“Magpie to Kookaburra. Magpie to Kookaburra, over!”
“Magpie to Kookaburra. Kookaburra, come in Kookaburra, over!”
Bummer. A box sits on the bed besie Marcus, and in the box appears to be Katey’s hair, seemingly burnt off, smelling like bad weed. And she isn’t answering any of his signals. Five more minutes, then he’ll drive over. Marcus dials her number—no response. He texts her again. Picks up the old walkie-talkie, which they’ve communicated over for thirty-seven years and counting.
“Kookaburra, this is Magpie. Please answer or I’m coming over, over! I’m worried about you, over!”
Bummer. Time to recruit.
Theme music starts, and Marcus plugs his ears and flexes his muscles. Katey’s sexy naked legs are all he sees against the black background of his thoughts. He climbs the roof of his house in skinfit jockeys, carrying the box with Katey’s hair, looking to all suburbia like the pedophile his father was. Daddy issues here? No time to dabble with that aristocratic jumble, no time at all to slip back into bed. The sigh that can escape men who don’t until their fifties realize they are growing a paunch they will have to live with escapes Marcus’s forty-two-years-old slim frame involuntarily as he slips down the chimney, settling in for the two-mile ride. On the way he texts Loo Kim, Aritania, Daevil Vedder, Antoine Jr. II, Phyllis Hoi and Menagerie Phillips.
Two field agents reply within the minute: Daevil V. and Phyllis Hoi. Antoine Jr. II will be eager three days later, Loo Kim won’t ever reply (and that’s a story without anybody with personal experience of hair).
Daevil V., Phyllis Hoi and Marcus. Bummer. Not enough, never enough. It’s Oh Two Hundred Hours in the early morning. They take two shots of espresso each, stretch with some yoga basics, and in the tree pose chant Om at thirteen-second intervals for ninety minutes, gathering in this manner the energy required to power up their silver Mongoose bicycles’ headlights. The ground hatch shoots open and out fling the three bikes twisting their handlebars to the wind, making the noise ordinary bikes can never hope to make, a zzzzip tennis rackets make all the time.
Leading from the front, Marcus observes the law’s redeeming limits. At the red lights they chant in unison, at green ones they boost forward, slinky whizzers. Kookaburra’s too important to break the laws to rescue. Marcus knows no shortcut. And as a strong leader, he whispers directions and points out which way he’s heading, tricking Phyllis and Daevil only once by pointing right and turning left. Then again by pointing left and turning left.
Adroitly, Marcus hasn’t disclosed information to these underlings he will soon slash the throats of in the darkness behind Katey’s house. He hasn’t told them how he’s spiked their espressos, and the negatively charged Mo’s instead of Om’s he’s been chanting with them this night. They collapse on schedule, flailing with the bikes to the asphalt. But before Marcus can do the repetitive, monotonous, redundant slash slash of his bowie knife into their chests he has to locate, resolve and replicate the Katey disappearance. This time, for real.
Shadows, trees and wind play under the moon’s watchful eye. An owl hoots, a cricket chirps, a wolf howls, a cloud sails the dark sky. There is a silent dragger of limp bodies, and there are silent dragged bodies. The dragging is done to the side of the road, into the bushes. Afterwards, Marcus switches on a thingamajig on his wristwatch and chuckles. O cruel world!
Lambasted by screams and squeals and hisses from his years of attending AC(thunder sign, not slash!)DC concerts, Marcus has lost the higher frequency range of true human hearing. Anything above 15000 Hertz is blank to him. For this reason, and no other, he is capable of reducing love to an equation:
Love=[(algorithm of sin) x 2] + pain.
Also, Marcus can torture Katey with his wristwatch thingamijig’s ultrahigh frequency emissions. He sets it to 17000 Hertz and raises it slowly, turbulently, pleased and showing it with a constipated growl. In this reverbrating mode he bikes to Katey’s house. Some people wake up screaming, bats lose Godgiven focus. The night crawls with things ignorant of other things, screaming and praying for the end of this catatonic whisper. Squirrels leave their nuts and berries, and begin to pray.
Marcus is baffled by the lack of Katey’s scream. Her house is just ahead, but why isn’t she. Oh bummer!
He jumps off the bike at her porch and swings open the door.
“Katey!” He shouts in the dark hall. She’s not here.
He thinks back: the box with Katey’s hair was in his backyard. The backyard was empty except for squirrels.
Marcus shuts off the sound. Daytime animals go back to sleep. Nocturnal ones find their legs broken from scampering, especially insects, especially millipedes, especially the millipede in Katey’s skeleton, crawling out now through her left eyesocket. The millipede stumbles, unsure, then tramples its own leg underfoot, leaving a slime trail almost exactly like the path of drool a sixty-year-old woman can wake up and discover on the back of her husband’s nightshirt. Katey will not live that long, though she’d pictured herself that old for two nights in a row, waking up happy the first day, nonchalant and proud of her future the next.
Marcus sits on the front stoop, twisting dials, flicking his bowie knife’s gleam of moonlight reflection over the trees. Sees animal eyes. The hoofprints escape his notice, since they are hoofprints. What he can’t be sure of, is how these hoofprints are related to Daevil Vedder’s idiot cousin, Menagerie Phillips. She was here earlier, She gathered the evidence that would point to Katey’s killer (the hair). She boxed it and left it in Marcus’s backyard, not knowing it’s Daevil not Marcus who specializes in burns. And it’s Daevil, who, with the bowie, Marcus will knife first, and then again.
hocus locus pocus focus