Stomach ick, the three day variety derailed all of my writing plans for the weekend. The only thing I was able to do before the ick took over was compile Puddles and Whiskers. Now that I am feeling better the process of editing, revision, and making sure the pieces work starts. Here is all of Puddles and Whiskers up to date. Enjoy. 🙂
Puddles and Whiskers
At the sound of a frying pan bouncing off a skull, everyone in the ramshackle room stopped fighting… for a brief second. Bouncing back from her fallen foe, Puddles brandished her frying pan above her head in an attack pose at the same time drawing her heavy pistol and shooting another black clad mook charging her.
“Give up will ya!” Puddles shouted at the room full of mooks.
To Puddle’s right, Whiskers knee-slid underneath the sloppy punch of a mook, using his personalized katana to gut the mook as he passed. Popping up from the slide, Whiskers flicked his katana clean of blood, and sought another challenger. Whiskers did not have to wait long; knocking smaller mooks aside with swings of his club, a giant over-muscled mook lumbered straight at Whiskers. Adjusting his grip to a low-position, Whiskers waited for the moment to strike the perfect blow.
Three large blood-spraying holes appeared on the over-muscled mook’s chest. For a brief second, the mook looked surprised before falling over onto his face. Curved knives drawn, three more mooks jumped over his body to take his place.
“You’re welcome!” Puddles shouted at Whiskers.
Whiskers shot Puddles an irritated glare before returning his attention to the mooks. Charging the mooks, Whiskers sidestepped the trio to the right; swinging his katana upwards, gutting the right mook as they passed each other. Turning, Whiskers brought his katana down and quickly sliced to the right, killing the other two mooks with one swing.
…other than their labored breathing, the room was silent. Puddles strolled over trash and dead mooks to Whiskers. Wiping his blade clean on a dead mook, Whiskers faced Puddles, his ears back giving extra body English to his irritation with his longtime partner.
Pointing at the over-muscled mook, “What was that about?”
Puddles shrugged. Her tail lazily waving in an S-pattern that Whisker’s knew so well; her “Oops, did I do that” when she knew full-well what she had done shrug.
“I couldn’t let you have all the fun,” Puddles said over her shoulder, holstering her pistol while stepping over mooks on her way to the door, her tail swishing away as if she did not have a care in the world.
Tail lashing, Whiskers stood for a moment, gripping his katana tightly, before sheathing in one smooth motion. He gave the over-muscled mook one last look before following Puddles out of the room into the refuse and graffiti covered hallway. The floor cocked downward, ceiling tiles hung ready to fall at any moment, when halfway down the hallway, alarms began to sound and the hallway lights went from white to emergency red.
Ears upright, alert, Puddles looked at the ceiling, “Seems like and odd security system for a gang.”
“Took them long enough,” Whiskers said to Puddles.
“I thought we made more than enough noise,” Puddles replied.
Whiskers caught Puddles making her infamous, to him, “Who me” gesture; ears forward, eyes wide, and arms held out. He smirked.
“If you weren’t such a push over we wouldn’t be here,” Puddles said while peeking around a corner.
Three days ago...
As soon as he shuffled through front door looking pathetic and desperate in his disheveled clothing and obviously unkempt face, Puddles mentally nicknamed him Doctor Dan. No idea why, but nicknames for new people was a habit of hers, that never failed. Puddles could not make up her mind what bothered her more. After listening to him for five minutes, she understood why Doctor Dan looked disheveled, but still have some self-respect, especially when seeking out help. A quick shake of her head to snap herself out of her current headspace. Doctor Dan was about to become client after all and her feelings about the client, as Whiskers was fond of saying, was not important…or something like that. Doctor Dan reeked of desperation, a very sharp tang in the air. Yep, that was what bothered her more. Whiskers elbowed Puddles in the ribs. She did her best to look attentive.
“…and where did you say your daughters are?”
“Tumbledown block with their boyfriends,” Doctor Dan mumbled at their desktop.
“What?” Puddles asked a bit too loud; she was losing her patience with this desperation reeking hound dog.
“What my associate meant to say, was could you repeat that,” Whiskers coached Doctor Dan.
Puddles let out an exasperated noise, “Yeah that.”
