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03 November 2017 @ 09:35 am
_Nowhere Man_ part 5  

Eldon looked down at his beef tips. "No, this stuff is good. Careful, I don't think it's safe to offend a good cook."

"Ha, ha. No amount of growth spurt and plastic surgery could make that pig stupid Harlem look, act, or sound like you." The second cop smiled unpleasantly. "And for some strange reason you don't recognize me."

Eldon concentrated on the man. "Ah, I just didn't want to embarrass an old friend. Did I forget the voice coaching? Night school?" He dropped his voice and rumbled the last part. Opened his mental shields. Name, name, name. Give me your name.

"Where are you getting your money, Mr. Brown?"

"I'm working at Pat K's Junk Yard, fixing up and selling cars."

"Harlem Brown, sweating? Now that's harder to believe than plastic surgery. I figured he'd would stick to pimping his sisters."

Eldon contemplated that tidbit. Real sisters? The second cop was hard to read. Best to not leap for the bait. He ordered apple pie with ice cream instead.

"So, your medical guy decide what Frankie died of yet?"

"As we suspected, he was murdered. Hit by a car outside his home, dragged back inside, and left to go into shock and die."

"Humph. Well, check the SUV all you want. Although I doubt it's possible to hit a person hard enough to dent the beast."

"The bumper's too high off the ground." Cop two answered. Hildebrandt. Martin. Detective Inspector. Eldon sighed with relief, maybe he really could pull this off.

"Well, I'm mix and matching parts of Mercedes for a living. Are they the right height off the ground? Except this is a recent bit of entrepreneurhood. I don't think I had one running until a week after this Frenchy died."

"Frankie. Are you claiming to have a problem with names?"

"No, Detective Inspector Martin Hildebrandt, but I can be a bit slow to dredge them up sometimes. Before the Mercedes, I had a pair of Mustangs."

"I think the applicable term is 'too smart for your own good' Mr. Whatever your name may be. See you around." Both cops left.

Eldon sighed. "Nobody loves me." He picked up the bill the waitress had delivered, added a healthy tip and left the money on the table when he left.

For a nice restaurant, it was in a bad neighborhood. Eldon got lost, drove around the wrong corners and apparently trespassed on someone’s turf. At any rate a car followed him for a few blocks, driver and passengers delivering shouted insults, finger gestures and fired a couple of rounds. Eldon hastily erected a physical shield, so the poor battered SUV didn’t get banged up worse. Then he tossed a spell to disrupt electrical circuits at the other car and left them stalled and cussing in the middle of an intersection. Last thing he needed was to give the cops an actual reason to arrest him. This world was promising to be fun, he wanted to stick around for awhile.

Pat was beaming when he got back to the junkyard. "She ate breakfast. And lunch. She actually sat up and ate."

Eldon shed all his silly worries about someone else's murder victim, and basked in Pat's yo-yo moods while he installed glass and Pat grumbled over a couple of teenagers looking for parts to pimp their rides with.

"The things they do to perfectly good cars, these days. All paid for with drug money, of course."

"Would we get more for the merc if we . . . " Eldon broke off at Pat's glare. And phoned Lily with his new phone number. "In case you'd like to go for a ride or something."

"What an excellent idea. Jack and Margo have horses at a stable, and they're going to ride with Sindy and Russell, Harry's kids. Nine in the morning, tomorrow."

Eldon shivered at names too close to home. "You want Banana again?"

"Sure. I'll ask around about extra tack."

"Oh, no problem, I'll go buy some."

"Hang on." Mumbles. "Jack says there are several saddles for sale at the barn. Can you meet me at my parents house at 8:30?"

"You got it." Eldon worked on getting the Mercedes ready for the interior and paint that Pat could do alone, before he quit for the night. And drank a potion that would make him loose weight.

Banana and Star garnered double takes and admiration the next morning. Lily giggled at his dark curly hair.

"Warmbloods?" Margo circled the mares. "Beautiful legs. Straight as you could hope for."

"Well, they're not purebreds, no papers." Eldon played along with the appearance of normality while he looked over three saddles and found one that was both broad beamed and built to accommodate high withers.

"They're pretty fat." The little girl informed him.

"Margo's niece Sindy, spelled with an S, and Russell."

"Pleased to meet'cha. They're a bit fat, but they're also pregnant. Huh. I've been so busy, I nearly forgot. Got probably another month to go."

"Did you breed Muffin and Blazer as well?" Lily looked at the mares' sides.

"Oh, sure. No such thing as too many horses. I suppose I need to find them a pasture pretty quick. How far north do you have to go, to get out of the desert?"

Shrugs around. "There's irrigation around Palmdale and Lancaster. Or Bakersfield. Sacramento is very pretty, but probably further than you want to go."

Eldon nodded. "I probably ought to have left them in Houston for another year. Very green there, semi-tropical."

"That's definitely too far."

"What color is the stallion?" Sindy was all bright eyed about foals. Girls and horses.

"Banana's bred to a really bright palomino. Star to a black, Muffin to a different black and Blazer to a dark bay." Eldon had come prepared with a new saddle blanket and Star was already wearing a new bridle. The saddle fit both Star and Eldon and he left a check for the owner.

The kids were familiar with all the trails out over the adjoining state park and federal wildlife refuge. "Margo brings them out here all the time, camping. I come out a lot too. But I steal Margo's horse and make her ride Ice Vale." Lily nodded towards Jack's mount.

Jack was a good rider, and the tall mare he rode looked like she could outrun a greyhound. But for plodding along trails, she was high strung and a handful. When they got to the first park trail, it proved to be a wide well maintained dirt path, straight as an arrow for nearly a mile. Empty of other riders or other hazards.

Jack looked over at Eldon, eyes laughing. "Want to race?"

Eldon grinned. Humans weren't the only things that had been engineered on Comet Fall, and his horses definitely had a percentage of God Horse in their ancestry. Star's ears perked at the idea, and a second latter they were thundering down the path. Icy was faster on the straight away, but not by much. The climbing curves beyond slowed her, and Star caught her by the second mile. It took another mile of Star demonstrating the superiority of the Alien pintos before Eldon slowed up and let Icy catch them. They pulled the mares down to a walk, and let them breath and stretch their necks.

"Damn." Jack was eyeing the smug pinto. She was walking along calmly, a little head toss her only show of high spirits. "We're going to have to try that after she's recovered from foaling. I didn't think anything that bulky could go so fast."

Eldon grinned. "That's because there're no races for what she's best at."

"Really? What about . . . " They talked British steeple chasing, three-day-events and cross country races a hundred miles long while the rest of the group caught up to them. They were all suitably impressed.

"Banana's not that fast, is she?" Lily leaned and pet the mare's neck. "She was sweet as could be, didn't try to bolt after you."

"Star's the fastest by a bit. None of them are too bad. I almost hate to admit that they're actually bred to be harness horses."

"Like Friesians?" Sindy was looking hungrily at Star. "Did you breed them to stallions like in 'Lady Hawk?' That is the most beautiful horse in the World!"

Russell rolled his eyes. A nice sturdy boy, riding a small chestnut gelding with nice manners.

Sindy's gelding was bay, and equally well mannered.

"I know these horses, but not a whole lot about other breeds. What are those two?"

"Connemara pony and quarter horse crosses."

They told him all about the various horse breeds as they climbed higher into the dry mountains. They stopped at noon to loosen cinches and let the horses relax while the humans ate. Then they picked up a cross trail and wound down and finally came up on the stables from the south.

It had been a beautiful day and he'd gotten to talk to Lily. Life was good.

Checking on the junkyard, he found Pat beside himself with excitement. "Eva's going to come home for a little bit tomorrow, to see how she does." He eyed Eldon. “The nurses are trying that elixir of yours on everyone there with Alzheimer’s symptoms.”

Eldon grinned. “Tell them to add red wine, and it’ll go further.”

He also found the two policemen looking over the mixed up Mercedes.

"Evening gentlemen. Looking good, isn't she?" Eldon opened the door and checked out the soft golden brown leather seats and dark brown carpeting that Pat had installed. He turned the ignition switch on and checked that all the lights worked correctly. "Pain in the ass if I'd crossed right and left turn signal wires under there. So? You think this is the bumper that offed your former movie star?"

"No. It was a rear bumper, and an L-model. Got any of those?"/// Doubt they could be so precise///

"Sold the last one four days ago." Eldon frowned. Sindara's Mercedes with the damaged back bumper was an L model. Lily scowled every time she mentioned the accident, and mentally grumbled, "I swear she backed into me." Could that have been to cover up damage Sindara dare not get repaired without a good explanation?

Eldon shrugged. It’s none of my business. I just got here, don’t know anything about anything. He glanced guiltily at the script and picked it up. Tomorrow he needed to be word perfect, and emphasis perfect and expression perfect and position and stance and . . .

In full Atlantean grab, Eldon stalked forward to glare at the bound trio on the floor. He turned to frown, as if at a sound, leaned a bit, and jumped as something whisked by his head, missing by a hair. It hit the stage floor hard, an ordinary hammer.

The director yelled “Cut!” followed by some nasty curses. A man was sent up to see that no other tools or debris had been left overhead.

“Bad enough to ruin a scene. If I lost another actor, all the local astrologers would be declaring me cursed. This isn’t Macbeth, for God’s sake. Take two. Positions, camera, action . . .”

Three more tries and the director declared the fight scene wrapped. Stage hands converged on the stage while the rest of them moved to the next big underground scene. Divested of his strange costume, Eldon watched from the other side of the camera, fascinated to watch the pieces of what would be a single smooth scene taking place.

Jack was onstage, walking through a piece. Eldon sauntered up to stand beside the other Atlanteans.

The four men gave him pretty chilly looks.

“You superstitious, Harlem?” Damien Green looked disgusted. “You sure fell into a sweet spot, didn’t even have to work for it. That bit of good luck could have put you in the hospital, today.”

Eldon shrugged, keeping his body language non-confrontational, and his expression mildly pleasant.

Felipe Caesar flashed Green a surprised glance. “The hammer? Hell, if it’d hit Eldon’s head, it probably would have killed him.”

“Well, it didn’t, so we’d better stop looking so wistful.” Havier Matheson cleared his throat. “Not that we don’t want to see you hospitalized, Brown, because, well, we all wanted that role. I still don’t believe Jacob grabbed a complete amateur for such an important spot.”

“If you screw up, if this movie bombs because the bad guy’s a flat-out lousy actor, you’ll never get another role.” Christian Kleckner looked like he was hoping for it.

Eldon blinked. Snorted. Burst out laughing. “Where were you four when the hammer fell? Or are you all going to give each other alibis? And do any of you happen to know any of the local gangsters?” He snickered. “Wouldn’t that be funny? With all of my history, to get murdered for a part time job I took for the fun of it? Maybe I should play detective, and find out.” He subdued something close to a giggle and wiped his eyes.

The four of them looked disgusted and turned away from him as the director called for quiet on the set.

Eldon eyed the other watchers. Sindara was the obvious one to ask questions of, first. So maybe he should talk to her last, get a good idea of what had been happening where, so he’d know if she was lying.

He eyed the other women. And felt his grin widen. Yes, He really needed to get to know these women. Err, not that way, though, else Lily will give me the heave ho. And what the heck am I doing chasing a nice girl?


“Err, none of you were dating Frankie, were you?” Eldon eyed his plain, black coffee dubiously. It wasn’t good enough to have cost so much. Not to mention what he’d paid for the ladies' lattes and mochas.

ekuah on November 3rd, 2017 05:13 pm (UTC)
"No. It was a rear bumper, and an L-model. Got any of those?"/// Doubt they could be so precise///

From a bumper imprint alone? No.
But if there is anything else left behind, yes.
A tiny fragment of a rear light could give you not only the manufacturer and model but also maybe the trim package.
Leave a flake of car paint behind and they could probably tell you when the car left the factory (if it's still the original paint).