Saturday, December 29, 2007

HMH #23

Chapter Twenty-three : The Mayor’s orifice

Son of a bitch! Alexander lied to me. He said he called to warn us about the wrong directions on Thursday night. My head spun with accusations and improbabilities. That fuck Alexander can wait for now. I must call the Mayor. The message seemed urgent. He must have something important to tell me. I can always count on him for information.

Initially the hotel desk had answered right away and patched me through to the intended room. Now the purring of a phone unanswered continued through the line. “Come on Mayor pick up for Christ’s sake.”

Finally on the fifth ring a female voice answered, slow and groggy. “Yeah.”

“I need to speak to the Mayor right away. Put him on please.”

“Who?”

Jesus how stupid am I? She’s not going to know who I’m talking about. Before I could repeat my demand using the name she would know, I heard another voice in the background ascending from the depths of slumber. “Who is it?”

“It’s a prank call. Someone demanding the Mayor.”

“Wait. Don’t hang up. Give me that.” The Mayor’s voice came to the forefront in the receiver. “John, that you?”

“Mayor.”

“Jesus John, why so early?”

“It’s nine-thirty.”

“Not for me it isn’t. Wasn’t the area code on the number I left you any clue? I’m in Vegas you ass. It’s frickin’ seven-thirty and I had a late night assignment.”

“Yeah I know. Your late night assignment answered the phone. How was I to know I was calling you in Vegas?”

“ The concierge answering the phone ‘Caesars Palace,’ any indication?”

“Shit, I need to get a job like yours.”

“Yeah life’s rough.”

“I’m sorry I woke you, but I just got your message and things are a little out of control here.”

“I know, I heard. That’s why I called you John.”

“How did you know we were having problems?”

“I got an anonymous phone call Friday saying things weren’t running smoothly and you needed me to look into some things.”

“That means someone here made the call.”

“The voice sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. John forget about it. The important information is, what I have to tell you.”

“I need all the advice I can get Mayor. Every time I think it can’t get worse, it does. Please tell me something promising.”

“I guess that would depend on how you take the news. The situation is not good. Have you heard of Russell Brock?”

“No, should I?”

“He was one of the partners at the firm of Alexander, Myers, and Brock- younger guy- an up and comer.”

“Griffin’s law firm? What about him?”

“He’s responsible for a lot of the firm’s heavy weight clients over the years mostly in the entertainment and media field- his area of expertise. He handled Wires Whitmire for one.”

“Griffin Alexander handles Wires stuff now. What happened to Brock?”

“He drove his sports car through a guard rail in Encino a month before Wires died. It was ruled an accident, but shortly after, Alexander and Myers divvied up the clients and Alexander took on Wires among others. Also, around the same time several large deposits were made to a charity foundation called Tykes to Titans. Does that sound familiar?”

“That’s the charitable foundation that some of Wires entitlement went to and more will go if we don’t finish here this weekend. Son of a bitch! What the fuck is going on?”

“After Brock’s death Wires filed an updated will with the firm. However, he was sick at home there was nothing more they could do for him at that point.”

“What were the changes made?”

“I don’t know I couldn’t find that out.”

“Are you thinkin’ this Brock guy was murdered?”

“No. I’m just speculating on the events with the information I’ve uncovered. Did you know Alexander is under investigation?”

“Investigation? From who?”

“From the IFCC among others. Things are not smelling like roses here John. Since the investigation Alexander and Myers have had to keep their noses clean. That’s probably why this is going the way it is. He probably desperately needs the money for something and doesn’t want you to finish. Sounds like he’s trying to squeeze as much dough out legally and then he’s going to disappear.”

That son of a bitch lied to me. “I can’t believe this Mayor. Why us?”

“Hey! Would you let go of that til I’m off the phone? This is important.”

There was a faint little animal growl probably accompanied by a love bite of some sort on the other end of the phone. “OK your honorable Mayor sir.”

“Mayor, we’re The Oral Blondes not Tom Clancy. I don’t understand how this is all connected to us. Surely, if you’re correct, the money from this venture is a drop in the bucket compared to the dollars you’d be talking about. Some other reason has to be at play.”

