Dec 21, 2016

The headless horseman --- This is heaven --- teaser (19)

Alex and John are meeting Godehart in the Blue Moon to commiserate about the German's ouster from the festival contest. One paragraph into this Inspector LaStrada will make his appearance, the homicide detective who is in charge of the investigation of Neill Palmer's death. And the talk about the goldfish bowl? Bit complicated to explain, have a look here.

Godehart is expecting us at a bar table where he had a few shots already. “How did it happen,” we ask. Well, he failed to get the earphone working again. And the confusion. Whether he talked to the mayor. No, the mayor had disappeared. He talked to Beeblebrox though.
“Beeblebrox was very upset, I did better than Roper, he said. I should register a protest.”
“With whom?” Alex asks.
“My guardian angel, I presume.”
And the paper work? Did they at least provide him with a copy of the paperwork? No, nothing. Hamblin is basically incommunicado. And so is the City Club. A bunch of thugs. He learned his lesson, and orders another round.

Sorry to interrupt this.

Sorry to interrupt this, real quick: (a) have you seen the movie Sleepy Hollow with Jonny Depp as inspector Crane and Christopher Walken as the headless horseman (Depp stays a bit too much in character, doesn’t he?)? The horseman is Irish folklore, there are also headless versions without horse; (b) talking hyperboles; (c) you recall inspector LaStrada. He’s entering the premises of the Blue Moon as we speak, and he looks tonight like a horseless, headless inspector who wears a fishbowl under his arm, I swear.
His sad eyes have recognized me already. He deposits the fishbowl on our bar table (just kidding).
“What a coincidence,” he says.
“I thought you don’t believe in coincidences,” I say (my best line today).
“Mister,” he says.
“Yes,” I say.
“Mister,” he repeats.
“Lee,” Alex says, who must have missed out on the fishbowl aspect of this.
“Lee,” LaStrada says, “Yes, I remember you well. And you?”
“Alex,” Alex says.
“And this gentleman?”

A fishbowl under his arm.

“King Dracula,” Alex says, “almost.” Godehart---who seems to recover quickly from tonight’s upset---Godehart is his usual delighted self (absolutely the best attitude when you’re into casual lays, by the way).
“Please, I am pleased,” he says to LaStrada, “can we offer you a drink.”
“Unfortunately,” LaStrada replies, tapping my shoulder “this young man here will know, I am Inspector LaStrada of the Waycross investigation unit.”
“Unfortunately for you, or unfortunately for us?” Alex asks.
“I’m on duty, please no alcohol.”
“Orange juice?” Godehart suggests. No, orange juice is already too strong, just water, still water. Godehart, who had been busy talking up the new bar tender (Channing) when we arrived, Godehart orders a glass of still water for the INSPECTOR. There’s some commotion at the neighboring bar tables; they’re possibly thinking LaStrada is from Vice. That’s what Godehart seems to think as well since he asks, returning to the table: “You are coming here for the carnal knowledge?”
“King Dracula,” LaStrada replies pensively (define the difference between sad eyes and sadder eyes).
“Almost,” Godehart says. “I tried but got kicked out tonight.” He interrupts himself. “Yes, lodging complaints. Perhaps I can lodge a complaint with you, Inspector.”


Define the difference between sad and sadder 

And before we know it, he has told the whole story, the mayor, the City Club, Neill Palmer, the paperwork, the mayor suspiciously stepping down today, and so on.
“Alex, here, Alex suggested I should enter the contest and win the money back,” he says.
“So, for the record, you are not King Dracula,” LaStrada says.
“My name is Godehart Wagner,” Godehart says, “I moved into town a few months ago.”
“So, you know Neill Palmer?” LaStrada asks. Yes, of course. Good friend, wonderful person, great tragedy. Godehart is off to order another round from Channing.

“He knows Neill Palmer, and you know Neill Palmer,” LaStrada says pensively. He looks at me: “Let’s not talk about coincidences.” He looks at Alex:“How about you?”
“I don’t know,” Alex answers, “I don’t know whether I know him.”
“You don’t know whether you know Neill Palmer. Interesting.”

(I kick Alex’s shin under the table.)
"I committed suicide last week."

“I committed suicide last week,” Alex says. “Sorry. OD’d. Woke up with amnesia. Lost my episodic personal memory. I don’t know the people I knew.”
“If you committed suicide last week,” LaStrada says, “how come that you are still with us?”
“Perhaps you committed suicide as well,” Alex says.
“And him then?” LaStrada points at me.
“John?” Alex asks. “John, why did you kill yourself?”

