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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

February 3, 2006



Blancmange gazed out the window at the thick fog that blanketed London. I had had seen the look before. For Blancmange, it was worse than danger, worse than pain, worse than a tax audit. It was boredom. He reacted to it the way he always did, staring into space and absent-mindedly jabbing a pen knife into the cat. He needed a case to break the ennui, and as though on cue from some divine hand, fate intervened.

"Open the door", he said, "Sergeant Haffwitt is in the hallway".

"But, Blancmange, I didn't hear anything..."

Just then a dull thud came from outside. I went to the door and, just as Blancmange had predicted, Sergeant Haffwitt of the Metropolitan Police stood over the body of Mrs. Crabshaw, the housekeeper.

"But Blancmange!" I said, as always amazed at the Great Detective's powers of deduction, "However did you know?"

"Quite simple, my dear fellow! I saw a Metropolitan Police wagon out front and noticed that it was parked on top of a street urchin. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of an elderly woman being garroted. Such could only be the work of Sergeant Haffwitt!"

"Quite right, sir!", said Haffwitt. "Better to be safe, I always say!"

"Quite!" Blancmange said, tossing the cat into the fire. "And what news do you bring from Inspector Glucose? Could it be connected to the murder a fortnight ago of Sir Lemming Bemish, Lady Bemish, their son, Ponsonby, their maid, Siobhan, their groundskeeper, who didn't have a name, and the family peacock, Wilomina?"

"Always a step ahead of The Yard, sir!" Haffwitt said in genuine admiration, "It is indeed the case. Inspector Glucose is at his wit's end!"

"I'm sure there's pressure from the Crown," I added, "as Sir Lemming was a particular favorite of the Queen and a regular on the honors list."

"The only man to be knighted four years in a row!" Blancmange took a deep draw from the joint that he had lighted. "Curious. Why the peacock?"

"No witnesses?" ventured Haffwitt. "They can be trained to talk, after all!"

"No, that would be a parrot. Killing the peacock would be unnecessary. Yet every soul in the house was murdered, including the peacock. Why?"

"Some folks just like to be thorough, I reckon, sir", said Haffwitt, "You've got to admire it, even if you don't approve. Anyway, Inspector Glucose is right stumped, sir, and would be most grateful for any assistance you could offer. Now, if you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I'll be taking my leave."

After Haffwitt left, Blancmange stared dejectedly into the fire. This surprised me, as I would have expected that the prospect of a case would brighten his mood.

"I was hoping for a challenge, my dear Broadbeam. This case is a trifle."

"You mean you've solved it? But how?"

"Quite obvious, old fellow. Summon Inspector Glucose. Perhaps we can cheer our old friend on this dismal afternoon!"

Luckily, Haffwitt was drowning a charwoman in the horse trough outside, so I was able to give him Blancmange's message. Within the hour, Inspector Glucose stood in our rooms, hat in hand and quite out of breath."

"I ran all the way when I heard, Blancmange! And I was in Bristol!"

"My dear Inspector, you'll find it worth the trip when I reveal the truth about the Bemish murders!"

Glucose fell into a chair. I handed him a snifter of brandy, which he downed in a gulp. "I've been working on this case for a fortnight, Blancmange! The finest minds at The Yard are baffled. Yet you solved it without leaving this room! How can it be?"

"The crucial clue, my dear Glucose, was the peacock!"

Glucose drank another snifter of brandy. "I don't follow you."

"I thought to myself. Why the peacock? Then the answer came."

Glucose inhaled a carafe of wine. "Which was?"

"In olden days peacocks were often used as guardians. Like a watch dog, they become quite noisy when disturbed."

Glucose snorted a line of cocaine. "So what does that prove? How does it reveal the killer?"

"It was the oldest motivation of all, my dear Glucose. Jealousy!"

Glucose looked up from the needle he was sticking into his arm. "Jealousy?"

"I asked myself, who would not only be so jealous of Sir Lemming that he would extinguish his family and be knowledgeable enough to know that the peacock would raise an alarm and alert the family of his clandestine arrival?"

I gasped. "Surely, you don't mean..."

"I do, my dear Broadbeam! None other than Merridew Grackle, peacock keeper to the Crown and a man repeatedly spurned for the honors list despite decades of faithful service! I think if you search his cottage, you'll find peacock feathers!"

"Well", I offered, "He is the Queen's peacock keeper!"


Glucose downed a bottle of scotch. "I never cease to be amazed, Blancmange. I swear, in the Middle Ages they'd have burned you at the stake!"



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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
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Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11