Paperclip Down

rabbits- acrylic on wood

“But why we gotta go NOW?” asked Ripkin, who was- somehow- clutching a beer; his blue paper bum making no impression whatsoever on the stained old faux-suede couch, but feeling oh-so-comfortable nonetheless.

A5er shot Ripkin one of his “Don’t crumple with me” looks.

Ripkin sighed. The cricket was on in 10 minutes and all.

A5er was small, but feisty. And sharp. Oh yes.  He could give the stiffest of bunnies a papercut with a narrowing of his eyes alone.

Marbiggles resented the authority A5er seemed to have gradually siphoned away from him over the past months. A5er had the enthusiasm, alright, but he was a cocky young buck; lacked humility; grace; class. Still, Marbiggles knew the kid was right. They had to go. And sooner rather than later.

“Bottom line is: we need some-”  A5er stopped and pointed his paper paw around the room.  “Look around; what do ya see?”

Ripkin’s eyes dutifully followed A5er’s paw around; the rest of his face blank as a fresh sketchbook. His blue paper bottom fluttered gently as a pocket of air escaped its careless valley folds.

“The three of us!” Spat A5er in frustration. “And that’s it. Strength in numbers, boys. And what’s our number?  Three. How the hell are we supposed to rule this place with an army of three? I’ve heard word from the chatterboxes up north that the Cranes are verging on one thousand now. To say that we’re  vulnerable to attack would be an understatement!  We gotta get our numbers up. Pronto. I’m talking kits. Baby bunnies, gentlemen. And without being crude, I think you know where baby  bunnies come from….and it’s not Ripkin’s arse, thank Christmas card.”

Marbiggles snorted in spite of himself. Ripkin continued blanking.

“So, ” continued A5er. ” We gotta Get Busy, if ya catch my drift. Find ourselves some fresh ream; get us some folds ‘n’ creases, yeah? Some mountains and valleys, ya get me? Some lady-makin’ for some baby-makin’. Some origaminion populatin’” He winked at the lads, leeringly.

Marbiggles winced at A5er’s crassness. He took a deep breath. When he exhaled, though, it was not without some staccato about it. Against his will, images of semi-transparent vellum paper and delicately patterned Washi bending and folding seductively flashed through his mind. He wiped his forehead before any lasting damage could be done.

Ripkin swigged a sip from his tinny. Beer dribbled down his front, making his chest soggy. His big, dumb eyes stared nowhere in particular.

A journey to The Stationary Cupboard sounded good in theory, sure. But…it was SO far away…..and none of them had even seen it. For all they knew, it  didn’t even exist. Reams themselves were probably nothing but a mythical fantasy. And if this were the case, Ripkin was perfectly happy to leave it that way. He had origami manuals and a right paw. Why mess with an efficient system?

“Can’t I just stay here?” He implored.

With a rustle, A5er  swiftly leapt over to the old couch and leant in until his nose was level with Ripkin’s. He lowered his voice to a whisper- oh, how menacing A5er was when he whispered- and, looking directly into Ripkin’s eyes said simply:

No. You can’t. You’ll do as the rest of us do, Rippikins. Or I’ll feed you to the shredder. And by ‘shredder’, I don’t mean Jimi Hendrix…… because he doesn’t eat paper, and is no longer alive. Just like you’ll be, if you continue. To waste. My time.

Ripkin still didn’t understand why he had to come along, but he wasn’t about to argue with a whispering A5er, especially when shredders were mentioned, no sirree. He clutched his tinny with an increasingly damp paw, and shifted the nonexistent weight of his increasingly damp, blue buttocks, wishing he could just flatten himself like a greeting card and go find an envelope to slide into for a while.

“Moving on…” came A5er’s voice- abruptly restored to its regular volume. “As luck would have it, a certain Napkin Swan (who shall remain nameless)  has most generously provided us with a map of The Biglands….” He produced a rolled up document from his left ear and held it victoriously aloft.

Marbiggle’s eyes widened. A cooperative Napkin Swan… that sounded too good to be true. Was this map the Real Deal?  He glanced over at Ripkin, but Ripkin was nonplussed, noticing only the rolled up map’s  resemblance to a joint.  Now that was something for a day like today…

A5er unrolled the map and stepped toward Ripkin.  “Give us a paw, Rips,”, he ordered, motioning toward the bowl of peanuts and the empty packets of kale chips littering the coffee table. Ripkin promptly obliged; sweeping the chip packets onto the floor, and moving the peanut bowl into his lap.

