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Jim the old guy
Post subject: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 15, 2010 1:03 pm
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THE EYES OF GRENDELJEN

March 15, 2043
As I step out onto the fire escape just outside my office door I notice the wind is frosty, like the mug filled with imported beer handed to me by Bubbles the bartender at O’Hara’s Pub. Blowing in from the bay, it cut through my Bogey-coat as though I was clothed in my birthday suit. Only one thing to do: light up.

Moments later a stream of light blue smoke exits my mouth and nose a la Sam Sade on a hunt for an elusive clue. It was then I saw him; a shadow with the rim of a dark tam partially hidden by the lamppost across Chandler Avenue. Huh! The original Thin Man. Wish I could hide in the same manner, but too many chili-cheese-fries platters from Louie’s, a bulky overcoat attempting to cover a 6’ 4” frame and a wide brim fedora would make that difficult if not downright impossible. About the only thing I could hide behind is a garbage truck.

I pay zero attention to my shadowy friend and traipse on down the steps and head over to the Newsstand. Chelsee is bustling about like a new maid trying to please her stern employer.

Standing with my back to my shadow I ask, “So! How’s things going tonight?”

“Oh, hi Tex,” she mutters as though she hadn’t seen me approach. “You know, same ol’ same ol’.” Then in a near whisper, “There’s a sneaky-Pete right behind you.”

“Yeah, I know. I spotted him earlier when I came back from Spandau’s Hardware store over on Forest Street.”

“You don’t seem overly concerned.”

“Well, that’s just my steel nerves and iron resolution. I could give Superman a run for the money.”

Chelsee eyed me suspiciously and replied, “More like stupor-man, if you ask me.” Ooh,that hurt!

“Thanks!” I wink at her and headed towards Rusty’s. Passing the door and rounding the corner I quicken my pace and slip inside the warehouse. As I did so, I noticed through the opened gate adjacent to the Golden Gate Hotel what appeared to be a bum foraging in the dumpster. However, a gleam caused by the street light reflected off his shoes and caught my eye. Hmmm. A man dressed in rag-tags, rummaging a dumpster wearing highly polished footwear. Another shadow, no doubt.

Redoubling my efforts, I hurried inside the unlit warehouse. Removing a small penlight from my coat pocket, I pressed the magic button and a flash of intensified blue-white light filled my path. Up the stairs I clamored, grabbed the Rusty doll, inserted two new batteries, grabbed a coil of heavy rope off the railing, sprang downstairs to the control panel and flipped the switch. This set the doll in perpetual (until the batteries went dead) motion whilst moving hither and thither until the power shut off.

As fast as lightning I made my way to the damaged wall, made when Mick Flemm crashed through it, put a husky shoulder to the makeshift plywood covering, pushed it wide enough for me to slither through, pushed it shut and then hid in the shadows of the next building. No sooner had I did this when my two shadows come bursting through the door and, apparently, remained for several seconds, standing still, baffled and distracted by the Rusty doll up near the ceiling.

I didn’t have much time, so, as any good P.I. worth his salt would do, I panicked. OK, not exactly. But, I needed to move fast. I took the rope complete with grappling hook and tossed it onto Rusty’s roof. Luckily, it caught on the first try and I shinnied up, swung my leg over the parapet, pulled up the rope and waited. As I expected, a third and a fourth shadow appeared alongside the buildings, hands to their ears, listening as data streamed in from their cohorts. I stifled a laugh and quickly made my way across the abutting rooftops.

Above the stairwell between Rook’s and The Slice O’ Heaven Pizza buildings, I scrambled over the wall and slid down onto the fire escape sporting the painted door. As I did so, an eerie feeling coursed through my bones, causing my Spidey sense to hit fear mode. Slowly I turn, my eye catching sight of some foreboding and unnamable evil lurking behind the window at the rear of the Pizzeria. Huh! That’s weird. What is that?


Not waiting for an answer, I flit down the steps and approach the opening betwixt the buildings. Peering through it became obvious that no one was in the immediate vicinity, so I ventured out onto Chandler Avenue and headed for Louie’s. Then I heard it. A crackle, like the sound of an earpiece accepting voices from a transmitter, as the door to Louie’s opened wide.

A man, shadow #5, appears from Louie’s door and smiled at me. I smiled back, quickly glanced behind him, causing him to turn his head. Bad move…and he knew it. Before he could fully recover, I punched him in the kidneys and he went limp as a ………you get the picture. The last thing I heard as I entered Louie’s was a low moan and some words too sensitive to utter at this junction. I noticed Louie watched it all from his favorite resting place.

Upon entering, Louie waved me behind the counter and I followed him into the “Most Holy”, a.k.a. Louie’s kitchen. As I passed a huge pot of who-knows-what, I stop and ask, “Hey, Louie! What IS this? It smells terrific!”

“Not now, Moiph! You have to make a run for it!”

Louie was right. I exited via the rear door, went up his fire escape, and back to the rooftops. As I stealthily made my way across the Electronic Shoppe roof, I saw two shadows scouring the roofs across the street. Smiling inwardly, I continued my aerial journey and, finding the fire escape, slid off the roof and down the steps into the alley below.

Quiet as a church mouse, I stay in the shadows (becoming a shadow like my shad…never mind) and inch forward to the rear of The Ritz. Hearing more static, I look up and see shadow #6 on the rear stairs, looking in the window, seemingly watching for my return. I don’t hesitate for a moment and edge my way towards the Fuchsia Flamingo. A door slams and I realize shadow #5 has recovered and was hot on my tail.

Down the alley I trekked, scanning ahead for other shadows, and finally made it to the Zebra building. Once again my rope and hook routine provided me with a quick escape to the roof. Moving like a sidewinder on the prowl, I race across the roof, set the hook, and descended down to Coit Tower.

“Hey, Murph, watcha doin’?” a squeaky, raspy voice asked.

“Not now, Beek,” and I ran past him to the alley behind the Golden Gate. Once there, I saw shadow #7, obviously waiting for me to show like a third placer in a horse race. Uh-uh! Not this stallion! I thought.

Reaching in my pocket, I turn on my own transmitter and, half covering my mouth, shout, “Quick! He’s over by the warehouse. We got him down but we need assistance. STAT!” The shadow raced down the steps, sped through the alley and left me all alone. (Sigh.) It was like trying to have a date with Chelsee…just when things seem right, they go all wrong. And I am left alone. Only, in this case, it was just what the doctor, er, P.I. ordered.

I calmly walk up the steps, slip though the second floor door, find room 205 and knock. “Well, if it isn’t shadow #1, the man behind the light post.” He glares at me, clucks his tongue, and shakes his head in disbelief.

“I gotta ask you something, Murphy.” He didn’t seem too pleased which made me all the more sarcastic.

“Anything! Anything at all”, I said smugly.

“I’ve been an agent for almost 30 years with all the special training you can imagine. Terrorists, criminals, kidnappers, you name it, I’ve handled it. So, when I see someone like you do what you did tonight, I gotta admit I am impressed. Have you had some sort of specialized training I’m not aware of?” he asked a bit dismayed.

I lit up a smoke, blew a little fog in his direction, and curtly replied, “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night”. I winked and entered the room. As the door closed he said something to the effect that I had an intelligent backside.


At a desk sits Mr. Winslow ‘Wink’ Martindale, the NSA agent with a missing right arm. As usual, he is cracking open roasted-in-the-shell salty peanuts with one hand, popping them in his mouth, while leaving a trail of brown peelings clinging to his teeth. “Welcome, Mr. Murphy. Would you like to take a seat?” He motions to a single chair in front of his desk.

“So, it appears you are a man of your word.” His voice steady, strong and commanding, I shrug my shoulders while not maintaining the tiniest bit of modesty. I take the seat and smile at him.

“I try,” I respond in a rather boastful manner. “If I remember correctly, you said I could earn a G-note for making it past your 7 agents without getting snared and end up, well, right here,” as I point to the chair my butt rests in.

He grabs a fat cash filled envelope off his desk and flings it in my general direction, complete with salt and a few peelings.

“Thanks! Now what?” I ask impertinently.

He shifts uneasily and waves the shadow out of the room. “I heard you were good, but had to be sure. You understand, of course, a man in my position can’t be too careful when dealing with matters of national security.” I nod, not having the slightest clue as to what national security he’s talking about.

He notices my apparent disconcertment and adds, “Have you ever heard of,” here he hesitates, “The Eyes of Grendeljen?”

