Trouble’s Not Just for the Customers

He quietly opened the door to the “Bunny Cradle”, attempting to make as little disturbance as possible. The smoke filed his nasal cavity, blessing him with the smell of cigarettes instead of the B.O. of many unshowered men. Pool balls knocked together, mugs were clunked around, and music played above all other sounds. Wondering what he would find here, Dixon sauntered over to the bar, taking a seat isolated from the others.
“What can I get for ya?” the bartender called over his shoulder while cleaning out one of the mugs.
“Prune juice. Warm, not chilled,” he responded smuggly.
The bartender stopped for a moment, then turned toward him, embers burning in his eyes. “How dare you bring your sorry butt in here and order something like that! You come to an honorable estab-“
CRACK, cried the baseball bat as it collided with the back of an unsuspecting man’s head, ensuing into another bar fight.
The bartender paused again. “Okay, whatever, need to get rid of it ‘neways,” he finished, moving into the stockroom to grab the unopened crate.
“Mr. Dills, I’m surprised to see you back here again,” called out a familiar voice from behind him.
Dixon turned as Mr. Knuckles greeted him as well.

Down by the Water

“Ah, Mr. Jones,” Dixon replied curtly as the men around him moved closer, bats in hand. “I would greatly prefer it if you removed the mask,” he continued, gesturing to the tall man’s face.
“Ah, yes, about that,” he returned, slowly pulling it off. “So when are you planning on joining the community baseball team? I’ve been waiting for a reply for awhile.”
“I’m on a case right now, so I’ll have to give you a rain-check. Sorry about it.”
They slowly began walking down the street, chatting about news and such. Fortunately, a team of baseball players with bats in hand was enough to keep the thieves and muggers away.
“Well, as much as I’ve enjoyed this,” Dixon said later, “I really need to figure this case out. I’ll call you when I have time.”
The tall man nodded, and Dixon took the nearest cab to head down to the docks.

The docks were a savage place for only the toughest of men, bravest of all, and darkest of skin(sorry). For as dangerous as the streets of Webster were, no law enforcement officer dared go near the docks. A hive of corruption and danger, the docks held almost every major crime organization in town. Along with the only “Sears”.
The sun had not set, but the roads seemed dark regardless. The smell of the ocean, the cries of the seagulls, and the taste of garbage around gave the greatest warning any could need to stay away, but Dixon was unafraid.
He had his membership card in his pocket.
“Yo, whachu trying to pull?” said a random gang member as Dixon walked up.
“I’ve got my card in my pocket,” he quickly responded, pulling it out and showing him.
The man inspected it carefully in his grimy hands. “Looks alright to me. But you better watch yourself,” he hinted, lowering his voice. “The Blue Clams are looking to start trouble. I’d stay in Vaseline Razer town, if I were you.”
“Do you know where I can find the nearest Bar on 5th street? I’m actually kind of thirsty,” he asked offhandedly.
“Bunny Cradle. Can’t miss it,” he responded. Dixon gave him a quick nod and headed in that direction, not noticing those in his shadow.

A Stroll to Papa’s Place

A good afternoon is not having a dead broad on your office floor.
Today was not a good afternoon.
One of the secretaries came rushing in, a horror covering her face.
“Oh my stars!” she exclaimed, hand over mouth, eyes as wide as a whale.
“Yeah, that stain’ll be a pain to remove from the carpet,” I responded, checking to see how deep the blood had stained.
The secretary ran back out, which I had hoped was to call the cops. I needed answers.
And stain remover.
I checked and found the bullet wound just above her left temple, piercing straight into her brain. I shook my head, disappointed at another lost life at my hands. I searched her, looking for any clues to her existance, but she had no identification, nothing that could tell me anything. I knew there had to be a lead, something that could tell me something and lead me from this mysterious enigma before me. I checked her pockets once more, then again, hoping that I had missed that important clue, and that it still lay there.
“The police are coming,” the secretary told me, poking her head just past the doorframe. Glancing in her direction, I gave her a quick nod, and she disappeared back to where she came from.
No good mystery starts without a lead. Then again, maybe my lead was waiting for me somewhere else.
After the cops had arrived, after I had cleared up the situation, after I had cleaned up my carpet, I took my coat and went for a walk.

