Friday, 31 October 2014



Dead Air


Ann Fatale was at the spa getting silky smooth and sexy for our evening plans. We intended to step out, step it up and dance steps like Fred and Ginger. Me? I was just killing time in my office, sipping single malt from the bottle, smoking and listening to Eartha Kitt and cataloguing my collection of jazz 78s on a pad of graph paper. The phone rang. This did not please me. Long distance from the centre of the universe, Toronto.


I picked up. There was an annoying amount of hemming and hawing at the other end of the line. Finally, ‘Is this Geoff Danger I’m speaking to?’


‘Could be,’ I allowed. ‘Then again, I could be his buxom secretary.’


‘You’ve got to help me. I understand you’re known as the fixer.’


I am. And if you require my services you’re at the end of your rope with no place left to turn. It’s best not to know a man like me. ‘And who and what are you?’ I demanded.


A celebrity radio presenter, indeed. Nobody’s ever asked me but Canada’s only ever produced one celebrity and that would be Oscar Peterson the brilliant jazz pianist. If you pushed me, I might add Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe, rough, noble men who shone in the world’s greatest game during its most brutal era. This fellow on the phone was nothing to me.


I tore a sheet from my pad in order to take notes on a pristine surface. I wrote questions mostly: Punching and choking constitutes a date? Why no criminal complaints? Consensual? Teddy bear? Escalate? Why no remorse? Sociopath? What is Facebook?


I reviewed my jottings. ‘So,’ I said, ‘you want me to whack a stuffed animal?’


‘No, no! He always looked away. He never saw anything.’


‘I see. So no witnesses then.’


‘Just these troublesome six or eight women or whatever…’


‘My son,’ I said, ‘I’ve beaten men to death with my fists. I’ve bludgeoned them to death with whatever happened to be handy. I’ve stabbed men. I’ve shot men. They all deserved what they got but I never once felt good about it even though I got away with it.’ I lit a cigarette. ‘Men,’ I affirmed, ‘men, do you get that part?’


‘But my PR firm has fired me! Do you realize how humiliating that is? The damage to my personal brand is immense!’


I leaned back in my chair. I blew a smoke ring at the ceiling. I noticed a cobweb dangling from the light fixture. ‘I can’t help you,’ I said. I took a swig of whiskey. ‘I’m not a marketing expert, no savvy here, but you could always change your name.’


‘To what?’

‘I don’t know,’ I replied. I stood up and stared out the window. The sky and the city alternated shades of grey. Maybe forty or fifty ashen tones. Everything was dead or dying. Winter was coming to strangle what life was left in this dirty town. I tasted the earth in my cigarette and in my Scotch. ‘I don’t know,’ I repeated. ‘Norman Bates is taken.’ I placed the phone back in its cradle. It was time to shut the lights and play taxi for my baby; I like to treat her right.

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