“Simon, I’m sure Rok here didn’t pick his own name,” I said.
“Actually, I did,” Rok said. “Fits me don’t you think?”
“Rather smacks of sexual innuendo, I’d say,” Simon said. He turned to me. Apparently forgot why. Turned back to Rok.
“And I suppose your wife’s name would be something along the lines of ‘Vixen’?” he asked, suddenly having a difficult time keeping his eyes from working independently of each other.
“Nah, her name’s Areola,” Rok answered.
“Ah, that would have been my second guess.” And with that Simon fell off the stool.
“He’ll be okay,” Rok said to me. “Won’t be worth much for a few days, but he’ll be okay.” He leaned back onto the bar in front of me. “Now, maybe you can tell me what you want here?”
The first thing that popped up in my head was a strawberry shake. No lie. I didn’t have the balls to ask for one of course, but if I had I would have been justified since I really did have a hankering for one at the moment and he did just ask me after all. However, my vast experiences with establishments such as this coupled with my will to live told me that an order for a cool and fruity strawberry shake would probably be interpreted as a request for some inbred genetically defective redhead hillbilly to come over and beat the crap out of me.
So instead of actually sticking my head up my ass and petitioning a death sentence, or worse, my very own Barking Spider (or whatever other arachnid type potions that might lurk in the bowels of the recipe file), I decided to go straight up with the man. So I threw out the whole story to him; the D.C. suits, the renegade Russian farm animals – the whole nine yards, plus a couple of extra feet that, while completely fabricated and untrue, gave the story a little more pizazz.
When I finished, I stubbed out my cigarette in the ashtray – when the hell do I keep lighting these things? – and drained the rest of my beer. Old hindquarter arms, aka Rok, just stood there staring at me. I hoped that he was considering how to answer my request for information and not trying to decide how much of me he could stuff into a glove compartment. He finally reached up to his face and plucked out what was either a hair or a small fir tree from his nose.
“Come on in the back,” he said to me, motioning with his big ole’ Andre the Giant head. “Your friends ain’t going nowhere.” This was true. Jimmy’s drool line now ended in a pool large enough to stock with bass. Simon was still laid out cold on the floor; a pedestrian speed bump.
I followed Rok into the backroom and felt as though I had stepped into another world. Instead of a dirty slaughterhouse filled with meathooks and chicken feathers as I was expecting, it was as sterile as a bank waiting room. Same muzak too. Shiny clean linoleum flooring fit enough for Officer’s County on any ship covered the floor. Four high powered computers with big color monitors hummed in the corner around a set of desks, and a large status board showing the layout of the globe hung tacked to the wall, many countries an explosion of red colored pins. The computers certainly looked impressive, though I must admit that I feared them more than I understood them. As far as I was concerned, a hard drive referred to interstate travel in a Hyundai. ROM was something you mixed with Coke.
The room smelled of disinfectant and the air was cool. A backup diesel generator sat by itself, ready to start up should any loss of power occur.
“Wow,” I said, but it came out “Holy Shit.”
Rok smiled and winked at me. “Yeah, pretty impressive, ain’t it? My own private war room. Have a seat.” He motioned to a chair and we both sat.
“I was wondering when you’d show up,” Rok continued,” Stinky Pete said you would.”
“You know Stinky Pete?” I asked.
“Knew. Yeah, I did. Stink and me went back a long way. Desert Storm, Grenada, Somalia, Vietnam, the Six-Day War – ”
“What? Oh, no. Just looked like a good time. So we got circumcised, grabbed a couple cases of Coors, and hit the beach. Not real sure who we were fighting there, but we blew up a lot of shit.”
“Listen, me and Stink were following this moose fella since he attacked that first farm in Germany.”
“I thought it was in Spain,” I said.
“Yeah, Spain, Germany, whatever. What’s the difference? Can’t understand a damn thing they say either place. A foreign country, okay?”
“This Zodar dude is one bad piece of business. Got everyone scared. Brass don’t know what to do about it. So me and Stinky started listening in, getting the hi-pri dope and keeping track of this guy. Figured we stay on top of the situation and hang tight until the suits come and ask us for help. Everything’s going just like we planned and then last night Stinky disappeared and his place turns into a parking lot. Nobody knows nothing.”
“Oh come on, someone tore down his whole bar, carted the rubble away, and paved the whole thing in a single day? That’s just a bit fast don’t you think?”
“Work was contracted by Disney.”
“Oh. Well, I guess that makes sense. Also explains why you can’t get any answers about it. Disney’s tighter than an inner mob circle.”
“Don’t I know it. Anyway, I’m glad you finally showed up. I got some stuff that might help you nab this Zodar character.”
“What about you? Aren’t you still planning to go after him?’
“Well, you know, now with Stinky gone, someone’s got to mind the bar.”
It was refreshing to see where national security and the threat of global extinction of all animal life on the planet fit in to Rok’s priority list.
“Hey, no grog without a grogmeister,” I noted.
“Damn straight. I consider myself a pubic servant.”
“You mean public servant.”
“Nah, pubic. Kind of goes with the name, you know?”
“So, back to the moose. What kind of information do you have on him?”
“Not so fast, friend,” Rok said. “I don’t have much company back here now that Stinky’s gone. Let’s maybe you and me sing some Neil Diamond songs before we talk shop.”
“Stinky’s only been gone a day.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Still . . . “
I could see that Rok was in the mood for a duet and without much else going and a couple of beers in my gut I had to admit the prospect of a little two part harmony was inviting. Four hours and three six-packs later, we had successfully crucified several dozen top 40 favorites before going coma. The rest of the night was spent filling the room with the sonorous snores that sloppy drunks are known for.
And before you ask I’ll let you know right now that just because we were sleeping in the same room doesn’t mean that any of that "Brokeback Mountain" stuff was going on. So don’t even think about it.
Next Week: Chapter 11