CHAPTER ONE: I AM THE WLARUS
I WOKE THIS MORNING to find a walrus sitting at my kitchen table.
He was wearing an impeccably clean, custom-tailored black suit with matching tie and handkerchief, and was smoking a cigarette.
I’d just finished my morning ablutions and felt a little under dressed as I stepped into the kitchen wearing my bathrobe, boxers, and t-shirt.
The walrus smiled, took a long drag off his cigarette, inhaled slowly, exhaled even more slowly, and then spoke.
“Good morning,” he said.
His voice was low, yet clear and piercing. His accent was surprisingly English; not because it ain’t that often that you hear an English accent here in rural Kansas, but surprising in that it’s even less often that you hear an English accent coming out of a walrus. His eyes took me in and a tiny smile played upon lips that were more than a little unsettling as he took another drag, waiting for my response.
My name is Norman Oklahoma. I’m a private investigator who specializes in the supernatural, the unexplained, and the just plain weird.
In other words, I kick the monsters out of your closet and drag them out from under your bed. I hunt the things that go bump in the night and crack them upside the head with the stock of an antique Winchester. I’ve been doing such out of Eudora, Kansas for a number of decades now. I’m on the corner of 7th and Main, just above the coffee shop. Stop on in if you got yourself a pest problem of the monster variety. I’m your man.
Most folks, those who ain’t from around here, have never heard of Eudora, Kansas. Doesn’t surprise me. We’re just one of them small towns no one has any reason to visit. Sleepy, quiet, boring. But that’s all on the outside.
There are a few of us who know the truth. We special few who know Eudora for what it is. A hotbed of supernatural and paranormal activity, and has been for as far back as my memory can stretch, which is further than you might be prepared to believe.
I can’t really explain why, what it is about this place that draws all the monsters and such to our sleepy little corner of America’s heartland, but it does, and that’s why I’m here.
See, I hunt monsters. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies, along with a passel of other nasty beasts; they’re all fair game.
Now don’t get me wrong, they ain’t all bad. Some of these creatures just want to live as normal a life as possible. They want to raise families, earn their keep, and pay taxes just like any other American citizen. It’s the bad ones you gotta watch out for.
They want to be out there doing evil and killing innocent folk? Well, that’s where I step in. And I figured, why drag myself all over the country looking for them, when I can stay pretty busy where I am?
So I set out my shingle and got to work.
But sometimes, it’s the monsters that hunt me.
“I hope you slept well,” the walrus said.
“Better than most,” I said, stepping into the kitchen.
Truth be told, I hadn’t slept well at all. Regardless of all that hotbed of supernatural activity nonsense, I hadn’t had a job in a few months. Which, to be fair, is a good thing. It means that the monsters ain’t out there killing the good folks of my community. And while I’d like to think that the reason they ain’t is because I’d had them all whipped, there’s this small nagging part of me that knows that that ain’t true. Something was going on and it made me downright nervous. On top of that, I had bills to pay and no money coming in.
Stress brings the nightmare. A reoccurring dream I’ve had for as far back as I can remember. I don’t really like talking about, but it certainly made for a restless night. Quite a few, actually. But I wasn’t about to let this duded up monstrosity know that.
“Can we make this quick,” I said, stepping over to the coffee maker. “Nobody told me you were coming and I’m afraid I’m in no state to entertain.”
I made preparations to run a pot of coffee; adding the water, the filter, and the grounds before setting it to brew.
“You know who I am?” the thing said, then took another long drag off the cigarette.
“Yeah, I know who you are.”
I wouldn’t be much of a private investigator if I didn’t.
In the criminal underworld he is known simply as the Walrus. He’s three hundred and fifty pounds of muscle packed into a seven foot frame. He’s a genetic mistake, created in a lab by a group of scientists with an off-the-wall idea, unlimited funding, and a little too much time on their hands. The Walrus is literally a man in every sense of the word, but with the head and skin of a walrus. He’s a heavy hitter. A freelancer who rents himself out to the highest bidder, and there’s not much he won’t do if’n the price is right, and there he sat at the very same table in which I’d been hoping to eat a bowl of Fruity Rings.
“Good,” he said. “That will save some time. I know who you are too, Norman Oklahoma.”
“I’m honored,” I said. “It’s every little boy’s dream to catch the eye of a tall drink of water such as yourself.”
The Walrus let out a deep laugh that rattled the dishes in the cabinets.
“I’d been told you were funny,” he said. “Now I see for myself that it’s true.”
I only sighed. I needed a cup of coffee. I shouldn’t have to be expected to deal with something like this before my first cup of coffee. I hunted around inside the cabinets for a mug. There wasn’t a clean one anywhere; they were all in the sink waiting for me to wash them. I sighed again, grabbed one up, and rinsed it out.
“You and I must talk, Mr. Oklahoma,” he said.
“Please, call me Norman,” I said. “And talk already, I’m all a-quiver in anticipation.”
“Surely you know why I’m here.”
“I think I do, but I don’t know what to tell you, big guy. I’m afraid I already have all the cookies I need.”
“Mr. Lemonzeo sent me.”
Abner ‘Bud’ Lemonzeo. A local thug who had used a combination of violence and an Associate’s Degree in Business Management from a local junior college to make himself into the Midwest’s largest dealer of black market goods since... well, the Midwest has never really had a dealer of black market goods. Lemonzeo discovered a niche, and filled it.
“Bud’s out, then,” I said.
“Time off for good behavior.”
“What’s that got to do with me?”
“Mr. Lemonzeo sent me to kill you.”
“Just like that?” I said, taking hold of the coffee pot. It was only about half full as the machine gurgled and spat.
“Just like that,” the Walrus said, smiling as he stubbed his cigarette out on my kitchen table.
“Well,” I said. “That’s not very nice.”
“Nice doesn’t even enter into it,” he said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
“Is the witty back and forth part of what Bud’s paying for?”
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m throwing that in for free.”
“Are you stupid?” I said.
“I’m sorry?” That threw him.
“Are you stupid?”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“You break in here and tell me that you’re gonna kill me. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to come at me when I wasn’t expecting it? Like, grab me up while I was sleeping and throttle me or something? I don’t know, I’m starting to think that Bud might have been better off if he’d hired a ninja or something.”
“A ninja,” he said in a matter of fact tone.
“A ninja wouldn’t have tried to intimidate me, as you’re clearly attempting to do. I mean, why warn me? Sounds like a waste of time and the element of surprise to me. Does Bud know what he’s paying for? Maybe you have one of them feedback cards I could fill out?”
“Fine,” the Walrus said. “I tried to have my fun, but I see I can’t play games with you.” The table creaked and the floor groaned as the Walrus pulled himself to his feet.
Now, I ain’t known for being one of the world’s great thinkers. I have no patience for studying a situation, for looking at the problem from every angle to arrive at a viable solution. I prefer instead to just start shooting and then figure it all out once the smoke clears. To tell the truth, I tend to make it all up as I go along.
“Well then,” I said, my hand still clutching the handle on the coffee pot. It was about three quarters of the way full now. “Koo-koo-katchoo, Fatboy.”
I threw the pot with all of my might, chucking it across the table like a big league pitcher throwing a fast ball. I could only hope that my aim was true and that a pot of coffee was enough to stop a walrus.