WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......
THE PROVERBIAL RED HERRING(S)
FISHIE THE FIRST
Lobster just stared blankly at her, switching his Zippo from hand to hand as the case heated up. Then his face lit up as a new series of ideas cascaded into his brain and out of his mouth.
"Now I got it! You're a member of a gang of international criminals! Hired to fly over from France tonight and off that dude in the library! You were the decoy! Everyone knows I never could turn my back on a set of curves like yours, sister! So, while I was following you with my tongue hanging out like a dog in August looking for a cool drink of water, your buddy waz doin' the deed in another room! You Frenchies are pretty slick! Almost had me there. But I got a little surprise for you too!"
With that prophetic pronouncement, Lobster reached behind him in the darkness and rolled a tightly trussed figure into the wan circle of light cast by the "Sam Spade Commemorative" Zippo lighter. Lobster stretched out a patent leather clad foot and roughly turned his captive's face up to the light.
"filip!" shrieked Zelda, falling to her knees besides the helpless bundle. "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in another story line. How did you end up here?"
"So you two DO know each other! I was right! Gang members! I've been dragging around this load of bad all night too! Had to stuff a sock in his face to stop his whining. Just couldn't take it ... that I'd seen through his sorry disguise as a tourist and nailed him for what he was ... a cold-blooded murderer! Kept yammerin' at me in some god-awful lingo I couldn't make heads or tails of. Gave me a headache."
Lobster turned aside to light the cigar stub parked behind his right ear. Zelda took the opportunity to remove the sock from filip's mouth and to untie his limbs. As soon as filip could draw in a breath he began shouting:
"Imbécile ! Qu'est-ce que c'est que ce traitement ?? J'ai rien demandé à personne et d'un coup me voilà kidnappé à l'aéroport, ficelé comme un saucisson, flanqué dans un coffre de taxi puant avec un cadavre pour compagnie, traîné je ne sais où le long de ces couloirs gelés et noirs comme un four... Vous êtes malade ou quoi ?? Comment ça se fait que personne ne s'est encore décidé à se débarasser définitivement de vous, ça me dépasse !"
As filip stopped to inhale, Zelda quickly asked: "filip, why are you here? Were you on my plane? What's going on?"
Filip blushed slightly as he replied in a calmer tone "Well, you see, I was SO grateful for winning the iPad in your wonderful MobileRead contest that I decided to use my vacation and come over to thank you folks personally. I was sitting in the back of the plane, and didn't see you until we arrived here and were disembarking. Just as I was about to call out to you, this fathead slugged me with his shoe, tied me up, and stuffed me into the trunk of an obviously stolen cab. Is he insane, or is this how Americans carry on a courtship? He's been staring at you, drooling, ever since he saw you."
Zelda shuddered visibly and strongly denied any connection with the gormless gumshoe. She helped filip to his feet, and the two turned to face Lobster, now puffing contentedly on his loathsome stogie and clicking a pair of handcuffs open and closed, open and closed.
Knowing she would regret asking, but unable to resist the urge to shut Lobster's trap for good, Zelda had to inquire: "So, Rock, if you had filip hog-tied the entire night, dragging him around with you, AND you never took your eyes off of me, *shudder* AND I was never alone all night, how could either one of us had the opportunity to kill anyone? Eh?"
"Not to mention the fact that the alleged victim answered the door and let you in just now!"
Rock Lobster stood rock still. That WAS a poser. He knew he had a body. He knew he had a suspect -- two of them! And they were foreign to boot. How to connect the one to the other? How would Dick Tracy solve this case?
Glaciers shrank visibly as Rock scratched, rolled his head to loosen his neck, glared in every direction for possible leads, and finally returned his eyes to the guilty pair. Damn, they looked guilty. They HAD to be guilty. He didn't have any other suspects, besides himself, and he was pretty sure he hadn't murdered anyone .... yet.
Suddenly he jerked his head to one side and shouted "Did you hear that? Down there! They're getting away! After them!"
And he tore off running as fast as he could down the darkened hallway, taking the light with him!
"C'est ça, tire-toi puisque tu n'as pas de réponse ! Quand je pense que tu vas essayer de facturer cette pantalonnade... j'aimerais bien voir le détail de cette note !"
As Lobster's voice and light faded into the distance, Zelda leaned against the wall in the newly darkened hallway and remarked:
"Well, looks like we're left in the dark. Again."
[Will Zelda (and filip) be rescued?]
[Who is Rock Lobster chasing?]
[What's Jeeves been doing all this time?]