< The Detective Store >



,,After midnight in Washington, D.C., United States of America, club Always,'' I say.

People and congov fill the street.

<They change the tap,> I think.

Jo points to the dashboard and to headrests. ,,Touch please.''

I touch pad on headrest. <|Maybe.>

The pad glows green then fades.

Richard presses thumb upon pad on headrest. ,,Maybe we can ask a soldier what's going on?''

Green glows.

Betty and George press thumbs to dashboard.

Green glows.

Eleanor's jaw joint pulses.

Richard smiles. ''Lets get the drink.''


Betty and I pull door handles.

Door handles click. We push. Doors open.

Betty says, ,,Maybe it has to do with what I saw?''

I say, ,,Thanks, Jo.''

,,You're welcome,'' says Jo. We stare.

Betty says, ,,Yeah, thanks, Jo.'' Betty steps out.

Jo nods and smiles to Betty.

I slide, step to sidewalk, toss jacket over shoulder.

Shouts, screams, whistles, claps, laughter and the rattle and boom of Always' windows are.

Blacksuit, Dark Spectacles, Secret Sentry congov walk and stand and follow people, grab people, talk at people, laugh at people.

Sweat and mint musk flow past.

People walk from street to sidewalk and sidewalk to street.

Army Six Line Column marches on sidewalk with cadence. ,,Move, move, move...''

Congov and people on sidewalk step to curb or street or against wall.

Betty and I stand on curb.

Betty says, ,,Richard will go ballistic when he sees the Army column.''

George steps from cab and stands, shuts door. ,,That's impressive.'' His stare follows the Army Six Line Column marching shoulder to shoulder to shoulder to shoulder to shoulder to shoulder.

<|No sounds.>

Army silently marches past.

Always' windows cast sounds. <|Like big fist pounds against.>

Betty looks at Always. ,,Is that sound from there?''

,,Yes.'' <|Where's Psycho?>

Drones float below the building tops. Red, white, blue lights blink.

<|Only in my mind...>

,,Psycho is cloaked upon top of building,'' says Psycho.

Always' windows shake, rattle, pop. Always' roof radiates purple light. People dance on roof.

Sweat fumes.

The Army column marches.

People walk left and right, forward and back and everywhere. People jostle over street and curb. People raise arms and shout, ,,HERE!'' People walk with Army column.

Army column marches before tanks and splits at corner of Always' block. Three Army lines march left ninety degrees. Three Army lines march right ninety degrees.

,,Like their silent suits,'' says Betty.

People stare.

,,Move, move, move, move.'' <|Limo.> Stage rolls by the taxi. Movers push people and clear a path through people to the 18th and Conn U Turn.

George says, ,,Those barrels are so big.''

The tanks turn turrets left and right.

<|Guiding. Protecting.>

Richard and Eleanor talk in taxi cab with shouts, screams, whistles, claps, laughter and the Always' windows rattle and thump. Richard's face tenses and mouth moves. Eleanor stares forward. Her taut lips speak then stop.

A choir chants and shouts from distant building. Distant booms and sirens sing with songs from distant and near buildings.

,,Wait until Richard sees this and doesn't hear the soldiers,'' says Betty.

George looks at Betty. ,,They don't need silence suits. Too loud to hear boots.'' George looks at the splitting Army column. ''Can we get through?''

I watch the Army march. ,,Maybe.''

The end of Army Six Line Column splits into three lines of soldiers and connects and creates an Army Three Line Row. The soldier row flows right along road parallel with Always and the eight tanks parked by Always. The soldier row flows left through people across the street by U turn flow.

Army row forms a wall.

People step from street to sidewalk. People fill the Army columns' wake space.

I lean and look into taxi.

Jo looks at rearview mirror.

I stand and look behind.

Movers jog in place on street and push between bodies behind the taxi. They chant, ,,MOVE, MOVE, MOVE, MOVE...''

I think, >|Psycho.<

,,Yes, Dick?'' says Psycho.

The Army Three Line Row stands. The outer soldiers of the row pivot on sole and spin bodies to face the crowd with back to inner soldiers of the row. The inner soldiers of the row pivot to stand in pairs back to back and side to back with outer soldiers of the row. The outer soldiers of the row grip laser rifle handles and barrels. The inner soldiers of the row hold two handles connected to two flat panels.

People fill space around Army row and tanks.

Richard looks away from Eleanor and out window and lips the words, ,,Fine. Go.''

<|If know, they kill people.>

Richard slides to open door.

A congov walks along curb, says, ,,Door open beyond limit,'' shuts taxi door and walks into people mass.

