Chapter 2: Working Class Hero

There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be

Lieutenant Jay Nadek eyed the line up of unusual suspects before him. He was a little taken aback by The Black Dog's senior partners. When you had 'em all in a group they looked like carni folk or something. All mussed hair and ill-fitting clothing. It was ridiculous. He could never get away looking like these guys at ISSP. If one is to be successful, one must project an image of success. His dad used to say that. His dad maintained that was a Nadekism but Jay was pretty sure he got it from a movie or something. His father had a tendency to hear things in films or on TV and then mistake them for original thought, or in some cases, actual events.

Like this little scenario here. This was like something out of a movie. He was being hustled by thugs. Or kinda thugish looking people. The woman had a ball busting sort of air to her, but he was pretty sure he could take the skinny guy. What was he, like, 100 pounds? He thought bounty hunters were supposed to be tough.

"Joe Kahn," Nadek said in an important sort of way, trying to make it appear as if his little mental detour was actually deep and ponderous thought. "Teflon Kahn, they used to call him. They couldn't stick a charge."

"That was the Teflon Don, Nadek," Jet corrected him with amusement. "They nailed him like a century ago."

"Oh," Nadek said, dejected. "Did they make a movie about it?"

"Think so."

"Figures," he grumbled, as his father was the one to dub him Teflon Kahn. "Anyway, are you sure this is him? I can't be sending my guys over because of a hunch you have."

"Well, I'm not positive," Faye leaned forward, casually displaying her assets. "But I never forget a face." She locked eyes with the young cop and smiled in a way that single handedly set the woman's movement back 50 years. She was never one for equality anyway, not when it was so painfully obvious the women held all the strings.

Nadek giggled nervously and in a pitch not at all becoming to a man of his stature. "Be that as it may, Ms. Valentine," he tried to remain firm. "I can't just deploy a whole fleet of..."

"Nadek, I think you're missing the point," Jet cut him off. "We haven't come here to tattle on this guy. The bottom line is that we couldn't give a rat's ass if this guy winds up in jail or not. But there are people on this force who would care very much. This Kahn guy has burned a lot of officers, your father included."

Nadek looked away from him and Jet felt a pang of guilt he immediately suppressed. "I'm just saying that for the right price, you can make us care very much. Totally off the record."

"But what if this turns out to be nothing? If...if it isn't him or it is him and he's turning over a new leaf?"

All three bounty hunters shot him a look that indicated he should pull his head out of his ass. "Ok, he probably isn't reformed. But there is no way I can take action without just cause. It's against protocol."

Jet snorted. "There's a lot of things that go on here that are against protocol. You want me to start listing them?"

"Mr. Black, are you threatening me?"

Spike let out a quick guffaw at this kid's unwavering naivete, and was quickly nailed in the ribs by his partner. He couldn't tell which one.

"No, Nadek. I'm just making an observation," Jet smiled. "Listen, I know how much it would mean to you to nail this guy and we're just offering our services. The beauty of bounty hunters is that we're cash on delivery. If it turns out to be nothing, we walk away. You don't owe us anything. If it does and we catch him, we'll make sure he's delivered to the proper authorities, mainly you."

"For a price."

"Everything's for a price, Nadek. Or do you do this line of work for free?"

Nadek blushed a bit. "All right, all right. And I'm only trusting you with this cause you knew my dad. You always seemed like a decent guy. Though I can't believe you left ISSP for this."

"Personally, I think our system makes a lot more sense," Jet shrugged. "Now. About that price we talked about earlier..."

* * *

"So what's the what with that kid's dad and Kahn?" Faye asked as they strolled out of the station.

"Nothing interesting," Jet shrugged and flicked his butt on the street. "His dad repeatedly tried to nail this guy and failed miserably every time. It was like a damn Roadrunner cartoon. He eventually got bumped down to meter maid and cross walks and stuff. He was like a living joke. Anyway, it should be easy money. I mean, what could this guy possibly be up to at some hippie ranch?"

"How are we gonna do this, anyway?" Spike asked as he and Faye silently fought over the rights to the last cig in the box. "I mean, we can't possibly go in as a family."

Jet cleared his throat, and the two younger hunters froze. "You can't be serious," Faye asked as she bent Spike's thumb back and liberated the cowboy killer from his hand.

