Story Excerpt Sunday: From The Hinky Bearskin Rug by Jennifer Stevenson

The Hinky Bearskin RugThe Hinky Bearskin Rug

Hinky Chicago Book 3

by Jennifer Stevenson

Clay and Randy met Jewel and Ed in the basement of the Kraft Building.

“What is this place?” Randy said.

Jewel never came down here. The basement was a lair for the kind of departmental retirees who had no life to retire to.

Clay wrinkled his nose. “Funky smelling.”

“It’s the locker room of the old cop shop,” Ed said. “Ain’t been PD property since before Consumer Services took it over.”

The walls were that turkey-turd tan you saw in cop shops, and the ranks of battered lockers were bilious green. Flyspecks dotted the flickering lights.

“Gross,” Clay said.

“Never mind. Take a look at this.” Ed led them to a mangled locker door. He paused dramatically, looking over his shoulder at them, his black caterpillar eyebrows working. Then he opened the locker and leapt back as if it were full of rabid weasels.

Jewel looked inside. “What—?”

On the floor of the locker was a pile of magazines.

The top shelf was packed full of crumpled white paper bags.

And in between, gyrating slowly like some kind of X-rated ballerina in a music box, a small, glistening, naked female figure danced, wiggled, simpered, beckoned, and silently giggled, like a burlesque movie with the sound turned off. She stuck her forefinger in her mouth and pulled it out slowly, sucking on it with pouty red lips. She raised one knee and stroked herself against her other thigh, arching her back, lolling her head, swinging her wheat-blonde, old-fashioned curly mane so that it played peek-a-boo with her heavy breasts. She had Marilyn’s lush figure, and apparently a complete lack of shame. She was eighteen inches high.

Jewel was shocked, but it was actually kind of sweet. There was something hilariously wholesome and innocent about her sexual gyrating, as if the girl next door had just discovered sex and couldn’t wait to show her boyfriend.

Clay whistled behind Jewel. “What is it? Three-D projection?”

The girl in the locker cocked her head, looked straight at Clay, and laughed silently, shaking her mane at him, dipping and wiggling her breasts as if to say, *You silly boy, come over here and stick a twenty in my—*

“Holy. Shit.” Ed sounded flabbergasted.

Jewel said, “It’s a poppet. You get ’em in the really bad places.” She’d never seen one this close before.

Randy reached past Jewel and casually dipped his fingers through the figure. The poppet’s image swirled and deformed as if he had scooped up some honey. When his fingers were gone, she slowly reformed into her old shape. “Magic.”

“Urk,” Ed said.

Clay said, “How did you find this?”

“Remember O’Connor?” Ed said to Jewel. “Used to do immigration until he got too fat to move around. Then he phoned taxis from home.”

Jewel remembered. “He’s a wreck. He was the kind of drunk who never actually fell down, but he was never sober.”

“He used to be a good investigator,” Ed said. “Played cards down here all day with the older guys. Smartened up the young kids if they was smart enough to let him.”

“He’s helped me a couple of times,” she admitted. Then she noticed the past tense. “Oh.”

“Yeah. He was found dead in his apartment this morning. One of the guys thought he might of left some gin money in this locker, so he bust it open.”

Jewel smiled. “Let me guess. Sayers?”

Ed snorted. “Poor unlucky fuck.”

A laugh escaped Jewel. She watched the girl in the locker do indecent things with no more props than her own outrageously-proportioned body. “Did Sayers stroke out, or just stroke?”

“Talk like a lady, dammit.” Ed frowned. “Sayers came up and told me, like he should. What I want youse to do is deal with this. Then go over to O’Connor’s apartment and see if there’s any clues. Find any more of it.” Raptly, he stared. The tip of his tongue touched his lower lip. Then he shuddered. “Just deal with it!”

When he’d stumped out, Jewel asked Clay. “Any ideas?”

Clay shrugged. “How should I know? Does it move from locker to locker? Can we just shut the door and forget about it?”

“You’re a big help.”

“This is a pocket zone,” Randy stated.

“Got it in one,” Jewel said.

Clay watched the show. “Is it alive?”

“That remains to be seen,” Randy said crisply. He shut the locker door as much as was possible and opened the adjacent locker, which was empty. He ran his hand over the wall shared with the infested locker, then tapped on it. Then he opened the pocket zone locker again and stared expressionlessly at the tiny womanly figure inside.

The poppet reached for him. It put its hands right through his fly.

“Ohmigod! Randy!” Jewel shrieked.

Randy looked down and backed away calmly.

The girl in the locker pouted, looked sly, beckoned, and flirted at Randy with innocent blue eyes.

Slowly he shut the door on her. “We must keep people out of here.”

“That’s a big yes,” Jewel said. “Did you feel anything?”

Randy frowned. “Hard to say.”

“Where the hell did Clay go?”

“Here,” Clay said, coming back into the locker room with a roll of gray duct tape. “Will this do?” He tore off a strip.

Randy sealed the gaping steel edges shut. “Temporarily.”

“Let’s get upstairs,” Jewel said. “See what else Ed knows.”

**********

Jennifer Stevenson finds new uses for old sex demons. She lives in Chicago with her very own stagehand hero husband and two bossy kittens. Jennifer is easy to find on Facebook as https://www.facebook.com/JenniferStevensonAuthor. Sign up for her newsletter here.

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