Richard lips the word, ,,Fuckers.'' He opens the door.


Psycho says, ,,Why did Dick think for Psycho?''

<|What does that mean?>

Richard stands from taxi.

,,Why are you guys staring at me?'' says Richard.

Betty smiles. ,,Because.''

,,Stop smiling, Betty,'' says Richard.

Betty smiles. ,,No, Richard.''

I lean and look into cab.

Eleanor sits in the cab. Her arms are folded. She looks forward and is still.

Richard shuts door.

Taxi emits, ,,MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOV...'' The taxi pops. The transmission thumps. People jump back. The taxi thumps and turns.

Movers pull eight wheeled stagecoach to space. Movers lower the shout to a talk, ,,MOVE, MOVE, Move, move, move, move...'' Movers wear white robes with hoods.

We step away. We bump and rub people. We walk in center sidewalk flow.

I unfasten shirt cuffs and sleeves.

,,Tanks,'' says Richard.

Blue, blue, blue shines from Always windows.

George looks at blue lights.

Richard says, ''They have congov reporting.''

,,...VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVE.'' The taxi horn falls silent.

Betty looks at Richard, says, .,Don't pay too much attention to the tanks and the Army columns.''

<|Row,> I think.

''There are those flashing drones everywhere,'' Betty says.

Richard looks at Betty. ,,Are you playing Eleanor?''

,,Do I look like I'm going to try to stop you from screaming?'' says Betty.

I roll sleeves to elbows.

Congov are every other person.

,,Drinks, Richard?'' I say.

,,Yes,'' says Richard.

,,Follow me.''

,,Okay,'' says Richard. ''Lead the way.''

Secret Sentry soles extend. Secret Sentry lift above the crowd.

We step by extended congov soles.

Windows thump and rattle and shine red, yellow, blue, purple...

Oil smoke flows past.

Boom... Boom... Boom, Booooom, Boom... Boom... Boom, Booooom, Boom... Boom... Boom... Booooom booms.

We step, bump, push and shuffle step, stop, step.

People push and pull.

We walk under tank cannons.

Richard, George, Betty walk side by side by side.

Congov on sole stilts shout, ,,GLOBAL TERRORIST RED IN AREA! BE AWARE!''

Soldiers of the row perforate to Four Groups. Inner soldiers of the row press back to back and hold two flat panels front to front. Outer soldiers of the row press backs against side of inner soldiers of the row.

People perforate between flat panels and soldiers of the row.

,,Wow, that's neat,'' says Richard.

I nod. ,,It is.''

,,Is this normal?'' says Richard.

,,No.'' I step between four flat panels held by two inner soldiers of the row.

Richard follows. Richard says, ,,What's this?''

,,Mark and read,'' I say.

Richard says, ,,What's mark and read?''

,,The panels are to mark you. Then your thoughts, your internal dialog and dialog, are read by congov.''

,,How do you know?'' says Richard.

I look back at Richard. ,,I was in the Army.''

Richard pivots head up and down.

Betty says, ,,Does this happen here often?''

,,It happens.''

We walk from Army row.

People walk shoulder to shoulder and stand back to front.

,,GLOBAL TERRORIST RED IN AREA! BE AWARE!'' holler congov on raised soles.

I wipe neck and forehead with handkerchief and step upon sidewalk. I step between people and congov huddles.

,,Nothing you can do Richard, but be aware,'' says Betty. Betty waves hand before nose.

The shit and piss smell is.


A people line stands from Always' entrance to the building's corner and right along the building's wall parallel with the Army row and the tanks. People line leans against wall. People line stares at people walking sidewalk. People line points at Army row. People line slides feet, and the line moves. They pass a red door below EXIT sign.

,,GLOBAL TERRORIST RED IN AREA! BE AWARE!'' holler congov in unison.

I reach for red door handle. I slide arm between two men and grab door handle, say, ,,Excuse me, please.''

One man steps away. One man does not move.

I look at man afore door. ''Please.'' <|I am with others.> I think.

Man afore EXIT door stares at me and blows upon wig bangs and stares.

<|Time.> I pull door handle.

EXIT door opens.

Man is pushed and stumbles behind.

A Secret Sentry with red bow tie says, ,,YOU.''

Man behind falls to ground.

Secret Sentry raises a finger and shakes finger.

The other man looks through opening.

The man behind stands and stares through opening.

The Secret Sentry with red bow tie stand and says, ''YOU!''

I hold door handle. I look back and wave. ,,We go.''

Betty walks through opening. George creates eye contact and walks through opening.

Richard looks at tank turret.

