“I don’t make music for you. I make music for me.”-Andrew Eldritch
I don’t, but since I have nothing but radio silence here, it’s what’s keeping me keeping on.
Xavier sat down on the park bench, the fifth of Jameson’s in one hand, the paperwork in the other. He hadn’t pulled up the pants legs as he sat, so there were going to be wrinkles. Considering the paperwork in front of him, it was hard to find the will to care about his suit. Still, it was new and Burberry. Xavier looked at the bottle, thought about how it might look if he drank straight from it, and decided that too, was something he no longer cared about. His phone was going off, but it had faded in to a distant din, along with all the other noise around him. He cracked the seal on the bottle and began to drink and drink.
* * *
Dave Tippet hated this movie. The second GI Joe one, with an idiotic plot, and people shoe horned into it for no other reason than a paycheck. Like a lot of cops here in the San Fernando Valley, he thought he could do better. Dave’s difference was that he’d actually done it, sold a movie. But it had come at a time when he was 90 days out from having his twenty, so he just had to skate until then. He could live off the script money for a while, but why chance it? Every cop who worked out here among the dream merchants had dealt with someone who’d burned too fast, too much. Better to ease along here on desk duty.
“I’m sorry about that one. It’s my fault.” The slurred words came from the drunk tank, Dave’s least favorite part of the job. Working the front desk on nights meant there was nobody but you to clean up when the drunks spewed. Dave looked over,eyed the alkie. Nice suit for a drunk, but not surprising. People in power tended to blow off steam like rock stars, just with less girls.
“No really, that piece of shit film is my fault. I made that fucker happen, for reasons nobody but a few cared about.” Dave looked at the drunk again. Didn’t look familiar, and he read the trades enough to know most of the power people at the studios on sight. He decided to shut the guy up.
“Your fault, huh? So I could find your name in big ass letters in the beginning? Why aren’t you drunk in Beverly Hills or something?”
“I’m the most important man in Hollywood, and you will have never heard of me.” The coldness of the drunk’s tone shocked Dave. He hoisted himself out of his chair and went over to look at him. He knew he looked odd, almost waddling due to the knee shot that had put him on a desk. That robbery had cost him rank, his health insurance and his second wife.
Dave peered closer at the lush. Cold brown eyes stared back at him. He’d seen rape victims with that same harsh look behind their eyes. His old partner had called it the thousand yard stare,
“So what makes you so important,bro? You Hollywood’s biggest dealer or something? From here you don’t look like much.”
The man looked downward.”I have been nothing in this town,and yet everything.” Now the guy was talking in riddles. “Want proof? My name is Xavier Rhodes. Put it into Google, see what you come up with.” His eyes dared Dave, so Dave waddled back to his desk and typed it in. He normally didn’t even talk to the bums and dregs of humanity, but there was something about this guy.
When he hit return, there was nothing. Literally nothing. Google didn’t even give him similar names or nothing. Just zero results. Dave had been working with computers and search engines for a decade now, and he knew everyone had something come up when Googled. Even people who weren’t you, with similar names. Nobody ever came up as no results.
Dave logged into the department computer, pulled up Xavier’s arrest record, which proved he was real, at least. Dave hadn’t been sure for about four seconds. IT showed a license with an address down by the beach, condo in an OK neighborhood.
“For being so important, you sure are living large.”
Xavier spit on the ground.”You seem like a nice guy, Officer Tippet Might even be smart. But I’ll help you get a clue. The people I work for,who put me here? They don’t want to be visible, so why would I be?” Xavier shook his head. “Don’t really matter anyway. It’ll all be over soon.”
Dave got incensed. “Really? Going to bring about the end of the world? Or just a new Saw movie?”
Xavier looked up at the clock on the wall, his eyes rimming with tears.”Nope, not for you., anyway, if you’re smart.” He looked Dave square in the face.”Me, however, will be dead in the next half hour.”
“Really? And why is that? Did you break some secret pact? Sacrifice the wrong goat?” Dave was getting nervous, and when pressed, his sarcasm got turned to eleven.
“No,all I had to do was have you look me up on Google. That was my death warrant.”
Dave just laughed. “Yeah, right, like that could do any-” His words were cut off by the sounds of shots from the parking lot.
Dave scrambled to his desk. On the camera for the outside door were four huge men, all dressed in black fatigues and riot helmets. One of them was kneeling in front of the door to the precinct, kept locked during overnights. He appeared to be sticking some sort of gunk to the door. He stepped back, and Dave dove behind his desk.
The explosion shook his desk. Dave pulled out his 9 millimeter, planning on taking some of these guys with him. He might be nearly a cripple, but he was still a cop. He crawled along the side of his desk, peeking around the corner.
“TIPPETT!” the shout echoed through the remains of the room as he looked on. The four men were standing in front of the holding tank, Xavier was standing at the bars, shouting at the top of his lungs,
“Stand down, Tippet, don’t be a hero.” Xavier seemed oddly calm as one of the men used some sort of torch to cut around the lock. Dave stood shakily and aimed at the four.
Instantly, four red dots appeared on his chest. Dave had never been this close to death since the robbery. He hadn’t missed the tightening of his sphincter or shakes this moment was bringing on. The world was still for a minute, until Xavier spoke again.
“Stand down, man. I caused this, This is my play.”Alarms were supposed to be going off, but the men had apparently taken care of that as well. Dave’s hands and brow were sweating, making his trigger finger slippery. This had to end before he slipped.
Xavier tapped one of the men on his shoulder, and handed him a sheet of paper. The man walked over in front of the dots and shoved it at Dave. Dave looked at it, and put his gun down, the full effect of what was about to happen weighing his trigger finger. Dave dropped his weapon and turned away, not wanting to see what came next. There was a loud crack of a gun, and then silence. When Dave turned back, Xavier was crumpled in the cell, and the four were gone, as if they’d never been.
Dave Tippet was cashiered out withing a week, his pension kept safe by union rules, but he left under a cloud. There would always be ugly things said behind his back, but Dave didn’t care. Those harpies hadn’t been there. They hadn’t seen.
The crime scene investigators never found the sheet of paper. Dave had taken it home, and on cold nights when his knee acted up, he sometimes took it out and looked at it. The top line said it all:UCLA Hospital Oncology Report.