“You don’t have a copy of the will do ya?”

“No.”

“Do you have the contract there with you?”

“Shit yes. I’ve been trying to get a close look at it all weekend but things just keep piling up.”

“Get it out. See if there’s anything unusual about it.”

I dug through the contents of my bag. The contract was nowhere to be found. Son of a bitch it’s been stolen. No wait! I took it out the other night but never got to read it because of Grub’s ghost. I dropped to my knees. The manila envelope was on the floor under the bed. Quickly I extracted the document from inside, and wedged the phone between my neck and shoulder. “Hmm, let’s see here . . . yada, yada, yada . . . Adjudicated by a third party in the music industry, expenses paid by Neville Whitmire’s estate. Monday the 31st in the year of yada, yada- I don’t know Mayor, everything appears to be in order. Pretty straight forward. Like Alexander told me. We finish the song by Monday, hand it over to be heard by someone in the music industry at Wires’ expense. If there’s something underhanded, I’m not seeing it. I was told all this verbatim.”

“I thought there would be something there.”

“How did you find all this out? You must have quite a list of sources?”

“Actually I Googled it on my lap top. I wish I had done it a few weeks back when things didn’t smell right then. But you’re all big boys. I figured you knew what you’re doing.”

“Obviously I don’t feel that way now.” I quickly filed the Mayor in on the current events from Grub’s hand to our discovery of Arsehole Party at the bar.

“Things are worse than I thought. Arsehole party? That’s a no-brainer. You’ll just have to make do with Grub struggling through the session.”

“My thoughts exactly Mayor. We’ve all had enough of that asshole I agree. But Grub’s hand is chewed. He can’t do everything we need him to do and we’ve only got one shot to get it right. We have today and tomorrow then we’re out of time.”

“Fill in missing parts with a sequenced drum machine.”

“We already tried. It didn’t fit the song. No, we need a live feel.”

“You’ll figure something out. Look John, I’ll continue to do some more digging this afternoon and meet you when I get back on Tuesday, but right now I think I should go.” He cooed. “Watch your back something is in play here we don’t have all the information on.”

I felt this was some kind of bad joke. Was Wires really dead, or was he playing an elaborate hoax at our expense? I sensed, come Monday, it would be laid bare by Wires Whitmire as he came driving up to the studio in a big black sedan. Strolling through the front door with a nervous laugh as he lit up a fresh cigarette. Ha-ha got you guys! He was going to point out the hidden cameras and the concealed microphones. He would expose the live audience in a room behind one of the walls. You’ve been punked. We could then watch in all played out again on TV and have a good chuckle.

That son of a bitch lied to me. “I’m going to call that fuck Griffin Alexander right after you, and get to the bottom of this. I have proof he’s lied to us from the beginning.”

“John, wait til we have more information. Besides . . . oh . . . oh . . . oh, yes, that’s the spot. . . besides he’s in L.A. It’s e-VEN earlier Th-ERE. You’ll only get Vo-hoy-ce mail. That’s if he’s in the office on a Sunday.”

“Thanks Mayor. Go get some sleep, or just go get some.”

There was a click and we were severed by dial tone. I returned the phone to its cradle and stood up to glare out the window of my bedroom into a day sunny and bright. A gaze into a world unconcerned with our current blight.

Doc’s voice invaded my daze from the open doorway. “What was that all about?”

“Same old, same old.”

“Do I want to know about the newest deep shit we’re in?”

“Not really.”

I watched as a yellow taxi cab glided up the driveway tracing the Bible Buick’s path and kicking up dust into almost a black cloud. It appeared to disrupted the peaceful solitude of the morning. It came to a squeaky wheeled stop in front of the entrance and the back door swung open.

“Besides,” I said. “We have far more pressing concerns to deal with at the moment.”

Two feet swung out and hit the ground in unison. The boots were new, but the design was unmistakable— fur rimmed muck-lucks. Arsehole Party had arrived.

No comments: