Morning was never her favorite time of day and that was probably why she worked nights. But, the sun was up and chose that morning to shine directly in her eyes for the soul purpose or ruining any ideas of staying curled up in bed with a very comfortable detective. Diana tried moving but to no avail, if it wasn’t the sun it was the fact she really couldn’t spend the day wrapped in the arms of her partner. Her partner. If that wasn’t a weird enough idea on it’s own having willingly aligned herself with a private investigator, she was staying at his apartment and sleeping with him. And it was just sleeping!
With a strange combination of regret and irritation at herself, Diana slipped from bed being careful not to wake the sleeping detective. As much as she would have liked to stay there were things she needed to take care of, all of which were much more easily done without North McCoy underfoot. Terrible girly things that’d be sure to make a guy like that blush. It was enough to keep her snickering silently for most of the morning.
Once the agent was showered, dressed, and complete with a whole new list of things her partner was lacking in that disaster of an apartment, Diana pulled out her handy sticky notes and scribbled ‘Getting Breakfast’. She blinked around the office thinking of the best place to put it, and figured if it weren’t somewhere obvious, the detective was going to wake up in a panic when she was missing. Another smirk splashed across her face as she slipped back in to his room and leaned over the bed, attaching the sticky note conveniantly over his eyes. He wouldn’t be able to miss that if he woke up before she returned.
The sun could never wake North before, and this time was no different. As the light crept unto his eyes, he simply rolled over to face the wall, not wanting to rise from his sleep. And what a sleep it was, laying there, snoozing soundly with his arms around Diana.
It suddenly dawned on North that she was no longer in his bed when he spun over. Quickly rising from bed, he bolted out the room before even realizing he had a bright yellow piece of paper stuck to his head. “Getting Breakfast?” he mumbled, suddenly feeling a bit silly for getting so worked up. At least it would give him a chance to clean himself up a little; he hadn’t shaved in over a week! Dropping the note on the floor, North turned to the bathroom and entered for a relaxing shower. At least that’s what he thought before turning the faucet only to get a stream of freezing cold water.
With a shriek, North nearly toppled from the shower, trying to avoid the icy blast. “Diana!” he cursed, knowing only she could have used up all the hot water. What did she need another shower for anyway? After his less than enjoyable shower, North moved to the mirror where he began removing the scruffy hairs from his chin. Finishing that, and with a dash of cheap after shave, the detective got dressed in some reasonably clean clothes and was ready for the new day.
“Coffee…” North muttered as he stepped over to the sink where his one and only expense sat. The coffee maker. Quickly setting that up to brew, North sat down at his desk and put his feet up. He wasn’t going anywhere until Diana got back; after all, she was bringing back breakfast.
“You do realize you’re absolutely insane, right?” Diana said with a raised eyebrow as she leaned against a diner counter flipping a straw between her fingers. The place was small sitting inbetween several more popular establishments and easily missable. It barely fit more than three or four tables comfortably along with the counter that might’ve been able to sit a few stools had it not been covered half a dozen different kinds of baked goods and random eccentric objects.
“You smell like a man, I tell you! And not that pudgey one either with all that fake hair, it’s a different one. Besides, a woman doesn’t ask for breakfast for two unless there’s a man or they’re pregnant.” An older woman with dark silver hair that almost looked like she very deliberatly tinted it blue replied with an indignant snort. Around her neck was a guady strand of orange and red beads which stood out light a lightning beam over the canary yellow apron that seemed to swallow the woman whole. She leaned over the counter casting Diana a suspicious glance. “Did some man get you pregnant? You best tell me his name, girl, and I’ll have Bennie go out and gut him!”
Diana groaned as she rolled her eyes and pointed the straw threateningly at the woman. “I am not pregnant, and if you really must know I have a new partner. Not that it’s any of your business, I just come here for the food!” It was the plain and simple truth, really. She and Fredricks had picked the place for their usual outings because it was so small and unheard of. It wouldn’t be likely they would run in to anyone they were trying to get close to and made it alot easier to talk business. Diana wouldn’t dare step inside his place, let alone invite anyone to hers.
Well, until she met a certain detective. But it seemed she was doing alot of things she didn’t normally do where North McCoy was involved.
“Martha, can you just go tell Bennie to hurry it up? I’ve got work to do today.” There was still that list of hers to take care of and finding a nice and easy case to work on. Then again, organizing North’s office might be an all week affair.
The woman just pulled out a ragged looking feather duster and idly fussed with one of her trinkets. “Did you mean a new case? Well, Miss Cathy’s young boyfriend is missing, but I don’t suggest you go running around the city while that man is following you!”
A shocked agent blinked at the older woman, before it slowly faded away to a more dubious expression. Another reason the little cafe was generally empty might’ve been because Martha was complety nuts. She fancied herself some sort of psychic and seemed to enjoy spouting out random bits of information to unnerve her patrons. Diana on the other hand wasn’t nearly as impressed as she was pretty sure all Martha was picking up on was the obvious. She was just damn good at making observations and putting things together. That man had to be reffering to North. There was no way Martha would’ve known about anything else.
“Whatever. If you write this… Cathy’s name and address down maybe I’ll see about that, but I’m not going to be able to do anything without food so could you tell your husband to step on it?”
