Where No Story Has Gone Before, Ch. 6
by Robert Lee Beers
After being mysteriously dumped into an alternate reality where they are apparently movie stars, Tony Mandolin and his friends head to Comicon to confront, well, themselves.
Contact info for Robert Beers
* Website – http://asmbeers.wixsite.com/robertleebeers
* Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Lee-Beers/e/B00JCRVS3U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1505455713&sr=8-1
* Audiobook – http://www.graphicaudio.net/a-tony-mandolin-mystery-1-a-slight-case-of-death.html
“Probably should have led with the ID, Tony,” Frankie said, as he stared at the door.
McBride went over to him and asked, “Does this mean that you are really Franklin Amadeus Jackson?”
“And you really can cook gourmet food?”
“My Squab Moskovitz would entice Nero Wolfe himself,” Frankie murmured. He leaned in and whispered, “The secret is to use real butter under the skin and imported, not domestic vodka. Oh, and grind the rosemary. You roast the prepared squab on sliced lemons.”
“You are the real Frankie!” McBride yelled.
DeSimone murmured to me. “Jackson can’t even pop microwave popcorn. He keeps trying to do what the character can. I’ve never met a man who could ruin microwave popcorn.” He shook his head.
“Jackson? His first name is Jackson?” I asked.
He nodded, “Jackson McBride. Part of the reason he got the part. Me, it was because I was so handsome.”
I caught the joke and laughed appropriately.
The door slammed open and Dan stood there, pointing that shaking finger again, “There they are, officer. Do your duty!”
Frankie asked his double, “Do people here really talk like that?”
McBride sighed, “No, just Dan.”
Dan moved aside, revealing the officer.
I blurted, “Bain!”
Bain grunted, looking around and then asked, “Mandolin, what in the flaming hells is going on?”
DeSimone and I both started talking at once.
“Not the actor, the twerp.” Bain pointed at me.
“Yes! Yes!” Dan squealed, doing his happy dance. “Justice at last!”
Frankie asked his double, jerking his thumb in Dan’s direction, “This guy’s an executive?”
McBride shrugged, “Well, he is related to the producer…”
Bain turned to Dan and muttered, “I’ve got this. Bring me that old guy pretending to be a wizard.”
Bain flashed an impressive-looking gold star badge in a leather flip-case, “You want an obstruction of justice charge?”
“I’ll be right back with him,” Dan blurted, zipping out the door.
McBride chuckled, “You gotta love the enthusiasm.”
DeSimone looked at Bain and remarked, “You look familiar…”
I said, “That’s Landau Bain, the real Bain. You know, the guy with seriously scary powers?”
“Him?” McBride scoffed, “Naw, that guy looks totally different.” He said to Bain, “Cool badge, dude.”
Bain murmured, “It does the job.”
He asked me, “Do you know what it took finding you two? Violet’s just about to begin to tear me a new one.”
“How long have we been gone?” I asked, knowing that some dimensions can have a devastatingly different time flow than others.
“Fortunately not as long as you’d fear,” He replied, “Now hush up, company’s coming.”
Dan pushed through the door and then stepped aside. Milward followed, accompanied by a couple of uniformed security guards.
The old wizard turned to the Hispanic with the thick mustache, “Now you just remember, Sergio, a few drops of that elixir in your drink every night and everything will be just fine.”
“Thanks, Milward,” The guard said, “I mean that.”
Milward turned to the other guard, “And Jocko, you be sure to let me know how your wife’s pregnancy works out, okay? You just write the letter. It will get to me.”
“Sure t’ing, Mil,” the other guard said, “I’ll do dat.”
Milward looked over at us and smiled, “My, my, my,” he said, “The resemblance is indeed amazing.”
Then he turned sharply and looked at Bain, the eyes of the wolf’s head blazing, “Sorcerer, or Wizard,” he asked.
Bain looked Milward up and down, his hands in his pockets. He seemed completely unruffled by the light show. Waking to the side to get another view of the old wizard’s outfit, he nodded and then said, “Wizard, of course. Check my aura, you’ll see.”
I said to the other me, “There’s a young couple out on the convention floor. Their names are Chris and Lesley Herron. If you can, could you make sure they get some notice? They deserve it, and you should check out his audiobook podcast. It’s called Tall Tale TV.”
DeSimone asked, “Why you asking now? You going somewhere?”
I nodded, “You wouldn’t believe it. The Herron’s?”
McBride said, “I’ll make sure of it.”
Milward and Bain had finished their sniffing and Bain turned back to me and said, “It’s time. We should go now before that idiot comes back with real police.”
“You’re going to open a portal here?” Milward asked.
Bain nodded and gestured to the wall where the couch sat. The air split revealing a blue cloudless sky and what seemed to be an old country road laid down in a wide field of grain. It forked after a few yards.
“It forks,” Milward said.
Bain nodded, “Of course. You take the one on the left. It should drop you off right where you became sidetracked.”
“And we take the one on the right, right?” Frankie asked.
Bain growled, “Shut up Jackson.”
Both Frankie’s said, “Hey!”
I muttered, “I am not going to miss that.”
I looked behind us as I stepped into the open portal. The door to the green room opened and Dan, with a couple more officers came charging in. Dan saw the portal and promptly fainted and then I was walking up to my front porch.
Frankie took in a deep breath. “Oh…” He gushed, “It is so good to smell the sea air. I’d better check on my kitchen.”
“He’s right. Thanks for finding us Landau,” I said to Bain. “Maybe I’d best give Violet a call.”
He nodded, “You do that. I’m going home and then I’ve got some research to do.”
I asked, “Research?”
“Yeah,” he growled, “Research. This… transference was deliberate, and it felt like someone, or…thing was practicing.”
I watched him walk through his own private portal and then muttered, “Oh… crap.”