Cardcaptor Sakura
Case Closed Dub

Blind Shrike Page 26

The stall was piled high with books. Paintings were stacked against the back wall and 35mm movie film cans were piled on wooden shelves and floor. The title on one caught Spyder's eye.

"This movie doesn't exist," he said.

"Of course it doesn't. If it did, I wouldn't have the thing in my shop."

"This says Heart of Darkness, directed by Orson Welles. Welles never directed Heart of Darkness. The budget was too big and the studio wouldn't pony up the money. That's why he made Citizen Kane."

"And yet you hold that very film in your hands. Do you know why?"

"No."

"Because Mr. Welles made the film in his mind. He saw it in his dreams, and the memories of those dreams have manifested themselves in the ethereal celluloid you see before you. Would you like to buy it?"

"I told you, I'm not here to buy. And I can't play a film like this. You need a movie theater projector. My VCR doesn't even work."

"Would you like to see the film?"

"Of course."

"There is a small cinema nearby. It is for people such as ourselves, the humans who inhabit our quaint little city. I allow all my films to be shown there. It's very good publicity."

"I can't," said Spyder. "I have to meet some friends."

"You'll just go for a little while. Not for the whole thing. When will you have this chance again?"

"You aren't trying to hustle me, are you? Because I'm going through kind of a weird period right now and it's left me cranky. Someone trying to hustle me would definitely go home limping."

"Why would I need to hustle you or anyone? I have the rarest merchandise in all of Berenice-the dreams of great artists. What will you give me to see Mr. Welles' wonderful film?"

"I have a little cash, but that's probably not worth anything here."

"No, no. Money is trash to me." He looked Spyder up and down like Spyder had once seen his uncle size up a neighbor's '57 T-Bird. The uncle came back that night to steal the car, but the neighbor was waiting and shot him in the head with a thirty-ought six.

"That ring," Bulgarkov said. "I'll take that."

"My ex gave me that."

"Even better. The memory of the gesture will still live in the metal."

Spyder looked at the ring on his left hand. It was a half skull that wrapped around the back of his finger. Jenny had given him the ring on their six month anniversary. It was a cheap thing, but he'd always loved it.

"I don't know," he said.

"Mr. Welles is waiting. I am waiting. You are waiting, too. The girl, obviously, is gone. Let the ring go and get on with your life."

Spyder thought about it. Things hadn't always been bad with Jenny, and the ring was a reminder of a time when things had been close to great. These days, every memory of her felt like five hundred pounds of nails. That wasn't what made the decision for him. In the end, he gave the ring to the merchant for the same reason he'd done so many things in his life: "Why the hell not?" he said and slid the ring off.

Bulgarkov dropped the ring into a pocket beneath his loops of barbed wire and said, "The cinema is this way." He pointed back toward the plaza and came from his stall to show Spyder, but tripped over the frame of an unknown Francis Bacon self-portrait. The merchant started to fall and Spyder instinctively reached out to grab him. Bulgarkov's barbed wire ripped through the palm of Spyder's right hand.

"Shit!" yelled Spyder.

"Take this," said Bulgarkov, going to the back of his stall and returning with a silk scarf. He wrapped the material tightly around Spyder's wounded hand and stanched the flow, but blood had already splashed on the pavement and the floor of the stall.

"You're a goddam menace in that suit, man," Spyder said.

"I'm so sorry." Bulgarkov grabbed a book from the stall and handed it to Spyder. "Here, the book you were admiring, please take it, with my apologies."

"I'm okay. It just startled me, is all," said Spyder, but his hand was throbbing. "Don't go square dancing in that get-up. Adios." He took the book and headed off, following the directions Bulgarkov had given him.

As Bulgarkov said, the cinema was indeed small, a converted cafe, full of silent patrons, with a wrinkled sheet for a screen at one end and a clattering film projector at the other. Through the front entrance, Spyder could see a sliver of the face of a young, handsome Orson Welles. He was sweating and his eyes were wide. Welles' voice came through the open door, "Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision-he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath…

"The horror! The horror!"

A shadow moved across Spyder. "When they told me you were in Berenice, I knew you'd show up here."

Spyder looked at the man. He dropped Bulgarkov's book, seeing his own face, ten years younger.

