Cal Zone knew he was in trouble. His partner, Justin Case had been taken hostage by the biggest crime boss in the Midwest. Carmine (Itchy) Ricketts controlled all of the corruption in Trippen Falls, South Dakota.
Cal sat in his favored 4-door, Canary yellow 1959 Chevy Impala, given to him by his father the day the FBI arrested and took him away for bigamy. Justin was not only his partner in End Zone Bail Bonds & Keychain Emporium, but he was also his half-brother.
As the sun dropped over the horizon like a deuce after a night of chalupas, Cal thought back to the day all of this started.
It was another day like all the other days but different. As he sat behind his re-purposed rattan bar from his patio which now served as his desk, the door opened and in walked the most beautiful woman Cal had ever seen.
He jumped down off of his barstool, catching his heel in the bottom rail and tumbled head-first into his trash can. He quickly jumped up and tried to act as normal as possible, slightly aware that yesterday’s half-eaten lingonberry cream pie was now plastered to the side of his face.
“I thought I should ask just in case.”
“No. Justin is my partner and he’s not here right now. What did you want to ask him?”
“What? Who? Are you Cal Zone?”
“Yes, I thought we cleared that up already. And… who are you?”
“I’m Ella Gant.”
“Yes, you are, but what do I call you?”
“Ella will do just fine. Do you know you have what looks like lingonberry cream pie on your face?”
At that moment, his partner Justin walked through the door and did a double-take as he saw this beautiful blonde standing a few feet away. Being a ladies man, he quickly reached deep into his pocket for the emergency Tic-Tac and hoped there wasn’t lint on it like the last time.
Walking towards her, she said, “Hi. I’m Ella Gant.”
Justin said in his best Sean Connery impression, “Oh, don’t underestimate yourself.”
He offered his hand and said, “Justin Case.”
“In case of what?”
“Not what, who.”
Looking at Cal, he asked, “Why do you have lingonberry cream pie on your face?”
“It’s good for my complexion. Read it in a magazine.”
“I can understand that… I think. But what does the Heath bar wrapper on your chin and the Kleenex stuck behind your ear do?”
Cal thought, “Goddamn Justin. Always quick to point out his faults, but he’s the one who thinks he’s Sean Connery when other people are around. When it’s just the two of them he’s a knock-off Foghorn Leghorn.”
Ella exclaimed, “Excuse me gentlemen, but I have a problem and I need your help.”
Cal said, “Of course. Justin show her the latest abalone line of keychains and throw in one of those floater chains with our logo on it in case she has a boat.”
She said, “What? No. My father’s been… Wait… Abalone? Remind me before I leave. My father’s been arrested. I need a bond.”
Justin thought to himself, “Typical entitled rich person. We could knock out the keychain right away, but nooo… she wants to do the damn bond first.”
Two hours later after a well-practiced presentation of the entire inventory of the Barry Manilow rhinestone-encrusted line of celebrity keychains, Ella Gant wobbled semi-consciously out of their offices with next years stocking stuffers and a complimentary coupon good for lingonberry cream pie at the Bucket-O-Gravy Grill and mini-mart.
Her father, Grant Gant, put up a set of crescent wrenches, his golf clubs, two Casio watches, an Igloo cooler, and a 32” wide Sears & Roebuck screen door as collateral for a $500 bond and was released from jail whereupon, he immediately skipped town on a stolen green and yellow Harvester riding lawnmower with the special order side-mount yard basket.