by.
“Shouldn’t these things have some trees in their environments?” I asked.
“We’ve found that they try to use those to escape.” She said. Especially these ones. We had to expand the moats and smooth the sides considerably before putting theme here. It’s unusual to see them out by day.”
Where the Easterners were loud and agitated, these Westerners were quiet, and still. Then one of the males put his head back and let loose a deep howl.
A loud deep roar responded from the next enclosure. After that, everything in the place started howling or yelling or hooting.
We went to the next enclosure. There he stood. Huge, a black haired male “Westerner”. Huge muscles. Tremendous upper body power. Long arms. No real facial hair. He was at least 8 feet tall, and 800 pounds.
His eyes widened at seeing me, more in amazement than any aggression. He looked left and then right. I could see the white sclera around his eyes where I couldn’t see it with the others.
“This one was captured in Oregon near Mary’s Peak just recently. He’s a big fella, isn’t he? We keep him isolated as he doesn’t play well with the others.”
“Well, where are the others from?” I asked.
“Ever occur to somebody they might be two different tribes of people with some issues?” I asked.
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call them people.”
This one walked to the edge of the moat and just stared at me. Then it started making hand gesture and talking. Or at least, I assumed he was talking. At first, it was rushed, sounding like a Toshiro Mifune film mixed with parts of “Surfin’ Bird.” Then, it stopped, and switched to what sounded like the Native Americans back up that way. I dunno. At one time, this guy was a neighbor. Maybe he recognized something, scent maybe.
“Sorry, big fella. I never learned the Native tongue. Sorry I’m kind of th reason you’re in here. Say, are these things dangerous?” I asked her.
“Well, anything that big or strong is dangerous…”
I took that as a yes. Since I was indirectly responsible for this place, and probably for these poor things being here, I’d read up on the web. Some anecdotal evidence of these things snatching kids for food, women for mating, and possibly being at least partially responsible for the throngs that go missing In National and State Parks and lands every year. Not as bad as the Wendigo, more of a part time menace.
“We do have a tactical team here in case one gets loose. Well, that’ it for now. We do hope to get specimens from Ohio, and the upper Midwest soon. Maybe at some point from Australia or Asia. Now, at some point soon, we’re hoping to open this to the public full time, like a zoo. Did you enjoy the tour, Mister Frankenstein?”
“It was pretty informative, thanks for showing me around.” I replied. Now, if I were human, I’d ask Ms. Robert what he was doing later, be cheeky yet charming. But since THAT wasn’t possible, I shook her hand and left.
Back at my hotel room, I was alone with an In and Out 4 by 4 and Animal style fries and a Neapolitan shake. Good stuff. But that won’t hold off a Depression attack. I get ’em from time to time, usually at night when I’m alone. At home, I rely on music, cigars, and a sip of Crown Royal to set my mood for at least a break-even, but here? I couldn’t smoke in the room, I couldn’t smoke down at the bar, I couldn’t smoke on the street. I couldn’t drink at the bar, I attract the wrong kind of attention. I can’t pick up women, and I don’t do prostitutes. So, I watched Shrek, and followed that with Godzilla versus Megalon. I love Jet Jaguar. Then I shut down into my half-awake-half asleep mode.
Midnight came and I caught my cab to LAX. Flew the red eye out to O’Hare first class on United. Me and the headphones. The air marshal on the flight knew who I was, but kept eyeing me nervously. So did almost everyone else in first class. Welcome to my world. The trip all and all wasn’t bad, though. I made a few grand hawking memorabilia, and signed a contract with El Rey Network to host their Halloween monster movie marathon later in the year. That’s one day of filming drops and bumpers and intros. Pay was better than the normal cases I’ve had all year put together.
When I got to O’Hare, TSA pulled me aside. I’d been expecting this crap since Captain Magnison and the SRU gave NSA agent Brock Connor the hamburger treatment when he tried to take me into custody after the whole Egyptian thing. They fucked him up good. I expect the IRS will be auditing my income tax season.
So, two hours later, they had ascertained I wasn’t carrying any weapons, drugs, or contraband. My ID’s were in order. My passport up to date. Oh, and my colon was clean. I like to make the extra effort, just for times like these.
Alice picked me up in the Monster. “Hey, Johnny, things go OK?”
“Here,” I said, handing her an envelope with my memorabilia money, “not a lot, but in goes in the treasury. Got a deal to host a monster movie thing on cable. Not until October though. Pays good.”
“Well, you’ve got an inquiry from TNA to do a three month wrestling gig. Twelve hundred per show, plus airline tickets and hotels.” She advised me. “I’d advise against it. Most of their name talent split for the WWE, and they’re kind of desperate.”
