< The Detective Store >



<I hold the plastic bag at Dupont Circle P 21,> I think. I grip plastic bag.

Sweat drips, drips, drips from face. Sweat pours from body pores.

<|Humidity is.>

I wipe face with shirt bottom and pull shirt from body.

Twelve cicadas fly, land, fly around the door frame. One, two, three, four fly, hover and land on door frame.

I swat shirt at cicadas. I look behind, think, <|No shades,> look forward, say, ,,I am sorry, Mustang.''

Solid oak door is etched with concentric squares.

Security pad's red light blinks.

People laugh. A deep voice says, ,,Come back, Baby.'' High heels tap sidewalk. Cicadas buzz. People talk, and hot dogs sizzle.

Hot dogs fume.

A deep voice says, ,,Come to me.''

I wipe forehead and neck. I wave hand before black box. <|Congov.>

A beep beeps, and a buzz buzzes.

<|Secret Sentry.>

The oak door pops open.

The twelve cicadas fly.

<|Mustang.> I fold handkerchief and slide handkerchief in shorts' pocket and push door.

The hinges squeak.

I step through doorway and close door. <|A false sense of security.>

A beep beeps.

Inside is cool.

Cicadas fly around the staircase and land on the floor.

<|Why haven't you gone extinct?> I flick cicada from forearm, say, ,,The ground is rubber and mire.''

The cicada hits wall, falls to floor.

<|...Like everything.> I lift foot and aim foot at cicada and stair.

Cicada crunches.

I climb stairs.

Sweat drips from chin.

The lights are dim.

<|...Brighter than normal...>

The wood stairs creak. Staircase rails bend under pressure from hand.

<|What's around the corner? Probably nothing. There isn't...What am I thinking?> I climb stairs, think, <|Is Psycho, the others, company in Mustang's apartment? He will want to be involved. Can I talk him out of it?>

I step upon stair, step upon stair, step upon stair, step upon stair, think, <|No blacksuits, shades,> step upon stair, think, <|No drones,> step upon stair...step. <|No people talking loud.> I step...step.

Door with golden 1 is. The stairs creak the silence.

Sweat drips.

<|Mustang should be home.> I step on floor and walk by door with a golden 1 and step left.

Floor creaks, and Bhangra sounds.

I step left and step left. <|Psycho.> I step upon stair, step upon stair, think, <|Am I?> step upon stair. I step upon stair, upon stair, think, <|Lost in too much data,> step...step. <|Believe Psycho real.> I step upon stair. <|Government may not know.>

Bhangra sounds surround.

<|Mustang home.> I smile. <|No visitors.>

A chimta bangs Go-Go.

Skin cools.

Sweat drips, drips, drips, spreads over body.

<|Congov, global know signal?> I press finger against button on door. I think, <|One, two, three, four.>

I release finger from button.

The plastic door pops open.

A high tone rings in mind.

Go-Go percussion is.

I inhale. <|Granola bars.> I walk into apartment.

The window behind the Matrix YouI is closed. Plastic table between sofa and Matrix YouI is covered with wire, a plate, two cups, sunglasses, a tie, hand cuffs.

Light casts from kitchen through arch upon half of the Matrix YouI, sofa and plastic table.

,,DICK?'' says Mustang's bass voice above the music.

Bathroom door is shut. Hall light is off. Office door and bedroom door are open. Belt, boots and gloves lay on hall floor.

<|Same as morning.>

I pull laces and pull shoes from feet. ,,MUSTANG.'' I holler above a dhol in a Go-Go loop in the beat circle of Go-Go chimta.

<|Where's Psycho?>

Dhol and dholaki journey Go-Go to an iktar grove and a siren's song.


Skin chills and ripples bump. Mind feels euphoria.

<|Probably by window.>

The siren's song begins a descent.

Mustang walks from the kitchen to the living room, <|To me,> says by ear. ,,Here.''

<|Kitchen too small for hiding.>

Mustang slowly steps back with a dhol break and dholaki journey Go-Go. He leans against arch between living room and kitchen.

<|Psycho could be Mustang.>

Go-Go journey is joined by a run of a dholaki and a tabla.

<|Congov?> I swing the door shut.