Doctor Dan looked at both of them, his desperation obvious, “Their boyfriends live in a section of Tumbledown. Near the corner of 5th and East Kira. My girls,” his voice caught as he tried to contain his emotions, “they left a week ago. I haven’t heard from them. The police…”
“Won’t do a thing,” Puddles interrupted eager to get him out of the office. “Familiar story. Okay, we’ll take your case.”
“You will?” Doctor Dan surprised.
“Yeah. So let’s talk fees,” Puddles irritation pushing her past his surprise.
Whiskers put a paw on her arm, a sign to slow down or stop. “Perhaps we should look into his case first,” Whiskers said in that calm, “I know something you don’t” tone that irritated the hell out her. Puddles cocked her right ear at him while flattening the left. “Fine, we will talk bill later.”
“But…” Doctor Dan started.
“Yeah, we got this Doc,” Puddles interrupted.
Watching Doctor Dan’s hover merge into traffic from their office window, Puddles looked at Whiskers, the end of her tail snapping back and forth, she was irritated. “Look into his case? What the hell?”
Leaning against their desk, one-half immaculate, the other half distressed, Whiskers calmly replied, “Did you even pay attention to the location he gave?”
“Doctor Dan said something about Tumbledown. Yeah I heard.”
“Wait, Doctor Dan? Another of your pirate nicknames?” Whiskers asked amused.
Puddles turned from the window waving off Whisker’s questions with a wave of her paw. Grabbing her favorite “Mother’s Favorite Kitty” coffee mug, Puddles began to make coffee, “Okay, so he said something about Tumbledown. Want some coffee?”
“A cup sounds great. Name a part of Tumbledown not home to a gang, criminal organization, unregistered, ghouls, or about to collapse at a moment’s notice?”
“Oh that,” Puddles began trying to sound like she knew that all along, “we should look into his case first.”
Two days ago…
Stepping out onto the Stroud Police Divisions 40th hover port the wind pushed their fur back uncomfortably. Whiskers swiped through several pages of data on his phone that Detective Orte gave them about the gangs of Tumbledown, “Puddles, you should read this, seems that several of the gangs are being financed by local corporations through backchannels. At least that is how this report reads; upgraded weapons, cyber, and so on.”
Before Puddles could respond her phone chirped, flipping her phone open, “You got Puddles. Oh hi mom.”
Whiskers smiled, he always enjoyed the mental and verbal gymnastics Puddles had to go through when her mother called unexpectedly. The conversation continued across the hover port and despite the high winds and sounds of hovers coming and going.
“Fine. I’m on a case. Yes, on a case. Do you want to talk to Whiskers, he’s right here. Fine. Okay mom. Yes, I will return the frying pan.” With that Puddles closed her phone and gave Whiskers her “what are you going to do” face.
“You really should buy your own frying pan,” he said as he opened the car doors.
One day ago…
Nothing about this case made any sense. A search and several vid-conversations later, Puddles learned much to her amusement, Doctor Dan was a doctor. Not a doctor doctor, instead working for Titan Industries, part of their pharmacology division. Other than a parking ticket, there was nothing about him. If he had any children neither Puddles nor Whiskers had been able to discover information about them.
Together with the paid assistance of Eth, a cymean fence, they confirmed that the location was home to the Black Myst a gang with connections. What connections, Eth could not say for sure, but for a few more isstas, hinted that the gang had access to newer weapons and one of the better drug packages.
Back to the present…
Back against the graffiti covered wall next to a cockeyed door, one paw on his blade, Whiskers put an ear against the door; plenty of noise from the other side, nothing specific. Crouching in front of the door, pistol and frying pan held ready, Puddles looked toward Whiskers, who nodded as he took a step back before kicking the door in. Springing into the room, rolling across the refuse, Puddles popped up in front of a large crowd of vapeheads, pistol and frying pan pointed at the crowd staring at her, “Nobody move!”
Every vapehead bolted for the nearest exit; the door behind Puddles. The rush of vapeheads pressed Whiskers back into the hallway. Amidst the rush of vapeheads, two scowling mooks in black stood up from the ruins of a couch.
“We’re moving,” one of them growled.
“So this is how you want to play it,” Puddles said aiming her pistol at the mooks.
A purple bubble personal shield appeared around talking mook. Puddles scrunched her nose from the burnt ozone stench caused by the shield. Talking mook drew a large caliber pistol from her waistline. Mook to the left took a hit from a vape inhaler, the effect obvious-roaring, charging, and popping razorclaws and elbowblades.