“Give us that,” commanded A5er- referring to the bowl. “And that,” he added, this time referring to Ripkin’s half empty beer can. Ripkin obeyed, and A5er carefully positioned the bowl on one edge of the map, and the beer can on the other, to prevent it from rolling in on itself.

“Now. The Stationary Cupboard lies beyond Mount Desk; east of Laptop. It’s accessible by foot….. but there are obstacles. Dangerous ones. Mount Desk is littered with dead pens, and other heavy junk which sometimes tumbles down the mountainside faster than a souped-up paper fighter jet . If you’re not quick on your pads, it’s wastepaper basketville for you. Now it’s also rumoured that a giant, whiskered beast with claws as sharp as thumbtacks roams the entire breadth of The Biglands, preying on anything that moves. So we gotta have our wits about us…”

Ripkin wasn’t really listening. He gazed wistfully at his beer, which was no doubt getting warm. He figured he could at least maybe grab a handful of peanuts without causing any undue drama. It’d make A5er’s talk less boring, at any rate. He reached for the peanut bowl, but as he did so, his generous, soggy girth dragged across the coffee table- knocking over the beer can and sending its warm, lightly foaming amber contents spilling across the map’s landscape like a golden tsunami, reducing  roads, rivers, and mountain ranges alike to a meaningless, smudgy blur. Utter annihilation. Total bevvystation.

The stunned silence was guillotined clumsily by Ripkin’s blunt voice.

“Oops.”

A5er snapped, letting out a roar that almost tore his own body to shreds.

” RIPKIIIIIN!! YOU’RE GONNA GET RIPPED!!!!”

Ripkin figured that by “get ripped” A5er hadn’t meant he was gonna get killer cardboard abs and guns of foil. Especially as A5er was now hurtling straight over the coffee-table map-ocalypse towards him. This was it. He was actually going to get ripped into pieces and die. And he’d never even get to find out who won the Test Match.

“WAAAIIIT!!!!!”  Roared another voice. Thunder to A5er’s lightning.

Marbiggles raised his voice so rarely that both Ripkin and A5er had forgotten how formidable he was when he did.

Marbiggles prised A5er off Ripkin, and planted himself  between the two of them, his eyes wide as paper plates.

“Control yourself, damnit! Or I’ll do it for you. You’ll not touch a single corner on this lad’s head. THIS boy,” he continued,  gesturing towards poor, already half crumpled Ripkin,  “may be thick as 2 pieces of 600 gsm watercolour paper;  as idle as a ten tonne paperweight;  as useful as braille on the inside of a paper straw…. BUT! He has been loyal; like a brother to you- and a son to me-  all these years. I’ll not stand by and watch you scrunch him up like some worthless supermarket receipt over some dubious bloody Napkin map! ”

Marbiggles glared at A5er- nostrils flaring. All the resentment that had built up inside him of late was rising to the surface now like the waters of a blocked toilet.

A5er – almost frozen in shock- searched for words. The ones he eventually found were:

“You- you faded, dog-eared, pamphlet! You don’t call the shots around here anymore, old boy. A5er does!  I’m A5er. YOUR LEADER! STAND DOWN AND OBEY YOUR LEADER!”

“You’re no leader, ” continued Marbiggles. “No leader of mine! For all your posturing and prancing, you’re but a standard tyrant! Selfish; cowardly; without substance. Like a crumbling, overused tissue, bringing nothing but grazes to the nose that blows! You sir, are nothing but a common piece of one-ply generic brand CRAPWRAP!…….” 

(And here he paused dramatically)

“…And my finger’s just gone straight through……

Of course, Marbiggles didn’t have fingers per se, but the point was made- and now sharpened, as he drew a pair of scissors from god-knows-where and pointed them at the space between A5er’s eyes.

YOU will stand down, A5er….NOW.”

A5er quickly weighed up his options. He was expressionless for a moment…..then the evil crease of a grin stretched across his face.

“…Or what?

The grin widened.”…Grandmabiggles.”

