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I Just Finished Playing Max Payne

March 6, 2008

The crumbs were scattered down the counter like Hansel and Gretel’s roadtrip to Hell. The bread loaf, the apple, nothing else had been hit. Just the jar. Somebody knew what they wanted ahead of time. An inside job always stinks, and I was fresh out of Lysol.

“I told them I was saving them for the potluck. Why would they do this?”

A good question. A better one would be, who are they?

“Honey, cut it out.”

The dame was feisty, I’ll give her that. She was all sleek curves and dangerous eyes that flashed like lightening or gunfire, take your pick. I like gunfire.

“Damnit John, just go talk to your boys!”

The perps were holed up in their rathole, a cramped attic filled with beds and dressers and little plastic landmines that hurt really bad if you stepped on them with bare feet. Bad like a moon rising in that song. The usual suspects were there. I knew Billy was a stoolie, but only when Tommy and Jimmy weren’t there to keep him in line. Worse luck, they were. They looked up, all puzzled innocence.

“Uh…dad? Why are you talking like-”

Clever, real clever of them. They were trying to take the lead in the conversation, I’d have to watch my back.

All right, you thugs, I said. Who took the cookies from the cookie jar?

“Thugs?”

“Dad, that’s a little harsh.”

I needed answers, not backtalk. This was going nowhere fast. Or everywhere slow, I couldn’t tell. Riddles upon riddles until my head hurt.

“Yeah, you seem like you might have hit it pretty hard.”

I still needed answers, bad. Ly. I had some leverage against them, I decided to use it. If I didn’t find out whodunit, I’d ground them like grounded pepper. Billy looked ready to crack. I asked them again about who took the cookies from the cookie jar.

“Tommy took the cookies from the cookie jar!”

“Me? Couldn’t be, I was at practice.”

Then who?

“Jimmy. Jimmy must have taken the cookies from the cookie jar.”

“You’re on crack, Billy. I don’t even like cookies, dumbass.”

But if the truth wasn’t behind door number one, and it wasn’t behind door number two, then what was behind door number three? The truth? I had my doubts.

“Okay, okay. I did it. I took the cookies from the cookie jar.”

This was a surprise. Sleet and ice water filled my veins. Something was wrong. A big something. The kind of something that gets called the Blankity-blank Incident for years to come. I had no evidence. Why would Billy cop to it? What’s his angle?

“Honey!”

The dame was calling from down below, like a voice out of Hell.

“Never mind, I found crumbs all over the dog’s bed. And I heard that voice of Hell thing, you’re sleeping on the couch.”

One mystery solved, but I’d stumbled across something even bigger. Why would Billy take the fall for Rex?

“I…I just didn’t want to be grounded.”

The last shoe, dropped at last. It was a big line of shoes, like at Footlocker.

“Wait, you didn’t want to be grounded for something the dog did, so you tried to get us grounded instead? Don’t go to sleep tonight, twerp. I’m warning you.”

Oh. Well then. Tom, Jim, be nice to your brother. Billy, watch your back.

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One comment

  1. Brilliant. Oddly enough I dropped three bucks for the PS2 version of Max Payne a week or so ago. Hard to believe that the game is seven years old now. It holds up pretty well, all things considered. I wonder if my stone age piece of hardware could run the sequel.



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