A low tone rings in mind.

Bhangra sonus fades from a shout to a whisper.

Mustang grabs a towel hung over shoulder, whips towel.

<|He's checking me out.> I grab towel, pull towel, wipe neck and face, hang towel around neck. I roll sweaty shirt into a ball and cock arm to throw.

''No,'' says Mustang. Mustang grabs the shirt with index finger and thumb and steps closer.

We kiss.

I release shirt.

Mustang sniffs, ''You stink. I can smell you through the granola.''

,,Yes, I do stink.''

Mustang says to me, ,,How's the run?''


Mustang lifts and looks at the shirt, turns and walks to kitchen, says, ,,Where did you buy the plastic bag?''

A high tone rings.

,,I was running across Taft. Blew up. I swiped at it.''

A low tone rings.

Mustang walks from kitchen and says, ,,No holes.''

,,I saw none,'' I say.

,,Good.'' Mustang grabs the bag. ''Clean.'' He flattens then folds the bag. Mustang leans against kitchen door frame. ''How's business?''

<|Congov actor, psych injection?> I look at Mustang and smile. ,,Difficult.'' <|He does smile, wink like.>

,,Difficult means work. Work is good,'' says Mustang.

<|Talks like Mustang.> ,,A Gee Forty-three Killing Machine came into the office tonight.'' I feel and think, <|Thought Cap.>

Mustang laughs. <|Like he finds funny.> His chest quivers then stops. He says, ,,You can tell me you don't want to watch the Cowboys win.''

I stand and stare.

His look becomes a stare. Eyes lose their shine and joy. ''A Gee Forty-three.''

,,Yes,'' I say.

Mustang pivots head up and down.

I say, ''I need mom, dad and you safe.''

Mustang stands still. His mouth closes.

<|Not happy.> I say, ''What I have is not a real case.'' <|He's concerned.>

,,We.'' His brow wrinkles. ''What is the killing machine?''

,,A Gee Forty-three Killing Machine with the name Psycho,'' I say. I walk from Mustang through hall into office. <|Is it in the box?>

The desk is clear. The dumb bells are under desk.

Mustang says, ,,Psycho?''

I walk to desk. ,,Psycho.''

Desk is against wall and window. A candle is on window seal by flint and steel.

I grab match from tray, strike match tip against desk surface and light candle wick.

Fire ignites the red candle wick. Candle light shines.

I stare at clear desk. ''Where's the things on the desk?''

Mustang says, ,,In the Things box.''

<|If that is not Mustang, it is near perfect injection, actor.>

Mustang stands. ''Psycho. Do you believe it to be a fake?''

<|Play.> I look through window.

The street lamps flicker. The people stand, eat, talk, stare around cafe. Stagecoaches, rickshaws, bikers, skaters roll. Flame light glows from below.

,,I have thought it to be real and to be fake. I have reasoned the killing machine is real because I have enough memories and thoughts that are reality. I have created a reality with it.''

Mustang says, ,,It's real.''

,,Real enough.'' I look at Mustang and nod. ''Difficult.''

Mustang stands by door. He stares. Plastic bag dangles from fingers. ,,If difficult then it is ours.'' He winks.

Candle light dances with shadow.

I make eye contact with Mustang. ,,Yes, we.'' I step from window to Mustang to the closet to a box. ''I'm worried about mom and dad, you.'' I look from a box to stare with Mustang.

,,I will get them out of the city,'' says Mustang.

I drag a box from closet, sit on chair and open the box.

''How much?'' says Mustang.

Sweat drips into the box.

I look at Mustang. ,,There's no contract.''

,,Free,'' smiles Mustang. His voice raises pitch. ''Free! For us? Weren't you complaining to me yesterday that you need money.'' His arms fall to sides with the words. ''Another charity case?'' He smiles, winks.

<|He's trying to calm me down.> I lift lip corners. <|This real.> ,,I am not employed.''

He looks at eyes. ,,We need to move.''

,,Yes.'' <|Always relaxed.> I inhale and exhale. ''A killing machine floated in to the office today.'' I look down.

Tools set in box. <|Like a Mustang puzzle.>

I look at Mustang. <|Probably believes me to be fake.>

Mustang looks at me. His arms hang loose at sides. He slowly nods. ,,A Gee Forty-three Killing Machine.''