Finally getting his cup of morning coffee, North sat back down at his desk in wait for Diana to return. It had already been around fifteen minutes without any word of her. It would have been nice if she wrote down when she left, so he knew if he should worry or not. North just hope she didn’t take any shortcut down a dark ally. Or shared a cab with anyone. Or took up a ride with a stranger. Or-
He was getting to worked up about this. North knew Diana could take care of her self out there. She was a FBI agent after all and was more than capable of handling anything on her own. Unfortunately this wasn’t helping North to ease any. Maybe another cup of coffee will help.
As North poured his second cup of coffee of the morning there was a knock at his door. Quickly putting down the pot and his cup, North made his way to the door. “Finally!” He said as he turned the knob. “The least you could have done was wake – me … up?” Instead of the agent standing there, a well-dressed man stood outside North’s door, an expressionless look on his face.
“Is this the office of North McCoy? Or … “Durocha?” The man asked, a hint of Russian in his voice. North carefully eyed his visitor over before speaking. “Yeah, but, uh, I’m not taking any cases this week. Sorry.”
Closing the door quickly, North hoped to have nothing to do with the man. He’s had enough to do with strange Russians to last him a lifetime. Suddenly the door stopped abruptly as the man outside stuck his foot in the door, keeping it from closing! “Oh shit!” was the only thing North could think of at the moment.
“I am not here for any case, Mr. McCoy.” The man pushed the door open, forcing North off of it. “In fact, you will be taking no more cases ever again.”
North didn’t know what to do, his gun was locked up and this guy looked like he could take down a bull. He just backed up to a corner as the stranger continues walking towards him. “I represent Don Vlachka D’nro. He has sent me to take care of something for him. To take care of you.” He said and reached into his coat.
This was it, North couldn’t escape from this one and there was no Diana Jones to bail him out. He was finished, offed, whacked, and everything else that meant dead! The man began to draw whatever kind of weapon he might have had under that coat of his and North just hoped it would be quick.
“Here’s to an early retirement, Mr. McCoy.” And the man finally pulled his hand from his coat and revealed – an envelope. No gun, just a package.
“Wait, what’s this? I though you were to … take care of me. To make sure I didn’t take anymore cases, to put me in an early retirement!” North said, as confused as possible. What was Vlach up to now? “Yes sir, I am.” The courier said. “There’s two-million dollars in this envelope. Don D’nro would like to repay you for your services and for rescuing his daughter. As well as putting Mr. Mandell behind bars.”
Did North just hear him right? Two-million dollars?! That would set him for life! He could buy a new apartment or even a house! He could but a nice car! He could buy anything he wanted!
He also couldn’t take it…
Taking that money would go against everything North worked for. Sure, it would set him for life, and maybe beyond. But he wasn’t the kind who takes large sums of money from crime bosses, and he was still North McCoy, man of the people. At least, that what he liked to think. Taking that money just wouldn’t be – right.
“I’m sorry.” North said. “I can’t take this.”
“But Vlachka insists!” The man pressed.
“And I insist you take it back. Or – donate it or something.” North said and pushed the envelope away. “I just can’t take this.” With a sigh, the man shrugged and placed the envelope back in his pocket.
“Mr. D’nro will be very upset.” The man said as he turned to go.
“I’m sure he’ll understand.” North smiled and opened to door for the man. “Say hi to Lisa for me.” As the man walked out, North felt a sense of pride of him self that he was able to do the right thing. Even if it did cause him to stay in his rundown apartment with rented car.
And then the thought struck him! Suddenly, North bolted out the door after the man. “Hey! Wait up!” He shouted. Luckily, the courier hadn’t ever reached the stairs yet before North caught up.
“Having second thoughts, Mr. McCoy?” He smiled.
“No, but give me that envelope anyway.” And North snatched it before the man could even get it half way out. “I might not take pay-offs, but Vlach owes me anyway. He blew up my car…” Quickly fingering through the bills, North took out a good amount of money.
“This will take care of the car. And this will take care of some other things.” Pocketing the cash, North handed the envelope back to the man, still wall over a million in it. “There. Now you can tell your boss we’re even.”
The mobster gave North an odd look before shaking his head and walking off. North walked back to his room and placed the money in the safe, along side his gun. At least that way it was safe until he could get it into the bank, which would be nice to have money in there for once.
North, content with the repay and the business between him and Vlach done, He sat down once more and finished that cup of coffee he poured earlier. And all he could think was, wait until Diana hears about this.
Diana was never one that took lectures well and once Martha was through Bennie had a few things to say as well which promptly sent the younger woman skittering out of the place as quickly as possible. She never understood why people felt the need to dictate to her what she should and should not be doing. Helpless damsel vibes wasn’t what she thought she projected to the world.
Blinking at the paper in one hand while gently swinging the brown bag in the other, she mused over the information that was jotted down for her. It was amazing North didn’t have regular work, when all it took was talking to a few people. He probably thought cases were supposed to fall in to his lap or some desperate woman was suppose to walk through his door and beg for his help. Someone that wasn’t already a fed.
Still, it wasn’t like the movies, stuff didn’t just happen. If he wanted work he had to look for it. Now that she was unofficially on vacation for the moment she had plenty of time to make sure one shoddy detective learned how to take care of his business.
