The Roman Toilet Ultimatum
by Torrance P. DerSitis (my thriller novel pen-name)
“City coroner,” the voice on the other side of the door stated with all the authority you would expect from a person who was allowed to exhume the dead on just a whim, rip open their bodies and poke around to their heart’s content and Chisley Torgair thought, “But wait, I’m not deceased. What could the coroner possibly want with me?”
That was to be his final thought because just then a pigeon began cooing madly at the window of his dingy one-room walk-up and when he turned to look he was met with a .22 slug right through the head. He never heard the breaking glass. Oddly, his last question was answered with the pull of a trigger.
A shadowy figure on the fire escape, still holding a smoldering gun then uttered some seemingly nonsensical words that would soon reverberate not only through the local precinct house but internationally from a yurt in Irkutsk to a back deck barbeque party in Tobermory at the tip of Georgian Bay with everyone in casual slacks, plus a couple of stops on some ice floes along the way, beneath which lay secret laboratories where recreational mutants were being bred, part insect, part mammal to undermine the willpower of the human race, the project headed up by a group of disgruntled ex-KGB and CIA agents and scientists who were not happy with their severance pay, or so some said. “Makes the Cold War seem like Miami, eh, Yuri?” was the joke they liked to beat like a dead horse around the facilities. A dead horse they would have gladly eaten instead of having to chow down on freeze-dried and microwavable entrees with names like “Glucose mit Hoof und Meatbowls and Chocolate Cesspool Pit.”
“Tungsten spit-croft filberts divisional seepage trust wingo-wingo gestational crust,” were the enigmatically strung-together words the shadowy figure murmured reverently as he watched Chisley Torgair momentarily twitch on the ground before his lights went out. Doesn’t take long with a .22 drilling you a third eye while a pigeon shits in that sad excuse for a flowerbox outside your rooming-house window that you fill with your stubbed-out cigarette butts and lung oysters hawked up morning, noon and night and all that despite your first name being Chisley. How did Chisley Torgair, a broken-down and alcoholic Venetian blind assembler, though once the scion of a wealthy family until he got into black market guinea pig breeding and tried to pass off a couple of rats with glued on hair he cut from passed-out drunks sleeping in his alleyway as “show pigs”, now currently jobless and his only family that hadn’t disowned him the yellowed and mottled pictures that came with his wallet, fit into the big picture? Moments later the city coroner and his assistant broke down the rooming-house door but they were too late. The assassin had disappeared.
“Goddamnit, Plitzsky, we’re too late!”
“I know, didn’t you just say that a moment ago?”
“No, that must’ve been someone else or else you’re hearing things. When’s the last time you got some sleep, Plitzsky?
“Don’t worry about me, Chief. I can run on empty until I’m mummified.”
“If you say so. Anyway, this guy’s playing us like a marlin on 120 Ib. test line. Teasing us for hours until we just wanna give up, fling ourselves in the boat and die.”
“I hear you, boss. My gills are hurting just thinking about it.”
This gave the coroner pause for as far as he knew his assistant had never before displayed any type of affinity or affiliation with fish species.
A hundred miles away in the countryside in a heavily secured barn surrounded by an electrified fence, rows of cows stood, their skullcaps cut away and plexi-glass domes placed over their brain cavities. Their udders were hooked up to lie detector machines and the cows were being asked questions by a group of men in lab coats.
“Your mother’s maiden name?” one man barked.
“You have eight apples. Sally takes away two. Then a laser disintegrates another. But the laser is so swift it’s actually beaming into the future. So, did those apples actually exist in the past or did you create them with extrapolations based partly on memory, partly on misguided future desires mixed with an overwhelming sense of regret and despair?” yelled another. The cows looked neither confused nor intrigued. They appeared neutral as did their test results.
In an office overlooking the barn floor below, Dr. Mibley Forblooth took it all in and lit a stick of incense before placing it gently in the makeshift shrine he had erected to Phil Horvance, philosopher, god, chartered accountant and his recently deceased brother-in-law and who had vouched for his initiation into the secret sect of which he was now president. A sect that was now poised to take over the world if they played their cards right and the detonation buoys they’d contracted out to a bunch of undergrad engineering students to build were both working and had been placed in the right freighter shipping lanes. Of course all the students would have to be killed afterwards.
As he placed the incense into the shrine built from the limbs of superhero toys, condiment packs pilfered from fast food restaurants and rat droppings, and ignoring a text message on his phone asking “How’s it going with the bovine?” he intoned the holy words, the words actually not nonsensical at all but a code for a very simple set of instructions with nevertheless complex and catastrophic repercussions beginning with the downfall of the three great superpowers of the world. And with all the technology of today to think that this entire, crazy scheme had actually been hatched way back when in the lavatories of Rome when some bad mutton had sent a bunch of scheming senators into the communal facilities where they then, between grunts and gas-passing swore and plotted revenge on all emperors, past, present and future. But as they say, “when in Rome…” I guess the same could be said for Sudbury after the sun’s gone down.