,,The Gee Forty-three calls self Psycho.''

,,Psycho,'' says Mustang.

I stare Mustang's eyes. ,,Psycho can read our minds. There may be a distance limitation.''

Mustang does not move. His jaw clenches. He stares.

''Psycho can see and hear anything within one thousand yards and maybe more. Psycho is watching us. Psycho is reading our minds. Psycho is able to be invisible. Psycho claims to be alive. Psycho wants me to help it enter a contractor government building, so Psycho can show future killing machines life.''

,,A global, a company?'' says Mustang.

,,The company maybe. Global with money. Maybe. Could be both. The government either has not been told or.'' I look down, then up, think, <|Working with.> I wedge hand between wires and pads and say, ''Or is working with the company. Or the government is lost in all the data and hasn't read the obvious warning. They may not care, or want the events to occur.'' <|I don't know.> I look at box.

Sweat drops into box.

I look at Mustang. I half-smile.

Mustang pivots head up and down. His strong jaw flexes its muscles.

I shake head and look at box. ''More worried about keeping everyone alive.'' I grab wire wrapped cloth. <|If dead?> I pull wire wrapped cloth from plastic box.

Wires, rods, cards, plugs shake and shuffle.


Silence is.

,,So do we call it a he or a she,'' says Mustang. He is still. He inhales through nose and exhales through mouth. He looks. <|At me.> We make eye contact and hold our stare.

,,Psycho. The Gee Forty-three calls itself Psycho.''

,,Psycho.'' Mustang smiles. His head pivots side to side. ''That's...That's fitting. I guess. Why Psycho? What do we need to do?''

,,You need to leave the city with mom and dad.'' I nod. ''I need to leave the city with Psycho or prevent Psycho from killing.''

Mustang says, ,,Why Psycho?''

I look into box. ,,Bad programing and limited data resources. It's logical. Possible. It could be a poorly thought and written reason.''

,,What do we need to do?'' says Mustang.

,,Go to Larry's Fajitas to meet what Psycho calls Primary Targets, the clue people. Then I am to help the Primary Targets return to a building on K before midnight.'' I look at Mustang. ''The Primary Targets give access to Psycho to enter building on K.'' <|Mustang questioning.>

Mustang peers, says, ,,Okay. I go to Larry's Fajitas. Then go to your parents.''

<|May not believe me.>

Mustang says, ''You're going to use that to hide your bald spot.''

I look at Mustang.

We stare.

,,Yes,'' I say. I pivot head side to side.

Mustang pivots head side to side. ,,I am not leaving the city.''

I set the Thought Cap on the desk. ,,The case is...''

,,A trap.'' Mustang stares.

,,Yes.'' I close the box lids and fold them under each other. ''Yes.'' I slide box into closet with leg and foot. Eyes are focused on Mustang. ''Time gives options and hope.''

,,Us.'' Mustang with eyes wide says, ''Us.'' Mustang relaxes eyes and levels head. He stares. His face is soft, but firm.

I think. <|Please leave.> ,,Us.'' I say.

Mustang stares. ,,What do we do?''

I say, ,,I need to confirm Psycho exists or that this is a trap. You tell my mom and dad, get them out. You leave the city.''

,,They're adults,'' says Mustang. ''They can get out after told.''

I inhale, think, <|True.>

Mustang says, ''After Larry's Fajitas, I will tell them to get out of town. Tell people around.''

I slowly exhale. My voice breaks from dryness, ,,Go to Larry's Fajitas. I will arrive after you. If people are there named Betty Washington and Richard Taft. If they exist.''

,,They offer clues?'' he says.

I grab Thought Cap from desk. ,,They are how Psycho enters the building on K before midnight.''

,,Which one.'' He says, ''Which building?''

,,Only know it's Secret Sentry.''

,,The case is a trap.'' Mustang looks at me. He doesn't move.


Mustang clears throat. He shifts and settles. ,,We should be thinking about Psycho.''

,,I am. And of the other Gee Forty-three killers that will be.''

His head pivots up and down. ,,If real, likely.''

We stare.

