Re: Zephyr


Herr D

[continuation of Chapter 4]

Jennifer stared at the pictures for a few moments. That’s so weird how they look familiar. Maybe I’ve seen too many hazy ‘pictures’ of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. What’s YM? She frowned. The next several pages had been torn out. Shelley did at least summarize it and go to the trouble of organizing it and rewriting it once.

April 26th – May 9th

Fifty-three instances attributed, six seen by credible witnesses, twelve with physical evidence linkages over fourteen days.
Seven doors and four windows jammed shut with shredded trash. Chinatown. 2pm to 10pm.
Three Chinatown alleys had trashcans flattened and gouged into brick walls, preventing pickup. 5am-7am.
Garbage truck had exhaust pipe crimped, stalling it and making restarting impossible before maintenance. Twice! Thursday at 5:25am precisely. Corner of Washington and Main.
Nine stereos, two t.v.s, four radio alarm clocks have been smashed along with the windows closest to them, unless they were open. Chinatown, sunrise to 7:30am.
Two vehicles known to backfire were completely disassembled, parts scattered in trashcans, in mailboxes, and on rooftops. Possessions from inside the vehicles were neatly stacked, in both instances, under tarped construction areas nearby, preventing rain damage. This was done silently.
Nine small dogs and six cats have been found dead. Most were flattened against walls out of reach of anyone without a ladder. Two of them seem to have died of smoke inhalation where there was no smoke.
Three doors have been found removed from their hinges at random locations blocks away in hard-to-reach places.
Two bells have been removed from shopkeeper’s doors when they were staying open late for specific customers. The bells were flattened before their eyes, “carefully, so as not to damage merchandise.”
–Motive in all cases, based on testimony, was to ensure quiet.

Jennifer stared at the pages. Is THAT why Brandon’s been leaving his mutt in the hall? To keep him . . . alive? It never barks in the hall, just happily wags it’s tail, sleeps half-on-half-off his welcome mat and– Wait. It was all the way off the mat this morning. It never sleeps off the mat. buhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMP–hollow hammering? Ugly gray smoke like car exhaust covering–writhing matted spikes? wind in underbrush?
Jennifer recoiled slightly. She felt hot all over.
Shelley sat down next to her, snapping her back to the present. “Are you okay?”
Young Mike glanced up, “You look pale.”
Jennifer opened her mouth. She closed her mouth. Um, yeah. I’ll just tell everyone I’m a psychic, and I know that the whatsit killed my neighbor’s dog. Yeah. Go ahead. Commit me, PLEASE? “I just realized my neighbor’s dog might be dead too. It was sleeping in the middle of the hallway this morning. I had to turn sideways to get around it.”
“I’m sorry, Jen,” Shelley said. You’re just worried I won’t finish your work.
Young Mike glanced at her wrist canes. “Is it difficult to go sideways with those things?”
“It’s more like it’s hard not to fall without going really slow. It’s a narrow hallway.”
Shelley began to speak and then stopped, frowned. She pulled a notebook page out of a pocket. “Is one of these addresses your building?”
“Yes. Why?”
Shelley frowned, “No one in those two buildings will talk to us. If you could verify the dog is dead, that would be EVERY BUILDING BUT ONE in Chinatown. Is there any part of your work you couldn’t take with you?”
Yikes! “You mean, you’d drive me home after work?”
Shelley blinked, “No, I mean, I’d take you home now–would you LIKE a ride home after work? I can compensate informants.” She smiled. Wow. Honesty. Keepin’ it real with your mercenary self.
What would I need? “My laptop won’t hold a charge.”
Young Mike grinned. “I got an adaptor. Po’s custom work. You’re riding shotgun–the cord won’t reach the back of the van. Shelley? Get me an office chair.”
Shelley looked at him funny but trotted right out to get the rolling office chair. Young Mike snatched up Jennifer’s wrist canes, handed them to her, lifted her up–WHOA THERE! placed her in the office chair as it arrived, handed her everything off the table including his own Tupperware container, and rolled her right out of a lunchroom full of raised eyebrows. Not even out of breath, Young Mike parked her at her desk. You’re a LOT stronger than YOU look, Tarzan!
“I’m gonna take my meeting early and get back here quick. Be ready.”
Jennifer turned to object and saw him halfway across the building. Maybe I should’ve spoken sooner? %$^&!
Shelley came puffing up to Jennifer. “Do you need me to carry anything?”
“Um? This laptop is a heavy model. Do you have a case?” Is he ALWAYS this fast? I never see him, and you’re acting like this is normal.
Shelley trotted to a drawer and pulled out a box full of mouse pads, a large ziploc full of bungee cords, and two round flat pillows.
She plopped the smaller one right on Jennifer’s lap, startling her in the middle of choosing a download. Those look like dog pillows. “Be ready to power down the instant he comes out.” Shelley pointed at Mr. Crowe’s office, where Nguyen was already buzzing Young Mike in. Shelley grabbed the box of mouse pads, the ziploc, the other pillow, and Jennifer’s wrist canes, HEY? and ran straight for the open freight elevator. I guess I’m going, then. She shook her head, and packaged everything up as best she could.