"Well, the way I see it, we can get in by trying to pass as crazy people or people who are authorized to treat crazy people," Jet reasoned. No sooner then he had finished speaking, Spike whipped a pocketknife out from somewhere in his suit and snipped the end off Faye's cigarette. He then proceeded to light his half, without the filter, which seemed to annoy Faye since she was gypped on actual carcinogenic content.

"Yeah," Jet groaned. "I wonder which role we're better suited for?"

"Crazy people sure," Spike conceded. "But a family, Jet? No real family can be as screwed up as we are. They'll have us committed."

"You've obviously never attended a Black Family Christmas," Jet muttered under his breath. "Besides, I have undercover experience, Faye's a mistress of disguise, you...well. You're you but I think between the four of us we can fake it."

"Four?" "I ain't leaving Ed on my ship by herself for that long. Are you nuts? Besides, we need a kid. If just the three of us went it would look like, kinky or something," Jet turned a bit red.

Spike shook his head. "Jet, that is going to be the least of our problems."

* * *

" about Jet is the drunken dad, Spike is his live-in lover and I'm his neglected wife," Faye suggested. "Ed can be Jet's love child from a previous marriage."

"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," Spike muttered, though he was watching Ed grapple with the concept of shoes. The case required they make a group outing to the local Wal-mart for some more appropriate, average-suburban-wasteland type clothing. Spike thought they all looked like bigger freaks when they tried to blend in, but he knew their usual style was a bit too conspicuous for the proceedings. He was already hating every minute of this case. They had him in khaki's for crying out loud. He'd back out if the rest of them would let him. Though it wasn't like he had big plans for the weekend anyway.

"Well, Ed can't be mine," Faye protested. "I'm too young. I would have had her when I was 10."

"Actually, Faye, you're technically old enough to be Jet's mom," Spike pointed out.

Faye seemed unfazed. "Yes, but I don't look it," she said in her best I'm-worth-it voice.

"Ok, then how about we're all Jet's kids. Mom died in a terrible car accident, and we've all decided to live together to help raise Edward and help Jet work through his drinking problem," Spike contributed.

"You sound like you're pitching a bad sitcom," Faye laughed. "Four Is Enough."

"Why am I always drunk in these scenarios?" Jet pouted.

"The best tragic family stories always have a drunk dad," Spike grinned. "It's the rule."

"Well, if you're my kid, Spike, that makes me worse than Faye. I would have been 9 when I knocked your mom up."

"Wait, aren't you like 50 something?" Faye asked.

"I'M 36!!!" Jet screamed. "Jesus."

"Ok, seriously," Spike tapped a pencil on the table but he was chuckling. "We're all over the place. We gotta come up with a suitable lie, here." Ed suddenly wrapped her arm around Spike, grabbed his knife from his inside pocket, and ducked back down behind the table. "What the hell are you doing, Ed?" Spike asked without turning around.

Ed responded by singing the first verse of There's A Hole In the Bucket Dear Liza.

Spike shook his head. "Try not to stab yourself," he offered as advice before getting back to the task at hand. "Ok," he cracked his knuckles. "Faye, you and I are, um...married," he choked on the word. "Ed's our kid. We'll say your 30. This makes you a slut but not a scandalous slut."

"I am not going to pass for 30," she declared defiantly. Then added in a self-conscious fit of doubt, "Am I?"

Spike shrugged. "So you'll be a hot mom," he said casually, but the admission of Faye's hotness, no matter how flippant, was enough to shut her up. "And Jet, you can be my deadbeat older brother who's mooching off us."

"I'm mooching off you," Jet said wistfully. "That's a switch."

"Faye, our marriage is obviously on the rocks."


"And Ed..." he glanced over at their fourth wheel and saw she had cut the toes out of her new sneakers.

"Much better," she sighed as her toes wiggled in their new freedom.

"Ed is...well. Ed. We'll say Faye was drinking while she was pregnant."

"Oh good," Jet said in relief. "That means I'm not the drunkard."

"No, you're just on crystal meth," Spike said with evil glee. He was actually sort of enjoying himself now. The case itself was going to be boring as hell but at least he found a reasonable way of entertaining himself.

"So what's your problem?" Faye asked. "You've seemed to assigned social disorders to everyone but yourself."

"I am a pillar of virtue," Spike declared. "The glue that holds this family together."

The rest of the crew, including Ein, glared at him.

"We'll just say you can't get it up," Faye said coyly. She patted Spike's shoulder as she walked by. "Sweetie."



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