Why Not? by D.I. Jolly
It was a hot night, but not your usual, baking, dry kind of hot. This was tropical, the kind of heat that filled a room and hung on your shoulders like a hot wet blanket. The kind of heat that feels like drowning if you breathed too deeply. The kind of heat that Jones P.I. hated most.
He’d been trying to light a cigarette for the better part of five minutes but his matches had gotten soft in the humidity, and he was down to his last one. He looked at it with wry suspicion.
“I know you say you’re going to help me, and look, I want to believe you. But history has made me cold… but, sadly, not the kind of cold that can do anything about this fucking weather.”
Jones sighed and stared at the match again.
“Help me Obi-match Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”
He replaced his cigarette, took a breath in and held it, then struck the match. For a moment it sparked and then fizzled, and then nothing happened. He eyed it carefully but desperately, checking to see if there was enough sulphur to try again. He let out his breath in a relieved sigh.
“You can do this match, you’ve got this, come on.”
He put it back against the striker, took another breath and tried again. As the match broke Jones swore loudly and flung the empty box and his cigarette out the window. He then punched the wall, and swore again even louder, but now for a different reason. Holding his throbbing hand he walked to his chair and dropped down into it and leaned back swinging his legs onto his desk.
“Fuck that match, fuck this heat, and fuck this fucking dry spell, I NEED A CASE!”
A thumping came from the wall behind him, followed by his neighbour Mrs Jenkins’ voice.
“No one cares, now keep it down.”
Jones scowled at the wall and through about yelling something back, but decided that the last thing he wanted was for her to waddle over to talk to him face to face, not at this hour, not in this heat. Her image filled his mind and sent a shudder down his spine. No, the satisfaction of insulting her wasn’t worth the risk. Jones slipped into an uncomfortable silence while trying to ignore the feeling the heat and sweat growing between himself and chair. After a long minute, he turned to look at Jeff who had been sitting on the corner of the desk watching the whole performance in silence. Jones sighed again and said.
“Wanna get a drink?”
“Yes, but I have a tab at the Jazz Bar.”
“Which you haven’t paid in over a month, on account of you being broke.”
Jones took another breath and rubbed his face with both hands.
“Do you have any money?”
Jeff tilted and gestured at himself in response.
“I can’t call Frank, he might literally shoot me.’
Jones looked back at Jeff.
‘Is it too late for coffee?”
“You’re basically unemployed and on the verge of being homeless. Who cares?”
Jones jumped up and poured himself a mug of stale coffee which he pretended to enjoy and stared blankly at the window.
“I tell you Jeff, if something doesn’t change soo…”
Light filled his office as what looked like a small sun bursting into being over downtown Syn Island, covering the area in fire and blowing out all the glass of all windows across the entire bottom half of the island city. Jones looked down at himself to check for damage, then turned to Jeff who also seemed fine. He then turned back to the hole that used to be a window. As the explosion faded away Jones could make out that downtown didn’t look destroyed, just missing, as if it had been scooped up. He took another sip of awful coffee and waited, smiling. It only took a minute and two more sips of coffee before his phone rang and Franks’ voice came through, slightly scratchy.
“I hate you for asking that.”
“Good, I’ll be outside your door in about 2 minutes, bring your gun, and the hand. Something tells me this isn’t going to be the usual kind of case.”
“By what metric could any of this be considered usual?”
Frank frowned in such a way that Jones could feel it through the phone.
“Just be ready.”
Jones smile broadened as he put down the phone, sprayed on some deodorant, strapped on his gun, put Jeff in his pocket and, realising he’d thrown his last cigarette out the window, ran downstairs to try and find it before Frank arrived.
The End – Because why not.
The start to A Guy, A Girl and A Voodoo Monkey Hand 2.