PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…
AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…
“Two heinous misdeeds have occurred this evening,” I said. “The theft of my poker moolah and an expulsion so ghastly that it not only drove my wife mad…”
“Grandpappy Guilliaum, is that you?” Muffy asked. “Come back to me, Grandpappy!”
“…but it also rocked the stability of the Allied powers.”
“He who expounded it, pounded it,” Rupert said.
“SILENCE!” I shouted.
The room grew quiet.
“Two offenses,” I said, “And not one of you will come forward to claim either or both of them.”
“Are they even connected?” Fremont asked.
“An astute question, Professor,” I said. “If either action was not a reaction to the opposing action then that is quite a coincidence and my detective’s intuition always mandates that I must never assume a coincidence has occurred until two events are proven to be unconnected to one another.”
“I am surrounded by idiotas,” Signora Bellavenuti said.
“Motivation,” I said. “Though a circumstantial lens through which to view a case, motivation, more often than not, provides the first glimpse of the true culprit. Though a person had a reason to do something does not mean he or she did it, determining who had the most reason to do it is a necessary exercise in any investigation.”
“Then exercise away,” the Count said.
“I will,” I replied. “And Count Rickard, I will start with you and the Countess.”
The Countess’ monocle popped off yet again.
“How dare you?!”
“Hatcher,” the Count said. “Why would one of us ruin our own dinner party?”
I thought about it.
“You wouldn’t,” I said. “You are a couple of leisure and you enjoy consorting with the various celebrities and beautiful people who make their way to Monaco in the summer. Pardon the pun, but one whiff of what happened here this evening will lead to your social calendar being very empty. Neither of you would have done this.”
The Count was furious.
“Then stop wasting time and tell us who did it!”
I spun around and pointed at the would be big game hunter.
“Yes you!” I said.
I walked over to the corpulent self-proclaimed Safari master and got right in his face.
“Stereotypically speaking, you’re the prime candidate to pin the evil excretion on!”
The Lord’s eyes shifted back and forth. He looked exceptionally nervous.
“You are,” I said. “Pardon my impropriety, but these are desperate times, so I must point out that you are the fattest person in the room, and thus if we are to remain true to our default mindset, then you are the one to blame, for one of the oldest stereotypes in the book is that the obese have no ability to control their bowels!”
“Yes!” Signora Bellavenuti shouted. “It was the fat man! Take him away!”
“I didn’t do it I swear!”
“Didn’t you?” I asked as I studied the man’s eyes. “You consume more food than the average man…”
“I do not!” Lord Blackburn interrupted. “It’s glandular!”
“That’s what they all say!” I screamed in the Lord’s fast as I grabbed him by the shoulders and continued my interrogation. “You eat more food than the average man and therefore, you have a greater propensity to produce an emission!”
“LIES!” Lord Blackburn cried. “ALL LIES!”
“Hatcher,” Yakubovich said. “Of course the overweight Westerner did it. All you capitalist pigs do all day long is stuff your faces and pass gas with nary a thought of the rest of the world.”
“Did you do it?” I asked.
“DID YOU DO IT?”
Lord Blackburn broke out into tears and made an impassioned plea.
“All my life, I have struggled with my weight. And all my life, whenever the source of an odor is in question, the finger is immediately pointed at me. I bathe early and often, multiple times a day just to avoid suspicion for I know the world is full of cruel, callous people and false accusations of odor production will always be my lot in life.”
My heart sunk. Sometimes being a jerk is part of a private dick’s job. It’s necessary, but it’s also the one aspect I despise the most.
“I assure you sir, it was not me. I can control myself just as well as any man. I was once chased by rabid cougar and not once did I expectorate through my sphincter.”
“Hmm,” I said.
I patted the big galoot on the shoulder.
“I believe him.”
I was derided throughout the room. “Oh come on!” and “He did it!” and so forth.
“No,” I said. “People, please. The only thing that separates us from the animals that Lord Blackburn claims to murder so often is the ability to make deductions based on reasoning and not preconceived notions about a man just because he’s part of a certain group or class.”
“Your heart is bleeding, comrade,” Yakubovich said.
“Yes,” I said.
I crossed over to the other side of the table.
Now it was my turn.
“Stand up!” I ordered Yakubovich.
“Please do as his says, Mr. Yakubovich,” the Count said. “We must get to the bottom of this.”
Yakubovich rose up.
“And it was out of your bottom from which this entire evening came, isn’t it Yaku-bopper?”
“Watch your tongue before I cut it out.”
“Earlier, you came to me and asked me to stand up,” I said. “I expected that you were going to throttle me but instead you gave me a hug. It was most out of character for a man suspected of being one of the world’s most notorious black market arms dealers!”
“I am legitimate businessman!” Yakubovich said. “And I wished to apologize for being a poor sport but now I wish I hadn’t it.”
“Or perhaps you never did?” I asked. “Perhaps when you hugged me and squeezed me with the muscles you formed while toiling your youth away in a Siberian gulag…”
I reached into the man’s jacket pockets.
“…you were merely distracting me just long enough to stick a hand inside my coat and swipe the check for the winnings you were not man enough to admit that you lost fair and square!”
I turned his pockets out.
They were empty.
“Oh,” I said.
“What a moron,” Yakubovich said. “Hatcher, you are making a spectacle of yourself. Your check probably fell out somewhere around the house. You should retrace your steps for it.”
“Should I?” I asked. “Or should I…check your pants pockets?!”
I turned those inside out too. Nothing.
“Fine!” Yakubovich said as he angrily unfastened his belt. “You want to inspect everything? Here we go!”
The Russian dropped his drawers to reveal a pair of red polka dot boxers. He ripped off his coat and shirt for good measure, but left his undershirt on.
He stood there in his skivvies staring at me.
“Are you happy now?!”
“Good news, Sergei,” I said. “You’re in the clear!”