Trench Coat and Trilby (part 2) a short story by Steve Hargett


This is the second and final part of the story, if you haven’t read part 1 I suggest you do so that this part makes sense.

Don’t take it too seriously as a work of fiction. This was written more or less in one go and I’ve given it a quick spelling & grammar once-over. It is a bit of a joke with my work colleagues, written for their amusement. No one was offended and one colleague who did not appear in part 1 asked to have a part included in part 2, he is duly included.

I have written it in such a way that the in-jokes should be invisible, or at least almost transparent. The story should read clearly for everyone who doesn’t know the people upon whom the characters are based.

Trench Coat and Trilby (part 2)


Steve Hargett

*** A Loft Apartment, West Maddison.

I parked up across the street from the address Bear had written on the match-book. I put my gun in its holster as I got out of the car, then dashed across the street, the rain still hadn’t let up, at least it wasn’t snow yet.

The Loft was in a good area, I made my way up to the top of the building. I’d never heard of this guy, ‘The Painter’, I had no idea what to expect.

I knocked on the door and a man with a small goatee beard opened the door. He said nothing but smiled with a look of anticipation.

“The Bear suggested I speak with you.” I said.

“Yeah, I told him to send you.” he said from behind a half open door, his accent didn’t seem local.

How could he know I would talk to Bear?

The Painter opened the door wide, “Come on in.” he said.

The door opened into a small hall and from there he led me into the kitchen. The room was a contradiction of itself. One side was immaculate with a large white oven and clear surfaces. On the other side were canvases high and low. I looked over them but I couldn’t make sense of any of them. I’m no artist but these paintings were weird. Most were nothing but random shapes, others were flames or ice and several had odd looking creatures on them.

“This is the one that you need to see.” The Painter said to me.

He showed me a wet canvas with a huge chasm painted on it. I had a feeling the imported spirit the Bear had told me about wasn’t only for the oils. There were odd creatures of varying form in the picture, I guess they were demons of some sort. Oddly the colour of some of the odd shapes in the room reminded me of the burning silk I saw at the warehouse.

I asked him why he was expecting me.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just knew you needed to come.

The door to the next room, presumably the dining area, was ajar. Voices, perhaps five other people were in the apartment I could hear dice being rolled on a wooden table and I thought I heard a voice say something about casting a spell.

It was then I realised this guy was some sort of occultist. A fruit loop. Normally solid, it seemed The Bear had led me astray this time.

“Sorry for wasting your time,” I said and I walked out.

“Well if you saw enough, no worries.” The Painter said as he closed the door.

As I left the building I suddenly realised something. The painting, I suddenly realised that I had recognised the floor that the chasm was in.

*** Wendy Sue’s, a Neilson Speakeasy, 111 W. Kinzie St

I sat in the car for a few moments. It was almost noon now and something about the scene didn’t seem right.

The street was busy but no one was going in. The cover for Wendy Sue’s was a burger bar, this place had a choice of three cheeses to go on the burger. It was usually busy at this time, the breakfast rush. There were people looking at the building with some confusion. A mob was growing.

I got out of the car and moved to a position where I could see in to the hamburger restaurant. There was no one in view, though the sign said ‘open’. One of the men in the mob was trying the door, it was locked.

The mob didn’t notice me as I slipped into the alley and up to the back door. The door was partially open. I slowly pushed it open and slipped inside.

The place was a mess. There were bodies laid on the floor, whatever they had been holding had been dropped or over turned on work-surfaces and the floor. There were pans with contents burnt dry and meat on the grill was reduced to smoking charcoal, what a waste.

I remembered the mob outside, it wouldn’t take long for one of them to think to try the back door to see why the restaurant was not open. I turned back to the door and bolted it. That might delay me a second or two if I had to make a run for it but better that than having a civilian in here behind me.

I saw a large white kitchen coat on a hanger and put that on over my own coat. I opened the interior door and moved in to the restaurant.

I found the bodies behind the counter, they were alive like the others. Most had blood drying on their faces but other than showing signs of being dragged back here and piled together they were all right.

I moved through the restaurant and the people outside on the side walk saw me. They banged on the door and the windows and were calling for me to open up. I made a non-committal shrug as I passed through the restaurant and down the stairs to the office below.

I’d been here several times and knew the layout. I knew where the secret switch was too and I flipped it, the wall slid back and I saw the speakeasy on the other side.

Bodies were slumped on the floor here too but there was something else. Large green lozenge shaped objects were on the tables, the same green as the silk I had seen burning in the warehouse last night.

As I entered the room I saw that the objects were throbbing, they were alive. They looked like some sort of giant maggot or caterpillar.

A noise to my left made me turn quickly to look towards the dance-floor. The floor from the Painter’s canvas.

There was a chasm in the floor and a creature stood next to it, throwing the green creatures into the chasm. The creature had two arms and stood upright on two legs, that was where any similarity to a human ceased. The creature was at least seven foot tall with leathery grey skin. It’s chest was almost as broad as mine but with its size it looked slim, not bony slim, athletic. It had wings on its back and a bat-like head.

As it turned to look at me I saw it had glowing yellow eyes, behind those eyes was an inhuman intelligence nothing like my own.

“You cannot have these!” the creature said in a deep voice before throwing back its head and opening its fanged mouth wide.

*** Ma O’Reilly’s Diner, 2100 W. Irving Park Rd

I couldn’t hear anything, I was leant against a wall opposite Ma O’Reilly’s I didn’t know how I had got here or what had happened after I saw the bat-creature. My head was pounding in agony, reaching my hand to my head I felt dried blood.