Suspicious was her first thought as she passed the man on the sidewalk in front of North’s building. There was a small brief worry that her new partner just met with an unclimatic end but the man didn’t seem like he did a job well done, infact he looked somewhat confused. Besides, all of North’s enemies seemed to lean towards the dramatic. Killing him n his office while no one was around didn’t seem good enough.
She walked a little faster anyway.
Just like the first time, Diana didn’t bother knocking as she entered the office of Durocha PI. But instead of giving a less than lady-like comment on his looks, she warily blinked at the detective at the desk giving him a concealed once over to make sure he wasn’t shot up, stabbed in the back, or something else equally as unpleasant. He looked fine, please with himself infact. That was always trouble.
“Why are you looking so smug, McCoy? I don’t suppose you managed to find work while I was gone?”
“Not quite.” North said, leaning back a bit. “But I did manage to get paid!” There was a tone of pride in his voice, like getting paid was an amazing thing to him. Nodding to the safe where the money was held, North continued his bragging. “Vlachka wanted to thank me so he sent over one of his thu- er, guys with two million dollars!”
Just as North sounded like he was getting overexcited and on the edge of his chair, he plopped back into his lazy position and continued some more. “Of course – I, uh, couldn’t take that. After all, it’s probably dirty money. But-” Standing up, North walked over to where his safe was located and bent over to work the combination. “Nine-teen … thirty-six … two. But! I did take a bit of change. After all, Vlach does owe me a new car. “After hearing all this, Diana certainly would have no choice but to pat him on the back for doing the right thing. It’s what anybody would have done!
Two million dollars. Two million dollars! The man had just passed up two million dollars! He was insane! Crazy! He was terribly honest and it was rediculous. The initial shock faded from her face to a less surprised and mildly annoyed expression. Granted he did a good thing, but did he have to brag about it?
“Well don’t bother taking it out. I don’t need to see it.” she snapped, moving to his desk and setting the paper bag neatly on top. Diana eyed his cup of coffee wearily before snatching it up without any care of asking permission and took a cautious sip. She stuck out her tongue for a moment, but apparently deemed it drinkable because she confiscated the mug for herself as she took a seat on the corner of the desk.
“Meanwhile, as you were turning down enough money to get yourself a real office, I have found something for us to do.” Taking another drink, she dropped the paper scribbled with the notes of the plight of one Catherine Young. “Could’ve paid a secretary with that money.” she muttered in to the cup.
Work was the last thing on North’s mind. Didn’t she remember they were still in trouble? Well, of course she did but a little something like the law could never stopped her. North was separating the bills as the agent sat down at his desk and drank his coffee, not that he had noticed.
“That’s great. Except I’m permanently off-duty until next week – And I’m not going to flash your badge, ok?” North said, finally putting apart the amount of money he wanted. “The last thing I need is to get in trouble impersonating an FBI agent. I mean, your name, your picture’s ON the badge! Did you even think that out?”
Closing the safe again, North returned to his desk with a somewhat large wad of cash, but not before pausing as he found Diana with his only cup of coffee. Not bothering to even reprimand her, he just shook his head. “Anyway, I didn’t get this out to show off. I got you a cut of the money, too. Maybe you could, show just little appreciation. You can at least get your apartment fixed and cleaned and … eradicated or something.”
Diana nearly choked! “My share of the money? What the devil made you think I need any of that!” Her nose wrinked up with a certain amount of insult. It’s not like she picked that apartment because she enjoyed the furry companions! “Besides, your place is the one that needs a good fixin’ up. The least you could have is decent chairs.” She hoped he hadn’t forgot all the subtle rennovation plans she had. The least of which fixing the broken windows so there wouldn’t be a draft while they were in bed.
She blinked at the miswording of her thoughts and quickly spoke again to forget them. “Speaking of clients though, I don’t recall you being on the chief’s payroll. He doesn’t have any legal rights to tell you to stop doing your job. You’re a private detective, remember?” Diana suppose his brother was the one that had all the backbone of the pair! The detective was rather lucky she walked through his door, she was good at being in charge.
“Hmm…” suddenly looking thoughtful, she snagged the paper bag with a finger, pulling it closer to look inside. “It’s a rather nice setup, actually. A private detective. Maybe I should consider a permanet career change…” Seizing something that looked much like an overstuffed apple turnover, she motioned the coffee cup towards the paper again. “At least look at it. It’s just some girls missing boyfriend. How much trouble could that possibly get us in to?”
She wouldn’t take the money. Of course she wouldn’t, she’s Agent Diana Jones, terror of the FBI. Not even a thank you escaped her mouth. “Fine, don’t take it. Maybe I will hire a secretary! A cute, little redhead who wears short skirts!” North just blurted out. “Not that it would matter anyway.”
“And my place isn’t that bad…” North said. Sure, it was a bit dusty and old. And there wasn’t really anything in there, but it was homely. And not flooded and full of rats. But this wasn’t the time to talk about that. “Never mind. What’s this about a missing boyfriend now?” He picked up the paper and looked it over.
With a soft sigh, North looked back up at Diana. “Yeah, we can – take care of this.” He really didn’t want to get into anymore trouble, but a person in need always got to him. After all, he was a detective. At least this one doesn’t sound like it’s going to attract too much attract any attention to them. “We can start by meeting this Cathy Young. How did you get this case, anyway?” North asked, wagging the paper before Diana to take the paper back. “Did you ask everyone on the street?”