Secret Sentry with red bow tie walks next to me and stares at my face.

The man behind and I stare.

''Richard,'' I say.

Betty says with a deep voice, ,,RICHARD.''

Richard's head snaps. He peers at Betty.

,,GLOBAL TERRORIST RED IN AREA! BE AWARE!'' holler congov in unison. <|Like a chorus.>

The man behind looks away.

Richard says, ,,Yes.'' Richard steps by man. He walks around people. He looks at Secret Sentry with red bow tie. ''Dick said please.''

People line steps and stares.

Richard steps past.

I follow Richard. I release the door handle.

Secret Sentry with red bow tie shouts, ,,YOU!''

Man behind brushes pants.

The door shuts.

Bang echoes.

Cool air hits face, wrists, neck.

We stand inside Always Exit Hall.

I wipe face with handkerchief.

Every one huddles in hall.

Hall is wide enough for George and Betty to stand shoulder to shoulder.

They look up.

Walls ascend to ceiling four levels above. Flames flicker from lamps hung from hooks. A soft blue hue shines above. A red glow shines before from floor to ceiling.

I fold handkerchief and slide it into right pocket.

Richard wipes face with sleeve. ,,I oughta get me one of those, Dick.''

I pivot head up and down.

The hall height is four levels to ceiling. The hall length flows to a red glowing column. The red glowing column spans from floor to ceiling.

,,What is this place?'' says Betty.

,,An exit for Always.''

Laughter above is. A scream and shout and more laughter are.

,,And that,'' says George.

Soft bass pulses from above.

I step forward. ,,The very important person lounge three levels up.''

,,Can we go?'' says George.

,,No.'' I say, ''Excuse me.''

Betty and George part and stand against wall.

I walk between and forward.

They follow. Betty's soles click. Richard's boots clomp. George's shoes squeak.

Richard says, ,,There's no bomb detector or mind scan.''

I pivot head up and down.

Richard pivots head side to side. ''This place is not safe.''

Manager, Talent, Staff door is right.

Betty says, ,,That red thing looks like a tube jail.''

,,It's a detonation column,'' I say.

Red hue shines from floor to ceiling.

,,I like it,'' says George.

,,Is Always safe?'' says Richard.

,,If you have a bomb upon you.'' I look back. ''We will blow up in the denotation column.''

,,Oh,'' says Richard. His boots clomp against cement.

,,Yes. And if you have bullets they will fire.'' I look back to Richard.

Richard's eyes reflect red light.

''And not leave the tube.''

Richard says, ,,It's good Eleanor didn't come.''

Our shadows dance with candle light. Shadows fade. The red glowing column and the golden candle light shine.

Talk and bass, beeps and claps are.

Betty looks, <|At me,> says, ,,I'm ready,'' and follows.

George follows Betty. George says, ,,How do you get up there?''

I smile. ,,The Talent and Manager doors lead to lounge three levels up.''

,,Lets go in and up,'' says Betty.

,,I am not that special.'' I grin to Betty and point. ''Through the hall and to column.''

George says, ,,Dick, do they know we are in here?''

I walk. ,,Yes.''

,,How strong is the column?'' says Richard.

Sweat drops from nose.

Red light is.

We walk by column.

,,Very.'' I step between red column and double doors with the a big number 1.

Richard, Betty, George look at red glowing column.

The double doors with big number 1 shake and rattle. A whistle and drum beat seeps through double doors.

I grab handle upon the red column and look at Richard and pull on the handle.

A column panel slides open and reveals a hollow column with chrome spiral stairs.

,,It's not so bright inside,'' says Betty.

,,It's shiny,'' says George.

Richard points at double doors with 1. Richard says, ,,Floor One.''

I pivot head up and down and point to column opening. ,,We need to climb to four.''

Richard smiles. ,,After you.''

I duck through opening, step upon stairs, straighten back, look back and wink to Richard. ,,No bomb.''

The chrome spiral stairs are steep. The chrome spiral stairs circle up and around a chrome pole. A red hued translucent shell encases spiral stairs.

I step stairs.

Betty pushes Richard aside and steps stairs. George steps behind. Richard steps behind George.

I look back. ''Richard, you'll need to shut the door.''

Richard raises eyebrows, says, ,,And if I don't, Dick?''

,,We won't be exiting on any other level.''

I step and step and step stairs.

Richard slides the door shut. The door clicks closed.

The whistle and bass shake of door 1 silences.

We step stairs.

,,Shiny,'' says George. George's voice echoes through the shaft.

I pull handkerchief from pocket, wipe neck. Bubbles bounce in colon.

