The dripping dank dark danced with the dreary dawn drizzle, and the cold cut in like Fred Astaire on Ginger Rogers. I woke up on a park bench, my face and back aching. I rubbed my face with my hand. I realized that while I was out someone had come along and put cat pooh in it. I was on a bench near the Ferry Terminal with a damp suit and a wicked cut on the cheekbone from a fusillade of dungeoness crabs along the Wharf caused by my untimely but accurately expressed aspersions on a crabberman's sister, who I'd been seeing until she showed up with a Vichy French sailor at a Russian Hill fête, pom-pom in pom-pom. Also, I had cat pooh on my face, and I was still picking crab meat out of my lapel when my watch, a fancy moon-phase Bulova I’d grabbed off the wrist of a dying SS officer whom I'd shot with a spear gun in Venice over a curvy Venezuelan tomato and part time B girl (really more of an C-list A girl, credit where credit's due) named Imeldine Marquez-Marqueza, who didn't so much hustle drinks as inspire a lot of drinking, informed me I was late for a meeting at the Rusty Hobnail with a girl so cruel she the War Department paid her to taunt the Nazis on shortwave with phrases like "Hitler ist deine penis schrumpfend," a phrase repeated constantly in her low, harsh voice on a loop wire recording to jam Radio Hamburg until U-Boats started using the radio signal to hone in on New York; it all lead to the phrase “that boat’s a real dick-shrinker,” which you hear “down the docks” whenever some rust bucket hull takes in more water than an elephant in a peeing contest, or when, commonly enough, some sea-lawyer is comparing the ship’s Master to the great Square Moustache of Evil himself, as in “Aye, Aye, Captain Hitler!”
Washing my face in the Bay and straightening my tie, I gathered myself among myself and walked toward the Rusty Hobnail along the waterfront, dockside sounds abounding – a ship’s bell, the creak of a wooden mast, the gruff, siren call of a fairly convincing transvestite. Someone started practicing a saxophone with a riff from St. James Infirmary- practicing to discredit the saxophone as a musical instrument by producing a sound like a rutting walrus with asthma. I plugged my ears, which prevented me from hearing the Mack truck horn as it turned to avoid killing me and the shipment of cranberry juice in cans and ladies undergarments turned over and spilled, alerting me to the truck’s presence. Figuring the red stuff all over the driver’s face was cranberry juice, I continued my way west.
Finally, the Rusty Hobnail. Home away from home – if home smelled like barfly sweat and rancid whale oil. "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than have a frontal lobotomy" said the sign behind the black oak timber bar that took up exactly the same place in Crumples the disagreeable bartender's brain Wordsworth might have plugged up in a dreamy Stanford co-eds'; only when Dorothy Parker said it she was in the Algonquin Hotel, which was swank and beautiful, while the dingy, dusty dregs of this ill-kempt, upturned Forty-Niner ship, the last of old San Francisco's waterfront bar buildings, where I tended to store my liver when I wasn't walking around with it, utterly wasn't.
My memory wasn't what it was after the Case of the Omega Three Affair, when “Moose” Fritters the Novelty-Item Jeweler (he’d invented the moose-dropping swizzle-stick) dropped a crate of cod-liver oil fell on my head; now the only Wordsworth poem I knew - that I thought I knew - went:
I wander'd lonely as a corpse/
That floats on puddles in aisles,
When all at once I saw a crowd:
a host of skulking Pedophiles.
This wasn’t quite right- I made a mental note to ask that Stanford co-ed.
Contaminated by history, the Rusty Hobnail would make a good tourist trap if the sawdust on the floor was changed more than once a decade. I'd found four guns, casings, several sets of teeth, a skeleton with a two-by-four through the thorax and a whalebone corset while absent-mindedly kicking through the dust when tossing back a schooner of Beige Lightning, an illegal hooch brewed by separatist Episcopalians in the more sedate parts of Connecticut who rejected the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral doctrine as having one too many sides. These religious jokes, so Waspy they shared skin conditions, were known as radically anti-polygon-amorous, believing that the doctrinal squares would lead to immoral square-dancing, which was still a felony in Connecticut. For the Antipolygonians, most shapes had one too many sides, including, curiously, circles. I dated one of these girls once. She revered the Holy Duality, and once while drunk on Beige Lightning in a flop in Hartford, she insisted I cut out a silk heptagon and rub slowly it all over her.