Thirty Four

The Ghost of Christmas Past

"Boo," said Spyder's younger self. "I am the ghost of Christmas past."

"How long you been rehearsing that one, you little shit?"

"I had it for a while, but I was saving it for a special occasion, grandpa."

"At least I know what you are."

"What?" asked the younger Spyder.

"What's the line? `An undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.'"

"`There's more of gravy than of grave about you!' Of course, we never read the book, did we?"

"It's just a story. Not really a book. And, actually, I have read it since then. But I still prefer the movie."

"A Christmas Carol, nineteen thirty-eight, directed by Edwin L. Marin," said young Spyder.

"With Reginald Owen as Scrooge."

"The only real movies are in black and white. We're secret snobs."

"I'm a snob. You're just the memory of a lot of bad speed. Who told you I was here?"

"Mutual friends."

"The Black Clerks? They send you to spy or just to f**k with me?"

"I do what I want, old man. When I heard you were around, I came by. I wanted to see how I turn out."

"What's the verdict, son?"

"Nice ink. But the rest of you is old and soft."

"That's what you always said to everyone over twenty-five," said Spyder, flashing back on using variations of the line on uncles, cousins, cops and counselors throughout his teens. "It's true, then. You little Casper the Ghosts really can't say anything original. You just remix what I said an ice age ago."

"I hear tell you're a tamed little bitch these days. You really getting led around by an eyeless flatback?"

"She's an assassin, not a prostitute."

"Maybe now but I heard that in her lean and hungry youth she had another line of work."

"Didn't we all?"

"Yeah, and it was fun!" said the younger Spyder. "You gave it up, didn't you? You have that housebroken look. Way too upstanding to steal for your supper these days."

"What can I say? Unlike you, Peter Pan, I grew up."

"That's your excuse for what you've become? That's stone pitiful."

"I'm not going to justify myself to someone who doesn't even exist. However, on the off chance that it means something, I'll tell you this. Remember Santos Raye?"

"Fat, white-haired f**ker at the chop shop. Everyone called him Santos Claus."

"That's him. You're too young to know this, but Santos got murdered. Iggy Atkinson did it."

"So what? Santos was a snake mean, drunk f**k who got what he deserved."

"Yeah, but I talked to him that morning. And Santos was Iggy's partner. Then Santos disappeared. No body, no nothing. But everyone knew what happened. I was a happy car thief, but I never pictured myself as a murderer. And I knew if I stuck around, sooner or later that's what I'd be. That or dead."

"You pu**yed out. On both of us."

"We were always playing walking a fine line, painting and drawing in the day, stealing cars for Iggy and Santos at night. It was cool and fun. We were artists and above it all. Then Santos was dead and I knew who did it and I wasn't above shit. I made a choice. Art or crime. I chose art."

"You made the pu**y choice."

" It's my life, and you're just the ghost of something I don't want to be, I don't even want to know about."

"Hey, remember this?" Young Spyder pulled a punch knife behind his back.

"I'm you. You can't hurt me."

"I saw that Star Trek, too. But it's not how things work here. That bloody hand hurt?" His youthful reflexes were still streetfight quick. He slashed Spyder's already bloody fist.

"Fuck!" Spyder yelled, grabbing his cut hand.

Spyder went down on one knee. He'd liked kicking people in the head in his youth. When his younger self approached, Spyder doubled over as if in pain, reached into his own waist band and slashed the kid's right knee with Apollyon's knife. Young Spyder went down hard, clutching his leg.

"Fuck you, f**ker! You're gonna die, you sell-out motherfucker. When the Clerks gut that dyke cunt and your girlfriend, I'm gonna hold you down and make you watch!"

Spyder felt a overpowering desire to run away. Seeing his young reckless self lying bloody on the ground and cursing him, another powerful desire took over, however. Spyder kicked the kid in the temple. Then in the ribs. Then the groin. Then he just kicked to feel the thrill of his boot making contact with a body. When he stopped, the boy wasn't moving. Spyder wrapped the silk scarf tighter around his wounded hand and ran into the side streets of Berenice, hoping he could find his way back to the rendezvous point. He didn't want to get lost and have to trade away another pair of good boots.

Prev Next