Sunday, June 18, 2017

Aachoo Voo, PRIVATE EYE Episode 8

Aachoo Voo, Private Eye
Episode Eight

       I remember waking up on a Thursday morning and the whole damned world was in black and white. Black and white, as in a black and white movie. As dark and morbid and strange as Peter Lorre in “Mad Love.” I remember stretching my arms and looking toward my usually yellow striped bedroom curtains and thinking that it was still dark and that the moon was shining outside and that I had awakened much too early for my afternoonish tastes. I switched on the lamp that stood on the bedside table piled high with Raymond Chandler paperbacks and cat toys and phone numbers written on odd pieces of anything and everything. Manny the mouse peeked his little head out of his matchbox and looked at me sleepily, (he was a late sleeper too, as he stayed up half the night playing hide and seek with Weiner, his beloved arch nemesis) and looked at me,  whiskers twitching.

I eyeballed the yellow room and noticed it wasn’t eyeballing me back. I knew something was off but so much of my life was off that a new kind of “off” couldn’t be immediately determined. I threw back the covers, hurried to the window and looked out at the neighborhood. Way down below I noticed Fred Meck the mailman delivering mail and I thought that was a funny thing to do in the middle of the night. Then I saw people rushing into Clapsaddle's carrying newspapers and men in suits jaywalking in traffic and women with shopping bags and cops arresting the usual suspects down on the corner and I said to myself, “What the h………..?!” So I pulled the window back down and went to the bathroom, rubbing my eyes as I stumbled down the hallway, tripping over various animals along the way.\
I stared at myself in the mirror for a good three minutes before I realized that my face looked different. Then I turned round and stared at the room and then I scowled at Weiner who was standing there purring in the doorway with a puzzled look on his face. I also noticed that he was no longer bright orange but a darkish gray. The wallpaper was no longer pink with little red rosettes and gold champagne glasses. The towels were colorless. The floor was colorless. I was colorless. Heck, the whole apartment was colorless!! The only thing that looked normal to me was the parrot and he had never looked normal to me. I ran into the kitchen and slung the cover off his cage and he yawned at me and said in a menacing tone, “Yeah, whatdaya want? You askin’ for trouble, I’ll give ya trouble!” “What time is it?” I asked him stupidly and he shrugged and turned his back to me. “How should I know? I can’t see the clock from here.”

I ran to the living room and turned on the television set and waited for the tubes to heat up. I clicked on the radio and the news was starting. I listened nervously, wondering if there had been a Martian invasion or a new German threat or if God had suddenly decided to suck all the color out of the planet. Nothing. Just the usual. Stick ups and hold ups and blow ups and show ups. Crime in the streets and movie stars on the marquees. Governmental bores and glamorous gangsters. Death and taxes. Taxes and death. Nothing about the world going black and white and the sun hanging as pale as a Harvest moon over New York City at noon.

There was a tidbit that I almost missed about Si, the Shellac salesman on the TV but it was nearly drowned out by the radio. I was staring out the window at a blue bird singing on the window sill who was no longer blue, (the bird, that is) and barely heard it but caught the tail end of the story. Said there had been new developments in the case and showed a big blowsy blonde covering her face and being ushered away by cops. She looked vaguely familiar. Distinctly vaguely familiar. Like the dame-down-the hallway-familiar. “What gives?” I said and shook my head. Then I saw my own face flashed for a moment across the screen but the sounds of Glenn Miller came blasting out of the radio and I couldn’t hear what they said about me. I snapped off the thing but it was too late. The newscast was over. And I had looked as black and white on the television as I had in my bathroom mirror moments before.

I turned off all the lights, pulled down the shades and jumped back into bed. I snuggled so far down under the covers that my long legs stuck out of the bed about two feet but I refused to pull myself back up on the pillows. I wasn’t about to believe that this wasn’t just a bad dream. Or a fever. I wasn’t buying this reality. No sir! This was merely the result of eating my mother’s week old caviar on month old soda crackers and that was all there was to it! I had cleaned out the Frigidaire in the middle of the night last night on a whim and what I hadn’t eaten, Weiner, Toulouse and the ferret had scarfed down. We had turned it into quite the little party.

Music was playing, the mouse flickered the light switch up and down, up and down, we finished off several half-full bottles of MiMi’s home made wine, we wore old New Year’s Eve party hats, at one point someone started a conga line, we ate unidentifiable bowls of leftover food, laughed a lot and generally made fools of ourselves while having a high ole time. The parrot kept threatening to call the cops but we ignored him and taped his beak closed and covered his cage with a Mexican serape and a pair of my old pajamas. But then, we usually did that on Wednesday nights.

I kept hoping that Lance would show up as he sometimes did at unexpected moments but he didn’t. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, not since the zipper incident. He was always going off on trips, sometimes for weeks on end and hinting that he was working for the government. (Of what country, I had no idea) but I didn’t believe him. He was too, I don’t know, devil-may-care-ladies-mannish-come-hitherish-too-lazy-to-do-his-own-laundryish-ish, to me. He drank my coffee by the gallon, ate my bacon by the skillet full, borrowed my shampoo by the……..but I didn’t care. He entertained me and irritated the heck out of the parrot. He was always joking that the parrot acted like a jealous lover when he was around but I told him that the parrot was just a sorehead and had never gotten over being dispatched from my mother’s mansion.

 He found my apartment beneath his dignity and my various pets not worth his scorn. I did not consider him a pet. I considered him a pest and an intellectual snob. I didn’t want him and he didn’t want me. He worked for my mother and I aimed to prove it but so far, I was only armed with my suspicions. My mother insisted that she’d given him to me out of love (for me) and concern for (his) safety as her high bred Persian kitty cat kept trying to eat him but I had never seen that chubby little fur ball eat anything but filet mignon and catnip so I wasn’t buying that falderal. (One of my father’s words.) He was a spy, plain and simple. But he kept me on my toes.

I think the Si murder mystery was bothering me more than I cared to admit. I didn’t like the fact that those two cops kept hanging around outside watching my apartment while pretending to be badly dressed tourists from China. Who were they fooling? They didn’t even look Chinese. And the tall one with the white beard certainly looked nothing like a Chinese woman. I didn’t like the mysterious phone calls I kept getting either where no one said anything but I could hear them breathing. Of course, a couple of times, I knew it was the parrot calling my office because I recognized his snicker. But they were coming at all hours of the day and night now and only half of them were from my mother. I was worried. I smelled a frame up. I hadn’t killed that salesman and didn’t know who did but I had a bad feeling about the whole thing. Things didn’t add up. They never had. Mainly, because I had never been good in math but that was just the way it was.

 Not good at modeling, though I had given it a shot to please my mother, not good at dancing on stage (because I usually ended up falling off stage) not good at singing (except along with Larry, Curly and Moe) not good at being an obedient and respectful daughter, not good with high or low society, terrible at keeping boyfriends and driving. I didn’t know what I was good at, but I darned sure gave it my all! Nobody could say I didn’t give it my all! I guess private-eyeing was about the only thing I was good at but Lord knows, half of that success just turned out to be dumb luck. I did have plenty of luck, I couldn’t deny that. Good, bad or worse, I did have luck. I got that from MiMi and Poppi Voo, I think. They were full of it............ and I was their heir.

To be continued in Episode 9
somewhere, sometime......

Detective Yettiman in disguise



                                 Detective Coyote and his disguise in background

                                                  Fred Mecklenburg as 
                                                             Fred Meck the mailman

MiMi and Poppi Voo

                                                 ©By Voo