Saturday, October 31, 2009

Old Home Week -- Part Two

Howard Enz was pacing nervously around the perimeter of the small pumpkin patch on his cousin's property. He had originally thought this would be a great place to hold his interview with the costumed nut who claimed to have super-powers of one sort or another. Now, after having waited for nearly half an hour past the agreed-upon meeting time of four-thirty p.m., all he could think about was that they might miss his deadline for broadcast entirely.

Well, that, and It's freaking cold out here!

Although he had originally been promised an exclusive, Howard had reconsidered several hours ago and called his friend Karen Magarian, a popular and "seasoned" reporter now working at a Boston television station. Howard, graciously repaying one of the many favors he'd come to owe her since he'd started in this business almost twenty years earlier, had invited her to interview this "masked man" as well.

Howard had insisted, however, that his interview be taped for the early evening news on his own small TV station, while Karen's interview was supposed to be held until her channel's eleven p.m. broadcast. She'd given him her word, so he knew that he and he alone would be breaking the story.

It was with great consternation that Howard suddenly realized that Karen and her mobile crew were half an hour late as well. Not like her, he thought, not like her at all.

"This is bad," Howard said aloud to his cameraman, Pat. "This is very, very bad."

From somewhere in the darkness, a somber voice rang out. "Don't worry, Mr. Enz... She's fine. Minor car trouble only ten or twelve miles away."

Howard turned his head from side to side, quickly searching for a look at the man who had spoken. Finally, Mark Arthur, wearing a form-fitting black jumpsuit and a plastic Halloween mask which had been painted gold, emerged from a wooded area not twenty feet from where Howard was standing. A paunchy man with a VanDyke beard and a shaved head followed a few steps behind Mark.

Howard looked at the two men appraisingly. He spoke to Mark first. "I'll go out on a limb here and say that you're the soon-to-be-famous 'Golden Mask' dude." Mark nodded, unnecessarily. Howard turned to Jack, and said "So that makes you the guy I spoke with on the phone, the one who insists on calling himself 'Jack Mac,' right?"

Jack also nodded. "Anyone ever tell you, you look like Oliver Platt?"

"Lots of times. But he's got better hair. And no mustache, usually. Anyone ever tell you that you look like a tubby Steve Austin?"

"Lee Majors, or Stone Cold?"

"Oh, gee, take a wild guess," said Howard, scowling slightly. Jack laughed politely.

"Excuse me, Mr. Enz," said Mark. "What did you mean by 'soon-to-be-famous?' "

Howard tapped his own chest twice with the index finger of his left hand. "Thanks to me. You're welcome. Now, first question, before we roll tape: What did you mean by 'She's fine, minor car trouble?' "

"Your friend, or girlfriend," Mark replied. Howard's face was impassive, and unreadable. "Umm... sister?" he added, suddenly less sure of himself.

Howard pressed on, still staring at the oddly-dressed man. "Never mind that." He paused. "So, Mr. Mask, mind if I ask you your real name?"

Jack Mac broke in. "You ain't really expectin' us to tell you that, are ya?"

Howard turned to face him. "Frankly, I don't know what to expect from this..." Howard was about to say "clown," but finished with "...gent."

Mark spoke again. "And you don't have to call me 'Mr. Mask,' just call me..." He hesitated. He hadn't given any thought to what people should call him when speaking to him conversationally, whenever he was wearing his superhero suit. "Mr. Mask" was just... wrong. And shortening it to "Golden" sounded just as bad, or even worse.

Howard smirked slightly at Mark's quandary, which was obvious although Mark was wearing that face-obscuring, gold-colored mask.

Several hundred feet away, the headlights of a large van cut through the night as it drove onto Howard's cousin's property. Howard breathed a loud sigh of relief. Karen had arrived. "Don't worry about it, Goldie. When we do the interviews, we'll just use the full name."

We? Interviews, plural? thought both Mark and Jack. Mark was slightly concerned. Jack grinned; this would be good for business.

* * * * *

One day earlier:

The short Jewish man in his early sixties was standing at a sink in the men's room of the seedy (but crowded) bar, examining the contents of a wallet, when the taller, younger, suited man walked in on him.

"Nice-looking wallet, Lefcowicz," said the cop -- Of course he was a cop. Who else would dress like that in a place like this? -- as the older man whirled to face him. "Mind if I look at the I.D.? I'm betting that it's not yours!"

