Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I cut down a couple of streets to Fabulanna's shopping district and headed for Comics R Fab. I knew that Walt would be hanging out there -- now that he no longer worked there, he liked to stand near the Dark Horse section and watch the drones behind the counter try not to gag at the body odor emanating from the customers.

Carefully circling around two fen in mid-debate about Superman's flying ability, I located Walt and tapped him on the shoulder. "Hi, do you--"

I didn't know that he could move that fast. The finger came flying out at me, and I just managed to grab it before it poked a hole in my eye.

"Dammit, put that thing away," I hissed.

Walt's baby blues blinked at me. "Oh, sorry, ZanZan," he said, his voice weirdly nasal. "I thought you were going to ask me where the raunchy comics were located."

"Back corner, next to the Bettie Page poster," I said, "but that's not important right now. I got a tip that something's waiting for me at the Lone Star Gym -- something that has to do with Carrot Top and missing mimes."

I knew what was coming, but it was still weird to see Walt hold up his finger as if an invisible bird was perched on it, then start talking to said invisible bird.

"Uh, huh...really...okay, Pobrecito," he cooed, then turned back to me. "Yeah, Pobrecito said he was there yesterday -- see, he loathes Carrot Top and wanted to see if he could get a good shot at taking a dump on his head. Anyway, Pobrecito was perched near one of the gym's skylights, and saw a couple of mimes tied up in the boiler room. They were silently screaming while Carrot Top did topless crunches right in front of them."

That bastard. "I also heard that someone has it in for me over there," I said, grim.

Walt checked with Pobrecito. "Yup. Someone named Joe, he said, doesn't like you nosing around the gym. That's all he knows, however -- the nursing home had a special on old guys scattering dried breadcrumbs that day."

Joe again. Why would Fabulanna's greatest sports fan and bookie have problems with me? "Thanks for the intel. By the way, what's up with the nasal voice?"

He tilted his head back, and I could see cotton wadding stuffed up each nostril. "Sweetie, have you smelled some of the things that come in here?" he huffed.

A chubby middle-aged man in a "Han Shot First" t-shirt waddled by, and I recoiled from the cloud of BO trailing in his wake. It combined the bouquet of Mumsey's foot rot with Dr. Chuey's "leftover" bins.

"Flying Spaghetti Monster help us," I gasped. "I'm outta here."

I dashed out of the store and stumbled to the curb, eager to get some fresh air. A long black limo pulled up to me; I just had enough time to wonder if Gary Coleman was back in town when the window rolled down, and an ever longer black muzzle poked out at me. "Get in," an urbane voice ordered.

Definitely not Gary, then. Gritting my teeth, I climbed into the back of the limo, my eyes slowly adjusting to the gloomy interior. Then I recognized who was holding me hostage.

"You, I hissed."

"Me," Frank said, smiling. "Milo, drive on. I have much to discuss with Miss ZanZan."

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