“Naw, if they were REALLY desperate, they’d offer me a two hundred grand for one pay per view appearance.. No, no wrestling. I’m not interested.” I smiled. “Anything else?”
“Two things. Now, I know what you’re going to say, but I added some money from my inheritance to the treasury.”
“What? No, I…”
“Hey, I got paid real well from that consulting on the Osiris thing, you’ve been teaching me the trade, teaching me how to fight, and I’m on salary now as your personal assistant. I’m getting a lot out of this deal, and all I’m giving you back is handling some business matters. And don’t say being your friend, cuz you’re my friend and I don’t pay you. I live in your home, big guy, I eat your food and I drink your Pepsi. And your liquor. Let me help you.”
“Hmmm. Hell, all right. You’re sure about this?”
“Yes. Fully sure.”
OK,” I asked, what’s the other thing?”
I’m a hard guy to shock into silence. I died and was reborn a monster. I found out fiction is sometimes real. I’ve died and come back twice since then. I’ve battled gods and monsters. But THAT hit me like a sledgehammer to the nuts. I sat there in silence, my mouth hanging open not thinking, not blinking, not moving. Finally I could move and speak.
“Whu…?” That’s all I could muster.
This was going to be a truly unique situation. Alice, in addition to being the half human daughter of a hag, is a lesbian. Months back, when the Egyptian thing started, when she was consulting on the case, we were both real lonely and real high, and we slept together. Because, to be honest, a woman would have to be drunk or baked to sleep with me. But once is all it takes. Then I thought of the poor kid. Neither of its parents were entirely human. Wow!
“I’m not having an abortion, if that’ what you’re thinking.” She told me.
“Uh, no, no. OK, bear with me because this might come out wrong. While I support a woman’s right to choose, I’m not really a big fan of the whole abortion thing. It at best may be necessary but is always traumatic. Now, that gets the disclaimer out of the way. Once upon a time, a lifetime ago, the only thing I ever wanted was a wife and kids. My own family. I didn’t want to be rich or famous. Just that. But that boat sailed, and disappeared over the horizon. But, y’know, most people can’t really say that the mother of his child I his best friend. I mean, the whole gender preference thing, I don’t care. I can be satisfied with this. A friend I love that has my back. And an heir. I’ve learned to not complain when things are good. And yeah, a far as news goes, THAT was the best news I’ll ever have.”
“So, you’re OK with separate bedrooms?”
“Yeah. You tell your mom yet?”
“No. I’ll let her know tomorrow. By the way, you have a two o’clock meeting tomorrow with a representative from Stockman Pharmaceuticals. No advance word on why. Today at 1 pm we’re interviewing for receptionist, IT, a researcher, and two operative positions. I’ve worked out the job descriptions, wages, and benefits. Oh, and I hired an in-house accountant, and turned over your receipts and your tax information so the IRS will have nothing on you. His name is Maurice Fenton.”
“Wow. What did I ever do without you, Alice?”
“You ate a lot of meals alone.”
We got back home. Alice had set up the three empty viewing room as office space with desks, laptops, and wi-fi. She’s moved my office downstairs, and the living room furniture upstairs, except the bar and my billiards table.
I introduced myself to Maurice. He impressed me as a courteous, earnest young man, too young to have gotten jaded and corrupt. A graduate of Malcolm X College. Transferred to Northwestern, got his Masters there.
“Maurice,” I began, “with a Masters from Northwestern you could work anywhere. Why here? I can’t match the pay or benefits you’d find at a corporate employer.”
“With all due respect, sir, two years ago, you and Mister Dempster stopped some Satan cult that was kidnapping children for their sacrifices. One of those children was my little sister Gloria. The police officers didn’t tell us much, but Gloria told us how you blocked gunfire with your own body while your partner got the children out. My momma had offered a reward, so did a lot of those parents, but you didn’t take it. I saw on TV about you stopping that Wendigo thing in Oregon, and then that fight that brought down old Cook County Hospital on you and that Egyptian guy and that mummy, after you topped that big black death hand thing. No offense to any other employment offers I’ve had, but I’d rather work for you.”
“Welcome aboard, Maurice.” I shook his hand. “Make sure my quarterlies are correct, and keep me outta trouble with the IRS.”
A little before 1, cars began filling the long unused parking lot behind my place, and job candidates began taking seats in my long unused lobby.
Alice announced we’d be interviewing for the receptionist position first. We only had one applicant, a young lady named Lori Castro. I looked thru her resume. Associates degree from Triton College, familiar with MS Office, business communications, currently working in a call center for 11 dollars an hour, augmenting that working weekends as a “dancer”. Single mom, taking on-line courses from an on-line university.
“Ms. Castro, I have one real question,” I said, “Unlike most employers, I’m a big grey man that attracts weirdness. Are you OK with that?”
“Yes sir.” She replied. “I really need this job. The pay you are offering is, well, I need time with my son. This would be more pay and better hours, and I could quit my second job.”
“Good.” I stated. “Everyone else was apparently too scared to apply. Even with medical and dental. What’ your son’s name, Ms. Castro?”
“Joaquin, Mister Frankenstein. He’s six.”
“It’s Mister Garrett. To clients, it’ll be Mister Frankenstein, but in the office, it’s Mister Garrett. Congratulations, the job I yours. Does Joaquin like cars?”
“Well, yes, he has a lot of toy cars.”
I reached into the bottom drawer of my desk, and pulled out one of the die cast toy version of the Monster. I handed it to her.
“Here, give this to him with my regards. You start on Monday. We’re business casual, we do Taco Tuesday, and if we’re slow, feel free to play some billiards.”
We picked up a DePaul graduate, one Thomas Taylor. He additionally has some background in cyber security which worked out well. We put him to work right away getting our LAN up.
We interviewed the three researcher candidates. The first was certainly familiar with internet and library research, but had no background in the occult, the paranormal, or the supernatural. The second, well, not so much experience doing research, and was caught up in that whole new age Wicca stuff. Refused to recognize any danger posed by the supernatural. Didn’t believe in black magic. That’s OK, black magic believes in her. The last one was a godsend. Elizabeth Melody Harker. An associate member of the Societae Thaumatergia, former assistant librarian there. Her family’s been in the business a long time. Perhaps you’ve heard of her predecessors, Jonathan and Mina Harker?
“So, thank you for coming, Ms. Harker.” Alice aid. “It’s really a pleasure.”
“It’s my pleasure.” She replied. “I know the position, the type of work you need done. In addition to hiring me, you’d be hiring my connections, professionally and personally. That includes the folks I know at Shadowvision, as well as my family, and our associations with other hunters like yourself.”
“That is fantastic. The position involves no field work, so you’d be here for your knowledge, not for muscle.” I told her. It’s full time, paid benefits, Taco Tuesday. We have Shadowvision, and feel free to abuse the internet, be careful on the dark web.”
“When do I start, Ms. Froehlich?”
“Monday too soon?”
“That would be great!”
That left us with two positions to fill, two operatives. And only one candidate.
Sid Czernic is a licensed detective, an occult investigator, former local rock legend, and a dhampir.
What’s a dhampir? C’mon, some of you know the answer to that one. A dhampir is sort of a “half-vampire” or “living vampire”. They’re often the progeny of a mortal going thru the change into the undead, but there are some vampire clans, like the Karnsteins, that can procreate in mockery of natural life. Some dhampir are powerful, all the vampire’s strengths and none of their weaknesses. Some are weak, almost sickly. There’s a couple out there that are real motherfuckers. They use swords to behead vampires. They really don’t play well with others.
Sid is somewhere in the middle. Stronger than a normal human at night, kind of like he should be fronting the Cure during the day. Thin, gaunt, long white hair, pale blue eyes. Always looks about 27. The poster boy for an Anne Rice novel. He’s been around a while now. He used to work occasionally with Hal and Doc V back in the day. He’s got a lot of luggage. Mostly his overbearing hedonist mother Amanda, but she’s usually off on the Riviera. In 1992, he went to Adak Alaska investigating alleged sightings of a spider-like monster made by the locals. He was writing a book for Olive Press, which produces a lot of those kinds of books. No one’s REALLY sure what happened, but a small portion of the island collapsed and the Adak Army Base and the Adak Naval Operating Base were involved. Sid returned to Chicago, and never published the book. Soon after, both military bases were closed and an area of the collapse sealed under steel and concrete. He’s written exclusively on cults and secret societies since then, only occasionally doing field work. And here he was applying for a position. Right then I was wishing it was one of the sword wielding maniacs, the black guy in the shades or the European guy in the cape and floppy hat. Either of ’em.
“Mister Czernic, will you please have a seat.” Alice said.
“Sure, thanks. Thank you for getting back to my email so quickly.” He replied.
“So, Sid,” I began, “I talked with Hal and Doctor Velsig about you. They both spoke well of you, I know you actually worked for Hal as an operative for a while. But that was all before Adak.”
“Yes, Adak.” He mumbled. “Long time ago. Lotta bad karma.”
“I’d like to know about that. I don’t like the usual cryptic manure most folks in the business or on the Darkside shovel. Not a big fan. I like to know all the skeletons in the closets. So to be fair, here’s mine.”
