Feather in the Tar: Splice

         “OH MY GOD,” Chaz shouts, “you, how can it be?”

         {Step Left}

         The OS responds, and moves towards Chaz. Who the hell is that, Frank thinks to himself. His hard drive spins up.

         {Find Video: itsalive}

         {Play Video}


         Inspector Sampson pulls the Ford up to a small house in need of paint. The ivory is coated in diesel, thin, and chipping in spots. The flowerbeds have gone wild in full bloom with spring wildflowers. Sampson taps the horn, and Lt. Cochran exits. She is dressed in a similar outfit, brown herringbone tweed slacks, light blue blouse with ivory buttons starting down the center and then veering off to the left, black fleece jacket, and brown boots, 8-eyelet, Dr. Martin. She walks to the passenger door, opens it, and sits in the front seat. She adjusts her gun, and turns toward the backseat.

         “Hello Lieutenant Cochran,” Seven says and nods.

         Her eyes widen and the corners of her lips turn down, “where’s our witness Mr. Bardo?”

         Sampson interrupts, “we are picking her up at a bar in North Beach, mum.”

         Sampson backs out of the driveway, and turns the car towards Avenue 19. Cochran sighs and turns back around.

         Her face is warming. She stares out the window without seeing the passing row houses. “She better be there.” She says to the windshield.

         “I’m sure she will be Lieutenant. It can’t be helped; her roommate is at home entertaining guests.”

         “I’ll bet she is.” Cochran says under her breath.

         “I trust her word.” Seven adds. “I’ve known her many years, and she’s never led me astray.”

         “Maybe Dick, but we’re busy. We’re investigating a serial murderer, and your faith is of little value.” Sampson says.

         “Unless you did it.” Cochran says and smiles.

         “Wouldn’t be the first time, the right/wrong-man’s gone to Saint Q.”

         Cochran chuckles, “it would sure clear our case load.” She smiles and turns toward Seven in the back seat. “What do you think Bardo?”

         “I trust you two as well.” Seven replies.

         The Ford pulls up to a brick and curb, alley. Out of place on Columbus full of tourists and Chinese, Bart’s is about 10 yards down the ally where a sign hangs over the red and green, large, heavy redwood door. The handle is copper, and after 50 years of sweat, dirt, and diesel, the patina is green from the bolts to muddy black with permanent finger size groves, a legacy of an old hard-working class neighborhood. The “B” pops, flickers, and brightens; the rest of the neon is out.

 “I didn’t know this place was still here.” Sampson says.

         “Yeah, mostly locals, mostly ex-pats from a flat life.” Seven adds as he opens the door and steps out. “Care for a drink?”

         “No.” Cochran shouts as she looks forward through the glass.

         “Ok, but Mel the bartender always demands one for the city.”


         “Hurry back Dick. My tank is low and the fog is coming in.” Sampson says.

         Seven turns and walks down the alley. He opens the door, and a faint cheer can be heard through the alleyway. Bart’s daughter runs the place now and always welcomes familiars and attractive tourists who stumble in with a cheer and hug.

         “Seven what’ll you have.”  Mel says and emerges from the bar.

         “I’m sorry Mel,” Seven says she approaches and wraps her arms around his waist. “I can’t stay. The Blues are waiting at the curb.”

         “Invite ‘em in. We always support our city centurions.”

         “No. They don’t appear to be in the mood. Have you seen Genie?”

         Mel looks to the end of the bar where it turns 90 degrees so any anxious patron can watch the door. Genie shoots the rest of her whisky and gets up from the stool. She smiles and motions toward the back, the restroom. Seven nods, and Mel continues to hold on to him.

         “A shot of Jameson? It’s on me.” She says and if by magic, the blink of an eye, she is behind the bar, pours a double, and places it on the bar in front of Seven. You look like you could use one, love.”

         Seven exhales. He can’t refuse his old friend. He chugs it in one breath. She was the first to accept him as a local when he moved here 20 years ago. Just a kid working for her dad, she got him his first job in the city as a dishwasher. They’ve been best friends ever since, and Seven returns the favor if she needs info from the street or to chase some douche bag away.

         “When are we going to hook up?” Mel asks. Seven inhales, exhales deeply, and reaches mint on the counter at the door. “You know I’ve loved you since we first met.”

         His faces warms up, his eyelids clamp down, as the corner of his mouth beams from ear to ear. “I love you too,” he says, but not too loud. Genie joins him at the door. Her powder and lipstick are fresh, and perfume, Channel or a facsimile wafts about her.

         “Ok, love. We’d make delicious babies, and we’re not getting any younger.” She says and meets them at the door.

         Still red, a bead of sweat forms on Seven’s head, “yes we would.” He hugs her again and kisses her behind her ear.

         She exhales, “don’t tease me. Come see me on Friday, I’ll be here till close.”


         Seven opens the car door for Genie, and she bends down–her skirt is a little too short, Seven turns his head to look down the street–she scoots over pushing her skirt under her as she goes. Seven enter on the curbside after her.

         Cochran turns and looks in to Genie’s eyes. “So this is our mysterious friend of a friend.” She says. “I’ve seen you somewhere before.”

         Genie offers her hand and introduces her self. “Genie Hallowell.”

         “The pleasure is mine, Lieutenant Inspector Emily Cochran.” She says, ambivalent. “And our driver is Inspector Noel Sampson.” He looks in the rearview and nods.

         “I don’t know what to say, I didn’t see….” Genie starts, she takes Seven’s hand.

         “Wait.” Cochran interrupts. “We’ll talk when we get to the station.”

         “Oh, Oh Ok. Do I need a lawyer?” Genie asks and grips Seven’s hand more tightly.

         “Do you?” Sampson inquires.

         “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.” Seven says to her. “I trust them. You can too.”

         Genie exhales and lets up her grip a little. Her hand is shaking and she looks out the passenger window as they pass a squad car and two officers enforcing a DUI test. A belligerent teenage driver steps out of a red BMW onto the sidewalk and falls down.

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