I stumbled across the road, all I could think was that Madame Riant’s people might help me. I couldn’t go to the cops with this, but I couldn’t think what I was going to tell Madame Riant.

I staggered into the diner and one of the mobsters at the door quickly bundled me out of sight.

I could hear muffled sound, I almost blacked out, but couldn’t identify voices.

I was laid on a table and I saw faces, they were blurred but I made out Jolee and Mr O’Reilly looking down at me. I realised I was speaking but I couldn’t hear myself properly. I was spilling the beans, telling them everything I had seen.

Mr O’Reilly was barking orders and mobsters were running around. I saw Jolee call to someone off to the side and The Match appeared. He had bandages over his ears, but it seemed he could hear her.

The Match sat me up and forced a drink down my mouth in one, though much of it spilt down me. Whiskey, it cleared my head a little.

I looked around, I saw the A Peele dancing girls were trying to rehearse despite the distraction I was causing. I saw Raquel, the leader of the troupe had shiny red shoes… the mystery woman? Jake didn’t know Raquel.

I saw The Doc, a table magician, walking over. He said a few short words and I saw a red flare in his eyes, just for a moment. My hearing cleared slightly.

“Sound,” The Doc said, “Sound can have many affects on people.”

The mobsters were assembling, armed with a variety of guns.

“What is going on?” I asked.

Clearly I’d been used. Jake had been used, hired by Madame Riant without his knowledge to look in on her opposition. I was angry, I wanted revenge. But I realised she might not be the enemy. Whatever the Nielsons had, the bat-creature, that was the enemy.

“I’m coming with you.” I said.

*** Wendy Sue’s, a Neilson Speakeasy, 111 W. Kinzie St

Hot-Wheels Cook brought the car to a standstill and we all got out, except for Hot-Wheels. There were three cars, over a dozen mobsters were on the streets and the mob of civilians quickly dispersed.

They got to the door, it was locked. We made our way to the back but found the door bolted from the inside.

I was confused, why hadn’t the bat creature killed me as it had Jake. Why hadn’t it killed anyone inside the restaurant. How had I got out, had the creature turned me out before bolting the door…

“Bring up Baby-Face,” Madame Riant said.

The call went back along the alley till it reached a short bald man at the end.

“Send up Baby-Face,” he said, “Hey, I’m Baby-Face.”

He made his way to the front, Baby-Face McDarren, snoop, sneak, spy and security specialist. We were inside the joint in moments.

The people in the kitchen were still unconscious, but were now sat up, leaning against the walls. In the restaurant it was similar, the bodies were propped up.

We made for the stairs, we heard commotion below.

Running into the room we saw a dozen human sized creatures. These were different to the one I had seen, they had dark green bodies, segmented like insects. They were stood on four legs on a swollen abdomen, a set of arms sprouted from a thin armoured chest. Their elongated heads had antennae on top and multifaceted eyes. Their snouts ended on flexing mandibles with two spikes on top and one underneath.

I thought of Jakes wounds, it was a bite from one of these that had killed him, not the bat-creature.

All hell broke loose, seemingly literally given the demon-like creatures I was seeing and the wide chasm behind them.

The creatures had been looking it the inert bodies, I saw one with wounds the same as Jakes sprawled on the bar. Now they were turning on the Riant gang. The Riants however were ready.

Guns were sounding off and my head reacted. I could hardly stand, the noise was excruciating. It was murder on the dance-floor.

I saw holes blown in the demons armour only by the biggest guns. Those with smaller weapons were soon overwhelmed and their faces bitten, acid spat into their eyes and the body thrown aside.

The Match and Mr O’Reilly had tommy guns and were blowing the insect-demons away. Others had shot guns or powerful Colt hand guns.

More insect-demons were coming from the chasm and we were being pushed back. I could think clearly enough to pull my own gun. I started to fire as we were forced back out of the speakeasy, we were cornered with the stairs to our back. We could only escape one at a time and if we turned to flee we would be swamped.

I tried to reach for the switch but Baby-Face pulled me back just before one of the insect-demons grabbed me.

More of the Riant men went down and our numbers were reduced to six or seven. It looked like we only had moments before we were finished.

There was a whoop behind the demons and some at the back turned to face something in the speakeasy. There was renewed fighting in there.

We continued firing and the tide turned in our favour, we forced them back. Mr O’Reilly was reloading for the last time as The Match opened up with his last drum of rounds.

Behind the insect-demons was the bat-creature and The Painter, he had a samurai sword in hand and was hacking arms off the insects. There was an assortment of other odd looking creatures with The Painter, all battling our common foe. There were scores of insect bodies strewn around the room, it was hard to make out the human casualties there were so many green armoured corpses.

The bat-creature was ripping off heads or crushing their thin torsos with his bare hands.

There was a roar and several much larger insect-demons came from the chasm. The bat-creature suddenly had a huge weapon in his hands, I hadn’t seen where it came from, it had a pole with a large double-headed metal lump, an axe with a big hammer head on the other side.

The bat-creature and The Painter took on this new threat as we finished off the rest of the insect-demons. between them they soon hacked the larger creatures to pieces. Suddenly the fight was over.

The Painter’s allies started throwing the dead demons into the chasm as the bat-creature had a quick discussion with Jolee.

I had no idea what was going on. But at least I knew who had killed Jake Pollock.

“I got another painting I think you need to see!” The painter grinned at me, his face streaked with black insect ichor.



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