I hadn't seen Crumples in a couple of months, which like saying I hadn't been down to the slaughterhouse for the view recently. The antebellum bare-knuckle boxer was getting the crud off the glasses the same way you clean a trout - with a knife - and his square skull covered in loose skin looked just like a plaster bust of Caesar covered in a sheet in an art-school still life. His stained, white hair grew thick as an old mattress dumped in a trash-can. He smelled the same: boot socks and formaldehyde. He didn't look any older, only because that wasn't physically possible. That would be like wrinkling a coelacanth. He was so old when he looked my way I heard his eyeballs creaked with menace, and so cranky, so surly, so belligerent and incivil, but not especially grumpy, I wondered just what had sucked the pixie-dust of joy back into the vacuum bag of his heart.
"Well, you ain't been around, has you?" he explained, before throwing the nearly black dish towel to the slop bucket in such a way as he let me now that he held both objects in much higher regard than myself. "It's like a god-damned Christmas dinner with a Gibson girl in here every night you get scarce."
“Nice to see you too, Crumples. A Lower-East Side Manhattan for me. With less Slovakian vermouth.”
“Yearghaaah,” he said, with a sound only a former pirate who boxed for thirty years in Brooklyn could make.
The Rusty Hobnail made your average rendering plant look like the Top of the Mark . You might ask why I came here. I asked myself this frequently. Crumples asked me frequently. The girls and the clients and the exiled European diplomats and the Mayor I met here asked me frequently. Just a mystery I didn’t have time to solve.
One of those girls was Belinda Wheels – the girl I was here to meet. She worked the hotels, the nice ones, like the Mark Hopkins and the St. Francis, did Belinda, specialty work, no hoy-toy-toy, but with a surprising amount of equipment. She got her past the hotel dicks with nothing but a wink- no one suspected that a girl with four steamer trunks was whipping, racking, and insulting the Supervisors for a substantial consideration. She had beautiful, cruel silver eyes, a high but savage brow and a pair of abusive nostrils. Her fierce black hair, shellacked into a angry shiny wave, dropped almost to her tiny but harsh waist. She had precise red cruel lips, and a cruel but winning smile, and adorable yet ineffably sadistic dimples. In that get-up of hers, her breasts were conical enough to splice the mainbrace. She wore a white mink and silk number that was somewhere in between a coat, a dress and satiny citation for public indecency, with shoulderpads Knute Rockne would envy. She sat across from me on the upturned barrel, drinking a Red Russian manipulatively, stroking my arm with the barest brush of a cherry red fingernail in a way that suggested my carotid artery was vulnerable.
Problem was, she wanted her husband. She wanted him dead.
“Mack. You're going to do it for me."
"No can do, Sugar Nostrils, I don't kill for hire." I wasn't a violent man, except when circumstances called, like when the nation was at war, or my girl was in danger, or I was out of money, donuts or whiskey, or when the sun rose in the morning just to piss me off, or when some jackass in a blue ’39 Caddy parked so close to me I couldn’t get in my Nash in an emergency and then had the gall to send me the hospital bill. She did have nice nostrils.
"What would make it worth your while?" She fluttered her eyelids – which on her was like being winked at by the Gestapo.
"Maybe a photo of Goering in tu-tu. Listen, Belinda, I don’t kill people. Scratch that, I kill a lot of people. But only for justice, for America and things. And last I looked, you ain’t America.
“But I can do things,” she said, her voice cool and boozy with the classiest gin Crumples had, which was an old barrel of Nebraska corn vodka he’d stuffed with a dried up juniper bush he found while ginned up on Bush street.
“Forget it, Baby, my insurance doesn’t cover the things you do.”
She pierced me with her eyes, hard and silver grey like fine German number 8H pencils, the kind that almost never need sharpening, the ones that leave more of a gouge than a line.
“C’mon, Mack, you’re Aces! Just For me?” She worked the retort cutesy.
“I told you Belinda, I don’t just walk out and kill husbands. Unless they’re Nazis. Is he a Nazi?”
“He could be,” she said, flicking a comb on the table to make a loud crack. “Can you wait a week?”
“Why don’t you just divorce him?”
“He won’t give me one. Maybe you could rough him up a little. Break a thumb or two. ” A little smile crossed her marble face.
