So, today’s happy story… somewhat along the lines of Mike’s guest appearance… also includes a friend’s character that Wolfgang met through character development things on One Year Adventure Novel.
Please welcome Kendra Carino. -applause-
They were among a group of people who were stranded on an island after a cruise gone wrong, where there proceeded to have lots of -ahem- adventures. Wolfgang found a cave full of pirate things and got non-fatally stabbed by natives after defiling the sacred coconuts of their ancestors.
Kendra took on the impossible mission of both keeping Wolfgang safe and trying to make sure the group stays doing mostly sane things on their forced quest by previously mentioned natives. Trying to keep her identity as a cop back home a secret on the side.
Also she gave him the much hated nickname of “Puppy-boy” upon deciding that Wolfgang was an awful name. They did reach an agreement, however. She doesn’t call him Puppy-boy and he doesn’t call her Mom. They stick to that truce. Mostly.
Sooo, now you know Kendra.
And now for the story. Kendra’s weekend off…. and Wolfgang’s unexpected appearance in it.
Sort of divided into two parts, here. One, mostly written looking over Kendra’s shoulder. And then the whole thing over again from Wolfgang’s point of view.
Both of them were sort of written in between Blank Mastermind parts as just a fun… break thing.
I enjoyed writing it. It’s happy. And I promised happy stuff. So here it is.
That was a long intro. And it’s going to be a long story.
A nice, quiet evening to eat Chinese food, watch Mission Impossible and relax . . . Kendra was pleased with her plans.
It had been a long, tiring week and Sunday evening would be perfect. Sunday evening always was. It was an oasis . . . a shelter in the warzone of the rest of the week.
Kendra came in the door of her apartment, holding the box of Chinese takeout. She bumped the door shut behind her and set the box on the counter. Sighing, she slipped off her jacket and boots, setting them back by the entrance.
She walked back into the main area and propped her hands on her hips, surveying her apartment. Everything was tidied up. A little candle burned on the coffee table next to the movie box. It reflected as a dot of light on her small TV screen.
Smiling, she walked over, got the disc out of the box and popped it into the player. The opening credits rolled as Kendra grabbed her late dinner and flopped down across the couch.
Her usually tense muscles relaxed as she sat and watched. Action movies always calmed her down. She grinned at the dramatized explosions and gunfire on the screen as she ate. The coconut smell of the candle drifted in the air.
This is nice. She leaned her head against the side of the couch.
“Rat-tata-tat-tat . . . tat-tat”
The sound on the wood of her door made Kendra jump. Her blonde hair whipped around her face as she looked over at the door. She turned to look at the clock. It was past ten. Who the heck would . . .?
Shaking her head, Kendra paused the movie, got up and went to the door.
She put her hand on the doorknob, “Who is it?”
Silence. Except for . . . was that breathing?
Her brow furrowed and she repeated her question, louder. “Who’s there?”
After a couple seconds, a muffled voice responded, cracking a little.
“Only . . . a lost puppy.”
Kendra knew that voice. You’ve got to be kidding me . . .She fumbled with the lock on the door and pulled it open. Sure enough, there was Wolfgang, looking like he’d just gone a couple rounds with a freight train.
Blood trickled from his forehead, a bruise was forming on his cheek and over his eye, his lip was split and dirt covered every part of him. Though because of the rain, it was quickly turning to mud.
He leaned up against the wall with his eyes closed, nodding forward almost like he was falling asleep.
“Dankworth!” Kendra snapped, stepping out of the doorway. It was freezing cold and wet outside, but she barely noticed with how hot she was from anger.
He didn’t seem to hear her.
She stepped forward and reached up to grab the collar of his filthy leather jacket. “Wolfgang Dankworth, what are you doing at my apartment?” she hissed.
His eyes popped open and he blinked at her. He stood up straighter, opening and closing his mouth a couple times before finding his words. “H-hey, Kendra . . . hey . . .I’m . . . uh . . . lost.” He formed the words awkwardly around his swollen lower lip.
