“Tell me a bed time story, Mitch! Carry me, I’m tired. Come on, hurry up with the story, Mitch.”
“Alright, um… It was a normal night in New York City, and the rain was thundering around a dark figure dressed in a black jacket and a dark green baseball cap.”
“Was he a detective?”
“What was he running from?” asked the little girl as he hoisted her up onto his shoulder.
Mitch pretended to think for a moment.
“The mayor’s son. He had exposed the underground black market the son was running, and now the blickerfones were stuck on him to track him down. He started in a coffee shop, but there was a deal about the electricity going out, and he managed to escape. Then some little girl took it into her head to fall out of a second story right into our main character’s arms, which was fortunate for him because it helped him blend right into the crowd, changing from a felonious detective agent into a normal-looking dad.”
“What was his job?” asked the little girl dreamily.
“His job, ninny? He worked for the government capturing criminals.”
“Do you ever capture them, Mitch?”
“They tend to kill me once or twice before I do.”
“That’s a happy thought,” said the little girl, settling onto his shoulder more comfortably. “I’m glad you catch them eventually.”
“Always,” replied Mitch.
“Where did he disappear to, Kegs?” exploded an angry manager at the largest of two blickerfones who stood before him.
“I don’t know, sir. We had our sights fully trained on him when he turned a corner. Then, he had disappeared. But we’ll find him again, sir. We have his face scanned.”
“Good. Make sure you eliminate him, and anyone he loves. Don’t let anything stop you. Take him to the roto bridge to finish him off. That’ll make your job easy.”
“Sir, my sister’s child has gone missing,” offered the agent, a second later.
“You’re a blickerfone,” said the manager, stonily. “You don’t have family, Kegs. You’re mine, and I’m all you’ve got, so you can forget about your niece, because she sure won’t make it alive through this stormy night.”
“Mitch, what are blickerfones?” asked the little girl.
“You don’t want to know darling. Come on, let’s get you home,” said Mitch.
The little girl sighed. “Mitch?”
“I know. But just look at the city lights, baby girl. They’re bright tonight.”
“They’re bright every night,” said the little girl, lifting her head for a second to look at the splendid city skyline of New York. “They used to keep me awake at night.”
“Well, we’re almost home,” responded Mitch, with a faint trace of despondence in his voice.
“Home? Where are you taking me?” asked the little girl in alarm, struggling to get out of his arms.
He let her down on the pavement.
“Calm down little baby, I’m taking you to the police station. They’ll find your parents and get you home safe. Who were you with when you fell out of the second story window?”
The little girl started to cry. “I was lost. I don’t have a daddy, and I ran away from the blue home. Don’t send me back, please. My mommy doesn’t care about me and she doesn’t like having to pay for me. Don’t let her find me, please, Mitch, please.”
“I won’t, I promise. We’ll find some other way. The police station is the safest place for us right now. They’ll never think of looking for me there. What’s your name, baby?” asked Mitch, in a puzzled voice.
“Juliet Nell. What’s your whole name?”
“Mitch Malkony, well, and Stalking. That’s sort of my name.”
“That’s a weird name,” laughed Juliet. “Look, I see the police station! Are you sure we’ll be safe there?”
“Not under my breath,” replied Mitch, speeding up his pace. “Come on, run!” he added, glancing behind him at the well-known sound of the blickerfone tracking devices. He could just make out the outline of two black helmets and the red laser of a handgun trained on him.
“Come on, come on!” he yelled under his breath, sweeping Juliet off her feet and rushing for the police station front door.
He slipped behind it just in time, and a volley of shot pored through the laser-beamed holes in the door, just missing them by an inch.
“Let’s get out of here,” whispered Mitch.
“Why? Danger’s fun,” said Juliet, trying to pull a gun out of his belt.
“Hey, what are you doing? Give that back, kid, you might hurt someone.”
But Juliet had wrested the gun from his hand and positioned it in the crack of the door. She trained her sights on one of the blickerfones and discharged a bullet. It glanced off his vest and he kept advancing steadily.
“They’re bullet proof, ninny,” said Mitch. “But nice try. Come on!”
“Over here Kegs, they’re escaping by the back door!” cried a blickerfone. “He’s got a girl with him. They’re running on Fourth Street.”
Keg’s voice sounded robotic as it replied, “We will track them down and lead him off roto bridge where he will have no choice but to die. Scan the girl’s face. We can’t lose track of them again.”
Mitch was arriving at the end of his tether. He had carried the girl for miles, but he couldn’t shake the blickerfones.
“Look, there’s a bridge, Mitch!” cried Juliet eagerly.
“It’s our last chance,” breathed Mitch, “Let’s pray it’s a good one.”
Suddenly the blinding lights of a car shone on them from behind, and cut off their retreat.
Mitch shook Juliet from his shoulder and pushed her near the bridge. “Stay down!”
He ran for the end of the bridge, but it was only half built, and left off suddenly in utter oblivion. Beyond could be seen the city skyline, alive with lights, the nearest building too far away to lend a hope even to a daring fellow like Mitch.
He turned around to face the hurtful laser of a blickerfone who was steadily advancing on him.
“Don’t kill him!” screamed Juliet, starting up from her hiding place and leaping in front of the blickerfone. “That’s Mitch Malkony Well And Stalking. Leave him alone, now. He’s important!” She slapped away at the indestructible armor of the blickerfone passionately.
“Or face her wrath,” added Mitch, with a slightly nervous laugh.
“It’s too bad he won’t live, but then again, who does?” spat the blickerfone, still advancing with his handgun held out threateningly.
“You once said only the bad guys died,” replied Juliet, a tear slipping down her cheek, as her sudden burst of temper died out, and the rain beat her hair around her face.
“Get out of here, Juliet,” threatened Mitch, “I can handle this.”
The blickerfone smiled, and forced one of Mitch’s feet off the bridge. “Can you?” he asked cruelly.
“Uncle,” began Juliet behind them, “Is it you Uncle Kegs? Don’t you know who I am? Why are you so changed? How can you kill Mitch like that? Why won’t you save him?”
“I’m a blickerfone, Juliet,” said Kegs, turning around on her slowly. “I don’t have feelings, or family. I’m just a machine. And I’m programmed to kill Mitch twice today.”
“That sounds fun,” and Mitch forced a laugh.
“This is the first way,” thought Kegs. “Enjoy it.”
“I will,” responded Mitch, answering his thought. “I always do.”