“You’re a tough woman, Belinda, tough like rebar for Tootsie Rolls. I’ve seen softer girls herding Teamsters. A man’s gotta wonder what made you spill your ice cream cone on the hot sidewalk of cynicism. “
“Hollywood. You know- it’s old story these days.” Belinda looked dreamily away. “ Mom was big in the silents, she called herself Myrtle Clarion then – and she was heir to the Burma Shave fortune, if that interests you. She was a hard woman, Ma. When I was 16, She rented me out for a week to the UCLA Bruins for borrowing her best dress without asking.” Belinda's eyes narrowed and she dug her cruel nails into her bony, cruel knee. “That’s when I learned what men are: Bears with shoulder pads and a light switch that you have to operate manually. And Dad, Dad was a Professor of Industrial Hygiene at UCLA and vers libre poet. Never home except to bring home a sleazeball tweed-wearing literary type, reeking of Irish whiskey, like Lillian Hellman, or to dip the house in dry-cleaning fluid once a month. ”
“Nice story, Sister, but why are you whipping federal judges and dressing them like the Gerber Baby for 40 clams an hour?”
“Girl’s gotta have a hobby.” She gave me a look that said not only was I about to receive a serious and quite possibly physical rebuke, but I'd have to pay cash for it.
She wasn't quite my type. First, I get enough abuse for free. Second, I like my coffee black, my women sweet and my Nazis dead. I also like my women black and my coffee sweet and my Nazis dead. Or my women Asian and my coffee Irish and my Nazis dead. And Eskimo girls, my coffee solid, and my Nazis dead. I did date a Kurd once who was a total peach who served coffee with hemp oil, and my Nazis dead. Also, any woman that inconveniences some Nazis, or is breathing, smells nice, is a little tipsy and lacks self-restraint, and my Nazis dead. That last part is the important bit. I really hate Nazis. One more Lower East Side Manhattan and she’d be my type. But knowing Belinda, who was neither black nor sweet nor a dead Nazi, I figured I'd better humor her before she pulled a gun or something leather and pointy with spikes all over it. It was best to avoid bloodshed here, especially because Crumples put the damage on my tab, unless of course the blood was mine and then he’d let the other party drink free.
"Look Belinda, I'll go talk to the guy - but if you can't persuade him I don't hold out a lotta hope."
"O.K. Just talk. Here's the address.” She looked me up and down, and leaned forward a little. “ And Mack, I’ll be very happy if this works. "
“Why did you just say ‘Kickapoo?” She asked, arching a precisely painted eyebrow.
“I like the way that sounds.”
The address was some semi-swanky dump near Cole Valley called Casa Madrona- a Spanish-style apartment bloc, complete with bell and fountain, that looked like it was sitting about 400 miles too far north. Supposedly built for MGM - the place reeked of Hollywood. Every time I smelled film stock, French perfume and cocaine someone was about to close on opening night, forever, usually with a bullet in the heart and a knife in the back, an empty wallet and a look of perpetual disappointment.
Past the fountain, I climbed a short flight of stairs. Third floor: that frog Mr. Wheels' lilypad. Something was wrong. It was all too straightforward, too peaceful. The scent of set-up hung like an old Wharf whore around the waist of paid-off sailor. I took a swig of Alzheimer’s All-Tuber Vodka, which kicked like the Rockettes at Christmas and tended to eradicate unpleasant memories, like the time an actual Rockette kicked me for practically no reason.
I knocked, but the door just swung open. Time to try out the new gun - a .38 police special with a couple of the new radium tracer rounds, and a special oosik bone grip. I’d had the grip engraved with an exact copy of Brueghel's 99 Netherlandish Proverbs- ordered it while blotto, in 1934, from an engraver in Chinatown and he’d finally finished just about the time he became legally blind. A pal at O.S.S. had asked me to test the radioactive ammunition: if it didn’t kill you right off and not removed, it would do you in over the next four or five years, unpleasantly. Seemed a little vindictive, but he asked nicely.
I opened the door and called out:
"Wheels? You here?" Nothing. Quieter than a dead frog.
