July 30th, 1975. A day that will live in “Meh”famy. That’s when Mobian dropped me off. The where was some place called Bloomfield.
“You should do the talking,” he said as we walked. “My accent won’t meet their expectations.”
“Who? About what?” I asked. We were walking along a city street. “You need to give me adequate information here. Isn’t this stuff really time sensitive?”
Mobian’s cane clicked along the sidewalk beside him as we walked. We’d parked the timeship by a dumpster. I insisted it should be disguised as a phone booth that no longer functions. Mobian didn’t get it, but it seemed innocuous enough of a disguise that he went with it, and something way more plausible to exist over here. I guess he could have left it invisible, but then how would we find it again?
The time traveler looked into the sky, taking in the warm weather. “We are going to meet a couple of men named Anthony Provenzano and Anthony Giacalone.”
“Must have been a sale on first names,” I commented.
“They are members of the predominant organized crime outfit of this time. They are meeting today with James Riddle Hoffa.”
“Wow, Hoffa? You should have just said the name. I’d have had a little better idea what we’re doing. Need me to whack these guys? Put them on ice? Give ’em a pair of concrete shoes? Not sure that’s how things were supposed to go. What do you think, how are we gonna fuck this pig?”
“Fuck this pig?” he asked.
“Stomp this puppy. Pop this pimple. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er. How you want them dead?”
“No, they don’t die. That is outside the scope of our operation. James Hoffa finds himself in possession of an artifact he is not supposed to have. The group we are working against gave it to him for some reason I have not yet determined. It spreads a subtle psionic suggestibility field. I believe it takes practice to wield effectively, but a master can convince even the most obstinate to change their mind. You need to convince Mr. Provenzano and Mr. Giacalone that Mr. Hoffa is not coming. Then, steal this artifact from Mr. Hoffa, kill him, and leave we shall leave his body somewhere it won’t be found.”
“I have an idea or two there that makes use of your timeship, if that’s acceptable,” I told him. I was thinking we might dump his body off far enough back that he ends up in a museum. Someone thinks they’re putting an early cave human on display, turns out they’ve got Jimmy Hoffa’s body right there where anyone can view it. I don’t know if I’d call it the perfect crime, but I find it hilarious.
Unfortunately, having not downloaded the entire internet of this Earth into my brain, my ability to look up anymore about Jimmy Hoffa’s life and disappearance put me at a disadvantage. That’s something I made a note about, because Mobian’s compartmentalization and odd behavior have stuck out to me. Even made sure to eat separately, to keep myself from being poisoned. It’s the 70s, though. Could be all kinds of stuff in the food around here. I was going to make a joke about mercury or lead, but some of the pumps I saw the other day a year ago went out of their way to show off if they had unleaded gasoline. Just think, someday the kids I saw walking along those streets might grow up to complain about a First Lady telling them to eat their veggies instead of a block of heavy metal.
Anyway, that’s why I had to ask where we were even meeting the Anthonies.
“The Red Fox,” Mobian said. He stopped in front of a building and pointed to a sign on the wall.
Ah, we were there. The Red Fox. I looked over at Mobian. “Any preferences how I get rid of them?”
“Try to keep the timeline as intact as possible. No deaths, no major industries.” He nodded and held the door open for me.
I thought about it, and headed in to see- holy fucking shit, it was like turning on an episode of that Sopranos show. I swear, one of those guys just played himself on it. Neither was young or all that fun to look at, so I set the whole “Seduce and KO,” tactic on the backburner. I’m not ruling it out. If they’re connected, they now a pretty young thing like myself isn’t above playing around to get access to money.
“Hello, sirs,” I said, walking over.
“Look at the flower child here, Tony,” said the skinny one.
“This ain’t Woodstock, sweetheart,” the fat one said.
“Yeah, I know.” Look at that, knocking them the fuck out moved on up the queue fast there. Practically zoomed to the front of the line. I leaned forward to put my hands on their able, coincidentally giving them both a view of the ladies. “Mr. Hoffa sent me. He wants me to make sure you understand his commitment to this project. Flower child, eh? Who wants to plant a few poseys?”
I’d say they were gentlemen after that, but they weren’t. They drove me over to some little motel, all the while talking about the things they wanted to do to me. The Fat Tony was like, “I wanna pick you up and just use you to jerk myself off inside you.”
Skinny Tony had different preferences. “I hear you hippie broads do fun new stuff. Every had a backdoor man?”
They walked me into the room together. I walked out a lone a couple of minutes later. Skinny Tony had shards of a broken lamp in his hair and was pinned under the bulk of Fat Tony, whose nose was about as sideways as I could make it. In light of Mobian’s wishes, they were both alive and would still recover. They wouldn’t like it. And if these mob boss types were anything to go by, they’d be none too eager to tell their guys about the time a lil lady like myself kicked their asses hard enough to make them taste hemorrhoids. I’m getting real good at tying people up with bedsheets these days.
Mobian was waiting for me back at the restaurant when I pulled up in the car I decided to borrow from the Tonys. “Everything go well?” he said, smiling.
I raised my eyebrows. “Nothing permanently debilitating. When’s Hoffa get here?”
Mobian looked to the clock on the wall. “Soon.” We sat around waiting, having a drink while we were at it. I still had some petty cash on me from the hunt for the Zodiac. I knew Hoffa walked in from how Mobian held his hand over my wrist, but didn’t touch it. He looked to me and whispered, “Not yet.”
I leaned in close. “Say the word.”
“He has to make a call first. Look and see if you spot anything strange on him,” Mobian suggested.
“Strange how?” I asked. “I’m new to the 70s.”
“Look for something emitting bright lights or shiny with gold. These things are often flashy. There may be gems.”
Hoffa checked around the restaurant, then sat down at a table to wait. He gave it about 10 minutes, then got up and walked to use the phone in the back of the place. Mobian nodded. “The word.”
I got up and walked over to Hoffa. “Hey there. I got a message for you from the Tonys.”
“Stop,” he said. His forehead glowed subtly, like it had a square Z made of cubes out of Tetris, but purple. My mind burned. I winced, growling. “Stop!” he said again, another pulse of violet bursting from Jimmy’s forehead and the strange thing inside. My feet planted firmly in the ground.
“Where are they?” he asked. The question gave me a migraine, like a spike driven into my brain. Which is inaccurate, come to think of it. Having had knives and such stabbed into my skull before, I can confirm that you don’t actually feel pain in the grey matter. The brain organ lacks pain receptors on it. The skin, muscle, and skull can feel plenty of pain, but not the thinking shroom itself.
“Tied up in a motel room,” I told him for whatever reason.
“The artifact is inside you,” Mobian said, stepping up behind me. “Truly impressive.”
Being a homo machina comes with awesome natural defenses. Being such a prominent killer means if I run into a telepath, it’s usually someone really powerful.
Jimmy Hoffa sized up Mobian. “You’re that British Friend of Dorothy they told me about.”
I looked over at Mobian, who frowned and asked. “Who are they?”
I felt them approach before I could see them. I turned to look as a couple of businessmen walked in wearing gas masks. Didn’t have a clue who they were, but I figured I’d wait until everyone got close. Based on context clues, I figure I’d been told to stop walking, not to stop punching. I’m eager to get started.
“No violence,” Hoffa’s voice said, with a feeling like things were bursting in my skull. “Go ahead on and sleep,” he said.
That was, without a doubt, the most angry I’ve ever fallen to sleep. I was so damn mad, I woke up swinging. Punched a poor waitress right between the legs and doubled her over. Lucky I didn’t lose a hand in there.
“Stupid drunk bitch!” she said. “Get out of here, fucking loser peacenik druggie!”
I believe the 70s and its people have gotten entirely the wrong impression of me, but I wasn’t inclined to explain at the time. I jumped up from where I’d been stowed in the women’s bathroom. “Those guys earlier, with the gas masks, and the other guy, where did they go?”
“What gas masks?” she said. The woman was holding a mop and raised it up as if she would hit me with it.
“What about the old British dude with the cane?”
“That weirdo. He and the other guy left hours ago.”
I cocked my head to the side and rushed outside. It was night now. So… yeah. My stolen car was still there, so I hopped and tore off for where we’d left the timeship. I stopped and ran around to the back of that store, but the phonebooth was gone. I felt around the space hoping it was invisible instead. When that didn’t work, I opened the dumpster and called out, “Mobian! You in there?”
I got no response. Not from him, at least. I came up with my own when I realized I seemed to have been stranded in 1975 with no clue what happened to Mobian. I wish I could say it was creative, but the jist of it is a lot of “Fucks” and throwing the dumpster over the building.
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