“Yet you miraculously found me.” Kendra folded her arms over her chest.
“Kind of hard not to when I saw you walking in here.” Wolfgang rubbed a hand over his face, smearing the blood further. “I just . . . got on the wrong side of a few people . . .”
“Gee, I couldn’t imagine,” Kendra drawled.
Wolfgang kept going, “And they decided I didn’t know that, so they gave me a reminder in the form of an alley ambush.” He touched a hand to his bloody lip and pulled it back to look at the red stain.
Kendra squinted. “And you got lost . . . how?”
“I wasn’t familiar with the particular dumpster I woke up in. Still really have no idea where I am.” Wolfgang stuck his tongue in his cheek and rocked on his feet. “So if you could kindly point me towards the . . .” he squinted, “ . . . place I parked my car . . . which was . . . the lot in back of that Italian place downtown, I think?” He shrugged, “Sorry, I’m a bit turned around. Anyway, if you could point me in that direction, I’d be on my way. . .”
“Yeah, right. Get in here.” Kendra clamped onto his jacket sleeve with an iron grip and pulled him inside, slamming the door shut behind them.
Wolfgang stumbled on the welcome mat, almost falling over. Kendra gave his sleeve a tug and he righted himself unsteadily. “What are you . . .?
“You’re in no state to just go walking all the way across town. And who knows if those thugs are still hanging around waiting to jump you.” Kendra dropped her grip on his sleeve and got behind him to push him into the living room.
Wolfgang looked like he might say something, but clamped his mouth shut as she shoved him into a wooden chair.
“I’ve got a first aid kit back in the kitchen, so I’m going to go get that.” Kendra pointed at Wolfgang with a threatening look, “Stay, Puppy-boy.”
She strode out of the room and was back in a few seconds, holding a small, red bag and a little icepack. Pulling up another chair and setting the things down, Kendra sat. “Now hold still for a bit. This might sting.”
Wolfgang held onto the edges of his seat and sat in wincing silence as Kendra cleaned away the blood and dirt and neatly bandaged his cuts and scrapes. He only swore once and she flicked his cheek.
In just a few minutes, Wolfgang’s face was considerably cleaner and he sat, holding the icepack to his lip so the swelling would go down. His clothes were still half mud, but hey, at least he wasn’t sitting on anything stainable.
Kendra let out her breath and plopped down on the couch, tucking her hair behind her ears.
Wolfgang swallowed and nodded to her. “Hey, thanks . . . for patching me up and stuff.” He laughed a little, taking the icepack down, “I’d probably have died a good few times by now if it hadn’t been for you.”
Kendra snorted, half of her mouth coming up in a smile. “More like a good few million times.” She looked up, her eyes resting on the cut on his forehead. “You’re probably going to need stitches on that.”
Silence for a second.
“I mean it. I’d do it, but I don’t have the things. You should really get stitches.” Kendra’s follow up medical advice seemed to just go in one ear and out the other with Wolfgang.
Wolfgang rubbed the toes of his shoes together, “I think Bad News knows how to sew.”
“Oh heavens, not that gorilla. If you got a needle big enough for him to hold, he’d impale you.”
Wolfgang shrugged and slouched back in his seat, “Liza, then. I’ll figure out something.”
Kendra was a little bit more appeased. They both sat in silence for a few minutes. Kendra looked over at the TV, which had gone to a screensaver and was bopping a little blue ball around the screen.
“What were you watching?” Wolfgang tipped his head.
Kendra sighed. “That new Mission Impossible.”
Wolfgang grinned, “Hey, no kidding. I love those movies.”
Of course you do.
Then you shouldn’t have interrupted it, dude.
My impossible mission seems to be keeping you from death’s door.
But all the possible annoyed answers faded away and she found herself grinning back. She picked up the remote, “Wanna finish it with me?”
She patted the seat next to her and he came over, bringing his icepack with him.
And through the rest of the movie, Kendra found that having someone to exchange sarcastic comments and enjoy it with her was much more fun.
Sunday evening didn’t end up being that terrible after all.