Richard says, ,,Up.''

I step. ,,Up.''

Richard steps. ,,We could wait until someone exits door one?''

I step. ,,Not unless you want to be shocked and strobe flashed.'' I step. ''I am not that special to this place, so I enter door four.''

,,Fair enough,'' says Richard.

Steps vibrate stairs.

,,Dick,'' says George.

I hold fart.


,,Could you get some coke, Dick?'' says George.

I look back. ,,Cocaine?'' I say.

George nods his head.

''I could, but I won't.'' I look down at George, wink while walking. ''Sorry, George.''

George frowns. ,,That's okay, Dick.''

I fart.

,,Geeze, George,'' says Betty. ''Don't be rude!'' She slaps George's shoulder.

Richard huffs, breathes heavy. ,,George.''

Steps echo.

<|Am I psycho?> I raise hand. ,,That was me.''

,,Good one, Dick,'' says Richard.

,,Is this air proof, too,'' says George. He pinches nose and chuckles.

I smile. ,,Yes.''

,,It's not that bad,'' says Betty.

<|It's me.> I look back, say, ,,Yes it is,'' wink to Betty. ''The squab.''

,,Not the scotch,'' Betty says.

I say, ,,No,'' and think, <|I'm to blame.>

Betty says, ,,Are you ditching us when we get inside?''

<|No death.> I step, look to Betty, smile and say, ,,Maybe,'' and wink.

Betty smiles.

,,Are we there yet?'' says George.

<|No life.> I step stairs.

,,The door we passed says two,'' says Richard.

George says, ,,And that door READS THREE!''

,,Now you understand,'' says Richard.

Betty says, ,,Dick, I can't see anything outside.''

I say, ,,Security.''

,,Are they reading our minds?'' says George.

I say, ,,Yes.''

,,You serious?'' says Richard. His steps pound stairs.

<|I am being guided.>

Pound sends vibrations through pole to other stairs.

We step stairs.

I look behind. ,,Yes.''

Betty quick steps. ,,Really?''

<|Stepping to doom.> ,,Yes.'' I fart. ''You may want to cover your nose.''

Richard says strict and strong, ,,What about my mind, Dick?''

I say, ,,Learn to encrypt.''

George squeezes nose with thumb and index finger. ,,Well, I don't care about mind reading,'' says George. ''I just want to breathe.''

I smile. <|And I step.>

The steel stairs vibrate.

,,Bullshit,'' says Richard.

Betty laughs. The laughs fill the column. ,,Richard, what do you think we do!''

<|I step.>

,,Exactly!'' says Richard. ''What if they read something, something?''

,,Important, Richard,'' says Betty. ''Oh, please! Richard!''

<|And we step.> I look back.

Richard's face is red. ,,Well, the information I have.''

,,Don't think about it,'' says George.

A door with a number 4 is before.

Richard says. ,,You wouldn't understand, George.''

,,Is this it?'' says Betty.

I say, ,,This is it.'' I step to landing inside column.

I grab a handle on the column surface. I pull.

A column door slides open. The opening reveals double doors with a 4.

I step on steel-grated walkway. I turn and grab handle of column's sliding door. I pull the handle.

Double doors with a 4 bang open.

I say, ''Betty you saw a Gee Forty-three Killing Machine.''

A flash is. A shock is.

A shock jolts body.

,,What?'' says George.

The column's sliding door closes.

Body is numb.

People in suits and ties hold double doors open, and six people hold arm and arm, leg and leg, shoulder and shoulder.

Betty, George, Richard stand in tube and stare through window.

The double doors shut.

