From The Files
A Jack And The Giant
P I Case File
Somewhere This Side Of The Rainbow
“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”
It was Saturday, the day of Gladice and Jack’s wedding. Mary and me were given the dubious honors of ‘Maid of Honor’ and ‘Best Man’ by the two happy lovebirds and thus standing by their sides. Jack, I could see, was quite dashing in his black tux while Gladice was somehow both regal and girlish. For a dame in her mid sixty’s, she sure was glowing with youth. Now if she could just do something about those glasses.
“…You may kiss the bride.” the priest finished his line. Jack turned, lifted Gladice’s white veil and planted a wet one to her quivering lips. It was accompanied by one thunderously loud applause. Did I mention these two were very popular well-liked citizens? Add in all those rug-rats of hers and you had standing room only, and I mean that literally too. My partner Tiny, not exactly a small man himself along with his girlfriend Terri were two of those that had given up their seats to the benefit of four orphans. Tiny and Terri gladly stood in a back corner each holding the other’s hand.
Up front, the newlyweds turned to face the crowd, this time as man and wife. The clapping and whistling refused to die down and in fact seemed to me to be getting louder. Gladice I saw was blushing with embarrassment while Jack, strutting like a peacock, led her down the isle.
The nuptial’s completed the reception then followed. It was held outside at a local park due to the large number of guests; as it was even it was well pact. Mary, to everyone’s delight had arranged for “The Three Little Pigs” to play a gig as entertainment. Sparky, Mary’s little lamb, soloed on the banjo for Gladice and Jack’s ceremonial first dance. It was quite a sight to see I can tell you.
“Hey Mr. Vine.” I heard someone call near me. When I turned, Tabitha Muffet stood before me. She was, if you recall the star witness, who had permanently locked away a notorious crime boss in ‘The Great Muffet Caper’; she wasn’t standing alone. Next to her, standing rather closely too was a young lad I didn’t recognize. She held his hand in hers as radiant as a schoolgirl.
“Hi ya doing toots.” I grinned warmly to the young beauty. Tabitha held a special spot in my heart; kind of like a younger sister, that big brother had to keep safe from all the riff-raff and bozos around. “Who’s your Beau?”
Tabitha returned my grin with one of her own, her sparkling green eyes aglow. “This is Jack.” She said stumbling. “My Jack that is, not Gladice’s or… well you know.” She blushed as she messed up what should have been an easy introduction and lowering her eyes bashfully.
I turned to the young man and offered my hand. “Hi ya Jack.” I said playfully. “I’m Jack, glad to meet ya. The boy grinned and returned my handshake it was strong and firm.
“I’m Jack too.” He told me unnecessarily. “Jack Horner, from the other side of Willows Creek. His smile was bright, genuine and full of life; I couldn’t help but like the kid.
“Let me guess.” I put in. “You’re a pie maker right?” He grinned and nodded.
“Right you are sir.” He replied. “That and other sweets. I work at my father’s bakery, Horner’s Corner; I assume you’ve been there before.”
“No.” I answered. “But my partner has. Maybe you remember him, his name’s Tiny he’s a Giant.
The boy’s eyes lit up in surprise. “Your Big T’s partner?” He asked stunned. “Why he introduced me to Tabby here.
“Tabby?” I whispered with a grin to Tabitha who blushed yet again.
“Meow!” She went, pretending to be a cat and giggling foolishly.
Just then, I felt arms slide around and up my torso, a pair of lips on my neck. With an intake of air, I recognized Mary’s fresh outdoor scent. I turned and beheld the most stunning pair of eyes god ever made. “Hey ya Blue-eyes.” I said grasping Mary’s gorgeous body and pulling her to mine. “Where you been all my life sister?” She giggled and received my kiss enthusiastically.
“What do you say we head to your place?” She whispered into my ear. “I’ve already told granny that we were ready to head out.
I looked at my watch noting the time. “Hmm, a bit early darling, you sure you don’t want to stay longer? It’s no big deal with me if you do.
“No.” She informed me, I was up late with the girls last night. We threw grandma a little party and stayed up all night talking.” She leaned closer to my ear and whispered impishly, “We also drank a few bottles of wine.”
“Oh! So that’s the way it is, is it?” I chuckled, sliding my hands down her back and giving her buns a quick squeeze.
“Jack!” She exclaimed pretending to be shocked, “people are looking.”
“Let ‘em.” I said with a wicked grin of my own. I then turned to Tabitha and Jack who were smiling and still holding hands, “Well Sugar, I said to the young tart, “We’re going to be heading out now so I’ll see you later.”
Once in the car Mary laid a very long and passionate kiss on me. “Holy smoke toots.” I responded a bit short winded. “Where’d that come from sister?”
“Oh, I just wanted to see if what grandma told me last night was true.” She chuckled when she said it making me wonder just what it was the old gal had told her. Mary sat back running her fingers through her lushes blond hair in a very unladylike fashion and sighed; she did not however elaborate any further. Hmm?
We drove along for a block or two, my curiosity working in overtime; before I got much further, I broke down like a child. “Um, just what did Gladice tell you last night anyway?” I meant it to sound offhanded as if I was just making idle conversation. Yet even as it left, my mouth though I knew it sounded lame, more like a kid wanting to know what presents were under the Christmas tree. The smirk I received back told me she knew it too she snickered some more. Dam, I thought dames and their games.
Finally she decided to throw me a bone, “Oh,” she replied in that way dames do when they know something you don’t, “just how to read the signs a man shows when he’s in the mood.” She stated cryptically. “That and how to make sure he sees the signs when she’s in the mood.” She turned to face me, her head cocked at a slight angle her lips partly opened. As I watched entranced, her eyes took on a kind of glimmer while her tongue slowly slid out and moistened first the upper lip then the lower. Her eyes bored into mine saying as seductively as Marilynn Monroe on the big screen, “Shall we go then.”
It took a moment for my brain to register that she had in fact asked me something. “What‘s that?” I stated foolishly. That was when I realized the car was standing still at a green light. “Oh, yeah, sure thing.” I mumbled trying to regain my composure. I failed, having thrown the car into gear and peeling out like a kamikaze heading for the deck of a carrier.
Those running in the Indy 500 had nothing on me as I took turn after turn at breakneck speeds. Thankfully just about everyone in town, including the police, were at Gladice and Jack’s wedding reception. Mary to her credit was laughing all the way. Once inside we made a B-line for the bedroom door, I happened to notice it was opened for some unknown reason. Stepping through I was stunned to find a young girl sitting on the end of my bed.
Confused, I turned to Mary who I saw was as stunned as I was. “This isn’t some kind of kinky thing you and granny cooked up, is it?” I asked, though I already knew the answer. Not even I could be that lucky.
“What’s going on here Jack?” Mary asked not hearing my question to her. “Who is she?” She whimpered. Her voice had that hurt sound to it, like a China plate smashing to the floor. She looked at me, her eyes filling with water as she came to the wrong conclusion.
“I’ll take that as a no.” I said answering my own question and turning to the young dame on my bed. “Ok sister.” I said, calmly guiding Mary over to a chair in the corner and sitting her down. “Just who are you and why did you break into my place?”
“You don’t know who she is Jack?” Mary uttered, clearly happier.
“Not a clue, Sugar.” I replied and turned back to the girl on the bed. “Well toots.” I said. “What’s the caper?” The bird broke down in a fit of tears, Mary dashing to her side to comfort her. My girl was like that you see, compassionate all the way. I stood there checking the skirt out as Mary did her thing. The tart was young to be sure, probably no more than eighteen tops. Her hair, I observed, was a dark shade of brown, long in length with curly and natural sun highlights. Her skin was tan, her eyes a paler shade of blue than Mary’s; but they did look nice on her. She wore what looked like a sturdy cotton dress adorned with a cheap looking white collar and a bow to appear fancier than it was. It was the kind of dress your mother might have made for your older sister then past down to the next in line, rural most likely.
I let the faucets flow for a while before re-asking my previous question. “Can we move this along?” I asked compassionately, “Who are you?”
The girl lifted her head away from Mary’s comforting shoulder rubbing her tears away as she did. “My name is Dorothy.” She said with her nose stuffed up from her crying spree. “I, I’m from Kansas originally.” She tried to go on. Her nose had begun to run so I tossed her my handkerchief already knowing I didn’t want it back. She blew her nose and tried to smile in gratitude.
“That’s a good girl.” I said, ready to decline the snot-loaded piece of cloth if possible. The trashcan I saw was only a foot away. She held on to it to my surprise and thanked me. “Do go on.” I encouraged.
“My house was picked up by a tornado in a terrible storm not long ago.” She said with a sniff. “The house came down in a place called Oz.”
I didn’t recognize the name and figured either it was in another state or her mind was. I then looked to see if maybe she had a bump on the head or something similar. “Oz huh.” I prodded cautiously.
“Yes sir, it’s somewhere over the rainbow.”
