I thought long and hard about what to write. And I am still thinking. In the meanwhile here is the first part of a story that nudged its way into my head. Don’t worry; there is a comic connection that will be clear eventually. I hope.
Monkey Man Cometh – Part 1
The first thought that ran through my mind as the dame sauntered into my office. Cool, composed, tough and undeniably a heart breaker. Those were the next few thoughts to run through my mind. Thoughts of my wife followed suit and I got down to business.
“Can I help you darling?” I used my best Sean Connery imitation.
“Start by dropping the fake voice old man. Are you the detective the police chief raved about?”
I felt shattered and proud at the same time. Sean Connery had let me down but I got the police chief recommending me now.
“I prefer being called a consultant. I am a bit too old for being a detective.”
“You are a bit too old for a lot of things.”
I’m exceptionally good with comebacks usually but I have my moments. A few of those followed as silence settled in as uncomfortably as a two timing husband settles in front of his wife, mistress and a female marriage counsellor. Finally she stopped fidgeting with the matchbox she was holding.
“Like thinking of comebacks for example. Hope you fare better at finding missing people.”
“Your husband?” I asked though I knew she wasn’t the married sorts.
“Ahhhh. So you proposed and he ran away. Case closed.”
“You might want to factor in the monkey man in your deductions.”
“Ahhhh. A love triangle. He ran away with the monkey man.”
“Youth makes one’s patience thin and old age makes one’s bones brittle.”
Somewhere Plato’s soul scribbled hurriedly on a notepad. I, however, understood the hint veiled in that philosophical statement. “Okay. Tell me how did the notorious monkey man fit in?”
“We were called in to catch him. He has already murdered 10 people. The chief’s patience was running thin. My friend arrived 3 days earlier. The rest of us were to join him after wrapping up some errands.”
Wrap up some errands. The way she said it made me imagine her mummifying some poor guys alive. She seemed capable of doing it too. “Errrrr…What are you guys? Poachers? Hunters?”
“The monkey man is probably just a psychopath getting his fix. So no, we are not poachers. You could call us hunters. My friend, who went missing, started a task force to help the police nab criminals.”
“Hmm. He went to nab a criminal and got nabbed instead. Fate has a cruel sense of irony.”
She cracked her knuckles.
“Happens to the best of us.” I said.
“Look grandpa. I can’t afford to sit and chat. Thanks for nothing. I’ll be going.”
“Leave your bike here. I will drive you to your hotel. You just spent the night in the cemetery combing the abduction site for clues. Almost started smoking again. But I guess you thought of your unborn baby and stopped.”
I let her stay in the gaping goldfish stance for a while. Good old grandpa still has a few tricks.
“How…how did you…?” She asked coming out of her trance.
“Mostly from your clothes. They are slightly damp from the rains last night. More importantly they are muddy. Yet you haven’t changed them which means you spent the night in them. Most of the mud is dry but there are fresh splashes which are consistent with the spray pattern that occurs when you ride a bike. The dry mud points to two places – the football ground or the cemetery. But the football ground has red soil whereas the mud on your clothes is brownish. Plus the matchbox you are fidgeting with belongs to a hotel near the cemetery. Also day before yesterday’s newspapers carried reports of another monkey man sighting near the cemetery which, I guess, is when your friend got kidnapped. There is a rectangular bulge in your trouser’s front pocket that looks like a cigarette pack. However the noise that the matchbox makes when you shake it indicates that is full. So you haven’t used it to light the cigarettes. You wouldn’t have a matchbox if you had a lighter and the fact that you don’t have a lighter indicates that you were trying to quit smoking.”
“You are extremely anxious about your friend. That might be normal behaviour in most people but both of you are used to danger and know how to handle it. Still you give up and ask the police chief for help within a day. All this hints towards you having a special reason to see your friend safe. Plus you are wearing loose clothes.”
“You are on a job. Finding your friend and catching his abductor. A professional like you wouldn’t wear loose clothes while on a job. They would generate wind resistance or get stuck somewhere while chasing and may prove to be a hindrance in close hand-to-hand combat. I guessed you wearing them to hide the little bulge.”
“Perhaps the police chief isn’t as senile as I thought he was to have recommended you.”
“Not yet but he is getting there.”
“I didn’t find any clues at the cemetery. There was a struggle it seems but the rains washed away any tracks.”
“Hmm. Actually there are a few clues there!”
“Please enlighten me.”
“First of all. Why would your friend go to a cemetery? To lay an ambush probably. That means he had somehow figured where the monkey man would appear next. There isn’t a body. The monkey man beats up his victims to death and leaves the body for everyone to see. He hasn’t. He veered from his modus operandi. From what I know of psychopaths, they are sticklers for routine unless they are surprised somehow. The ambush might have been the surprise. But that can’t be the only reason. The monkey man is probably someone you guys had a run in with earlier. Someone with a grudge.”
“So what do we do now?”
“I will drop you at your hotel and then go do a little snooping. I have a monkey man to catch. You have a baby to raise.”
“Very well. My friend usually wears a pink form fitting shirt and blue jeans. His name is Bahadur.”
“A fitting name for a man so attired while hunting the monkey man!”
(To be continued)