She didn’t even have to clean blood off her couch afterwards.
So, now that we have Kendra’s side, let’s see Wolfgang’s…
Word of advice. If you plan on having a rather violent disagreement with a couple of thug brothers, it’s probably best to keep out of their part of town for a week or so.
I would have followed that advice, but Bad News was gone for the week, which gave me two problems.
One, I still had the mindset of someone who had King-Kong at their disposal. And Two, I had nothing to eat for dinner.
Roy could barely make anything aside from cereal. Liza was out as well. And I could cook, as long as it was something to do with meat. Which we didn’t have. And the best grocery store for that happened to be in the neighborhood of the McCoul brothers.
Enter my flawless reasoning of “what the heck”.
It was a rainy, grey afternoon and I drove with my car top and windows up, listening to nothing except the pattering of the rain on the windows and the splash of it on the roads.
As it usually was with the weekends, traffic was pretty bad. And it just so happened that the store I was going to was having a big sale, so the parking lot was full.
I twisted my mouth in a frown and idled the engine for a few seconds before shrugging. A bit of a walk wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I got out of the parking lot and tootled around town until I found another parking lot. There was an empty spot by a family Italian restaurant that didn’t look too seedy. I pulled my car up there, locked it up and started on my walk towards the grocery store.
The rain sprinkled down around me, wetting through my hair and tricking in little streams off my jacket. My shoes splashed in tiny puddles, soaking through on the sides. I pulled my collar up and stuck my hands in my pockets.
Most of the people walking past had umbrellas. While I didn’t fancy them myself, I still enjoyed seeing all the bright colors and patterns.
I crossed the street, getting on the right side to go to the store. The sidewalk went past a particularly rough patch of buildings. Abandoned places with the windows smashed out. Grubby alleys that seemed to spawn slouchy teenagers with their hoodies pulled up.
Generally my sort of place, but I tensed up just the same. I sped up my walk a bit. Just getting past these alleys would be good . . .
Memories of my argument with the McCouls came back to echo in my memory and my heart rate sped up. Oh what was I thinking . . . I should’ve just taken Roy’s offer for cereal . . .
I stuck my hands deeper in my pockets and felt them starting to shake. The grey sky suddenly looked ominous and foreboding. It’s just your imagination. I shook my head, watching my shoes as I walked past the next alley. They probably don’t even know I’m in the neighborhood.
A hand clamping down on my upper arm contradicted my thoughts. I started to let out a yell, but another hand hairy enough to belong to bigfoot closed over my mouth and I was yanked sideways down the alley.
There was no mistaking those hairy, mammoth hands. The McCouls had apparently gotten word that I was back in the neighborhood.
I was whisked down a few more back alleys, being held tightly the whole time. When we were too far away for me to have any hope of a decent citizen hearing my cries for help, they skidded to a stop.
The one holding me spun me around and slammed me up against the brick siding of the apartment building, holding my shoulders tightly. His jaw stuck out, his bristly red beard looking like porcupine spines.
I forced a smile at them. “H-hey, fancy meeting you guys here . . .”
The bigger one chuckled from in back of his younger brother. He shook his head as he stepped forward, getting so close I could smell his awful breath puffing in my face.
“That’s one thing I like about you, Dankworth,” he said, his voice halfway between friendly and growling, “You’re stupid.”
I opened my mouth to correct his honest mistake, but his fist cut across my mouth before I could even start. My head bucked back against the bricks and I tasted blood. The small bit of hazy sky I could see from between the tall buildings turned a funny color.
I shook my head, trying to clear it as I responded. “Y’know what?” I could feel my lip swelling and my words sounded weird. I still met his eyes and smiled lopsidedly. “That’s what I like about you too, man. Must be why we’re such good frien . . .”
I was cut off again as his other fist bashed into my eye. Pain shot through my head and pounded inside my skull. Dots danced in front of my vision and the edges grew dark for a little bit. I swore at them, gasping for breath.
