Right At HomeMature

Marty points his finger at the man being held out of the window. “He, my friends!” Marty yells to the watching crowd, “is a six year old girl!”

This makes a large impression on the members of the police force and some appear mildly confused, others look like Kindergarten teachers hearing foul language, and others are intelligently surprised. But the man currently with a gun against his head has a far greater impression.

Maaan, what have you been smokin’?” cries the six year old girly man.

Marty’s eyes go wide. “What…have I…” And then a look comes across his face as if he has just cracked the largest mystery since Scooby-Doo uncovered Frank Abagnale.

“Now why would you ask such a question?” he demands of the criminal. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about smoking drugs would you?”

The man spits vehemently, not realizing that there is a SWAT team standing beneath the window. And then he says, “I have a gun against my head, and you’re asking stupid questions!”

“I am not concerned for your safety,” Marty says. The police force lets it be known with gasps and whispers that they feel this is rather backwards, seeing as how Marty is completely ignoring the man with the gun and speaking only to the hostage. But Marty only wishes to shock them before he does his clever explanation.

“And the reason I am not concerned, is because I know that your accomplice is not going to pull the trigger. Why would he kill his friend?--his friend who can mimic the voice of a six year old girl!”

“Now how the fuck could you make a connection like that?” swears the supposed hostage.

“I am good with voices,” Marty says. “I keep my ears open for talented voice actors. It’s hard to find voices like yours. All the film industries sweep them up and get them milking puppet goats on Big Binky’s Children Show.

"Oh yes, and I can also tell when someone is lying. Especially when I can also tell that it is a 26 year old black man trying to sound like a six year old girl. And it would seem highly unlikely that you would make that voice for kicks and giggles. Some might do such a thing, but this is neither the time nor place. No! You did it because you wanted to fool the police and help the man who has the gun to your head. Because he is your accomplice!”

“You are completely nuts,” complains the black man. “Why can’t I just deal with the regular police?”

“Because you are in more trouble than that! I have been watching you,” Marty says. “I have evidence of you creeping into that very yard!” Marty cries, pointing to his neighbor’s house.

The black man lets his mouth open but no words come out. “Evidence, eh?” he asks. “What possible evidence could you have?”

“Take a look at the surveillance equipment set up in the very room you stand within.”

The police are amazed at these words, but doubly amazed at the expression that suddenly comes across the man’s face. And as the man with the gun pulls his accomplice back inside with a violent tug and both men disappear from view, Marty feels like taking a bow beneath the stares from the officers.

“Next piece of business,” declares Marty, “Would be to swarm the building with the SWAT team and put them both in cuffs.”

“Do you think it’s safe to say that they don’t have a hostage?” asks the commanding officer.

“Oh for sure,” says Marty in a casual voice, slipping past the police line. “In fact,” he says cheerily, “it is now safe to walk right up the front walk.”

No one stops him this time, and he walks up his front steps as if he was arriving home after a simple day at the office. He pulls out his key, slips it into the lock, and jiggles it around as if it was nothing put a nail. After a lengthy moment of careful lock-picking with a key, he ‘busts’ the door open and proceeds into the living room. The police force is further impressed.

Then he climbs the stairs. When he reaches the top, he pulls out the two guns that he’d taken from the masked men. Perhaps they will prove to come in handy.

He speaks in a calm voice. “I have two guns. And I suggest you drop your own and come out with your hands on your heads.”

He hears some swearing from the bedroom. “How did you get in?” asks the first.

“What do you want?” asks the other.

“I want to ask a few questions. The first: why are you in this house?”

“I thought you knew everything,” complains the original man with the gun. “Why all questioning now, eh? Now you don’t have your audience.”

Marty frowns. “Alright. I’ll offer some of what I know if you fill in the gaps.”

“No promises,” returns the black man.

“Well, here we go then. You were hired to spot something that was in the neighbor’s house. You were hired by a rich-ass guy with a deep-throated voice. I am already tracking the man who hired you. What I want to know is what he wanted you to spot.”

“We’re not working for that nut any more.”

