slid under the door, giving all my meals a similar thickness and appearance. And I was expected to go to the bathroom under this same door. The guy who designed that place should have been shot. They kept me in a half-conscious state most of the time. Drugged enough so I wouldn’t cause them any trouble, but conscious enough so that when they beat me I was capable of giving out a real good yell. I held up under all this pretty well. I was sleeping like a baby – waking up every three hours screaming and crapping my pants. The only time escape was a possibility was when the doctor came in twice a week to administer additional drugs to me and slap me around a little. I hoped I might get a chance to overpower him, but he had a lot of experience in places like this and didn’t even let me get close to him. He administered the drugs using a nine foot needle, and slapped me with a glove on a pole. But one week the regular doctor didn’t show up – I think I heard he was skiing in Nazi Germany - and there was a substitute doctor doing his rounds. I informed this substitute that not only were his shoes seriously untied but there was something completely on his back. While he was tying himself into knots addressing these problems, I hit him over the head with my bed. A few minutes later I was in the corridor, dressed as a doctor. All I had to do now was talk my way past the guard and I was home free. Despite my optimism, I shouldn’t have been able to convince the guard that I was one of the staff doctors, because I was still heavily drugged and my smock was on backwards and I was drooling and one eye wouldn’t stay open. I certainly didn’t look like a very stylish doctor. But I did manage to talk my way out because the guy I was talking to, a dazed drooling guard, with his uniform only partially covering his institutional pajamas, was also trying to talk his way out. So we both got out together and ran like hell in all directions, both of us ending up in the same getaway car, with me driving and him yelling to turn left. I was back to normal physically in a day or two, but I was still angry for another week. Once I had recovered, I decided to go see Mandible and talk to him about maybe upping my daily rate a little. This case was dangerous. Only additional money would fix that. I headed downtown in my car. I never got there. Somebody had been doing some major league tampering to my car. The brake lines were cut. The tires were on fire. There was carbon monoxide coming out of everything. And the radio was tuned to a station I didn’t like. I had to tip my booby-trapped hat to whoever tampered with this car. I was late with my payments on the car anyway, and it looked like a lot of repair work was going to have to be done no matter how this came out, so I figured let the finance company worry about it. I called them up on my cell phone, told them where the car was, and jumped out. I was going over sixty at the time, but luckily I didn’t hit the ground. There was a cliff there and I just went harmlessly over that. But just when you’re sailing along, thinking everything is going to be okay, something unexpected comes along to jar you out of your complacency. For me, in this case, it was the bottom of the cliff. I got bruised up pretty bad – they say I bounced for an hour - but luckily no bones were broken. That’s where that protective layer of fat I was telling you about comes in. After word got out that I had escaped from their clutches and defied death yet again, the criminals held another emergency meeting. Apparently I was too tough and stupid to be stopped by normal means. Tough and stupid is a hard combination to beat, say the experts. So they decided to try another tack. Maybe beauty would tame the beast. They would get the irresistible vamp, Cola, to lure me to my doom.
CHAPTER EIGHT Cola was reclining on silken cushions, getting a quick touchup from her makeup team, and last minute instructions from