It was a mistake. Marbiggles was getting older, sure, but not weaker. He was made of high quality parchment; stiff shit. A5er stood two chances: none, and jack. The scissor blades sliced him in twain before he could even process what was happening. His neatly bisected self fell, in slow-mo silence, either side of the map-mush, onto a rustling bed of empty Kale Chip packets.

Marbiggles stood motionless for some minutes as it sunk in. He’d wiped A5er like a serviette across the mouth of death. He was a murderer. Oh god! And Ripkin- the poor kid….he’d been close to death himself- then witnessed it. In cricket season no less. He’d be traumatised for life.

Ripkin- where was Ripkin? Marbiggles scanned the room. He must find Ripkin!

*

There’s wisdom in the old proverb: “Don’t run with scissors”.  Alas, old Marbiggles- noble, disgraced, Marbiggles- in his frenzy, had completely forgotten that he was still clutching the binary blades of doom as he dashed toward the kitchen door in search of poor, dumb, Ripkin. So instead of heroically rescuing the beer-swilling bunbun,  he’d tripped and fallen- impaling himself on the deathblades.

It seemed Marbiggles and A5er would have to work things out in The Great Stationary Cupboard in the Sky.

*

Ripkin, who’d managed to wriggle free whilst A5er  was distracted by Marbiggle’s monologue, was now safely in the kitchen, cracking open a new beer and a fresh bag of kale chips, oblivious to the gore beyond the door.

A half minute later, the oblivion vanished, as Ripkin exited the kitchen with his tinny and chips, only to be confronted by the dismembered forms of his ex-bunny-brethren.

Ohhhhh, man, this was not good. Not good!

Panic set in.

It was a mess. Oh, what a mess! And oh how Ripkin hated cleaning!

But…. hey…wait a minute. Now that there was nobody around to boss him about, he didn’t have to clean…

Panic subsided; realisation dawned.

He didn’t have to clean…. and he meant not to. Ever again!  He rearranged the empty Kale Chip packets so that they covered the two bodies. A shallow grave, yeah, but as A5er had always said: “paper don’t rot, bud”. They’d flatten down nice after a few kitchen/ lounge round-trips. Sweet as! What’s more- the map on the table had soaked up most of the previously spilt beer- so win win on the not-having-to-clean gig.

Ripkin settled his soggy blue bum onto the stained old faux-suede couch and took a gulp of beer. A little rivulet of it ran down his chin and onto his already soggy belly. It’d spring a leak soon, for sure.

Ripkin didn’t care. The cricket was starting. As for Cranes, they were probably just all off to a wedding or something. He munched down on some crunchy green salty kale goodness, and lovingly wrapped his soggy paw around his tinny. His damp nether regions  melded lovingly  with the couch- becoming one with the stained old faux-suede. It was oh-so -comfortable. Oh-so- stationary. Yeah, stationary. As if he’d ever want to be anything else.

***

The Tap

Day 1:

12:30pm

Needed a break from the monotony of unpacking. Decided to go for stroll around new neighbourhood; check out the sites. On way out, noticed strange fixture on hallway wall. Have no recollection of seeing this during initial inspection. Utterly perplexed.

 

1:30pm

Didn’t end up leaving the house at all. Still weirded out by this thing; need to get to the bottom of it.

 

1:43pm

It’s just a tap handle. But that’s the thing. It’s JUST a tap handle. Completely isolated upon the wall; the actual tap component nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps builder was making some type of postmodern statement. Or maybe it was functional at one point, but renovations since made, and somehow tap handle was overlooked somehow.

But why so high up?  Have to get on tippy toes just to reach it. Were original inhabitants really tall?

Tap handle confusing and annoying.

Tried looking around the house to see whether there’s a tap anywhere without a handle which may correspond to hall handle, but to no avail.

 

1:46pm

Just read over all that. Maybe I need a hobby.

Time to stop obsessing over irrelevant crap and go get something done.

 

8:17pm

Am probably being neurotic, but tap handle is freaking me out. Was almost quaint and quirky during the day, but now that it’s dark, it’s taken on a sinister vibe.

 

8:30pm

Just read over that. How can a tap handle be sinister? I need to get out more.

 

8:42pm

Phoned Liam. He says not to worry about it. Says I’m being silly and that random tap handle on wall is hilarious.

Will Liam forget me now that I’m here? He didn’t sound that sad over the phone about me moving away. I bet that annoying April skank is rubbing her skanky little hands together.

