13 ~ Pickle Practices Staring Contest With a Mirror


Gillis and Pickle caught site of each other and broke into boisterous laughter. Pickle gave Gillis a high five and Gillis returned the gesture by offering Pickle a fist bump. 

Pickle said, “Thanks, Dill. I needed something to break the tension.” He turned toward Sampson and said,  “I can think of two-hundred sixteen reasons and anyone who kills you will get The Killer of The Year Humanitarian medal, punk.”

Pickle’s comment struck a raw nerve with Sampson. “I had enough. You come in here an insult me. You destroy a painting. Carelessly toss a rare blown glass image of Tell and your partner is too busy clipping his nails to catch it and Tell shatters into a thousand pieces. To top it off, your partner tore a page out of a first edition for evidence. And, you have the nerve to me a punk?”

Pickle turned toward Gillis, “Gills, do I have the nerve to call Sampson a punk?”

Gillis shook his head yes, then went back to texting Wendy Flox.

“Gills says I have the nerve to call you a punk. Why are you asking me if I had the nerve to call you a punk, punk? Before you speak let me inform you whatever you say is useless and will be twisted to make our case tighter than a . . .” Pickle turned toward Gillis, “Gills, I need a metaphor to complete my sentence tighter than a … can you give me an assist?” asked Pickle

Gillis sent his text off to Wendy, raised his right hand to his chin giving deep thought to come up with an appropriate metaphor. After a long minute, Gillis said, “At first thought the only metaphors I can come up with are offensive to most human beings. Here’s a lame metaphor, I think it will work, ‘It’s tighter than sausage on a stick.’”

Sampson butted in, “That doesn’t make sense. You should sue your English teachers for malpractice.”

 Gillis looked at Sampson, “You know a good lawyer who won’t charge up front money and will only take a ten percent of my winning lawsuit?”

Before Sampson could answer, Pickle butted in, “Can we make this a class action law suit? I want a piece of the action.”

Sampson began pounding his fists against his temples. Gillis put his arm around him, “Calm down. You keep hitting your head we’ll have to charge you with self inflicted assault and battery. Right now, we’re going to look the other way. Sit down and try to relax.”

Sampson turned away from the window and returned to his executive chair. “The mayor will hear about this, believe me. I’m calling my lawyer as soon as you two leave. You can expect a lawsuit.”

Pickle was still sitting on the corner of Sampson’s desk. He placed his right hand on top of Sampson’s head and pressed down, “Don’t take offense. I’m trying to keep you from blowing your top.”

“Dill’s got a point Foolsum,” said Gillis pleased with the text he sent Wendy Flox.

“It’s Folsom, not Foolsum.”

Pickle removed his hand from Sampson’s head. He bent over and spoke into Sampson’s ear, “Where were you between midnight and two? How do you know Till? Why were you jealous of Till? What did you do with his guts? What did Till ever do to you to get you so angry you decapitated him?” 

Pickle straightened up and grabbed Sampson by both shoulders and pulled him toward him, bringing him eyeball to eyeball. Pickle and Sampson engaged in a staring contest. Sampson quit after one minute ninety seconds. Pickle, still not blinking, said, “I practice staring contests with myself at home. Most of the times I come out in a tie with the mirror. More importantly, where’d you get the contacts? They are fantastic. Did you know you can get Lazik surgery and no longer need contacts?”

Sampson’s head looked like it was going to pop. He took a long second and composed himself. He said, “First, thank you for the compliment about my contacts. I checked into Lazik surgery, but decided against it. With contacts I can change the color depending on my mood. ”

Pickle released Sampson’s shoulders and pushed him back into his chair, “Thanks, Sampson. This is the second good lead we’ve had in the case. Before we leave I want your chiropractor’s name. Maybe he’ll give me the same deal on contacts.”

“I don’t got to a chiropractor. I go to an optometrist,” said Sampson looking all around his room for his rare bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey. 

Gillis ignored Pickle and Sampson and went back to the bookcase. He pulled a book out of the case, opened it, thumbed through several pages and said, “Very interesting, very interesting and may I say very incriminating.”

“Put that book back. It’s a rare signed first edition by Hemingway. There are only two copies in the whole world.”

Gillis stuck the rare copy between his shirt and belt, “It’s evidence. My guess is the monkey’s DNA is on every page. The DA will want to see this. What do you think, Dill?”

“Sampson uncooperative, Gills. I’m thinking we should send him to timeout until he learns to play nice.”

“I am not a child. I haven’t been sent to timeout since I was four. And then, it was only because I was upset I spilled milk on my favorite shirt,” said Sampson. 

Sampson stood up, scooted around the desk, and scurried over to Gillis. He reached for the book behind Gillis’ belt. He grabbed hold of it. Gillis twisted and grabbed hold of the opposite end of the book and attempted to pull it away from Sampson. Sampson applied a death grip to the Hemingway book. Gillis crouched into a hammer thrower’s stance and started spinning. Sampson went round and around and around until Gillis let go and sent Sampson and his rare Hemingway flying through the air crashing into a large tropical fish tank. The fish tank toppled releasing twenty gallons of water and a dozen rare tropical fish swishing across the floor. Sampson’s sole victory was that he was still holding the now water soaked and ruined first edition.

Gillis said, “I concede, Sampson. You put up a hell of a fight. I want you on my team next time I’m in a tug of war.” 

Gillis surveyed the catastrophic damage. He said, “A bit of advice. Be more careful who you let touch your valuable items. Not to worry, Pickle and me will track down whoever is responsible for the carnage. As for you Sampson, I advise you not to leave town. We’ve got our eyes on you.”

“Yah, Sampson, we’ve got our eyes on you. I advise you clean up this mess before you get any visitors. Decaying fish leave an awful smell if you know what I mean. BTW, watch for broken glass,” said Pickle.

A half hour later Gillis and Pickle sat outside Captain Courageous’ office. 




© Ray Calabrese 2018

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