“You don’t learn all you need in school, Dankworth,” one of them said. I wasn’t focused enough to make out which one. “Your lesson for today . . . don’t cross the McCoul brothers.”
My shoulders were released and my feet hit the ground. I wobbled in my attempt to stay upright. Were they letting me go? Black eye and a split lip weren’t too bad . . . I could say I’d learned my lesson.
But if there was ever a family of overachievers, it was the McCouls.
The younger one grinned a sadistic, gap-toothed smile at me. “Class in session.”
The hits came so fast I barely even had time to throw any of my own back. Into my stomach. My face. Over and over. I felt like I was going through a rock tumbler, barely knowing which way was up anymore.
It wasn’t the first time I’d been roughed up and I’d perfected the talent of staying on my feet for as long as humanly possible. Humanly possible was coming close to an end, though.
I was propped partly against the wall. The ground rocked like some crazy teeter totter and the blackish dots nearly took over my vision. There was a bit of a lull in the beating and I wondered if they were done yet and I could go get my dinner.
But one of them apparently had one last toy he wanted to try out. Out came a dented, partly rusty pipe. He smacked it against his palm and looked at me, almost sizing me up . . . deciding where to hit.
“I-I’ve l-learned my lesson for the day, guys. R-really,” I was halfway surprised my voice even still worked.
“Good,” the mammoth advanced on me, still hitting the pipe in his meaty palm. “Then, apply your knowledge next time, Dankworth. Class dismissed.”
The pipe went up and came down so fast I didn’t have time to move. I heard a sick clang, my vision faded out and my face hit the pavement.
Wherever I was, I could tell you it wasn’t a bed of roses.
Raindrops splattered down on my face, running into my ears and through my hair. The smell of rotting fruit filled the air. My arms and legs were sprawled out over wherever I was and my head pounded sharply.
I swallowed and tried to move. The ends of my fingers twitched. I groaned and pulled my eyes open. Sides of buildings I didn’t recognize towered over me. Where had they taken me?
The sky was dark now. Rain came down harder and the streetlights were on. I’d been out for a couple hours at least. They could have taken me nearly anywhere in that time . . .
Raindrops spattered into my eyes. I blinked and groaned again. I tightened my muscles, starting to push myself up. Pain throbbed on my head and the bruises all over my body quickly made themselves obvious. I swore weakly under my breath. My vision un-fuzzed a little and I was able to make out more of my surroundings.
Well, it looked like my resting place was a dumpster. The smell made sense now, at least.
I could almost hear them reasoning it out.
“Throw him in with the rest of the stinking trash. Let him find his way back.”
I swung my legs around and slid down, landing on my feet. My vision tunneled and my knees felt ready to collapse under me. I held onto the side of the dumpster as my stomach churned against the dizziness and pain.
Come on . . . got to find out where this is . . . get back to my car . . . News can patch me up . . .
I swallowed hard and blinked, forcing my legs to solidify under me. Then, with a few deep breaths, I let go of the dumpster and started out of the alley, getting onto the sidewalk.
Cars whizzed past, spraying up water from their tires on the street. Their lights seemed too bright and I winced, my nausea starting to come back. I squinted at the shop signs. Nothing I even vaguely remembered hearing of. I’d never been here before . . . I didn’t know where I was . . .
Maybe it was just this street. Maybe if I went down and turned the corner . . .
I doggedly followed that line of reasoning, staggering my way down one street . . . then another . . . and another. Still nothing familiar. No one seemed to notice me and I didn’t ask for directions, gripped by some irrational fear that whoever I would talk to was in with the McCouls and they’d come back to finish me off.
I saw one building that looked vaguely familiar after about the fourth street and hope rose inside me. If that’s the one I think it is . . . when I turn this corner, there should be something right here.
But I came around the corner just to see a couple of unfamiliar, dimly lit apartment flats across the empty street.
Nothing. I was even more lost now than I was before.
Panic tightened my chest and twisted my stomach, hard.
I’m lost . . . I’m so lost . . . they’ll find me again and kill me . . . I tried to make myself move forward, tried to swallow the sick feeling back again. But my legs collapsed under me and I gagged, throwing up into the gutter.