 

8:46pm

Just read over that. Sounds a little catty. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever seen April flirting with Liam.

She is a skank, though.

 

9:00pm

Wanted to watch a movie then go to bed, but can’t find the DVD’s. Wish I could remember which box they’re in.

Nothing but static on telly.

 

9:48pm

Static was apparently long, boring, experimental film about getting pins and needles.

Went on facebook, but no real friends online.

Posted status update anyway.  Wrote: “Am I the only one who finds this weird??” With pic of tap handle.

No responses yet.

April has new profile pic. Of course, she’s posing in a bikini. Pic looks photoshopped to me. Caption says: “My hair looks SO bad today! LOL”.

Oh FFS.

Typed “Yes, it does.”

Felt rude and deleted it. Logged off.

I hate facebook. Maybe I’ll just delete my account.

Tap Handle is still freaking me out and if Liam’s name is amongst the “like”s under April’s PP, then I’ll know he’s cheating on me with her.

 

 

2:00am

Just read over what I last wrote. Maybe tiredness makes me jump to conclusions.

Time for sleep.

Maybe just one more FB check first.

April has commented on my tap pic:  “Haha, your a riot, girl!  😀 ❤ “.

“*YOU’RE”, I reply.

Then feel rude; delete it. Write “haha, thx lovely; i do try 😉 Love you! ❤ ❤ <3” instead.

God, she’s such a fake tho.

 

 

2:21am

Can’t sleep. That bloody tap thing. Is there a secret camera in it or something? Because I had to walk past it on the way to the loo again, and…I know it sounds stupid to say, but……I really felt like it was watching me the whole time.

Got up on a chair to take a closer look. Doesn’t look like there’s a hidden camera there or anything. It just looks like a regular tap handle….. except up high on a wall all by itself for no apparent reason.

Feel an overwhelming desire to turn it to see what happens, but am afraid of the possible consequences. What if built-in-wardrobe suddenly becomes flooded or something?

What if it was put there by spies, and turning it is some sort of secret sign to go ahead with something untoward somewhere far away? Like, what if I turned it, and the next day there’s an evil, sundried Orangutan with a basic grasp of the alphabet in charge of a whole country or something?

Ok, that’s a bit unrealistic. But why is it so…spooky? Is it normal for a tap handle to be spooky?

Maybe I’m going mad.

Maybe it’s just the stress of moving; the unfamiliar environment; the nagging doubts about the boyfriend situation.

I really want a snack, but I forgot to go shopping before so all I have is cereal and some bay leaves I brought here from the old flat. And that awful cheap champagne Tilly gave me.

 

 

3:13am

Heyyyyy

Tilly’s chm,p[ange not too bAD actually.

Watched stupid infomercialses and ate cereals out of the packet. Thinking about buying a motorised swirling spaghetti fork. Takes the misery  out of eating basghetti. Protects  wrists from RSI, plus playS  amusing tune while you eat! ( You know- the one about a meatball that rolls away) . SO cool. I’d never get sick of that. Comes with  24 free  gold carrots on a necklace. And if you buy 2, you get a bath mat that looks like a face.

NEED.

That guy on the ad  was sorta hot too. Kinda like santa, but when he was young and sexy. He can empty his sack into my chimney any day if ya know what I mean, wink wink nudge nudge, eh? eh? ..I’m naughty AND nice, hahahaha. I liked the way he said  “Aaaaand, that’s not all!”. Saucy. I’d twirl his spaghetti any day if ya know what I mean.

Dunno wht i mean

Whatevers. If it doesn’t work out with Liam I’m gonna try for a beardy fella. Never had a beard.

Checked fakebook. Doesn’t look like Liam’s been on.

Took selfie of myself holding my Aries mug  full of champagne. I look actually pretty cute in my cowprint onesie pyjamas actually.

Posted selfie to Tilly’s wall with the caption: “Tillyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! Best moo-ving present EVVAAAA!!!!”

(Get it? ‘Moo-ving’- ’cause I’m moving, but also ’cause my PJ’s have a cow pattern! Hahaha!)

SEE, April? I can be sexy too! I’m sexy cos I’m confident, see? I don’t conform to ANY type of stereo- i’m above that- ijust don’t care. See?  I don’t care about being hot, therefore Im hot! My awesome personality is what makes ME sexyy. I am NICE and FUNNY and LOVELY person. So I hope you die in a shit lake you fuckin cow.