OK, I thought to myself, that bump on the noggin scenario seeming more and more plausible. “…And you just got back?” I asked not really meaning it.
“Yes sir.” She replied. “Me and Toto.
“So you came back with someone else huh; where are they now?”
“I don’t know.” She wailed once more, her tears flowing yet again. “That’s why I came to you.”
I looked into her eyes wondering if this was some kind of joke. “Why’d you break into my place?” I asked thinking I had her. “Why not just go to my office?”
“I did.” She replied honestly. “No one was there, so I looked up your home address in the phone book and came here.”
“… And broke in?”
“Oh no sir.” She said shaking her head. “I just turned the door handle and it popped open. I assumed you were here so I came in calling for you. No one was home however, so I decided to wait.”
Mary looked at me with that ‘You forgot to lock your door again’ look, shook her head, and turned back to the young child. “Maybe he’s walking around looking for you right now.” Mary said soothingly. “What does he look like?” She asked brightly.
Dorothy gazed back at Mary clearly more comfortable talking to her than me. That was another thing Mary did better than me. “Well he’s got brown wavy hair and a cute little nose.” She said brightening up some. “He stands about a foot and a half tall with a long tail that curves up like a crescent moon.”
I stopped the kid right there. “Hold on a minute sugar doll.” I said sternly. “This sounds like a dog.”
“Yes sir.” Dorothy answered her eyes now much brighter back in the arms of Mary.
“So your looking for a missing dog, is that it?” I thought back to Mary’s lost little lamb case, groaned and rubbed my face.
“Yes sir.” She replied. “He’s a two year old Cairn Terrier. I’ve had him all my life.” She being a teenager and it being two didn’t quite jive in my book but chicks are like that sometimes.
“I see.” I lied. “Well have you checked the dog pound?” I suggested compassionately. “Strays are always turning up there; even those creamed by trucks get scraped off the concrete by them.”
“Jack!” Mary squealed in discussed, placing her arms around the girl’s shoulders protectively. “He didn’t mean that.” She consoled the wide-eyed girl. “We’ll be glad to help you look for your little dog.” She promised.
Up until then I had no intentions of looking around in the gutters for some flea infested rug on feet and was about to assert my manliness when I saw the look Mary was giving me. It was the kind of look that said, ‘I’d be more than happy to look for your mangy dog or else my girlfriend here will see to it that the rest of my life is a living Hell’. And guys we all know that a bottle of Scotch just can’t beat a warm naked dame next to you in bed.
“Ok kiddo.” I relented. “Lets get this over with.” Mary I saw was smiling triumphantly; maybe grannies little talk was more enlightening than I had previously thought. I made a mental note not to thank her.
I closed my eyes momentarily taking a deep breath; in the back of my mind I was hoping when I reopened them that this would prove to have been all just a bad dream. One brought on by an exceptionally strenuous though creative night of wild sex with my gal. “Yeah and cows can fly too.” I mumbled as I exhaled slowly.
“Alright toots. When was the last time you saw your dog?” The girl wiped her eyes and sat straight up; Mary’s arms still protectively around her.
“It was earlier this morning.” She informed me. Her eyes brightened with the knowledge she wasn’t alone any more; that she had found two compassionate friends among a chaotic world offering help. Ok so maybe I’m not that compassionate but she thought I was.
“And where was that?”
“At a bus stop.” She said. “It’s a couple of streets over from here. I’d already decided to head back home to Kansas you see, and we were sitting there waiting.”
“This dog of yours was by your side?”
“Yes.” She replied. “In my lap actually. I was feeling very lonely at the time having left the Tin-man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow back in Oz.”
I paused, an eyebrow going up and gazed over at Mary. I started to wonder if this young dame had more than a bump on the noggin, possible a straitjacket might be in order. Mary, however had accepted everything the tart had said as common fact, she was waiting for me to go on.
I shivered, getting that chilled feeling from the many nights I’d be spending in a cold empty bed and felt that all to familiar throbbing behind my eye slowly making itself known. Like an ice pick being driven slowly into my scull. Why couldn’t Tiny be here, I wondered. Oh, that’s right he was probably already in bed with Mary’s younger nympho sister by now.
I rubbed at the back of my neck feeling Mr. Headache heading my way. “Would you care for a shot of Scotch?” I offered.
“Jack!” Mary said frowning. “She’s hardly old enough to drink.”
“Well then.” I replied grumpily. “Would you mind if I had one?” I didn’t wait for a response; reaching into the bottom drawer of the nightstand by the bed, I pulled out a bottle and took a long drink.