There was a bit of a smell: nutmeg, penetrating oil, rancid potato chips, maybe a hint of drying seafood and illegal Belgian massage oil – the cheap kind. I was in the living room, the place mauve and yellow and touched with quasi-Egyptian decorations. On the wall hung a 7-foot stuffed Manta Ray, a cheap print of Dogs Playing Poker and an expensive print of Afghans playing Baccarat. The sign under the Manta Ray said “To Stingy.” Belinda mentioned his nickname was Stingy, a name he picked up working first base with the San Francisco Seals by tagging hitters with spikes in his glove.
I also couldn’t help notice the plaster bust of Hitler on the mantle. This created a problem. It was new, so fresh the plaster was still warm from curing. Obviously Belinda put it there to convince me that Stingy Wheels was a Nazi. But she also must have known I would figure that out. So why did she want to get me to think that I thought she was trying to set me up by setting Stingy up as a Nazi? I knew most of the Krauty Von Weisenheimers on the questionable loyalty list– and the name Stingy Wheels never came up. Sure he was a small-time fence, but just for day-old baked goods to get around rationing – his real line was cupcakes, with delicious cream cheese frosting. Didn’t seem the type.
Suddenly a there was a loud pop. I fired back. I christened the new gun “Larry.”
I turned a corner to the dining room and there was Stingy Wheels on a chair, slumped about as quiet as a dead frog slumps, a .38 sized hole drilled in him. One still hand held his gut where he’d been shot. The other held a fully frosted cupcake. But it wasn’t my doing. The angle was all wrong. He hadn’t said a peep. I wasn’t even hungry. He sure as hell hadn’t fired a gun. I figured Stingy Wheels had already spun his last before I walked in. But the killer was near. The killer was here. Now I went through the place, my heart pounding, my face sweating, my calves itching, my sudden desire for lemonade unquenchable, gun drawn, ready to kill, preparing to die.
Nothing. I relaxed for a second.
The place was pretty clean, tidied, but it felt unused. I lifted the two-piece phone - the line was working.
“Operator, get me 1119.” A couple of clicks.
“Get me the Police.”
“This is the Police.”
“I mean get them here. It’s Mack Brain. Me…uh.. Private Eye – license 4342. Casa Madrona…right. Bring a meat wagon, and get that snapper Kamala from the Examiner. I need photos.“
I stood there for a moment, looking around. Trying to think. Not much came to mind. A few naughty dreams, kited checks, but nothing substantial. And I was being set up like an Erector set with no way to distract the little kid with the screwdriver. Sure, I had Belinda Wheel's $300 wrapped up like a tidy little walnut in my pocket – but it had just been so much bait in the rodent trap, and I was the squirrel in question. The only question: was I cover, or was it personal?
I turned to open the bedroom door and there stood a bird, the kind of bird you want to buy dinner and tequila and get all googly-eyed under the Moon and start looking for a nice place in Marin with. Hardly Belinda. It was Imeldine Marquez-Marqueza, the Venezuelan B-Girl I shot an SS officer over in Venice. I hadn’t seen her in months, and she was dark and fierce and soft and kind of squishy in the right places and she had an elegant but business-dealing Beretta pointed at particularly important things located right on me. Her big black eyes were narrowed in determination, and her face was a fetching, high-cheek-boned mask of cool anger with a touch of rouge, but she smelled like a host of golden daffodils, and that scent brought me the image of Klaus the SS officers’s expression as I, disguised as a gondlier, unloaded the spear gun (disguised as the oar) into his sorry S.S. self , and then I watched that expression, frozen forever, sinking into the canal, his now watchless hand above the water dropping his final cannoli to give a last Hitler salute to Imeldine, a gesture I considered superfluous at the time.
“Nice watch, Mister Mack.” I glanced at Rutger’s Bulova. I noticed the moon was waning. Then the pieces came together like a Swiss watch.
“Imeldine! You killed Stingy Wheels!
“Oh, Mack, Sure I did, Mack, I killed Mister Stingy Wheels, and you’re going to the death chambers for it. The policemens will see the Mister Hitler and figured you killed up Mister Stingy just for being a Nazis.”
“Fair enough. I’ve got a lot of dead Kraut notches on my belt. ‘Smithsonian’s already called me about it for an exhibit after the war- Gum on the Streets: The Private Detective’s Private War Against Fascism. But why frame me for a one-bit two-timing four-stroke joker like Stingy Wheels?”
