By Mike Hammer, as told to Victor Schwartzman
November 4, 2013
I’m Mike Hammer, private dick for hire. Crack a joke about the job title and eat a knuckle sandwich. I was hired to solve the AODA mystery. I did.
I flew up to Toronto, a city that will crown you Mayor yesterday and eat your crack pipe tomorrow. I was called in by Veronica Mars. She brought an English dude who said it was a three pipe case. What he smoked smelled like Seattle tobacco. I needed them like an empty clip in my .45.
Instead, I lurched off the Mike Hammer way. Alone. And with a full clip.
AODA is a disability access law that went public in 2005 and has not been seen since. AODA vanished. No body, no blood, no scene of any crime. It was MIA, except there was no action.
I figured I’d have to knock down a few teeth before mouths opened up with answers.
I usually end up at the top, so I hopped a cab to Queen’s Park, where the Government and politicians hang out. It isn’t much of a park but the squirrels must have a field day with all the nuts. The Premier’s office wasn’t hard to find and it wasn’t tough teaching the three security guards a lesson in fist to mouth contact.
I stepped over them and into the Premier’s office—and it turned out he was a broad.
Maybe that the Premier was a woman was a fact I should have researched first. I said I was new to Canada. Still, this could work. I put on my sweet sincere face and sauntered up to her. “Premier Wynne honey, I need some sugar and you got it.”
Premier Wynne grabbed my trigger finger and yanked me around and I was upside down and then on the floor and her foot was saying hello to my family jewels. Twice.
Her shoes were hard and felt very very pointy.
She hadn’t even worked up a sweat. “Misogynist pig!”
I managed a sloppy grin. “Lady, not only ain’t I that, I can’t even pronounce it.” That was not quite true. I’d been called it so many times I’d learned how to say it. “Truth is, I take everybody by how they look, dudes or dames. We’re all a collection of body parts. I’m equal that way. And speaking of equal, let’s talk about AODA. I’ve been hired to solve the mystery.”
I got up, staying away from those pointy shoes. She stepped back, eyeing me. “AODA?” Her voice became almost amused, her eyes dark. “Is AODA all this is about? It was before my time, something from the past. I don’t know much.”
“That isn’t what the street says.”
“Then, Mr. Hammer,” her voice dropping, “the street is wrong.” There was no street in that voice, just a dead end alley and no witnesses. “Don’t believe everything you hear about AODA.”
“No one’s heard anything about it for eight years. That’s the point.”
Her lips flattened to a thin red line.
I didn’t get where I am without pushing back. “I’d call you Madam Premier, but that sounds like you run a brothel. Maybe you do. I don’t know who else is in your party.” The lady had class. She laughed. ”You knew I was coming?”
That smile had more mysteries than a library. “I’m the Premier of Ontario, shamus. It’s my business to know everything.”
“Then tell me about AODA.”
She shook her head. “You’ll never get the truth from me.”
“That much a lot of people already know.”
“Funny. I’ll tell you the obvious. The solution to your mystery is…the fat man.”
“I have to speak to Rob Ford?”
She rolled her eyes. “No. We have a certain bureaucratic process for certain situations. My assistant, Joel Cairo, came up with the name, ‘fat man.’ There is no mystery about AODA. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. It never disappeared. It went into the fat man. Remember, we have until 2025. AODA has not vanished at all. AODA is ‘in process.’”
My gut turned sour. “You mean…”
“Yes. AODA has become a zombie law.”
The worst case scenario. AODA was not dead. It was not alive. It was in process, in the bureaucratic limbo of “being brought into being.” It was (yet another) zombie law!
Premier Wynne seemed to be enjoying herself. “It has been a zombie law since the beginning. We have arranged it so that from the beginning it has been eating the brains of advocates.”
And she went to what looked like a closet and opened the door. Out stumbled AODA, all rotting papers, an ugly version of its former self. Glorious promise was now rotting shambling papers. The tragedy which had become AODA began moving towards me, growling, “Brains.”
I pulled out my .45 and before AODA could reach me I unloaded the clip into its amendments until its head was on the floor. The rest of AODA shuddered once and fell to the ground next to the head.
AODA was finally dead.
I left Premier Wynne and went outside and stood again on decent streets, hoping the rain would make me feel clean. The pavement was dark and slick and deserted, and all I heard was the warning bell of a runaway streetcar I did not see coming.
Next: Zombie Laws: A Survival Guide
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satiric column to Accessibility News–nothing in these columns is true except what they are about. His graphic novel (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, www.redfez.net. He also contributes a monthly poetry review to the online magazine, Target Audience (www.targetaudiencemagazine.com.), has had poetry and short fiction published (by someone else), and has edited novels.