Malcolm had a gig, and as fitting one of the many universal constants only I seemed to understand clearly, because he had to lurk and skulk outside in alleys and backstreets, it was pouring with rain.
At least it was my favourite kind of rain... When you have little choice, but to be rained on, you don’t want some light drizzle, a misting dampness will do little for levels of satisfaction, even a light shower will only go so far. When you’re going to be rained on you want an endless, incessant, downpour of huge, heavy droplets, pervading their way through even the most trustworthy of waterproofs. He was not disappointed.
It was an unusual case... I’d been diligently solving the mystery hidden by the contents of a cheap bottle of scotch, quite happy to have no multitasking demands, when into my office burst an individual reminding me of both an underage clown and a medieval criminal fresh from the stocks.
He was a young man, fit and strong, but in a manner that struck Malcolm as artificial (yea, a sign of madness to mention yourself in the third person, but really... have you met me...); it appeared sculpted, as if some personal trainer had tried to squeeze and squash some experiment into their ideal mould... the jury was still out as to whether he’d been successful...
The reason for the clown impression was far more tangible: his hair was brushed down over one eye in the right, but the left was shaved. There were blond streaks in the thick, heavy black strands. He was three days unshaven (a fact Malcom could certainly identify with... once a week or so), but the stubble was a little to trimmer and had the feel of pruning (not that he had any interest in feeling... much of anything). The clothing, to cut matters short, consisted of vastly baggy shorts, stripped maroon and blue (a combination Malcolm couldn’t recall seeing before - thanked his eyes, and to lessen the initial fright he poured himself another glass just to numb the shock a little), and a white t-shirt sporting a picture of the wearer nearly obscured with gold chains so lacking in taste one would be tempted to just give up eating!
The medieval criminal mnemonic was struck by the remarkable fact the young clown was dripping in rotten tomato... it matter his tailored hair, dribbled through the links in his heavy chains, and tried in vain to turn the bright blue of the shorts into the more conservative maroon, without any success.
While I did, in reality, know who the desperate, angry looking young man was - it was difficult not too considering his face had been recently plastered across the huge billboard unfortunately situated opposite the window of Malcolm’s less that luxurious office/home (the couch actually had a Malcolm shaped indent), he decided to have a little fun...
‘So you’re the new janitor; shouldn’t you be in overalls?’ Innocently inquires Malcolm. It’s wonderful to use the word ‘new’ with people. It nicely put anyone without any self-confidence under your manipulative control, and those who, whether truly or under the delusional belief their life had granted them some right to respect and admiration, had developed a sensitivity to criticism or irrelevance, would immediately feel the need to defend their position (there were a happy few who were grounded in experience, but realised the universe simply didn’t give a shit).
The effect was instant and gratifying... The poor young chap looked a little confused, all the indignation fled from his visage, he stared around for a moment as if he’d forgotten where he was, until I politely coughed and by directing his attention back to me relieved him of his mental rebellion. There was an almost audible sign and now, instead of trampling over my more than a little sensitive inebriated state, looked askance before plonking himself into the seat facing mine.
I sat staring at him hoping he’d go away... it didn’t work.
‘Mr Disco...?’ I allowed my head to fall a little towards the desk. ‘I need you to find someone...’
Well, that’s how it started. Of course, at first I thought it a simple missing person case, probably someone too low on the social pecking to attract the attention of the press going to a more... prestigious PI might elicit. I was really mistaken...
Apparently, the guy had been performing at one of his concerts, a couple of days ago. With the enthusiasm of five year old impressing a three he’d sung his new release, or rather managed to grunt out the first three mangled combination of song and angry speech (sorry, not a fan...), and been abused off the stage by a small group of individuals armed, apparently intentionally, with rotten tomatoes purchased and ripened specifically for the task at hand (the poor chap had hidden away for two days in a cheap bed and breakfast bewailing the unfairness of the universe).
Anyone who has lived even a relatively in blessed life will realise after the age of thirteen or so the universe has little or no direction, and that little is purely focused on causing darkly ironic upsets for those said unblessed...
At this point his band, claiming to be loathe to leave a paying audience unsatisfied, had continued on with what critics are now claiming to be one of the greatest instrumental performances of all time.
The final result... the music company has released him from his contract, offered his band a fantastic fee to sign without him, and he was left smeared in rotten, dried tomato for his trouble.
The whole thing he lay squarely at the feet of some guy he’d identified as the ringleader of previously mentioned hecklers. This then was my rather unusual commission - to track down the leading tomato dispenser and deliver his location to my new employer... the trail... as always... lee me to a dirty, dark alley, in the midst of a rainstorm. I’m fairly convinced the god or rain and hail adores me to such an extent I can’t leave the house without him finding an uncontrollable urge to cuddle...
At this point, and I shall avoid all the steps in between, I had tracked down the dastardly rascal and was just awaiting a lull in the storm before venturing back to my office to enjoy a drink and collect my final fee. Unfortunately, I’d been struck by a pang of conscience... always a bad sign, because at this point the nature of my work - finding, spying, and reporting on predominantly innocent people, conflicted with a great desire to be able to pay for whiskey in order to forget my work was predominantly finding, spying, and reporting on predominantly innocent people...
Looking at the facts: my client made coupling cats sound like relaxing sleep music by comparison, the world in general was a brighter, certainly quieter, and decidedly more fashionable, place without him being cheered into centre stage by a large number of individuals whose only idea of good taste was strawberry ice cream, and the fellow who had initiated this world enhancing state seemed not only pretty nice, but even seemed a little guilt ridden over how he might have affected my client’s self-confidence (a state my client wouldn’t have been aware of if it had sat up and played something melodious).
In the end it was all just too much; nursing the comforting thought I still had three days wages in my pocket, a bottle and a half of whiskey stashed in the office for a rainy day, and as we’re previously established... they all pretty much fit that category, I leapt right into the arms of my favourite god and set off home without any intention of calling my client (it wasn’t till about twenty minutes and a series of hugs later my good deed paid off in the form of charging my client another week’s wages due to unforeseen [moral] circumstances...who says ‘no good deed goes unpunished’?