“I liked my SS Boy, Mister Mack. And you killed hims over me, and that watch. Normally, such a thing seems nice…
“Which must be why we did the box spring foxtrot all that week…”
“But he was so very blond, and so very tidy. I miss him so very much, Mister Mack.” Her expression changed, a fabric of determination dropped down her face like the safety curtain on amateur ventriloquist night. “Much, much more than I’ll miss you. ” Her gloved finger played coyly with the trigger.
“So why not just plug me?”
The question stayed unanswered when Imeldine glanced over to mortal remains of Stingy Wheels and noticed he didn’t remain remains. He was gone. Stingy Wheels wasn’t dead. He’d ducked out the back door when the Reaper came for the rent, and he’d left- bleeding his way quietly out while we were chatting over old times. A trail of Stingy Wheels’ gore stained the carpet.
“Where’s Stingy!? Where’s Mister Stingy!?”
“So you’re acquainted with Belinda Wheels, I take it,” I said, changing the subject.
The Beretta insisted we take up the subject at hand, and the light in the dining room shattered with the impact. It missed me deliberately. I played the warning shot cool, and looked in her shining black almond-shaped eyes – I saw the memories, the soft heart of a woman, her long brown hair cascading around her perfect café-au-lait skin, the love we had shared in the most romantic city on this tired, rotten, check-kiting planet, and as I reached out to stroke her cheek, I knew she would never really hurt me.
Then she shot me and left.
“Owww!” I said, collapsing to the floor just as the door closed behind her. The cute little round from the Italian gun hit in the meaty part of my left leg, and it felt like I’d been harpooned by a whaler named Queegqueegosconi. I passed out for a moment.
I woke up to a buzz on the intercom. They buzzed like cops: insistent, like they’d be disappointed if you answered and cheated them out of the fun of breaking down the door and beating you like a beet into borscht. You could tell a lot from a buzz.
I hobbled over and hit the button. “Come on in, bring a tourniquet, and tell your Sawbones his stiff is still walking around.”
They barged in guns drawn with Lt. Whitey in his trademark bowler, green plaid suit and corn pipe, and the photo-snapper from the Examiner, a plucky, increasingly busty blond and sometime college student named Kamala Fresher-Greens I knew from The Case of the Developing Coed. She immediately started snapping away at the various blood stains. Stingy Wheels might live, but his carpet was a goner.
The Lieutenant, a short, alphabet cube-like man, took a look at Stingy’s stains. He guessed what happened. “Send a man after that blood trail,” said Whitey. A cop ran out the door, toting a huge magnifying glass.
Kamala the photographer went to work. She had on her trademark short skirt and striped angora sweater, and kept bending into different interesting positions for a better camera angle, and I completely forgot that I’d been shot until Vick the medic pulled the slug out of my leg with a huge forceps you could’ve plucked Zeus’ nasal hair with. Vick stuck me with a morphine shot and started stitching up the wound right there.
“So the Wheels are still turning,” Whitey said in a low chuckle. He had a large head. Watery blue eyes. Sad-sack kind of face. Cheerful sort, a little clueless. I’ll never forget the time the President visited town for a city gala and he kept insisting Franklin and Eleanor both join the Conga line.
Whitey sat down at the table and took out his notepad. While Vick the doc tried to bandage me, I tried not to bleed on Whitey’s notes.
“Alright – Klaus, the SS officer – you iced him in Venice.. that one’s okay, I would imagine. Imeldina hosed you – just now? Yes? Ok, then she told you she shot Stingy, but only to ‘set you up,’ and now she’s skidoodled, but then there’s the Pensacoola Mamba with Belinda, who actually tried to hire you to bump him off, but it was at this intersection of time that you agreed to just persuade him to give her a divorce, rightey-o? You hep to that , daddy-o, old bean?”
“Where’d you learn your gab, Whitey, the Harvard Jazz Society?”
In the awkward silence after this crack we heard the click of women’s heels on the wooden stairs.
“You expecting anyone?” Whitey whispered.
”I’ll lay a dime to a Bavarian Blintz that’s Belinda Wheels,” I said, and everyone in the room suddenly decided to hide. Why wasn’t clear. Whitey ducked behind the window curtain, Vick the medic fled to the closet, two of the cops hid behind a kitchen counter, and Kamala leapt behind the couch where I was, covering us both a comforter.
“Calm down.” I said.
“Shh!” She said. She smelled sweet and a little chemical, like cherry blossoms, bubble gum and photo fixer.
The clicks stopped. There was a rattle of keys. The door began to creak open. I peeked through a fold in the comforter just in time to see a fat black gun barrel appear behind the door, along with a shapely leg in a fishnet stocking. It was Belinda, holding a Sten submachine gun. This was unexpected. A fear gripped me, like a cold, slimy herring head chomping on my wind-pipe from the inside, a fierce, fearsomely fearsome fear.
She arced the gun around with a cruel, professional air - someone who knew exactly how to swing the kind of gun so lethal that if you cheesed her off enough it could reduce the nation’s unemployment rate.
She didn’t even look around- I watched her cruel but winsome feet click their way straight over to where Kamala Fresher-Greens and I were busily cowering under the sea-creature themed comforter.
“Get up, Worm.” She said. She kicked off our comforter. “Oh, Hiya, Mack. Who’s the little Blondie?
“Her?” I pointed.
“No, Amelia Earhart. The cutie-pie you’re gripping like a lost kitten.”
“Please don’t shoot us.” Said Kamala.
“Nice to meet you too, Honey,” said Belinda. “ Cower here often?”
Too bad the cops weren’t here. Oh, right, they were. They were just too busy hiding.
“This is Kamala – Kamala Fresher-Greens, photographer with Examiner. What’s with the heavy artillery, Belinda?’
“I find it helps situations where boys are involved.” With the gun’s butt propped on a shapely hip, she was viciously beautiful, still pretty cruel, and a bit arch. Then she lowered the gun. “Look Mack, I’m on our side… I was expecting someone else – and we need to talk in private..” she helpfully dismissed Kamala with the gun barrel. Kamala went off to the living room.
“Stingy is still alive.” I said.
“Goddamn, that slippery little Nazi.”
“Stingy Wheels is a Nazi? But you were married! “
“Put your clutch in, dad, I married him on orders. He finally crossed a line, and I had to stay clean. When O.S.S. found out that Imeldine was in America, I gave her a little info about you and a fresh Beretta, I hoped she’d shoot him. Sorry about your leg. Don’t give me that look. I can tell you this much about Stingy– it’s the cupcakes.
“It’s always the cupcakes.”
“No, dumkoff, the actual cupcakes. “
“Cupcakes?” The Medic’s morphine blast got me feeling like a baked snack myself, a little spongy with my head covered in frosting with a cherry on top. But Belinda’s contacts went much higher than I thought: The O.S.S. The War Department. She was a spook and a dominatrix, sort of a spookinatrix. Thank God she was our spookinatrix.
“Cupcakes filled with smuggled uranium! Stingy like a lot of pasty chefs was more than a Nazi sympathizer– he was a part of the German-food based spy network, the Kriegsbäckerei. But it’s more than baked goods - Strings of bratwurst, liverwursts, wursts of all worlds. Königsberger Klopse, Schwarzbrot, Spanferkel: Radio-transmitters. Microfilm. Counterfeit bonds, respectively. I tell you this: check your Hochzeitssuppe HocH – last time I got a bowl I found the blueprints for the P-51 concealed in a sliced pancake. “ It was hard to imagine Belinda eating soup. It would be cruel.
“But …cupcakes… are an American invention.” I protested.
“So we have been conditioned to believe,” she said. “But if Stingy’s alive, he’s more dangerous now. He got the uranium by bribing a security guard on a Candian ore shipment who was really, really hungry with illegal Lukschen Kugel. His radioactive cupcakes – I can’t go into it – are the cute little snack cakes of the Apocalypse” Belinda said, with cruel conviction. “
“I suppose we could track him – maybe a…a.. Geiger counter,” the morphine was working its way in my brain like an troupe of tu-tu’ed ballet dancers into a junkyard- I was beside the lake, beneath the trees, cupcakes dancing in the breeze. Things were happening- Noises, cries like ghosts, people moved like clown shadows in the background. I was higher than a rocket junkie. “I hear the 1942 model can locate the little pink people that live in your lost socks.”
Belinda started shaking me. “Mack, the Medic, he juiced you way up – and he’s gone! And if we don’t get Stingy Wheels and those cupcakes, America might not have a 1943.”
The Complete Rebar for Tootsie Rolls Stories are at Ironcandy.blogspot.com. Like many things, they begin at the bottom and work their way up.
I was drifting off again. Get Stingy Wheels. Get Stingy Wheels.