“Shut up!” says the other. “We’re not going to tell you a thing!” he cries to cover his accomplice.

“So this artifact is obviously rather priceless right? Because it sounds like you now want to steal it for yourself.”

There is a silence from the room. But Marty can hear them breathing.

“You know that this artifact can sell for a lot right? It is a regularly sold item, is it? You don’t have any…doubts, do you?”

This is enough, and the black man cracks. “No! We are not stealing anything. The guy in that house is a geek with a pile of worthless collectibles from some disturbing set of productions.”

“Okay, well you are an intelligent lot then for making a decision like that. I mean, it’s quite a risk to steal something that could very well be a worthless piece of junk. So what else do you know about this set of productions? How is it…disturbing?” asks Marty, taking a few more steps down the hall toward the bedroom.

“It’s fucked up, that’s what it is. You don’t want to know what goes on in those things.”

Marty grimaces, remembering the grotesque masks. “I can imagine. What sort of things though?”

“Man! Stop digging into that! I don’t want to tell you a thing about it.”

“Are these actions on stage illegal in most states and present only in dungeon theatres and the banned side of the internet?”

“And that is where they’ll stay!” cries the man, likely crossing himself and murmuring a few prayers to ward off the demons.

Marty nods. “Right. Now let’s skip all of that and get to the next set of business. I am going to arrest you for illegal drug smuggling. How does that sound compared to the alternative?”

The men give a few confused whispers and then the black man speaks. “How would that make any sense?”

“You’ll understand soon enough. You see, those police are getting in the way of a much larger case I’m working on here. So I want to divert their attention by putting their minds on drugs.”

“Ha,” says the gunman. “It sounds like you’re saying…nevermind.”

Marty nods. “Precisely. So, here is the plan. You two are going to get off very easily because of me. And that means that I want you to drop this whole thievery thing. At least, don’t ever go near the house next door ever again. How does that sound?”

The two men go into an intense huddle full of urgent whispering.

“You know,” Marty says. “I doubt you really have much time to make a decision. The SWAT team is about to come through the window with bells on.”

“Okay, tell us how you are going to pull this one?”

“I want you to come peacefully with me, and I want you…to act…completely mental.”

There’s a drawn out silence, and then a laugh. “What?” they ask.

“Here's the story. You were creeping around the neighbor’s house because he is a customer of yours. That is all he is. A customer. You are drug dealers. But now you’ve become addicted to your own substance. And it’s bad.”

“What kind of drug are we supposed to pretend to be on?”

Marty laughs. “It is a drug the police have only ever heard rumors of. So you get to make it up. You get to go…nuts. I will explain everything to the police. Why you're in this room. Why you're screaming like a little girl. It'll all make sense. And it’s all because you’re both high…on Puckzee.”

He can hear the two of them shiver. “So that’s it, is it? You, Mr. Know-it-all Secret Agent, is going to make a deal with two criminals in order to fool the police by spinning a tale about imaginary drugs?”

“Exactly,” Marty says, “Except for the secret agent part. Now drop the guns and put on your insane faces.”

The two men complain to one another for a moment. Marty hears a few fearful whispers, and he realizes just how deep these two men are in unfamiliar territory. They’re probably gas station robbers.

Finally they come out of the room in peace. They see the guns that Marty is holding and they gawk. “Those guns!” says the first man. “Those are collectibles.”

“Yes,” Marty says, “And there are more where these came from if you follow my lead.”

“Wait. Did you say you weren’t a secret agent?”

“Too late now. Come on now, I know what I’m doing. Whoever I am, I am going to get you out of this situation as best I can.” Marty directs them to the stairs, and they finally begin to shuffle their feet.

“Hey now,” Marty says. “You’re both on drugs, remember? You, the one with the little girl voice, kick it into next gear. And you, just act stupid. It shouldn’t be a stretch.”

The two criminals complain as they stomp down the stairs, but they put on goofy expressions, and by the time they reach the door they’re stumbling into each other.

“Stand back!” Marty cries to the police line. “These men do not know what they’re doing.”

