Tag Archives: Christian Carvajal

Ashes to Ashes by Christian Carvajal

CarvShe arrived when my office girl Margie was out to lunch, as if that narrows it down. I welcomed my latest possible client with an enthusiasm I usually reserve for good brandy. “Mr. Wainwright?” she asked, her voice perfect for radio.

“I answer to that moniker. Dylan, too,” I said, smiling. I ushered her into the office and gave her the twice over. She had a figure like Beethoven in Braille, and a mug you could use to sell lipstick. Helen of Troy would’ve asked for her autograph. I should’ve known she was trouble before her rump left that valentine-shaped impression in my office chair. She wore black—-short black dress, high black heels, fishnet stockings over eye-grabbing getaway sticks. She left contrails of lavender behind.

“Mr. Dylan Wainwright,” she announced. “My attorney says you’re the finest private detective in all Los Angeles.”

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Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner? By Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoThe Ninjas were just sitting down when President Mendoza arrived, her Secretary of State in anxious tow. I was there by virtue of being one of the handful of American linguists capable of reproducing the apical velar stops, retroflex implosives, and tonal distinctions of our visitors’ formal dialect. Yes, the Ninjas can sit, though it stretches their pelvic joints backward in a curve that strikes unprepared observers as obscene. We call them Ninjas or Keplings partly because their actual name for themselves contains two lateral trills, and good luck with that. It’s also worth noting that Keplan Tradespeak uses nominative diacritics, so if you don’t know how to incorporate those, you could accidentally call them a similar noun they’d consider an act of war. These creatures bent space and evaded relativity to travel 1200 light-years from Kepler 62-e, so it’s a war they’d win without breaking a sweat. And yes, they do sweat. Their perspiration smells like cucumber. It’s lovely. I mean that.

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Silver by Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoIn those days, the year of our Lord Jesus Christ one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, Paris was a city abuzz with death. It buzzed as a topic of conversation: in the private apartments of His Majesty King Louis XVI at Versailles; in the salons of nobles (who fretted, too, about the aroma of revolution in the air); and in taverns, soon to be called bistrots, in which lesser men shouted and sang around mouthfuls of veal. It buzzed in the clouds of pernicious insects thickening the air over churchyard cemeteries. And it buzzed in the streets, as soldiers, executioners, and laborers made use of what few livres they earned, some by killing, others by handling the remains.

For it was in that year that millions of erstwhile Parisians, some nestled safely in the arms of their Father above, some wailing and roasting beneath our feet, saw their mortal remains transported from the overflowing Cemetery of the Holy Innocents and many other places into quarries nearby. These tunnels, first mined by our Roman forebears, were to be employed as an Empire of the Dead, an ossuary that stretched on for leagues. Thus, the noxious smells and gruesome remains of our ancestors from centuries past were to be relocated between earth and Hell. I, like many others who lived in the shadow of Montparnasse, had been hired by the Council of State to assist in the exhumation and transportation of bodies. It was grim, malodorous, pestilent work, the kind that draws men together even as it enflames their weary spines. Yet I suppose even the most burdensome labor may grow routine after a time; and so it was that I struck up a friendship with a fellow I was proud to call Henri. A large man, broad-shouldered and strong as a wall, he seemed to have been made for such work. Never once did I observe him so much as scowling or flinching, though the spectacles of Hades affronted us daily.

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Gnosis by Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoI earn an exceptional living; let’s just leave it at that. I owe it to one basic principle: there’s no such fucking thing as a secret. Secret Coke formula? Horseshit. Sure, there’s an eyes-only folder in some safe in Atlanta, but that formula’s used every day to make millions of bottles and send them all over the world. Any chemist worth his sodium chloride could find the secret formula in one dull afternoon. Secret Original Recipe from KFC? It’s salt, black pepper, and MSG, period. You say “what about eleven herbs and spices!” I say, “When’s the last time you heard that phrase in a commercial?” There may’ve been eleven herbs and spices when the Colonel was still lacing up his string tie, but those days have gone the way of Mother’s Pride.

“Aha,” you say, “but what are they hiding in Area 51?” Hundreds of enlisted men and women pass through that output daily. Someone knows. Is it a spaceship? Someone knows, so it probably isn’t, or they would’ve told more civilians over the years. But this way, when mum’s the word, it appears they know something we don’t.  Oh, but what about those creepy numbers stations on shortwave radio? Are they nothing more than international spy networks chattering useless facts at each other? Does Bigfoot shit in the woods? Someone knows.

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Jitters by Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoBrad Slayton was one of those middle-management tool chests who treat every business lunch with a woman like it was a date, and every date like a business transaction. From where I sat, he was there to debrief me on the Tokyo deal, which, to his credit, he locked down in record time. He seemed convinced it was more about waging a scorched-earth assault on a Bedrock-sized rib eye and flagon of Lagavulin sixteen-year. Between, often during, red mouthfuls of cow, he was talking to me, his direct superior at Cheswick Financial Group, like I was a first-week receptionist on Mad Men.

“The thing about Tokyo,” he declared, “is it’s a man’s world. They respect a guy who looks ’em in the eye and says, ‘Hey, now, here’s how it’s gonna be.’ I mean, you’re a player an’ all. I don’t mean to say you ain’t got no moves. You’ve got moves. I like ’em.” His face remained impassive around all that chewing.

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