Ducking underneath the vapehead’s drug-fueled rage swipes, Puddles cracked her frying pan against the back of the mook’s knee. Expecting him to fall down, Puddles swung for where his head should have been…pain flared across Puddles outstretched arm from the back swing of an elbowblade. Blocking a follow through swipe of razorclaws with her frying pan, the impact causing her to panic as she almost lost her grip Puddles hopping back from Razorclaws.
Handcannon mook shot, a huge hole appearing in the wall next to the door. Not that anyone would notice a few hours from now, just another hole, Puddles thought as she continued ducking and dodging Razorclaw’s wild, but powerful swings.
Whiskers flinched when the handcannon blew a hole in the wall killing an escaping vapehead. Eager to get into the room, Whiskers lashed out with a claw swipe chop, knocking another vapehead out of the way. Shouldering yet another vapehead out of the way, Whiskers leapt into the room drawing his katana; Razorclaws was backing Puddles into a corner where handcannon could get a clear shot.
Blocking another swipe, Puddles arms were feeling being on constant defensive. Razorclaw was aggressive enough to keep her from shooting him. Roaring and frothing at the mouth, Razorclaw swung at her head, following through with elbowblades, Puddles ducked and scooted back out of the way.
Another ill aimed shot blew a hole in the wall.
“How about a truce?” Puddles shouted.
Charging across the room, “I don’t think they can hear you!” Whiskers shouted.
At the sound of Whiskers voice, Razorclaw turned, a momentary distraction, but enough. Leaping forward, Puddles slammed her frying pan against the side of Razorclaw’s head. Not content to let the frying pan work, she jammed her pistol into Razorclaws’ side, pulling the trigger three times rapidly.
Charging past Razorclaw, katana in a low position, blood from Razorclaw sprayed over Whiskers’ left side his fur tingling as he stepped into the shield. Focused on blowing Puddles head off, Handcannon did not notice Whiskers until his blade passed through her right leg. As she fell onto the stump, Whiskers brought his katana down onto her neck, decapitating her. Reaching down, Whiskers turned off the shield and kicked the handcannon away.
“…and that’s what you get!” With the shield down Whiskers could hear Puddles yelling at Razorclaws body.
Wiping the blood from his katana on Handcannon’s body Whiskers took note, one-half of his body was red and sticky.
“You look like…”
“Fine, I won’t. Guess we aren’t going to get any information from these two,” Puddles said sarcastically.
“Should we continue on?”
“They know we are here.”
“Not that they are reacting like it,” Whiskers gestured to the room.
“Fine by me,” Puddles responded, heading for a door at the back of the room.
Two hours and some minutes later; standing in the cleanest room they had seen all day, “Guess they were reacting after all,” Puddles said gesturing arms wide at the empty room.
“Very odd. Don’t you think?” Whiskers asked, checking a wall of shelves and cabinets.
“Yeah, why would anyone clean any room in Tumbledown. We must have stalked through six miles of garbage to get to the one clean room in all of Tumbledown,” pointing to a corner, “Nothing about this room is about to fall over.”
“We will find nothing here,” Whiskers said turning from the cabinets.
Later that evening…
“This really rubs my fur the wrong way,” Puddles mumbled slamming an empty glass on the bar top.
“Hey!” exclaimed the bar tender.
Puddles shot him her “do not mess with me, but please serve me another drink look.” Returning from the bathroom, Whiskers sat next to her, waving the bar tender over.
“All I can say about the bathroom, is there is some interesting reading on the walls,” Whiskers said.
Two new drinks in front of them, Puddles and Whiskers toasted themselves.
“What a mess,” began Puddles. “A bunch more dead people. No clues. No pay. No nothing.”
“I will agree that there is not a lot to go on,” Whiskers replied taking a sip and making a face at his drink. “What is this?”
“We need to set up another meeting with Doctor Dan. What is his real name?”
“I forgot, but I left it on a note in the office. Why another meeting? What is hound dog going to tell us?”
“How about something about his daughters who do not exist and definitely were not where he thought they would be?” Whiskers said irritatedly, “Or what about the gear those mooks had?”
Downing the last of her drink and slamming the glass on the counter again, Puddles said, “Those are some valid points. Morning call?”
“Why not now?”
