TQR Confidential

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

INSIDER TRADING: Otto at the Bunny Patch Scrip Club

Rorschalk circles the parking lot for 12 minutes until a spot opens up that is in the front row and well lighted. Exiting his Escalade, he presses the keypad twice, activating his Cuyahoga Big Rig Deluxe vehicle security system with a squelchy double beep. He has brought a thick wad of 5 dollar bills just in case his man Otto prefers to sit on the runway, pole position, if you will. A musclehead at the front of the room, hands him a packet of sterile wet wipes while mumbling something about swine flu. Rorschalk receives the wipes and greases Vito's hand with one of the aforementioned fives.

Do you know a gentleman goes by the name of Otto?

Nada problem, says the doorman. Sits at the bar. Big as a boxing ring. Can't miss him.

Once inside, the Christmas theme is a perverse commentary on the state of the niche culture at large, speaking on a micro scale of course. A band of lounge lizards play a casio'd version of "Silver Bells" whilst on stage a svelte, leggy red head shakes her money maker wrapped in none-too-strategic strands of tinsel. Smoke drifts like infrared waves in the strobing lights. The seating around the stage is manned by sweaty guidos and gandalfinis wearing crumpled hats, clutching crumpled dollar bills, all vying for red's multilateraled attention. And then, he sees him. For a moment Rorschalk wonders if the face hidden there in the smoky haze will be that of a man or a pig. Last he'd heard, Otto had been trapped in some kind of transverse dimension, rowing a skiff over the dark waters of a magic lake. Stick to the script, he thinks, drawing near. Another step, and he extends his hand.

Hello sir. I am Theodore Q. Rorschalk. And you are Otto, I presume?

(Otto is in cartoon form and looks a bit like James Gandolfini, but four inches taller) (Nods) On time, I like that, man shows up when he says he's gonna. You don't mind, my associate's going to give your pockets and whatnot a little pat. Nothing personal. What you call 'precautionary.' (Grins) Me, I like learning new words. It's 'pre' on account 'a the caution is upfront-like.

(Rorschalk raises his arms to facilitate his frisking, then lowers them when the frisker has finished frisking him. Then, he bellies up and orders a scotch and water) Single malt, my good man," he says, laying a benjamin on the bar, then he turns his attention to Otto.) So. You're a Callie Coven afficionado. Does that ever clash with any of the other, shall we say, coarser elements of your existence?

(gives him a look) I know you know all about what went down back in South Carolina. What? Reason you're here, right? (glances at his associates) You guys take a walk, see some titties. (back at Rorschalk) Sorry about the idiots. So does reading Callie get me in trouble? I could tell some stories. You, you're an educated man, I can see. You prolly read whatever you want, science and stuff. Me, I've got this one thing. (shrugs) But anyway, back to the question. (leans in, whispers) Weird things happen to me a lot. (leans back out) I know, what's that? I'm telling you, I see a lot of strange things. Not just strange like that guy over there is tryna lick the girl's feet when she gets close, I mean strange things. So whadda ya tell the guys? Can't tell these mooks I spent (leans in, whispers) almost a year in some kinda magic-book place, and when I got out, it was the same day as when I went in. (leans back out) Wish the joint was like that. (laughs) But reading? I'm not some kinda fan. I'm a serious collector. Castro Cubans look at the sealed cabinets for my Callie Coven books, they get pissed off. I did once seriously screw up on account 'a reading, but I ain't saying nothing about that.

(The bartender turns back with a Schlitz Malt Liquor can in his hand, which he promptly slams down on the bar in front of Rorschalk and says...)That's as close to single malt as we got, Pal.

(Rorschalk doesn't skip a beat, hoists his 2/4 and takes a slug.) Ahhh. Fo shizzle my gizzle.

(laughs) (to bartender) Gimme one of those, too. I ain't driving. So mostly I just keep one of the mass markets with me in case I get bored. Lotsa waiting around, my line of work. I'll tell you one thing weird, since I can't talk about that other thing. Guy I work for now? Never met him. I was boss this crew, back then I was working for a guy you've seen him in the papers. Then, guy I worked for gets popped (shrugs). Then I get a call - "I understand you're currently out of work" - how he got my number I have no idea. The guy wants me to do this thing, and I do it, next day there's cash in the trunk of my car. (laughs) Chunk of it. Thinking back, I don't know. Working for this new guy's when all the strange things started happening. Like to meet that guy one day.

