Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Fifty-Seven.
Tonight, we present Mulligan Smith and A Little Luc, Part 3 of 3
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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
In this final chapter, we join Mulligan Smith, as well as his current responsibility, Billy Winnipeg, as he completes an unpleasant bit of pro bono work.
Flash Pulp 057 – Mulligan Smith and A Little Luc, Part 3 of 3
Mulligan Smith set the cardboard cup back in the Tercel’s drink holder, having drained it of its last mouthful of coffee.
“I admit, normally I’m a man who enjoys a subtle touch, but I’m kind of done being subtle at this point.” As he talked, he rubbed his right eye with the palm of his hand.
“Sounds good to me,” replied Billy. As the large man exited the car, the vehicle shuddered under the shifting of his weight.
Winnipeg stood before a small brick house, its roof covered in peeling shingles. He took a moment to zip his jacket against the chill.
“Friggin’ kiddy fiddler could shovel a path at least,” he muttered.
Kicking his way through the snow, Billy approached the door and bounced a meaty fist off of it.
He thought he saw a brief flicker at the brown curtains that hung across the home’s bay window, but after thirty seconds, he was still waiting.
After sixty, Winnipeg heard a shout at the rear of the house.
Mulligan burst into view from around the corner. The sudden appearance was a surprise to Billy, as he hadn’t noticed the PI exit his vehicle – even more surprisingly, the hoodied man appeared to be carrying a child.
“GET IN THE CAR,” Smith instructed.
He made the passenger door just as Mulligan had finished depositing the small form on the rear seat.
The Tercel spit ice and gravel as it roared from the drive.
* * *
It was a week later, and they were still in the car, although they were now just west of Montreal.
“You didn’t need to hit him,” said Billy.
“I suppose it depends on how you define need,” replied Mulligan.
The pair were finishing up some Burger King while idling in the parking lot of a strip plaza.
Smith popped an onion ring in his mouth, and continued to speak as he chewed.
“I’m never going to see any of these expenses back, or at least not most of them. We still haven’t heard from your Mother, which leads me to believe that despite your Kung Fu antics, she’s back together with the guy you laid out, and I’m only going to get minimal pay for dragging you around.”
“I told you I’d pitch in when I was able,” Winnipeg said, his words muffled by a mouthful of whopper.
Mulligan took a long draw of his cola, pointedly not replying.
“If we’re lucky your Mom will convince your punching bag to drop the charges, and at least you can stop eating your way through my bank account.”
Billy chewed silently for a moment.
“You didn’t need to hit him is all I was sayin’,” he said after a thick swallow.
“Look, maybe I should have known better when I made some calls and couldn’t find any missing persons reports out for him, but I figured that might just be because his parents had done a thorough job of covering up the sale. How was I supposed to know we were dealing with a twisted gay midget prostitute looking to start a new life? He should have said something before I was forced to commit multiple felonies in carrying a wanted criminal -” Mulligan paused to glare at Winnipeg, “- across international lines.”
The little man had disappeared when they’d stopped for a bathroom break at the southern edge of the city, and it was only once they’d located their only lead, a biker named Jean Marco who’d acted as the small man’s front, that they’d managed to relocate their supposed rescue.
“Lil Luc said he was sorry, and I think he meant it. Poor guy has had a tough go of things,” Winnipeg replied. “You gotta admit, it was a creative con.”
The opening bars of Bowie’s Space Oddity broke from the car’s speakers, and, without further conversation, Mulligan increased the volume to a point just below discomfort.
After finishing his meal, and wiping grease and rogue ketchup from his fingers, he muted the rambling french DJ who seemed to spend more time talking than airing music.
“I’m not playing Russian roulette with the border again. It’s only 500 miles to your mom’s house, let’s go.”
He turned the radio back up, and Tom Petty began to mutter through the opening of a song Mulligan didn’t recognize.
Exiting the plaza, the Tercel climbed onto the highway, speeding westward.
Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.