“Red-head?” she scoffed as he read over the note. Diana could imagine the woman now, blowing bubbles with her gum and batting her eyelashes at every eligable male in sight. It would be something to take offence at if she didn’t already know him well enough to realize he wasn’t serious.
“If you must know,” she said flippantly, “a gypsy told me!” Okay, so she didn’t really believe Martha was a gypsy, a psychic, or anything of the sort but North didn’t need to know that. “It really doesn’t matter how. The fact is I found one in a simple morning instead of sitting around here all day.”
North didn’t quite know if the agent was sarcastic or not about the gypsy comment. She could be that crazy. Never the less, he now had a case to do, against the local police force’s wishes, but a case. “It is important, Diana. If you haven’t recalled, I’m a detective, I actually would like to know these things.”
Knowing they were probably going to leave soon, North got prepared for the case, grabbing what was left of his normal accesories. But without his keys or his badge, those numbered very few. “And don’t get me about sticking around here again. Besides, if I left, you would have been locked out. As much as I like the thought now…” He said, muttering the last part, not wanting to get the agent too angry. Not while she held his hot cup of coffee. And that – donut thing. North didn’t realize how hungry he was, but he also wasn’t about to beg Diana for some.
“So, off to this Young’s place, then?”
Diana blinked, caught off guard from the reprimanding. He was thorough if anything. Still, she didn’t know how much of a help it would be knowing the tip came from a wannabe psychic. It was strange to feel chided, she almost even felt slightly guilty! How the devil did he always do that?!
She motioned to the bag, but refused to relinquish her captivity of the coffee mug. “Eat first, then we investigate. Can’t have you passing out from hunger at inopportune moments.”
Picking up the bag Diana brought back, North picked out the pastry from inside it. “Thanks for the … uh, donut…” He said, not exactly sure what it was. He took a couple bites and decided it wasn’t as bad as it looked. North simply wasn’t a man of fancy taste. “And if you’re not going to tell me who got this info for you, can you at least promise me you didn’t get it from a – psychic.” It sounded silly, but North was honestly concerned she would go to those lengths.
Finishing the breakfast pastry, North wiped his mouth on his sleeve and was ready to leave. Minus his gun, he wasn’t even suppose to have it and carrying it around was just asking for trouble. Not that having the Agent by his side wasn’t asking enough, but he could at least leave the gun behind.
Biting back a smirk she dusted off her hands and drank the rest of the coffee quickly. Why that was so amusing, she wasn’t quite sure. “As a matter of fact, she believes she’s a psychic. I think she’s just damn good at being observant.”
Setting the mug back down, she stuffed her hands easily in to the pockets of her jeans. There wasn’t anything extra she needed that she didn’t already carry with her. It was almost second nature to stash her gun and her badge someone just in case. Diana almost questioned why he wasn’t bringing his gun along, but decided it was enough he even agreed to go out on a case. The man needed to learn when to bend the rules a little, especially when there weren’t any rules to begin with.
“I hope you knew this woman before hand.” North said with a sigh. This day started off odd and it was only getting worse. “Well, we might as well go. No reason to waste any more time on this dependible information.” Unlocking the door, North opened it for the agent to leave.
“By the way…” North rubbed his chin as he waited for Diana. “I was thinking. Maybe I’ll hire a blond, instead. Or a dark-haired secretary! What do you think?” He said with a smirk.
Rolling her eyes, she brushed past him making sure to give him a soft elbow to the gut. “I think you have your hands full enough with me, detective, before you go saddling yourself with real trouble.” It might’ve been her idea to get him a secretary in the first place, but that could all certaintly wait until she was good and gone.
They should have gotton him a new car. Infact, why on earth wasn’t that the first thing on her list? Tomorrow, that is what they would do tomorrow, but for now they had arrived to Catherine Young’s home… which turned out to be a rented room in a seedy looking motel. Diana wondered why she even bothered to expect anything else, she really didn’t have that kind of luck!
“Hmm…” There were very few cars in the lot as they strode down past the faded green painted doors towards room 209. Most look completely usual except for one she regretted catching her attention. It was a large colorful van, painted with faces of all kinds of clowns and the bright scripted logo of Bastian’s Carnival. She never had anything against clowns themselves, but the artwork always tended to lean towards the disturbing. Much to her chagrin the van was park straight in front of the very room they were looking for.
“This is going to be interesting…” she muttered under her breath, before casting North a bemused grin. “Runaway boyfriends are a piece of cake. No gunfire, no mobsters, so you really don’t have to look so bent out of shape about it.” Not giving him the chance to make a sharp retort, she raised her hand and gave a quick knock to the door.
The door swung open almost immedialty and to her surprise the occupant was fully dressed in carnival costume. Crying clown to be exact! Yes, definetly interesting…
North had noticed the van as well but failed to mention it. He didn’t mind the artwork on the van but clowns themselves didn’t exactly sit well with him. He wasn’t afraid of them, but there was something about them that irked North, though, he didn’t really know why that was, but they did.
Before they reached the door, North straightened his shirt a bit as he spoke up. “Hopefully we can handle this case better than the last one.” He said, finally arriving at the door with Diana. “No more I’ll-handle-this or I’ll-do-the-talking or anything. We’re going to work as a team.” When the door swung open after he agent knocked, North took one look at their host before cocking an eyebrow.
