man with the golden eye iv: cold, dead eyes

“If you stray a foot, I’ll murder you where you stand,” one of the Angelikas told me.

All the mercenaries, 40 of us in total, boarded the black hawks en route to the jungles of Honduras. The three other Angelikas disappeared hours earlier. Only one was left to watch me.

“Why are you after Franco De Werner?” I asked her.

“In addition to killing our comrades, he holds the key to a secret nuclear arsenal somewhere under the Gulf of Mexico. If we can capture him, we’d control enough fire power to destroy the Western Hemisphere,” she replied.

Well fuck me, I thought. Angelika(s) plan was to massacre the mercenaries in the jungle during their communist hunt, forcing Franco down to Honduras.

I was caught between a rock and a hard place: between a diabolical madman and a kill squad of four genetically enhanced clone-ladies

“But why me though?” I asked. “Are you aligned with the mafia? Are they still pissed because I torched the shit out of them in the woods?”

“Just shup and do what you’re told.”

The choppers dropped us off on the beach. We set up camp for the night. All the men gathered around the various fires, cracking open one Keystone Light after another.

It became a beach party.

I stood watch along the tree line. Angelika handed me an MK 556. She pushed me up against a tree and grabbed my dong.

“Remember,” she said. “I am always watching you.”

She then kissed me and disappeared into the jungle. I began to cry.

The men started to get rowdy. I told them to quiet down, that the communists could be watching.

“What are you afraid of, Carlos?” replied Tiger Tanaka, the most ruthless of the bunch. “You’re the most notorious arsonists in Eastern Europe. Quit being a puss.”

Tiger then pulled out a Henri Selmer saxophone and started rockin’ out like he was Clarence fucking Clemons. This noisy instrument was echoing across the bay and into the jungle.

“Damn it Tiger! If you don’t put that loud piece of shit away, I will shoot you myself!” I yelled.

“I ain’t afraid of nothin in this jungle!” he yelled back.

Ironically, a tiger then jumped out of the woods a mauled his face off. The men quickly scattered into the jungle, leaving their weapons behind. I fired a few rounds at the animal before it disappeared.

“There’s tigers in Honduras?!” one of the men yelled. I shrugged.

Angelika must have something to do with this, I thought.

The men attempted to retrieve their weapons. Every time they got close, the tiger would reappear and drag one of them into the woods.

“It’s an ambush,” I said. “We must fall back.”

“Fall back into the jungle?! WITHOUT OUR WEAPONS!” said Thomas Jane “Little” P.P., the explosives expert.

“Calm yourself, Little PP,” I replied. “Fall back and we’ll regroup.”

As the men retreated, trip wires began going off. A fireball would light up the sky and body parts would fall back into the trees.

“We’re gonna die!” screamed Little PP. He ran ahead a few yards in front of me before falling into quicksand.

I extended my rifle to pull him out, but he kept sinking deeper. “I don’t want to drown!” Little PP yelled. “Please kill me, Carlos!”

When I realized that I couldn’t rescue him, I lifted up my rifle and fired one round into Little PPs chest. I watched as his dead body sunk below the surface.

The screams of men continued to echo across the jungle. I heard growling behind me. The tiger was near. I fired a few rounds into the bushes and ran off.

I hopped across a trip wire and hid behind a tree. “Come at me mother fucker,” I said. The tiger jumped out and hit the wire. The explosion was brilliant.

Tiger blood rained from the sky.

I sat down and radioed in.

“To Angelika or whoever’s listening,” I said. “Tiger’s dead. Both tigers are. There can’t be very many of us left. But I’m still standing. If you want me, you’re gonna have to come down here and get me.

But be warned: it’s gonna take more than a tiger and a few land mines to kill me.”

the man with the golden eye iii: eye of the tiger

“Do be careful James,” Izzy said.

“Be sure to pack my Beretta 93R,” I replied. “Things might get heavy.”

Izzy handed me my aluminum edition suitcase and drove me to Burbank International. I was headed to Belize to pick up the trail of Franco De Werner’s missing arms shipment.