<|Maybe safe.>

,,MOVE AWAY!'' holler the men and women carrying numb body through steam, sweat fumes, whistles, kisses, hugs, bass, loud sirens, shout of, ''MOVE!'' and grinds and neon lights, ''MOVE,'' strobe lights and lasers. ''MOVE!'' is. People clip, pop, pose, slide, glide in rhythm to bassline of muse. ''MOVE,'' say men and women wearing suits. ''MOVE!'' say suits pushing a people path. Wide and tall suits hold limbs and move us forward. ''MOVE!'' is. Bass flows through crowd. People point. Suits holler, ''MOVE.'' Steam spouts. Prism of light reflects everywhere. ''MOVE,'' is. Bass hits. People push. ''MOVE,'' is. Suited people walk by side and hold the crowd. ''MOVE!'' is. People point and laugh and push. People stand. Suit holds shock rod to woman's neck. ''MOVE,'' the suits holler as one. A woman falls to ground. ''MOVE,'' is. The woman's body brushes back. ''MOVE,'' the suits holler. People step back. Steam, red lights, blue lights shine. People's naked flesh reflect red and blue. <|Where is Psycho?> Blue light flashes. ''MOVE,'' is. People squeeze. People are pushed. Purple light flashes. ''MOVE,'' is shouted. Mass of dancing hands and bodies hold pose as strobe light flashes. Transprogressive fills house. ''MOVE,'' is. Red light flashes above and below. Lasers probe the air above the dancing mass. People pull on legs. ''MOVE!'' is shouted by suits. People part and look. Sweat drips. Grips tighten and pull. Pain is. ''MOVE!'' is. Blue, red, white flash. Arm is pulled. ''MOVE!'' <|Benjamin.> Shadows pass and say, ,,Watch you.'' They shout, ,,MOVE!'' <|Four hold limbs.> ''MOVE.'' <|Three parting mass.> ''MOVE.'' Laughter surrounds. Red, blue, blue, red, blue, red, blue, red lights are. ''MOVE!'' <|Loose hold.> ''MOVE!'' People mass parts. We stop at angle. ''MOVE, NOW!'' People crowd and point. <|Relax.> Sweat drops. A drink is spilt. Screams surround. I swallow. A shriek flows with low vibrations and wind chimes. Talking becomes screaming. ''MOVE.'' I sway. Two people in suits pass. Six shout in unison, ''MOVE, MOVE.'' We move. People pass. Suited people stretch body and step down stairs. I swing. <|Level three.> ''MOVE.'' <|Two?>

I fall. Shoulder hits ground then head. Someone steps on hand. I inhale.

A crowd forms around.

''MOVE!'' is.

Hands wrap around shoulder and lift and pull, push. ''MOVE!'' holler suits. People stand and stare, walk past, spit, stumble. Red lights shine. Then blue, purple lights shine. Two suits carry legs. ''MOVE!'' One looks, <|At me.> His jaw pulses. ''MOVE!'' Suits bump shoulders with everyone. Steam sprays. Steam covers. Crowd jumps up and down. Suits create hall to stairs.

Butt hits stairs. I lift butt.

No people are. No lights are. ''MOVE!'' The thump and then boom of bass are. ''MOVE!'' Finger tips dig into flesh. Feet stomp and clomp down stairs. ''MOVE!'' Cymbals clash. Body is level. ''MOVE!'' People are. Suits stand in rows against the wall. The suits carry body and turn and walk between suit hall. People's heads poke between suit hall heads. We turn. Body lowers at angle. Percussion and bass are. The strobe lights flash. Fingers dig into armpits. Jaw clenches. ''MOVE!'' Tail bone hits stair. Pain is. Suits grab legs, clench jaws, dig fingers into cloths and flesh. ''MOVE.''

We stop.

We move. ''MOVE!'' We sway. Suit hall stands with backs against the crowd. ''MOVE!'' People jump up and down with arms raised above the suit hall. ''MOVE.'' People hold glow sticks over the suit hall heads. ''MOVE.'' People reach hands into the steam spurting above. ''MOVE!'' People push and pull upon suit hall. ''MOVE!'' A saxophone wails. Person screams, ,,YES!'' Suits holler, ,,MOVE!''

Fingers scrape arm.

The double doors with 1 open.

A red hue shines. People's heads pop over mezzanine above. Steps echo.

The music silences. Steps echo.

I feel and think, <|Where they?>

I am lifted once, twice, above shoulders. I float above. I look at column.

Column is empty.

I say, ,,Where are they?''

Vision is blurred.

I blink.

Benjamin walks before, says, ,,You're stupid, Dick.'' He looks back. His eyes open wide. ''I am stupid.'' Benjamin looks behind then into eyes. ''I am stupid for letting you in here.'' He looks forward. His hair is sweaty, matted to side. His glasses rest on nose. Jaw pulses. Head turns. He looks. <|To me.> ''Thought, District of Columbia of Washington or United States of America?'' Benjamin's jaw pulses. Head slightly pivots side to side. ''I am stupid for waiting the column check.'' Benjamin walks forward, locks eyes with mine following the steady body and head bounce. Benjamin turns head. ''Are you an orange?''

,,Maybe red,'' I say.

Benjamin looks forward, shakes head. ,,And record is being read and remembered.''

I lift head. ,,Maybe.''

,,Probably,'' says Benjamin.

I focus. ,,A killing machine, Ben.''

Two suited people open doors.


The line parts.

We step out.

Benjamin hollers, ,,NO PSYCHOS ALLOWED, DICK.''



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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