Liam dunna ‘preciate wot ‘e got ‘ere eh. Fuck ‘im! FUCK ‘IM eh!

Feelng a bit sick

 

3:20am

Why’s evthing so SHIT?

My head hurts an im thirsty andim just gonna bcome a NUN ffs  WHY r men so suprficioal and WHO putta TAP on my WALLs????!!! Focken STUPIF.

Nooooooooo chmpgn LEFT (or right hahahahahahaa)

I wnder if the ‘C’ on th tap handel stands fr “CRAP” instead of  “COLD”, and it’s turnd on FULLfull pressure and I don even know

Is not. Fwell off chair. Owchy elbow and head and hip

but no mattr – got back up turned it on to see if anthing happn.

didn’t.

Must go bed. Hungry, but. Wonder what happens if  eat a bay leav. Evrything ouch

 

 

Day 2.

11.00am.

SHIT.

 

12:08am

DOUBLE SHIT.

Not only do I have the MOST brutal hangover in history, ( and bruises everywhere-what the hell???)  I just realised Tilly has her FB wall comments set to public.

Drunk in cow-print PJ’s under a fluorescent light isn’t the most flattering look on me.

Tilly has commented “All class 😉 👌 “.

Liam has commented “Dork. Miss you <3”. Which I suppose is nice.

And of course, April has commented “10/10, WOULD BANG “.

Condescending slag. What is with all this fake nice crap???  All this: “how cute are you?”, and “such a gorgeous gal ❤ ” and “I’d go out with you” and “crushing hard…. </3 ” all over my damn FB wall and photos. And generally right after Liam writes something first…..Why doesn’t she just outright proposition my boyfriend right in front of me already?? FFS.

Heaps of peeps ‘liking’ this pic though. Reassuring to know there are people out there who actually appreciate a sense of humour, instead of just being shallow bastards obsessed with boobs.

What’s this?….Someone calling himself  “The Keithinator”  has sent me a friend request, and a message saying ” U R Qt. 😉  A/S/(hopefully 😉 ) L?”. In his profile pic he’s wearing dark sunglasses and a T-shirt that says ” SEX INSTRUCTOR- FIRST LESSON FREE”  on the front.

Ewww.

Another one. Calls himself ‘Big Donno’. Has PM’d: “If u need milking im yr farmer 😉 ”

Double ewwwwww. Wtf is with all the creepers??

Oh, crap. Just noticed that one of the pyjama buttons isn’t done up properly in the photo, and my nipple is showing.

So much for faith in the human race.

 

12:23pm

Pic deleted;  sleazy creeps blocked. Maybe I really will delete my account.

Sigh.

Oh well. One positive is that I couldn’t care less about the stupid wall tap anymore. It obviously doesn’t do anything.

Going back to bed for the rest of the day. Tomorrow is a new day, blah blah, etc. etc. The world will go on as ever before, and nothing really is ever of lasting consequence.

Laters.

 

 

the-daily-yakweb

***

 

An explanation of google translaterature:

‘Google translaterature’ is the name I’ve given to a creative writing game I sometimes play, because I’m a giant dork who enjoys that sort of thing. Here are the steps, should anyone wish to indulge their own dorkery:

  1. Take a magazine article/ newspaper article/  book, or any piece of writing that you find interesting.
  2. Choose a passage or two, and type them into google translate- translating these words as many times as you can, into as many different languages as you can, but going back to your chosen/ first language many times so that you can see how the translating is causing the original passage to evolve in unexpected ways. Keep going until the sentence/ sentences on the screen no longer resemble the ones you originally typed. Along the way, write down any groups of words that you find funny or interesting. Keep going for as long as you like.
  3. Create a story, poem, recipe, artwork, joke, letter, or furniture assembly instructions using all the new sentences  you’ve written down as a starting point ( or as a piece on their own) .

I mention this, because the next thing I post will be a story which I arrived at through this method. If anyone guesses the book I used to extract my ‘starter’ sentence, I’ll build you a chocolate replica of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, complete with cars, and a giant, menacing, ferret named Quimbly Von Colgate.

