THE LAST FLIGHT OF ACE ARCHER, SPACE PIONEER!, Part 21

Last time on Ace Archer: Ace took hostage Caryn’s boyfriend, Jeremy, not knowing that he was, in fact, the director of the project that has been keeping Ace imprisoned for the last twenty years.

archerMY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SPACEMEN

Chapter Twenty

Caryn Alexander and Lara Termigant strode down the cold nighttime sidewalks of Greenwich City towards the Alex Raymond Gallery. The show wasn’t supposed to start until the next night but the gallery owner had given Lara a set of keys so she could get in to look over the arrangement.

“It’s going to be really up your alley,” Lara said as they walked past cafe after cafe. Caryn only noticed because since picking Lara up she’d been desperately hungry. When she got excited, she often forgot to eat, and today dinner had been the casualty of that hyperfocus.

“I sent down a few things that might have fit into the orrery but didn’t, um… fit in the orrery. Fit as in physically. Not physically fit, like in good health. I mean that they were too big for my foyer. That’s the second fit, I mean. The first fit was in terms of their appropriateness.”

It was a good thing Caryn was talented at finding useful facts needles in verbal haystacks, because Lara Termigant liked to talk. For an artist who was so talented at expressing her thoughts in visual form, she seemed to have a very poor–or at least very haphazard–way of expressing herself in words.

“Well, tomorrow I’ll take you to meet Ace and then we can see how we’re going to get him out of the hospital long enough to look at your work. I just get the sense that between the two of you we’re going to get–”

The black BMW pulled up next to them and the passenger side window rolled down.

“What’s a couple of dishes like you two doing out so late?” came an unexpected but familiar voice.

“Oh my god, Ace!” Caryn ran over to the car, grabbing the window frame like she was afraid it was going to drive away before she could believe what was happening. “How did you get out? What are you doing here?” As she asked those questions, she noticed with no small amount of cognitive dissonance that the driver was Jeremy. “Jeremy? What’s going on?”

Lara Termigant had come up behind Caryn, and waved at the men in the car.

“It’s a long story,” Jeremy started.

“Got myself a ray-gun,” Ace said, brandishing the futuristic pistol. “Took your boy hostage to spring myself from the joint.”

Jeremy silently shook his head and mouthed “not a hostage” behind Ace’s back.

“What were you doing at the hospital?” Caryn asked, her natural curiosity still this side of suspicion, but slipping closer.

“Romeo here was looking for you,” Ace answered, saving Jeremy the trouble of lying. “He just happened to come at the same time as opportunity knocked.”

“Was it at approximately six-thirty tonight?” Lara Termigant asked, holding what appeared to be a parking ticket over Caryn’s shoulder, inches from Ace’s face. Roughly sketched on the ticket was a perfect likeness of the blue and silver ray-gun in Ace’s hand.

“It… it was,” Ace said, peering at the unbelievable drawing of his sidearm.

“Um, look, why don’t you girls get in the back seat,” Jeremy said. “This probably doesn’t look good to an outside observer who may be an undercover vice cop.”

“Oh. Right,” Caryn mused, and opened the back door.

“I’m Lara,” Lara whispered to Ace as she followed Caryn to the back of the BMW.

Jeremy’s car was immaculate, as Caryn had somehow expected it would be. While she fit perfectly behind the driver, Lara seemed to have to fold herself up, knees under her chin, to get herself squeezed behind Ace.

“How did you know where to find us?” Caryn asked Jeremy.

“Actually, that was Mister Brakura,” Jeremy said. “He wanted to go to some art gallery, and I thought that as his, ah, ‘hostage’ I probably ought to do what he said. There was a slight wryness to Jeremy’s answer, and she wondered how he knew so well how to deal with the old man.

“I’m Lara, hi there,” Lara said, holding out a hand to shake Jeremy’s. “And you are?”

“Jeremy Roth,” he said, accepting the handshake.

“And I’m Harold, hh, Brakura, I guess,” Ace Archer said.

“I thought you were Ace Archer,” Lara asked, completely missing the subterfuge.

“What, like the movie?” Jeremy asked.

“Book series,” Caryn corrected pedantically. “A few years back Uncle Harold had a stroke which led to vascular dementia. He occasionally thinks he’s a character from a movie he saw when he was younger.”

Ace rolled his eyes.

“Wow, you totally never told me that…” Lara said sympathetically. “I thought–” she started, but shut her mouth when Caryn’s foot crossed the don’t-touch-your-brother line dividing the backseat and landed hard on her own.

“I’d be confused too, if I didn’t have vaginal dementia,” Ace grumbled from the front seat. “Can we just get to the das’t art gallery, please? The introductions are giving me a headache.”

“Yes, sir,” Jeremy said with a wink over his shoulder at Caryn. He put the car into gear and drove off towards the Alex Raymond Gallery.

To be continued…

© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.

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