I finished heaving and didn’t move. I sat there, hugging my jacket around me and feeling miserable, lightheaded and sore.
What was I going to do? Would I just sleep on the streets? Collapse right here and just give up? I could hide in another dumpster maybe . . .
I moaned and rubbed at my aching head. My mind felt like it was working at half power. I didn’t want to think. I hurt and felt sick and just wanted to lie down.
Maybe I could ask someone for directions . . . take a chance that they wouldn’t turn me in or weren’t working for the McCouls . . .
Gulping in the wet, cold air, I lifted my head and looked across the street.
One of the front apartment lights was on and I saw someone going inside. Her blonde hair fell in long waves over her shoulders and her tall boots clicked on the steps going up to the door. She pushed the door open and stepped inside, warm light leaking out onto the steps as she got in, then the door closed.
I knew her. I knew her from somewhere. I closed my eyes and tried to think but my head swam and I couldn’t think where I had seen her before. But I knew I could trust her. I knew she could tell me where to go. And she was just right across the street
Divine providence . . . a rare commodity for me.
I wobbled to my feet and muttered out a short “thank you God”. I stumbled my way across the street, getting honked at by a car on the way, and got up the steps, leaning heavily on the rail.
If I just got up to the apartment . . . everything would work out. I could get back to my car and . . . do whatever I was going to do . . . holy smoke, my head hurt.
I got up next to the door and knocked out a shaky rhythm on the dry wood.
Nothing for a few seconds. There were some footsteps, then a voice.
“Who is it?”
I blinked at the question and just stood there, staring dumbly at the door. The porch tilted under me and I leaned up against the wall to steady myself. An icy coldness seemed to grip my chest and the door blurred.
The question came louder. “Who’s there?”
What did she know me as? What could I say?
The words seemed to come out in and of themselves, prodding at the memory of where I knew this girl from.
“Only . . . a lost puppy.”
For a few seconds, my vision blacked out and I barely heard the noise of the door being unbolted. I was so tired . . . just needed to rest for a moment before going off to find my car . . .
An iron grip on my jacket collar jolted me back into full consciousness and a voice that now seemed all too familiar spoke close to my face.
“Wolfgang Dankworth, what are you doing at my apartment?”
I shot upright, blinking hard. Of all the idiotic . . .
Kendra. I’d found Kendra Carino’s apartment. Out of all the people I could have staggered up to, beaten up and half-conscious, it had to be her, of course.
The one person who could even come close to giving News a run for his money on how many times she’d patched me up. Only it seemed to be in particularly ridiculous situations and Kendra enjoyed lecturing me. Talk about giving her a wide open opportunity . . .
I’d never live this down.
I opened and closed my mouth silently, trying to come up with a reasonable, un-moronic explanation. “H-hey, Kendra . . . hey . . . I’m . . . uh . . . lost.” My lip hurt as I talked.
She raised an eyebrow and folded her arms. “Yet you miraculously found me?”
“Kind of hard not to when I saw you walking in here . . .” I decided to leave out the part about having just puked in the gutter. Her eyes still rested on my bruises and split lip. I rubbed at a stinging spot on my forehead and felt blood. Yeah, I’d have to explain at least a little bit before asking for directions.
“I just . . . got on the wrong side of a few people . . .”
“Gee, I couldn’t imagine,” Kendra interrupted sarcastically.
“And they decided I didn’t know that, so they gave me a reminder in the form of an alley ambush.” Talking was feeling really weird with my swollen lip and I touched a hand to it. It came away with blood.
“And,” Kendra frowned at me like a disapproving mom, “You got lost . . . how?”
Best to tell it all and get it over with. She’d weasel it out of me eventually anyway.
“I wasn’t familiar with the particular dumpster I woke up in. Still really have no idea where I am.” My voice was steadier now. Just the pure motivation of keeping my dignity in front of someone who always seemed to see me when I had none helped keep me upright.