Shrugging, Puddles gestured at the bar tender again, giving the universal sign for tab, “I’ll pay. You get the car.”
On the Drive…
Letting the car drive, Puddles watched the city change from dark and dreary to bright and hopeful.
“Is that new?” Puddles asked pointing to a building in the distance.
Looking up from his datapad, Whiskers replied with a non-committal grunt.
Settling back into her seat, Puddles enjoyed the view. Eastern Stroud quickly became the rear view as the lights and glitter of Central Stroud came into view. Puddles pulled up the map on the car’s window heads-up-display, as their car merged in with the flying lane. A bright blue line showed their destination roughly ten-minutes away.
Central Stroud, tall buildings reaching past the clouds and lit up at all heights. Even now, at night, Central Stroud appeared cast in multi-colored day light from all of the lights, signs, and advertisements. Signs bigger than the building where their office was located advertised the latest brands of food, beverages, mechanical augmentation, and more. Puddles could not help, but stare at the hundred foot tall moving advertisement of a human female showing off the latest in clothing. As they passed the sign, her eyes bigger than the car and illuminating the interior enough that the auto-shade feature of the windows activated.
Approaching Titan Industries central offices, a monolithic white and blue square building with barely any exterior features other than the corporations iconic giant blue with white border T on each face of the building, the car dipped entering lower flight lanes.
“Titan control,” a flight controller begin, “to approaching vehicle.”
Looking up from his data-pad, Whiskers said, “You should answer them.”
“Titan control, we are here to see Doctor Dan,” Puddles said.
“Do you have an appointment?”
Grabbing the tip of her nostril, Puddles shook her head, “No. This is an emergency meeting.”
Puddles looked at Whiskers who shrugged.
“We do not have a Doctor Dan in the building at this time.”
“Shit. Wait…what was his name?” Puddles irritatedly said.
“I do not know. Remember you left his name on the desk,” Whiskers sarcastically replied.
Shooting Whiskers an exasperated expression, Puddles gestured towards the approaching building. Whiskers waved her expression and gesture off.
“Titan control, our mistake. We are here to see Doctor Marlowe. He should be expecting us, PW Investigations.”
“Coordinates to the 33rd floor landing pad have been sent to your vehicle. Do not alter flight path.”
Looking at Puddles, Whiskers held up his data-pad, “Research.” And smiled.
Following Titan control’s instructions, Puddles allowed the car to fly to the landing pad. Whiskers admired the clean state of the landing pad, nothing out of order, although he guessed things would be different during peak hours. Right now, they were the only vehicle and waiting at the door into Titan, two security guards dressed in blue and white Titan uniforms, sidearms visible.
“Follow us,” said the guard on the right.
“What is this!” Puddles ears back, fur raised, shouted while gesturing towards a holo of an elderly human male in an oversized blue and white rubber suit.
“I think you mean who is this,” Whiskers responded while squinting at the man’s face. “Remarkable quality holo,” Whiskers mumbled.
“I don’t care about the quality. Where is…Doctor…Doctor…”
“Yeah, that guy.”
The holo of the man raised his hand, “I am Doctor Cadius Marlowe.”
Pivoting on her heels to face Whiskers and the remaining guard in the room, her arm slashing through the holo without any disruption, “That’s not Doctor Marlowe!”
“But I am Doctor Marlowe,” the holo pleaded.
“Excuse us a second, Doctor Marlowe,” Whiskers said to the holo while directing Puddles over to a corner of the room.
Ears less flat, fur still raised, and tail slashing through the air, Puddles allowed herself to be directed out of the way, “What?” she hissed.
“Let me handle this,” gesturing towards the holo of Doctor Marlowe who was turned away from them, “I might be able to get something of use out of him.”
“Fine,” Puddles fumed, “you go talk to Doctor Pixels. I’ll wait over here.”
Clearing his throat, Whiskers waited for Doctor Marlowe to turn around. A few seconds of waiting, Doctor Marlowe faced Whiskers his hands hidden behind a desk or table, Whiskers assumed.
“Sorry to bother you so late in the evening,” Whiskers began.
“No bother,” Doctor Marlowe interrupted obviously looking at something off holo, “Its only 8 am here.”
Whiskers masked his surprise as best he could, while making a “wait” gesture below holo to Puddles in the corner who looked ready to pounce on the holo. “I’m sorry, did you say 8 am?”