I could feel the blood drain from my face; my hands became instantly clammy, and an arctic chill grasped my spine. ‘The Eyes of Grendeljen’!, I thought. My God! What have I got myself into?

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Last edited by Jim the old guy on Aug 10, 2010 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Frank
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 17, 2010 2:43 pm
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At a pace faster than my racing heartbeat after a full bowl of chilli, my mind tried to summarise everything I’ve read on the subject. The Mirror had covered several seemingly related stories over the years, but most of my knowledge came from lengthy bathroom reading sessions of the infamous Occult America.

Between the declassified WW3 reports detailing the discovery and arrest of a strange cult in devastated New Orleans, the trial of rogue Russian military scientists, and the eerily frightening painting of a four-eyed deformed teenage girl discovered in the secret office of President Clarkson after his passing in 2019, the most intriguing portion of this ongoing saga was the claimed repetitive discoveries, and disappearances, of the queer idol depicted on Clarkson’s painting.

Denise Rotterdam, investigative journalist for OA, had taken it upon herself to catalogue any and all of the statuette’s sighting in recent history. She found a detailed description of it in the journal of a young Confederate soldier stationed in Arkansas, dug up the story of a captain’s miraculous fishing season off the coast of Shanghai and his devotion to the four-eyed girl, summarised the account of a 19th century expedition to Mongolia which ended in the tragic landslide of a millennium-old temple dedicated to a goddess of striking similitude, and finally claimed to have found records of its discovery among the remains of the Titanic, although it was never physically located among the cruiser’s various artefacts still in circulation.

The story has been drifting in my adventurer’s mind since early childhood, but although no stranger to the occult myself and having witnessed my share of strangeness in this world, I had never given it much actual consideration outside of childhood day dreaming. I found, over the course of my young career (yeah right) that most of the mystery behind such stories could be explained by the actions of those who spent their lives and resources trying to make prophecies come true, or acted in queer manner in the name of a vague belief.

The fact that an official G-man was apparently auditioning me to dig further into this story somehow forced me to reconsider my perspectives. “You don’t actually expect me to find the statue, do you?” The thought of such a case, yet again, brought back dire memories, as well as a draft of bitter bile from the morning’s bourbon breakfast.

“What? No, Murphy. I couldn’t care less whether or not the idol actually exists.” The agent paused, obviously testing my patience, and cracked another shell of his salty delight. “What matters here, is that someone else seems to believe in it; someone powerful, with its load of influence in DC”.

“What has this got to do with such a high-profile PI as myself?”

“The best there is on Chandler Avenue, I’m sure”, his smile even broader than mine, filled with dark brown remains of his feast. “The agency is tied down from senatorial pressure. We need someone with no links whatsoever to Uncle Sam on this one, and it so happens that some crack head thinks you might just be the man for it.”

“What exactly is expected of me, if I may ask?”

“Right now, you’re big PI butt is to be seated at your office until we contact you again. I’d give you my card, but I’m shuddering at the idea of seeing your ugly mug on my vidscreen”. The fear was mutual. “I will send you a package with instructions when the time is right. Now shoo, Marlowe.”

On my stroll down Chandler Ave I felt the same eerie presence I had back at the Slice O Heaven during my escape. Picking up the pace, I looked at my watch.

“Hmmm. Half the day might have gone by, but the Ides of March are far from gone”.

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freepizza
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 19, 2010 3:27 pm
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I decided to go back to Louie’s and find out what had smelled so good earlier. I figured the NSA was going to give me at least a few hours to rest. When I walked in the aroma hit me stronger than it had before, whatever was cooking must have been ready. Every bone in my body ached as I sat down in front of Louie who was wiping down the counter.

“So, how’d it go Muiph?”

“Let’s put it this way, my wallets gonna make me sit uneven for the next couple of days.”

Louie smiled at my smugness. “I knew you could do it. But you must be famished after all the runnin around you were doin.”

I breathed in deeply, taking another whiff of that aroma. “You read my mind.”

“Well let me go and whip you up a plate. Eh, I better not tell you what’s in it. You might lose your appetite.”

“Thanks Louie.”

I sat for a few moments while Louie worked in the kitchen before pulling out a lucky strike. I reached in my pocket for a light. ‘Damn, no matches’ While fumbling around in all of my coat pockets a stranger sat in the stool next to mine and flicked open a lighter. He was a thin street wise looking young man.

“Thanks.”

“No problem pal. You’re Murphy aren’t you.”

“My fame precedes me.” I took a drag off my lucky and examined the man closer. He hadn’t just recognized me, he was here for a reason. “You been waiting in here for me long?”

“Didn’t notice me before huh? I was watching your show for the NSA, very impressive by the way.”

He knew more than I would expect a stranger would. “Why don’t we sit down at a booth.”
“Hey that would be wonderful.”

Louie had yet to finish fixing my meal. I left enough cash to cover the cost and a sizable tip. I got to the booth, and my new friend was already seated, he had a big grin on his face. I couldn’t tell whether that was good or bad.

He laughed at himself and held his head in his hand for a second. “You’re wondering who the hell I am.”

“I was curious.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Murphy, my names Arnold Barnes.”

“THE Arnold Barnes?” I said sarcastically.

“Hah, you’re a kidder Murphy. I like that, you can always trust a kidder when things go wrong. Anyway, let me get down to business for your sake. I’m…well I’m a journalist, slash explorer, slash treasure hunter I suppose you could say. I wear many hats, but those hats only serve to make following my interests easier. You see I’m looking for something.”

“And what might that be.” It was obvious that he was talking about the Eyes of Grendeljen but I was going to be reserved just in case he was only fishing for information.

He looked up over my head as if he was imagining something, a smile creped on his face. “The Eyes of Grendeljen. Of all the things I’ve found in my life… honest to goodness I’ve held the damn Ark of the Covenant, a giant salad bowl basically, but the eyes is something I’ve spent all my days continually searching for, and it has always eluded me.”

“You probably know a lot more about it than I do.”

“I’ve been following a trail of interest for some time. Private dealers, pirates that kind of thing. But some big wigs in Washington started clamoring about it several months ago. When they got the NSA involved I thought my search was f…done for. All the private interest immediately vanished. Nobody wanted their name to be connected with the thing, too afraid the NSA was going hunt them down and probe their asses with that Roswell kind of $#it.”

He quieted down when Louie came over to deliver my food. Louie had been right, I didn’t want to know what was in this, it smelled a lot better than it looked. I took a bite.

“But when I found out they were outsourcing this to an unknown PI, I knew I had an opportunity to continue my search.”

I swallowed a large bite of Louie surprise. “I’m not interested in snatching artifacts for private collectors, especially if it’s under the noses of the NSA.”

“You got me all wrong Murphy. I don’t want it to keep. I just want to experience it. I want to write about it, hear about it, know it. This doesn’t get in the way of what the NSA wants you for.”

I wondered what he thought the NSA wanted me for. “I don’t know.”

“Money, I’ve got lots of it. Money for details, that’s all, it’s our secret.”

“Listen…”

“Here is my card. Arnold Barnes remember that name. And heck who knows, you may need my help. Just think about it.”

He started to stand up when I realized something. “Hey hold up a second Arnold.”

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"You might not sound so idiotic if there were at least something excitable in my post to begin with..." --Baf

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Bafitis
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 20, 2010 6:45 pm
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This guy could charm the pants back onto a prostitute, but I had a feeling we weren’t done talking yet.

“Please sit back down,” I asked him, “Would you care to eat with me?” I signaled Louis, but Arnold put his hand up as he sat back down.

“No thank you Mr. LaMintz, I’--m --uh-- dieting,” Arnold stated, but I wasn’t buying it. “Just Coffee if you please.”

As I broke through the 2nd layer of the Louie Special something oozed out and I suddenly realized that I was dieting as well. I wasn’t sure just then why, but something told me that Arnold was a Mutant and these Eyes Of Grendeljen meant a lot to him, though I’ve been wrong about people before.

“The National Surveillance Agency seems to be able to clamp their claws around anything and everything. The Bigwigs of the NSA bullied their way through congress after The War screaming that America would never be safe unless they did this and that.” Arnold started in about the NSA no sooner than he had sipped his coffee.

“Yeah I remember, thankfully I haven’t had to tangle with them too tightly,” I said as smoked my dessert. “I’ve always gotten the impression that when you deal with these guys you’re better off just playing it safe, when you can.”

