It was just past 11:00 pm last night and I was burning the proverbial midnight oil at the Hey Stupid headquarters. All of the security gates were closed, the blast doors were lowered, for the most part the lights were powered down and I was in the process of securing Nick Fit in his vault for the evening. I looked out the window and saw the moon. I wasn’t sure why, but I as I stood there in its pale blue glow I was immediately aware that something strange was afoot.
I returned to my office to look over some of the articles that had been submitted that day, but before I sat down I went to the humidor to grab a Gurkha, then I stepped into the liquor pantry to grab a bottle of The Glenlivet and I finally sat down at my desk. I propped my feet up on the corner of my desk, dipped the end of my Churchill into a little of the scotch, put it to my lips, lit it, exhaled then chased it with the first nip of the sweet Scottish nectar for the evening. Just as I flicked on my monitor I got that feeling again. Something strange was happening, or at the very least, about to.
About ten minutes passed and I was still puffing away at my cigar, enjoying the subtle flavors of the exquisite blend of tobaccos covered in the fine Dominican wrapper, and I noticed that both my first and second glasses of Scotch were empty. I was just beginning to feel relaxed when the phone rang. I took another sip of The Glenlivet and answered the phone.
The voice on the other end of the line was flat, cold and unwavering. I could easily tell it was the voice of a man, which ran contrary to my hoes that it was the stunning Miss Handler who would be calling me at this hour. “I have a dark secret. It is a secret I have been holding for over 60 years. The burden has become too great for my weary soul to bear. I need to tell someone and I was informed that this story would be of interest to you.” Needless to say, I was intrigued.
The man on the phone made it clear that until our face to face meeting I was only to refer to him as The Wickkel, and that I was to come as soon as humanly possible to document his story. He gave me instructions for meeting him. I was to meet him in a diner outside of Tohatchi, NM. He didn’t specify if I was to come alone or not, so I decided I would have Nick Fit accompany me just in case anything went awry.
I hung up the phone, ran to Nick’s vault to inform him of our impending journey, ran to my room, hung up my smoking jacket and removed my slippers. I pulled on my stingray boots, grabbed my briefcase and met Nick back at my desk. I tossed a few items into my brief case that I would need for the story, and then of course placed the rest of my bottle of Scotch in it and a few more cigars. We were off to the helipad and from there we choppered to the air strip. By 1:00 am we touched down at the Gallup city airport where we were met by The Wickkel’s driver.
He dropped us off at the diner and drove away. The diner itself was one of the old rail car style establishments with flickering neon and a warm glow emanating from the inside. There were two men standing by the door, one on either side who appeared to be guarding the entrance. I couldn’t be sure, but it appeared that they each had sidearms concealed under their jackets. After a quick pad down and an inspection of contents of my brief case we were permitted entry.
We were shown to a booth in the back and as we walked I took note of the fact that it appeared that no food had actually been served in this eatery in at least a decade. Dust was settled thick on the counter tops and an advertisement for Josta still hung proudly by the soda fountain. Nick leaned in and whispered, “Josta! Jesus! That stuff used to give me erections that would last for hours. Too bad it tasted like cough syrup.”
When we got to the booth there were four more men posted as guards, and it was easy to tell these men had firearms as they were all holding H&K mp10s and made no attempt to hide the fact that they would use them to turn Nick and I into sieves if we stepped out of line. The men moved out of the way and there sitting in the booth was a frail old man with a wide brimmed hat on and his head down. The weight of the world was on his shoulders and it was my hope that I could help him lift at least a little of it off.
We sat down in the booth and I introduced myself and Nick. The man, who I could only assume was The Wickkel made no attempt to acknowledge us. I took out my DAT recorder and set it up then asked if he would mind me lighting a cigar. Again he didn’t respond so I pulled out a pack of matches and it up. Finally I removed my bottle of Scotch and my notepad from my brief case and told him we could begin whenever he was ready.
It was then that he lifted his head and removed his hat. What remained of his hair was sparse and white, like cotton balls stuck on a baby’s ass. His eye brows were like that of an old Lloyd Bridges. His face had deep wrinkles and his nose was slightly red and bulbous. Then, in a voice that can only be described as the sound of tow pieces of rusty metal grinding together he spoke.
“My name is Reginald Chartwell, and my secrets are dark and many. When I was just a boy I would gather with my brothers and sisters in an attempt to gain knowledge. We, that is my family, we students of the dark arts of man. It was during these attempts at enlightenment that my secrets began to form. We would seek knowledge of the future, the past and attempt to learn how to master our destinies.”
He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts as I took a pull from my bottle before handing it to Nick. The look on Nick’s face was one of sheer amazement, and that in itself should tell you just how strange the situation really was. In his lifetime of strange Hollywood adventures Nick Fit has “seen some shit’, and like a shell shocked Vietnam vet, Nick too had the 1000 yard stare, so to see anything phase him was more than a little unnerving. Reginald took a deep breath and continued with his tale.
“To assist us in our macabre studies we enlisted the help of the creation of Mister William Flud known as the Ouija board. As children we were all in disbelief that the board had the power to answer our questions. At least, most of us were in disbelief. With all of our tiny hands on the planchette we would accuse one another of moving it to make the others believe it was moving on its own but no one would ever admit it. Years later when I was enlisted in army, I was to take part in the invasion of Normandy on June 6th. The night before, myself, Dutch, Wrangler, Dallas and Zeppo, a few of the boys from my platoon, got out a Ouija board to see if it could give us any insight to what our fates would be the following day. The answer was grave. “Only one shall survive” it predicted. Once again we all accused each other of moving the planchette and trying to frighten one another.”
He paused again and this time I saw a single tear well up in his dry eyes. Nick and I passed the bottle back and forth a few more times until I finally took the last swig. I glanced down at my Girard-Perregaux and noted that the time was slipping away. It was approaching 4:30 in the morning. Nick and I were both in the throws of the Scotch now and were regretting having finished the entire bottle as we were both still thirsty. It was as if our mysterious host could sense this and he simply snapped his fingers. With in moments a man arrived with a bottle of Absinthe and all the accoutrement. Nick and I poured ourselves each a glass and Reginald continued his story.
“The next day most of my platoon was killed on Omaha beach. I survived without even a minor injury and returned to the states a few weeks later. I vowed never to touch the cursed board again and went on with my life. This is when my secret came to fruition. You see, I DID “move it”. Every time I was accused, my accuser was 100% correct. That, is my dark secret.”
I was stunned. I felt I needed to vocalize, “Your big secret, the reason you made me come to New Fucking Mexico at 1:00 in the morning and sit here for four hours was because you wanted to tell me you moved the Ouija planchette? That’s the stupidest fucking thing I have ever heard. Thanks for wasting my time old man”. The old man got up and left followed by his crew. Before he exited the door he turned around and said “Thank you for hearing my story, my soul is at peace now”.
I would like to tell you that at that point something interesting happened like he vanished into thin air, or revealed himself to be Satan, but no. He just left. Not to mention what he did was basically abandon us there. Nick and I sat in this empty diner with all of our equipment with no ride to the fucking airport. I mean, Nick suggested stealing a car, but we were both too drunk to drive because we had assumed that we would get a ride back. What a douche.
Eventually we did hitch-hike back to the airfield and then we were on our way home, but Jesus. What bullshit.