“You do the talking…”
Diana shot North a glare before blinking at the clown again. “Um…” The woman wasn’t speechless often, but for some reason forming a coherant thought was proving difficult when faced with a clown. She quickly regained her voice! “I’m… We’re lookng for Cathy Young. Martha sent us here…?” The older woman wouldn’t have mentioned someone she didn’t know… at least, that is what Diana hoped.
“She ain’t here.” replied the man, the deep timber of his voice the only give away to gender underneath the bulk of the costume and the makeup plastered to his face. Diana could smell the very strong scent of cigars and when she tried to peer around the man in to the room, scowled and stepped in to the way.
She pursed her lips with some annoyance, not quite sure if she believed him or not. “Then could you tell us where we could find her?”
“Not here.” he grunted, before slamming the door forcefully in their faces!
“That didn’t quite go as planned.” Blinking at teh door she surmised there might’ve been a little bit more going on than just a missing boyfriend. Or maybe she was just jumping to conclusions. Who said clowns were cheery all the time? “Alright partner. It’s your turn. What next?”
Before it even begun, the case felt like more than just a missing persons problem. The man in the clown getup wasn’t going to be any help and North couldn’t exactly flash his badge if he wanted to. Using force was just going to get the police involved and that would guarantee Diana and him being taken off the case they weren’t even suppose to be on in the first place. They weren’t exactly off to a good start.
“Well, if he’s not going to tell us, we’re going to have to figure it out ourselves.” North said as he thought to himself. “There was a window in the back. Maybe we can take peek and at least make sure our client really isn’t here.” It wasn’t the most scientific way of doing things and it bordered on trespassing but a quick look wouldn’t hurt. Maybe the window would be open.
“Any idea what this Cathy might look like?” North asked as they circled around back. Even if they did find a woman in the room, it wouldn’t exactly mean it was she. But they needed to make sure, anyway.
Reaching the wall behind the room, North and Diana were distressed to find the window nearly eight feet off the ground. The motel just happened to be built on a hill and the ground had dipped drastically. “Great.” huffed North as he glanced over to Diana. “Well – you’re the smaller one.” He gave her a look to let her know what he was thinking.
Diana rolled her eyes grateful at least this time she wasn’t wearing a skirt. “Fine.” she growled out curtly. “Just for heaven’s sake, don’t drop me.” There was plenty of room to walk, but it was a whole nother story when you’re balancing someone and there’s a incline behind you. Last thing she wanted to do was take a tummble down the hill, and from the looks of it she’d be landing in a muddy ditch.
She’d be sure to take him with her if she fell.
After some manuervering and a good boost, she was disapointed to find the curtains closed and blocking her few. “I can’t… oh wait, there’s voices.” Mutterng softly so she couldn’t be overheard, she leaned closer to the window to try and catch what the two voices were saying. One was the pleasant entertainer they met at the door, and the other was very distinctly the sound of a woman.
“Neither of them are here. I bet she took off just like he did.” the female voice complained. At least that let her conclude that miss Cathy Young definetly wasn’t there anymore.
“Good riddence,” snarled out the clown. He was harder to hear thanks to his tone, and Diana had to strain to listen. “As long as she didn’t take off with the box. I left it back at the carnival.”
The woman scoffed loudly and it sounded like she was pacing across the room. “We just have to find those damned keys!”
That piqued the agent’s interest. So they were supposed to be doing a simple easy case. But, once a mysterious box and missing people come in to play it made things delightfully complicated. Complicated made things more entertaining. For her anyway. North wasn’t going to be too pleased. “There’s a woman, but it’s not Cathy,” she whispered down to North, “and they’re looking for keys to something.”
“Wonder what for.” North muttered as he arranged his grip around the agent’s legs. Unable to hear anything but a muted conversation, the detective couldn’t help but think what was going on in the room. If Cathy wasn’t there, where could she have taken off to? North stared off as he tried to put things together in his head.
Suddenly there was a soft crack of a branch and the sound of footsteps coming from around the side of the motel. North suddenly snapped out of his daze and his grip around Diana loosened as the noise came closer. Acting quickly, North managed to catch his partner in his arms before they both ended up in the creek below.
“Sorry about that.” North murmured as he held Diana up. Luckily for them, the source of the footsteps was just one of the managers taking out several bags of garbage to the dumpster. But as he lifter the first bag, the man caught sight of North and Diana in an awkward position and they acted like deer in headlights.
“Uh…” North tried to think of something to say. “Do you mind?!” He shouted, trying to pass them off as a couple. It was the first thing that came into his head and he glanced back at Diana with an apologetic look. After all, they couldn’t be caught peeking into motel rooms, police business or not. Though, he was probably going to end up giving North a good slap either way.
“Jeez.” The young man said. “You’re, like, behind a motel. Get a room…” And threw the last bag away before walking off.
“That was close.” North said, setting Diana back down on hard ground. “I guess we better try something else.” But before they could even start thinking of another tactic, a loud, gruff voice shouted at them from above.
“HEY!” Above them, the man in the clown make up was sticking his head out the window. He must have heard the earlier commotion and now he’s had caught the two detectives red handed. “You just wait right there!” He shouted again and pulled his head back in. “It’s those two who were at the door! They’re snoopin’ ’round back! Where’s my bat?”