“I really hope we can do business together Mr. Murphy,” Arnold said almost pleading with me. “The Eyes mean a great deal to me. Sadly my investigations and research have led me no where.”
“I can be reached at any of those numbers, please keep in touch. Oh and before I forget, I heard a rumor that a very powerful team within the NSA have come to the area. I don’t believe they are connected with The Eyes, but I hear that they are feared even by other members in the NSA.”

“Thanks for the tip,” I said as Arnold walked out. I sat there starring at my drink and then out the window. Arnold was standing under the old awning of the Slice O’ Heaven and it looked like he was on the phone. He was carrying a bag I didn’t recall him having while here in the diner, it looked heavy.

I watched as he went into Rook’s Pawnshop. One of two things were going to happen here, he was either going to come out carrying a much lighter bag or he was going to come out with something in addition to the bag.

“Hiya Tex,” Chelsee must have stepped up to the table, but I hadn’t noticed. “So what’s up?” I could feel the bill of my Fedora being played with, but I was too interested in what was going on in the street.

So being absent in the mind I actually pushed her hand away and muttered, “Not now Chelsee, it isn’t a good time.”

“NOT A GOOD TIME?” Everyone except yours truly stopped what they were doing and were starring intently at Chelsee. Me on the other hand downed what was left of my drink and slid past Chelsee. “TEX!?”
“Later Chelsee I promise.” Last I saw of her, she was marching off to the ladies’ room. I know her birthday is coming up, but she needs to understand, when I’m on a case I’m on a case. Oh wait a minute, she doesn’t know I’m on a case does she. Oh I don’t have time for this now.

He came out with something in addition to the bag alright, he came out with Rook. The two of them walked up the street together. I had to know what was going on, so outside I went. I walked up to the nook in between the Electronics shop and the Ritz, as I stood in the shadows I watched as Arnold and Rook went into the Warehouse.

As I waited for them to come out I heard the footsteps behind me. At least 3 people I figured, then I heard the other 2. Five, even on a good day five would be a tough fight and Louie’s Special was starting to fight the enclosure of my stomach.

I turned around and was immediately dropped to my knees. I heard one of the men say “Dag?” must be a weird code word for beat this guy down. One of the guys in the shadows motioned with his hand after the guy said it.
Another guy wrapped some kind of wire around my neck while another put a gun to my chest. The two guys in the shadows remained quiet. I recognized the third as he stepped forward, it was the agent from the Ritz from earlier.

“You disappoint me Mr. Murphy”, he said as he stepped closer. “Are you in the habit of discussing your cases with just anyone?”

The exchange went on for a few minutes, along with me getting smacked in the face more than a few times. As we were nearing the end of the, discussion, as they wanted to call it, my attention kept drifting to the shadows, so I had to ask, “What’s with the big strong and silent types here?”

“Oh you don’t have to worry about Mr. J.C. and his associate,” he said with a grin, “they are just Observers.”

As they disappeared into the alley I focused what energy I had left over to the Warehouse. Luckily my interrogation hadn’t taken as long as I thought. The lights in the Warehouse were still on and I could see two silhouettes in the window, and I would know that little Leprechaun silhouette anywhere.


I thought of moving closer to see if I could hear anything when ---




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Demonlawyer
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 22, 2010 3:28 pm
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I realised that doing so might draw attention to me if I got caught.

I wondered where Arnold had hidden his bag and what it contained. It had to have been in Chandler Avenue, but why did he leave it outside? I knew Rook wouldn’t be up to any crime intentionally - he was as level as ... well, a ... level thing. Sure he could be abrupt and even irrational but I didn’t count Rook for someone who would deliberately get up to no good, unless he was being duped. No, Arnold must either be an honest guy too, or he was using Rook for whatever he was up to, but hanging around the garbage watching silhouettes through a window wasn’t going to get me any closer to the answer.

Thinking about where to go next, I decided I’d take Rook to one side later, but in the meantime I headed back to my office to find out more about the Eyes - was it a painting or an idol as had been suggested, or was it something else entirely? I tried to look for something about this on the American Information Database.

This whole business was confusing me already - a mutant called Arnold Barnes wanted this statue, the NSA also wanted it, and at least one other mysterious group, possibly working with the NSA, wanted it. What exactly was it and why was it so important? Was there any importance in the ‘Eyes’ of the thing or was that a red herring?

The computer beeped and brought me back to the present. Not surprisingly there was nothing about the Eyes of Grendeljen at all, so I sat back in my chair to think about where to go next. I figured I could talk to Eddie Ching who might know a thing or two about this or maybe even Wanda Peck at C.A.P.R.I.C.O.R.N. might know something. My only problem was that I mixed with women like orange juice and toothpaste. Talking to either one of them would be an uncomfortable experience.

So I tried talking to my ol’ buddy Mac Malden first.

“Sorry Murphy, I’d love to help you but I’ve got a really important wallet of parking misdemeanours that’s more important that whatever you’re working on. I’ve never heard of the.. what was it? Eyes thing, and Arnold Barnes? You’re just wasting my time Murphy. Now beat it.”

I then thought about Lucia Pernell at the Bay City Mirror, but figured that Eddie or Wanda might be a better start. Between them, Wanda was less likely to slash my throat or put a bullet in me just by showing my cheery face, so I headed over to C.A.P.R.I.C.O.R.N.

“Hello, Mr Murphy”, Wanda said in her usual matter-of-fact-melt-my-heart tone of voice, “what can I do for you?”

Steeling my resolve I got to the point. “I’m looking to find out some information about something called the Eyes of Grendeljen, and wonder if you knew anything about it?”

Wanda tilted her head to study me carefully before she spoke.

“What do you know about it Mr Murphy?”
“Call me Tex.” I implored. “PLEASE.”
Wanda smiled but ignored my plea.
“Mr Murphy, you don’t want to know anything about it. Trust me.”
“I don’t”. I agreed, “but a client of mine does, and he’s even paying me.”
Wanda gave me a sharp, but polite response.
“I’m not here to help your clients Mr Murphy, and anyway it’s nothing more than a myth”
“Well if it’s a myth then there’s no harm in telling me is there?”
“Cute, Mr Murphy”
“I don’t see what there is to be worried about - I mean it’s just a relic."
Wanda looked taken aback.
“Oh no”, said Wanda, “I don’t think you understand what it is you’re looking for. Mr Murphy, you are putting your life in serious danger in pursuing this.” She sighed, “I don't know much about it, but what I do know is this...”

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Fred Buer
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 22, 2010 7:56 pm
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She leaned casually backwards on her desk, and paused to think, briefly. Then she folded her arms and tilted her head back to look up at the ceiling. Then her eyes fell down on me, slowly.
"The Eyes of Grendeljen is much more than just a statue." She leveled her head and tilted it slightly, while giving me that look that could probably light my entire pack of Luckies. In my pocket.
"It's one of those mythological objects of power you've heard about; The Spear of Destiny, for instance, or Excalibur."
"Oh yeah. The sword in the stone King Arthur yanked out." I said, trying to impress her with my vast knowledge of ancient stories.
"Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake, Mr. Murphy. The sword in the stone was called Clarent. Please don't interrupt me again. I'm answering your question, so you're on my dime."

I shut my mouth. I went for a Lucky, but her eyes said 'No'. She continued.
"The Eyes of Grendeljen is not an object of fiction, Mr. Murphy. From what we've been able to gather of reliable information, it's a statuette about fifteen inches tall, of a woman or girl with severe deformities. Most notably, four eyes. It represents Grendeljen, a female deity. We've seen signs of her here and there in the history books. We believe she's connected with the myth of Lamia, the child-eating queen of Mesopotamia. There's also the legend of Lilith, Adam's first wife before Eve, who possessed demonic traits and was said to be the bearer of illness, disease and death. And most notably, perhaps, as the mother of a monster named Grendel, in the poem Beowulf."

She unfolded her arms and stretched them out behind her to shift her weight against the desk. I've never been so jealous of a piece of office furniture in my life. I turned around and looked out her window across the lights of 'Frisco, if only to be able to concentrate on her story. She went on.
"The statuette itself has been traced out of Asia, through the Middle East, then Europe, and we know for sure someone tried bringing it State-side in 1912."
Before I could rein my tongue in, I blurted out: "Titanic." I winced inward, hoping I hadn't put her off her beat. I could see from the slight reflection in the window that she was merely looking at my back. Then I realized she was looking me in the eyes through the same reflection, and I could tell she saw me flinch. A very small smile appeared on her lips.

