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We are born naked, wet, and hungry, then things get worse. I started life with nothing and still had most of it. For me, things were going both slow and worse in Skyport City. It was bad enough that I was a private detective. Even worse since the super aliens came to Earth. Some of them settled in my town where they took over just about every aspect of crime fighting. It used to be that I'd have a domestic case or two just about every week. More than enough to keep food on the table and the bill collector away from the door. Now the super aliens are even in my domain since they seem to have run out of real criminals to catch. For them, it's just a simple matter of flying up into the air and staring down until they spot their man. Then they just watch with their x-ray vision to see if he's straying from the wife's straight and narrow. Now I'm not seeing any cases. At the rate things are going, I'll have to become a bill collector just to see money.
I guess the saying is true. God hates money, look who he gives it to. I guess that means he likes me. A lot. Anyway, I sure hope so since he didn't bless me with tons of money. On the other hand, I'm kind of glad. With my luck, he would have dropped it on me in one lump sum. All in coins. As it is, I'm living on a budget which means I'm going broke methodically.
At any rate, I guess I'm blessed with friends. At least my beautiful, blond, blue-eyed secretary hasn't left me yet. Maybe she's waiting for her sainthood papers. Maybe it's because she knows that I just naturally respect pretty girls in tight-fitting sweaters. Whatever the reason, at least I've got someoneto talk with, not that we have much worth talking about anymore. All because of those super aliens.
It was just after ten in the morning when the phone rang at my office, the Jake Mordant Detective Agency. For a moment I was dumbfounded. I thought the phone had been turned off. Sherry answered it in her usual sweet tones. With a voice like hers, you just knew that oral sex was the answer regardless of what the question happened to be. In fact, if Sherry was a beer, I'd be married for sure.
Sherry asked, "Hey Jake, want to hunt down a cat for a woman?"
"Is she asking or paying?"
"She's willing to pay."
"Sure, I'll take the job. Get a description and last known location."
Armed with the information, I left the office. Fortunately I still had gas in my car. I just hoped that no one would call the cops on me for taking my junker into such a ritzy neighborhood as I was driving to. Upon arriving at her street, I parked my car and scanned the neighborhood in search of Mrs. Portnoy's cat.
Yeah, I know that many people own cats... and go on to lead normal lives. Even though I understand life and the universe, cats are beyond me. If cats could talk, they'd probably remind us that their ancestors ate ours. Regardless, I hoped that I could find the cat in only a few hours so I could earn the bonus, though I wished the job could take longer like my regular cases used to do. However, I was under a deadline. Mrs. Portnoy wanted her prized feline returned immediately since she had a cat show to attend in the evening.
At least, it was a couple of hundred bucks I'd earn whether I succeeded or not. However, I was determined to succeed, even though I wasn't a super alien. Boy, would I like to walk into their joint and shout immigration. I'll bet that would give them a real case of fright since nothing else seems to scare them.
Then again, I wouldn't be scared of much if I was bullet proof, could fly faster than a rocket, and possessed x-ray vision. On the other hand, why work if you have that much going for you?
Unfortunately, it didn't take me long to get into trouble. You can observe a lot just by watching. I'd spotted a cat that resembled Mrs. Portnoy's cat in one yard and climbed over the short chain-link fence to give chase only to halt in my tracks when I encountered a dog. Realizing that I was in trouble, it was time to practice diplomacy while I searched for a rock. Actually, I love defenseless animals, normally in a gravy. However, this dog wasn't exactly defenseless or in gravy.
"Nice doggie. Nice doggie. Let's just pretend I didn't ruin your life and move on. Okay?"
It was clear from the way the dog bared his fangs and growled that he wasn't a vegetarian which is merely an Indian word meaning "lousy hunter." I would have said a prayer right then, but why worship a god who violated a virgin's civil rights? Besides, if your god can't save your butt occasionally, why believe in him?
"Look doggie, you don't want to bite me. Trust me. I'm right ninety percent of the time, so don't sweat the other three percent. Nice doggie," I said as I backed away toward the fence.
I was keeping a close watch on the dog's anatomy just so I'd have even the slightest warning that he was about to attack. Mind you, everyone has anatomy. It just looks better on a woman, though. However, for once I was concerned with the anatomy of someone other than a woman. It was days like this that permitted me to savor a bad mood.
Finally, I felt the chain-link fence behind me. There was nowhere else to retreat other than over the fence. I hoped that the dog wouldn't rush me while I climbed over. At that moment, I felt like a backsliding atheist.
"Look doggie. I love animals. Heck, I've even been arrested for it," I said trying to confuse the dog.
He wasn't having any part of it. To say that the dog appeared dysfunctional is putting it mildly. The look in his eyes told me that in dog years, I was dead. It was then that I resorted to using one of my slogans. Live each day as your last scream like a bastard.
"Aaarrrrggghhh!" I screamed at the dog, causing him to suddenly hesitate in his advance and giving me just a one-second advantage to leap over the fence.
However, Nature always sides with the hidden flaw. As I almost cleared the fence, I heard a ripping sound. Of course, the sound came from my pants ripping as they caught on the fence. I was both fortunate and unfortunate. I was fortunate that it was only the back pocket that ripped, otherwise I'd have been wearing a one-button suit just like a nudist. That could have been bad news since few men appear trustworthy with their pants off. I was unfortunate because my wallet fell back into the yard and into the jaws of the hound from hell. I guess I'll meet that dog again after I die, though going to hell will seem redundant to me. Anyway, dying is something I'm trying to avoid as it would delight too many people I know. However, I'm immortal, so far.