Yelling would have to be reserved for later. They needed to go and they needed to go fast! What a terrible day to be caught without a car! Diana grabbed North by the collar of his jacket and tugged him around the building, where the clown and the mystery woman had still not yet come out of the room. There wasn’t going to be time to hail a taxi, and Diana had no desire to find out what they planned to do with that bat!
The woman dragged North down the street until she decided they were reasonably far enough from the crazy clown and his female companion. Stopping in front of a shop window she let out a light an easy laugh, as if the whole ordeal was nothing more than a schoolyard chase! “What do you suppose he was going to do with that bat, detective?” Her chesire grin was quickly replaced by a blink of shock as the sound of squeeling tires well up the street turned a corner and headed their way. The van so cheerfully painted with it’s clown montage was speeding down the street. On the front grill was the disturbing image of a wickedly grinning clown, that seemed to match the face of it’s driver.
“D-Diana! Wait-stop!” North tried to call out as she dragged him along. She was certainly fast and had quite the grip when needed. Having trouble keeping up, the detective stumbled behind Diana until they stopped in front of a shady building, thinking they had lost the crazed clown. Taking a breather, North fixed up his now untidy shirt and looked around.
“What do I think he would have done?” A hint of sarcasm in his voice. He didn’t have time to finish his comment when he saw the look on Diana’s face. Quickly looking back the way they came, North caught sight of something that looked like it came out of a nightmare.
“Oh … Damn.”
With the van from before speeding down on them with a horrific front end, North and Diana had little time to act. As soon as it veered onto the sidewalk, causing a few pedestrians to dive out of the way, the two detectives quickly charged into the nearest door and out of harms way. Though, into what, they weren’t quite sure.
Taking a look at their new surroundings, North and Diana discovered they hadn’t ducked into any corner shop or some restaurant. The room was so dark, the two couldn’t see a thing, but they could certainly hear a small crowd.
“Diana?” North called out, hoping to find the Agent in the dark. Suddenly, a spotlight beamed down on what looked like a stage and a loud voice boomed over the speakers.
“Now presenting the body you’ve been waiting for! Sam Marra!” It was a strip bar! Out of all the doors they could have entered, they had to choose this one. North looked around and managed to find Diana in the dim light of the stage and quickly made his way over to her.
“Diana? Diana!” He shouted over the cheering crowd of drooling men.
Diana decided it was simply useless to be shocked. They had that strange ability to walk in to the most bizzare situations, and it seemed this time was no different. Her head was tilted as she watched the stage, expecting some topless blonde to come trouncing out, but instead it was the most extraordinarily dressed man she had ever seen. With bright pink hair, gold sequin dress and six inch heels, it was a miracle he didn’t go flying off the platform in to the whistling masses below. If that weren’t enough he had a microphone and started to sing with a most surprisingly fantastic voice. She was impressed, and that didn’t happen often!
North found her, not that she was aware that she had lost him in the darkness of the club. The sound was so loud she had to lean as close as possible just to make sure she was heard! “He is better than he looks, don’t you think?” She shook her head dismissing the comment, afterall they weren’t there to critique the local talent, they were trying to escape crazed clowns on wheels. “I don’t think they’ll look in here, they’re as good as… nevermind.” Always she spoke too soon, Diana could see the faint outline of their chases coming in through the doors. One can’t mistake a clown, in any light!
“We’ll go out the back!” Diana took North’s hand meaning to guide him through the dim light but as she turned she nearly rammed in to the chest of an unusally busty man!
“No patrons backstage. Wait… are you too the new staff?” Tapping his stubbly chin with a pair of glittery orange nails he scrutinized the two detectives for a moment, until he finally shrugged. “Not the best looking pair, but we can fix your right up! Come along then!”
“No, wait…” Diana started to protest but as she glanced over her shoulder and caught a glimpse of a red nose and a bat, nothing could be any worse! “Lead the way, boss!”
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Agent.” North said as he followed. The bouncer, however, raised an eyebrow to the name ‘agent’. Catching his reaction, North turned to him to straighten things out. “That’s her – act name.” He said, thinking it up on the spot. “I’m her back … back up.” North was beginning thing he was digging himself a hole.
They followed the large doorman down a poorly lit and decaying hallway, past several doors before he stopped at a set. “You, you’re in here.” He pointed North to the left. “You, here.” The same to Diana, only in the other direction.
“Uh, thanks.” North said and opened the door a sliver. He was going to wait for the bouncer to leave and duck out the back – only; the muscle bound wall wasn’t moving. “We, uh, know where to go. Thank you.”
“I’m suppose to stay.” He said, much to North’s dismay. “I gotta tell you when you’re up.” And crossed his arms, showing he wasn’t going anywhere soon. North and Diana’s escape wasn’t going to be as easy as planned, and there was still a mean clown out there looking for them, they couldn’t waste any time.
“Thanks…” Looking over to Diana. “I’ll see you … later.” North said, not sounding too happy about what they’ve gotten themselves into.
“Oh my god.” Diana annouced to the empty room as she slammed the door behind her and leaned against it. She wasn’t sure what was more upsetting, the idea of performing on stage, or the fact the guy most like mistook her as a female impersonator. A women’s pride could be cut deep! If the goon was going to be standing out there guarding the doors, there was no way she and North were going to be able to just walk out. Getting on stage in some frilly costume didn’t seem much better.