Continuing, she said "The Titanic, yes. Just another victim of circumstances, connected to the Eyes of Grendeljen. Would you believe me if I told you we've linked the same statuette to wars, plagues and famines? Alexander the Great possessed it, we gather he found it on one of his conquests. Julius Caesar reportedly came into ownership of it when his father died. It was stolen from him just a few days before he was assassinated. It also passed through the hands of Ghengis Khan, one of the most ruthless conquerors in history. It stayed in his family until the time of Kublai Khan, who unwittingly passed it on to Marco Polo. Polo traded it or lost it along the way home. It doesn't show up again until somewhere in the Crimea in 1346, over twenty years after Polo's death. At this point the Black Death enters the picture and the Bubonic Plague ravages Europe for years. It disappears again after that. The only signs of it from then on are hints towards it in the writings of Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander Pope and, if you stretch your imagination a bit, Charles Dickens. The modern sightings of the statuette are sparse, but besides the Titanic, we believe it passed hands between private collectors around the world all across the twentieth century. Nobody knows where it is now, or if it even still exists at all."

I turned around and faced the C.A.P.R.I.C.O.R.N. agent squarely. "I thought you said you didn't know much about it?"
"We don't. We only know the myths surrounding it, and we have a vague description of it as well as a painting taken from the Oval Office, which may or may not be accurate. Beyond that, the statuette is a mystery. We do know this, however. There have always been people interested in finding it and taking it from whoever has it."
"I guess that means I've joined the club." I smiled as charmingly as I could and tipped my hat to her. I suppose it didn't do me any good.
"Thank you for your time, and for the history lesson, Ms. Peck. Let's do this again some time? Say..."
"Mr. Murphy?"
"...Yes?"
"Learn to quit while you're ahead. It's sound advice."

I don't know if her advice was meant towards my advances or my case, but I took it just the same. Thanking her again, I left her office and the C.A.P.R.I.C.O.R.N. building. Deciding to head home, I led my speeder towards Old San Francisco. Having some experience with statuettes of power and the kind of people who covet them, I was starting to grow slightly nervous. But a paycheck's a paycheck, and nobody's to say Tex Murphy let's a case slide just because of cold feet. And I also kind of need that paycheck...

Closing the door to my office, I heard the familiar sound of messages waiting for me on the vid phone. I sat myself down in my chair and pushed the button.



...to be continued by Vracar. Please post comments in that other thread like you're supposed to.

-Fred

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Pirates, vampires, zombies, ninjas, ghouls, aliens, goblins, monsters, robots, sorcerers, undead, werewolves, demons, mutated dinosaur-cyborgs and those pesky phone salesmen! The shotgun is a one-size-fits-all solution!


Last edited by Fred Buer on Apr 29, 2010 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Vracar
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 24, 2010 11:10 pm
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I smacked myself when Chelsea's face appeared on the screen. I completely forgot I blew her off at the Brew and Stew in my attempt to see what Arnold and Rook were conspiring up to. At least she didn't look angry on the vid phone. If there's anything I've learned about women it's that you've got to count your blessings.

“Hey, Tex, it's me. Look, I'm sorry about before at Louie's. It was just a bad time and I've just been feeling off lately. You must have been on a case, and it's good that you're getting work again.”

I pulled a lucky out and lit it, wondering if I'd actually get a check.

She continued, “Just stop by the news stand and say hi, okay?”

Chelsea faded to black and then was replaced by Winslow Martindale of the NSA. “Mr. Murphy, I thought I told you to stay in your office, and now I'm told you're already talking with reporters.” He reached off to the side and there was a cracking noise, and he popped a peanut into his mouth. “Mr. Barnes is a parasite, but you don't have to worry. We've already taken care of that for you.” He reached over to shut off his vid phone and stopped to say, “Oh, by the way, good luck, Mr. Murphy. You should receive your package with instructions tomorrow.” The video shut off and the phone announced that there were no more messages.

I leaned back in my chair and smoked the remnants of my lucky strike. I wasn't sure what he meant about Arnold, but considering it came from an NSA man I was positive it wasn't good. And then there was the deal with Rook...did Rook still have what Arnold was looking for, or did the NSA get it? If Rook didn't have, then surely the NSA did.

Then there was the other group that was looking for the Eyes. Winslow's hints were grim and mysterious, claiming that some party with ties high up in the government were looking for it. Wanda's description of the Eyes seemed even more cryptic than Winslow's description of the second party. And then there was Chelsea...I didn't know what would be more difficult...finding the Eyes or getting her to go on a date.

At least when the package came I'd be able to go about my business, though I was certain now that the NSA would be watching me. A feeling in my gut told my it was time for bourbon.

There was a bottle of it in the bottom drawer of my desk, and it was remarkably still half full. I poured it into a mostly clean looking glass, called it a warm up and drank. The second glass was for luck, and I called the third a nightcap. I slumped back in my chair and waited until sleep caught up with me.

...to be continued by Samantha

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sam10100
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 25, 2010 5:09 pm
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I opened my eyes to total darkness. I tried to move and realized I was tied to a chair with my arms behind my back. Damn! Who’s doghouse am I in now? Maybe it’s the other guy looking for the Eyes. Well on the bright side, I’ve got a crack in the case. I just hope I live to talk about it.

Footsteps approach and the door opens. The lights overhead blind me. I immediately get punched in the stomach and somebody whacks my nose. Hey this seems familiar.

“Good morning, Mr. Murphy. Have a seat.”

Same perfume. Same face. “Eddie! Hey you are looking great. Is that a new dress? I hope you aren’t still sore about that crystal b..” Before I could finish my word, she slaps me across the face with surprising strength for a woman so small.

“Shut up and listen. You are going to answer my questions. If you lie to me or waste my time, you are going to die. Understood?”

She grabs me by the tie and yanks my head closer to her. Her cold brown eyes drill right into me, and I could feel my heart struggling to beat. I give a big gulp and said, “Yes ma’am”.

“You were seen with Mr. J.C. Has he hired you to find the Eyes?”

Damn! Once again everybody seems to know what’s going on except me.

“I don’t know who Mr. J.C. is-- he was just there when I was getting the crap knocked out of me. I’ve haven’t even started looking for the statue.”

She whacked me again on the other side. I guess this is what Jesus meant about turning the other cheek.

“Forget about the stupid statue! I want to know who hired you. Who’s my competition?”

I was debating whether or not to mention the NSA. They were touchy about me talking to Arnold, but I had a feeling Eddie already knew more than the NSA.

“Okay look, the NSA told me someone powerful with government connections is looking for the Eyes of Grendeljen. They don’t care about the statue--they just want the guy. I assume the NSA expects me to get to the statue first and flush him out. That’s all I know.”

“So I’ll have to deal with the NSA as well as Mr. J.C.’s boss. No matter. The good news is that Mr. Smith has finally decided to start hunting for the Eyes again. After a decade of waiting, I’ll finally be able kill him. Leave me alone with Mr. Murphy.”

Uh oh. Being alone with Eddie Ching did not seem like a good sign. After they left, she stepped closer and smiled at me. Her smiles are even scarier than her scowls. I braced myself for the worst.

“You are in a unique position to help me. I want to hire you.”

“What!? ”

“I want you to help me lay a trap to catch Mr. Smith. He’s a monster I’m determined to destroy. He’ll use the statue to find her and abuse her powers. I promised to protect her even at the cost of my own life.”

“Her? I thought we were talking about a statue.”

She shook her head and looked at me like I was a dog that had made a mess on the carpet.

“You’re supposed to be a clever PI. Do you really think all the blood has been over a chunk of rock? That’s pure superstition. The statue is only useful for those with the psychic ability to read its messages. For everyone else, it’s just an ornamental knick knack.”

“This sounds crazier than the legends I’ve heard.”

“Swear to me that you’ll see this case through to the end for my side, and I’ll tell you the whole truth. I may not be an angel Mr. Murphy, but I am protecting the greater good. You need to choose a side.”

Choose? What the hell am I supposed to do? Do I side with the government agency or with a notorious crime lord? Eddie did try to keep the bird away from the cult to stop the prophecy. The NSA did just knock the stuffing out of me and possibly killed Arnold just for talking to me. Do I really know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

“I don’t supposed you’d let me think about it for a couple of days?” I figured this would get me slapped again but what the hell, you don’t ask, you don’t get.

She stared intently into my eyes again as if trying to tunnel into my brain and suck out my soul.

“Alright. You may not be brilliant, but you did rectify your mistake and stop the Crusade last year. Consider the extra time a belated birthday present. Sorry about the headache.”

“What head..”

