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Idiot Savant
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-244-3
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 185 Pages
Published: May 2015

Total Readers: 2

From inside the flap

Greg Alamos is almost a private investigator. The difference: all his clients are dead. The spirits contact him through his dreams and hire him to complete a task, avenge them, inform their survivors or whatever. It's not always a pleasant experience.

Alamos has just been “hired” by the spirit of a wealthy art collector. He obtained what he thought was an original Picasso print, only to learn it was a forgery. He wants Alamos to find the person who scammed him and recoup what he paid and return that money to his heirs. It should have been relatively easy, but it soon proves to be just the opposite.

As he investigates, Alamos becomes embroiled in a plot to seize the presidency via the ballot box. A cabal of rich investors have a plan that is perfectly legal, but also perfectly possible. And no one dare get in their way.

Idiot Savant is a mixture of the paranormal and political intrigue, with the fully-drawn characters, rich dialogue and surprising plot twists award-winning author Patrick Welch is known for. Greg Alamos is the type of “hero” you won't quickly forget, and Idiot Savant will make you a fan of the author if you aren't one already.

Idiot Savant (Excerpt)

Chapter One

I must say I've been in nicer offices than that of Willard Framus III, but not many. His took up the southwest corner of the top floor of the Progress Building, with a nice view of a parking lot and small plaza. I brought with me no appointment but some bad news. He, in turn, went out of his way to delay meeting with me. In particular his secretary did about everything possible to make me feel unwelcome.

I shrugged off her frequent angry stares while I shared the outer room with her and turned the pages of six-month-old magazines without reading them. Actually I was tempted to steal one, just to justify her concerns for the safety of her boss and his possessions. Apparently my suit and tie, neither of which I wore often, had only slightly eased her mind. After a good hour and more anxious looks than I cared to count, Framus the Third deigned to see me. After all, I could be a potential customer.

Which I wasn't. I smiled and offered my hand when I finally entered his inner sanctum. There were surprisingly few decorations; it was almost sterile, in fact, being basically steel and glass and marble floor and just a small desk and two chairs. He probably wanted to give the impression that he was all business. The lack of book shelves, a computer or filing cabinets disproved that. Being the third generation in a successful family business, odds were he did little of anything.

But he looked professional and competent. Expensive suit and shoes, fifty dollar haircut and manicure, purchased tan, handsome in a mindless model sort of way. He even pretended to be happy to see me. "Mr. Prine, I apologize for the delay," he said and smiled as he shook my hand. He gripped it strongly, which elevated him a bit in my eyes. I hate shaking hands with a dead fish.

"No problem," I said. "I realize this is unexpected."

"Yes, so it is." He motioned to a nearby chair and sat behind his desk. "Please have a seat and tell me how I might help you."

"Actually," and I reached into my coat, "I am here to help you." I dropped a large manilla envelope on his desk.

"What's this?" he asked as he retrieved it.

"Some information your grandfather asked me to find. Unfortunately, I did."

"What the..." He stopped, then gasped as the photos fell onto his desk. They were of his wife in flagrante delicto with another man. When he finally looked at me, however, there weren't any tears in his eyes. Just anger. "What the fuck is this?"

"Your wife. Having an affair is my guess."

"I can see that, moron. So what?" He shook his head. "Even after he's dead he's trying to interfere with my life."

"I beg your pardon?"

"My grandfather," Framus junior junior said. "He passed away six months ago and he's still trying to fuck with me and my family. This," and he held up the photos, "is old news. My wife and I had this out nearly a year ago. It's been resolved."

"Really?" I leaned forward. I had been forewarned about his expected reaction and was prepared for it. I didn't feel sorry for him at all. Just the opposite, in fact. I've never been in his position, although I've put other husbands there. As far as I'm concerned, if your spouse fucks around on you, it's your fault. "Look at the time and date stamp in the lower right corner. These aren't old pics; I took them two nights ago. You also might want to pay attention to whom she's with."

"What..." Then his voice fell as he studied the pictures in more detail. When he finished, his face was ashen and he was trembling. "That man."

"Your father. Yes, I'm afraid it is."

"Why is he doing this?" Framus version 3.0 was talking to himself now. "She promised, we promised." Then he remembered me. "Why are you doing this? My grandfather died last year!"

"Your grandfather paid me upfront. I felt I had to earn my money. I would have finished this earlier but," and I shrugged, "you and your wife were vacationing abroad. This, I'm afraid, was my first opportunity."

He couldn't look me in the eye. No doubt he was embarrassed, as is the wont of the cuckolded husband. "I don't know what to say."

"'Thank you' is acceptable. Or 'fuck off.'"

"Fuck off," he said with a snarl. "Your services are no longer required. And get your ass out of my office."

"Understood. No hard feelings." I left quickly without further discussion. I won't be getting a recommendation from him, I thought as I passed his frigid secretary.

But I didn't feel bad about how things had gone, or any regrets. I was just relieved it was over. After all, I had told him at least some of the truth. His grandfather had indeed hired me. But that was a mere two weeks ago.