<|Feels real.>

A buzzer rings.

Mustang turns, walks from room, says above buzz, in hall, ''I will be at Larry's Fajitas.''

I toss Thought Cap to desk top. ,,Granola bars,'' I say, take off socks, shorts and jock.

The buzzer stops.

<|If Mustang...>

Mustang says from kitchen to room with a calm voice, ,,After Larry's Fajitas I'll ride to your parents house.''

,,Thank you, Mustang.'' I wipe towel upon body. I wipe sweat from face, head and neck and armpits. I flip towel over back, grasp other end and wipe back. I wipe balls, between legs, ass crack. I flick towel over door, reach into closet. <|The thin suit.> I grab jock and strap jock on.

Pan clatters on stove top.

The black thin suit and tie and socks and white thin shirt hang on hanger.

<|Are you near?> I think.

,,Granola bars,'' says Mustang.


Pants slide over legs, thigh and waist. I fasten pants' buttons.

''Can you please hang the towel on the wash hooks?'' says Mustang. ''And close the window.''

I whip-pull towel from door.

Mustangs lunges. <|At me.>

We grapple. Our muscles pulse. We push each other back, off balance. We stare. Our faces near.

Mustang smiles, says, ''You give.''

,,No.'' I feel my fulcrum shift.

I lower chest. I am level with Mustang.

Mustang's arm muscles flex, pulse.

I push. Arms stiffen.

Body is tense.

His jaw is tight.

I push, balance.

Mustang heaves.

I step to side.

Mustang lunges forward.

I hold Mustang. ''No time.''

Mustang's muscles relax with mine. He looks to me. ,,I had you.''

I wink. ,,Maybe.'' I pick towel from floor, wipe chest and armpits with towel, walk to window, reach through frame and hang towel on hook beneath perforated overhang. I close window.

A low tone is.

He walks away. ,,It's good to see you lighten the mood.''

,,We all know you need to know it's me.'' <|Psycho?> I slide black socks over feet. <|Maybe it was Psych Injection?> Arms slide through white shirt arms. I look through window. <|No Psycho voice. Injection faded?>

Night is. Street lights dim then brighten. <|No moving shadows.>

,,What does a Gee Forty-three look like?'' says Mustang from kitchen.

A high tone is.

,,Human head sized. Hundreds of finger sized limbs that extend and contract.'' I step through doorway. ''Psycho floats.''

The gloves, boots and vest are missing from hall. The handcuffs and action rod are not on table.

I slide on the wing tipped shoes, tie laces, walk into the kitchen and stand before Mustang.

Mustang is dressed in vest, utility belt, pants, boots. He stands by window and pulls stiff dry rags and towels from hooks beyond window. He closes window.

A low tone is.

Kitchen fan spins. Heat is.

Mustang says, ,,Is Psycho a Republican or Democrat?''

I smile. ,,Both.''

Mustang looks at me, smiles and pivots head side to side. ,,Both?''

Smiles fade.

,,Yes,'' I say.

He walks pile of rags and towels to chairs and lays the rags and towels over chair. ,,What can the limbs do?''


Mustang stares at me. ,,And what's.'' Mustang cocks head to side and stares away.


,,Reason for not killing?'' says Mustang.

,,Psycho was asked for a name by a child during question subprocess of kill process. The question process is still answering questions.''

Mustang opens cabinet and pulls out a bottle with water. He reaches and grabs a cup. Mustang pours water to cup and looks and says to me, ,,Water.''


Granola bars are on steel grate by stove top.

I grab a granola bar.

He grabs a cup and pours water to cup.

The granola bar is warm.

I bite a granola bar. I chew.

,,Trap, trap, trap, trap, trap, trap,'' says Mustang as he puts bottle of water into cabinet. Mustang drinks water.

I swallow.

,,Trapped,'' I say.

He stops mid drink and looks at me, swallows, says, ,,Yes.'' He swallows, nods head.

<|Cool and calm Mustang.>

Mustang sips water, swallows.

<|Mind all action. No thought.> I smile. ,,I may not even be creating an A.I. Detective.''

,,No,'' says Mustang. He drinks water. He steps from kitchen. ''Do you believe Psycho is real?'' says Mustang.