“Alright toots.” I said now reinforced. “Let’s set aside where you can from and who you knew in fantasyland for the moment. What I gather is that up until this morning you and your dog were together sitting at a bust stop to take you home, is that the story so far?”
“I guess so.” She replied confused. She looked over to Mary who rolled her eyes.
“He did the same thing when he helped me find my lost little lamb.” She confessed to the girl, a smirk on her lips. I looked at Mary and thought I saw that she wasn’t telling me something. As it turned out she was holding back a secret but I didn’t find that out till much later. Dorothy brightened up at this bit of good news.
“Ok kid.” Go on with your story.” I said, while winking at Mary. “What happened next?”
“Well that’s when that boy and his cat strolled by on the other side of the street. It was one of those Siamese cats and the boy was walking it on a leash, like it was a dog.” She looked over to me with an amazed look in he eyes. “I’ve never seen anyone walking their cat before.” She said in awe. “With a leash I mean.”
“It’s not exactly common practice.” I told her. “What happened next?”
“Well Toto did what dogs usually do when they see a cat.” Dorothy explained. “He jumped off my lap, ran over to the cat and started barking.”
“I suppose the cat ran up a tree.” I guessed wrongly.
“Well no.” She admitted somewhat embarrassed. “The cat kind of attacked Toto. Beat him up pretty good too. The boy tried to stop his cat but it was like it was possessed or something. Jack said he never saw his cat do that before.”
“Time out toots.” I stopped her. “Jack?”
“The boy I was telling you about.” She said. “The one walking the cat. He’s still out there looking for both of them.”
“The boy whose cat attacked your dog is named Jack.” I asked flabbergasted. “What’s the deal with all of these guys named Jack?” I asked to no one in particular. Neither Mary nor Dorothy responded; a fact I appreciated. “Alright, so the cat attacked your dog and took off, is that right?”
“Yes.” She replied. “And Jack is still looking for them.” She put in quickly, as if that bit of news was significant.
“…And that’s a good thing too.” I told her rolling my eyes. Mary I saw rolled her eyes at me rolling mine and grinned. Just then I heard the sounds of a barking dog getting closer to my front door. Bewildered, I went an opened it. To my astonishment a small dog darted past me into the room, followed closely by a frothing wide-eyed ball of fur and an out of breath young lad.
The dog and cat bounced off every wall in a kind of game of tag; the boy simply collapsed in utter exhaustion. I closed the door to trap the varmints and turned around. “Alright!” I yelled at the combating critters. “SIT!” I never really expected that to work, but to my surprise it did. The dog and cat both looked my way and sat down side by side, each with a puzzled look as if I’d interrupted a perfectly fun time.
Dorothy of course leaped from the bed and scooped up her dog kissing and hugging him. “Oh thank you for finding Toto!” She squealed to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
I gazed down at the gasping young man on the floor, “Don’t thank me sister.” I said grinning at the youth. “There’s your knight in shining armor toots.” I bent and offered my hand; the boy declined however.
“Thank you sir,” he gasped, “but here’s fine.”
He was a polite good-looking young boy with wavy brown hair and an athletically slim physic. You couldn’t help but like him.
Dorothy, realizing who really found her dog, darted to the boy’s side with a look of concern. Toto, seizing the moment jumped from the girls arms to lie down next to the cat. “Are you ok?” She asked beaming a smile that would have stopped Genghis Khan in his tracks. Jack looked into her eyes falling under her spell. Who wouldn’t have, I thought to myself.
“I think,” he whispered between gulps of air, “that things are starting to look better and better.” Dorothy blushed and giggled bashfully.
“Say you two.” I spoke up. “I’m hungry. How about you join Mary and me for a bite to eat? I know of a good Chinese joint down the street.” I looked down at Jack his head now cradled in Dorothy’s lap. “You can fill us all in on your little adventure there. Who knows maybe we could all go dancing afterwards, what do ya say kids?”
Dorothy looked my way, her hand moving to grasp the boys. “That would be nice.” She responded glowingly. She turned back to Jack and whispered, “If that’s ok with you?” Her eyes spoke volumes, and I could tell Jack heard every word. He was hooked for sure now, and she was reeling him in; not that he was putting up much of a fight.
“I think I’d like that too.” He responded. “I think I’d like that very much.” Yup, he was hooked, pulled to the boat and the net was already picking him out of the water. Dorothy, I noticed, blushed even more. For which reason, I wasn’t sure; probably both; dames were like that.