I wake up in the chair in my office with half the day gone. She wasn’t kidding about that headache. I’m going to have to think about trading in my Fedora for a helmet. I was surprised she let me off so lightly. Eddie must really want this guy worse than the NSA. Who is this Mr. Smith? Wait a second is that a package at my door? I had a feeling things were about to get worser.


to be continued by Jen

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Jen
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 27, 2010 10:48 am
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For all the fuss, I thought the package would be more grandiose. It was about six inches square and constructed of dark wood. It was adorned with ornate brass locking mechanism, and I set to myself to work, figuring out how to open it. A test from the NSA? I pondered the thought. Checking to see if my mental prowess matched my maneuverability? It might be a long day.

I was 45 minutes into my struggling, when I heard a knock at the door. The slight distraction was exactly what I needed, as I turned my head, the last little notch slipped into place, and my office door popped open as the lid sprung free.

“Hey Murph, we’re just in to check on you.” It was Louie with Chlesee in tow, trailing behind him. Louie was wearing his cooking whites, and Chelsee in her newsstand regalia. “You didn’t stop by last night, or this morning, we were worried about you. And by the look of the fresh bruises, we were right to stop by.”

Tex was touched that his friends kept tabs on him. If the NSA was watching, they knew about Louie and Chelsee already, and attempting to hide anything would be as futile as resisting the Borg.

“Have a seat guys.” Tex gestured to the two chairs in front of his desk, and although he never liked the memory of those chairs, he had to say, Rudy did damn fine work.

“Is this about your new case?” Chelsee looked on curiously. Tex nodded, and for the first time looked into the box. The contents consisted of a small white paper envelope, and an even smaller piece of ancient stone. It was broken off at one end, it looked like a small woman’s foot. Tex went to remove it, and he felt a tingle race up his arm, his vision clouding.

He was in a dark office, looking out a huge bay window. The skyline of New York City was unmistakable. The inside of the room reminded him of Eddie Ching’s hidden sanctuary, relics adorned every shelf and timeless tapestries and paintings covered the walls. Rich leather furniture surrounded a single pedestal in the center of the room, where through a field of laser security netting he could just make out the shadow of a……..

“TEX!”

“What?” He shook his head, and was back in his office, but Chelsee and Louie were standing over him, shaking him.

“You just stopped talking and went into a trance. We thought you were passing out or something.” Louie frowned and furrowed his brow. “Maybe you should go get looked at. You might have a concussion.”

Tex waved him off. He only took a second to ponder the idea, before he handed the smooth piece of stone to Louie.

“I’m no geologist Murph, or an art critic. It’s just a piece of rock.” He passed it back, unaffected.

“Chelsee, can you sit down, I want you to take a look at this for me, ok?” Tex tenderly steered her over to his leather couch, and sat beside her. He placed the relic in her open palm.

She jerked her hand slightly as she clamped down on the rock. “It tingles.” Her face went slack, her eyes far away, and Tex frowned. He knew it was working on her.

“What going on with her? You did the same thing! ”Louie looked a little frightened.
Chelsee moaned, and that was enough for him. He took the stone from her hand, and her eyes flew open wide, startled.

“She's crying, crying alone in the dark. You need to help her Tex. Right now.”

Tex put the stone aside, it was quiet now, and tore at the envelope. Inside was an open roundtrip airline ticket, to any destination. He was thankful, he wasn’t sure his speeder was up to a long haul.
He thought Louie’s vid phone would be safe enough to call Eddie Ching, and then he would be on his way………..
to be continued..

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Joel
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Apr 28, 2010 3:34 am
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I hastily headed over to Louie's to use the phone. I figured that using my phone would just be like waving a red flag to a bull. Louie ushered me around the counter and handed me the phone. Even though I wasn't using my phone, I had to be quick as I didn't want Louie getting hurt in this. Jeez, the mortified expression on Louie's face when I was in that trance was enough for him to qualify for a victims of crime payout. Goodness know how he'd react strapped into a chair with a leggy, exotic Asian femme fatale. On second thoughts, he could just miss the point completely.

Anyway, I dialed Ching hoping to learn more about this Smith. As expected, I heard Ching's snarl, "Yes?"

"It's Murphy. I felt that I wore the Birthday gift out."

"I need to know if I can count on you. You may have what it takes to get the job done, but do you have the smarts to comprehend what awaits you?"

Eddie almost passed off as charming when she was like this, to which a grin crossed my face before trying for more information. "Well, that depends on how soon the tape self-destructs before I'm made aware of my mission." All that followed from here was a deathly silence and it was at this point I decided to dispense with the obscure spy television show reference.

Ignoring the interjection, Eddie continued, "Smith is bound by habit, ironic spontaneous intellect. If this trap is to work, you're going to need to listen carefully. To accept this job, you must go to the Electronic Store and get a Skype Walker. My username is EChing. Look me up and we'll continue from there." It was at that point the call ended. Well Murphy, it's now or never.

I thanked Louie for the use of the phone and headed to the Electronics Store. With the money from Winslow, I could buy the device needed for the job. It was evident that Ching had gone into this prepared. Skype was an old Internet program that allowed you to make phone calls through the Internet at a really cheap rate, but with the expense of poor quality. As time went by, technologies surpassed it and mainly held a cult following. There were various attempts to keep it relevant and one of those was called the Skype Walker, a mobile device that interfaces with the Skype Network. It was fairly cheap but advertisements cut in during the calls. It's now a free service given its low user base but still with advertisements interrupting your conversations. While tacky and cheap, Skype is still viable in terms of its security and quality. Not many users means less chance of hacking and also faster performance.

The device consists of a small touchpad screen the size of a mobile phone with an earpiece. I put the earpiece in and add Ching. From here the job only gets better as I know have her talking right into my ear. Here I was thinking that my tinnitus were behind me.

The first order of the day was to head to a club called the Waldorf Republic. Eddie also added in, "Don't forget Murphy, I am-", suddenly, her voice was cut off and replaced with "Concerned about impotence? Then we have the solution for you." I was savvy enough with Skype to know that was an advertisement.

Things were about to get interesting...

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Frank
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 02, 2010 2:33 pm
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The Waldorf Republic was an interesting joint, if only for the sheer strangeness of it all. Located at the heart of the reconstructed East Village, the vibe it inspired was the result of what would happen if the occupants of a time capsule were to be communally pulled down the rabbit hole. Composed of one large room, its main feature was a stage built in the very center of the club, with tables chaotically distributed all around it, in the fashion of an indoor coliseum. On each table were found a set of faceless dolls built of simple cloth for the patrons to play with.

Two distinct bars were filling up the back wall; one of them serving beer on tap as well as the usual stronger poison, while the other offered bottles filled with fluorescent liquids and other mixtures of questionable texture. The latter seemed to attract the queerest individuals who stood out from the crowd, a feat in itself considering what everyone else actually looked like. As I strolled across the maze of tables to reach the booze station it occurred to me that I may be slightly out of place sporting a trench coat and a fedora, but for reasons which obeyed the club’s unusual logic no one seemed to notice. I leaned back on the counter and ordered bourbon on rocks as a performance was about to begin.

On the stage were a man seated on a garden chair playing a jazzy tune on a double bass with his bare hands, a mutant male well into his forties dancing frantically and a ridiculously gorgeous young woman reciting verses of an old Cohen song. While all three of them were completely off beat with one another, the result was mystically hypnotising.

“Everybody knooooows the WAR is over!
Everybody KNOWS the good guys lost!”

The barmaid was one of Eddie’s contacts in New York, and most importantly, knew everybody who was anybody in the Big Apple’s scene. Ching’s orders had been quite simple to follow so far. After my third straight bourbon, I was to be introduced to Isabella, the spellbounding young deity, and her entourage. If all went well, with all the help I could get from my west coast charm, she would lead me straight to her lover and saint patron of the arts, the one and only Mr Smith.

I downed the third and last drink as the act appeared to be nearing its end, and was immediately ushered towards a side door all lined in red velvet and guarded by what looked to be a gorilla mixed with an angry rottweiler. Before entering what I suspected to be the dressing room, I snatched from a table one of the faceless manoeuvrable dolls, in a sudden urge to fill one of my coat’s pockets. You just never know when a hollow doll from a strange club could come in handy. Never being the key word here.

Behind door number one were a pack of hip kids sprawled over lounging couches, slurping their magical colourful drinks. As I took place in the only vacant chair I felt, once again, completely out of place. This time however, a sense of immediate danger became quite overwhelming.