I slightly shake head. ,,I don't know if Psycho exists.'' I take cup. ''I trust with time I will know more about the trap. It will be too late.''

I drink water.

Mustang says, ,,Even if you make it to the gate, what then?''

I say, ,,Get arrested or swim through,'' bite, chew granola.

,,Or killed,'' says Mustang. ''What about Larry's Fajitas? Congov?'' His forehead wrinkles. ''Do you think Psycho will kill there?''

I swallow and say, ,,Maybe.''

Mustang says, ,,What time, what's the approach?''

,,Now. No weapons. Scout the area. Listen to people. Try finding these, what I call, clue people. They're congov. Secret Sentry. Names are Richard Taft and Betty Washington.''

Mustang smiles. ,,Find two contractors at Larry's Fajitas. It's easy to find two. But the right two...'' He pulls back his blonde hair behind head, pulls band around hair, loops, twists, snaps band around pony tail. ''Richard Taft and Betty Washington.''

Sweat covers forehead and chest.

Mustang steps into kitchen. ''Richard Taft and Betty Washington.'' He drinks the water and sets cup in sink. He holds spectacles with dark lenses and hooks dark lens frames upon utility vest. ''Now I am ready.''

I say, ,,I'm walking.''

Mustang's face softens. ,,I'll bike. Be there in minutes. Then to your mom and dad's after.''

We walk from kitchen.

,,Careful,'' I say.

He smiles, says, ,,I am.'' He opens door and walks out.

A high tone rings.

The door closes.

A low tone rings.

I walk to office, grab jacket, blow out candle, grab tie, roll tie to a cylinder and slide tie cylinder in to jacket pocket, toss and hold jacket over shoulder. <|Handkerchief.> I walk to window, open window.

A high tone is.

<|No.> I walk to kitchen grab a handkerchief from stack on chair. I fold and slip handkerchief into pocket. ,,Psycho, are you there?'' I grab towel.

,,Yes,'' says Psycho. The voice is faint, but firm.

,,Where have you been, Psycho?'' I step from kitchen to living area to door while wiping sweaty chest and armpits with towel. <|Do I have everything?> I look around couch and table, the Matrix YouI. <|Everything.>

Psycho says, ,,Psycho has been above Dick for the duration. Psycho has intercepted the drone signals. Psycho needed Dick to know Mustang is real.''


I feel and think, <|Thought Cap. Window.>

I walk to the office, hang towel over door, hang jacket on door handle, close window.

A low tone is.

I fasten thin shirt buttons. I unfasten pants, tuck shirt under pants, fasten pants.

Thought Cap is on desk.

I think, <|No,> step, grab jacket, walk to entrance, open door, feel and think to Psycho, >|Report.<

A high tone is.

Door shuts.

A low tone is.

<|No one in the hall.> ,,Where's the government?''

I descend stairs.

Psycho says, ,,The government drones scan the skies. Contractor government are being deployed every block.''

<|I,> I think. ,,Are they near?''

,,Yes, they are everywhere,'' says Psycho.

Foot steps clop along hall.

I pivot head side to side. <|Army?> ,,Army. What about Army? Are they near?''

,,No Army reported deployed,'' says Psycho.

<|Hall light same dim shade.>

I descend stairs.

<|I,> I think. ,,What were you doing, Psycho?''

Psycho says, ,,Psycho asks questions.''

<|No one in hall. That's just dark shadow.> I descend stairs.

Stairs creak.

<|I am the real primary target.>

A few cicadas buzz to the stairway light. A cicada buzzes by head.

<|I.> I think and push the door. <|Am I Psycho?>

Door opens.



The Detective Store
Written by Kalab J. Oster
Edited by United States of America
Copy-Edited by Valerie Jean Thompson
Copy-Edited with Word Prostitute®
Published with Word Prostitute®
Published in United States of America
Library of Congress Control Number: 2009920085
International Standard Book Number: 9780972846592
Word Prostitute® Revision Control Number: 30995

Electric Price: Free To Read
Paper Price: $5 USD and 1 tree for 1 print of The Detective Store. Only 1 print per person.

Copyright © 2009 Word Prostitute®. All Rights Reserved.

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</ The Detective Store >