The Disguise ( part 2) : Scarf of intrigue

Story by Rickie Roberto, Private Investigator/ mime artist.
(Part 1: HERE)

My coffee had gone cold. Twice. The real one and the mime one. Adjacent to these, upon the otherwise bare dining room table, sat the ex-marmalade jar containing the mystery moustache. Next to that, a bowl- empty now save for a single piece of popcorn, spared for the reason of it bearing an uncanny resemblance to a Meerkat in a beret.>

There was another reason for my distraction, however.

On my way into the flat this afternoon, I’d run into Cecil, my neighbour. Nothing too unusual about that, granted. But he’d been wearing a scarf.

A scarf? In weather like this?  I reasoned that perhaps I’d just forgotten to remove my own mime scarf from yesterday, and I was simply unaware of the placebo effect it was still having. I checked to make sure, but no; that wasn’t it.

The scarf was also uncharacteristically bright. Bulky. Sculptural.  A far cry from Cecil’s usual drab attire. Perhaps he’d been experimenting with his style. In all honesty, though, he wasn’t pulling it off too well. He looked like a pale sausage being constricted by some sort of bohemian anaconda on its way to a folk festival. All I could see of his face were his eyes. Nervous. Reticent. But why? I hadn’t asked, as I didn’t want to be nosey, but as we parted ways, I deftly snipped a tiny wool sample from his scarf whilst his back was turned so that I could run some tests later.

There’d been yet another strange incident later that evening. I’d popped outside to put the bins out, and on my way back inside, I noticed a striking redhead- female, mid thirties- leaving our block of flats. I’d never encountered her before. Perhaps she was new here, or had just been visiting someone. The detail that had really got my attention though, was the partially-face-obscuring scarf she’d been wearing. A brightly hued, distinctly serpent-like, chunky knit affair.

Cecil’s scarf.

Or at least it appeared to be. I wouldn’t know for sure until I’d run some tests on the sample of Cecil’s scarf I’d acquired earlier, and compared it to the tiny fibres of Mystery Redhead’s scarf that I’d also managed to obtain, thanks to the overgrown rosebush near the front gate.

Ah, my friend, the rosebush. Many a time it’d been suggested by fellow residents and visitors that one of us prune the thing. It was a hazard after all. Even for the initiated- who knew to lean to a 70° angle while passing- there was little chance of getting past unaccosted. We’d eventually arrived at the decision to leave it, however, due to its effectiveness as a deterrent to thieves and door-to-door evangelists. Not to mention the many times it’d come in handy for investigative purposes. Indeed, this plant had become almost like a friend and colleague to me. All sorts of crucial evidence had been snagged by “Constable Rosebush” over the years, leading to many a baffling case being solved. The longstanding and locally famous mystery of the missing postman, Leslie Paul Gibson, for example. Had I not noticed the unusually blonde foliage amongst the scarlet petals that spring morning, I doubt we’d ever have found him. Of course, had Mr Gibson never tripped and fallen into the rosebush initially, he’d never have become trapped in there for 5 years. Thus, for a while afterward, I’d been confused as to whether Constable Rosebush should be arrested or promoted, or whether I’d simply been anthropomorphising a plant to the point where I’d lost touch with reality.

A loud knock on the door abruptly snaps my attention back to the present.

I open the door the slightest crack, and peer out. It’s the pizza delivery guy. I’d forgotten that I’d mimed ordering pizza 30 minutes ago. I pay the man, then return to the table, with my invisible Capricciosa, and my thoughts.

Damnit. I should’ve shown Pizza Guy the popcorn Meerkat.

I remove the two tiny jars containing the scarf samples from my jacket pocket, and place them next to the jar containing the fake ‘stache. First thing tomorrow, I’d run some forensic tests on the scarf samples; see if they were from one and the same source. Of course, if they proved to be, it may just mean that Mystery Redhead was either a relative, friend, or weed dealer of Cecil’s, whose scarf he’d borrowed for personal reasons. But something in my gut was telling me that this scarf of secrets was somehow linked to the fake moustache. It seemed implausible on the surface of things, but mystery works in mysterious ways, and my detective’s intuition was rarely off the mark.

***

My mime alarm went off before my audible one. I was keen to get cracking on this case.

By 9:00am I’d already run rigorous forensic tests and got the results back. As I’d suspected, both fibre samples were from the very same scarf.

The moustache, however, was full of surprises.

For starters, this baby wasn’t made of real hair. Although it definitely looked real, it was, in fact, top quality, low sheen, high deception, synthetic kanakalon. A true master of disguise in its own right.

A tiny section, 8 fibres in diameter, had been slightly melted- indicating a cigarette ash burn (Marlboro Gold- Lights) . This facial costume had either been owned by a smoker, or gotten too close to one.

There were also traces of lipstick ( Facegash; ‘Pashables’ collection in ‘Skank 603’), chewing gum ( Excessively chewed Strawberry Hubba Bubba, from the mouth of an 83 year old lactose intolerant woman of Lithuanian descent), and dog shit ( Labrador; 3 years old; overly fond of frisbees, and possibly going by the name of Groucho Barx ) . These last 2 items were likely from the soles of passing pedestrians, but I wasn’t about to rule anything out. There’s a lot of kink out there.

The big news headline on the cover of the ‘Tache Times, however, was the hair. And I’m not talking about the synthetic hair that it was made of, but rather a single imposter hair attempting unsuccessfully to blend in with the locals. It should’ve worn a disguise. Long, fine, and the colour of a vintage Merlot in a wineglass held up to the sun, it stood out under the microscope like a heavy-handed rouge job on a pigeon. But its incongruity wasn’t what made it interesting. You see, this lone hair had a long lost twin.

And I was about to reunite them…

***

To be continued…..

The Disguise (part 1)

(Story by Rickie Roberto, Private Investigator/ mime artist.  Once nominated for Employee of the month at Beautighe Police Department ( 2008),  twice voted Mime of the year by members of Slurry Junior Drama Club, Slurry High (1994) )

I’d spent an entire 3 days peeing.

Previous to that, I’d been holed up at work for the last month and a half.

Straight.

No weekends, no 6 o’clock knock off, no lunchbreaks, no toilet breaks. Just a solid month and a half of unpunctuated slog.

At 30 by 30 numbers square- every line having to contain the numbers from 1 through to 73- this certainly hadn’t been your ordinary garden variety sudoku. Upon finally completing it, I was mentally and physically depleted. My boss, Inspector Lieutenant Chief, ( or Dave, as I call him; we go way back.) came good on his side of the bet. I’d now enjoy a full week off. He even agreed to my demand of a full extra week off on top of that, as compensation for the kidney damage inflicted by 45 consecutive days of holding in my urine.

Fast forward to the day after I finally finish relieving myself, and I’m feeling the urgency to get out of the house and into the great outdoors for some fresh air and exercise. Despite there being a noticeable amount of difficulty involved in moving any part of my lower body, I decide to embark upon a long, mimed bicycle ride.

That’s right. Mime. My first passion. I don’t get as much time as I’d like to devote to it these days, of course, but every spare second I get, I’m miming. It’s constant. Every morning on the way to work; every coffee break; every evening on my way home. Even as I lay in bed asleep. Mime, mime, mime. Speech is something I don’t  do if I can help it. This applies to the written word, also.

You may be wondering: doesn’t that get in the way of my work? Or indeed, interfere with life in general?  But I have to answer: No. It doesn’t. Take this story, for example. You may think you are reading at the moment, but you’re not. I’ve simply tricked you into believing so. This is, in actual fact, all mime. There are absolutely no words here at all. Mark my words, sonny Jim, this is 100% pure mime magic.

Of course, my Detective’s head says it’s foolish; frivolous; pure whimsy. Stop it, he says. Get back to work. But my artist’s soul demands it. And who am I to argue? It’s a need. Where other detectives see a desk , a see a desk that doubles as a surprise escalator. Where they see nothing but empty space, I see an invisible glass cube that I could become convincingly trapped within. Sometimes I feel the pressure to conceal my passion for the arts, just to live up to the gritty, tough, no-nonsense, investigative hotshot image that I know everybody secretly holds of me. But, I have to remain true to myself. As my closest associates would agree, I just can’t pretend.

So there I was, mime cycling down the esplanade; the wind blowing through the little bits of my hair that were sticking out of my helmet. In my current state of hindered leg movement, I was grateful for the mostly downhill route.

As I continued upon my way, I felt the impulse to purchase lipstick. Why not, I say. I’ve earned it.

