The Prayer Room is located in the Herod Halls of the castle, just off the overpass. It’s an original part of the building where St Wigan, when he was in residence, would lock himself away seemingly with no food or water for days. He emerged when God had delivered his message. Normally this meant someone was burned, hanged or buried alive in Gregor Court. God could be a nasty bastard if Noah Wigan was to be believed and Francesca Chamberlain made the perfect nasty vessel to operate through. However, that’s another grisly tale for another grisly day. For now, our story focuses on the Prayer Room in more recent times. The room has no plumbing. It doesn’t have a bowl or sink on offer. You eat and drink very little whilst you’re in there so you find yourself with little to excrete anyway.
As the famed monk said, “God provides the nourishment.”
He may have been able to get a fat soul with conversations with a figment in sky but for our inmates it drained what little will they had left. There are no windows. You are completely engulfed in darkness. You are left alone with only time to think and to say your prayers.
Jake tried to keep himself awake for as long as possible. He didn’t know how long he would be left to rot. He had no means of counting the hours. He could only try and keep himself awake for as long as possible – not that he would find much of a cosy bed. It was a moss covered, granite floor. In fact, the dampness within the Prayer Room really attacked the lungs. It was common in the prison to hear the cough of an inmate that had spent some time in solitary.
Jake had to keep himself awake. He wanted to stay alert should some of the ghoul guards come for him. That was what the inmates were calling the guards who lost their minds. Jake didn’t pray. He never was the praying sort but the voice inside his head was ringing loud. He tried to keep it ringing as his eyes started to feel heavy. He was slumped on the floor. His issue trousers were damp from the moss. He was in the most discomfort he had ever felt but he couldn’t resist sleep. Those Beta brain waves were crying out to him.
“Come on, Jakey. Just close your eyes. Sleep it away. Sleep. Sleep …”
He was jerked awake by a sharp pain. Something had bitten him. He could hear a squeak and a draw of a long, worm-like tail across his hand. He pulled it away and as he did so he caught the feel of matted fur.
“Fucking rat,” he grumbled to himself.
There was another sharp bite on his lower leg where the trousers of his kit had slipped up. There was another one there. He could hear the hungry rodents squeak at each other. Then there was another bite at his hand. This one was harder than the others. The broken rat teeth must have pierced skin.
Jake tried to kick his leg out to make them scurry away but they were brave and they were hungry so they took another bite. One ran across his chest, the worm tail drawing underneath his chin. Jake was on his feet by then trying to shake them off. They finally did scurry away when the doorway was opened.
“2011?” The voice of the warden came through the dark. “What’s the story?”
“My daughter,” Jake began. His voice sounded hoarse having not spoken in some time. “My sisters. My cousin.”
“I’m sorry about your family,” Remar told him sincerely.
He had put in a call to Fullerton Villa to find out what he could.
“Lucy’s with her mum, from what I’m told,” Remar said. “She’ll be fine. Lionel received a shot to his shoulder and to chest but from what i hear he’ll be fine. I’ll let you have a call and catch up a little later but if you get out of here you don’t bring me any trouble are we understood?”
Jake nodded. He cleared his throat. “Of course.”
Cerberus held 2011 in his searching gaze. There was something going wrong with the guards and he needed people among the inmates he could rely on should the worst happen.
When I was a child I longed for adventure. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Youth gives you a confidence to seek a challenge. Life embitters you along the way so when the opportunity of an adventure lands in your lap it is to be grasped with both hands.
When I first came to Coldford it was in search of an adventure. I was told the Shady City was where the story was to be found. Now I have the chance to seek much further afield.
Thanks to my good friend, Dan Larz – a documentarian and talented writer in his own right – I was approached with a story that would make any writer salivate. It had daring feats of skill, displays of courage and true tests of loyalty and friendship. These are the elements that make any adventure. It also had three powder addicted frat boys over which so much trouble had been caused and money spent. However, just imagine the adventure that was to be had.
Who would have known searching for three air headed, overindulged bros would open the pages to a story that goes beyond Coldford City. I am reporter, Sam Crusow, and this is the Good Gang Mission Great States.
Before we rush off to lands afar our story begins somewhere a little closer to home. The island of Hathfield Bay has become something of a place of infamy. It is home to the cult Church of St Wigan. Rumours of human trafficking, ghastly sacrifices and a brain washed congregation were rife. Agent John Reynolds was at a stalemate with the church’s zealous leader, Dominick Cole, at this time of writing so currently all was quiet on the rain-soaked beaches.
Our story begins with two Wigan members walking along the bay towards their commune. As a courting couple they were enjoying the star lit sky, unspoiled by Coldford pollution. Their wedding day was fast approaching so it was like St Wigan himself had told the moon to shine in the fat, romantic way that it did.
The Wigan girl took her husband-to-be’s arm.
“Isn’t the sky so pretty, Noah,” she said.
“It is beautiful, Judith,” Noah agreed heartily. “St Wigan has truly blessed us this night.”
“So pretty,” Judith cooed again. “Praise Wigan.”
“Praise Wigan,” Noah sighed.
They walked along a little further. They drew closer to the commune they called home.
“Judith?” Noah asked. “Is that music I hear?”
“I think it is,” Judith responded. “Is someone having a party?”
It sounded more like someone trying to break down a wall than it did playing an assortment of instruments. To an attuned lifelong City Dweller it would have given the impression of some kind of monster attack. I can only imagine how it would have seemed to two naive members of a religious cult who hadn’t stepped off the island a day in their lives.
Noah clutched Judith’s affianced hand. They started to retreat a little back towards the shoreline.
“In the name of St Wigan, his disciples and all that is Holy! What is that?!”
Judith was hit in the face with a dildo. Someone cried, “cock blocked!”
The commune was emptying and a crowd of people were pouring towards them. The thudding music grew louder as it led them.
“Is it sacrifice time already?” asked Judith.
“It can’t be,” Noah replied. “We were going to have a good old drowning after the wedding, remember?”
“Why does His Eminence look so upset?”
Dominick was leading the charge and tearing towards them with determination. If you had listened to Reynolds’ description of the man you would hear of his wicked temper, dangerous idealogies and his disciples spreading everywhere in the city. You would be forgiven for not believing this was the same man.
“Out ma way!” he cried, rushing past Noah and Judith.
It wasn’t that he didn’t look the part. He was dressed in his Wigan robes, his eyes were wide and wild but in his hands he was waving two glow sticks. What’s more, he was shaking those sticks like an air traffic controller with rhythm. A brain washed congregation was one thing. A horde of people following the church leader like they wanted to eat his brains was quite another. They weren’t zombies of course but something had made them stumble around groaning like the walking dead. My guess would be the hallucinogenic heether mushrooms found on the bay.
“I’ll remember ye fondly, brother,” Dominick called, waving the glow sticks at his church elder, trusted adviser and father figure, Peter Millicent.
You could scour every night club, prison cell and drug den in the city. You would not find anyone quite so far gone as Peter was.
“Oh dear, Judith!” Noah exclaimed. “Is that a crater on the beach?”
That, dear readers, was how it came to be known that the bay was the last known location of Kappa So bros Buddy Owen, Dale Cooper and Chad Perry. They were very much sought after and so the adventure began.
In a city troubled by corruption, where the highest offices can’t be trusted, who do the people have to turn to? Who can they rely on to help them in their times of need? Coldford City has the Hickes agency, better known as the Good Gang. They are a symbol of support and friendship. Most importantly when the Shady City is at its shadiest the badges beam a light that reminds us such a shine still exists. They are named after Detective Joel Hickes – a good man caught up in city violence and struck down in his prime. The Good Gang carry on his good name and function by helping those in need. A vision Joel had always sought to bring to life.
Agent John Reynolds, a cult deprogrammer and cold case specialist. He never gives up on anyone. Agent Franklin Rhodes – an infiltration expert. He is the most approachable and would find himself welcomed anywhere. Agent Lydia Lowe – found on the field with her specialised motorcycle named Kitty. Last but not least, Agent Kim Adams. Kim is a leader with a fearless disposition.
Their resources are limited but try as they might, they are making a difference. With the help of Beckingridge Financial and a keen interest from CEOs Chick Owen of Owen Inc and Howard Bergman of the Bergman Diamond Parade, eyes have been opened and ears have been pricked.
The person who had the Good Gang at their most imminent attention as our story begins was a man named Devon who was rushing along Time Line Main with a bag of jewels in his arms. The bells from Rose Diamond emporium were screaming their alert. Devon was running as fast as his legs would carry him because Kim Adams was in pursuit. She was the daughter of the famous heavy weight boxer Sonny Adams better known as the Bournton Blizzard, so Devon could only imagine how quickly he would hit the canvas when she did manage to get a hold of him. She was, after all, a champion boxer in her own right.
Howard Bergman was seated outside the parade at a little table, sipping his morning espresso when Devon and Kim zipped past.
“Seth?” he called to his son. “Rose Diamond has been robbed.”
Seth, who came to the entrance to check on the commotion, caught a shriek from Devon.
“You’re not human, woman!”
“Not to worry,” said Howard. “It seems Agent Adams has it handled.”
“Isaac will be sorry he missed that,” Seth commented.
Seth’s elder cousin had taken quite a shine to Agent Adams having seen her give statements to the news.
“She’s just so in control,” he had said.
Seth had been puffing a joint at the time so he didn’t ask his cousin to elaborate. I believe the sentiment was pretty clear anyway.
The Bergmans could still hear Devon shriek as he reached the top of Time Line. He stopped to catch his breath but he couldn’t stay stationd for long because Agent Adams was willing to go the full twelve rounds if she needed to. Devon sobbed as he took to his feet again.
“Stay away from me you fucking robot!” he was crying.
He found himself on the thoroughfare of City Main. He was going to take his chances with the Loyalists rather than continue to fight it out with Kim. Well, when I say fight it out, what I mean is run away from. He rushed into the busy streets, still clutching his loot to his chest. He had lost Kim it seemed. He kept looking behind himself though to check. He had been so distracted looking for the agent he hadn’t noticed a broad shouldered figure close in on him. Devon collided.
“What’s the dealio there Devon? You know robbery is whack.”
Shit! Agent Reynolds!
Devon cried and took to his heels yet again. He was starting to run out of puff. He heaved his way back along City Main, stepping dangerously close to the Penn Auction House.
“Fuck it,” Devon cried. “Just let the damn Penns take me.”
As luck would have it two of the three notorious Penn triplets were in prison anyway. Agent Rhodes was currently on protection detail for Penn mother Rita.
He managed to find a secluded spot. There were no signs of Reynolds or Kim.
“Ha ha!” Devon gasped with relief, the way one might if they had managed to outrun a cheetah.
That was when his transport arrived, that all important getaway car. It was a nondescript blue vehicle that was so close to scrap it could be ditched easily enough. The struggling exhaust was the sweet sound of freedom. That sound was spoiled by the purr of Kitty. Agent Lowe rode her bike to the edge of the alleyway.
The getaway driver was taking no chances. He leapt from the car and dashed off towards the financial district, leaving Devon behind.
“Come on,” Devon pleaded.
Lydia held his gaze. She smiled. She winked.
The getaway car was downgraded from scrap metal to simmering pile of junk that was no use to anyone.
Devon turned. His survival instincts were about all that was pushing him along at this point. The bag of jewels were pulled from his hand and a southpaw jab landed on his chin for good measure. Robbery in progress? No problem for the Good Gang.
“Good morning, Chloe,” was the polite welcome Harbour House constant Chloe Grover was given at the ‘Hill of Beans’ coffee shop in Swantin, just a short walk from the rehab facility.
Harbour House was a Beck financial property and thanks to the efforts of dragon Elizabeth Beckingridge, the Good Gang had been granted access to its support resources. Agent Reynolds had found himself a comfortable home there. His little office wasn’t much to look at but it had everything he needed. If it gave him the chance to help others well then, that was just groovy. Lydia and Franklin loved the views along the docks. Franklin had taken many a picture for his amateur photography group. Lydia felt there was no better place for Kitty to claw along than the scratching post of Chamberlain Harbour.
Chloe wasn’t an agent but she collected those coffees which Kim assured her was one of the most important jobs of all, especially when Elizabeth insisted on daily 8am progress reports.
“You keep us fuelled, pet,” insisted Kim.
Chloe prided herself on doing her part. She got the order just right every time.
A double shot Americano for Kim. A latte for Lydia – the cat liked her milk. There was an espresso for Reynolds who was always on the go and needed something sharp. Finally, it was a mocha for Franklin. He was fine with it until he started counting the calories again and then he would switch to low fat.
“Have you tried our new app, Chloe?” asked the barista, Kevin. “It can have your order ready for coming in.”
Chloe smiled in her shy, unassuming way.
“I like to come in and talk,” she responded. “I don’t have the app.”
“That’s no problem.” Kevin assured. “I’m happy you came in. I’ll get your order for you.”
Kevin was smitten with the lovely Chloe. Damaged, broken, he only saw her as the pretty young girl who liked to order her coffees in person.
“You agents got a real job on your hands.”
Chloe giggled. She wasn’t an agent but she had a job to do. She could do her part.
Mr Faddow at the florist next door always gave her the best bloomers. They wouldn’t sell but they would at least grace the reception of Harbour House with beauty and colour.
With the coffees in hand, Chloe returned.
“Thanks Chloe, I’m getting good vibes today,” said Reynolds as he accepted his beverage and tried to piece together the situation on Hathfield Bay.
“I’m going to regret this later but, girl, you are a saviour,” said Franklin as he took his full fat. Chloe figured he had nothing to worry about. Never before had she seen such a toned body.
Lydia had wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“Those flowers are so pretty,” she said.
Beverly, the Harbour House Matron, agreed. Chloe had done a good job.
Lydia had wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“Those flowers are so pretty,” she said.
Beverly, the Harbour House Matron, agreed. Chloe had done a good job.
Finding Kim Adams would take Chloe to one of the private rooms on offer. She was in the midst of one of her early morning updates via video call.
“It was all over the news.” Elizabeth reflected on the chase and eventual apprehension of Devon.
“Not my problem, Elizabeth.” Kim responded.
She accepted her coffee from Chloe with a polite, “Thanks, pet.”
“I’m trying to make something of your agency and I can’t do that when you’re throwing it out there like some kind of media whore.”
Kim scowled, “The CDN helicopter flew overhead. I told you it’s not our problem.”
Coldford Daily and Elizabeth’s Filton Crier were contenders. Kim had no time for her petty rivalries with the Cappy.
“I’m signing off,” said Kim, more of a warning than a statement.
“No, you are not,” Elizabeth retorted.
“The agency is getting a lot of press attention,” Elizabeth Beckingridge was saying.
“It’s hard not to draw attention when you’re having to chase robbers down the streets of Main.”
“It looked really good though,” Elizabeth grinned. “Devon gave you quite the run around, didn’t he?”
Kim frowned a little. “How did you know his name was Devon?”
Elizabeth shrugged. “Just has one of those faces. He looks like a Devon don’t you think? Some people might have argued he was a Clive or a Steve even but no it was definitely Devon.”
Kim’s frown deepened into a scowl. “Did you stage that robbery?” Now that Kim thought about it, the getaway car did look like a prop that would have rolled out of central theatre.
“If I had I would be thoroughly disappointed,” was Elizabeth’s response. “That damn Coldford Daily captured it with their stupid helicopter.”
“That’s not my concern,” Kim assured again. “How did you know that kid’s name was Devon?”
Elizabeth, ignoring Kim’s question, continued musing over the CDN helicopter. “I mean anyone can have a helicopter these days. They’re a dime a dozen in Luen. It’s easy enough to get good footage when you’re in the air. How dare they cover my agents.”
“The news footage isn’t my concern,” Kim warned with a little more impatience.
“It should be,” said Elizabeth. “How the press tells your story will determine how you are accepted by the city. What’s more, that dratted helicopter had no business flying over my agents.”
“We are not your agents,” Kim explained heatedly.
When a Beckingridge had given money over for something unfortunately to them it was one in the same thing.
“We just want to do our job and help people,” said Kim. “My agents have a job to do and we don’t have time to care about which newspaper gets the exclusive.”
“Then next time perhaps you’ll do something about CDN following you around like a pervy priest.”
“I don’t know. Shoot the damn helicopter out of the sky for all I care. News helicopters are so cliché anyway. Try having a news tank or a news boat even.”
That was when Dan and I found Kim shaking her head so vigorously we were hesitant to approach.
“Good morning, Kim,” I tried hesitantly.
“We’re in the middle of a meeting,” Elizabeth called.
“This meeting is so over,” said Kim.
Elizabeth glared at Dan and I. “Shouldn’t you both be at work?”
“Not your writers, Liz,” I answered for us.
Such was the price we paid to use the resources of the Filton Press.
“The whole world’s gone mad,” Elizabeth complained. “Have Kitten call me. At least then I can talk to someone with some sense.”
Kitten was the pet name Elizabeth had given to Lydia. She reminded her so much of her main character in a series of novels she had written. At least there was one agent free of the dragon’s fiery breath.
“Nope, wait a minute,” Elizabeth interrupted herself. “I’m not going anywhere.”
What had held her attention was the reason for Dan and I’s visit.
“Hello Charles,” she grinned. If you can imagine the heat from that dragon fire the temperature of the room escalated exponentially.
Charles ‘Chick’ Owen, better known as the Cappy, held Elizabeth’s gaze.
“Elizabeth,” he responded.
He was a man who always stood with a natural air of confidence. He was particularly cock sure this morning because his legal team headed by his brother Ronnie had already fended off the Beckingridge sharks in their quest to sue them for the footage of the Good Gang. This was the kind of petty rivalry among the rich that Kim had no time for.
Directing his attention to Kim, The Cappy said, “Agent, I find myself in need of your services quite urgently. I am hoping that your team, with discretion, can help me in a matter of some importance.”
“No,” said Elizabeth.
“I will be most happy to compensate you for your trouble. I have done some research and I believe you are the most qualified to help me.”
“No,” said Elizabeth again with more force.
Kim turned to the screen.
“Goodbye Elizabeth,” she said.
Before Elizabeth could finish her speal the video call was switched off.
“What seems to be the problem?”
“Well, as you are aware a lot has happened. My son, Bernard, you are familiar with. I have been trying to keep him out of trouble. After his grandfather’s unfortunate demise, I requested that he keep his head low. He has a problem you see. A filthy drug habit which over the years I have been trying to remove from him. I can warn him until the cows come home but trouble still always seems to find him. Now, he has gone missing along with his Kappa So brothers, Chad Perry and Dale Cooper. This only spells more trouble. I am asking you to help a boy who is a penny short of the full coin and if you find him, perhaps you can take pity on him on account of his stupidity.”
Buddy Owen was already under suspicion for a host of crimes. After the attack at a Mack funeral the city was a particularly nervous place. The Cappy was keen on making sure his son hadn’t been caught up in it all. I was curious to find out how much of the mess they had been responsible for. This was why Dan had suggested the Good Gang as being the ones capable of finding him and his bros, ultimately bringing him back home. The bros were not the kind of figures you preferred out of sight and out of mind.
“If you can return him sober, I’m sure it will give us all cause for an easier sleep,” the Cappy surmised in his pitch to Kim.
That it would indeed. The first step was to trace the bros steps.
Hathfield Bay had been shaken a lot recently. The Church of St Wigan was gaining heavier support, they were being drawn further and further off the island spreading their word. They believed the City Dwellers were a sinful lot, Hell bound and damned. When it came to light exactly what had been brought upon them, I can’t help but gain a better understanding as to why they felt this way. Word of a great commotion there had given Kim reason to believe that was the most likely last place in the greater Coldford district the bros had been. In order to discover any information on the island one had to visit the Church which sat central, overlooking the shores.
“Well, they were definitely here,” Kim exclaimed to Lydia as the two agents climbed the dunes to the church’s entrance.
There was no mistaking it. A great graffiti on the side of the church read the letters K.S.O. The cock and balls sandcastle may also have provided a clue. The next clue for the agents was the cries of frustration from His Eminence.
“Those three walking curses. Look what they have done to our church!”
The pews were filled with party streamers.
Peter Millicent looked up when he saw the agents approach.
“This would be the agents who contacted us, Your Eminence.”
Dominick caught them in his gaze, still seething.
“Are you here to do something about this?” He asked, probably in reference to the mess left behind.
“The three frat boys. You said they were here?” Kim began, speaking to Peter who seemed the more reasonable of the two despite being on some kind of come down.
“They were here alright,” Dominick was the one to reply. “Thought they would start a party. A party!”
“He means they spread drugs and alcohol around the commune, agents,” Peter explained.
“The whole field of mushies gone. Do you realise how long it takes to grow those bastards?”
Peter nodded. “He means they devoured an entire crop of heethers. They are something of a staple over here.”
“They’re calling it a miracle,” Dominick raged. “They’re going to be seeing fucking colours for the rest of their lives.”
Kim raised her hand in warning to Dominick to take a step back.
“We’ve never known anyone to eat so much and survive. It was quite remarkable,” said Peter.
Dominick shook his head. He stomped forward again, still in a rage.
“When you do get a hold of them you can bring them back here. I want them to answer for the mess they made.”
Kim didn’t like Dominick’s attitude. Reynolds had warned her he may be a tough nut to crack. She warned him for a second time to take a step back.
“Where did you send them?” Kim asked Peter, assuming the Wigan Church had chased them off.
“Where did I send them?” Dominick interrupted. “I would have sent the three whore mongerers to Hell. Seven of our young lasses pregnant and until they pop the sprogs we don’t know which one did it!”
Peter maintained his calm demeanour. He was nursing a terrible headache. “Some of the girls really enjoyed their company.”
“Aye, a change of pace they said. Some folks thought they really were having a party. Ain’t that right Bart?”
Dominick scowled at the monk named Bartholemew who was at that point scrubbing a crude image of what was supposed to be Buddy Owen from their church wall. I would guess Buddy Owen given the blonde hair that had been scrawled on.
“So where did they go?” Kim asked.
“We believe they decided to go to the Great States. It would seem they couldn’t find what they were looking for here.”
“They couldn’t be saved!” cried Dominick. “They really couldn’t.”
He had stepped forward so Kim warned him. “Ye done?”
Dominick frowned most severely.
“Am I done? This is ma Church ya-”
With a swift punch Dominick was sent to the floor. She and Lydia had heard all they needed to. They removed themselves from the church not wanting to waste any more time.
Dominick continued to lay on his altar.
“Are you okay, Your Eminence?” Peter asked.
Dominick laid his hands on his chest. “I’m fine,” he replied in a surprisingly calm way. “I’m just going to lie here for a little while.”
“As you wish,” said Peter. He was starting to feel sick again anyway.
It was discovered by the Good Gang that the Bros had retreated to their home in the land of the Great States. What did they find there? What trouble could possibly befall them there? Well, all manners of trouble as it happened but in this instance their journey had taken them to a brothel that boasted BUDGET PUSSY. It wasn’t exactly a creative name for a brothel but since they were in the middle of nowhere, I suppose their advertising had to be straight to the point. The neon signs had been like a beacon to the bros, calling them home. From what had been last heard of them it seemed they had limited resources and Buddy – as the infacto leader of the trio of enlightened minds – had claimed some kind of dibs which meant he was the one to enjoy said whore.
“I’m all about the boning,” he was boasting. He gave a stretch, hoping it showed his swimmer’s body in its most glowing light.
The whore they had chosen was one named Peaches. Chosen wasn’t accurate. When they asked if the cost could be spread over three cards Peaches had been all the Madam would allow. She wasn’t much to look at. One eye kept closing over in a nervous twitch, she kept giving what she thought was a seductive laugh but really sounded like a chimpmuk being raped by a baboon – those were Buddy’s words, not mine. What was most stand out about Peaches was the pungent smell she gave off and it did not smell like any kind of fruit never mind peaches. It was like a urine smell, if urine could go sour like milk – again these are Buddy’s thoughts not my own.
Despite all this Peaches was keen to please her customer. She dropped a heavy bag on the bed between Buddy’s leg.
“Watch the God Balls!” he cried, but then he grinned and chuckled. “What you got in there?”
Peaches grinned. Her grin was supposed to be flirty he supposed. It made her eye droop like she had been hauled off the street for some back alley treatment. She continued her tease. From the bag she drew a feather.
“Ooooh,” Buddy giggled. “Naughty.”
She kept digging into her bag of delights.
“That looks like it’s going to hurt … Kinky!”
She kept digging. She had to stop to cough some phlem onto her palm but she kept pulling out treat, after treat.
Buddy’s face fell. His lips pouted.
“Where you going to put that?”
More chipmunk rapey giggles. More phlem.
Buddy’s face fell even further. It was almost as low as the boner kill he was now experiencing.
“Ugh!” he boaked. “That’s fucking disgusting.”
Meanwhile, downstairs Chad Perry and Dale Cooper had emptied every card they possessed.
“This is a library card,” the Madam warned, a buxom woman named Shotgun Sally and this was not because she rode in the passenger side of the car.
“What do we do, brah?” Coops whispered to Chad.
“Do you think he’s finished yet?”
You may be familiar with the dine and dash system? It seems the bros were operating something similar only with whorehouses. Fix that itch and ditch that bitch, I believe is what they called it. Sally was hearing none of it.
“If you’re bro’s dick has even so much as left his pants you son’s a bitches owe me.”
“Brah!” Coops panicked. “Buddy’s cock will most definitely have left his pants.”
It was too late. Sally had drawn the firearm she was most famous for.
“Bud!” screamed Chad.
Luckily Buddy came stumbling down the steps at that point. He was still heaving from whatever final trick Peaches had pulled from her bag.
“She pissed on me and it burned!” he was crying.
She pissed on me and it burned…if the Good Gang were to chase the bros across to the Great States that was going to have to be their mantra.
“I can’t believe this!” Dan was exclaiming as we arrived at Coldford Airport.
I was there to see the departure of the agents. Dan was present because he had been lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to accompany Lydia and Kim as they sought the three bros and, by The Cappy’s instruction, bring Buddy home sober. Thanks to Owen Air they were to travel in luxury. Any expenses or damage they met would be compensated by Owen coin.
Kim hadn’t been particularly keen on the idea of Dan joining them. Experience told her things could get dangerous. Dan was more than a civilian though. As previously mentioned, he was a documentarian and as such had a natural skill for keeping things documented. I had opted to remain in Coldford and follow from there as the story continued. Working together we would provide the tale of the Good Gang’s mission.
“I know you’re super busy Sam,” Dan had said. “But I really appreciate it. It’s going to be something working with Sam Crusow! You know if someone told me a few years ago that I’d be working with Sam Crusow I would never have believed them.”
Dan was something of a fan and I was flattered by his enthusiasm. In truth I was just as thrilled as he was to observe the Good Gang in action.
“I know how it sounds but I hope you don’t mind I asked you to water the plants.”
“It’s fine, Dan” I assured.
“Will you hurry, Dan?” Kim called.
“Good luck,” I told Lydia.
She winked. “I got it covered,” she said confidently.
The Good Gang did have it covered but as I watched the Owen Air plane take off, I couldn’t help but wonder what the Great States had in store for them.
“The captain has now switched on the fasten seatbelt sign as we make our descent into Derek Owen Airport. The weather is warm 80 degrees here in Star State and on behalf of our staff and pilots, thank you for choosing Owen Air.
“Did you know that Derek ‘Deek’ Owen was the first Owen to get his wings? It was at the turn of last century when aircraft was just invented,” Dan was asking excitedly.
Lydia, who had slept for most of the flight, was just waking up.
“The airport being named after him is a giveaway,” Kim said with some humour.
The sight of the sunshine was a welcome change to the rain of the Shady City.
“It was part of the air race,” Dan went on. “The Owen family sought to get the patent for commercial flights.”
This was an incredibly bold move when you think about it, considering man had only just started to take to the sky let alone carrying passengers. The Owens were determined to be the first though.
Lydia was stretching, having enjoyed her inflight nap. Kim was focused on the task at hand.
“We’ll group at the hotel and then we’ll set out to find the three targets,” she had instructed.
Dan was still a little giddy. He had never thought he would have the opportunity to accompany the agents on an honest to God mission.
“An honest to God mission, Sam!” he had cheered.
I have to admit I was a little jealous. The way the Good Gang operated and their dedication to their duty reminded me of the old Detective Roger serials I was obsessed with as a child. Each week I would dutifully tune in to find out how Roger and his heroes were coming along, and what new obstacles the dastardly villains threw in their way. Being on hand and experiencing it all was a real boon to Dan. I awaited back home tuning in to find out what was to happen next.
Trace, collect and return the three washed out frat boys sounded like an easy task for the agents. Little was to be known of the true danger that lay ahead.
A nondescript car was provided for them. Travel around the Star State was going to have to be understated.
“You don’t have to worry about a thing, agents,” said Dan. “I’m going to make your mission as easy for you as possible. You just do what you do best.”
Dan was aware Kim wasn’t so keen on having a civilian tag along but Elizabeth Beckingridge had insisted.
“I don’t trust those Owens. They are clearly up to something sneaky and Dan will keep everything documented,” she had said.
“If you don’t mind,” had been the Cappy’s sentiment, “I would rather have the young man appointed to take charge on communication detail. It keeps the information casualties contained. I will not lie to you, agents, I have not the heart to imagine what Buddy has left behind and the last thing anyone needs is Beckingridge making it a show piece for her own gains.”
The Cappy trusted Dan. Despite our own patchy history, he also trusted me to fact check and fill in the blanks. He was aware that I would not omit any details no matter what but as he put it, he would much rather deal with writers with integrity than a dragon with a grudge.
Dan was determined to earn his place with the team though. He may not have the on-field training, he may not have the experience but he could make the mission as easy as possible for the agents.
“It was a long flight,’ Dan was saying as he took to the driver seat of their discrete rental. “Sit back, relax and I’ll have us at the hotel in no time.”
Kim was checking her phone for local news that may give clue as to the bros’ whereabouts. There was an article of some interest. It seemed three similarly dressed young men had been spotted rushing down the main boulevard of Owensville Avenue. This would be a slow news day on any other occasion but when the article mentioned they had tried to purchase over the counter pharmaceuticals with fake I.D and even faker cheques Kim suspected the bros had been responsible for the chaos that ensued.
According to the article one of the most vocal suspects – who was not a middle aged Latina as his I.D suggested (discrimination, brah! That is not cool) – had been determined his brah was to be given what the report described as ‘anything that will buzz, bang or make his cock stand on end.’
It didn’t take Detective Rogers to deduce where all that nonsense had come from but it was offering a clue to Kim, exactly what they were up against.
“Dan?” asked Lydia from the back. “Should we be heading down this way?”
“Don’t worry agents. I’ve got it taken care of,” Dan said confidently.
Kim looked up. It seemed driving wasn’t an issue but ploughing into oncoming traffic very much was.
“DAN!!!!” the agents screamed.
In his haste to impress, Dan had completely forgotten the traffic flowed on the opposite side in the Star State. With the honking of traffic and screams from all three the mistake was corrected. Sorry Dan, but I did promise I would omit no details…
With Kim taking over driving, Dan was demoted to the passenger seat. It was not helping his case that he could be useful to the agents but there was still a job to do and now it looked like Rosita Bonita and her two chicas were last seen on Owensville Avenue.
At the hotel Kim hauled one of the large luggage cases that had been left for them. She opened it up and from the adjoining room. Lydia could hear her cry, “This is fucking ridiculous.”
Upon checking the reason for the exclamation Dan and Lydia found Kim pulling various items from the case. It wasn’t the items that were the problem. They were exactly what was to be expected. What Kim was objecting to was the firearms cases marked with property of Owen Inc. Notes in the local currency marked as property of Beckingridge Financial. Dragon stamps, target stamps, dragon stamps, more targets. It would have been easier to just stamp the foreheads of the agents and be done with it, but I digress.
Equipped with hand guns and more local news articles that had the actions of three out of control frat boys on a mission written all over them, Kim and Lydia set off to the brothel they had last been seen at to ask some questions. The beauty of the adventure was it can take you unexpected places. The beauty of the bros is for a writer like me, there seems to be no limit to the material they provide.
We are familiar with the brothel so there is no need for me to reiterate what you can expect there. However, what Lydia, Kim and Dan had found upon arrival was distinctly different from our last visit. There was a smouldering pile of clothes burning outside for instance which belonged to Buddy Owen. It seemed as he fled the brothel he had taken time to extract what little clothing he had left and burn anything Peaches had touched. Does urine burn? He had thrown down a lighter and seemingly sped off in his birthday suit when it wasn’t his birthday. Chad had thrown his jacket on him. This hadn’t helped in the slightest. They didn’t have much time worry anyway because the the shotgun blasts on neighbouring trees quickly follow.
“Yeah?” Shotgun Sally greeted the agents. She had been completely drained of any welcome a brothel Madam would normally provide.
Kim provided her credentials, Lydia did likewise. She then displayed a picture of the bros that made Shotgun Sally’s fingers twitch for her gun all over again.
“Have you seen these three men?” Kim asked them.
“Yeah, we seen them,” Sally replied. “If we see them again we’re going to have a problem,” she warned.
“Do you know where they went?” asked Kim.
“They had nowhere to sleep, no money and they left their library tickets behind. My guess would be they didn’t get far.”
Kim took a deep breath. This transatlantic run around was going to prove more troublesome than she had anticipated.
“We’re going to need to split up,” she said and that is what they did.
If the rumours were true and the three had fled the brothel in the state in which the Madam described they were going to need clothing, so the local thrift store was a good start.
A delicate little jingle danced above Lydia’s head. As she described it, the store was dusty and there was a damp smell from a pile of clothing that had been donated but not yet sorted. The man behind the counter was clearly upset about something so the bros had most definitely been there. His long frame hunched on the stool he sat upon behind his counter.
“Excuse me,” Lydia interrupted his weeping. “I’m looking for three men. I wondered if you have seen them?”
She showed him the photograph which caused him to sob harder.
“Those good for nothing, heartless fiends.”
Yep, the bros had been there.
“They told her he was gonna make her honest. He told her he had never met anyone like her,” here he heaved and sobbed some more. “He told her they would be together forever and now look at her!”
He pointed his arms sharply to a goat dressed in a bridal gown. I believe her name was Dotty. Dotty grunted her agreement. She was heartbroken. She was still dressed in the veil she had been left behind in. Mah!
Why a goat, I hear you ask? It seemed there had been some kind of miscommunication when the bros heard goats were traditionally bought as marriage gifts. Throw in a Tokashima visa and one-way tickets they thought they had their problems solved.
Lydia’s lower lip softened.
“Awww,” she said.
Dotty clearly deserved better anyway.
Having no money and no car, life was going to be especially difficult for the bros and they needed to find a way to get them onto their next destination. Cooper’s particular skill set meant that they could easily use parts and build themselves a whole new functioning car. This gave Dan and the agents a huge cause for concern. The closest garage was a place named Mickey’s. Before I discuss what Dan found there let me confirm the several ways in which you will find someone who has had a recent encounter with a bro. They will either be a raving lunatic such as Dominick Cole on Hathfield Bay or they will have unleashed firepower upon them much like Shotgun Sally. Sometimes all they can do is cry, like the thrift store clerk or alternatively there was the option which Dan experienced when they found Mickey himself sat in his garage office staring into space as though a recent event had drained him of all emotion.
“Have you seen these men?” Dan asked.
Mickey nodded slowly.
“Yeah, I seen them,” he agreed. “They were looking for some parts to try and make themselves a vehicle. I told them I don’t give nothing for free. That one on the right there (here he indicated Cooper), he told me he’d fix up my rides. He did a great job too. Then he told grandmaw he’d fix her scooter.”
“And did he?” Dan asked. “Did he get the parts he needed?”
Mickey shook his head slowly again. “Grandmaw dead now.”
He showed Dan footage then of the three bros standing by an invalid scooter. The scooter looked as shiny as a fresh car from Cooper Garages. She had a shine that would make even Sunny jealous. Then the footage showed Chad leading the old woman to the scooter. He was so gentle, so understanding. Cooper cars, now offering complete comfort for their geriatric customers. Chad patted the old woman’s hand with affection. He turned to the camera which I assume Buddy was holding. He gave the thumbs up. It was most definitely Buddy because the thumbs up that was returned was bandaged from the dalliance with Peaches.
The old woman was rested nicely on her seat. It was the most comfortable spot she had ever parked her rear. She smiled to Coops to confirm this sentiment. All there was left to do was to take a little test drive. She pushed the button.
The scooter went ploughing into the wall with a speed and force the best race cars would struggle to match. It could have broken records if it weren’t so tragic.
Dan’s jaw dropped when he saw what had transpired. The bros last seen dashing off with Buddy finally realising they could have just escaped on the scooter.
“Can’t fit three, brah.”
No matter what was next on the agenda for the bros they were going to need money from somewhere so Kim made her way to check out the local savings and loans deposit – a bank but not quite a bank.
There had been a robbery but it had gotten rather silly. The banker wasn’t quite sure what had come to blows. They weren’t minus any funds. They didn’t get away with anything really but as the man turned around to welcome Kim he had a lasting reminder of his oh so silly day.
“For fuck sake!” Kim exclaimed.
The banker had a large dildo stuck to his forehead. The security footage showed Buddy enter the bank with it slipped up his sleeve. He could be seen arguing with the banker. The banker had raised hands but when the dildo slipped from his sleeve and he realised it was not a gun, like a flash, his hand hit the alarm. Clumsy as anyone would be with a dildo up their sleeve, Buddy still made good use of his natural Owen marksmanship. He threw the dildo catching the banker on the forehead and causing him some whiplash.
Back at the hotel, Dan and the agents had gathered again to share their intel and move a little further on in their tracing of the bros’ steps. The Cappy and I had been given a run-down of their experiences so far and all the great businessman, CEO Chick Owen could do was shake his head. I suppose the actions of the wayward trio didn’t warrant much else.
Running his camera Dan took the opportunity to ask about Joel Hickes, the hero cop from whose ashes the agency had arisen, a man so well respected his very name had given rise to the Good Gang team, the Hickes agency.
“Joel was a real life and soul,” said Kim with a fond smile. He could fit in anywhere, amongst anyone. Swantin hailed him as one of their own but he was just as comfortable sitting in the Arms up in Bournton. He had a way with people. He was firm but he was fair. He always gave people a chance. He found himself dealing with some scum over the years but he never let it sour him. It was him that taught me to keep a level head. Boxing helped me channel my anger but Joel taught me how to use it to lead through tough situations. I’ll always be grateful to him for that.”
“He sounds like quite a guy,” Dan commented looking down his lens.
Kim nodded. “He’s a big name to live up to but I like to think he would be pleased with how far we’ve come. Still a long way to go yet Joel,” Kim said to the heavens with a smile and a raise of her hand. “But we’ll get there.”
Posing the same question to Lydia, her head fell a little towards her shoulder as she thought about it.
“I remember when I first met Joel. He was part of my combat classes back at the academy. I was the only female in a class full of men but Joel was the only one to treat me the same as everyone else. He helped me feel like I belonged. When I took the job at the Knock Knock Club I was confident because I knew he had my back.”
“I wish I had the chance to meet him,” said Dan with sensitivity.
Lydia chuckled. “He would have loved being in front of your camera. He was a bit of a goof that way. He made loads of home movies. He loved capturing the moments.”
“I think he would be astounded as we all are with some of the scenarios we have been presented with so far but he would be first to strip it down to its bare bones. It doesn’t matter that Chick Owen is a powerful figure and Buddy has always been one step away from disaster; he would see it that a father is worried about his son and wants him home. After returning the bros to Coldford then they would have to answer to him.”
“What do you think he would say about the search for the kappa so bros?”
For my own reflection on Joel Hickes my mind always takes me back to his arranging my interview with Tabitha of the Knock Knock Club. There was a young woman who had caused unimaginable grief. Joel had been tasked with assisting in bringing her in, which he did. However, he kept an open mind. He told me as he led me to her holding that it would do much more good to understand where people like Tabitha are coming from. He gave her that benefit of the doubt. Some people are born rotten to the core and a man like Joel Hickes could read that a mile off. Some people were victims of their circumstances. He realised sometimes circumstances can create monsters. He was a good man and it only seemed fitting the Good Gang would carry on his work.
“We’re still on their track,” Kim observed as they arrived at a local coffee house and could see the homeless man giving a statement to local police. Before they continued the agents decided to take a moment to try and piece together what a bro would do.
Dan stationed himself and began to send the updates to me. Kim and Lydia went inside to order some refreshments.
“Wouldn’t it be much easier for them to disappear if they just lay low?” Lydia asked the obvious question. Never had they had such a trail of destruction to follow.
“I think this is them trying to lay low,” Kim surmised. “Can you imagine if they really wanted to cause a scene?”
Lydia shook her head. That thought was terrifying. Another thought that was terrifying her was what they were going to have to face next.
“Poor Dotty,” she sighed.
Kim gave her a questioning glance.
The parts of those old serial adventures I loved the most was the dramatic fashion in which Detective Rogers would meet his latest friend or foe. The charged music, the slow panning from the tip of the boot to the top of the hat. This wasn’t one of those occasions but both Kim and Lydia had that same ‘can’t believe my eyes’ expression on their faces that Rogers had as he sized up the danger.
Dale Cooper and Chad Perry had returned to the coffee house. Not only was that a monumentally silly move on the part of the bros but, adding to the sheer nonsense of the situation, the two bros seemed to have no idea what they were walking towards with both agents watching them closely. They had managed to reclaim a phone so the two bros were in search of the WiFi password. They were driven, purely on anticipation of their next fix. The pitstop had the supplies.
Chad eyed Kim first. He paused for a moment. Then he looked at her shoes which game him a wry grin and nod that seemed to be commending her.
Cooper turned to Lydia. She smiled at him. He smiled back. She winked and there was suddenly a spring in his step.
“Brah, brah!” he whispered to Chad.
“Play it cool,” Chad suggested.
That was when the two proceeded to raise their shirts to display their behinds and strut towards the entrance in a move they called ‘The Cock Walk’.
Lydia and Kim obviously followed, still a little flabbergasted. The two bros assumed their cock walk was attracting the chicks. Dan, who had seen them arrive, came rushing in. As the bros passed Dan, Chad gave a challenging display to him which can only be described as a childish taunt that suggested he was some kind of pantomime dame.
Lydia and Kim continued to follow. Cooper was particularly pleased to see Lydia tailing.
“Is that..?” Dan asked.
“Yes it is,” Kim agreed.
“And they don’t realise..?”
“Not a clue.”
The agents followed the bros to an alleyway close by, where Buddy was in conference with the pitstop crew Cooper had managed to snare. The drug deal was almost complete.
“Bud!” cheered Cooper. “We brought pussy!”
Buddy was excited by this prospect. He gave a jockish cheer when he saw Lydia. I can only imagine what damage his lifestyle has caused his brain, because he had met Agent Lowe before. I suppose, outside the Coldford context, to him she was just a pretty girl heading towards where he planned on getting smashed and doing some smashing. She was a major upgrade from Peaches anyway. But then his expression dissolved when he saw Kim.
‘Ugggggh Chad!” he boaked, his stomach not really getting a break. “What’s the deal with the shoes?”
Kim Adams’ choice of footwear aside, just when Buddy thought he had it all made again his world came crashing down.
“Bernard Owen!” Kim barked.
“Oh fuck,” Buddy buttoned up.
He had his support with him though. The Cooper pit crew had the goods and they had a job to do. They didn’t have time for some bitches and Dan too apparently who was showing he was armed by actually holding up his gun.
“I think you better step away from the boy there, dike bitch,” warned a particularly vocal one named Juyvez.
Kim was not in the least bit interested. She kept her focus on Buddy.
“You’re coming with us.”
Now confident the pitstop crew had them covered, Buddy grinned.
“I ain’t going anywhere,” he said.
“That’s right. My boy is gonna do what my boy gotta do,” Juyvez went on. “And you ain’t gonna do nothing because I’m judge, jury, executioner you dumb whore!” He yelled as he pulled up the white vest he wore to display the firearm on his belt.
“Yeah!” Buddy cried. “Shoot her in the face.”
Kim glared at him. “Ye done?” she asked.
“Am I done?” Juyvez returned, always the wrong response in such a scenario.
Kim landed him on the ground.
“What the fuck!” Buddy exclaimed.
“She just landed that dude on his ass,” Chad offered commentary.
That was when all hell broke loose.
Lydia disarmed the pitstoppers that charged towards her.
“That tight little chick can move!”
“Whoah!” all three cried in synchrony as Kim disabled the pitstoppers who had charged on her.
“Why is that dude showing his gun?” they asked of Dan who was literally waving his firearm.
“That chick just dropped that dude!”
With a deflecting series of moves Lydia had pushed one of the pitstoppers towards Kim who gripped him around his waist and yes, pile drove him onto the bar.
“We better get out of here, bro!”
It didn’t matter which one of them made the suggestion, all three agreed with zeal. The three dashed off and the pitstoppers suddenly became the least of the agents’ concerns.
Every adventure meets its bumps along the way. It is where the real test of our heroes takes place. The agents weren’t in pursuit of Buddy and the bros for long. They hadn’t ventured too far into the boulevard when they were cornered in an alley. By the time Kim, Lydia and Dan found them again the bros were in the hands of a menacing team who brought a figurative and literal shadow to our tale. The three bros were on their knees, guns were drawn and the agents approached with caution.
“Those three are coming into our custody,” Kim said.
Stepping forward, a member of this group raised his chin. He caught Kim in a dark stare. For now, I will call him X.
“These three owe our boss a lot of money,” he said. There was a Latin accent in his tones.
“These are bad people,” Dan muttered under his breath.
They were bad people. They were owed a lot of money. The great Alpha boss X answered to was not one to be trifled with. His reputation would have even the Boss Lady envious.
“They are coming with us,” Agent Kim warned.
X was out of warnings. He drew the gun and pointed it at Kim’s head. Suddenly our heroes found themselves in a deadly position.
TING. TING. TING. TING. TING!
The guns of the shadow group were shot from their hands. This is where we had the tip of the boot to the top of the hat reveal that made those old serials so compelling.
“Are you clear agent?” came a voice that was local.
The shadow group disbanded quickly but it would not be the last time the Good Gang would find themselves face to face.
Their savour was a man who fit well into our thrilling escapade. He wore cowboy hat and boots. He kept his two pistols poised until they were sure of their safety.
“Aim big; aim high?” Kim quoted to him.
“An Owen never misses, ma’am,” replied the cowboy as he tipped his hat.
Theodore ‘Teddy’ Owen was cousin of The Cappy.
“Chick asked me kindly if I could come on down here and offer ya’ll some help to bring these boys home,” Teddy confirmed.
He had been the contact in the States that Kim had been expecting. He was to escort them to the Owen Express train which would take them to Owen Ranch in the Star State where the bros could be thoroughly prepared for their return home.
“Buddy,” said Teddy. “It’s been a while.”
Buddy pouted. “Teddy,” he said. “You’re a cock.”
Whilst we leave our hero’s pondering over the Owen’s use of cock as both an insult and praise to the highest honour we set to catch the Owen Express with Teddy Owen as our guide and the next stage of the journey awaiting.
Will you join the Good Gang for the next part of the adventure? What troubles will our heroes face next? Will the bros remain sober? What really happened to on Hathfield Bay?
Tune in next week folks!
A mysterious illness and a desperate phone call sends Cult Deprogrammer Reynolds’ sights on the Wigan faith of Hathfield Bay island. Time to face the past.
Trial day five. I didn’t want to find myself there but, like some morbid car crash, I couldn’t help but take a closer peek at the carnage. I was at the COLDFORD CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT. Quietly and discretely Detective HICKES arranged for me to see the BOSS LADY, still held at CPD whilst her trial continued. I had passed AGNES in the hotel I was being held at but since she was also under police escort she could only offer me a pleading look. I thought about what Agnes had told me, so I started to look into some of the trouble TABITHA had been accused of when she was just a girl.
In order to get to the truth, I had no choice but to look into her cold, grey stare and ask her for her honest account of events. She had fought off a rapist as a child, she had stopped her parents selling her into a paedophile ring and she had watched her beloved aunt reduced to incarceration at HARBOUR HOUSE, but none of it gave her licence for what she did in response.
The KNOCK KNOCK club protected the innocent but it also brought carnage. When Hickes gave me entry to her holding, she was still wearing the confident expression she had when I first met her. The events that had occurred through the trial, the prospect of a death sentence that the LAW MAKERS were still fighting for, hadn’t completely removed her bravado.
“Well, well,” she said. “Look who finally decided to show up?”
I took the seat across the table from her. Anger and frustration was boiling over from everything that had happened to me since we first met. “I’m surprised you actually wanted to speak to me. The last time I asked you for an interview you told me nothing. I believe your words were, ‘your newspaper is a rag,’ ”
Tabitha laughed looking to the ceiling, as though remembering her comment made her chuckle all over again. “Well, circumstances have changed. I adapt to suit.”
“My friend is dead because of you,” I chastised her. “Why should I listen to anything you have to say?”
Tabitha frowned. “You mean the reporter girl? Mandy?”
“Her name was Madeline!” I snapped.
Tabitha was unmoved. “Whatever,” she replied. “Did I stab her though?”
“No but you gave her the opportunity. You caused it.”
“Did I stab her though?” She asked again. “As far as I saw it, you got a creepy killer look in your eyes and you went at her.”
I stood then. I had heard enough. “Officer!” I banged on the door and called to Hickes, “I’m leaving.”
Tabitha’s bravado dropped then. She reached out to grab my arm and hissed, “Sit down. Don’t get excited. You should be thanking me. The recording of her attacking you first is the only thing keeping your ass out of the room next to mine.” She grinned. “Wouldn’t that have been cosy?”
“Tabitha…” I warned like a father to a wayward child.
“Fine, maybe she wouldn’t be dead if she hadn’t put her nose in. She could have at least discussed it with you though. Not so much as a, ‘isn’t this weird Sammy? Why are we here in our undies Sammy? What does that gorgeous woman in red want with us Sammy?’ Nope, she was cold. I didn’t do that to her. This city did. I may have put the knife in her hand but she was a girl who knew what it takes to survive. At least she thought she did. It turns out you survived anyway so calm the fuck down. I have to be honest; I had hinged bets on you being long dead by now. REGGIE was rooting for you though. Bravo on proving me wrong. So you live to fight another day.”
I stopped her before she started rambling. “They are going to send you away for a very long time. As well they should.”
“I hear they are looking to have me executed. They wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for you sneaking about my club, aided by that rat-faced bitch from BOURNTON so the way I see it we are even, right?” TABITHA returned. “And I hope you are going to explain to the triplets’ dear mother that her precious boy is going down now too because of you.”
I folded my arms and shook my head in exasperation. “You expect me to have sympathy for MARCUS PENN?”
Tabitha shrugged. “I suppose not. He can be a bit of a prick.”
I needed to push forward. “Say what you have to say to me. I can’t stay here. I’m already risking a lot.”
Her expression changed then. There was something softer, something child like behind it. “Since you insist,” she began. “Yes, I murdered my parents but you cannot tell me that people willing to sell their daughter to a bunch of fucking pervos deserve to live.”
“They should have been reported to the authorities,” suggested I.
“Oh come on. You heard it from Aggie,” replied the Boss Lady with a laugh. “My Aunt Tee was sent away from Judge Cyclops’ court. They wouldn’t listen. So she took it into her own hands to let the city know how much of a creep Jerry Owen was. It turned out I wasn’t the only one he had tried it on with. There were hundreds of victims between Coldford and the Great States. This all must have happened when you were clearly living in a cave somewhere.”
This was news to me. I was only vaguely familiar with the OWEN family arriving in the city from the small suburb of JAMESTOWN where I grew up. The Owen propaganda machine had went into full force when the Knock Knock Club, led by the BARONESS, started making trouble for Owen Inc. on behalf of Tabitha and the other girls, so very little of the story reached public ears.
“So then what happened?” I pushed as though a reporter back on the story once again.
“Conveniently and surprising no one, my Aunt Tee’s petition to take me away from it all was refused. They should have just let me fucking go but those filthy Owen pricks play dirty. They had so many politicians, cops and lawyers in their pockets it didn’t matter what happened; they came out smelling like roses. Every one knew those roses were fertilised by bullshit but they were too afraid or too handsomely paid to do anything about it. They offered Aunt Tee money. She refused. She still wouldn’t stop calling them out so they burnt the whole fucking club down.
The Knock Knock Club was used to shelter the victims. Then it became a shelter for other victims of abuse, victims of corruption. Yes, the club isn’t exactly the Weir Hotel. Tits and booze and good times, but when you attract the filth of the city it gives you the chance to keep a closer eye on them.
Aunt Tee had a reputation in the Shanties. They loved her. They still do. She and Agnes did a great job but it was never going to last. Those dirty cunts attacked the club. They shot some of the dancer girls, some of the MACKS and even dear old Jack. He was just a compere for the club. What had he done? Just because he was on Knock Knock’s bill. He was an entertainer. He had nothing to do with anything. There was nothing I could have done. I hid out at Dennis’ for a while. Then when he started his shit it reminded me of why I was needed, why the Knock Knock was needed.”
I waited until she had finished. I listened quietly and noted her changes of tone, her true anger and outrage surfacing at the mention of the Owen name. Her true affections surfacing when she mentioned her aunts and even the old club emcee and the dancer girls.
“I’ll tell your true side of the story. I’ll make sure the public knows what you have told me today. It will be up to them to them to decide what to do with it.”
She shook her head and groaned. “Oh my God, with your holier than thou bullshit. Haven’t you been listening? Do you even know who owns the newspaper you work for?”
“You’re not suggesting …”
Tapping her skull she said, “Yes, fucking Owen Inc. Even without a gagging order down your throat they will never let you print anything that sheds light on how evil they are. Didn’t you think it strange that the mayor of the city went missing and the only outlet his wife would let report on it was the COLDFORD DAILY? It certainly wasn’t because of the high journalistic standard; I’ve read some of your shitty stories. Perhaps Madeline should have won the stab off. I’m sure she wasn’t as much of a naïve retard as you are.”
She must have realised she wasn’t going the right way about encouraging me onto her side. She changed her tone slightly. “The Owens wanted to keep the story running through their newspaper so they can control every little detail and get a closer look at what little old me was up to. Why do you think you were even in Knock Knock in the first place? You were an Owen stooge.”
“So what do you propose I do with what you’re telling me?” I asked her.
“I don’t expect you to take what I’m telling you in good faith. Whilst their focus is on me it gives you the chance to do a little digging. Speak to OLIVIA PLATT, Dennis’ ex-wife. She means well and had many Owen victims come through her office as a social worker.” That soft look came over her again, almost human behind the mask. “If you do find her and Milo is with her be discreet. He’s just a kid. He doesn’t have to know how much of a prick his dad is.”
It was a quiet night in the oldest part of town. Elmslie Court in KINGSGATE was taking a breath of cool night air. Micky Doyle had called around to his cousin at three that afternoon. The day had fallen into night. He and Karyn still discussed the spate of attacks that had occurred around the city, including an explosion at the Weir Hotel in City Main as well as the attempts on Karyn’s life. Before they knew it dinner was served.
“That’s why we need to take the hot seat and clean this city up,” Micky concluded. The reference he made was to the mayoral office in Coldford, at an intimidating building called City Face due to the large clock it bore.
Karyn was in complete agreement but given the danger she was in and Micky’s mentor – Derek Gainor – losing out on the election to Jim Feltz they had to be careful.
Feltz had declared himself a friend of the south and a saviour of the Shanties. ‘Regeneration; Rejuvenation; Rehabilitation’ was his campaign promise. At the time the Coldford Express had called him a hope for the south. The chronicle went with ‘a breath of fresh air.’ The Coldford Daily was in support of his competitor. I remember writing a profile piece on Derek at the time. But like many, Jim Feltz felt the heat of the hot seat burn too fiercely. With Tabitha warning him to make good on his promises and Owen Inc. looking to push their own agendas with the might of the north behind them he panicked. He used city money to appease his northern overlords and tried to run before Tabitha and her Headliners found out. When AMBER FELTZ, the mayor’s youngest daughter, came calling at the Knock Knock Club she confirmed her father’s intentions.
“When election time comes around again I’ll be ready,” Micky said over the soft tapping of silver ware on fine china plates.
“If you are going to run for office there is just one thing you should be wary of,” Karyn warned.
The darkness had crept on them so subtly through their discussions that when Cameron switched on the lamp in the corner the light was wild and harsh. It took some time for eyes to adjust and the light to settle into smooth warmth.
“The business with Reverend Owen,” she went on to explain. “It will be brought up if you make a move for City Hall.”
Micky cocked his head as he watched Cameron move vegetables around the plate. “It’s already a problem,” he said. “If I can get on the hot seat I can shut them up for good.”
“Tread carefully,” warned his cousin.
“Do you believe what they say about him?”
“Not without any verifiable evidence, no. What I’m saying is that it will cause a political minefield and so you will tread carefully.”
Cameron looked up and his eye caught something moving outside.
“Mum?” he said. “I think there is someone at the window.”
He looked to Micky who frowned in confusion. Micky looked back over his shoulder to the window behind him. Karyn was already on her feet. She strode to the window and glanced out onto the lawns. Through the glare of lights Karyn could see a man lying out on the perfectly kept grass.
Karyn and Micky went outside. Cameron followed close at their heel.
A blonde man in a priest’s collar stirred. He was mumbling something to himself but the words were nonsense.
“What’s wrong with him mum?” Cameron asked.
Micky looked to his cousin. She was observing the figure in great detail. She was remembering every tortured wrinkle on his face, every detail of his dress, and the smell of his breath and the position of his body for future reference. Her lips tightened.
“Do you know him mum?” asked Cameron.
“Help him up,” she ordered. “It’s Jerry Owen.”
Cameron grabbed the priest by his left arm and Micky took the right. As they eased him gently onto his feet he gargled. Drool leaked from the left corner of his mouth. Blood ran down his face.
“Wait,” Karyn’s voice snapped into the night. “Stop.”
She reached up and brushed his hair back to reveal a hole had been drilled into his skull by someone who intended on rendering him dumb but didn’t necessarily have the medical know how. His genitals had been removed.
Karyn growled. Cameron looked to Micky again. In the pocket of the priests shirt was a note written in a childish scrawl.
A cure for a pervo.
I took care of it myself.
“Get him inside,” ordered the Judge. “I’ll call for a doctor.”
So many had come forward with accusations against Jerry Owen thanks to the efforts of the Baroness of the Knock Knock Club – Tabitha’s Aunt Tawny – but there was no evidence, no medical reports and no police findings.
When Jerry’s elder brother, Charles ‘Chick’ Owen, found out he requested that he be given the chance to take care of the situation.
“Little kids? Shit. If I had the sick fuck I would castrate him myself but he’s one of my own, and you don’t go against one of your own on the word of some fucked up little bitch and her boozy clown aunt,” said the eldest Owen, better known as the Cappy, to Micky.
To The Judge he said, “My son, Buddy, has taken over the Kappa So Chapter House. He’s a little erratic at times but he may be just what you need. I’m sendin’ him ova. He’ll make himself useful to you.”
There was no evidence and no confirmation but Judge Doyle knew who was responsible for Jerry Owen’s crude lobotomy. She also knew who had ordered the attacks on her, the recent surge of slander stories in the press about the Owen’s that they had to close down quickly, and the Freefall Massacre. It all resonated from the newly reopened Knock Knock Club and soon the Boss Lady of said club would be made to pay for all of it.
#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidow
I thought it was when I first crossed the threshold of the KNOCK KNOCK club that my life changed forever. The truth was it happened the moment I arrived in the Shady City.
“You’ll find some dark stories in Coldford,” my dad told me before I left the sleepy little suburb of JAMESTOWN.
It did have a reputation but then most big cities do.
MADELINE, my fellow reporter was the first person I met. She was friendly, intelligent and had the ravenous, wild ambition most reporters do. What happened to her is something I still can’t bear to write down. Seeing my name associated with the city’s largest newspaper blinded me. Being a journalist was all I ever wanted. I guess I had that ravenous hunger for a story too and it led to people close to me getting hurt.
There were whispers of the Knock Knock cabaret club being connected to the disappearance of the mayor. Having exhausted all other avenues and an invitation conveniently landing in my hands it was my next port of call.
I met a woman there. She had coldness in her eyes that told me she was going to be trouble. She was foul, vicious and knew more about what had happened to the mayor than she would tell. I couldn’t draw myself away from her. The story lay with her and the mayor was only just the beginning. You see, the Shady City was a dangerous place as my dad had warned and those dangers spilled out of the Knock Knock club but the real threat was far greater than anything I had anticipated.
Tragedy, jeopardy and deceit were all thrown as obstacles in my way. The story was too great. No matter the consequences to me it had to be told.
Luckily I had friends along the way to help. Without them I would have been lost.
What nights at the Knock Knock club taught me was that the true problem the city faces is much grander than sequins, feathers, booze and blood. Judgement is set to fall and the hammer of justice will crush anyone underneath it, even a BOSS LADY who would seem to have the world at her feet.
When the villains of the Shady City are all locked behind bars and the doors are closed on the origins of that villainy where will it leave the rest of us? What happens next? Well, that is where the true story lies.
Well folks that was a sum up from our Sam. Keep your eyes peeled for more from the Knock Knock club. In the meantime:
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.
As the son of the City’s most feared High Court JUDGE, for Cameron discipline is a way of life. He knows to obey the rules. He is a good son because he is all too familiar with the consequences if those rules are broken.
Cameron is built strong. He has a long line of Doyle blood behind him and as such he is an athletic boy. he was sought for the KINGSGATE football team. However, a head injury sustained at home made it difficult for him to proceed. He still remains strong but it left him slower to react and more passive with the ball at his feet.
When looking at Cameron’s medical records one will find no mention of his father. His paternal information is sealed by the High Court only to be opened in the event of the death of his mother. The closest he has to a father figure in his life is his cousin MICKY who came to all of his games to cheer him on.
The outside world is a little daunting for Cameron. Like most people his age he likes to lose himself in video games. When he locks himself in his gaming room he is transported to various realms where he can be whoever he wants to be. He has friends there. They’ve never met before but they join him in his realms where rules no longer apply.
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.
The KNOCK KNOCK club has closed its doors on season 1 so let’s take a look back at the story so far. It was a wild ride so here are 10 little details you may have missed. There are spoilers so click HERE to back off and catch up.
1 – MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
In EPISODE 1, SAM’S wife, THERESA, tells him that a woman came looking for him. She left warning that he should tread carefully on the story of the mayor’s disappearance and an invitation to the titular Knock Knock club. Have you figured out who that woman was yet?
Navigating a reporter to the Knock Knock club and protecting his every step sounds like a job for a Knock Knock girl who is far more than she seems, right?
2 – CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE
From the moment Sam enters the dressing room of the Knock Knock Boss Lady, TABITHA, in EPISODE 2 she is wowed by him. Later in EPISODE 5 she finds the reporter sharing a laugh with LYDIA. Already with a resentment against the pretty agent, Tabitha’s grudge is buried deeper when she sees that Sam is made it ease by Lydia and they even share a laugh at her expense. How dare they!
What you may have missed is that despite Tabitha being a villain of the piece there is a childish nature rooted in her character. This is shown when she takes Sam to his room and coos at her own poster. Like a love sick teenager she is hoping her glamorous photo will impress Sam more than the fun loving Lydia ever did. Maybe not Tabs …
3 – THAT KNIFE
Yes you’ve seen that knife before. In EPISODE 7 Tabitha wielded it in what has become ingrained in the audience’s psyche as ‘that scene with the parents’.
The knife was returned to Tabitha (she’s sentimental that way) because it appears again in EPSIODE 10 when our two reporters, Sam and MADELINE are challenged to a stab off.
4 – GUN POWDER
With a sneaky shot in EPISODE 9 we are first properly introduced to BUDDY OWEN of KAPPA SO in EPISODE 14. He is a little deranged, there’s no denying that, but that blood shot look in his eyes that suggests he’s three sheets from the wind? Well that comes from an addiction to powder as it is known on the streets of the Shady City, cocaine to the rest of us.
Not to worry though folks. As an Owen he has fire arms in his blood. Even if he’s snorted every last ounce of powder in the Chapter House, if he aims he will not miss his target. That is guaranteed.
He begs Chloe to fetch help from a DR WINSLOW. Yes you have heard that name before. Readers of MUSE know him as the most skilled surgeon in the Shady City and current owner occupier of HARVESTER FARM. Frying pan into the fire Dennis?
6 – MAKE AN IMPRESSION
In EPISODE 14 we are offered some insight into little Tabitha and her relationship with her lovable AUNT TEE. Nervous at the prospect of standing before the ominous JUDGE DOYLE , Tawny tries to ease the tension by putting on a pair of glasses and jesting with her niece about how it makes her seem like a business woman as apposed to a club owning good time girl.
This advice resonated in the mind of Tabitha because in EPISODE 4 when Tabitha removes Sam from the clutches of CPD she is dressed … well … appropriately we suppose …
7 – MATCHING NECKLACES
Speaking of aunts, did you notice the matching pendants that Tawny and her partner AGNES wear? Yes they match. Dawwwww. These little details seek to remind the audience that the Knock Knock club can be a place of love and not just the seedy cabaret club it first seems.
The Billionaire Beckingridge family are quite a big deal in Coldford and given Ernest’s witness testimony we doubt we’ve heard the last of him.
Also, in the beginning of Maestro, Vincent observes a couple leaving their beautiful mansion home, too focused on their day ahead to bid each other goodbye. That couple was none other than Mr and Mrs Heath.
9 – STILL SHE STANDS
She was spoken about a lot in volume 1, prior to her entrance in EPISODE 14. Judge Karyn Doyle has a reputation that not only resonates through the Knock Knock series but in other Shady City Thrillers too.
When Alice Beckingridge is accused of murder it is Judge Doyle who exonerates her.
When Addict artist, David Finn, falls to the needles again it is his girlfriend Laura who leads him astray. Laura just happens to be the youngest of the Doyle sisters and as a result of her bratty behaviour big sister Karyn cuts her off.
However, it’s not until we see her in the flesh we realise just why the entire city know her and know to fear being brought before her bench – better known as the rack.
She is immovable, unkillable and no matter who tries to stop her, still she stands.
10- WELCOME TO HARBOUR HOUSE
Speaking of things that get a lot of mention …
Throughout the events of the trial the unique rehabilitation facility located at Chamberlain Docks is mentioned quite a lot. It is where Tawny is recovering from an attack carried out on her beloved club.
However, what also should be noted is that it’s the same clinic David Finn checks into at the end of Muse as well as being where music teacher Vincent Baines is taken after the events of Maestro.
So as the Knock Knock club closes its doors don’t fret. You will always be welcome to recover at Harbour House.
So there you have it folks. We think we’ve covered just about everything. We are glad you came along to the Knock Knock club for some unforgettable moments and some moments that will perhaps scar you for life. (You’re welcome!) We will be back again soon but in the meantime enjoy this little demonstration as to why it still remains the hottest spot in the Shady City.
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to readHERE.