Maxed out 

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He almost knocked me over. And didn't even stop.

"Yo, J.J. What's the rush, piledriver?"

What I saw when he turned around startled me. The physical dystopia that is J.J. Giddyup, Whistler's only private eye, is generally so all-encompassing and downright weird I just assumed I was beyond being startled. Maybe it was the physicality of this encounter... or maybe it was the flaming look of bloodlust in his eyes. The fact he was holding the biggest, raspiest bastard file I'd ever seen - holding it like a bludgeon no less - did nothing to soften the overall gestalt.

"Sorry, dude. Didn't see you."

"You look like a man on a mission," I said, speaking calmly. "As much as I know I'll regret asking, what's up?"

"I'm pissed...."

"One of your three emotional states, as I recall. At - do I really want to know? - what?"

"This (expletive deleted) luge chick and her half-assed, semi-literate, self-absorbed rant, if you must know."

"Oh... that. I thought that had more or less dissolved into the ether of cyber-irrelevance. Just another inflated ego pricked by the reality of indifference."

"Definitely not."

"And what exactly, and I hope the answer is 'nothing at all', does that rather scary looking file have to do with this rage?"

A maniacal grin played across his weathered face, softening for a moment the visage of indignation. "Thought I might make a little luge modification."

"I...." Somewhere in the universe of English words there was exactly the right combination to soothe this savage beast. I just wasn't sure what it was. "J.J., can I borrow your file?"

"Wa'fo?"

"To keep you from doing something I'll regret."

"No can do, dude."

"J.J.," I extended my hand. "If you sabotage Regan's luge you'll be lighting the fuse. It'll only give the ISU the excuse they've been looking for to swoop into town and go all gestapo on us. Besides, you'd never get past security."

"You forget what I do for a living," he said, softening and reluctantly handing me the file.

"No, more like I've always wondered what exactly it is you do for a living," I replied. While I knew J.J. eked out a living doing low-level snoop work and whatever else came his way, I was never convinced his claim to being a black ops guy for the CIA during the Indochina episode was anything more than talk. But he was amusing... at least when he didn't have a file in his hand.

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