To infiltrate his elite team of mercenaries, Werner provided me with false credentials. My name: Carlos Newhouser…a half-Austrian, half-Mexican, former member of Spetsnaz.

My mission: snuff out the communists.

Kill, if necessary.

At the airport, a rag tag crew of rednecks, Arabs, fishermen, nomads, musicians, accountants, fur trappers, Canadians, dope heads, dope dealers, truckers, Canadians, hockey players, Arsenio Hall, and former special forces were there to greet me. This was Franco’s crack team.

“I’m Carlos,” I said.

Everyone glared.

“Anyone gonna say anything?” I asked.

A female stepped forward.

“Welcome to Belize, Mr. Newhouser,” she said. “I’m Angelika Anotolukolopolous.”

Angelika was red headed. She spoke with a Scottish accent.

“Let me take your bags,” she said.

“No thanks,” I replied. “I prefer to carry my own.”

We all piled into the bed of a jacked up 95 F-150. Anna tried to brief me on the situation while on our journey to the hotel.

“What?! I can’t hear you through this loud ass Diesel engine!” I said.

“Franco has tasked us with finding the missing arms shipment! He suspects the communists of stealing it!” she replied.

“I know! We’ve already gone over this!”

We arrived at Helena Bay Family Resort. The hardened crew gathered by the poolside bar while children ran and played about.

“I heard you torched a school in Sarajevo because you suspected they were harboring communists,” one of the mercenaries said to me. “You’re one cold blooded son of a bitch.”

“Better dead than red,” I replied. I looked over to the bartender. “Mai Tai please.”

Angelika stepped out in her bikini. The ruffians glanced over and went back to their mojitos. I stripped off my shirt and jumped into the pool.

Angelika looked me over through her Ray Bans.

“I see you have a good taste in music,” she said. She was referring to my Def Leppard tattoo.

I hopped out of the pool and dried off.

“Thanks,” I said. “Got it during their Slang Tour in 96.”

“I’d like to see what else you got,” Angelika replied. She was playing seductively with her straw between her lips.

“On my left ass cheek is the Whitesnake tour from 92,” I replied.

She slipped me the key to her room.

“Come see me tonight, after 10:30. I’ll show you what I got,” and with that Angelika got up and slowly walked away.

She suspected something. We suspected each other. But I had to follow my leads, and Angelika was at the top of my list.

After 10:30, I unlocked the door to her room.

“Angelika?” I asked.

From behind the bathroom door appeared Angelika in a purple corset and black undies.

“Well,” I said. “I don’t see your tattoos.”

“Hello James,” a woman’s voice said from behind.

I turned around and there stood another Angelika in the kitchenette.

“Sorry ladies, I only brought enough protection for one,” I said.

“Please sit down,” the Angelika in the kitchen replied.

I complied.

“Care for a drink?” she asked.

“Irish whisky,” I replied.

A third Angelika appeared and handed me a glass.

“Can I have the bottle please?” I asked. “What’s going on here?”

“We are genetically enhanced clones from the Ionian Liberation Front,” the first Angelika said. “We know you’re not Carlos Newhouser. You’re a hack detective from some agency in Los Angeles.”

“Genetically enhanced?” I asked.

The second Angelika took my glass and smashed it against her head.

“I see what you mean,” I said.

“We’re after Franco De Werner. Join us, or you won’t be leaving this room alive.”

I thought for a second, then I saw an opportunity: The burrito I ate earlier was roaring back with a vengeance. So I stood up.

“I need to use the bathroom,” I said. “It must be Montezuma’s Revenge.”

“Very well,” one of the Angelika’s said begrudgingly.

I sat on the toilet and started thinking through my options. As I stunk up the room, a forth Angelika handed me a roll from behind the shower curtain.

“Don’t forget to wipe,” she said.

the man with the golden eye II: eyeballin’ you

I took the California 1 up to Malibu. Again, I got pulled over.

“You need to stop fuckin around,” the officer said. “I’ve seen your kind before. You come around here thinking you solve everything. But you can’t. You’re just one man. You can’t change the system.”

