SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured over the next  fifteen days is “Beyond the Shining Stars”. This is part 12 of 15.

Sam returned to the area where Randy asked him to meet up. He’d dropped Randy off while headed to get some needed supplies. One of the items Randy requested was a burner phone, which he handed to Randy.

Randy started to dial a number on the burner phone Sam obtained for him. They actually came back not too far from the studio area where they knew the guy was headquarters. In case he had equipment to trace GPS, they would find them nearby, which was all well and good as far as they were concerned.

Given their target didn’t know the number, there wasn’t any guarantee they’d get an answer, but right now it was their best option. Randy kept the volume up as loud as he could so that Sam could hopefully overhear parts of the conversation.

Surprisingly, they got an answer.

“We don’t want any!” he said.

“Wait!” Randy replied, changing his voice to sound very close to his friend’s when dressed in drag. “I’m calling to help you get Randy Tate.”

“What? But my guys, they got you.”

Even if he couldn’t have heard all the words, Sam could tell by Randy’s facial reaction they’d gotten a bite on this.

“Do you believe everything you’re told? This town’s all about illusion. You know one of your men seemed off lately, well, he was. It was me, disguised as him. He decided to pretend to be me and ended up dead. I decided to pretend to be him so I could find you and discover why you wanted me so bad. Now, if you could just come meet me by the closed down props warehouse just down the road from you, I’m willing to tell you all you need.”

“Why should I trust you?” was what Sam thought he heard said on the other end.

“Because, who else can you trust now? And if you don’t, I can go to the cops and tell everything, including where to find you. So why don’t I just see you at the props warehouse in a hour?”

Randy hung up. Sam looked at him, concerned.

“He’s still got one goon shadowing him, Randy. You know he’ll bring that backup as insurance.”

“The burner phone wasn’t the only thing I needed your help for, Uncle. I need you to have my back, to help take that other fellow out of commission. He thinks it’s just me – well, her. Imagine his nasty surprise when he finds out that not only am I not her, but that we more than equally matched.”

“What about the person you care about? Aren’t you concerned about increasing the risk of danger?”

“I’ve reached out and communicated. The cops won’t be told about what I’m doing, not until after all of us done.”

“All of us?”

Sam heard the sound of heels on the pavement. He turned to see the star-studded drag queen herself.

“Three against one, this should prove very interesting indeed.”