A story about someone capable of everything. As it turns out, such a thing sucks.
I must have sighed five times before the microwave quit humming. I thought the gesture was supposed to be more conscious than this. If it were, there’s no way I’d have just stared at the tile and moaned like an emo kid after his mom threw away his favorite pair of skinny jeans. Yet there I was, breathing like Eeyore immersed in his favorite Cure album.
I dislike that culture. Still, I doubt anyone’s ever accused me of being feminine enough to belong to the Dashboard Confessional crowd, so I guess that’s consolation.
The awesome-box dings and I reach for my prize without much thought. Of course, the steam escaping from the warped sides waits until the to-go box is suspended over the floor to burn the hell out of my hand. I manage to bear the pain long enough to get it to the counter, but I probably shouldn’t have. Curry’s cheaper than copays. We all know I’d eat it off the floor anyway.
I open and close the injured hand a few times, casually deliberating. Nah, it ain’t burned. I was just being drama-queenie about the copay bit.
I pinch a clump of hot, saucy rice between my fingers and pop it in my mouth. Four for four on curry for breakfast this week. I wonder how many people would claim such a thing is responsible for my malaise. Can it not fit in this balanced breakfast alongside Fructose-Frosted Diabete-O’s?
I begin rifling through random cupboards to see if I have any Fructose-Frosted Diabete-O’s, but the doorbell interrupts me.
What the hell, did I have an appointment today? That’s right, I did…
I dash to the intercom.
“Mornin’!” I greet with pretend cheer.
“Um, hi, I’m your nine o’clock?” He probably thought he was in the wrong place.
“Yup, Mr. Troy Orson, right? Come on up.” I unlock the door to the lobby before rushing to the bathroom.
The hairbrush falls off the counter as I pull the top drawer of the vanity open. I Houdini the child-safe lid off the orange canister of anti-depressant and quickly pop the first pill my fingers can secure. Yesterday’s hasn’t technically worn off yet, but if I wait for that to happen, I’ll likely bleed too much IQ to remember the next dose.
I emerge from the bathroom with frizzy hair and curry breath to open the entry door and leave it ajar. I’m counting on Mr. Client to have the nerve to know that means I can’t be damned to leave my curry to let him in.
“Hello?” A tentative greeting from the hallway.
“Yo,” I reply, mouth full. “Ih Oben”
He ambles in, analyzing the cluttered environment as he walks.
“Sorry if I’m intruding, I didn’t realize you worked out of the home.”
“It ain’t intruding if I say it ain’t. And it ain’t.”
“So you’re Glenda?”
“I gotta say, you don’t look like a Glenda.”
I get that a lot. Most Glendas probably weren’t born in rural India, but still, what’s a Glenda supposed to look like? I consider what I know about the character from The Wizard of Oz.
“I lent the wand, wings, and pink dress to my sister last night, she wanted to go ravin’.”
“That explains the farmhouse that fell onto that nightclub.”
He’s quick, good for him.
“I knew I wasn’t getting that stuff back intact. I also told her she wasn’t foolin’ anybody.”
“Look, I’m not the type that would judge your ethic off your attire, but I do feel like I need to offer to step out for a minute, if you need me to.”
I look down, finally cognizant that I’m only wearing an oversized t-shirt and my underwear. My mind instantly recalls the men back home, and how they’d say something like, “Women ask for it by the way they dress,” or something equally despicable.
Things were pretty pitiable there.
I bite my index fingernail and give him a prolonged, provocative look.
“I told ya, mister, I lent everything else to my sister. You aren’t tempted, are ya?”
His face flushes and he averts his eyes. “That’s just cruel.”
“I can go get dressed, but if you’ve got self-control, then it doesn’t bother me that you’re a healthy young man. I know I’m hot.”
“Not to mention modest. I’m okay if you’re okay. If a man is worth that label, he’d never act without permission.”
“Excellent. Now what can I do you for?”
“Really? After all that, you choose that phrase?”
“Shut up and tell me what you came here for.”
“You realize I can only do one of those at once.”
“I command you to do both.”
“How do you propose I do that, learn sign language real quick?”
“Ventriloquism would be way more impressive.”
He sighed. “My father just died, and I don’t believe it was suicide.”
I pause for a moment. This isn’t funny.
“Your lips moved.” I joke anyway.
“Your compassion is really touching.” He rolls his eyes.
“Sorry, you didn’t seem like you’re here for sympathy. Right, how can I help?”
He stares at the floor. “Look, I know you aren’t listed as a private investigator, but your description was really vague and you seemed to advertise affordability. Maybe I just need someone to bounce ideas off of.” His expression becomes determined and he looks me in the eye. “Don’t think I’m going to let you nickel and dime me off consultations, though!”
“Dude, if you hadn’t shown up this morning, I’d be putting my strainer over my head, mounting my unicycle, and jousting my fridge. I’m bored. You don’t need to worry about getting an invoice for this.”
He stares at me for a few moments. “I know that’s not what you were going for, but I really regret preventing what you just described.”
“Tune in next Wednesday at nine, then, www.youwish.com. Back to business.”
“There are three separate civil suits against him, all are doomed to fail. They just took a long shot ‘cause they knew he’s got money. My dad was perfectly healthy, and had everything going for him. There’s no way this is a coincidence, but the cops have closed their investigation.”
I’d heard about this on the news, it hadn’t occurred to me that I might be involved at some point.
“I see, you’re right. This does seem like a job for a private investigator.”
“Well, I’m not sure what I’m hiring for just yet, and I’m not sure how much I can spend on this, so that’s what I’m here to discuss.”
“We can do that. I don’t have any of the normal credentials you’d expect, but I think you’ll find ‘bored’ to be a stronger qualifier than you first expected.”
He paused for a second.
“You don’t own a unicycle, do you?”
“Or a strainer. I don’t even own the fridge, technically."