“First off,” I replied. “Weren’t you a sheriff in San Luis Obispo last week? And secondly, I’m just helping the FBI on an investigation into Franco De Werner’s missing property. I’m not trying to change any system. And third, how the hell do you know who I am? Hand me my ticket and fuck off.”

The officer glared at me for awhile then wrote up the ticket.

“I better not see your face around here again. And fuck this piece of machinery that you call a vehicle,” he warned.

“I’ll have you know that I get 12 mpg in this piece of machinery,” I replied.

The cop flipped me the bird and walked away.

I pulled up to Werner’s beachfront property. As I walked towards the house, a 50 cal. machine gun knocked up a bunch of sand and blew my bowler off. I dropped to the ground and pulled out my .45.

Seconds later, there was a laugh and a man walked up. His smile was perfect.

“Those commie bastards did me a favor by shooting out my eye. My aim has never been better,” the man said.

I stood up and knocked the sand off.

“Mr. Franco De Werner, I presume?”

“Indeed,” he replied. “You must be the investigator the FBI sent. Welcome to my humble abode. Can I offer a refreshment? A bourbon perhaps?”

“A change of underwear if you’ve got it.”

We went inside to Franco’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home. His servants offered cucumber sandwiches and some 90 proof Elijah Craig.

“I heard you slaughtered an entire mafia up in the mountains,” Franco said.

“How did you hear about that?” I asked.

“For a man in my position, it pays to have eyes everywhere,” he replied. “I could use a man like you.”

“I’m just here to assist the FBI, Mr. Werner. Not for a job interview,” I said.

“Right”

Franco sat back in his seat and lit up a cigar. Villains love their cigars.

“There was a whole shipment of M4s and Carbon 15s going to counter-revolutionary forces in the jungle. The communists had to of intercepted it,” Franco explained.

“How could they have known?” I asked.

“I must have a rat in my midst,” he explained as he puffed on his cigar. “I need you to sniff him out Mr. James.”

“I’m a simple private investigator Mr. Werner. Not an undercover agent.”

Franco took a drink of his bourbon.

“I know about your troubles. I know about you burning down an apartment building, about the massacre in Big Bear, about your medical bills and unpaid fines to the California Highway Patrol. I can make all your problems go away if you do me this favor: join my team, and find this mole.”

I thought for a second, then poured a glass of Elijah’s.

“I’m all ears,” I said.

the man with the golden eye, part I

The phones were ringing off the hook. Everyone was missing something: cat, dog, prosthetic arm, leg, penis, you name it. Business was booming.

But I needed help. I was on the phone all the time. Not solving cases.

Isabella brought in lunch: a Philly cheesesteak from Tony’s off 5th Avenue.

“Gee mister,” Isabella said. “After I sent a butthole pic to that producer on the internet, I’ve been getting all kinds of acting job offers!”

“That’s good to hear Izzy,” I replied. “But you can call me James.”

The calls kept coming. I couldn’t keep up. Unfortunately, between the court fees, medical bills, fines owed to the state of California for burning down a nature preserve, and replacing the window in my office after a man fell through it, I couldn’t afford help.

“Say James,” Izzy said. “You look swamped. Since you saved my life and all, the least I could do is help you out with your business.”

“Oh you’re a lifesaver Izzy. I had to let go of my secretary the other day. If you could sit at her desk and answer phones, that would be great. Just ignore the calls with a Sacramento area code,” I replied.

As I was explaining the job, Sgt. LP Anderson of the LAPD called.

“What do you know about Franco De Werner?” Anderson asked.

“He’s around 5’10.5 with a great head of hair. He’s the biggest arms manufacturer on this side of the Mississippi. He’s been a financier of various counter-revolutionary movements in South and Central America. In fact, his eye got shot out in Nicaragua for which he now wears an eye patch. He’s earned a reputation as a solid middleman between the CIA and various fruit companies in war-torn countries. He graduated summa cum laude from Emory, earned an MBA from Wharton. His wife is Becky, they have two children ages 15 and 18. His drink of choice is Kentucky Bourbon, and he enjoys the works of Dostoyevsky. Otherwise I don’t know much,” I said.

