Monday, March 2, 2015

3-2-15 Monday Mischief
7:08 AM

3-2-15 Monday Mischief

Artwork © Leo Diamond, All Rights Reserved -
Story © Corey Blankenship, All Rights Reserved
© L. Frank Baum, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

From the minute I drove up to the scene, I knew the fight was over. You didn’t have to be in the business for years to see an open-and-shut case. I just didn’t want to be a part of the fallout that came with it.

You don’t knock off the Witch of East End and not expect repercussions.

The Little Folk took kindly to the news. All yammerin’ and whisperin’ from their hidin’ holes. They couldn’t believe the roughest, toughest woman of the East had been killed. All by a house, no less. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, except here it was: An out-of-towner house of cards blew in, smackin’ the queen of the midgets flat to the earth. The House always wins.

You could see her mean-eyed corpse turnin’ green beneath the new-flung porch. She’d fallen to her death. A dramatic do in after a cyclone of a turf war.

The porcelain princess in front of me was all pigtails and sweetness. Her velvety ringlets danced in delicate twisters. She had the demeanor of an eye of a hurricane: Peaceful-looking but hinting to a world of devastation. I had cued in on her from the start. She would be a syrupy dollop of trouble, of that I could be certain.

I puffed at my meerschaum cigarette wand and let out, “A regular act of God, dolly.”

The innocent faced girl in the plain dress gave me a tearful look. “Wu-what?”

“An act of God. You saved these little fellahs a hard life. You should be grateful,” I added in my classic deadpan. Some men found my voice enchantin’, sultry, but I didn’t give a care. All part of the life of bein’ a female Emerald City Investigator.

“You should head into town. The Mayor will want to commend you for a job well done. Her sister will want a piece of you for cuttin’ in like you did…” I continued languidly. “You really shouldn’t dawdle. Goldbar Street will lead you to the Mayor’s manor.”

“But I didn’t mean’s all my fault,” curly-locks sobbed. “How can I apologize to the lady’s sister?”

“Apologize?” I laughed. “No apologizin’ necessary. She’ll want your head, but these here girls are all steel and grit. Right wicked. They’d skinned the lot of these munchkins just for a laugh. No, you’ll want to steer clear of the Cackle of Westside.”

A cacklin’ shriek burst about the crime scene like gunfire. Speak of the devil, as they say. There she stood, a long sip of vinegar in her black satin dress. She had killer looks, and looks that could kill. All the poor Joes who called on her became regular flyin’ apes, dancin’ to do her dirty work. She came to crash the parade before it could begin. A regular jinx of a minx.

“WHO KILLED MY SISTER!” She squealed. The fire in her eyes told me it wasn’t much of a mystery. “WHO KILLED HER!” Nails on chalkboard sounded like a lover’s croon compared to her shrill speech.

A skeletal finger thrust like a rapier at the poor pig-tailed heroine. “YOU! You killed her. I’ll get you. I’ll get you good.” Miss Sunset Slayer looked down at the picnic basket in the doll’s hand, where a soft ball of fluff peered out with doleful sparkles. “And your little dog too!”

I knew it was goin’ to get ugly in the City. I better warn the Mayor. He’s a real wizard in these sorts of situations.

I tapped my ivory holder and gave the Mistress of Shills and Shrills a taste of her own poison. “Not here, you won’t. She’s got the Mayor’s kiss of protection. You don’t want to cross him, especially outside your jurisdiction.”

“You’re one to talk!” She scowled. “Ms. Priss of the Northern Wastes--”

“--Ward,” I cut in.

“Hmph,” The dead ermine on her collar slumped its shoulders. She batted her dagger eyes. “Not for long.”

She vanished from the scene like a puff of smoke. Miss dove soul melted into a pretty waterfall. I noticed she stood in drab shoes and all pathetic, lookin’ more in the streets than any of these workin’ class shorties. I collected the platinum pumps off the corpse. Not like she’d be flashin’ down Goldbar anytime soon.

I handed them to the kid and said, “Here, doll. It’ll make the walk into the City bearable. The town crew will clean up your House. Besides, you should find some regular muscle to keep you company. There’s some good Joes along the way.”

I stepped back toward my whitewash coach and tried to give her a cheer-up with one of my golden smiles, “Look for a former liontamer, a steelworker, and a local farm hand. They’re reliable folk as any. Tell ‘em the Good Witch sent ya. See you soon.”

Doll face gave me a sheepish grin, revealin’ a surprisin’ glow. I had a good feelin’ about her. Little did I know she would turn all of Oz upside down.

The above story is a genre twist based on fans' votes for our Monday Mischief. It is based on L. Frank Baum's beloved, Wizard of Oz! Did you enjoy it? Tune in for more Monday Mischief!

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