Monday, March 23, 2009

the MacGuffin

Sandra stepped off the plane and walked through the airport rubbing the back of her neck. Her lack of ease and discomfort was not strictly because of the cramped seat next to the impossibly fat man on the cross-country flight. She was nervous because she was to serve as the courier of the MacGuffin Diamond.

If the rumors she'd heard were true, the MacGuffin was easily worth more than her life was. The strange man chasing her in Cleveland certainly seemed to think so --- he seemed to be operating under the idea that getting her out of the way would have just made things easier. It was only because of the timely intervention of some local law enforcement that she was even afforded this opportunity to be uncomfortable. She'd be glad when she had the nine million dollars instead, then she would just be targets of your average everyday scum instead of the best of the worst.

She had grown tired from the continued effort that goes into always trying to examine every little bit of the periphery, suspecting every seemingly random movement as being the start of another attack. She instead indulged herself with a little daydreaming of how life would be different when she had the money instead of the burden. It was perhaps because of this distraction that she didn't see the round gentleman in the sheriff's uniform come up to her. She spun around so fast her shoulder-length dark hair actually trailed her twirling head when he tapped her on the wrist.

"Wha---- what?" she half-asked.

"Sorry, ma'am. You're Miss Desmond?" She quickly scanned the stocky, reasonably good-natured man in blues that were perhaps a half-sized too small. His skin was a bit paler than hers. She saw from his look that he didn't really need her confirmation to know it was indeed her, and she managed only a slight nod of affirmation.

"I'm Kirk Hamill. Oh..." he paused and flashed a badge to put her at ease. "I'm supposed to be at your disposal to ensure you don't run into any problems. I'd suggest being careful. You never know who you can trust in a situation like yours."

She breathed a sigh of relief. "Preaching to the choir, Kirk. Preaching to the choir. It was only because of some of the good work of guys like you that I've made it this far. To tell you the truth I wonder if it's even worth all this... having to always keep on my guard."

"Well, you're in my town, now" he said with a toothy grin, "and we may get you to sit back and enjoy a Red Apple beer like a regular local."

She nodded, and he went on ahead to where a car was waiting to take her to the hotel. "Sheriff..." she called after him. He didn't turn around, the airport was bustling and noisy. "SHERIFF..." she repeated, then with a chuckle she shouted quite deliberately "HEY! HAMMILL!" He turned around with the same toothy grin. "As long as you're providing hospitality and protection, would you mind helping me with one of these bags?" He grabbed her dufflebag and picked it up with surprising ease as they trudged along to his unmarked police car.

As they drove in from the airport, he went into standard narration. All this here used to be nothing but fields, he reported with wide sweeping gestures. A couple of new companies had built serene offices on the outskirts, and the town just grew like Topsy. He expressed a certain disdain for people whose work was just pushing numbers and ideas around, and longed for people who did a good honest day's labor like him. Somewhere in the midst of his extolling the virtues of a man you could trust by looking in his eyes, she actually chuckled. He was pleased to see she seemed to be letting her hair down a bit.

As they pulled up to the hotel, he grabbed her dufflebag again. "That's not... ya know, 'it', is it?" he asked. "Hmm? No. That's just my clothes and a hairdryer, and something for my nephew, a Cleveland Indians jersey." She decided that was enough sharing, though she subconsciously clutched her handbag a bit tighter. He nodded and carried her dufflebag into the hotel ahead of her.

Retrieving her key from the front desk, she turned to see Kirk chatting up the presumably college-aged girl behind the concierge desk. "Red Apple beer, huh?" He nodded. "I haven't had a minute to relax or a real conversation since this mess all began. Hang on a sec and I'll be right back down. That is if you're off-duty." He smiled. She dashed up to 212, slipped into a pair of tight jeans and a low-cut top, and came back down, still clutching her purse with the MacGuffin Diamond safely wrapped inside. Kirk was waiting in the bar. He had ordered her a beer and looked to be halfway through one of his own.

Sandra laughed and rolled through a few of her favorite almost-true stories. He told her about "his first ex-wife", which meant it stood to reason there were at least two loved and lost. She chuckled thoroughly for the first time since this whole ordeal began. One beer had become 4 and was on its way to a fifth when he leaned in.

"Why don't you let me take that to the hotel safe," he pleaded with her. "I hate to see you stressing like that. The hotel clerk is my second ex-wife's brother," he said with a chuckle. "Wish I coulda married him instead!"

She handed him the handbag, surprisingly heavy given the weight of the MacGuffin. He walked off, singing aloud the song they'd both just discovered they remembered. She waited and sipped her beer.

The bar over the TV had been showing some local basketball, which ended, and was now on the local news. She glanced up only in passing, her eyes a bit out of focus, to read who was being interviewed, a middle-aged, thin, black woman in the full dress blues of a police officer. The chiron flashed up below her, 'SHERIFF LUCILLE JOHNSON'.

She paused. "Hey, uhh, bartender? Who's that up there?"

"Oh, that? Sheriff Lucille? You must be from out of town. We're the largest city in America with a black female sheriff. She does a dang good job around here too, that's why she's been re-elected five times."

"Then... who was that I was just in here with?"

"Don't follow. You're asking ME who YOU were in the bar with?" said the bartender, head tilted like a cocker spaniel.

"That wasn't the sheriff?"

"Now, I KNOW you ain't had that many. There's a bit of a difference, if you catch my meaning."

"Then who was he? Shit."

She dashed out into the lobby to see a few people milling around, the young girl at the counter... but no Kirk. He was gone, and the diamond and the big-bellied man were nowhere to be found. She walked up to the desk, and asked if anyone had left something in the hotel safe.

"The what now?"

"The hotel safe."

"We don't have a safe."

"I'm guessing you don't have a sister's ex-husband either?"

"I also don't have a Jaguar. What are you getting at?"

"Ah hell."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

do you know helen green? Because you look like helen green.

I've heard that when you're in polite company, it's not nice to bring up the subjects of sex, religion, or politics in discussion.

I heard that from this nun while she was nailing Joe Biden.

Friday, March 13, 2009

multiculturalism in the space program

So, I just heard an interesting song by the Police, apparently it's about the role Hispanics from the neighborhood will play someday in interstellar travel...

Joaquin, back from your house, Joaquin on the moon...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My impression of....

behind the scenes at the White House...

Apparently there was a camera onsite when Obama asked Biden to be his runningmate. Biden's reaction is kind of a surprise, apparently he felt he should be the head of the ticket, even though he could never quite get over that public perception problem...

Or, for those of us jonesing for the whole scene...