“That is correct.” Doctor Marlowe chuckled, “You thought I was there? No, I’m in [static] working.”
“Where are you working?” Whiskers asked.
“The filter prevents some information from transmitting. Suffice to say, I am off site. Is there a reason why you wanted to see me?”
“Before I answer that, how long have you been off site?”
“Then you did not hire us to look into your missing daughters?” Whiskers asked, knowing the answer.
Shaking his head, “No I did not. I do not have any daughters. What is this about?”
“A man claiming to be you, hired our investigative firm to find his missing daughters. Following his information we raided a gang in Tumbledown,” Whiskers kept the details to himself.
“Oh…,” Doctor Marlowe hesitated, again obviously looking at something off-holo. “No, I did not hire you. I must get back to my work. I’m sorry I could not be of more help.”
And the holo-disappeared.
“Um…,” Puddles said.
“Let’s go,” Whiskers said with urgency heading for the door. “Escort us back to our car,” Whiskers said to the guard.
From there to noodles
Arriving on the dock, “What’s the hurry?” Puddles hissed at Whiskers.
“We…” Whiskers began.
“I know we got played,” Puddles interrupted, “I don’t see why we have to leave in such a hurry.”
“What if what? I don’t think anyone at Titan cares about us, our investigation, or anything else we do.”
“Did you see Doctor Marlowe’s face when I mentioned the cleanroom?”
“Behind all that plastic and via holo, I couldn’t tell if he was smiling, scowling, or passing gas and neither could you.”
“Fine. Tell me this,” Whiskers began while keying the car doors open, “why would anyone hire us to find people who do not exist?”
“No clue, but someone did hire us to clean out that gang and room.”
Their car exiting the landing pad and merging with traffic Puddles said, “Agreed,”
Watching traffic fly around their car, Whiskers sat silently, feeling Puddles fuming in the driver’s seat.
Puddles shattered the silence first, “We need to do something.”
“Find Doctor Dan and shake answers out of him,” Puddles said angrily, “that is my first inclination.”
“Mine as well. However, we do not have any real information on Doctor Dan. We need information.”
“I’ll call Chuck,” Puddles said with a sarcastic tone and smirk.
“Chuck? Really?” Whiskers replied with a groan.
Without warning, the front office door crashed in, slamming against the wall. Swaggering through the doorway before the door returned, black and white cat Chuck looked around briefly before approaching Puddles at the desk.
Glancing up, Puddles continued writing with one paw while shoving a small stack of papers onto the floor in front of Chuck.
“I’m not here to clean,” Chuck responded.
Walking into the room, Whiskers stood behind Chuck, looking over his shoulder at the mess, “What are you doing?” he asked Puddles.
“Hey Whisk,” Chuck said, “What can I do for you two today?”
“Pull up a chair,” Whiskers said.
Chuck, the top half of his left ear folded over, sat down in front of Whiskers half of the desk; only Chuck’s head visible.
“No short jokes,” Chuck stated.
Whiskers shook his head in amusement, “Fine. Who do you know who might have corporate contacts?”
“Titan Industries in particular,” Puddles added.
Putting a paw to his chin, Chuck thought for a moment, “Eth, might know someone.”
“Anyone else?” Puddles asked.
“I may know another contact or two, but I’m hungry. How about some noodles?”
“Have Eth meet us there,” Whiskers said.
A conversation over noodles…
Around a dingy neon green and yellow round table, four neon red and pink seats everything covered in the NiHo Noodle chain logo, a chubby faced non-descript yet vaguely asian looking human smiling, a bowl of steaming noodles under his chin, sat Puddles, Whiskers, Chuck, and Eth.
“We got screwed?” Puddles asked rhetorically.
Whiskers slurped another chopstick full of noodles while shrugging.
Across the table, Eth looked annoyed, “Where is my bowl? Don’t they know who I am?”
Another slurp. Another shrug.
Pointing at Eth “How is it nobody knows nothing?” Puddles asked.
“I know a lot of people, but I don’t know everyone,” Eth responded. “You need corporate contacts.”
“You have corporate contacts,” Whiskers responded around another slurp of noodles.
“I thought you knew everyone?”
Setting the bowl in front of Eth the waitress wearing a clashing neon colored kimono announced, “Hot and spicy bowl.”
