Episode 5 – Our Finale – Showdown at the ¿Por qué? Corral
DANIELLE OARLESS peeked at her face in the compact mirror, snapped the clam-lid shut and placed it back in her crocodile embossed Downtown Baby Cabas bag. She moved towards her prey now with reptilian confidence, gliding silently over the cheap tiled floor as if it were ermine and she the pampered palm of a princess.
Entering the interrogation room, her shadow crossed Wade’s downcast view. He immediately looked up and demanded, “When do we get outta here?” his face a mask of annoyance.
“Soon, I promise,” the sultry Lieutenant replied, wetting her lips and sending a fast wink at the impatient man. She surveyed the room, pausing to nod at Kowalski, addressing him informally. “Alright, Shep, time to make an arrest. You may close the door if you don’t mind.”
As Kowalski stepped by her to secure the door, Oarless moved in behind Old Man Reimer and, placing her Saint Laurent on the table, set her feet like a lead-off hitter digging into the fresh sand of the batter’s box. Once she was comfortable, she raised both hands quickly, and, nuzzling the stubbly hog jowls on either side of Reimer’s neck with her large hands—she clenched handfuls of skin and PULLED!
Double-barrelled snot flew out of Reimer’s nostrils as he reacted with understandable shock, his eyes bulging like a hooked fish.
“Time to take off this mask, time to introduce the real smuggler… DIKJ WULF!” Danielle shouted, her neck corded and shoulders heaving as she strained to remove the mask. No headway, though…
Sputtering, cursing, his buttocks now several inches above the curved plywood of his chair bottom, Reimer seemed about to faint, to be decapitated, or to simply expire from the force of Oarless’s brawny exertions. Before any of these dire outcomes could take place, Kowalski’s voice cut through the din—
“Excuse me, Lieutenant, I believe it’s me you seek.” Kowalski stood behind her, a rubber mask with only black holes for eyes dangled from his hand.
Little Ben Reimer looked on from the other room, in utter dismay. The speaker crackled with the audio and he could see the action unfold as though he was watching an NFL game on a big screen TV.
“I’d never have guessed, in a thousand years,” he said to an equally-astonished Roget, “a Wulf in Shep’s clothing!”
* * *
“So, explain this again,” said Roget, “I’ll have an exposition chaser with this hoppy IPA,” he then reiterated.
“Sure,” Oarless said, draining her beer and jiggling the empty glass at the barman, Corny Süppsach, owner of the Shrieking Rooster Taproom, a former watering-hole for Danielle and her loqui abundantem partner.
“I knew all of the apparent ‘clues’ were nothing more than red herrings scattered about by the perp, or possibly Wade, who was trying to negotiate a buy-out of Old Man Reimer, or maybe even false evidence laid by Little Ben, who wanted to squeeze out his old man.”
Roget nodded, and in the quiet of Oarless’s pause, hummed with the tonal quality of a synthesizer, like the sound of a Dutch Oven lid slamming shut:
“Ha, very clever, you repetitious recapitulator, you!” Oarless said, smiling her approval. “Yes, Dikj Wulf, creator of ‘Slaw and Flounder’, CBC’s longest running cooking show. How did I know, you ask?”
“The sting from that show haunts my dreams, like the howls of the dogs of hell!” Roget admitted, somewhat off-topic.
“Anyway, I could not see any motive for our suspects to smuggle in these industrial-sized quantities of Mexican vanilla, so I had to look elsewhere.”
Roget made snaky-eyes at Danielle, pretending to understand. She continued:
“I pulled his LUDs and did some digging. After a night of drinking coffee from those awful little blue take-out cups…”
“Oh you mean the cups with the kinda, faux Greek aesthetic—the meander graphic on the top and the picture of the amphora vase…”
“Roll up the rim, you win,” she confirmed. “Anyway, it was the cups that gave me the clues…”
“Wait! How did you get iconic New York City takeout coffee cups in Prairie’s End?” Corny Süppsach interrupted. The balding redhead had wandered over, his BiC poised over a small spiral notebook. “And what does an American TV prop have to do with a cooking show on the CBC?”
“Never mind that, how can you expect there to be no plot holes in a yarn as convoluted as this?”
“Trü,” Roget said in a dietsch accent, with a “when-yer-right-yer-right” look.
Corny just shrugged. “Yoma leid ecksai.”
“So, to continue,” she glowered at the barkeep, who hitched at his pants, Humphrey Bogart style. “I had to find the one person in Prairie’s End with a vested interest in massive quantities of vanilla. I looked at Old Man Reimer’s telephone bill and there it was!”
“1-800-PORN-R-US?” Corny offered.
“GO AWAY! Who invited you here, anyway, dü oult, roothoahrijch Tjreihohn?” Danielle yelled, now enraged at the bearded, freckled interloper.
“This expositional conclusion would go a lot smoother if the author had not inserted himself so rudely into the proceedings,” Roget said confidentially, looking directly at the reader and cracking the divide between the fictive and the fictee.
“Last chance!” Danielle said, making a threatening fist and regaining the floor. “I assumed it was Old Man Reimer, trying to make a few bucks off the books before flipping the Reimer Reindeer company to his ne’er do well stepson Ben, or to Wade, but…” she paused, glaring at Corny Süppsach, who retreated, showing surprisingly good footwork for an old, red-haired, loudmouth rooster.
“But,” she continued, “Dikj Wulf had even thought of that and he had snuck into Reimer’s trailer and made all of the calls back to CBC Toronto, Mexico, and the Montreal Vanilla District from there. That’s why I figgered it was Old Man Reimer,” she concluded, raising her glass in a self-toast.
* * *
Unseen, in a black Cadillac parked across from the Shrieking Rooster, Juanita sat with her inscrutable leader, Randy the schinda Accounts Receivable clerk. The car idled quietly, sending a thin ribbon of white exhaust up towards the winter stars of the Northern Hemisphere. Dark tinted glass gleamed the starlight back at the sky.
“Shep Kowalski—AKA Dikj Wulf—is in for five-to-ten, Little Ben and Wade have agreed to our terms in exchange for ownership of Reimer Reindeers, and our friends at the vainilla cartel are most pleased with the way we’ve cornered the market in Canada. That just about does it, Oomtje Randy. Anything else you’d like done before Oarless and that half-wit return to the NorthWest Angle?”
Randy sat unmoving in the back seat. His neatly trimmed white hair contrasted with his dark tailored suit, and the perfect Winsor knot in his cashmere Paolo Albizzati. After flicking a bored glance at Juanita, he inhaled with languid slowness, filling his chest with Caddy interior air. Without moving his lips, Randy replied in perfect synthesizer pitch:
The End… For now.
Fade to black, roll credits, playback theme music
Addendum, 11.19.18: Here’s a few lines of lyric for the theme music, somewhat reminiscent of “The Sopranos” maybe, or “Fresh Off the Boat”, wiv jus a sprinkle aw Mike Skinner innit too, oiy?