“Well the FBI called, seems like a shipment of Werner’s has gone missing en route to Costa Rica. If you provide your assistance, the FBI said they’ll drop their investigation into you. I’m assuming you know they’re talking about,” Anderson asked.

I sighed.

“Very well,” I said. “Tell your FBI contact that I’ll set up a meeting with Franco De Werner.” I hung up the phone.

“Lazy bastards,” I thought to myself.

I went to Izzy. “I need you to gather all the information you can find on Franco De Werner. Print it off and slide it under the door of the bathroom. I’ll be in there for awhile,” I instructed.

The Philly cheesesteak went out as fast as it went in.

shoot me, deadly V: my lucky day

“What’s it gonna be Luigi?” Mr. Leather said with his tommy gun.

Luigi paused and slowly lowered me to the ground. Leather pointed his tommy at Michaela.

“You’re not gonna get away with this,” she said.

“Beat it bitch,” he replied.

Luigi quickly reached for his sidearm. Mr. Leather unleashed his machine gun, blasting holes and blood everywhere. Luigi smashed through the window, falling five stories to the ground.

If the bullets didn’t kill him, the fall certainly did.

Michaela pulled a single shot derringer out of the bosom of her dress, hitting Mr. Leather in the stomach. She ran out the room. I ran over to him.

“We gotta get you to the hospital,” I said.

“Can’t. They’ll take me to prison.”

“I was a medic in the Army, I can probably stop the bleeding,” I replied.

“I’d rather go to prison.”

I helped the blood soaked Mr. Leather to the car. As we sped out of there, he took out a cigarette.

“Where you taking me?” he asked.

“The only place we can go.”

We arrived at the Big Bear cabin early in the morning. Isabella helped carry the wounded man inside.

“Who is this guy?” she asked.

“You know,” I thought for a moment. “That’s a good question.”

As Mr. Leather began fading in and out of consciousness, he began speaking to Isabella.

“Am fost îngerul păzitor al tatălui tău. Și sunt și a ta. Dar timpul meu este aproape terminat. Ai încredere în acest om prost,” he said.

“Am știut întotdeauna,” she replied.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“It’s not important,” Isabella said. “He doesn’t have long.”

“Obviously!”

“Just let me die,” Mr. Leather said. “It’s time.”

“Are you ever going to tell me who you are?” I asked.

“Fuck off,” he replied.

I shrugged and did what I could to stop the bleeding. I stayed by his side all morning.

“What’s the deal with Isabella?” I asked him.

“Poor girl,” he said. “Vito had her mother killed when she was just a little girl. Vito never understood his daughter. She grew up lonely, neglected by her own family.”

“Why did Vito kill her mother?” I replied.

“I’ll never tell.”

“Did you kill her?”

There was no reply. The mysterious man was no more.

I buried him that evening.

Isabella joined me outside over his shallow grave. I took out another cigarette.

“I don’t know if this guy was a pervert or your guardian angel. But either way, I think he was your biggest fan,” I told her.

“Michaela will find us,” she replied. “We gotta move.”

I handed her the money out of Mr. Leather’s wallet, then I emptied out my own.

“Take this,” I said. “Go to New York. Go do Broadway. Go do stand up. Go do something with your life. That’s what our mystery man would have wanted.”

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

“My father buried an entire arsenal from his time in Korea under this land. I outta put it to use.”

shoot me, deadly IV: your lucky day

I put a hurtin’ on the whisky bottle, hoping that it would clear my head. Nothing about this case made sense.

I met Mr. Leather at UC Irvine. He was sitting alone in an empty theater.

“What’s this about?” I asked.

“Take a seat. I’m about to make your life a little easier,” he replied.

Two other people entered the theater. The lights dimmed and the curtains opened. Entering stage left was Isabella, all alone.

“I guess I owe you a refund,” I told Mr. Leather.

