I don’t even get a chance to apologize as Perri’s right wing shot out and she delivers me the harpy equivalent of an open-handed slap.
Yeah- I definitely had that coming.
“You ass! What are you even doing!?” Perri hisses as I rub my cheek. Even though she doesn’t raise her voice, the harpy’s anger is still palpable.
Well, damn- that’s the million dollar question right there.
“Perri….I can explain….” I begin, but she cuts me off as her left wing shoots out and I’m on the receiving end of another harpy-slap.
Come on now- I can’t explain if she’s going to keep smacking me. Still, I should be extremely glad she hasn’t decided to use her talons or capoeira acumen on me.
“What’s wrong with you!?” she asked, never raising her voice, but making her agitation quite apparent.
Nope- not gonna dignify that question with a response. I keep quiet as I suddenly catch a whiff of formaldehyde.
“You’re making this too easy, Custer.” a voice familiar taunted.
God damn it- of course it had to be Zombina. FUCK! That smirking ginger zombie had to be enjoying every moment of this.
“Tell that chopper to move to the assembly area- I can’t fly five feet thanks to the rotor wash!” the cupid barked to somebody over the radio.
“Ma’am- this is a crime scene.” I can hear one of the other officers say. “I’m going to have to ask you to keep back.”
Only she wasn’t talking to Zombina.
“Hold up! Hold up!” another familiar voice called out.
The pushy raccoon-dog drew incredulous glares from the cupid and zombie as she made her way through the police cordon as though she was daring anybody to stop her.
“I’m sure you girls would get in really big trouble with the U.S. Attorney’s Office if their big case got thrown out because my client was roughed up while in your custody.” Akagane continued, looking around reproachfully at Bina, the cupid and other officers still in tactical gear.
“Anta-wa…… Tanuki desu.” the canine lawyer growled in Japanese, which I found endearing for some reason. “Anyways- I’m way ahead of you, Buckaroo.”
“Way ahead of me…how?”
Instead of answering my question right away, she looks around to see if Zombina is paying attention.
She’s not- her attention is directed at the field for now. Apparently she’s digging the band’s performance much more than either one of us.
Akagane begins rummaging through her purse and pulls out a copy of the Llano County Argus-Prospector before giving it a cursory look. She then pulls a leaf from her considerable cleavage and with a small puff of smoke, the newspaper changed into something else.
A comic book. The art style looked like some sort of manga and the cover art…..
And it was at just such a mall at the corner of Yavapi and Maricopa that salvation came in the form of the After School Special.
Problem was, this was going to be a pretty tough sell to my wife.
“We’re here.” I announce as I kill the engine and get out of the truck, uncomfortably aware that the way the ‘After School Special’ sign was arranged, it appeared to be highlighting the word ASS.
Sakaali opened her door and I headed over to the passenger side to help her out.
“Graham- what is this place?” Sakaali asked, her skepticism apparent.
“Somewhere that’s not too crowded on father’s day.” I explain. “Sometimes me and Art will grab a couple of beers here.”
“Why? So you can get drunk and make me sleep in the barn again?” she asks loud enough for everyone to hear.
That flying fucking bullshit artist. I can’t see from down here, but I’m sure she has that infuriating smirk right now.
I grit my teeth.
“That’s…..” I begin to say through the megaphone. This wasn’t a mistake or a misunderstanding on her part- she was straight-up lying about my treatment of her in front of pretty much the whole county. Instinctively I was going to say “That’s not true” but then inspiration struck me.
Why not fight her bullshit with more bullshit?
“That’s because you keep dive-bombing my schnauzer! The poor thing is terrified of you now!”
Oh the look on her face. She’s been getting used to goading and teasing me, but not being on the receiving end of such treatment. The surprise and indignation on Perri’s face was visible even from my lowly position on the ground, and it was sweeter than any gooey, caramel covered confectionary.
If she had to guess, it would probably be entire chunks of the gingerbread house’s wall missing. Curiously, she could swear there were what looked like little fang marks around this missing gashes in the gingerbread wall.
Fang marks seemingly consistent with at least three of her daughters.
“Girls? You wouldn’t know anything about this….?” she asked while absently bouncing little Claire on her knee. The jinko mother was quietly grateful that her youngest wasn’t old enough to snatch stuff off of tables when they thought nobody was looking.
“About what, mom?” Eva asked innocently. Gabby and Layla were by the Christmas tree doing a rather poor job of trying to stifle their giggling.
“Try as I might, girls- I can’t figure out how this gingerbread house ended up with so many holes in it. I was wondering if you could maybe tell me….”
“I’m saving room for one of grandma’s pies.” Eva said nonchalantly.