DIVA: Jetbird and the Kid #2

deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Sun Mar 15 15:15:46 PDT 2015

Finally, another entry from the halls of the DiVerse!  Just finished this earlier
today, and am already working on the continuation as inspiration allows.  It's a
bit talky, though I'm satisfied with its progress thus far.


Jetbird Leone and the Black Mamba Kid: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
by Colin Stokes

Chapter 2: Perspicacity


   The three of them must make quite a sight, the Kid mused as they walked along -
Ms. Lawson in front with her white hat and light gray trench coat, Jetbird close
behind in his dark green Zouave jacket and faded black shirt and trousers, and the
brown leather-clad Kid bringing up the rear with their equipment in tow.
   It was a fairly compact setup, all told; the collapsible stage, its weather
canopy, the bottles and cans of snake oil, and all their personal belongings fit
neatly in a large and well-worn reddish-brown trunk.  Jetbird had fitted it with
wheels, a steering system, and a surprisingly powerful motor that had come in handy
on more than one occasion - it could support the combined weight of the trunk and
the two of them, and propel the whole mess at speeds that were, quite frankly, a
little nerve-wracking even under ordinary circumstances.  At least for the Kid, as
Jetbird always seemed to be having a grand old time - even when they were being
chased out of town or across the countryside.
   The Kid preferred to avoid using the motor when possible, to avoid any
unnecessary attention; and so today the chain was hooked up to the front end of the
trunk to pull it along, with the other end of the chain hanging over the Kid's
shoulder.  It wasn't a particularly onerous burden, especially with Jetbird's
mechanical work to ease the weight; nor was the walk to the outskirts of town a
difficult one, the influence of the Lawson family money evident in the smooth and
level pavement underfoot.
   In only a few minutes, the three of them made their way to a large white house a
stone's throw from the rest of the town, surrounded by a metal fence painted what
had once been a bright white, though the wind and rain and dust had taken their
toll on the coating.  Miriam advanced to the gate and withdrew a small key from one
of her pockets, unlocking and then opening the gate with a quiet whine of metal on
metal.  "In here, gentlemen, then we may talk unhindered."
   Jetbird and the Kid continued through the gate, waiting briefly on Ms. Lawson to
close and lock it before moving to the head of their party once more and leading on
into the house, where the Kid secured the trunk in the entryway - brakes and all -
before following the other two into the house proper.
   As might be expected of a house of one of the major families, it was luxurious. 
Thick carpet, exotic fur rugs and wood paneling, all sorts of precious metal
inlays, and shelves full of items ranging from cutely mysterious to threateningly
bizarre occupied the house; the last of these likely would have captured Jetbird's
attention, as such things often did, had not the Kid gently forced him onward into
the living room.
   Jetbird waited politely for the lady to take her seat before he and the Kid sat
upon a leather couch opposite her, a small coffee table between them.  "Now then,
Ms. Lawson-"
   "Miriam will do, Mr. Cortland," she interjected with a less reserved smile. 
"There's no need for us to be on uneven footing, as it were."
   "Alright then, Ms. Miriam," Jetbird continued with an answering smile, "what can
I and my associate here do for you with our expertise?  Ah, but don't tell me yet,
let me guess."  Steepling his fingers and resting his chin on his thumbs, the
sparkle in his eyes seemed to glint much more sharply for a moment.  "Mechanisms,
something you want no one else to hear, something we got to look at firsthand.  And
of course, something that belongs to you.  The water filtration system is having
problems, isn't it?"
   Miriam nodded, and opened her mouth to say something, but Jetbird cut her off
with that same look - a smile, but a curiously piercing one.  "Yet township
filtration systems are serviced by independent contractors in the Lawson family
employ, if I rightly recall.  Despite this, you've enlisted /our/ services.  So! 
Either the normal folks ain't up to the job, or... they're giving you what you
might call 'a raw deal'," he concluded, dropping his hands back to his lap and
sitting back in his seat.  "And being a strong frontier lady, you ain't one to ask
your family to get you out of a jam.  Like as not they'd tell you to fix it
yourself anyway.  Have I the right of it, ma'am?"
   The Lawson lady's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, though at least in an
approving manner.  "I see the rumors about your... perspicacity... are not
exaggerated, Mr. Cortland.  The men in my family's employ - I would not deign to
call them gentlemen - insist upon a considerably higher sum than I expected in
order to fix my problem.  This, when I already have doubts as to their competence
in this matter..."  She shook her head.  "But enough of that.  If you aid me, you
will not find me a miserly employer."
   The Kid raised a single eyebrow, and finally cut in.  "And your family's men,
ma'am?  I don't reckon they'll be exactly /pleased/ when they find out there's no
work left for them to do.  Nor do I - either of us - aim to make enemies, 'less we
can't avoid it."  He looked to Jetbird for support, who simply nodded.
   "I will take care of matters on my end, Mr. Kid, Mr. Cortland," came Miriam's
polite yet steely reply, "so long as you do the same."
   The Kid was a little doubtful of that promise, truth be told, having been given
others like it in the past with less than spectacular results.  But Jetbird was
ultimately the deciding factor as always; and having come this far, the wayward
Leone wasn't one to back out now.
   "So where's this filtration system of yours kept, Ms. Miriam?" he asked, rising
to his feet as the Kid followed suit.  "I'd like to see just what we're dealing
with here before I make any promises."
   Miriam rose from her chair as well, as gracefully as ever.  "Then follow me,
gentlemen, and I shall be your guide."


NEXT TIME: A Real Big Deal!

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