Over Sappy’s shoulder, an angel appeared. Oh please, what’s next trumpets? she thought. How utterly cliché. Then, the angel clobbered Sappy with an enormous nickel plated pistol and sent the bastard tumbling. The angel went on to kick and stomp the living shit out of the once again cowering sap and with each gasp of sweet oxygen Jeanette's angel came more fully into focus. “Harry!”
“Harry, thank Christian Dior! How on earth did you ever find me?” Jeanette exhaled.
“You just wait until my uncle hears about this Harry,” Sappy whined sitting up now and holding his ear.
“Who the hell do you think sent me Eugene? You had one simple thing to do. If you had a brain in that punching bag on your shoulders you’d know to steer clear of your uncle right now.”
“Wait, Eugene? Harry, you two know each other?” Jeanette’s jubilation was taking a turn she was becoming all too familiar with.
“I’m sorry, Jeanette meet Eugene. Eugene is just leaving,” Harry said hauling the man to his feet. Harry whispered in the ear the man was not holding. The man struggled to pull away like a petulant boy who doesn’t like being told what to do. Harry clamped a hand on Eugene’s throat and finished what he had to say. Releasing him, Harry said loud enough for Jeanette to hear, “Leave the keys to the T-Bird in the ignition. Catch a bus or hitch-hike, I don’t care but get some real gone between you and the boss.” Then he shoved the shaking, bleeding and stinking man in the direction of the door.
“Just a damn minute here Harry, that man’s not going anywhere. I’m calling the police!” Jeanette said, brandishing her phone.
“Go!” Harry ordered and Eugene actually ran down the hall.
“I’m sorry Jeanette. I really am, but I’m going to need for you to give me that phone,” Harry said raising the 45.
“What the hell are you into here Harry? Who is that boy’s uncle?”
“You already know Jeanette,” Harry said with a sad smile. “He’s The Boss’s sister’s boy, 215 pounds of total fuckup. Eugene Gabardine.”
“Avery? You’re saying Avery had me abducted? My God Harry, I have to say I’m surprised and more than a little disappointed to find you've fallen in with that bastard.”
“I haven’t fallen in with that bastard Jeanette, and nobody calls him Avery.”
“I’ll see that he’s called a hell of a lot worse before this is over Harry and I’ll think up a few things to call you too.”
“Sticks and stones Jay C, but for right now you must be able to see our predicament,” Harry waggled the gun and shrugged, what can I say?
“Why are you doing this Harry, what the hell does he have on you? It’s not exactly like you are hurting for money.”
It was true, Harry had always been lucky. He’d been lucky in business, lucky with the ladies and more often than not, lucky picking the ponies. Anyone would say his life was charmed. That is at least, until Boss Gabardine set him up.
“Jeanette, you’ve been out of the loop, so let me fill you in. Eugene was just supposed to keep you company long enough for the city council to ok breaking ground on The Boss’s proposed sports park and gaming facility. It passed without your vote yesterday, by the way. I had no part in any of that. I was called after the fact. You can believe that or not but so far, one person is dead and the Professor's wound up in the hospital. I was on my way there to ask him about something he’d said when I got the call to check up on Eugene. I think you have to admit things were not going all that well for you when I got here," Harry meant to be sarcastic but when she touched her throat he felt ashamed. "Look Jay, you’re just going to have to trust me when I tell you that it’s not a very good idea for you to be popping to the surface right now.”
“Who…who is dead? Is the Professor ok?” Jeanette had to sit down.
“Spangler or Spackler, the new projectionist At The Bijou, anyway. Word is he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was Chester Hanks they really wanted. Do you believe that, Hookem Hanks? Some kind of bloody mess in the ladies room there too. I don’t know about that or just how Chester fits into all this but what I do know is The Boss very clearly wants you out of the picture. As far as everyone knows, you are missing. I aim to keep it that way and I think I know someone who can help.”
Eugene Gabardine was a sulky, spoiled, boy and never one given to following orders. He did not leave the keys in the T-Bird as Harry had instructed. With the warehouse door barely closed between him and any immediate consequences, he exorcised a small tantrum that had been building in his chest by kicking the side mirror off of Harry’s Charger. “You aren’t the boss of me!” he screamed with huffy school-girl conviction. Then he hopped in the T-Bird and backed it straight into the Harry’s car. There was a satisfying crunch as the Charger’s plastic tail light puzzled, and Eugene found he felt much better. He shifted into drive and blasted Harry’s car with a spray of gravel before schweeling out of parking lot. Foresight was not a characteristic that would ever be associated with Eugene but he was not one to dwell on the past (or learn from it) either. As his spinning tires barked onto the asphalt of the county road, Harry and Jeanette ceased to be of concern.
Jeanette's troubles all started right here: