I hate *cough* being sick, don’t you? So in lieu of illness, enjoy this masterpiece of long ago, an original creation which hopefully will get a few laughs.
The Kindly Old Maniac
(Curse you stupid numbers that won’t go away! Sorry, technical difficulties. Enjoy!)
Throughout the entire city, icy winds were constantly and furiously blowing, making the entire population of Wichita, which included this illustrious private eye, basically miserable. It was about ten o’clock in the morning and I was sitting in my chair behind my desk, relaxing with a cup of stale, green coffee and last week’s newspaper.
Tentatively, I raised the cup up to my lips, giving the coffee a once over to make sure that there were no living organisms squirming about in it. With my secretary, you could never tell. As I was about to gulp down that repulsive fluid, suddenly a knock at my door alerted me to the presence of someone outside of it. I was about to shout for my secretary to come and open the door, when I remembered that she hadn’t come in today. Or yesterday. Or last month. In fact she hadn’t been here in quite a long time.
Musing over where my coffee had actually come from, I calmly strode over to the door in order to save my building from structural damage due to the fanatic’s excessive pounding. When I graciously opened the door, a wild-eyed maniac, with a fierce look, came bounding through.
“Are you the owner of this hole in the wall?” he asked, eying my office with disgust.
“No, I only rent it,” I replied nonchalantly, a slight regret that I couldn’t even afford to own a dump like this.
“Whatever,” he continued, “In any case it doesn’t really matter. I’m here with a proposal that could help make you filthy rich.” Instantly, I smiled a bright, warm smile at this kindly old gentleman who had come into my office. In my most benevolent voice, I held out my cup to him and offered, “Coffee?”
Two hours later, I was relaxing in the sitting area at the hospital, waiting for him to finish having his stomach pumped. Who knew that my coffee would have such an effect on him? I shuddered at the thought of what might have happened if he had actually drank it. Finally, my potential client was escorted out of the ER by a couple of doctors creepily dressed in long, white lab coats.
Coughing as he walked over to me, the man eased himself into one of the stairs that stood by the wall, evidently joking around by pretending to be distressed upon seeing me. “Well,” I said, “now that we got that out of our way, what was is you were going to offer me?” He glanced up at me and gave a slight groan.
After a few minutes he shook his head and mumbled, “I guess you’re all I got. Nuts. But anyway, you see there’s this big reward out on this one infamous criminal and I mean to collect, but I need someone with police contacts to help me out so that it’s all legal. Believe me I would use the police, but as you know, they aren’t allowed to collect the reward. So how about it? We’d have to go trudging through quite a bit of this mud and muck outside, but it’s a good profit at the end.”
Throughout his entire presentation, I had assumed a look of eager expectation, but upon hearing that it would involve going outside for periods of time into this weather, and some actual work, I hastily assumed my that’s-interesting-but-not-for-me look.
Once more, smiling benevolently, I turned to him and replied, “You know, that’s real interesting, but that’s not for me. But say, if you ever need help getting rid of the cash once you’ve caught this criminal and collected the reward, be sure to look me up.” I warmly shook his hand and strode out of the hospital, opened the door of my car and drove away. For some reason, he came running after me for a little while, yelling and waving at me. Being a nice guy, who was always friendly towards people even if they were a bit eccentric, I smiled and waved back.
It was three o’clock in the afternoon on a particularly cold winter day and I was sitting at my desk, breathing in the musty air that permeated the surroundings. Cautiously, I reclined back in my seat, remembering that I still had to have my chair fixed as soon as I could afford it. On my desk sat this week’s newspaper, most of it still readable.
As I picked it up, the headline, which seemed to be quite long, caught my attention. It read, Hard working citizen catches hard faced criminal, even without help from outside source, collects huge reward. Rather impressed that they were able to fit so many words into a single headline, I picked it up and started to read about how this one man had sought the help of a lazy, irresponsible private eye and then, after being rejected and staying in the hospital for two weeks because of pneumonia, which he had contracted from running home through the cold weather after having his stomach pumped at a hospital, had gone and heroically collected this criminal all by himself.
On the spur of the moment, I flipped through a couple of pages and came to a picture of the man himself. Sitting there, looking smug was a picture of the very man who had tried to enlist my help three weeks earlier. I sat back, digesting this piece of information, wondering how dumb that guy could have been, to walk home from the hospital out in this weather. He could’ve just used the car that he had left here when I drove him to the…Oh. That helped explain the screaming and waving.