“Relax Tex, you’ll do just fine”. Eddie whispered in my ear, as if answering my silent fear.

"Hey hey kids! Don't miss out on this week's exciting episode of Inspector Burns Fire Safety Show!"

I had to find a way to cut off the publicity from this damn phone.

"Fancy meeting you here, Murphy".

The surprise was total for an overwhelming second as I struggled to figure out who, in this peculiar room, could know my name. Dressed in a dark tight-fitting two-button suit, crisp white shirt and thin black tie, with an old pair of wayfarers covering his eyes, I hadn't recognised the young man seated across from me during my initial survey of the room. It appears the news of his death had been greatly exaggerated.

“I see you’ve added two hats to your collection; hipster and necromancer.”

With a smile still creped on his face, Arnold Barnes motioned over to sit on my couch’s armrest. He moved like a cat, I noticed, and blended perfectly well with the rest of the jungle populating the room. Instinct warned me the man was more dangerous than his general looks suggested. He tapped out a stick from his Marlboro packet, flipped open a shiny-red Zippo and lit his smoke.

“Our last encounter cost me a black eye and a last-rate ticket in the back of a van all the way to the state limit, detective. If this is how you treat your friends...”

“I had nothing to do with it. I do have friends among the men in black, however, and you best remember it, pal.” The bluff wouldn’t have fooled Ardo, but it was worth a shot.

“Cool down, dick. We’re on the same cruise, looking for the same trip”. He winked at me from behind his ray bans and gestured towards the door as Isabella made her entrance.

Everyone became animated all at once, mesmerised by her prancing. As for herself, she appeared to be in a form of perpetual trance. Arnold grasped her left hand and landed on it a kiss, all the while introducing me as a friend of his. He couldn’t have been in on it with Eddie, and so obviously had a mind of his own. I got hold of his lighter while he was busy courting milady.

“Pleased to meet you, stranger”.

A tip of my hat and a smile of my own were all she got from me, as I studied her more carefully. I was determined not to fall under her spell like the rest of her pack. Going back and forth between her…neckline…and her eyes, the unusual jewellery tied around her neck gathered my attention. It was a tiny hand, delicately attached to a small wire and resting on her skin, made of an all too familiar stone. Whoever held the statue was cutting it to pieces, it seemed, and this piece was certainly responsible for Isabella’s laws of attraction, and the state she seemed to be plunged into.

“Come, friends. I’m starved, and my paramour has thrown us a feast in this gorgeous skyscraper of his”.

She gently and firmly pulled both Arnold and me back on our feet with the ever-surprising strength of a determined woman and held us both by the hand all the way to the alley behind the club, where a stretched speeder and its chauffeur were awaiting to be graced by her presence.

I was long overdue for a report to Ching, but couldn’t possibly part ways long enough to make the call. Besides, I had no desire to be sold a Swedish pumping device or the latest in genetic cosmetic surgery. The Trojan Speeder was hauling me all the way to the dragon’s den, where I had a date with a tiny woman and her mysterious gaoler. All in a night’s work.

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freepizza
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 05, 2010 8:33 pm
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For the most part the trip was uneventful. Isabella silently smoked a cigarette while Arnold excitedly told about his latest find in the coastal area of South Carolina. Though she was listening to him, she kept her eyes on me. I could tell she was learning all about me. I supposed she knew well enough to understand that the lies that would come about in talking to me would just cloud her judgment.

We arrived and the driver came around and opened the door. Arnold and I started to slide towards the exit but Isabella reached out and stopped me.

“Go ahead Mr. Barnes.” With her other hand she closed the door. She took off my hat without a word, and took a long drag off her smoke. With one fluid movement she had her body firm against mine and her lips exploring my face. When she found my lips, she exhaled her smoke through my mouth and it shot out of my nose. It was intoxicating; I felt a tingle like when I had handled my own piece of the stone. It gave me the strange feeling and excitement that I was trespassing in some place I had no business being. Before long she broke her embrace and walked out of the car leaving the door open for me.

When I stepped out of the car I realized it. ‘Damn’ My phone was gone. It didn’t matter at this point, I was going to have to follow through with this, and I was going to have to do it without Ching’s help.

A large gentleman in a monkey suit escorted me in a separate direction from where Isabella had gone. I kept my cool though I knew I should be worried. Hopefully Isabella and Mr. Smith weren’t the killing type. Inside I went through a long hallway and down some stairs into a billiards room where an older gentleman who I assumed was Mr. Smith was breaking while sipping what looked to be a bourbon. I was reminded of how thirsty I was.

“The slate they used to make pool tables out of is very rare these days.” He sunk two balls off the break and tossed a stick to me. “Let’s see what you got.”

The guard behind me stepped back and I positioned myself to bank the 7 ball in. I missed. “A solid table.”

“Pool is a game of the mind. It doesn’t take strength, it doesn’t take speed, it takes cunning and a mastery of intellectual accomplishment.”

“Not having a warped stick doesn’t hurt either.”

He laughed and sunk another ball. “When a professional pool player goes into a tournament being the best doesn’t guarantee him victory. He has to have a keen understanding of his opponent.”

“This is a metaphor isn’t it?”

“The CIA, Washington, Ching, Barnes, several other groups and you and I Mr. Murphy, we're all in the same game. I just want to make sure we are familiar with each other before we continue. An even playing field keeps everyone from getting their fingers burned.”

“And you’re Mr. Smith of course.” I sunk the cue ball.

“Charles Dumphrey, but there are some who refer to me as Mr. Smith. I used to have a flair for the mysterious but I’ve grown tired of that sort of thing in my old age. Now I’m all about open business.”

“And our business right now is the statue.” The game was over and I was ready to get some information. “If you don’t mind me being blunt I was told that you were after more than just a piece of rock.”

He started to rack the balls again but stopped. He walked over to the book shelf at the back of the room and picked out a big hollow copy of the novelization of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.

“This is a piece of the statue Mr. Murphy. I’ve got a few others in hiding. The more pieces I have, the more draw it has on her. It’s like a siren call to her, eventually she won’t be able to resist. With every bit we get, we get closer to finding the real prize.” He picked up his glass again and drank deep.

“Maybe I could help you find her. I’m a pretty good detective. If I could take a look at those pieces maybe I could get what we all want.”

He frowned as if he was disappointed with me. “You’re not a very good billiards player Mr. Murphy. I know Ching sent you here to trap me. What she failed to realize was that I’m not a f*cking idiot,” He got excited and wiped the sweat beads from his head before continuing. “I think you fail to realize that too. I wanted this to be fair, but if you can’t trust me then…well then it’s just going to be a headache keeping you around.” He snapped his fingers and Isabella came into the room.

She came to a stop behind me and I felt what seemed like the barrel of a gun stick in my back. “Did you not impress Mr. Smith sweetie?”

“He’s a sweet guy, but he doesn’t want children. I just can’t commit to that.”

She pushed the gun into my spine harder signifying that she didn’t like my joke. “Barnes doesn’t know anything.”

“I didn’t expect he did. But one can’t be too thorough. Are the agents ready to move in?”
Isabella leaned close and kissed me on the neck. She whispered “I hope you’re friends give up that piece of statue without a fight. Our friends don’t take resistance kindly.” She continued out loud speaking to Dumphrey “We have people outside of Ching’s as well as looking over Chandler Avenue.”

“Good” Dumphrey smiled for the first time. “You’re incredible dear. Now I have to go. I have a meeting in Washington with the rest of our friends.”

“What should I do with him.”

I hoped the words ‘let him go, he’s no used to us’ would be the next thing I heard.

“Take him out back with Barnes. Shoot them both.”

“Damn”

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Bafitis
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 06, 2010 2:07 am
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“I’m sorry to disappoint you Mr. Murphy but you’ll be dying alone, Mr. Barnes has already been taken care of.” She said and now that I thought about it, the barrel of the gun was a bit warmer than room temperature.

“Well --- I never really was one for large gatherings anyway.”

Dumphrey paused and then spoke, “You -- didn’t make a mess of my office, did you darlin’?”

“Of course not, plastic as usual,” Isabella grabbed my arm and started to usher me towards the door in the back.

Two goons came through the door on the side carrying poor Arnold wrapped in the plastic Isabella mentioned, the blood was pooling up inside the plastic. I could see at least 3 points of entry, she just went straight up, one in the middle of the chest, another in the throat, and one right between the eyes. She sure is thorough, unfortunately.

“Take him down to the incinerator, then come back for Mr. Murphy.” Isabella ordered the goons as we made our way to the door in the back.

