I headed off down the road to Joe's bar, a sense of reality gripping me like a twenty ton freight train loco.
I entered 'Joe's' again. The plastic flowers looked malevolent, but I ignored them and headed towards the barkeeper.
'Say, Joe,' I said, slipping him a fiver, 'you seen Semchevsky around by any chance? Big guy, was here last night with his family?'
The barkeeper gave me a strange look. 'My name ain't Joe,' he said, taking the money with a snap of the wrist like a professional card player, 'and there weren't no strangers round here last night, besides you and that blonde doll.' I had no idea what doll he was talking about, but I decided to figure it out later. Judging from his eyes, it was obvious that he was paid by Semchevsky.
'Can I have a word with you in privet?' I asked, and he followed me to a quiet corner where I held him against the wall and pressed my knife to his throat. He was gulping like a mad rooster before the big fight, and I knew I had him now.
'Semchevsky paid you to shut your trap, didn't he? How much? Where is he now?'
The barkeeper that was not called Joe mumbled an answer and dropped to the floor, passed out. I kicked the limp body out of my way and stepped back out to the street. I had a lot to think about.
What he said sounded a lot like "the factory". What factory was that? And what was Semchevsky doing there? Things were definitely getting stranger and stranger from the moment I entered Hooverville.
'We're not in Kansas anymore' I muttered as I went to find some more helpful clues.
As I wandered off looking for clues and contemplating developments, it suddenly hit me. It hurt. For 'it' was a 1956 Fender Stratocaster in a 'hard' case.
I looked in the direction from which the 1956 Fender Stratocaster was thrown, and saw a large man with a red face running towards me. I drew my gun without thinking twice, and he stopped and stared at me.
'Whoa there,' he said, 'easy with that thing... I was going to apologise, Johnny over there was trying a new trick and the guitar just came flying out of the catapult in the other direction.' As he said that he pointed towards Johnny, who was a thin guy with long hair that seemed rather uninterested in the whole affair.
I put the gun back and looked at this strange man in a silver suit.
'Tell me something,' I said, 'have you seen a Morris Semchevsky around here? Big guy, bold, ugly as hell?'
'Well, people have been talking about some for'ners over at the factory...' he mused, 'but like they say, if you're gonna shoot a dog you better make sure it ain't gonna rain.'
'Ah, you know... you gotta smack the rabbit on the head if you don't want to look as foolish as a cow in a flour mill. That's what they say where I come from.'
I eyed him suspiciously, and then asked 'And where exactly do you come from?'
'Slough,' he replied and picked up the guitar, turned and left. As he walked away I saw that across the back of his silver suit was embroidered in colours that usually only exist in spandex, the words 'Rolf Hergensheimer's All Flying Blues Review and House Movers.'
If my head didn't hurt from being concussed by the Fender, then that embroidery on a silver background finished the job. My head was getting a little tired of all the rough treatment I had subjected it to over the last week or so and had half a mind to leave me. I went to my car, looking for the Valium I knew I had there somewhere. I couldn't find it, so I just passed out for a while right there, my head buried in a pile of old newspaper clips and empty cans.
When I woke up I felt better, and started thinking about the clues I had so far. Semchevsky was in a factory. I didn't know where that factory was or what he was doing there, but that'll wait for later. Now there was that strange man from Slough, with his embroidered silver suit and his incomprehensible metaphors... was he important? Was he put there to stall me, or was he just an innocent, though a little odd, bystander?
I decided it's time to solve all these questions. As I raised my eyes from 'over the phone that night' and 'carbohydrates: 330', I saw a sign. A big road sign with a big fat arrow on it, in fact, and the words "Dyson Factory".
'Follow the arrows' I said to myself, and followed the arrow.
Written by 'various'