I don’t really like to talk to the police. My line of work routinely requires I rent a flame thrower from someone who is over 300 years old. Also, I’m dating a pixie and I just helped my best friend murder a mummy while committing insurance fraud. Talking to the fuzz is part of the job, though. No getting around – or used- to it.
” ‘Grease fire made worse by way of mummy interference’ is my best guess officer. Near as I can figure, the mummy stumbled into the kitchen and then, well you know, everything was on fire,” Sam explained to the cop in front of him.
She was a short woman in a big hat. It was the smallest hat available (Sam made sure to ask) and it was still too big on her.
“Grease fire,” The cop said as she wrote down what Sam was saying. She spelled the words with her lips as she moved her pen.
Sam was still wearing the flame thrower but in such a way that no one would notice.
Sam was good at not being noticed, either in part or in full. We saved a lot of money on cab fare because of it. I asked him how he did it and all he would say is that he learned it from watching movies while drinking. “No telling what you might pick up from watching movies while drinking,” is something Sam often said.
When I wanted to not be noticed, I’d stop thinking and assume the best. It works more often than not but isn’t something I’d count on in a pinch. Sam’s way was better, and I was keen to find how he did it.
The police let us go and we hailed a cab. Sam and the flame thrower went unnoticed. Always nice to save a dime or two when you can. After the bar was burning nicely but before the police arrived, Sam and I came up with a plan to kill Youmotepp and Memotepp before things got out of hand.
When making plans I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to take at look at what you want to do, notice what you have, and then find a way to do what you want with what you have. This method works better than wishing but not as good as being properly prepared.
We had a mummy problem, a free afternoon, a flamethrower (until 6 p.m.) and partial cab fare. Plus, Sam was good at being unnoticed and I was not without my charms.
Another key component of a good plan, in my opinion, is simplicity.
In this case, the simplest thing to do would be for us to go to Youmotepp’s office under the guise of accepting his job offer to ignore him. Sam would be unnoticed. As would the flame thrower. While Youmotepp and I were discussing the details of his job offer, Sam would set him aflame and destroy him.
Once Youmotepp was destroyed we’d take five to make a plan to get rid of Memotepp. Then it would be over and we could stop almost getting killed by mummies for a while.
It would be a nice change of pace to be almost killed by a werewolf or a ghost for once. Variety is the spice of life after all.
We executed the plan flawlessly. We walked right into Youmotepp’s office, I said hello, and then Sam set him on fire. No one seemed to notice. I wish I could say that watching my archnemesis burn, scream, and expire was fulfilling on some level. I was expecting a little more than not feeling anything. But not anything is exactly what I felt. I suppose one could argue that not feeling anything is a feeling all its own, and in many cases it is, but not this time. Sam had more fun destroying the source of all my troubles than I did. That didn’t bother me much. Sam is always enjoying himself, it’s mostly what he does.
“Love the smell of burning mummies, reminds me of my first girlfriend,” Sam said as he lit a cigar off the smoldering corpse of Youmotepp.
“Just does is all, not everything that reminds a person of something has something to do with what they are reminded of. Can’t expect things to make sense, you know that.”
I did know that, I knew it well. It’d been about twenty years since things made sense to me. That’s twenty years as the crow files. It’s a bit longer if you walk.
So far our plan was working great. All that was left was to kill Memotepp and get the flamethrower back to Danny.
Sam asked, “What’s the plan?” as I checked my planner.
“Says here we get a five-minute break to make the rest of the plan.”
Mummies would live forever unless you burnt them, so they tended not to hang clocks on their walls.
“Shit,” I muttered as I looked at my wrist expecting to see a watch.
“I forgot, I only wear a watch when I dream. Did you bring one?”
“How are we supposed to know when our five-minute break is over without a watch?”
“If only there were some henchmen around, we could ask them.”
But there weren’t any henchmen.
“How come Youmotepp’s henchmen aren’t around today? Doesn’t he usually have goons? Bit odd don’t you think?”
“Well, funny you should mention that,” I answered as a preface to my explanation:
“I heard from my gang of street urchins that crime wasn’t paying well and Youmotepp had to make some layoffs in order to keep things going. He fired his entire non-mummy staff and hires them back as 1099s when he needs some extra help.”
“Typical mummy, always thinking about how to get blood from a stone. No regard for the employee as a person. It’s a shame. Didn’t used to be that way. It’s a union gig right?”
“Hell if I know.”
“Right, why would you. When did you get a gang of street urchins?”
“Last month. Best move I’ve ever made. Business wise, I mean.”
“Cost you much?”
“Cheaper than you think.”
“How cheap do you think I think it is? Can’t go around telling people you know what they think.”
“You think it costs about $300 a month. It doesn’t. I pay three cans of soup and half a wish.”
“Any discount for paying for the year in advance?”
“Didn’t think to ask. I’m still in my 90 day trial period.”
“Well, you make the quarterly payments and if you’re not satisfied, you can get a refund.”
“Can street urchins be trusted to issue refunds?”
“Nope. That’s why the soup goes into an escarole account,” I confidently declared.
“You mean an escrow account?” Sam asked with a confused tone.
“No, those are for money. Soup goes in a escarole account. Get it right.”
“What about the wishes? Un-granting wishes is tough.”
“It’s just birthday cakes.”
People think you need to have to have a birthday in order to make a wish while blowing out the candles. You really just needed the cake and some candles.
“Right,” Sam nodded.
“Say, how ya feeling?” He asked while checking his fingernails for dirt.
“Hungry,” I answered.
“Is that a feeling or a state of being?” Sam asked with a puzzled look.
“I don’t know and I really don’t care. Want to get something to eat? Bound to be a clock at the restaurant.”
“Any of them,” I replied.
“Not which restaurant do you want to see what time it is at- which restaurant do you want to eat at?” Sam said with a slightly annoyed look in his tone of voice.
“Oh- how about Pete’s?”
“Big Pete’s or Little Pete’s?”
“Little.” I always choose Little Pete’s when given the choice. It’s the better one.
“Right. That’s the better one. You ever eat at the restaurant on the moon?”
“The one with good food but no atmosphere?”
“That’d be the one I mean, yeah.”
“I stopped taking restaurant recommendations from Bazooka Joe comics 13 years ago.”
“Say what you will, that comic knows what it was talking about.”
I let it go. Sometimes, there’s no point.
“Lets go to Little Pete’s.”
We went to Little Pete’s and found out what time it was. It was too late, that’s what time it was. Too late to hunt down Memotepp and it was too early for Danny to be awake yet.