An experiment mashing SF and P.I. genres. I'm curious if it's interesting/credible/cliche.
|The bullet holes were gone. I felt around my chest and abdomen, but no perforations; no blood. Maybe I'd imagined the whole thing and fainted, like women do in old movies. Twits.
The memory of bullets tearing into me was still painfully clear. Two goons firing at least a dozen rounds into me and leaving me for dead in this trash-strewn alley was crystal-clear.
Or so I thought. Even my dress was unscathed.
I got up, shook some of the adrenaline out of my limbs and stalked shakily toward Tony Desilio's lounge, determined to find the answers to my first problem. The second one, the weird one that had me doubting my gray matter, that could wait. Just thinking about it made my head swim. Tiny UFOs... I could picture my shrink's shark-like grin gleaming with that one.
Something had put me off my game enough to let those thugs drag me into an alley and kill me. Or so they thought.
When I arrived at Tony's I expected more trouble, but the goon at the door, the one built like a meat locker, just gave me the hairy eyeball as I passed. The weasel that shot me first was lounging on an overstuffed couch inside the wide foyer. I could see the lumps from their smoking guns holstered under sweaty armpits.
"Sid," said the bouncer.
"Shut up, Dob. I see it," said Sid, eyeballing me like his bookie's ghost. "Check for a gun."
The meat locker bounced me against the wall—hard—I assume to make me more cooperative. The effect was anticlimactic, even for me. My back seemed to *flatten* against the cheap paneling, then bounce back.
Weird was not the word.
His meaty paws were less than chivalrous. One paused over my blouse, a flicker of something unsavory in his eyes. Go ahead and make me feel helplessly female, I thought. Big mistake. A fireball erupted in me that almost eclipsed the one that ate my parent's house last night. I could feel the anger spread through my body like hot poison.
I shifted my weight and something went squish. The arm he had wrenched painfully behind my back just melted, reconstituting in front of me. I was too pissed to freak out about it. Yet. Maybe later.
The anger refocused into my relatively small fist, becoming a rock-hard ball of hate. A fist-sized boulder of it. Without thinking, I swung it up, striking the behemoth hard enough in the gut to knock him off his feet. Everyone in the room was shocked, including me.
Sid brought his gun up, but the big one rolled over and jumped me first, pinning me to the floor under 400 pounds of whale meat with arms. Except a whale would have smelled better.
The next thing I knew I was on my feet again, slapping away Sid's pistol, then Sid, who hit the far wall, folding onto the floor. Meat Locker hoisted himself off the floor, staring at his hands.
"What the hell are you?" he blubbered. "You melted, like Jello."
I stepped toward him and he backed away.
"Shoo!" I said. He dislodged door hinges getting outside, on his own steam.
I stepped past Sid's limp body and headed for the door marked "Management," my mind slowly losing its grip. Whatever was happening, my original goal remained intact: Tony was going to pay.
I closed the door behind me. Tony swiveled his chair around to aim his killer smile at me.
"And there you are, again." he said, oozing coolness. "I used to like our little game, but this tenacious thing of yours is starting to annoy me."
"Wait 'til you see my encore."
He didn't seem impressed. I'd lost my gun somewhere back in that alley. I wouldn't have been impressed with me either. He was at least twice my weight and probably had an arsenal in his top drawer. As usual, I was working on pure attitude.
Best not to wait for the next move.
"You killed my family," I seethed, wrenching him out of his chair with a strength that surprised both of us.
"It was meant for you," he said, looking at my grip on his Seersucker like I was defiling his ancestry. "If you'd keep your nose out of things--"
He reached for an open drawer, but I caught his hand. He tried to out-muscle me, then stared in horror as my hand melted and flowed over his. I couldn't tell you what I was thinking at this point. All I remember was the look of terror as his body became engulfed in parts of me. My body knew what it was doing even if I didn't.
A ledger of horrible deeds played through my mind as his skull dissolved. When it was over, not a cell of him remained, but I knew his every secret.
I dropped into his chair and stared at my hands, vindication battling disgust. They looked like regular hands. I had become some kind of human-amoeba thing and I'd just digested someone alive. I could sense my therapist calling for backup.
I was a P.I., not some late night cinema monster! What the hell do I do with this?
As if in answer, the tiny UFO came to mind. At the time, I'd thought someone had thrown a bulbous hub cap at me--obviously imported. It crashed into the gutter in front of me, just in time to be squashed under the tire of a badly-timed Checkered Cab. Remembering the wet sound of it cracking open jarred me into a flood of memories. Memories that weren't mine.
I remember frantically fighting to get control of my ship. Over-sized buildings flashing past, then pitted asphalt racing up to meet me. An awful jarring crash and a momentary zigzagged tread of a Michelin putting out my lights. Then an entire life flashed past--nothing like mine. Seems aliens do this, too.
I saw a strangely colorful world far from our own, both alien and familiar, filling me with awe. In the midst of all this, my self-identity surfaced: The creature wasn't a monster, but an emissary of peace, a critter with a mission. And as it died it felt another creature's touch. Mine. I really should have listened to my parents about that.
I came to my senses realizing I was both a dead alien emissary and a P.I. who could do things to bad guys that would put her off her grain for weeks.