“About time,” he said. Picking up a chopstick full of noodles, returning his attention to Puddles and Whiskers, “I do,” emphasizing do, “know a lot of people. The people you two are interested in are beyond me.”
A conversation in an office…
Wringing her hands, glancing around the office, and generally behaving twitchy, the human woman sitting on the opposite side of their desk irritated Puddles. Her irritation could be traced to the cloying amount of perfume the woman wore or her annoying whining or well just about anything, this potential client did. Ever since the “resolution” of their last case, irritation was her standard mood.
“Gathering evidence of your husband’s infidelities, should take us a week,” Whisker said while consulting his data-pad. Sliding the data-pad across his immaculately clean side of the desk, “Sign at the bottom and once the issta transfer is confirmed we will take the job.”
Puddles stifled an irritated grunt, catching cheating spouses-so low rent.
“Thank you so much,” the woman replied, “I hope I am wrong. I love him so much…”
“But you have a hunch,” Puddles interrupted as she snatching the data-pad back.
Whiskers grabbed the data-pad out of Puddles paw before the data-pad got lost in the mess of her side of the desk, “Thank you Camile. We will be in touch.”
As soon as the door closed, “What nickname did you give this client?”
Another conversation in an office…
“That’s funny,” Tanx’s laughter rumbled around his office, “Haven’t heard that one before.” Another rumbling laugh, “Spacious office, indeed. Detective Orte sent you to me because I might know something, did I get that right?”
Until sitting in Officer Tanx’s office, Whiskers thought he was tall, staring up at Tanx’s face brought home lots of uncomfortable memories of sitting at the children’s table for holidays. “He thought you might know someone who could answer some questions of ours.”
“And what questions are those?”
Sitting straighter, Whiskers consulted his data-pad, “Recently, an investigation took us into Tumbledown where we found a well-equipped gang defending a clean room.”
“And you want to know who is providing the equipment and the clean room?” Tanx interrupted while manipulating his holo-desk display. “Is this your investigation?” Tanx sarcastically asked, enlarging the holo-display; images of several dead gang members and a demolished clean room.
Clearing his throat, thankful Puddles was not there, “Yes. That looks like our investigation.”
“The gangers were members of Black Myst. Nothing special about them, another Tumbledown gang. The personal shield is an Oakenshield model. Again, nothing special. The clean room, by the time investigations arrived, was no longer clean.”
“Let me guess,” Whiskers began, “Nothing special.”
A conversation over…
“Nothing at all?”
“Nothing,” Whiskers replied lazily stirring his bowl of noodles with a single chopstick.
“Some investigators we are,” Puddles said.
“You don’t have the right connections.”
“Shut up Chuck,” Puddles snapped at a black and white cat sitting third.
Setting his chopstick down, “Unfortunately, Chuck is right. We do not have the right connections,” Whiskers interjected.
“Whatever,” Puddles mumbled around a mouthful of noodles.
Ignoring Puddles, Whiskers continued, “We have a few cases to work. I suggest we move on from this and get back to work.”
“I like that idea,” Chuck said.
“Shut up Chuck.”
One more conversation in an office…
Silence from the black clad, heavily pierced korogin male sitting across the messy side of the desk and from his similarly black clad bodyguard glowering behind him. Whiskers looked at Puddles. Puddles shrugged before turning her attention back to the korogin.
“I’m trying to understand what you want from our agency,” she said. Paws on her side of the desk, one drumming a staccato beat, “We don’t do body guard work and you have…” gesturing with the non-staccato paw at the bodyguard.
The korogin in front of her looked over his shoulder, looked back and smiled or at least what Puddles took as a smile; the bone plates on korogin faces made reading any expression a gamble at best. A low rumble from both korogin, turned into belly clutching laughter. Whiskers ears wide apart and tail swishing, shrugged his confusion to Puddles. Puddles ears went flat, tail slashing her irritation with these two rising quickly.
“What am I missing?” she hissed at them.
“You don’t recognize us?” bodyguard asked around the last of his laughter.
“Should we,” Whiskers asked hesitantly.
The sitting korogin abruptly stopped laughing, “You don’t know who we are, for real?” Looking over his shoulder, he barked in korogin, “Tak-ga shinnat ur gagganoth.”
Bodyguard shook his head before speaking, “Does Acid Chamber sound familiar?”
