Note: I wrote most of this series under the influence of cold medicine, so you know it’s extra-good, and extra-surreal.
He was the king of the city: Granite Countertop, P.I. He was sitting at his desk, minding his own business in his non-smoky office. The other detectives made fun of him for giving up smoking, but he didn’t care. He would outlive them all, and take all their business. Unless he got shot, of course. A woman walked in. Then she walked back out, because she was looking for the restroom. He questioned, for the hundredth time, his decision to locate his office at the end of the hall near the staircase, restrooms and vending room. How many times would he get his hopes up at the prospect of a new client, just to find they only wanted a Zagnut? It had been 6 so far, not that he was counting. Which reminded him of the secret hidden in his bottom drawer. He slowly pulled it out and looked at the horror located within: two cases of Zagnuts from the local warehouse store. He took one out lovingly, gently peeling back the wrapper, tenderly kissing the end of the Zagnut before nibbling the end, biting it, teasing it, and then plunging it deep into –
Apparently, the woman had been looking for him after all, because she was back. She was also looking at him with eyebrow raised yet mouth gaping open, as though she was simultaneously shocked at his candy-handling, but taking mental notes for later encounters. The tension and embarrassment mounted as they were both forced to wait until he had finished chewing before he could speak.
“Cam M hemp youm, ma’am?”
*Swallow* “Can I help you, ma’am?”
“In so many ways… but right now, I need you to find someone for me. A man. My husband, actually. Or, ex-husband. Or, see, we’re separated, but we really have no hope of reconciliation that I can see. And the law makes us wait six months, so technically, if I signed the papers today, we would be divorced, but it wouldn’t be final for six months. Though I suppose I would probably take my ring off, because why keep it on? On the other hand, it’s not like people wouldn’t know, because there’s this ring around my finger, my actual finger, in the skin…”
Her incessant rambling allowed him to finish off his Zagnut and start another, finish it off, clean his desk, pick up his dry cleaning, and restock the wine refrigerator he had been meaning to fill up. In her urge to share every thought she had, she never noticed walking out, never noticed running errands or going to the store, and never noticed her lipstick was smeared slightly. Finally, when she paused to take a breath, he spoke.
“Specifically what can I, Granite Countertop, Private Investigator, do for you, Ms…?”
“Judith, Judith Plasticgrass.”
“From the Plasticgrass Company? Makers of that annoying Easter grass that finds its way all through your house for weeks after Easter and never seems to go away?”
“The very same. My husband, or ex-” He looked at her sternly. “Er, his name is Chad Plasticgrass.”
“And he’s missing?”
“Yes. The last time anyone saw him, he was with two scantily-clad women in the back of a limousine full of luggage heading for the airport, dressed in Bermuda shorts and a straw hat. I have no idea where he could be. Maybe we should check the house, or the gas station?”
“Um. Er. Well, ma’am, you see, I don’t think he’s in the city. At all. In fact, based on what you just told me, I think he might not be coming back. In another fact, he hired me last week to give you this. It’s an envelope full of signed divorce papers, a check for a million dollars, a key to a Ferrari and a gyroscope covered with cheese.”
“What? I don’t understand. I’m confused. Why would he give me that? What is the thinking behind giving me something like that? Is he insane?”
“I completely agree, ma’am. It puzzles me too. In yet another fact, I am completely sideswiped and left for dead as to why he would leave you such a batshit crazy thing. It makes absolutely no sense. Different strokes, you know? Oh boy…. check for a million dollars. That’s just crazy!”
“What? No, Mr. Countertop, I wasn’t talking about the million dollars! What made you say that? It’s obvious what I meant. The Ferrari! I can’t drive a stick!”