“Forget it,” he said.

Isabella began her solo performance with a vaguely racist monologue. Then she stripped to her underwear and two nude men flanked her on both sides and they began rolling around on the floor.

“The fuck is going on?” I asked Mr. Leather.

“It’s art.”

The two men then turned around, spread their ass cheeks, and took a squat while Isabella pissed all over the stage. The performance ended with her reciting the lyrics to Motownphilly. When the curtains lowered, no one clapped.

“That was godawful,” I said to Mr. Leather. “I’ve never seen anything more disgusting in my life.”

But when I looked over, Mr. Leather was nowhere to be found.

I went back stage. Isabella was in her dressing room removing the clown makeup.

“Keep trying kid,” I told her as I lit up a cigarette. “You’ll get em next time.”

“Did you enjoy it?” she asked.

“No, my mother was Canadian so I’m partly offended. But keep your head up.”

“Oh,” she replied and slumped back in her chair. I walked over to cheer her up.

“Look,” I said. “If you’ve got a passion, you gotta keep chasing it. Sure you’re gonna hit some potholes in the road, but keep going. You’ll get there eventually.”

“There’s just nothing that I’m good at.”

“That’s not true. You’ve got talent. It just needs some finessing,” I said.

“Yeah I guess,” Isabella said while she was packing her things. “Say, who are you mister?”

I took a big hit off the flask and offered it to Isabella. “I got some bad news kid,” I told her.

She took the flask and waited for the news.

“Your father is dead,” I said.

A blank look came over her face. Then she took a drink. “Was it Michaela?” she asked.

“I suspect it was.”

Isabella sat back down and looked at the floor. “I knew this would happen.”

“Your life is probably in danger,” I said. I took out the wad of cash that Mr. Leather paid me and I handed it over. “You need to get out of town.”

“But there is nowhere I can go where they can’t find me.”

I took out a pin and paper and wrote down an address. “This is my father’s old cabin up in Big Bear. Lay low there and I’ll come and get you in a few days.”

“But who are you?” Isabella asked.

“I’m James, Private Detective.” I handed her a business card. “Also, one other thing.” Then I handed her a .38 special.

“You may need it.”

She packed the items into her purse.

“Go now,” I said. “There’s some things I got to take care of here. I’ll see you in a couple of days when I have more information.”

I drove back to the office for the night. The apartment was still burned to shit. I walked in the office, removed my coat and holster, turned on the light, and there was Michaela and Luigi.

“Sorry, business hours are over,” I said.

Luigi picked up a phone book and ripped it in half. Michaela stood up from the couch, again with a glass of brandy in her hand, and walked towards me in her form fitting gown.

“But darling,” she said. “We’re just here to check in on a case.”

When she got close, Michaela head butted me and I fell backwards into the filing cabinets. While dazed, I tried to stand up and reach for my holster. Luigi grabbed my hand and threw me over the desk.

“Couldn’t this have waited until morning?” I asked.

“You need to tell us where Isabella is going,” Michaela said.

Luigi picked me up by the shirt and held me to the wall. I thought that this was the end until Mr. Leather busted in with his Tommy Gun.

“Let him go,” he said to Luigi. “Or I’ll blow you ten new assholes.”

shoot me, deadly III: im begging to die

I woke up in Vito’s guest house. I was alone. Except for the large bald man standing over me.

“Who the fuck are you?” I asked

“Luigi. Michaela wants to talk to you.”

“Can you give me a minute? I still got morning wood.”

“Now”

Luigi escorted me through the garden to the large chateau. There, standing in the kitchen, was Michaela holding a glass of brandy.

“Vito died”, she said.

Luigi punched me in the stomach and I fell to the ground. While on my knees, I tried to catch my breath.

“My condolences, Mrs. Stararo,” I said.

“Don’t give me that shit. What happened to Vito? Where were you?” She asked.

“I think you know where I was.”

Luigi then socked me in the face. I got up and wiped the blood from my nose.

“Does it look like foul play? The man was 90 years old and drunk as hell last night,” I said.

Michaela downed the brandy.

“No,” she replied. “I need to know if I can trust you.”

For good measure, Luigi kicked me in the dick.

“I don’t know who any of you are! I was just hired by some man with a leather briefcase to find Isabella!” I said.

She waved Luigi out of the room and handed me a towel.

“Is this how you treat all your guests?” I asked.

“Sorry, a lot of people have wanted Vito dead for a long time. With him gone, I don’t know if they will come after me,” she said.

Michaela grabbed an ice pack and put it over my eye. “I’m going to need protection,” she said longingly.

“I just got my ass kicked. Are you sure you’re asking the right person?” I replied.

“Don’t go back to LA. Stay here with me.”

“I gotta find Isabella.”

“I don’t know where she is. But as long as she stays away from here, she’ll be safe.”

“I can’t take that chance.”

I grabbed my bowler hat and coat. “I’ll check on you soon. If things get tough, come to LA,” I said.

I took a shot of brandy and departed.

It was clear that Michaela was behind the death of Vito. I’ve seen these cases hundreds of times: wife gets jealous of husband, wife kills husband, wife takes husband’s place as head of a crime family. It’s a tale as old as time.

But one thing was clear: Isabella was certainly in trouble.

I arrived at the LA office. The secretary said that the strange man looking for Isabella was sitting in my office. I walked in and hung up my coat.

“Well well well Mr. Italian Leather, perhaps you have answers for me,” I said.

“That’s what we’re paying you for Jimmy,” he replied.

I sat down at the desk and put my feet up. “Who’s ‘we’? Vito’s dead,” I said.

“I know. I see that Luigi paid you a visit,” Mr. Leather said referring to my bruises. “She’s dangerous you know?”

“You don’t say?” I said sarcastically. “Do you really think this is my first rodeo?”

“I know that you’re a busy man, so I don’t want to take up too much of your time. But I want you to meet me on the campus of UC Irvine on Thursday,” Mr. Leather told me.

“You could have told me this by email,” I replied.

“I just wanted to make sure you got the message.”

Mr. Leather stood up and as he was walking towards the door, I said: “if you’re gonna make me drive all over SoCal, I’m gonna start charging by the mile.”

“Keep sending me the bill,” he said. Then he shut the door.

I told the secretary that I didn’t want any interruptions. I popped open a beer and a Vicodin and took a nap.

shoot me, deadly

I burned the apartment complex down while making nachos. After the court cases were settled and 20 people were made homeless, I needed the money.

A strange man walked into my office. He laid his briefcase on the desk and pulled out his revolver.

“I’m here to offer you a shot at redemption,” he told me.

“What’s the case?” I asked.

“You’re the worst private dick in town,” he said. “I need a moron, a dipshit, a loser, a complete piece of shit that would be willing to take the fall when things go south.”

I took out a cigarette and thought for a moment. Fuck it, I thought. I needed the paycheck.

“Give it to me,” I said.

“A mafiosos daughter has gone missing. She was last seen in San Diego. Here’s her picture.”

She looked like a woman that could eat your heart out and save room for dessert.

“What’s the dame’s name,” I ask.

“Isabella Maria,” he replied. “She was a spoiled brat. She dropped out of law school to pursue a career in phlebotomy but got caught up in the wrong crowd if you know what I mean.”

“Drugs?”

“No, improv comedy. She was terrible.”

“Well,” I said. “I’ll need a $5,000 deposit and a list of references.”

“Just send me the bill. Everything you need to know is in this briefcase.”

The briefcase was a Boccio. Italian leather. Not sure why he bothered. A Manila folder would have worked just fine.

“I didn’t get your name sir,” I said.

“My name’s not important. But what I represent is.”

Fuckin weirdo.

The man left and I told my secretary to not take any calls. I went back into the office and pulled out a handle of Everclear. After popping my Zeldox and Zoloft, I lifted the glass up to a picture of my dead mother.

“Welp, things are shit and they ain’t getting any better,” I said.

And down the hatch she went.