“The quadstomp duo?” Whiskers replied ignoring the stunned look on Puddles face.
“That’s us,” the bodyguard said.
“We will take the job,” Whiskers said in a rush.
On the job
Grinding her teeth, something her dentist advised her to stop, Puddles shot daggers at Chuck, head in his chest sleeping in the passenger seat.
Ten. Ten snores in the past, glancing at the clock last five minutes, each one louder and longer than the last. Her left ear twitched. At this rate, his snores would blow this surveillance. Chuck slid deeper into the seat; another loud, long snore mirroring his descent filled the car and Puddles was positive the coffin love motel they were watching. Grabbing Chuck’s shoulder, Puddles shook him.
“What,” Chuck snapped looking around the car in a panic.
Puddles held a single claw tipped finger up to him, “Sshhhh.”
Thrusting the finger in front of Chuck’s face, “Not another sound.”
Sitting up, straightening his clothes, Chuck looked around for a few minutes before asking, “Anything?”
Puddles rolled her eyes, “No, nothing since he went into Love Buy The Hour. Miss Sad Face’s husband went in with Tart of the Month an hour ago. Whiskers caught all of the action on film.”
“Where is Whiskers?” Chuck asked, while looking out the window at the front of the motel.
“Watching the side exit. Now keep watch and no more snoring.”
Fifteen minutes of silence.
“How do you do this?” Chuck started, “I’m bored and sleepy,” he finished with a wide mouthed yawn.
Puddles stared at Chuck deciding how to respond, leaning towards flushing her irritation at him out on him when Whiskers’ face appeared on the windshield monitor, “They are leaving. I will follow the husband. You and chuck follow his partner.”
“Will do,” Puddles responded closing the vid-window.
“There goes Whiskers,” Chuck pointed at Whisker’s hover leaving the parking lot.
Puddles nodded as she positioned the car a few car lengths behind Tart of the Month’s car entering traffic.
“Why are we following her?” Chuck asked as he snapped vid of her car.
“We have her license number and we have her face. Why not use CIS (city information system) to get all of her data and be done in five minutes?”
“What does her data prove to Miss Sad Face?”
“The client. Miss…” Puddles tried to remember her name for a second as she changed lanes, “whatever her name is.”
“She can know who her husband is sleeping with.”
“Data proves nothing. She will want proof. Vid of her husband and,” gesturing at Tart of the Week’s car, “her is proof she can see.”
“So we follow her where?” Chuck asked.
“Wherever she goes. I’m hoping she is headed home.”
Sitting in the dark, watching the side exit of the Love Buy The Hour coffin motel Whiskers relished the peace and quiet. No Puddles. No Chuck. No noise of the city. Nothing, but silence. After a week of rushing around the city, interviews with clients, and the frustration of a case ending without resolution was draining.
Following people around Stroud, taking vid and holo of them entering and leaving places revolted Whiskers, normally. Cases like this gave him a dirty feeling, bottom feeding on the misery of others did not sit well with him. However, peace and quiet did and cases like this were all about peace and quiet.
Pairing Chuck with Puddles ensured Whiskers quiet time. Leaning forward, Whiskers swiped across the windshield flipping through case information. Mister Ethan Harowe mid-level wageslave at Wanlot, married six years, no outstanding debts or for that matter anything else. Wrapping this case up, a matter of a few more hours of following and recording.
Incoming message light flashing caught Whiskers attention, only a few individuals knew the car’s private message address. Two taps on the windshield cleared the casefile, another tap brought up the message. Sender unknown, Whiskers sat back. A quick glance at the clock, enough time to start a trace. A few minutes later, trace started and Mister Howe exited Love Buy The Hour kissing Caroline Tarr deeply before heading to his car. Mister Howe drove past, oblivious to Whiskers. Swiping the windshield established connection with Puddles in their car.
“They are leaving. I will follow the husband. You and chuck follow his partner,” Whiskers said, starting the car, following Mister Howe.
An hour of late night traffic later, Mister Howe never deviating from the most direct path to his blockhouse apartment, pulling into an adjacent parking spot, Whiskers watched Mister Howe enter the elevator. Sitting back, Whiskers pulled up the vid images from tonight’s work; plenty of clear images of Mister Howe and partner. Checking the trace, a dead end. Curiosity warred with security. Security won, filing the message away, Whiskers headed back to the office.