The man that the detective -- okay, okay, he was a detective, not just any beat cop -- had referred to as "Lefcowicz" let out a string of expletives, some of them in Yiddish. The detective calmly took the wallet from him and opened it.

He saw the face of "Allen Lefcowicz" staring back at him from an expired driver's license. "What the hell...? I could have sworn I saw you lift this from the pocket of a guy at the bar."

"Sorry, schmendrick, you lose."

"Mind if I ask you why you came in here to look through the contents of your own wallet?"

"Yeah, I do mind, but I'll answer y'anyway. I wuz checkin' t'make sure I had a rubber on me, case I get lucky tonight."

Grimacing with distaste at the thought of Allen "Lefty" Lefcowicz in bed -- or anywhere else -- with anyone, Detective Peter Streimekis grunted in frustration as he turned abruptly and left the men's room... and, moments later, the bar itself.

Lefty chuckled softly as he removed a second wallet -- the stolen one, naturally -- and said aloud, "Yeah, like I didn't smell you th'moment y'sneaked inta th'place. Putz."

The smiled faded as Lefty started thinking more seriously. Streimekis had been breathing down his neck for months, determined to catch the habitual criminal doing something he could arrest him for. Maybe a change of scene was in order.

Suddenly -- very suddenly -- Lefty thought of a few towns in southern Massachusetts which he was familiar with, although he hadn't been on that side of the country for almost ten years.

He looked in the stolen wallet to see if he had busfare. If not, it was going to be a long night.

* * * * *

And speaking of Massachusetts, on Halloween once again...

In their own bar -- well, not their bar, but a bar they both frequented -- the two regulars known as Don and Phil were watching in amusement as the annoying piano player in the corner was being verbally accosted by his wife, a pretty, skinny woman with curly blonde hair.

* * * * *

Finally...

Approximately a twenty minute drive south of Worcester, Massachusetts -- Do all roads lead to Massachusetts? -- a middle-aged, bearded man with whitish hair did the final edits before posting his latest blog.

* * * * *

To Be Continued...

(If you want more background on Jack Mac, Mark Arthur, and "Golden Mask," click here.

And for more info on "Lefty" Lefcowiz and Detective Streimekis, click here!)

Thanks for your time

13 comments:

  1. Aw, this is exciting. Can't wait to come back and read the next part. (I'm imagining a map with all these little cars and buses tootling along toward Mass. and/or Worcester.)

    It's so nice to see these characters again. Don and Phil, however, have me stymied. I'll have to figure out what I'm missing with them.

    Thanks for the great sense of anticipation--I'm feeling exactly how I feel when I'm reading a book I don't want to put down.

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  2. That was awesome.At some part it made me think of those movies I really love with different characters with different lives but who are connected somehow.It is interesting what you are doing with your characters from previous posts too.Nice stuff.Can't wait to read more.

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  3. now this is a story like the silver fox i first read! anxiously awaiting round two...

    hows life treating you these days? slowed down any?

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  4. The Roads of Massachussets Are A-Buzzing! Looking foward to #3 Sir!

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  5. I'm off to check out more about Lefty.... :)

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  6. Fun stuff, Fox. I'm quite enjoying this.

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  7. @Sparkle: Well, you'd better put down your computer before you hurt yourself.

    @Candie: As far as my "old" characters, never forget "David M. Lynch's First Rule of Writing: Never Throw Anything Away." Or in this case, anyone.

    @Brian: My usual answer to "How's life (or the world) treating you?" is, "Like a baby treats a diaper," but things are settling down, finally. For all the reasons, or most of 'em, anyway. Thanks for asking, bro.

    @Tony: They are indeed. And don't forget, I live here, too...

    @Betsy: If you're inclined to "research" unfamiliar characters, I hope you'll comment on their stories, as well.

    @AngelMay: It gets better, I hope.

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  8. My comment to Brian should have said "for all the right reasons," of course.

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  9. It will be interesting to see how you bring all these folks together. I am enjoying this.

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  10. Wow! I am totally intrigued and curious to see how it all comes together! The everly Brothers?? lol!

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  11. I'm curious about the next part. I'm sure the wait in the beginning was due to one of the characters being Irish!

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  12. @Otin: Well, not the real Everly Brothers, of course...

    @Dot.Com: Well, the white-haired blogger is part Irish, Howard Enz is Italian & Irish... And in later chapters... Who knows?

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  13. FYI, fellow babies: Part Three should be posted anytime between tonight and tomorrow night!

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