Friday, March 5, 2010
The M.S. Conspiracy
A HoseMaster of Wine Pulp Fiction Classic
Chapter 13 After Dark, My Sweet
When you're a dick your head's the most sensitive part, and mine had been taking a beating ever since I'd started working on this case. I'd developed a ringing in my ears and it seemed like I'd developed double vision. Turned out it was just Veronica. She was standing at my office door just oozing sex. Great. Bad enough I had blood stains on my carpet. I hadn't seen cleavage like that since Robert Parker had been my plumber, a job he was good at. He'd snaked my toilet and replaced my old scale with a hundred point one. I'd seen more crack than a Nick Nolte Oscar party. I wonder whatever happened to that old sink jockey.
I had to shake the cobwebs from my head before I could talk to Veronica. I really needed to dust my office once in a while. I'd just hung up the phone with Avril Cadavril, who wanted me to return to the morgue. She could wait. Veronica was my client, and, aside from that, I couldn't take my eyes off her. She was breathtaking, like sticking your head into a fermenting tank of sauvignon blanc. I so badly wanted to be the sugar to her yeast. But I'd already been converted to alcohol.
Veronica was staring down at the blood stain that Larry Anosmia, M.S. had left on my carpet. "What's this? Is that blood? Or did you dump Turley Zin on your carpet?"
"No, that's blood. But I did use the Turley to stain my Haynes." My head trauma was worse than I thought. "What is all this about Veronica? You hired me to just get you into the M.S. exam. Now two girls are dead, I'm a suspect in one of the cases, I've had my prostate examined without my consent, and somebody just got shot in my office. It's like I'm attending the Wine Bloggers Conference. Only they've all passed their prostate exams and become Certified Assholes. What's going on, Veronica? It's time you started telling me the truth."
"It's pretty complicated, HoseMaster, and the more I tell you the more dangerous it gets for you. This is much bigger than this cheap little jug-wine town of yours."
"Yeah, I know, take me to your liter."
"What my friends and I are on to is a threat to the very existence of the wine business, the kind of conspiracy that may end wine as we know it. But we've been unable to infiltrate the inner sanctum of the conspiracy, the very chambers where this horrible plot was hatched. But, believe me, HoseMaster, if you can't get me into that M.S. interview, if I can't get in front of those bastards and wave my bodacious Titratable Acidity-Titratable Acidities to pass their idiotic exams, the evil that is the M.S. program will fatally infect the wine business like the H1N1 Virus in a room full of asthmatics. These are evil people, HoseMaster, and they'll stop at nothing to accomplish their ultimate goal."
Veronica's chest was heaving with her excitement and anger. Her green eyes were ablaze; her passion had given her entire body a glow. I'd never seen a more beautiful woman, or a more dangerous one. And I'd met Karen MacNeil in a dark alley with a bottle of Fife.
"Veronica, my Gorgeous Girl, I'm not afraid of anybody with an M.S. It's just an imaginary title, like Certified Wine Educator, or Ph.D's that call themselves 'Doctor,' or Biggest Loser, which encompasses both. And it's going to be easier if you tell me what you know, if you trust me so that I can help you. I feel like I'm completely in the dark, uninformed, clueless, like I'm a wine judge at the California State Fair. And I'm a little tired of getting hit in the head every time I see a midget. Tell me what you know, Doll, or I'm done with this whole affair."
Tears were forming in Veronica's eyes, like she'd been pulling her own nose hairs. Sure, I was being rough on her, a woman who'd just recently seen two of her sisters murdered, but that's how I swing. I'd been thrown suddenly into a sinister conspiracy that had nothing to do with me any longer. I'd quit the wine business, used my old tastevin for an ashtray, sick of the hypocrites and sleazebags that append letters to the ends of their names like they're penile enhancements, and now Veronica had suckered me back into it. I didn't feel any obligation to help her, though I wouldn't mind riding my Sterling tram all the way up to her wine cave. But I wasn't about to risk my worthless life to help foil a conspiracy I wasn't even sure existed.
"OK, HoseMaster, I guess I have to trust you. What I'm going to tell you will sound crazy, unbelievable, but I swear it's all true."
And then the lights went out and we were pitched into total blackness.