So I stop at the next lipstick shop- a local lipstick retail chain named Facegash. And while I’m in there, testing out colours, I suddenly remember that I’ve neglected to lock up my mime-bike. Indeed, I’ve forgotten to park it altogether, and it dawns on me that I’m actually still riding. Indoors.While testing lipsticks. Quite the faux pas. I remove my helmet, and severely reprimand myself. This is no way for a Private Investigator to behave. But I’m really in the mime zone, and don’t want to break character. My insolence infuriates me. Maybe it’s just all the stress of the last six weeks catching up with me, but I lose my cool, and punch myself. Pretty soon, it’s an all-in mime brawl, and I find myself challenging a teenage bystander to a duel with a retractable lipliner pencil.

I’m promptly kicked out of Facegash.

Not for the cycling, or the fighting, but for attempted shoplifting. Unbelievable. Obviously I’d never do such a thing, but the young lady working the counter insists that she saw me. I try to explain that I was simply miming shoving a tube of Vixen 006 up my sleeve, but she doesn’t buy it. Well then, neither will I. I’m not gonna give these amateurs my patronage after being falsely accused of the very crimes I work so hard every day to thwart.

Eventually, after a few choice words over the phone from Inspector Lieutenant Chief, the Facegash staff are convinced. They apologise profusely, and offer me a 3% discount on my next purchase of over $500.00.

Still, I’m so shaken up from the experience, that it takes me a full two blocks of walking to realise that I’ve left my bike back at the store.

Shit.

I trudge back to Facegash, and ask after my bike. They say, no, we haven’t seen it. I say, well yeah, that’s because it’s invisible. Lady behind me has overheard the conversation, and points to a cafe across the road. Is that it?, she asks. No, that’s a cafe, I reply. No, no, in front of it, she says. Oh, I see it now. Looks like it, I say. How did it get over there, I wonder. Maybe it rolled over there, the lady speculates. Hmmm, maybe, I agree. This street is on a bit of a slope. I thank the lady for all her help, and make my exit.

I hop onto my mime-bike, and pedal for about 20 metres before I land a flat tyre. Typical. I chain the bike up, and continue on foot. I’ll come back for it tomorrow.

About thirty minutes later, I’m nearing home. All of a sudden, I find myself distracted by the lack of bakeries in this particular neighbourhood. In my disquiet, my gaze drops to the ground.

That’s when I see it.

***

Grey- almost the exact shade of grey as the concrete it’s sprawled upon- it’s a wonder I notice it at all. At first glance it appears to be some sort of misshapen, yet oddly regal sparrow; grey wings outstretched defiantly, like Kate Winslet in that famous scene from Titanic. But upon closer inspection, its true form becomes apparent.

Despite the fact that it’s a little mangled (from what I automatically deduce to be about 5 hours, 32 minutes and 44.3 seconds of ceaseless pedestrian trampling ), the quality is immediately obvious. It looks as though it’s made out of actual hair. This aint no joke ‘stache from the $2 shop that comes complete with a crude plastic nose and conjoined glasses. It’s not even like one you’d find at a swanky costume shop. This is a high class faux mo’. The kind of false moustache a classy, cold blooded killer might wear. Or a dirty, lowly, beat poet, who steals moustaches because he lacks the life skills necessary to grow one.

I steady myself. My heart is pounding like a warehouse rave from half a block away. I know I’m on holiday, but detective work is in my blood. Mime may be my mistress, but investigation is my wife, and at the end of the day, she still bakes a bloody good lasagna. My instincts tell me to go with it. There’s a reason I’ve stumbled upon this majestic pseudo soupstrainer today. Yes, the Unsolved Mystery Gods are trying to tell me something, and have surely conspired to place this fraudulent facefuzz directly upon my path.

Kneeling down, I discreetly scream out in pain as my poor, not-quite-recovered bladder is squashed mercilessly by my other organs due to my hunched over position. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. C’mon Ricksta, I tell myself. This is no time to cave. I reach into my pocket for my emergency tweezers, and gently begin to lift one corner of the moustache . There’s a slight resistance, as the foot traffic has done an effective job of flattening it tight against the grimy pavement. Gently gently, centimetre by centimetre, I carefully peel the noble mo’ from the ground. When at last, I have it, I place it in an empty marmalade jar ( clean of course, with the label steamed off ) , then walk the remaining 598 steps home.

***

To be continued….pretty soon. Give it a few days, to be safe.