“Mr. Murphy,” Dumphrey stopped her motion. “Is there any reason why I should trust you after our first conversation?”

“Look Mr. Dumphrey, regardless of what Ching thought or what her intentions are, I don’t think you’re a fumbling idiot at all.”
It’s been awhile since I’ve had to kiss butt, not since the last time I got a loan out of Rook, which was about a week ago, so I hope I’m not too rusty.
“Any man who can shoot pool as good as you has to have things planned out in advance.”

“So you do at least understand the game,” I seem to have peaked his interest so far, “even if you can’t play worth a damn.”

“Let’s just say that in my business planning is usually the most useful tool a man can have, but you also need to know how to think on the fly when a plan goes awry, which I excel at. As I was saying about Ching, I listened to her and I used her help, but I am in no way working with her or for her.”

His eyes were locked on a spot on the carpet while his thumb ran around the rim of his glass. Isabella loosened her grip on my shoulder and had eased the barrel from my back, which by the way had cooled down.

He looked at Isabella and she lowered her gun and walked over to him. They spoke in hushed whispers, I couldn’t make out a thing, except her eyes kept glancing up at me. While I waited I took out a Lucky and sparked my lighter and enjoyed an uninterrupted smoke, who knows it could very well be my last.

“Alright Mr. Murphy,” Dumphrey finally spoke, “I’m going to give you a benefit of the doubt here. Know that I can pluck your life like flipping a switch, so it is really of no difference to me at this time whether you live or die. I do imagine it is of incredible importance to you though. So when making one of your “Decisions On The Fly” as you say, I do hope you will remember this gift I am giving you.”

The goons who carried Arnold out came back in, they looked kind of upset that their orders were being changed. The overly large one kind of grunted and then tossed me Arnold’s Red Zippo that I had used earlier. I pocketed it.

“Indeed I will Mr. Dumphrey,” I’m sure the look of relief was evident on my face even though I tried my best to hide it. He grinned.

I’m normally a good judge of character, but I just can’t find a place for Charles Dumphrey. Is he on the level or is he above or below it. Clearly he has many connections, that goes without saying, but Ching has many connections and she is clearly below the level, and then there was the Colonel, rest in peace, who had many connections and he was well above the level. But Dumphrey I just can’t place right now.
Does he not like Ching because she is a rival or because she is a criminal? Are the friends he is speaking of in Washington the NSA or something else? What is the relationship between Isabella and Dumphrey? When am I going to stop asking myself all these questions and get some answers?

“Well I’ll take my leave of you now Mr. Murphy,” Dumphrey headed towards the side door, “I’m sure Isabella will put you on the right path and see you on your way. Unless I decide to have your life extinguished, I’m sure we’ll meet again.”

“I look forward to it,” I said and then quickly added, “meeting you again, not, umm, h-ha-having my life extinguished.”

He exited the room and took 2 of the 3 goons with him. Isabella had made her way around the bar and back again with a bottle and 2 glasses.
Isabella eyed me for a few minutes after pouring the drinks.

“I’m surprised Mr. Murphy,” “Call me Tex, please” I interjected. “Fine, T-Tex. My Father usually doesn’t change his mind like that.” I was shocked, I didn’t realize she was his daughter, but I guess it makes sense now. She turned to the Goon, “Go ready the blue Ford Floater.” A Ford Floater, I thought to myself, quite a classy ride. Where would we be going?

She poured another drink and then motioned for me to follow her, so I took the liberty of topping off my glass and hurried after her. We walked down a dimly lit hallway and into a room with a very pleasing aroma. I couldn’t help but notice the candles and the bed, especially the bed. She excused herself for a moment and stepped behind one of those Chinese or Japanese, I don’t know, Oriental dressing screens. It was damn near see through. She undressed quickly and then kind of seductively took her time putting something else on. Speaking of see through what she came out wearing was even more so than the screen, leaving just enough to the imagination, but just barely.

Her legs were smoother than silk and they were longer than any pair of legs I’ve ever seen. If I didn’t know better I would have sworn they went clean up to her neck. Her breasts looked like they were on a serving tray and I was the only one coming to dinner.

“I already know you’re going to reject me Mr. Murphy,”
How could she know, when I didn’t even know, yet? Who was I kidding, she’s right. Chelsee and I have been making some real progress lately and I just couldn’t see blowing that over one night, one unbelievably pleasurable night. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t stand here and enjoy the view for as long as my drink lasts.

“But if I didn’t show you what you were missing, then I wouldn’t be doing my job as a beautiful, but dangerous, seductress.” She flashed a smile that mad my knees all wobbly.

“What makes you so certain that I’ll decline or so tempting offer?” I asked as I lit a cig to buy myself some time. Maybe if she moves just rig---, oh that’s the money shot and she moved back again, damn.

“We know all about Ms. Bando, from the Newsstand,” she said with a matter of fact tone. “Well I guess I shouldn’t say we know all about her, because I can’t figure out what kind of hold it is she has over you. I’m offering you a no strings attached night of passion and you’re going to turn it down because you’ll feel guilty about it tomorrow. Tell me I’m wrong?” oh she wasn’t wrong, but that still doesn’t mean I’m not at least enjoying the view.

“Call me old fashion, call me a fool, or anything else that comes to mind, but I know one thing is for certain and that is that I don’t want to talk about Chelsee with you.” That came off a bit harsher than I wanted, but she didn’t seem offended.

She stood up giving me one more good and overly long flash down her blouse or whatever you wanted to call it. She then grabbed a very comfortable looking robe and wrapped herself up, then headed for the door. I knew I was meant to follow.

I downed what was left of my drink on our way back to the main meeting room where everything started and put it on the bar. The goon was standing there, he threw me keys as soon as there was a clear line of sight between us.

“The Blue Speeder on the roof is for you to use Mr. Murphy. We’ll collect it once we feel our paths are no longer entwined. Feel free to take it to a shop and have it inspected for bugs or tracking devices. That is not the way we operate. There is a GPS chip on the vehicle for traveling and for security purposes only, I assure you, but if it makes you feel better, feel free to have it deactivated while you use it.”

“In the trunk you will find a portable vid-phone, an assortment of clothing, along with some other gadgets, some you may be familiar with some you might not, there are instruction manuals for all of them. Also feel free to keep whatever you like, consider any of it a gift.”

“Thank you, none of this is nes-“ she cut me off with a wave of her hand, I should have known better than to try and reject their generosity. She stepped behind the bar and brought out a bottle of the finest bourbon. She handed it to me and looked up into my eyes, I slid the bottle onto the table next to us. No matter what my brain said I couldn’t understand it and no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t move. My head moved downward and we kissed, we kissed hard and long, I pulled her close to me and I could feel all of her, even through that fluffy robe and she made sure to press against me and I know she felt all of me too.

She was right earlier when she said she had to show me what I was missing. Even if I wanted to change my mind now, she was the type of woman who would laugh at me and reject me in return. So to remain strong I finally regain control of my limbs and pulled her away from me. She wasn’t smiling with her lips, but her eyes were dancing. Her lips were slightly parted begging for me to enter them again, but I had to resist. I stepped backwards still holding her shoulders, her hands fell from my hips and her eyes slowly drifted to the floor. Maybe I was wrong, maybe she wouldn’t reject me, but I couldn’t take that chance, nor did I truly want this to go any farther.

I made half a fist and put my forefinger under her chin and gently lifted her head back up, “Maybe another time sweetheart, maybe another life, but you know I can’t.”

She turned away and looked at the goon, “Show him to the roof, to his Speeder,” she then headed for the dimly lit hallway, pausing in the doorway, “Watch your caboose, Tex.” She disappeared down the hallway to the soft sound of a door being shut.

In a deep froglike voice behind me, and bringing me back to reality, I heard, “This Way!”

I slipped the expensive bottle of bourbon into one of my pockets and turned around, I also decided to grab the cue stick chalk from the pool table, never know when some blue powdery chalk will come in handy, I then followed the goon up 3 flights of stairs to the roof. The Speeder was metallic blue, it looked almost new. While I was admiring the Speeder I heard the door behind close and lock and then I realized that the goon was no longer there.

I opened the trunk and saw several gadgets just as she said there were. I closed it and got in and familiarized myself with the navigation system and other dashboard controls. I licked my lips, Yum, I could still taste Isabella on my lips. I had the strangest feeling that I wouldn’t be seeing her again, except for maybe in a vid-phone conversation.

Well it was time to disembark, I fired up the Ford Floater, lifted off, and headed ---




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Demonlawyer
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 06, 2010 6:37 am
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...up.

