By Victor Schwartzman, channeling Mickey Spillane
Feb 24. 2015
My old pals in the Ontario AODA Alliance called me up. Next day I, Mike Hammer, was on a plane, this time with a partner-Albert Camus. I don’t work great with partners but I brought Al along because this time I needed an existentialist. I had a tough mystery to crack: what happened to the Ontario Government’s AODA guts? And I don’t mean intestines.
I don’t have a problem using my forty-five to rescue kidnap victims or using my fist to punch the teeth through an evil doer’s throat. But this was a different kind of mystery to solve. I figured this case wasn’t about anything my forty-five could shoot a hole through. It was about a little thing called morality. That was where Al could help.
The plane skidded to a stop and we wasted no time going to Queen’s Park. Outside I saw the Government’s New Road Construction Courage talking with a politician. That Courage looked pretty healthy. So did the Government’s Sewer Improvement Courage we met in the hallway. But the Library Modernization Courage looked like crap.
First stop was the Premier’s office. She was waiting when we barged in. “I told Security not to bother stopping you,” she told me. “You I know, Mike Hammer.” To Camus she said with a smile, “You’re a stranger.”
He laughed. “Do you ever feel there is another you, watching? The you before you were elected and had to forget who you really are?” And there you go! That was why I brought Al.
Premier Wynne smiled. Got to give it to her: she’s one tough cookie. Last time I said my usual babe stuff to her, she floored me. She looked at Camus hard. “Most people these days don’t even know who you are. How does it feel to be in the remainder pile in Walmart?”
Suddenly Camus wasn’t laughing. Al isn’t big on the rough stuff. Tough guy was my territory. So I cut in and turned it on. “We ain’t here to trade small talk.”
“And your big bad mystery is?” she asked calmly.
“What happened to the Ontario Government’s AODA Implementation Courage? It’s vanished. Missing in action. I’ve been hired to crack the case.”
She arched an eyebrow but already I saw weakness. “We have plenty of courage,” the Premier tried to shoot back. “We’ve taken on the Prime Minister and all sorts of problems.”
I turned up the Tough Guy. “Don’t blow smoke up me, I’m wearing a patch. Talk! Where is your AODA Implementation Courage? We didn’t see it coming up here.”
“Oh. AODA. That one.” Premier Wynne faltered. “You won’t find the AODA Courage in my office.”
Suddenly Al was laughing again.
Premier Wynne blushed. She speed dialed on her cell. “Brad? Get in here.” Then she said, looking at me straight, “Honestly, I don’t remember ever seeing it, now that you mention it. Certainly it was not around after we won the election and had a majority. Brad will know.”
She seemed honest, so I dialed back the tough guy. Clearly the Premier knew nothing about the mystery of her own Government’s AODA Courage disappearance. We needed a next step. That was when in stepped Brad Duguid, the not-so-new Minister responsible for implementing AODA. “You called?”
Wynne smiled stiffly. “This is Mike Hammer and Albert Camus. They are investigating what happened to our AODA Courage. Since you’re responsible for it, I called you. Did you ever find it?”
“Yeah, Brad,” I said, turning to him, turning Mr. Tough Guy back on. “You ain’t got nothing to worry that sweet face about. Tell me the truth and it’ll remain a sweet face. Got me? I got a forty-five and a licence to use it for satire.”
Duguid showed he could tough it out. He stood straight and said, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it. We looked but couldn’t find it. I talked to the Ministers who were previously responsible. None of them have ever seen it either.”
My eyes narrowed as the mystery’s solution became clear all too quickly. I turned to Camus. “We can’t find the Government’s AODA Courage,” I told Al, “because it never disappeared to begin with.” I should have guessed!
Al nodded. “It never disappeared because it never existed. I like that.”
I looked hard at Premier Wynne. “Now that your little cat is out of the bag, you’re going to have to give it food and start cleaning up the poop!”
END OF PART ONE!
Next: Possibly Part Two: Victor Frankenstein Is Brought In! The Ontario Government Attempts To Create AODA Courage! Check Out: Bride Of The Son Of AODA!!
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly column to Accessibility News. Buy the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at
http://www.amazon.ca/King-The-Planet-Victor-Schwartzman-ebook/dp/B00NE0CCRC or read the earlier drafts and current chapters for free, on the King Of The Planet Facebook page. It has a “4 out of 5 star” review already!
His graphic novel The Winnipeg Weakly Herald (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net. He also contributes to
http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com. He has had poetry and short fiction published, has edited novels and hosts two writers’ circles. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.