“Oh, that’s OK, you don’t…”
“No, you should know this stuff if you’re interested in working in the field with me. First, I’m mentally ill. Depression and Bipolar. Due to my unique biology, they can’t treat it. I’ve pissed off the Feds, the Scientologists, the Evangelical Christians, the alt-right, the fundamentalist Muslims, just about every group that is out there acting like babies needing their diapers changed. I illegally have a FOI card because my shrink, who used to be a vampire hunter, won’t file the paperwork barring me from buying guns and ammo in Illinois. I’m in a cozy relationship with the City and the police. I own illegal firearms and explosives, and a non-street legal bike that I routinely drive in open violation of the law. I’ve pissed off the Guild, a Chinatown sorcerer and his mooks, and most recently leveled an abandoned hospital live on TV while fighting an Egyptian god. I am big and loud and not too concerned about who I embarrass or make angry. So, that’s my shit.
“OK, I uh, I’m a dhampir. You know that. Unlike some dhampirs, I’m fighting a slow transformation into a blood sucker. My mother wants to marry me into European vampire society by marrying me off to Carmilla, the heiress of the Karnsteins, before I fully transform and can’t procreate anymore. She gets her wish and becomes royalty, they renew the bloodline and gain what they perceive as political allies against the Impaler. Like HE actually cares about politics.”
” Tough break, dude.” I acknowledged. “That’ gotta suck.”
“Yeah. There’s an old school hunter, a real madman named Lindrig Opatello, who’s got it in for me and for my bloodline. He’ a savage. Other hunters won’t work with him. My father, Anton Czernic, well, I haven’t seen him in decades. Last I heard, he was in Prague. He and mom don’t see each other much.”
“That. Look, you ever hear about the Old Ones?”
“Actually, yeah. Recently encountered the King in Yellow. Exorcised him from my mind. Left me a little bit crazier.”
“The White Recluse is one of them. Not a huge one, not a great one, but here, not on another realm. It was corrupting minds and souls from its cave on Adak. I tried to stop it. It broke free from its cave. The military stopped it, but it can’t really die so they buried it. There was a time there while it was in my head, broke me down. It advanced the curse quite a bit. I got free of it. I got home, and stayed clear of the Darkside. I investigated cults and secret societies. Wrote books about ’em.”
“So why the interest in the position? This is going to center on the Darkside and the supernatural and mad science and all that stuff.”
“I need the money.” He said, looking down. “Over the years, I got low. I was a heroin user for a lot of years. I’m off it now, but the book royalties don’t go far. I’m in a crap apartment above a mini-market and a gyros place. I gotta turn this around.”
“OK. Here’s the deal then. My agency, my rules. The job is yours if you agree to monthly drug screening for a year for narcotics. Not looking for THC. Not looking for alcohol. Additionally, you are to let me know PERSONALLY if you’re approached by either of your parents, the Karnsteins, or agents of them. Also, if you even hear a rumor about Lindrig being out and about, let me know. I’ll use you as a point man, an investigative lead. Ease you back into field work. You still fully licensed? You still carrying that .45 Longslide?”
“Yes, yes I am. That’s great. Those terms are more than generous.”
“How ya set? You look like you could use a sandwich.”
“I’m a little short. Just paid rent and insurance, and gassed up my car.”
I tossed him a G as an advance. “Try and make it last a bit.”
I told him to be back Monday morning so we could do his paperwork, and get him settled into a desk. He shook my hand and left. I watched his beat up 95 Neon leave the lot and pull away.
“You’re right, he DOES have a lot of baggage.” Alice said. “You sure that was a wise choice, big guy?”
“He used to be real good. He was a good friend of Hal and Doc’s.” I stated. “That was back in the mid 1980’s. He’s gone all these decades NOT giving in to the thirst, not going crazy, not committing suicide. I didn’t make it thru half that stuff. He needs a break.”
“Well, we DO have one more slot budgeted. Maybe we’ll get an ace out of the deck. Thomas, Maurice, we’re not officially open today. We’ll be in our office. If it hits 5 and I don’t come to relieve you, let me know, and we’ll get you home then.”
We went thru paperwork and made sure our business license application was all correct before submitting it online. We had also submitted Alice’s private detective forms and fingerprints via snail mail. We’d get word in 60 days. As we worked, Alice looked over at me.
“Your cool with all this, right?”
“All what? The business?
“Yeah, well no, I mean, us being parents.”
“I’m in love with us being parents. I can’t think of two people who deserve more to be parents. And the answer to your next question is I’d rather be with you in a quasi-platonic relationship than someone else in a doomed standard relationship.”
“Some people would say that’s kind of fucked up.”
“Name two things in either of our lives that isn’t kinda fucked up.”
She started giggling.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“Oh, nothing, nothing. I was just thinking, here’s you and me and we’re having a kid and we live in what used to be a funeral parlor and you drive a huge monster car. All we need is a small Godzilla living under the stairs!” And she cut loose with loud deep belly laughter. And so did I.
“Here, Spot! Here Spotty! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”