The two men stumble into each other and let out a shrill laugh. The black man starts talking like a six-year-old on helium and espresso. The other man giggles and falls over. Marty beams with pride.

“I knew this would happen,” Marty curses.

“What?” asks the commanding officer. “What the hell is going on? What is wrong with these men?”

Marty makes a hand gesture to the police officer who had given him a ride. He makes a ridiculous cartoon face. Then he says, “These men are drug smugglers. The next door neighbor is a simple-minded customer who does not even know what this…new…drug even is. These two men have unfortunately begun to take a trip on their own substance. So they stumbled into the wrong house, made a ruckus, and got the police involved.

"Now, as you can all see,” Marty waves his hand at the two men who are currently abandoning their full dignity and galloping back and forth across the yard making animal noises. “The drugs have moved them into the frightening stage two. This is where their rash decision making turns into absurd hallucination and identity confusion.”

The commanding officer steps up to the plate. “Are you trying to tell me that these two…gentlemen…are on drugs?”

“Yes,” Marty says.

“What in blooming hell kind of drug would do this to a man?” The officer is horrified that such a thing could happen to a man. Because these are obviously no longer men.

“If you do not know the name of this new drug then you are blessed indeed. But I have been working on this case for ages. Unfortunately, these two are simple delivery boys. I am still working on uncovering the real conspiracy behind this. The two masked men were deep into the same thing. If you want the gruesome details of this drug, you may want to ask around. There are members of your force who know a thing or two.”

Marty gives a conspicuous wink to the officer he set up with the rumors. Everyone turns, but he was too fast, and they are not certain to who the wink was directed.

And then Marty grabs the two men and says, “I think these two should be let off rather easy. They're going through a rough time.”

The commanding officer frowns. “Your performance has been all rather impressive sir, but you surely don’t think you can take over this case. All of the officers here have invested their time and energy, and the regular process to determine the guilt of these two fellows will be followed.”

And just at this moment, Marty sees someone and waves, completely ignoring this butting up of authority. The round and square faced officers arrive just as the two criminals are being put into cuffs and Marty is standing to the side.

“Marty!” the square faced one cries, “I am terribly sorry.” He shakes his head. “Sorry you had to go through all of this. We’ll make sure you are paid in full for your inconveniences.”

Marty smiles. Perfect word choice. Of course, these officers do not realize that Marty was the one to detain the two criminals. They’re just worried about his home and safety and their deal with the surveillance post. And the square faced one is also very worried about that complicated contract. He isn’t sure, but his first born might have been on the line there.

And then, to make this impression even better, the round faced one turns to the commanding officer. “I hope you have treated our friend here with care and made sure he has everything he needs. We would be in some frightful trouble if anything happened to him. This place is his home you know.”

The square faced one punches Marty on the shoulder. “Ah yes, our good friend here, helping us out when we most need it.”

Marty grins. “I do what I can,” he says. “And I really am at home here.” He nods at the commanding officer. “This is my place,” he stresses. “Not your place.”

Marty looks to the square faced one just to over do it. “Right? This is my place, eh? I own this place. And all these cops, they don’t need to stick their noses into any of this. Eh? Eh?”

The square faced one looks confused, nods, and then widens his eyes. “Right! Terribly sorry about all of this. We will all be leaving right now, and leaving you in peace and quiet to clean the up in there. I hope those two criminals didn’t leave too much of a mess.”

The officer turns to the rest of the troop. “Everyone move out! Marty needs some space and privacy to clean up after these criminals.”

He turns to Marty. “Everything will be left to you.” Then he says to the commanding officer who is about to protest, “We have a deal with Marty. He’s been helping us out so much.” The officer winks at Marty, and pushes the commander away.

Marty stands on his driveway and laughs until all the cops have rounded the last corner. Then he walks back up his lawn, shaking his head. And that is when, out of the corner of his eye, he spots a watching face from next door. He freezes, but the furry, burgundy curtains have fallen still.

Marty scratches his head. That mystery will have to wait. Yes, most certainly. It is time for a break. And some inventory. Mental inventory.

The End

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