Although, perhaps that would be a good disguise to trick the clown so they could take off. But doing a show? Chirping karaoke tunes didn’t make one a great singer, just a brave one! Diana suspected North wouldn’t be much better.
A window was in the room, and Diana opened it up to lean out and see how clear the escape might be. It wouldn’t take any acrobatic climbing and would be a perfect escape… but there was still North stuck in the other room to consider. Damn, why did she have to go and think having a partner was a good idea? For a brief wicked moment she considered leaving North behind to make a brilliant stage debute, and her sneaking out to distract the clown.
Closing the window with an irritated snarl,she moved back to the door and listened. Perhaps she was growing fond of the detective. Tossing him under teh bus just didn’t seem right. Besides, no man should be left in a bar like that unprotected!
While Diana’s room may have been empty, the detective wasn’t as lucky. Joining him in the small, cramped dressing were three other rather fit men. All of which were giving North a rather odd look, the detective quick to return the confused stare. He wasn’t exactly expecting anyone to be in there, thought, why he wouldn’t was beyond him. North just hoped Diana found a way out already.
“So…” One of the entertainers spoke up. “Who are you suppose to be?”
“Detective … McCoy.” North said awkwardly, looking for a way out of the dressing room. The windows were high, but far to thin for someone like him to squeeze through, though, he hoped that maybe Diana got the same idea.
“A cop act? Kinda overdone, don’t you think?” The frilly man asked while applying some powder to his face while North searched for an escape route.
“I’m not in an act. I’m a real detective.” North wasn’t too keen on the man’s tone. “Look, I’m being chased by some nutjob in a clown suit.”
“Well, if you’re a cop, why don’t you show some authority, hmm?” The sharp tone still in the entertainer’s voice.
“Because I – don’t have my badge. Or my … gun. Look I’m not even suppose to be on duty, I just got … dragged into something.” North said with a sigh.
“Uh-huh. Look, pal, if you wanted an autograph or something, you can wait until the end of the show like everyone else.” The man stood up. “Until then – SECURITY!”
“Wait, no!” North tried to explain, but before he could, the rather large man from before burst into the room and looked down at North.
“This fan couldn’t wait. Show him the door, would you?” With one swift motion, the giant took North by the collar and dragged him out and towards the end of the hall, opposite of the door they came in.
“Wait, look! This is just a – hey!” Before North could finish, he found himself on the ground with a face-full of leaves and mud. Behind him, the door slammed and clicked. Locked.
“Just great, North.” The detective sat up. “Well, at least you got out of there. Now for-” Suddenly, his eyes widened and North scrambled to his feet. “Diana!” The big guy inside was sure to put two and two together and realize she wasn’t exactly an entertainer either. Or if she was going to get the same treatment as him.
Wasting to time, North hurried to the side of the building, adjacent to the men’s changing room, hoping to find a matching window. And for once, luck was on his side as he quickly slid down to the narrow opening. Unfortunately, the glass was so heavily tinted, there was no chance of him seeing in. Quickly, North began banging on the glass and shouting the agent’s name in hopes that it would catch her attention. If the bouncer hadn’t already caught her – or even worse, the clown found his way backstage.
All Diana could hear was the shuffling in the hallway as she listened against the door. A loud knock followed by the door being pushed open startled her backwards and she quickly made herself look busy.
“Number is in five minutes! Hey, why the hell aren’t you dressed?” The burley goon looked her over with suspicion.
Diana blinked and reacting quickly gave a flip of her hair and a sassy look to her nails. “A woman can’t be rushed! I’m almost done!” Rolling his eyes and muttering ‘real women’ under his breath he slammed the door again, leaving Diana behind to shake her fist at the door and grummble curses. That was just great. Well, North had better look peachy in a dress, cause they didn’t have any talent to back it up!
Snatching the only garment that looked close to her size from the costume rack, she quickly pulled off her clothes and stashed them in a conveniant man-sized purse. After throwing on the dress, and pulling her boots back on, Diana gave herself a critical look in the mirror. It was a slinky shimmery black number only held up by a thin chain around the neck, with a slit at the side that came up dangerously high on the floor length skirt. And a man was supposed to wear that dress?
The door was knocked on again as Diana snapped up the bag and rested it on her shoulder. Swinging it open she gave the bouncer a brilliant smile and blinked at the otherwise empty hall. “See, finished with time to spare. Where is my, ah,… partner?”
“He was a just some fan trying to sneak in and see Duchess. Tossed him out in the street witht he rats. You’re going solo tonight, lady.” he replied, leading her down the hall.
“What?! I mean…” Diana didn’t bother to finish the phrase, she was simply livid! Leave her to put on a show for a bunch of cross dressing me, would he?! North McCoy was going to get a good sock in the jaw when she managed to slip out. A famliar face at the end of the hall cause her to suck in a breath a hide her face quickly. The clown passed without recognition, giving the bouncer a nod, a he head towards the two dressing rooms. Well, at least she wasn’t stuck in that room! That brought another question however…
The bouncer stopped with Diana near the stage behind the curtains as they waited for the last act to finish. Diana casually cleared her throat. “You know that guy, eh? In the clown getup?”
“Yeah,” he replied, “comes in here all the time with his sister. Wants to be a stage singer, but frankly a moose could sing better.”
