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The Marsupial Inside Me

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Jason Rubis

ISBN :978-1-4874-3791-6

Page :89

Word Count :27902

Publication Date :2023-02-03

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : The Marsupial Inside Me (prc) , The Marsupial Inside Me (pdf) , The Marsupial Inside Me (mobi) , The Marsupial Inside Me (epub)

Category : Bizzaro

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-3791-6

In a strange future, where human beings have been converted to marsupials, private investigator Ben Turlough goes in search of a missing heiress, only to find himself embroiled in a plot to change the world.

Private investigator Ben Turlough has been hired for a big job by a small woman. That’s small as in tiny…like, the size of your hand. In a world where humans have been converted into marsupials, and pouch-riding joeys are accepted citizens, that’s not unusual.

But Turlough’s assignment is a little more complicated than it appears. He’ll journey from the lowest dives to the highest levels of society, encountering mutants, drunks and scheming dames in his search for the missing Clarissa Waterstone. By the time he finds her, his life just might be changed forever.

She was waiting for me in my office, sitting perched on the edge of my desk like a pretty little whatsit—a Planigale, maybe, or a Ningbing, if Ningbings wore designer labels. Something small and lovely and fairylike. Something you’d like to touch but didn’t, since even Ningbings have teeth, and maybe you’d already gotten bitten once. She had helped herself to a drink, somehow managing to unscrew the cap from the bottle I kept in my desk and tipping a nice-sized dribble into it. In her hands the bottle-cap cap looked big as a fairly large cookpot, but she sipped from it with butterfly delicacy. You couldn’t even hear her slurp. Just a perfect little lady—accent on little.

I wish I could tell you I knew she was there before I opened the door, that some kind of street-acquired, street-sharpened senses had started clicking in my nut and clued me in to the fact that I had a visitor the minute I started climbing the stairs. That I had my gat pulled and waiting as I crept up to the door, swift and silent as a hunting Thylacine.

Truth is, I had other things on my mind. My benefits check was late, leaving me just enough for a good boozing at Lumpy’s. Which meant, I now didn’t have enough for rent. Which is why I was planning to sleep at my office that night. My vicious-ass landladies couldn’t come after me, because they didn’t know where I conducted my business. Normally, we all liked it that way. I had an idea that tonight, at least, Barbara and Victoria Anne were going to find the arrangement a bit less agreeable.

So anyway. There we were, my classy visitor and I, staring at each other under the harsh light of the single bulb I could afford. I didn’t hold her gaze long, just enough to make sure she wasn’t packing one of the tiny but efficient firearms some joeys use.

“Mr. Turlough?” my visitor asked. Her voice was high-pitched, just this side of squeaking like a bat, but its accent was Upside all the way. You could tell she’d been to university and was almost certainly from one of the top families on the Continent. You know, the people who own everything, and manage to control what they don’t own. Seeing a joey without her poucher was odd, and it was doubly strange to imagine her coming into in a neighborhood like mine without a keeper or bodyguard of some kind. Of course, small as she was, she probably could have had a drink at every apartment in my building without being seen. My eyes shifted from one filthy, dust-filled corner of my office to the other, looking for signs of trouble. I guess I was sweating a little.

“Mr. Ben Turlough?” she pursued, tilting her head as though concerned I hadn’t heard her or maybe was just a halfwit.

Seeing someone else’s joey without them accompanying it was especially affecting for someone in my circumstances. I mean, I still had nightmares about Jacky. Bad ones. Before I answered her, I took the bottle from the desktop and half-filled a coffee cup that had never once held coffee since I’d bought it three years before. A slug of bourbon warmed my gut and grew me some balls back—they were about the size of raisins, but they’d have to serve for now.

“Ben Turlough,” I nodded finally. “At your service, miss. But I’m afraid you have me at a…”

“A disadvantage,” she smiled. “Of course, I’m so sorry. Daphne Waterstone.” She held out her hand and I hesitated before I took it between thumb and forefinger of my own filthy paw, afraid my calluses might bruise her.

“I’ve heard of you.” Waterstone. Yeah, one of the top families, no question. If she weren’t fibbing. But I didn’t doubt she was telling the truth. By now I’d gotten a better look at her. The Waterstones had been in the news a lot lately, since Clarissa Waterstone had disappeared. Her image was all over the feeds, and those classically beautiful features and taste in designer dresses were perfectly reproduced in miniature on my guest. Some joeys have grotesque features, almost like half-formed caricatures of their pouchers. Not Daphne. Only her hair was different. Clarissa tended to wear hers up, while Daphne’s was in a sweet little bob.

“Then you know why I’ve come to see you.”

I swirled the booze around in my coffee mug. “Please don’t tell me you want me to find Clarissa.”

Sure enough, she nodded. “Exactly.”

I sighed. The newscasts I had caught about Clarissa’s disappearance hadn’t made much of her having a joey, though they hadn’t gone so far as to deny it. Any mention of Daphne at that early stage probably would have been considered in bad taste, since joeys who lose their pouchers before reaching full maturity rarely survive. And Clarissa had been gone a while.

I decided to play it cool. “Rumors say Clarissa was kidnapped,” I said. “People are saying the kidnappers haven’t yet delivered ransom demands to your family, or that they have but were turned down by whoever’s holding the Waterstones’ purse strings these days.”

“Do they, really? What else do they say?”

“Well, you also hear rumors that Clarissa started to like being kidnapped. There’s some speculation that she might not have wanted to go back home. That she joined her abductors in running around knocking over liquor stores and whatnot.”

Daphne took a long slurp of her drink, her eyes fixed on mine the whole time. If the cheapness of the booze offended her, she gave no sign. “Do you seriously believe that?” she demanded, delicately wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

I shrugged. “I can’t say I seriously believe it,” I said truthfully. “I didn’t know the lady.”

“Clarissa was a party girl, Mr. Turlough.”

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Tags: Bizzaro, Mainstream