"John?" Alex asks. "John, why did you kill yourself?" 

Godehart is back with more drinks. “Did I miss something?” he asks.
“Yes,” Alex says, “the reason for John’s suicide.”

“Not so fast,” LaStrada says. “Suicide …” he reiterates pensively, continues:
“ … Coincidences …You haven’t happen to leave a suicide letter behind, Mr. Alex, or did you.”
“Dunno,” Alex says. “Amnesia. I told you.”
“Yes, of course.” LaStrada contemplates the absent goldfish bowl.
“You know each other,” he asks me, pointing at Alex.
“Yes,” I say.
“You know each other well?”
“Yes and no,” I say.
“Yes and no,” LaStrada echoes. “You make me curious, Mr. Lee. Would you know anything about Mr. Alex’s suicide letter.”
“No, he doesn’t,” Alex says.
“Because my name is Iglesias.”
“Let me reiterate, do you know each other well?”
“We’re working on it.” Alex says, “Waiting for the Supreme Court to act on Georgia.”
“Acting on gay marriage. Legalizing gay marriage in Georgia.”

"We're working on it."

A warm sensation rises from my loins. Well, Alex is drunk now, let’s see whether he means it. But LaStrada appears impressed, almost shocked. He looks around as if he needs to find his bearings.

This could be any bar-restaurant, not much gay stuff about, one larger picture of two able-bodied guys painted in the colors of the rainbow, kissing, it’s sort of witty. Patrons are middle-aged, mostly. Baseball is playing on two overhead screens. There’s one balding guy with his hand on the shoulder of another balding guy, that’s basically it, except for Godehart who is making progress with Channing.

“So,” LaStrada says, “this is the infamous Blue Moon in action. You come here often?”
“Have you seen the darkroom?” Alex says.
“Yes,” LaStrada says. He saw the room yesterday morning when the CSI team recovered Neill Palmer’ body.
“Oh, right,” Alex insists. “It’s different at night. You should give it a try.”

"I know what the homosexual demographic does in darkrooms."

LaStrada informs us that he has an inkling what the homosexual demographic does in darkrooms, but there is also such a thing as professional ethics, and these ethics oblige him to scour the premises more thoroughly. That’s why he’s here, in fact, to scour the premises more thoroughly. He slips off his bar stool and disappears in the direction of the narrow hallway that leads yonder.

“Listen,” I say to Alex, “please sober up. Now.”
Alex raises his eyebrows.
“This is a homicide investigation, and our fingerprints are all over this case, yours and mine. Literally.”

(I never told him, of course. You, readers, know everything about this, Alex knows nothing. So I tell him.)

“I was desperate. You were about to make out with Amy-Lou, I had lost it.”
“You should have told me,” Alex says. He gets up, rolls his head, shakes it, sits down again on his stool. “Let’s try to sober up briefly.”
“Briefly,” I say.
“So,” he says, “let me think. We have Palmer, Ray, and Hamblin. Finite set theory.”

Blood spills. Palmer falls onto his penis.

“Combinatorics. Real-estate heir Neill Palmer has barely been told about his worsening AIDS diagnosis or he happens upon Mayor Hamblin who cunningly suggest to give back to the local community. But when Neill feels a final craving in his loins, he cannot help but visit the dungeon of lust that brought about his condition. Meanwhile, lonely Ray, a Malay boy from central casting, visits said dungeon frequently and serves the dying millionaire on this occasion. Destiny strikes, Palmer is stricken and changes his will on the spot. But who would have thought of wily Humbert Hamblin as a closet-gay in the closet? An embezzler of public funds who scours the darkrooms at night to forget about his guilty conscience? While conveniently pursuing his forbidden cravings? Killing two birds with one stone?”
“It doesn’t sound right,” I say.
“No,” he says, “I used ‘craving’ twice.”
“I thought you were drunk.”
“Must be Brigitta’s influence. Let me finish. Hamblin and Palmer cross paths in the dark. Palmer says to Hamblin: ‘Change of plan, sorry.’ Hamblin says to Palmer: ‘Change of plan, sorry.’ Blood spills, Palmer falls onto his penis…Along those lines. Did you listen, Godehart?”
“Yes,” Godehart says, turning his regard away from Channing.
“John and I get out of here before LaStrada can check on our finger prints or ask for my address---stupid I told him my name. LaStrada will be back. You plant the seeds. This guy loves conditionals. IF, Godehart, IF. Plant the seeds.”

He folds his arm around my shoulder. “John,” he says, “the more you fall in love, the more you want to make it.”
“Ugly,” I say.
“Let’s take a cab,” he says.

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