On the bright side, for me at least, I found myself conveniently located beside some loose rocks. There was no more need to practice diplomacy. I gathered up two of the rocks and tossed those at the dog. Fate was really with me then. My second rock beaned the dog. He collapsed right there on the lawn with my wallet between his teeth. After picking up another rock in case I had to finish the job, I climbed back over the fence to retrieve my wallet.
Rather than just put one of my hands between his fangs, I checked for a pulse first. Fate was really being kind to me. The dog felt dead to me. I was glad that dogs didn't have to wear helmets like motorcyclists since I believe in natural selection. Emboldened, I grasped my wallet and wrenched it from between his teeth. Out of curiosity, I opened my wallet to see how far his teeth had penetrated. My driver's license picture looked like a vampire had given me a killer hickey. Folding my wallet back and stuffing it into my remaining back pocket, I remembered then that I still had a cat to retrieve. As far as I knew, it was still up the tree where I last saw it before encountering Satan's playfully evil pet dog.
It didn't take me long to reach the tree or to spot the cat clinging to a branch well over my head and out of reach. The look on the cat's face seemed to say it all. "Silly humans, nothing is cat proof." That or "never argue with a cat." Regardless, I studied the cat carefully since I wasn't about to retrieve anything I wasn't getting paid for. Either it was Mrs. Portnoy's prized cat or it was a compact mass of tennis racket stringing supplies.
Thankfully, it was Mrs. Portnoy's prized feline. I could tell by the gaudy collar it wore. To me, the collar seemed to be a way of saying to another cat, "I'm not cheap, but I am on special."
For awhile, I considered beaning the cat. It certainly seemed like an ideal way to get the cat out of the tree. However, I felt sure that Mrs. Portnoy wouldn't like her cat to win as an Egyptian breed by giving it a head start on mummification. Then again, there was the off chance that I might bean myself since what goes up normally comes down. Usually where it's not wanted. Let's face it, feces happens.
"Okay, cat. You've got a show to attend tonight. Are we going to do this the easy way or the hard way?"
Normally, I would have hoped that whoever I was saying that to would opt for the hard way even though I'd try to discourage them by asking if they'd ever killed 500 men to make a point. However, the cat's attitude seemed to be saying to me, "I'm getting tired. Why don't you try being perfect for awhile?" and "I'm too busy to insult you, but your humiliation is important. Please hold."
Well, far be it from me to give up. I figure that anything I've seen in a cartoon, I can do just as well. Except maybe the scene where the character cracks into a million pieces. I've avoided that one since I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
I went ahead and dropped my rocks on the ground since I couldn't climb the tree with my hands full. To tell the truth, I found climbing the tree with my hands empty to be more than enough work, so I was glad I wasn't starting with anymore of a handicap than I already had. Unfortunately, whatever my real handicap was, it didn't help me get a better parking place though I suspected it was mental based upon what others have said to me. Even Sherry has said more than once that I have a mind like a steel trap, except it was rusty and illegal in 29 states. I prefer to remember that there are still thirteen states where I'm in absolutely great shape. Just don't ask me to name those states. I never was much good at math. In fact, I'm still having trouble with two plus two equals five for extremely large values of two. Somehow, that never seemed quite right to me. I felt like there ought to be a fraction in the result somewhere.
However, I succeeded in reaching the first limb. From there, it was bound to be easier than falling off a log. Uh, no, make that falling off a bicycle. No, that doesn't have the right ring, either. At any rate, I was doing my best to avoid doing anything rash.
"Okay, kitty. Come here, please. Just remember, I had some reason for not killing you. Now what was it?"
I was about to grab the cat when one of those damned super aliens swooped down suddenly and hovered beside the branch. He reached out for the cat. I could see my salary, er, no, actually, I couldn't see my salary anymore. He was stealing it away from me.
"Hey! That's not your job! I was hired to retrieve that cat!" I shouted.
"Beg your pardon?" he replied.
"You heard me! Yeah, I know. Mr. Spock died for your sins. Now just leave the cat and go. Otherwise, you're going to hear from my attorney for illegally blocking commerce! I've got to make a living too!"
Judging from how he blanched right then, I knew I'd found a weakness. There was something other than maybe immigration officials that the super aliens feared just as much, if not more. I finally had a super weapon that put me on a level playing field once more. Thank god. Naw, he didn't create them. Thank the devil for attorneys!
I shouted, "Scram! I don't need your help."
Actually, I did. At that moment, the cat ran away from the alien and right into my arms. However, that was enough to disturb my balance and I fell from that branch to the ground. Unfortunately, the super alien took me completely at my word and let me fall. Fortunately, my salary, er, the cat, rather, wasn't harmed as it was shielded by my body. I was in a world of hurt, but I still managed to stagger to my feet with the cat still in my grasp and eventually reach my car.
Yep, I delivered Mrs. Portnoy's cat to her before the deadline was reached. Yep, I received my salary and the bonus without blowing either by asking how old her gorgeous daughter was. Yep, I spent the bonus on getting my broken arm set and into a cast. Yep, I went back to the office and paid some bills. And yep, business is getting better since I can now advertise that I succeeded where one of the super aliens didn't. Maybe you've seen my ad, Jake Mordant Detective Agency, Will Fight Evil For Food. Catchy, huh?
Okay, I actually work for money, but I use that to buy food. Maybe I don't always make enough to pay the light bill, but who cares? After all, blonds have more fun because they're easier to find in the dark... and Sherry is a blond.
Copyright © 2003 by David Kuzminski