I was still clutching my favorite pillow between my legs when I got the feeling that something was wrong. The sense of the air being displaced, the excitement in my nerve endings, the wander of breathing in a solid mass of danger, the sound of thunder and lightning — all that had passed through me, surprising in its spontaneity. I didn’t want to believe I wasn’t alone, but the flapping of wings over my head convinced me in the opposite.
“We are not here to look at your bare arse; we’re here on business,” announced the shadow of Mr. Vegas, blocking the light from the only window in my apartment. I was well-aware that a person of such a rank would never visit me without his safety-team, but I’d never imagined that my tiny studio could fit the bodies of ten fully armed bodyguards.
I hugged the pillow tighter: “What kind of business? You can’t just —”
“To investigate the murder in my house. Magdalena convinced me that you are the right man for the job.”
“Who is murdered?” I asked again, pulling my boxers on under the supervision of the silent Zen-bird.
“Miss Amblycorypha Oblongifolia.”
“Never met her.” I sighed in relief.
“She was the gift to the Mayor of our city, Mr. Domination.”
The Zen-bird suspiciously flew over and sat above my antique drawer where I hid the photo of Margaret Thatcher. To my amazement, Mr. Vegas quickly approached my bed, where I was sitting still half-dressed, and opened the drawer. He poked his convulse finger at the photo of the middle-aged woman, hissing: “Who is she?”
I answered almost unconsciously, quivering from the horror of the situation: “It is my assistant.”
“If you’ll find the killer, I’ll introduce you to a prettier one. Here’s your payment, 100 grand.”
The fear in my heart had dissolved as soon as I heard the number. Mr. Vegas dropped the bag near my shoes, and I nervously pushed it under the bed. The dizzy pinnacle of joy descended upon my soul.
As we walked down the steps, surrounded by the organized army of Mr. Vegas and the demonic bird, we ran into my ex-wife, Martha.
“Where have you been? I waited all night for you, lazy bastard!”
I quickly covered her mouth, mumbling: “Language!”
The madwoman bit my finger. I pulled my hand away, pinching her cheek in revenge. Mr. Vegas fixed his eyes on mine. Of course, I could tell him that my ex-wife was a cleaning lady, or a delivery woman, or probably an annoying neighbor, but I decided one dead body was enough, so I said: “It is my assistant.”
“You have more assistants than the stars in the sky. I guess you are an outstanding detective.” He glanced at the untidy hair of my ex, making his way out from the main entrance.
“Margaret is my spiritual assistant, and the one from the stairs is my body assistant,” I revealed to Mr. Vegas while sitting in the car with tinted windows. The realization that my ex-wife would find that magical bag of cash tore my soul to pieces, but there was no turning back. I began to cry, closing and unclosing my hands, unsure of what to say or do.
“Papi! I’ve missed you,” shouted Magdalena, a cigarette between two fingers, all in tears. I silently observed how my dreamy ‘Sobekneferu’ wrapped her legs around Mr. Vegas in the hall of his famous beach house.
“Your brother Hammer is here. You told me he’s the best private investigator in the town, and I trust you, lil rabbit.” Replied happy Mr. Vegas.
I managed to twist my head away from Sobekneferu’s legs – the crowd in white filled the space. One man gave the instructions; others were fiddling with a magnifying glass near the stairs. I stared at the crime scene in confusion.
“The room is yours,” said the man in the white robe, friendly shaking my hand. “I’m a pathologist, Arcadio Hardstone. The body is under transportation, and I’m planning to send you the postmortem report at the end of the day. We have collected all necessary DNA, footprints, smells. I have to add, the victim was pregnant and incrusted in bright yellow diamonds. As you understand, we didn’t find any diamonds; someone carefully removed them.”
As in a fog, I stared at the pink spot near the broad marble staircases where I was making my way out this early morning. I could hear the bizarre crunch under my foot. Or maybe the carpet was creaky?
“Wait!! Who is a victim?” I stopped the pathologist.
He explained that somebody killed a rare kind of pink long-winged katydid, called Miss Amblycorypha Oblongifolia, who could imitate the voices of eleven different insects.
I was horrified.
Was I a murderer?
At this moment, Magdalena hugged me from behind, licking my ear: “You want to do something later? I’m off after supper.”
I raised my hands: the body relaxed and surrendered. I stood in this position for a few seconds, trying to develop a plan to escape her sexual lunacy. Magdalena’s arms squeezed me even tighter — her tongue penetrated the weakest corners of my soul. The buzz of the room got back to normal when Mr. Vegas clapped me on the shoulder: “You can begin, detective. You’ve got only 24 hours to find out the truth.”
The process started. As it turned out, Mr. Vegas invited to his house last night more than 200 guests, including the mayor of our city, Mr. Domination, and my director, Mr. Killing.
“I can’t believe our mayor is breeding them. Why? For money? Science? Pleasure?” I whispered in shock.
“You are such a fool! The first rule of successful investing is to believe. The second and the most important is where to hide the diamonds,” smiled horny Magdalena.
“Hm. Okay, I need a space to investigate, to work.” I blushed from the lie and quickly handled the paper with only three names on it to a patronizing face of Mr. Vegas. “Here’s the list of people I’d like to talk to.”
I was left alone in a room full of vicious insects. I would have liked to become an invisible man… I would have liked to get back to my daily bus-trips, but instead, I pulled out the chair in the middle of the living room, preparing to interrogate my three main suspects.
Next chapter – Day 5. The investigation.