PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES – CASE FILE #001:
PART 1 – Hatcher hates commies, fancy coffees, and angry dames in trousers.
And now Pop Culture Mysteries continues…
The LA Public Library. The joint was lousy with books as far as the eye could see. It was comforting because over the past year I’d kept hearing that they were going the way of the dodo bird. I hope they don’t. If there’s one thing this old shamus likes, it’s the feel of a printed page in my fingers as I pour through a volume of tall tales.
They also had a bunch of beep boop machines and it became clear to me I was going to need access to one in order to solve my first pop culture mystery. Ms. Donnelly’s men had yet to bring the ones promised me to my office. That was aces in my book. I wasn’t looking forward to having them.
As I sat there in front of one of the machines, I scratched my head and probably bore a close resemblance to the first caveman to ever see fire. I tapped a key. Nothing. I tapped another one. Nothing again. I tapped a third one. This message popped up on the screen:
An error of type 110147 has occurred.
“So fix it up and get it going, fella,” I replied out loud. “Come on now. I don’t have all day to spend on this nonsense. I’ve got a serious caper to sniff out, see?”
I looked up to my left to find an old gray haired bird who was tickling the keys of her beep boop machine like she was a Jazz man in front of a baby grand.
“Sir,” the old lady said. “You know the computer doesn’t talk to you.”
“It doesn’t?” I asked. “Then what the hell is it good for?”
“What are you trying to do?” the gal asked. “I’m one of the librarians here. Maybe I can help you.”
“I need to find whatever I can about an architect,” I replied. “Some swarthy curly haired gent who went by the name of Brady.”
“You should pull up the Internet,” the old woman said.
“Oh,” the lady said. “I don’t know how to explain it to you, young man. The computers talk to each other and share information?”
“That went over my head higher than the cow did when he jumped over the moon, ma’am.”
The old gal sighed and took the key typer thing away from me. She ran her fingers on the keys and made the beep bop machine throw up a screen with a blank box on it.
I sat there like a useless bump on a log, watching the broad as she typed in the words, “B-R-A-D-Y…B-U-N-C-H.”
“That was one of my favorite shows,” the lady said. “Yours too I suppose?”
“Never seen it,” I replied.
While the librarian surfed the Interwhatever, I opened up the file Delilah had brought me and read Bookshelf Q. Battler’s marching orders:
Here’s the story…of a lovely lady. She was bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had hair of gold…like their mother….the youngest one in curls.
Here’s the story of a man named Brady. He was busy bringing up three boys of his own. They were four men living all together. Yet, they were all alone.
I didn’t write that. That’s the theme song to the classic TV show, The Brady Bunch starring Robert Reed as Michael and Florence Henderson as Carol Brady.
The lyrics go on:
“Till the one day when this lady met this fellow and they knew that it must be more than a hunch, that this group must somehow form a family…that’s the way we all became the Brady Bunch.”
That’s how the song goes, but it’s rather convenient, is it? That’s how the group became a family? That’s all that happened? Just sweep the past of what happened before Mike met Carol under the rug, right? Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
If you ask me, the whole thing smells worse than an open sewer grate. Mike Brady had three sons and no wife. Carol Brady had three daughters and no husband.
What happened to Mike Brady’s first wife, Hatcher? What happened to Carol Brady’s first husband?
Your first pop culture mystery – “What the hell happened to the original Brady spouses?”
Godspeed, Hatcher. My 3.5 readers demand an answer to this baffling conundrum.
Bookshelf Q. Battler.
I closed the file and looked at the Brady Bunch fan website the old librarian lady had managed to pull up. She was a sweet old gal who reminded me of my grandmother, complete with a need to stop every five minutes and offer me a butterscotch candy, which I accepted eagerly. It reminded me of the good old days, a simpler time when you could accept candy from a stranger without ending up in a hospital.
Her name was Agnes and on her own computer she was looking up information about high blood pressure remedies for her old husband Herbert, who she told me was at home sick in bed and feeling lousier than the floor of a bus station bathroom after a three day weekend.
She was happy to have my company and I was glad to have her help. Win-win.
“I have a grandson your age,” the old gal said. “He makes fun of me all the time, telling me I don’t know anything about computers, but boy howdy, you really know nothing.”
I moved that little thing they call a mouse around but nothing happened.
“You been living under a rock for awhile, son?”
“Something like that,” I replied. “Wanna do a sleuth a kindness and ask this contraption to figure out what happened to Mr. Brady’s first wife?”
“Oh,” Agnes said. “You know, that’s a good question. I watched that show for years and never once thought to think about what happened to the first Mrs. Brady.”
“Well,’ I said. “It’s a good question, isn’t it? Did she dump Mike and run off with the milk man? Did Mike ship her off to a convent? Did she have a nervous breakdown and get carted off to a rubber room by the men in the white lab coats? Did he push the broad down a flight of stairs, make like it was an accident to the cops and collect a big pay day from the insurance company? God Sakes Alive, Agnes! This man might have chopped his first wife into a million pieces and buried her under his front porch for all we know.”
“Your mind goes a mile a minute,” Agnes said. “Just like my grandson’s.”
“And what about Carol’s first fella?” I asked. “Was Carol a cold fish and he couldn’t take the celibate lifestyle any longer? Did he come home one night too many reeking of cheap booze and the perfume of an even cheaper hussy? Did she lose control and hack him to bits with a butcher knife? Strangle him in his sleep? Blow him away with a 12-gauge and dissolve the body in an acid bath? That’s how I’d do it. Not that I would, but if I had to, I mean. Christ, I hope the poor man either passed away from natural causes or at the very least maybe he and Carol had an amicable split.”
“It’s all very interesting,” old Agnes said, “But why are you so preoccupied with this? It was just a silly TV show.”
“Never you mind, Agnes,” I replied. “Do some typey typey on this weirdo device, will ya? See what you can come up with. I’m gonna hit the head.”
Detective Jake Hatcher is on the case. Well, Agnes the Librarian is anyway. Hatcher has to tinkle. See how this caper unfolds in the next installment of Pop Culture Mysteries!
Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler (2015) All Rights Reserved.
Old lady librarian photo courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.
Attorney Donnelly notes that the first Brady Bunch spouses were not murdered or otherwise dispatched via foul play and that part of this post is just a joke.