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It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 11

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning
Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again
Chapter 6: Treffellem Tagge
Chapter 7: Ambushed
Chapter 8: The EPA Chase
Chapter 9: The Ghostly Chapter
Chapter 10: The Frigid Urchin

Chapter 11: The New New Chapter

After AV had said “You begin to see how deep it is?” and Pumpkin had looked at her significantly, Johnnie drew him aside and they held a hurried, whispered colloquy together. 

“What do we do now?” began Pumpkin, lowering his voice even further. 

“Tradam has taken over the WAS, and is letting his criminal buddies go free,” whispered back Johnnie, pulling a pair of sunglasses out of her pocket and putting them in her hair. “There’s only one thing to be done,” she added, punching the kitchen counter. 

“You mean – beat him up?” inquired Pumpkin, unguardedly. 

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 11

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 10

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning
Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again
Chapter 6: Treffellem Tagge
Chapter 7: Ambushed
Chapter 8: The EPA Chase
Chapter 9: The Ghostly Chapter

Chapter 10: The Frigid Urchin

After a brief search, Johnnie was found holding out her Egyptian cutlass with her back pressed against the gilt wall and feet dug deep into the floor. 

AV pushed the refrigerator out of the way and confronted her solidly, pulling out a Tac-Force gun shaped knife that reminded Johnnie startlingly of her own Apache Revolver and flicking it open with astonishing rapidity. 

Observing this new development in the situation, Johnnie dropped her sword and pulled out both her pistols. “Don’t come any nearer,” she began sternly, “or I shoot. … You watch it,” she added, as AV advanced steadily, “You’re one against four, buddy, I wouldn’t do it if I was you.” Johnnie pulled a cowboy hat from the top of the fridge (which was where AV kept his 1865 collection of cowboy hats) and dramatically flipped her pistols in the air as she put it on in the intervening sweep, catching her pistols again and pointing them straight at AV’s breast. 

AV, his own hat off, stopped walking forward and, looking about him, considered the situation thoughtfully. 

“Nevermind, I guess it’s just three against two,” Johnnie corrected herself dryly, as Rosy slipped her hand into AV’s. 

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 10

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 9

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning
Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again
Chapter 6: Treffellem Tagge
Chapter 7: Ambushed
Chapter 8: The EPA Chase

Chapter 9: The Ghostly Chapter

“Pumpkin, what are you doing on that side of AV’s ghastly establishment?” hissed Johnnie, sticking her face inside the cat hole. 

“My good fortune was on a two-month vacation,” explained Pumpkin patiently, lifting the latch from the window and putting his head out in reply. 

“So, your point is…?” said Sam, resting his hands on the sill and pushing Pumpkin’s face slowly back in with his hand. 

“So I came back to clean AV’s windows. I’ll send him a handsome bill for it when I’m done here. Earn me some money. Hey, why do you two look like you saw a ghost and couldn’t catch him?” 

Johnnie looked aggrieved. “Pumpkin, I wish you wouldn’t say such things,” she said, getting up on her feet and bounding in all at once through the window he was cleaning. 

“Johnnie! AV didn’t say you could come in,” protested Pumpkin, frowning at her and closing the window on top of Sam. “But I guess he’d be okay with it, as long as he never figured it out,” he added with sudden thoughtfulness 

“What about Sam?” asked Johnnie, peering down at said individual, who was now in the act of pounding at the window and gesticulating violently towards them. He looked a little threatening, too. 

“Well I’m sure AV wouldn’t want him inside, anyhow,” said Pumpkin, maliciously sticking his tongue out at Sam from a safe distance. 

“Well, that’s possible,” replied Johnnie, reluctantly. “He’s a horrible hand for breaking things – I don’t know what he’d do in a house like this… Sorry Sam,” she mouthed, shrugging her shoulders and pointing at Pumpkin while he was looking the other way. 

Presently, and forgetting Sam, they walked down the corridor together, and turned into the living room – carefully, because of the ax. 

“Say,” said Johnnie, turning suddenly on Pumpkin, “where’s Rosy? I don’t see her anywhere. We’re going to be in big trouble with Sam once he gets past that window if we don’t find her…” 

“View all, Johnnie,” began Pumpkin, pouring himself a cup of coffee. “She went to the WAS with AV and Daniella.”

“My torture! Daniella works at the WAS?” said Johnnie in disbelief. “How is that possible? You mean all these years, I could have…”

Pumpkin held up a finger and swallowed the rest of his coffee in a gulp. “No, sorry, Daniella went to take her biology test. I know that actually, because she hates school and it took AV and Rosy more than five minutes to convince her to go.”

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 9

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 8

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning
Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again
Chapter 6: Treffellem Tagge
Chapter 7: Ambushed

Chapter 8: The EPA Chase

No, the night was not through. No, oh dear no – the night was not through at all! Dear me, I was quite mistaken about its having been through! But no doubt you, dear reader, were at least somewhat aware that the night was not going to end there, with everybody comfortably a-bed, (except of course, Johnnie, Sam and Pumpkin, who were outside standing in the cold), – at least, you would never have supposed so if you had pursued a more steady course of novel-reading. 

Pumpkin wished it would end, certainly; as a matter of fact, he wished the whole evening away several times throughout the course of the night; and began bandying nonsense about severe colds and numb extremities and sudden amputations to such an extent that Johnnie and Sam had more than once to grind their teeth and keep their tempers from lashing out into more stirring expressions. 

And dear me! I was not only wrong about the night having ended, but about Rosy’s ever having ever gone to sleep, and about there being no further stir below. 

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 8

My Favorite Way to Die Twice

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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.” 

Continue reading My Favorite Way to Die Twice

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 7

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning
Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again
Chapter 6: Treffellem Tagge

Chapter 7: Ambushed

Long before Pumpkin had arrived in front of AV’s hauntingly tenebrific house, Sam and Rosy had made their successful exit out of the crowd, and entered a nearby Si Galala where Sam decided they would wait for Johnnie to show up so they could talk over a plan of action. 

Johnnie normally did show up, no matter where they were, at some time or other, so they hoped she would show up there, before much time had passed. (It was not a reasonable assumption, but they held to it without a second thought).

Their expectation was shortly exculpated by the sudden appearance of Johnnie herself looking in at them through the high-tech motion window, through which they saw her cross her arms after beckoning them outside.

Sam and Rosy jumped through the trapezoid in the center of the window, and landed under the fountain in front of Si Galala with dynamism. 

“At your service,” said Sam, bowing as much like other people as he could. 

“You shouldn’t risk getting caught for something so silly as not walking out the front door,” remarked Johnnie in a rebuking tone, as she looked at them admiringly. 

Sam smiled. “No one was looking.”

Rosy raised her eyebrows, as much as to say “that’s not true” and Sam looked uncomfortable and muttered beneath his breath, “Except you.”  “We’ll let it pass, but you’d better be more careful Sam, you never know who could be on your track. Why, Sam old fellow, you’ll never believe what happened-”

“I will, I promise to,” interrupted Sam, quite eager to finally have a good excuse to believe something totally unbelievable. 

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 7

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 6

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning
Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again

Chapter 6: Treffellem Tagge

“Well, you’re definitely my new favorite person,” remarked Pumpkin, as he watched his ice cream slowly melting on the hot asphalt.

“I generally am a great favorite – but you really figured that out remarkably fast,” replied an unfamiliar voice with a smile in it.

“I was being sarcastic,” explained Pumpkin hastily, giving the person who had knocked down his ice cream a sidelong glance. “And I thought it was Sam there – Hello, I’m Pumpkin.”

“I’m Treffellem Tagge,” said Treffellem, introducing himself.

They shook hands.

“I was just walking towards the WAS,” began Pumpkin. “When something bumped into me and – well, here we are.”

“I work -” Treffellem was beginning at the same time, but stopped and let Pumpkin finish.

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 6

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 5

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?
Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning

Chapter 5: The Yellow House Again

“So why did you bring Sam’s electro-acoustic transducer?” asked Pumpkin, as soon as they were well out of the small throng of annoying people the world has the graciousness to call “reporters.” 

Johnnie pulled her eyes violently down in an attempt not to roll them. “It’s a phone; just say phone. We can stop talking code now.”

Pumpkin shrugged. “I’m not the one who thought using three words instead of one was a good code. But anyway you know Sam gets mad if anybody answers his phone calls.”

“Well, I needed it,” Johnnie explained. “Tradam’s going to send him a picture of Mr. Semmes – and we may as well do something as not.”

“Like look at it?” 

Johnnie nodded. “Might as well have as much fun as we can while Sam’s stuck in the parking lot,” said Johnnie to herself, grinning. “You don’t happen to know his password?” she added aloud. 

“Oh no,” replied Pumpkin, quickly. “He doesn’t have a password, he uses one of those fingerprint things.”

Johnnie looked at the phone in sudden horror, and as she looked at it in horror she exclaimed, “Dash it! then we won’t possibly be able to break into it. Oh bother it all, now we have to go back. Oh bother!”

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 5

It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 4

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam
Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?

Chapter 4: Tradam’s Warning

After Johnnie had hollered through the keyhole for a solid five minutes, the secretary came in. 

“Shall I show you the way out of the building?” she asked politely, as she led them all out into the hall. “The nearest exit is right over here,” she added, pulling Rosy – who was walking in the wrong direction – back by her hoodie. 

(“Dear me, she’s distressingly anticlimactic,” thought Johnnie dolefully to herself. “I was just starting to feel like a real heroine too!”) 

Johnnie had just said this to herself when, turning round a sudden corner of the building they bumped unexpectedly and violently into a cup of coffee (and Mr. Tradam as well).  

Continue reading It Was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 4

It was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 3

Prologue
Chapter 1: Cookie of Consolation
Chapter 2: Sam

Chapter 3: Who Stole the Cookie?

The steel door slid open soundlessly. (I don’t know what steel door it was, but as you don’t either it can’t much matter.)

AV waved his hand over the room and announced carelessly, “Mr. Semmes’s office.” 

(–“And it really made him sound like a footman,” as Johnnie said.) 

There was a rush, a scramble, and a “don’t touch anything!” from Sam to everyone except AV, who was looking on in horror. 

“Is everything okay? Why does it smell like freshly mowed grass?” he asked apprehensively, when Johnnie, Sam, Rosy, and their excitement had subsided a little.

Continue reading It was All Pumpkin’s Fault: Chapter 3