(Rorschalk has filled the first page of his yellow legal pad [where he produced it from is and will remain shrouded in mystery for all time] with notes and transcriptions. He doesn't seem in any hurry to re-engage this behemoth. But wait. He takes a slug of hie premium Schlitz Malt Liquor, wipes his mouth with his forearm and says...) You've been sequestered in a painting, turned into some kind of werehog creature... why would you even wonder at how your life might not be exactly what it seems? I mean, if you knew the WHOLE TRUTH, you'd probably not survive the day...

(shrugs) (looks at beer) Yeah. I have a problem sometimes cause I haveta know. It can get a guy in trouble. Divorced, even. (chuckles). Maybe I don't have to know who keeps leaving the jack in my car. Or how he gets in there. Or who the guy is, anyway. Like you say, might be a hazard to my health, I wanna know so much.

Word (Rorschalk takes a belt from his 2/4 and nods sagely) Now you're talking. (Craning his neck to see the stage, he takes in all the pretty tinsel) Can't live with 'em. Can't live... hey, did you say 'divorce'? What's it all about, Otto?

(agitated) Well, see, it's like sometimes you think your wife's out of the house a lot some nights. Like, maybe, whatsit (snaps fingers) narco-leprosy - that thing where you sleepwalk and then squeal on people? But then like you maybe wanna follow her out one night, and then you wish you didn't, on account 'a she sees you and then there's a big fight, but not like the kinda fight with dishes and shit, more like you gotta run, cause your wife's all turned into an animal, and I don't mean the Jersey Shore kind.

Indeed, I am sorry to hear about that, sir. Marital strife is, pardon my French, a bitch. Speaking of which, how'd you finagle your way out of that painting you found yourself sequestered in during that Callie Coven job you tried to pull?

I didn't wanna leave. Actually, I was in the middle of helping Callie escape the Giant Gargoyle, when The Boss called - guy I never met? Next thing I know, I'm back. Weird thing is? Travers is back, too. And Travers was dead.

(Rorschalk flips a page on his legal pad and plants a giant check mark on that previously pristine page...) Worlds within worlds, sir. Tis a puzzlement, indeed. But let us not get bogged down with country matters. I have a problem I think you might be able to remedy with one of your special cures... see, there's this person ... goes by the name of (Rorschalk takes a small dossier from his pocket and passes it over to Otto via the smooth wooden bar.) you'll find various other details on the paper that will make your job quite clear. What do you say? Can we work together?

(glances at the 5x7 manilla folder, puts it in his inside coat pocket) Always. Always, Mr. R. Definitely. ... (looks around) Hey, where ya going? (to bartender) Is he gonaa get a private dance or something?

(Rorschalk disappears into the VIP room with the intention of making it rain and being a little rebellion at the scrip cloob. Otto shrugs and takes the folder from his coat pocket, pulls out a photograph and studies the image of the man he has been contracted to make sleep with the fishes...


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Terminal terminus of a terminali

My computer's hard drive went sour on me. I'm using a 5-y-o backup.Fortunately, the cap is in "cloud storage", as they say -- in the emails, so I won't have any trouble reading/reviewing the last two.

But I've been fighting the beast for two days, hence my absence from the Terminal... just so ya know.

See you there ~

Ugh. Sorry to hear about those problems, which are always very frustrating. Thanks for the heads up, too.


Both of the last two read and reviewed. So here's where we are, with a day to go:

"The Thing About Bridges" (my final feed from Doomey) needs Magz's first response.

"Phonebox" and "Callie Coven" need Maggie off the fence. I said "good enough to let Theo decide" to the former, and am enthusiastically positive about the latter.

Without having to invoke Guevara in the Terminal, those two plus "The Secret" will make three successful caps for the Execs to chew on; a good number.

Outstanding, sir. Guevara has settled the "Callie" and I'll chime in on "Phonebox" asap. Thanks, too, for the settling up because now I can go ahead and start reading and deciding. Due to the extra "gain" last quarter, we're probably looking at one capital gain for this quarter. So... thanks for another quarter's worth of goodstuff. Have a good Christmas season, yo.