No, I'm not shitting you. I can converse with the dead. Well, not converse exactly. I'm not a ghost whisperer like what's-her-face, the chick on TV with the nice rack. More accurately, ghosts converse with me. In my dreams. And it sucks.

You see, I've been to the other side. At least thrice. The first time I dumped my Harley doing ninety. After I came out of my coma, I swore off cycles forever. The second time was on purpose, and with the help of my best friend and a doctor, who most certainly is not. Since I've been to the other side, said residents can contact me when I sleep. Through my dreams.

The first time it happened I found it mildly interesting. At least until it began recurring and I began getting killed. With the help of a psychic, I finally realized I was being contacted by an old, casual acquaintance. She had been murdered in a most brutal fashion and she asked me to avenge her. I was able to and, even more surprising, she found a way to pay me. That opened the floodgates, and suddenly my dreams were usurped by angry/frustrated/distraught spirits demanding I solve whatever problem they had left unresolved while alive.

Trust me; it's not fun waking up every night after dreaming your throat is being slashed or someone is sticking a dick up your ass.

Willard Framus the Original was one of the more pleasant and more profitable spirits who has tried to hire me. When I awoke one morning, I knew all about the Framus clan and why the late Mr. Framus wanted my help. Even better, I knew how and how much I would be recompensed. And I really didn't mind taking the contract, which was a relief as I haven't always had a choice. The deceased Framus didn't like seeing his favorite grandson being taken advantage of. Especially when the situation was nearly incest. He had been against the union from the very beginning. He was certain Framus 3 was only thinking with his fifth limb when he married her, which he most certainly was. And, honestly, I couldn't blame him. I would be happy to do the missus myself under different circumstances. But I certainly wouldn't marry the bitch, or trust her out off my sight. Her legs were meant to be spread, often and for as many men as possible.

So two nights previously I had been shivering in my car and taking photos of the young Mrs. Framus enjoying the ministrations of her father-in-law in a no-tell motel outside the city. I hate doing that kind of shit, but it was the only way I could make him see the light. And it was grandpop's idea in any event.

So I had done my job. He had the evidence if he ever decided to break their pre-nup and kick her lying ass out of his family for good. He wouldn't need me to testify if it went to court, and he didn't know who I was anyway. My name is not Prine and I'm not in the phone book. I don't tweet or friend anybody, and I don't have a web site. I pay in cash and only go online at the library or cafes. I am as anonymous as I could ever hope to be in the Information Age.

After the Framus meeting, I stopped by Bambi's for a Beam and a beer. I felt I had earned a small celebration as it had been a busy day. Besides cluing in Framus on his wife's infidelities, I had told a grieving widow where she could find a cache of money her late husband had hidden away (by email, not in person) and mailed a clue to a detective that might help him solve a mugging. I'm usually not that busy, but it was gratifying to clean several small projects off my plate.

So I was in a good mood when I took my seat at the bar. I was into my third boilermaker when someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Buy a lady a drink?"

I turned around. "Happy to. Where is she?"

Ed O'Bannion laughed. Tonight he was wearing a pink skirt and jacket and a short black wig. He isn't gay, or even a transvestite. He runs sex scams, and isn't adverse to trolling for dykes as well as red-blooded American males. Tonight he was bait for both. "Mr. Alamos, you hurt me deeply. Especially considering the riff-raff you hang around with."

"You're part of that riff-raff."

He straightened as if insulted. "Not tonight I'm not. This outfit cost me three large."

"Fine. Order a pink squirrel or whatever umbrella drink is in character. I've got it."

He smiled as he took the stool beside me. "Such largesse, I'm shocked. What put you in such a generous mood, Greg?"

"That Framus case I told you about? I took care of that today. In fact, I caught up with everything!" I downed the Beam for emphasis.

Ed knows what I do for a living. He's helped me more than once. "Congrats," and he lifted his grasshopper that had quickly been placed in front of him in a mock toast. "So you should be sleeping well for a while."

"I hope so." That was one of the downsides from my particular situation. The spirits can only contact me via the dream network. And they're not always pleasant. Or welcome. As Ed has told me in the past, the dead are people, too. Be an asshole in life, you'll probably still be one afterward. "Maybe I can have a few weeks off."

"Good luck with that." He studied me over the rim of his glass. "I'm glad to see you're looking better. You had me worried there for a while, Greg."

I nodded. "I had me worried. I think everything will be fine, now. Or,"and I took a hit of beer before continuing, "I hope so."

Beginning my new career as a paladin for the dead hasn't always been a smooth ride, a fact Ed knew all too well. He's been there when I've almost died...hell, he's tried to kill me. Although he had good reasons. I can admit - now - that I almost became a raving psychotic. With almost debatable. I've managed to help the police catch a couple of killers. I've killed a few myself, most in self-defense. But not all. I'm still not sure how or why I got away with it. Sometimes I think the spirit world is protecting me as partial compensation for doing their bidding. But I've stopped questioning that part of it. It's probably best I don't get every question about my predicament answered anyway. I might not like what I learn.

"So." Ed looked at his watch. "I have to get uptown. I'm not exactly dressed for Bambi's."

I nodded. "Good luck with that."

"Thanks. You, too. Pleasant dreams."