Bargis Tryhol cautiously lifted an eyelid. Ever so slowly he surveyed the room. He definitely was not where he had been the night before. Silk sheets, exquisite furnishings and the sent of Jasmine in the air. All that was in the past. This rat-infested hole must have been condemned several times over. He let out an involuntary moan.
he heard voices yelling, as if across a courtyard. Women, men, children, and a dog, all barking somewhere far off in the distance.
"Yeah! yeah! I'll take care of it!". A squeaky voice with a Bronx accent rose above the cacophony of sound. A screen door slammed and he listened as the sound of foot steps came nearer. a dark figure loomed over him. "Oh, Finally awake are we? Well, welcome to California, Mr. Tryhol."
A grayish haired lady in a babushka gave him a swift kick. "We've been expecting you. When you're ready, put this on.",she said, tossing a flea collar in his direction. "It may not help, but it can't hurt. I'll be back."
Bargis threw his legs over the side of the bed and tried to steady himself before attempting to rise. His hands went to his head instead. It was the most intense hangover he had ever had. Without opening his eyes too far, he surveyed his surroundings. He seemed to be in an American style studio apartment. The scant furnishings of unknown vintage were of the Ikea variety. He closed his eyes to re-focus.
When he opened them again he noticed a small table with a decanter on it. Steadying himself, he made his way over to the table and took a whiff of the vessel's contents. "Well, at least they got that right!", he thought as he took a swig of his favorite beverage.
Now fully awake he made his way to the screen door and peered out into the courtyard. "That is the most disgusting pool I have ever seen!" he said aloud. "If you think that's bad, wait till you see Mr. Mariachi's maintenance shed." Bargis jumped. He wasn't expecting an answer.
It was a pimply faced kid in a Karate uniform, complete with black belt and headband. "Mr. Mariachi will see you now." he said, as he led Bargis across the yard and through a side gate. "I suppose it's useless to resist.". "Quite useless, Mr. Tryhol. This is as far as I can go with out gagging." he said, pointing towards a louvered door. "Mr. Mariachi is waiting for you inside.". Just as quickly as he had appeared, the boy was gone.
Bargis hesitated for a minute. Maybe it was the enormous pile of trash, maybe it was the inordinate amount of flies but something stunk about this setup and it wasn't him. As stealthily as possible he opened the louvred door.
No one was there. At the far end of the room a beaded curtain hung. Undoubtedly his nemesis was behind that curtain. Dodging piles of old newspapers and cardboard cartons he made his way to the back. A cat screeched as Bargis tryhol accidentally stepped on it's tail.
"Good evening, Mr. Tryhol. I am Kakigori Mariachi." a man said as the cat leapt into his lap, "This poor creature is Snot the cat." The cat was a black and white domestic short hair. Thin and malnourished, it wore an eliziabethian collar. "I'm collecting it's nasal discharges for my experiments. It's a hobby of mine."
"That's not the cat?"
"Yes, I've already said that."
"Well if it's not the cat, then what is it?"
"Mr. Tryhol, pay attention! I'm only going to say this one more time. This is Snot the cat!"
"And I repeat: if it's not the cat, then what is it?"
"let's move on, shall we? Here's Squeeze the dog."
"Okay, if you say so." Bargis gives the dog a hug. What's that smell?"
"It's Snot the cat."
"I gather that, but just what made that stink?"
"Squeeze the dog, Mr. Tryhol."
"woof!" Bargis declared, holding his nose. "There it is again. What is that?"
"It's Snot the cat!"
"I wasn't saying it was. It appears to be the dog. What's it's name?"
"It's Squeeze the dog, Mr. Tryhol, and Snot the cat."
"So, Squeeze the dog makes the odor and not the cat..."
"No. You have it quite reversed. It's Snot the cat that makes the odor, and Squeeze is the dog."
"Squeeze is the dog?"
"I'm growing tired of your word games, Mr. Tryhol."
"As am I, yours, Mr. Mariachi"
"Lets move on, shall we? You've already met Holda Mynose. She stays here and assists me. Every time I come in here, I gotta Holda Mynose."
"You too, what, Mr. Tryhol?"
"I've got to hold my nose, Mr. Mariachi."
"Do you really? Strange, us having assistants with the same name. Still, great minds do work alike."
"Thanks for the compliment, but let's get down to business. It's obvious you aren't the brains of this organization, so where is he?"
"Where is "Who", Mr. Tryhol?"
"You know, the boss, the big man, Numero Uno. Tell me his name!"
""Who", Mr. Tryhol."
"You know who! What is his name?"
"It's not What, Mr. Tryhol. It's Who! At least that's what I know him as. Perhaps Mr. Who will tell you differently."
Kakigori took Bargis by the arm and led him to the door. "You! Boy!" he yelled motioning for the kid in the karate uniform. "Take Mr. Tryhol and show him the gate."
"The boy's name is "You?"
"No, not "U", His name is "Boy". Only an moron would call themselves by a letter of the alphabet, Mr. Tryhol. Good day."
"Wait! Mr. Mariachi. What can you tell me about Blowme Job?"
"Not a thing, Mr. Tryhol. Try looking up a Glory Ho in San Francisco. You may find the answer you seek there. Good Day."
Boy pointed to the open gate and slamned it shut behind Bargis. Our man found himself on the street, more confused than ever. Who were Boy, Holda Mynose and Mr. Mariachi? Would he ever find Blowme Job or even Glory Ho, and more importantly, where was he and which way was San Francisco?