Diana asked who the sister was and he kindly pointed out the gypsy woman from around the curtains. She grimanced. Getting on stage on stage was a sure fire way of getting spotted… not to mention being mortally embarassed. “Oh! You know, I completly forgot something for the act! Mind if I run and get it real quick?” Giving her a shrug, Diana jumped on the chance and quickly escaped down the hall towards the back exit!
“Open up already, Diana!” North said out loud after another fit of pounding on the glass. He was begging to fear the worst. Either they had found her out and were interrogating her in another room, or the clown’s bat had found its target! Shaking his head, North dismissed the thoughts. Diana was just being slow about, that’s all. Again, North started pounding on the glass.
Inside, however, the now weaponless clown was wondering down the hall hoping to find the two detectives. That’s when he happened to pass the room Diana had previous used – and where North was still pounding away. The man instantly recognized the voice and with a wicked grin, entered the room.
“Where are you?” North complained. “I’m freezing my – Finally!” His face lit up as he heard the window unlocking. “Diana, come on, we have to g-” “Gotcha’ now!” shouted a very frightening clown man’s head as the glass swung upward. It was so quick and North wasn’t expecting it and needless to say, he was startled out of his mind. With a loud and quick scream, the detective took the window and slammed it back down, right into the man’s face. Being struck with a surprisingly thick piece of glass, the colorful being stumbled back out the door – right into the escaping Diana Jones.
It took him a moment to adjust his shiny, red nose before he glanced up at the woman. “Hey! And … YOU!”
“Er…” Getting ran in to by a clown was never very pleasant, especially when it had murder on the mind. “…damn!” Not sparing him another glance Diana tried to shoot past him to get towards the back door, but she hadn’t got far before he latched on to her leg. Tummbling ungracefully to the floor, the bag dropped from her arm, and worse yet her gun decided falling out and sliding across the cold tile floor was going to be a great idea.
Looking back, she could see the recognition cross the clown’s face as he too spotted the gun. “Cops! Why I oughta..!” Pulling the agent closer by the ankle he was met with a heeled boot to the nose, which unfortunetly didn’t have quite the affect Diana would have hoped for thanks to the cushioning! He growled snatching her by the arms with gloved hands and dragged her to her feet. “You know what I do to snoopin’ cops?!” He gave her a hard shake, and Diana could only guess it wasn’t going to be good!
She recognized her gun as a click sounded behind her, followed by a low laugh. “That’s right brother, tell her how we make cops disapear!” The gypsy had her gun and screaming was out of the question. After all if the cops were called, North was going to be in a world’s worth of trouble with the Chief. Besides, they wouldn’t dare shoot her in a crowded club!
North sat in the mud a while longer, trying to get over the scare. Again, he wasn’t afraid of clowns, but anyone would have one the same thing if a head popped up from the ground like that! “Get it together, North!” The detective said out loud. Diana was still in there and now the guy after them was too. North couldn’t waste time on petty frights; he had to warn Diana before it was too late.
With the back door locked and the front out of the question, North was going to have to find that third entrance. That’s when he looked back down at the window and realized it was unlocked now! He’d at least be able to see in and maybe even make his way through at the angle he was at. Slowly, he lifted the dark glass just a sliver to make sure the clown wasn’t still there.
Opening it the rest of the way, North laid down flat on his stomach in the mud and peered in only to see what he didn’t want to see. Diana was on the ground, struggling with the man in the clown get-up! Though, she was strangely dressed at the moment. Not stopping to think about the size of the opening, North began what would be his failed attempt at crawling through the window. No more than half-way through, North was stopped cold, his jacket snared in several places, and it would be hopeless to try and get it undone. Unable to move, North looked up only to see another woman pointing a gun at the agent’s head.
“Diana!” North shouted, only managing to get the attention of all three of them.
“C’mon! Do it now!” The clown barked, shaking Diana with every word. He sounded more anxious now that North appeared to be coming.
“No.” The gypsy woman said sharply. “Not here. Let’s take her back to the carnival. We can dispose of her more – quietly.”
“Yeah, good idea, sis.” And the man took Diana and brought her to her feet. But before he could drag her off, the gypsy decided it would be best to render the agent unconscious before they did anything. So with a swift motion, she swung the firearm through the air right into the back of Diana’s skull. She was out cold.
“Let’s go!” The gypsy woman motioned and picked up Diana’s feet and quickly made for the back door. North, on the other hand, was helpless to stop any of this, stupidly believing he could fit in such a small passage. All he could do was watch as they hauled Diana off to some unknown destination. There was nothing he could do.
Once the were out of sight, the detecting struggled to back out of the hole and hopefully intercept them on the way to their van. Attempting to pull himself free, North suddenly heard the sound of fake leather ripping – his jacket! Before he could do anything to save himself, he found himself falling towards the ground, landing with a hard thump. He was back in the club again, only too late to help.
Outside, the gypsy and clown were loading Diana into the back of the van, not exactly worried if anyone would see them. After all, they were both in makeup and the van most likely didn’t belong to them anyway. When they were done tossing around the agent, the two kidnappers quickly hopped into the van themselves and sped off, nearly clipping another car in the process.
Back inside, North heard the sound of the van peeling out and jumped up, only to see it speeding down the street. He knew she had to be in the back of it – and he hand only one idea as to where they were headed. Where there were clowns, there was a fair. Not wasting any time, North once again escaped through the back door and outside, bent on finding the Agent Diana Jones.