The Webster streets are a dangerous place, a poorly kept part of town. Slums exist in every doorway, crime runs rampant in the alleys, and no one who lives here doesn’t have a story to tell. The disorganized streets are a haven for those who wish to disappear and make a living without one.
I knew one man who might help me, one man who had all the answers, one man who just might give me that lead.
I walked into the bakery, inhaling the aroma of “Papa’s Bread”. I catiously walked over to the counter, checking for spies, yet trying to maintain my facade.
“Daniel, finish the baguettes right away! I cannot afford to lose my top customer just because someone sneezed in the first batch and had to start over!”
I chuckled at the menacing voice coming from the back, a deep Italian accent for a large man. I stood at the counter, awaiting his return.
“Ah, Dixon, my top customer,” he spewed, sauntering back over to the counter. “What can I get for you today?”
“Ah, Mr. Papa,” I started, iniating the code sequence. His countenance suddenly changed as he glanced at all the tables, then resuming his act, picking up a glass to clean.
“How are the chickens, Mr. Dills?” he responded, quickly picking up the lingo.
“They are just fine, but my third hen lay a broken egg this morning. I was wondering if you could stop it from happening again,” I quickly responded. You don’t get sent to four years at detective schools to not know this stuff.
“Well, what name does this hen go by? I hear that the name is important.”
“She is Betty, and it happened right after I rang the bell.”
His eyes suddenly flashed sorrow as he turned his back to me, replacing the glass and picking up another. “You might want to check the Bull’s Barn, the fifth stall. You might find some more hay there for more padding.”
I nodded my head as he handed me a baguette, which I kindly took for free as I turned to leave his shop.
I wondered as to what I would find at the Docks, but I knew that Papa wouldn’t fail me. I closed the door behind me when I noticed several figures around me.
“We’ve been waiting Mr. Dills; I’ve been waiting for this,” said the tallest one.

Just When You Think You Have an Easy Case…

“Well, you’ve come to the right place,” I said in my smoothest, most nonchalant voice. “Take a seat, make yourself comfortable,” I continued, propping my feet back up, stretching out my long legs, and running my hand through my hair.
“Thank you,” she responded politely, moving toward the chair, grasping it with her velvet gloves, then adjusting herself in the seat. “Well, see my husband, he-” she paused for a moment. Damn, all the good women are taken! “Well, see, my husband, he’s been involved in a lot of ‘incidents’, and I think our lives are in danger. I don’t have any real proof, but it always feels like there’s someone in the shadow, like, like-“
“Like you’re being followed?” I finished, casting my eyes up to the ceiling, pulling the pipe out of my desk and lighting it without glancing back at it. She nodded, and I imagine that she had a very concerned countenance at that moment, though I couldn’t look through her veil; not like I cared. I learned it was never worth it to get even remotely emotionally involved in a case. Until you know how padded their pocketbook is, of course.
“Could you do something about that?” She kind of looked at me funny, and I just kind of looked back. “Well, I don’t really know what I’m asking for,” she interjected, breaking the awkwardness. “I don’t even know if you can help. I just thought-“
“You know, I’ve done hundreds of cases,” I said wistfully “and I know exactly how they all begin. Just like that.” I gestured with my pipe at her, moving my eyes back to the ceiling. “I can do it. But it’s going to cost you; my usual ra-“
Just then, a series of loud pops went off behind me, breaking the serenity of the moment, shattering the window behind me and tearing the blinds. I felt a searing pain and quick air just above my shoulder. Instinctively, I immediately pulled my gun out of my hidden holster, falling to a position behind my desk. The firing abruptly stopped, and I catiously poked my head up to see where it had come from, but my assailants had fled. I was quite angry about another attack on my life, but even more perturbed that they had forced me to drop (and possibly damage) a perfectly good pipe. I sighed, reholstering my gun, vaguely satisfied that I was still alive.
“Could’ve been worse,” I commented as I turned to look at my guest.
“Aww hell…”

Just… Wow

Quick note: if you ‘member, I used to write the tales of Dixon Dills, and I really wanted to start that again, but I didn’t want to have to attach it to every entry(and be able to write it separately), so it’s in a link off to the right. I’ll be loading everything from these entries into it, and continuing.
So summer band has started, as much as I wished the summer had not ended and it would not come, it’s been awesome. This year is going to be sooooo much fun…
So 2 days ago, I woke up at 7 in the morning, at least 1 1/2 hrs earlier than ‘ne other day, pumped and ready to start band. Got to the school where I spent most of the first part setting up the tubas and such, discovering we were short 3 tubamaphones. Hmm… copied some music, then went out for lunch with the other kids, and oddly ’nuff seeing Mr. Aditya there. Without his whiskers. It was sad.
Got back and decided, since I wasn’t going to bother painting a sign for the tubas(we don’t need an effing poster to show our pride; we’ve transcended that!), so I helped Janda assign lockers… which was an incredible blessing. With that power, I managed to get every one of the returning JET Band tuba players a big horn sized locker! Haha, suckers who are stuck with clarinet/flute lockers… did some stickering, stuffing of music, etc. Quite a bit of work, but quite a bit of fun. Got back after 11 hrs of work, very tired.
Next day was DIA AKA Drill Instructor Academy AKA Leadership Camp AKA Let’s All Make Fools of Ourselves. Without exposing too many of our secrets of how we got to be so perfect at DIing *wink wink*, we sang songs and danced, which was completely ridiculous and embarressing, but with 30 other ppl doing the same, I guess it isn’t so embarressing. I’m thinking that the “fun” I had was the type of idiotic fun ppl get from, say, dancing at HC or yelling out random comments in a movie theater. In ‘ne case, we spent the morning outside, working on stuff. I must say, I’m a lot more confident now than I was at New Marchers. Then, I was like, “WTF, I don’t know what to do, I’m so effing screwed… crap”, but at DIA, I (think I) managed to call commands on the right foot, nice and loud and confident and everything. My clapping was really inconsisent, but there’s a learning curve for everything. After the morning rehearsal, a couple of teh guys and I went over to Thomas Crockett’s house where we started playing ping-pong. Having not played in several years, it was about the same: easy as it looks… yet not. It’s a fun game with a lot to it, though, even with it in my blood, I suck. Got beaten by a white guy(correction: according to him, 1/64 or some crap like that asian. though tom has a bad record of lying…), though Kyung redeemed us all by totally rocking. Had lunch, blah, blah, went back for the afternoon.
After coming back, we got to listen to our DMs and Janda teach us more leadership skills and do weird stuff, including a game (once again, not revealing our secrets) that was way too difficult for what it was, and a game where the only way to succeed(quickly) was to cheat. I mean, I guess taking too long on that game was just part of the lesson: IILSST.
This morning, I woke up in the dazed stupor more commonly seen during the school year, though I recovered quickly. Got to school, did some stuff, and awaited the beginning of rehearsal.
Janda talks, blah blah blah, and the other band directors leave, leaving us with a Lone Grange-r(HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… sorry). Stands tunes went way slower than I had expected, and we had to do Louie, Louie way too many times… I was out of shape.
I lean back, and my back totally just like… bends like a metal rod. I go back, it hurts like heck, and I pop straight back up. We do it over and over, and then Grange insists on picking on me and getting one tuba entrance right, so I dance and play, over and over by myself with the trumpets. Yup. I think I might have been irritated if I hadn’t been having so much fun.
On a side note, I was really happy about how I was sounding. I remember that last year, I couldn’t get a soft sound out of my sousa if I had tried. I played so quietly I couldn’t hear myself, but after a good year of real training, I was pleasantly surprised with my new sound(with the exception of way too much resistance whenever I pressed my 3rd valve; I think I’ve been spoiled by the miraphones). I could actually hear myself play out, though that might just be a dig on the rest of the section. But that’s next.
So, the morning rehearsal goes by… and I’m less than impressed with the section. Hopefully, they aren’t reading this, but I was really disappointed, though I guess Johnson (and Eric before that) must have been severely disappointed as well. Katie, the #2 tuba didn’t make it, so my main hope for the fishies was missing. In the scheme of things, right now, I only think about half of the section can actually play; the other half just need to learn high school tuba playing. It’s… this is going to sound bad, but it’s not that they’re stupid; they’re just ignorant, for right now, but I think there’s a good chance that that can be changed. Fortunately, today, my private lesson teacher came by and managed to save me and help, but it’s going to take a lot. ‘Neways, I think I should stop writing about my section to avoid ‘ne retribution. So…
We get to the afternoon rehearsal… and wow. I love the show soooo much. Before I go ‘ne farther, I would like to admit something: I was wrong. I thought that, just as in years past, the tubas would be stuck with a sh*t part, but our part just rocks. Throughout the entire thing, we(naturally) ahve the bass line, but it’s incredible. I’ll start with the closer(the order of this will soon make sense). The closer is pretty darn spiffy. All in all, it’s a solid, good feeling piece of music, with one really awesome part that throws in an almost swing element. In the opener, we play this 2 measure run over and over, but it’s brilliant. It’s high, and right now, most of the section can’t play it(oops, won’t talk about that ‘nemore), but I love our part in the opener. It’s super hard, but super important. It’s really exposed, easy once you got it, and just awesome. I would definitely put that music up in the most awesome music I’ve ever played(probably most awesome music ever, since I appreciate music I’ve played way more than ‘ne other) right next to Dance Movements 4(though Rocky Point is hanging in at #1. That had an incredible tuba part). There really isn’t a way to express how awesome that piece is from the tuba perspective, and when the band can play it well, it is giong to be so awesome, it might give DM4 a run for it’s money.
Then there’s the ballad. That one is a double wow. I mean, I had heard the Blue Devils recording and one Buddy Rich b4, and I thought that it was very cool and very pretty, but playing it was… completely different. While the opener is one of the most awesome, the ballad is probably the most beautiful music ever.(beating 2. Letter From Home 3. DM3) Letter from Home was beautiful, with a great solo and beautifully written, and DM3 was just a powerfully beautiful piece, but the ballad is so much better. I can’t explain exactly what it is about it; it’s so much… free-er than DM3, being jazz, and so much more moving and.. something than LFH that just makes it so much better. Playing the piece, I could so feel everything about it; normally, shaping and the details of music are a bit of work, but I could so feel the music that I just… knew what to do. It probably sounds really ridiculous, but it was incredible. The tuba part is so simple, but it’s so wonderful. And all the parts of the music, with 3 different solos, including one absolutely OOC trumpet one, are just unbelievably beautiful. I am going to love our show.


It was a late afternoon, one of those afternoons where you have the taste of lunch’s pastrami just sitting in your mouth, slowly growing more and more foul as it turns to gingivitis. It had been a slow day in the office, no visitors, no mail, no mystery. I always hated days like that, because you knew that somewhere something was happening that needed to be fixed. If only I had the motivation to get up and fix it instead of letting someone come to me.
I counted the number of lace crosses on my shoes as my feet sat propped up on my desk, staring straight up to the ceiling with those toes that so desperately needed clipping. I had played with my fedora for what seemed like an eternity. Every sound that passed in the hallway excited me, a possibility for a new case to be presented, yet each echoed away in silhouettes just as they came. I had counted the number of ceiling tiles 42 times when I heard the doorknob clink as it turned. Immediately at attention, I dropped my feet, pulled out my pen, and looked hard at the grocery list on my desk, slowly raising my head as my visitor came in.
She was beautiful.
Yet mysterious.
“Hello, are you Mr. Dixon Dills?” I slowly nodded my head at the anonymous figure at the door, wondering why she didn’t just read it off the door. “I’m Betty Belle, and I need your help…”

(Basically) Over

In just a couple more days, it’s back to band.
Quick story: So one of my little fishies calls me today and asks me(after I have a minor wtf is he calling me moment in my head) if we’ve gotten our music yet. Sorry, no luck this time…

This summer was, in the end, pretty generic. Fun, not as productive as anticipated, and way too short. I didn’t get to see as many ppl as I had hoped, mainly sticking to the same crowd AKA Willie(Thank you willie for never actually going ‘newhere!), Albie, Aditya, and so on. I definitely had hoped to spend more time with my friends, but you know how that goes.
On the otherhand, this summer has been very economic, which is good. I think the most I spent on a group outing was… 7.50 at laserquest. I’m so glad fun is cheap, assuming you do it right. Well ‘neways, back to now.
So a couple days ago, my sister walks in and throws a letter on my bed, addressed from the Jandas. Hmm… opening, I receive a birthday party invitation… on my birthday.

Dang, OOC.
Actually, I had known about this, as on a previous occasion, Jane told me that she was going to use my(and Andy’s) day to have her party, but really didn’t sink in. I don’t think there’s a law against it, but I’m pretty sure the court will side with me on attempted murder with intent to prevent an insulting celebration held by my ex-girlfriend.
Well, mebbe they won’t, but now I think about it, it hurts. Here *points at elbow*. Now to consider whether to go or not. And what present would be appropriate.

So my mom left last wednesday… which means party? I’ve noticed that since she left, several things have occured.
1)General quality of food/leftovers has been severely compromised. Ravioli, hot pockets, and chicken nuggets only last so long, for none of us actually care ’nuff to cook for real.
2)Consumption of ice cream has greatly increased. So at the before my mom leaves, we have a full tub of neopolitan ice cream in the freezer. About 3 days later when I go for my first run on it, I find myself contemplating whether it’s half full or half empty.
3)I feel like I’m in the only semi-okay Maculy Culkin flick ever. I wake up, and both of my sisters have deserted me with the cars to go to work. Being home alone certainly isn’t a bad thing(though in reality, our family tends to have little interaction, so it’s about the same), though it’s spookily quiet. And the A/C freaks me out everytime it turns on.
4)Not having to wake up at 830 for 4 hrs of SAT practice. Fun!
It’s been interesting.

So my tuba lesson this week was pretty… interesting. With both of my sister’s at work, my tuba teacher had to come to my house to have the lesson, but his motorcycle is totally busted, so he bums a ride with his girlfriend over. So for a good part of the lesson, we were working on the piece he assigned me: Variations on… Pop Goes the Weasel. Well, that’s not the exact title, but it’s the tune to. Oddly ’nuff, it’s a class 1 solo as well. ‘Neways, so I’m playing that, and then he’s like, “Dude, you need some performance practice. We need to get you a pianist, then have a recital where all your friends and my tuba buddies come and listen to you play this.”
Hooooly Crap.
I might have laughed if I didn’t know he was being completely serious. Well, I manage to dissuade him from that idea, and instead, now he wants to throws master classes at the band hall for all the JET Band brass kids every other sunday. He definitely needs to calm himself.

So a couple days ago, some of the guys came over to swim(except for that loser kid who goes by “Chief”. *shakes head* what a loser), and jason brings along his Harry Potter book so I can read it(as he, along with every other person in the world, finished it in the 1st 2 days, and had his copy available). I’m like, “Cool, I’ll bite”. I soon came to realize I was a victim of peer pressure. See, I didn’t really want to read it, but everyone was doing it.
It sounds worse that way, doesn’t it?
‘Neways, if you either a)haven’t read it and don’t want spoilers or b)don’t give a care about my review/speculation on it, don’t read the next paragraph. Or the rest of my post. Which is basically the same thing. …yeah.

So this book was pretty typical for a HP book. Nothing happens for 600 or so pages, and everyone is happy and not worried, and then rising action / miniclimax / complication / climax / falling action happens in about 50, all while HP is like, “sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, we’re screwed!” Past the expected slow/lengthy start, this one was just weird. I realize how much Rowling tried to tone it down, but HP needs to keep his pants on(forgive the expression). After that first scene where HP catches Ginny and Dean(Dean Thomas=trumpetguy.reverse), I was like, “Dang, that’s crucial”. While kids may be immature enough to just kind of gaze over it and adults may be mature enough to underemphasize it as well, I couldn’t take it. True, the boy’s like, 17 by now, but that doesn’t mean we have to hear about it. Pretty pointless diversion, seems to me(unless Ginny gets, like, strangulated by Voldy or something in #7). ‘Neways, so at the end, we got the typical monologue b4 the big fight/kill as Dumbledore is like, “You can kill me”. Pretty pointless as well. Thank goodness for Snape having some initiative. And the end was not suspenseful at all. Breaking up with Ginny is meaningless, as he’s made his feelings quite clear and the minor separation won’t save her, and his promises for 7 don’t have me jumping out of my seat. And as hard as she tried, it wasn’t dark or sad. Sorry. Oh, and personal theory: I think that Snape is some triple agent or something, and Dumbledore may have planned to have himself killed by Snape, just to throw a bit of support for Snape’s efforts. Dumbles seems to be the only intelligent character in the book, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt(Wondering if ‘neone will care ’nuff to comment on this theory…) End.

Almost Over

Dang. Crucial.
In about a week, it’s back to band.
It’s awfully sad how quickly the summer has gone. It’s been fun, but it’s been a blur. I swore to myself I was going to slow this one down and have lots of fun, and I have(had lots of fun). But it’s still gone.
With everyone with various commitments, it’s been hard to actually gather ppl together(since I’m not a big fan of the late night par-tay-ing), but it’s been managed. I wasn’t nearly as productive as I had hoped, but that really shouldn’t come as ‘ne shock. Everyone has plans at the beginning of the summer… then realize we’d rather sleep. Fair tradeoff, I’d say. In ‘ne case, more specific news…
So my mom tells me a couple days ago that she was going to make an emergency trip up to Toronto. Apparently, one of my mom’s best friends from college(whose son I got to become pretty good friend’s with) is in pretty bad condition. She had breast cancer a couple years ago, which they had removed, but recently, she’s collapsed several times, and they think it’s spread to her brain or bone or something. In ‘ne case, my mom is going up to see her for about the next week. Please pray for her.
In a sort of guilty fashion, we’re taking advantage of her trip. See, if you don’t know, Canada has the best food. Ever. Hands down. Way better than the US. Well, mebbe the cuisine was better in China, but you know what I mean. In ‘ne case, when my mom goes up there, we demanded she take the big suitcase and pack as few clothes as possible, just to stuff more food. Gonna be awesome. Par exemple…
Crunchie Bars- Can’t really explain, there’s this sweet, hard, spongy part in the middle and covered in chocolate. Awesome.
Wine Gums-Imagine, like, gummy bears… in different shapes… and harder… and better tasting. That’s Wine Gums. Awesome.
Corn Pops- I know they have corn pops here, but the ones in Canada are better. The ones here are like, flattened ovals, but the ones in Canada are like, spherical crunchie chunks of sweetness. Awesome.
Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies and Aeroroot- Canada makes the best cookies too. Awesome.
Coffee Crisp- It’s a coffee flavored chocolate bar. Beat that. Awesome.
President’s Choice Peanut Butter- Possibly the best peanut butter ever. It’s like, organic peanut butter with the chunks and separation, but better than ‘nething here. Awesome.
All-Dressed Chips- Hard to explain, but they’re the best flavor ever. Awesome.
Ketchup Chips- They might have these around here, actually, but they’re awesome. Awesome.
I’m sure I’m forgetting a thousand things, but Canadian food is just better.
So yesterday, my mom took me to go listen to a speaker from Yale talk over at Strake. Quite interesting, actually. Saw Neville(and his dad with a shaven head; it was weird. Can you imagine Neville with a shaven head? There’d be brains popping out everywhere! Can you imagine Neville reading this right now?) and Michelle Maurin there; always good to know I’m not weird. Well, mebbe I am weird, but I’m not weird alone. In ‘ne case, it was quite interesting. I must say, the speaker was very good, for I’m feeling the distinct pull to try to get into Yale, though I’ll do more research and discover whether it was just elegantly planned rhetoric or if I’ve found the one person in the world who isn’t a weasel(on a similar note, I’m reading “Way of the Weasel” by Scott Adams, the guy who draws Dilbert, again, right now. It’s hilarious; I suggest it to ‘neone who like Dilbert). College planning is definitely coming up(as well as massive scholarship undertakings by the direction of my mom). Btw, again, I’ll throw in another shameless plug: try using It’s a great scholarship finder.
So the Harry Potter phonomena has struck again. That book is way too popular and much too hyped, but I guess I’ve been sorta influenced; while I didn’t await it at midnight or rush out to get it asap, I wouldn’t mind having someone lend it to me *wink wink nudge nudge* since pretty much everyone I know has finished it in the first 2 days. Ridiculous.