“So if you could kindly point me towards the . . .” my voice trailed off as I tried to remember where I was trying to go. I just voiced my train of thought as it slowly came to mind. “ . . . place I parked my car . . . which was . . . the lot in back of that Italian place downtown, I think?” I shrugged and sighed, “Sorry, I’m a bit turned around. Anyway . . . if you could point me in that direction, I’d be on my way . . .”
Kendra uncrossed her arms and grabbed my sleeve. “Yeah, right. Get in here.” She hauled me inside and slammed the door closed behind us.
I tripped on the welcome mat and my already shaky legs had a difficult time getting back under me. Another yank on my arm from Kendra helped the process along. I ran a hand over my hair. “What are you . . .?”
“You’re in no state to just go walking all the way across town,” she said firmly, getting behind me to push me down the short hallway into another room. “And who knows if those thugs are still hanging around waiting to jump you.”
I opened my mouth to object, but I knew better than to argue with Kendra about my physical wellbeing and decided to shut up. She seated me in a wooden chair in what was apparently her living room.
“I’ve got a first aid kit back in the kitchen, so I’m going to go get that.” She pointed to me as if commanding a dog. “Stay, Puppy-boy.”
Good glory, I hated that name.
She strode out to get it. My annoyance melted away slowly as I started looking around the room. Just seeing her living area . . . little things she liked . . . made her so much more . . . human.
The little bookshelf full of self-defense and survival books. The box of action movies by the TV. The Chinese takeout container on the table . . . I wasn’t a fan of the coconut candle, particularly with the state of my stomach. But it still gave a cozy glow around the room.
Kendra walked back in and set her little red bag next to my chair. She pulled over another seat and sat down, sitting up straight and looking professional. “Now hold still for a bit. This might sting.”
I bit onto my tongue and gripped the edges of the chair as she cleaned me up. It stung like heck and my dizziness got worse a couple of times, particularly addressing the gash on my head from the pipe, but she was quick and it was over in a couple of minutes.
I sat back in the chair and held the icepack to my face as commanded. The cuts, scrapes and bruises still stung, but I felt a lot more mentally present and less like the abandoned loser of a street fight.
Kendra sighed and sat down on the couch, looking either tired or annoyed at me . . . I couldn’t tell. Maybe both.
She really did go through a lot for me . . . despite all our arguments and my perhaps occasional teasing, I respected her. The lack of times I’d actually thanked her came to mind and I swallowed, shifting in my seat. I nodded to her.
“Hey, thanks . . . for patching me up and stuff.” I chuckled and took the icepack down so I wasn’t talking from in back of it. “I’d probably have died a good few times by now if it hadn’t been for you.”
Kendra shook her head and half smiled. She looked nice when she smiled. “More like a good few million times.”
She looked at my gash again and went off on some tangent about stitches, so my dramatic thankful moment was squelched.
I appeased her on that front and it was quiet for a bit.
Kendra looked over at the TV screensaver with an expression on her face I couldn’t quite read.
I tipped my head, “What were you watching?”
“That new Mission Impossible.”
A smile spread across my face, stinging my lip. “Hey, no kidding. I love those movies.” I regretted the words as soon as they were out of my mouth, expecting some scolding response before being booted back outside.
Kendra looked for a second like she might follow through with that expectation, but it melted away and she smiled again as she grabbed the remote off the couch next to her. “Wanna finish it with me?”
Go out into the rainy, thug infested dark so I could get some dinner I wasn’t even hungry for . . . or watch a good movie with a friend. Hardly a choice.
“Heck yeah!” I took the seat on the couch next to her.
One of the few times it was easy to follow her command that I sit down for a while.
I even enjoyed it.
And if you didn’t fall asleep through all that or give up… (or if you just skimmed all the way down… whatever) here’s a collage. ❤
Well, I think I’ve dumped enough words on you guys for one day.
Hope you enjoyed the story/stories! I’d love to hear favorite lines and parts and such as always. 😀
Have a good Sunday, guys. May no accident-prone friends come stumbling in your door and change your evening’s plans.
See ya later,