I wondered where my first port of call should be - I could remain in New York but I felt that the trail with Arnold had gone cold. He'd talked about a find in South Carolina - I wasn't really paying attention but now wish I had done so a little more - was it a lead or was it just a dull story? I figured I wouldn't waste a trip there just yet without good evidence.

Charles Dumphrey was heading to a meeting in Washington with 'the rest of his friends' as he'd put it - maybe that was worth following up but no, he'd only just spared my life and I wasn't fool enough to go following him so soon. Also, he probably would have told me more if he is also looking for pieces of the statue. Just how many pieces were missing? And how many were there?

I looked at the controls of the Lotus III Super. It was a Super - woah! This baby could do supersonic too. I could be across the country in a couple of hours. I had no idea who Charles Dumphrey was be he certainly wasn't short of a dime or two. There were only about 1000 of these models in the whole country - very rare indeed.

The sun in the blood red sky was setting, and it was a good few hours back to California, but I felt that it was time to get some rest and so some more research. I also had to catch up with Rook and what he'd been doing with Arnold, though I didn't want to report back to Eddie anytime soon.

I punched in the controls to put the speeder on auto pilot, leaned back and doffed the front of my fedora over my eyes. I laid back and drifted off to sleep as I felt the speeder rise and accelerate to the altitude needed to go supersonic without hitting any other speeders. Shortly afterwards there was a low boom and the smallest of shudders as we passed mach 1, and then I drifted into darkness.

I woke to the soft chime of automatic pilot telling me that I was beginning my descent. It was now firmly dark outside, with a low rumble in the clouds below me. There was a storm coming while everyone was still asleep.

The speeder dropped to cruising altitude and soon the lights of a familiar coastline peered into view. I sat up and watched as the speeder slowed down and descended. I checked my pockets - some blue chalk and a faceless maneuverable doll. In the back of the speeder I had a whole bunch of gadgets at my disposal, but I felt it would be wrong not to also pick up the biro in the glove compartment. It was one of those bic ones that you can pull apart and you're left with a hollow tube, a line of sticky ink and some plastic parts. Perfect for a million things, though the one thing I never seemed to use them for was actually writing anything.

It was too dark to see clearly out the window but I was soon arriving at my destination. I took the controls and manually parked the speeder into a free space. As I powered down I smiled at the small joke - if only Nilo or Rook could see me in this thing they would think I'd won the lottery.

As the hydraulic door raised with a small hiss I stepped out and took a breath of musty Frisco air - it never smelled the same since the war, but it smelled like home. There was no one about at this time of the night and I was beat, so I walked up to my office and unlocked the door.

I stepped in, briefly turning on the light and intending to turn in for the night, but someone was sitting in one of my armchairs with their back to me.

'Sorry bud,' I said as I walked in and hung up my Fedora. 'It's waay too late in the evening. I'm afraid I'm closed until tomorow.'

Something wasn't right.

Okay, so I'd been in my office for more than three seconds and I hadn't been hit, insulted, hit upon or yelled at. Moreover, the person in the chair hadn't even heard me walk in - were they deaf? asleep? After all, it was something like 2 in the morning.

I stopped taking off my jacket and stepped around in a wide, slow arc before looking at the face.

Except I couldn't see their face. It was slumped in their chest. Worse still, whoever they were, and however they got here, they were soaked in blood.

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Fred Buer
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 10, 2010 10:09 pm
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The lack of a right arm, however, told me everything I needed to know. Winslow Martindale of the NSA had met with the wrong people. I went to check his pulse, trying to put two fingers on the side of his throat. His head jerked back in the chair, and he drew a gargled breath. A beeping noise was coming from somewhere.
"Murphy..."
He was hurt bad alright. I didn't know if it was fatal or not. Hard to tell with all that blood. Blood has a way of looking worse than it is sometimes. Of course, large amounts of blood are rarely a good sign to begin with. I assumed the worst.
"Murphy, I..." He coughed once, it sounded so painful I winced out of sympathy. He continued
"I didn't tell you everything. I'm sorry..." He was coughing up blood. I could see it seeping through the chest of his shirt now. The beeping noise intensified. It was annoying, like an alarm clock in the morning, that beat of fours - beep-beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep-beep... Oh, great.

I tore open his shirt. Strapped to Martindale's chest was an explosive device, powerful enough to rip the Ritz in two. It had a numerical keypad codelock, a lit red light and two blinking red lights, three unlit green lights and what looked like a motion detector. I was apparently the only one in the zone. If I went out of range, it would detonate. The codelock was crafted from a RobCo WallSafe(tm). Thinking back to a previous case, I could recall those needing three combinations of three ciphers to unlock.

"Mr. Martindale! Do you have any idea what the combination is?"
"Murphy... the statuette." Another cough. "It's... it's in pieces..."
"Forget about the statuette! You have a bomb wrapped around your torso that could blow us both to kingdom come! Now please... Think back! Try to remember. What was the combination? Who did this to you?"
"Tex... Listen. The eyes are not just a window to the soul. They are also mirrors... Why do you think... Why do you think president Clarkson, had the eyes... removed. From the statue? If it was ever assembled... with the eyes intact... and an evil man were to stare into them... Only twice, has it happened... Bubonic plague..." More coughing. There was blood in it now. The beeping upped the tempo.
"Listen, Wink, if you ever want to taste another peanut, I'm going to need those numbers or you, me, and this entire building is going to ride the roman candle!"
I might as well have been trying to coax the winning lottery numbers out of the holovision. The bleeding was getting worse. And by worse I mean it persisted. I thought there was no way things could get worse. Just then I heard someone clear their throat at the door. And then hock a loogie the size of my fist over the railings.

My landlord, Nilo, had picked one hell of a time to come looking for the rent. And it had been such a nice day!
"Hey. You. Sunshine! I knew I heard you sneak up the stairs. Talk around Chandler's is you's workin' again. So..." He took a step forward.
"Nilo...!"
"Where's my money, sleazewad?" The motion detector bleeped and registered his presence. Nilo, the little runt who barely had enough charisma to open automatic doors.
"Well?"
"Nilo, listen to me. You're right. I'm on a case. But right now, if you want to get paid, I need you to stand by that water cooler and not move." My matter-of-fact, non-insulting tone must have had some weight behind it, because he did what I asked.
"Now, Nilo, you need to hear me out."
"Listen Murphy, if you're trying to weasel out of another months' rent..."
"This man has a bomb strapped to his chest. If you or I leave this room, we'll literally bring the house down. So please. Shut up."

He did. As my swarthy little landlord stood by nervously, I watched Winslow Martindale wither, while the bomb grew in courage. There wasn't much time left.
"Mur... Murphy..?"
"I'm here."
"The war."
"What?"
He didn't say anything else. Ever. As he passed away, I was left with few new clues, and one hell of a dilemma. Then inspiration struck me. I pulled the little blue bit of chalk I'd pilfered out of my pocked, crushed some into my hand and blew it lightly over the keyboard. The only fingerprints were over the number '0' and the enter-key.

I hit zero-zero-zero, zero-zero-zero, zero-zero-zero and enter. I'll never know how close I came, nor do I particularly want to. The three lights were green, the red were not. The bomb was disarmed. Breathing a sigh of relief I gingerly unsnapped the bomb from behind the corpse's back. I could tell Nilo was relieved as well. The fresh stain on his pants was tell-tale.
"I can tell you don't have a whole lot of experience with bras, Murphy." Nilo's tone was seeping with fear and disdain.
"Here!" I said, throwing him the belt-bomb. He caught it the same way I would've caught a hornets nest thrown at me by surprise. He froze on the spot.
"Hold that for me." Okay, maybe that was petty of me. I still say he had it coming to him. I knew he was going to up the rent on me anyway, so I might as well enjoy it. Rifling through the dead man's pockets I didn't turn up much, just lint and a small note with a scribble on it. Might be a lead. I pocketed the note.
"Stay here. I'll call my man on the force, get the bomb squad over here as soon as they can. They might even skip the donut stop on their way, if you're lucky." Okay, that might've been riding it too far. Can you blame me though?

I dropped the word to Mac Malden on my vid phone, who promised me a full squad of SFPD's finest within minutes. By then I'd be gone.
"Now for the love of God, DON'T move!" I told Nilo. As soon as I had my back to him I grinned like a schoolboy full of mischief. Then I was out the door.



Post them comments elsewhere. To be continued. You know the drill.

-Fred

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