Friday, September 09, 2005

Special stuff

This will be a special moment in your lives, for you will be about to read an excerpt of Simian Smith! Unless you decide to look at another site, in which case I never liked you anyway.
Simian's now in the hands of people who might actually make things happen (unless they think it sucks) so who knows what'll happen with that.
BTW for anyone not aware, Simian Smith is aimed at somewhere around the 9 year old market but hopefully can be enjoyed by older folk.

PAUL HARRISON-DAVIES (and totally copyrighted to him, okay!)


There was nothing on my desk that day, other than a pair of feet, my feet. I was taking it easy. I’m a Private Detective, people come to me when they want something or someone found, but lately no one was coming to me for anything. Which was fine by me, there was money in my bank account from my last case, there was food in my fridge and I like the easy life. Although more money would mean better surroundings to relax in. My office is not what anyone would call fancy, hovel is a much better description. It was in a building called ‘The Cahuenga’ on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The building was in better condition than my office, but that’s not really a compliment. Wallpaper peeled off the walls here and there, little bare patches showed through the carpet and the office furniture had been second hand before I’d even bought it. But the couch in the corner was more comfortable than it looked and you could maybe get three people in here as long as everyone breathed in and no one moved around too much. But I’ve put up with worse and I like being my own boss.
I reached into the top drawer of my desk where I keep my bananas. Anytime is a right time for a banana, but somehow they taste better when you’ve got absolutely nothing to do. I’m crazy for bananas, but then most apes are. That’s right, I’m an ape, a talking one. Trust me there’s stranger things, maybe I’ll tell you about them sometime. It says Simian Smith Private Detective on my office door, ‘Simian’ means ‘ape’ and some folk call me ‘Primate Detective’ which I kind of like. Occasionally people have a problem with me being an ape, I always tell them same thing, ‘Tough!’ I like to growl and show some teeth when I do it just to show them I mean business. Back to my bananas. I took one out of the big drawer, which wasn’t quite as full as I’d like it be, and slowly peeled it - a good banana should never, ever, be rushed. As the banana peel came away revealing the beautiful pale yellow fruit inside the smell hit me, I can’t get enough of that smell. I closed my eyes, opened my mouth and was about to take a bite when there was a knock at the door. Through the frosted glass window section with my name on it I could make out a peculiar silhouette. Most decent offices have receptions and receptionists who say things like, “I’m sorry Mr. Smith is seeing an important client at the moment and cannot be disturbed. He’s not eating a banana or anything like that, please come back later.” But I can’t afford all that so clients get to come straight to me. Maybe more money would be helpful. The silhouette knocked again, whoever wanted me wasn’t giving up. With a deep sigh I carefully put the banana down on my desk and covered it with a newspaper. Then I fished around in the desk drawers and found a small mirror to see if I was presentable. My hair was sticking up in tufts, I had a bit of banana inspired drool on my chin and my clothes looked like I’d slept in them - I had, but it was only a nap. I tucked my shirt in, rolled down the sleeves, wiped my chin, flattened my hair and straightened my tie. “Looking good,” I said giving myself a little wink.
The silhouette had no patience, it was knocking again, “The door’s open, come in,” I called.
Kind of funny looking is the best way to describe the man who stepped cautiously into my office. He looked like a clown, with his big curly hair and silly clothes. His shoes were brown suede and his feet were long and flat. Dark green baggy corduroy trousers, a brown waistcoat with a pattern made up of lighter and darker brown diamonds, a reddish jacket and a deep purple shirt with yellow spots made me think my visitor was colour blind. But the best bit was the tie, which instead of being in the shape of a tie was in the shape of a fish. This turned out to be important, it also made me think my visitor wasn’t colour blind, just tasteless. Wearing this carefully selected outfit was a short skinny man with a long chin, large ears, big eyes and a big nose. All together the result was a little amusing, you could even say he had a certain goofy charm, if you wanted to be generous.
“Good afternoon Mr. Smith. My name is Cetera, Lionel Cetera and I desperately need your, er... help.”
I assumed Cetera didn’t mean help with his wardrobe, which I would have gladly given him, free of charge.
“Typical,” I said, “people only ever come to see me when they want something.”
Cetera’s prominent brow wrinkled in alarm making his fuzzy mousey hair wobble. He blushed and stuttered, “M.... Mr. S... Sm... Smith I assure y.... y.... you I... I.... I....”
Deciding not to wait for him to finish his sentence, I raised my hand in a calming gesture, “Don’t worry Mr. Cetera, it was a joke. Please take a seat.”
“Oh, ha, a joke. Yes, yes I see. Oh. Ha ha!”
Cetera pulled a chair up to my desk and sat down, he was still giggling with relief. My banana still sat patiently waiting for me, wanting me to eat it. I tried my best to ignore it, “Tell me, Mr Cetera, what can I do for you?”
“Yes, um, well,” said Cetera, “my passion…. or, ha…. poisson, if you prefer, ha ha, is fish.”
There wasn’t much to say to that, so I didn’t bother. Cetera carried on chuckling to himself until he realised I wasn’t laughing with him.
“Ahem,” said Cetera clearing his throat, “It was a joke. Poisson, it’s, um, French. For fish.”
“Is it?” I said. We sat in silence for a few uncomfortable seconds as I wondered if I should have let Cetera into my office.
“Please Mr. Cetera,” I said figuring it couldn’t hurt to hear him out, “continue.”
“Oh, well, um, I am a collector of rare fish. Fish, the most beautiful of God’s creatures, sublime in their elegance,” Cetera was on his favourite subject now, and it showed, he was all beaming smiles and gesticulating hands. “Oh beautiful lovely fish, God’s gift to the sea and mankind. Fish, Mr. Smith, fish are very much my passion. Now, once a year my fellow fish enthusiasts and I meet at the Annual Fish Enthusiasts Convention where we attend talks, look at the latest in fish collecting equipment and memorabilia. But the highlight of the day is the Fish Show where, from a shortlist of ten, one fish is judged Fish of the Year. It’s a great honour, and can be quite, ah, lucrative, if I may be so vulgar to bring up money. But it really isn’t about the money Mr. Smith, it is about man and fish taking part in the show in perfect harmony”
“I see,” I said, which was a little bit of an exaggeration. I was wrong, it had hurt to hear him out, “and why is it you need me? Worried the fish are taking bribes or on steroids?”
“Oh no Mr. Smith, no, no of course not,” replied Mr. Cetera, oblivious to the sarcasm, “I believe someone is trying to kidnap my fish!”
“Shouldn’t that be fish-nap?”
Jumping out of the chair Cetera slammed his hands on the table and shouted, “Mr. Smith I don’t think you fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation!”
He was wrong, I appreciated it fully. There was a lunatic in my office.
“Well,” I said, slowly getting up from his chair so not to excite the possible psychotic opposite me, “that certainly is a problem.”
“Yes, it is Mr....”
“A very serious problem,” I interrupted, walking over to Cetera and putting an arm around his shoulder.
“Very serious Mr. Smith, which is why…”
Gently guiding Cetera out of the chair and towards the door I talked over him again, “Kidnapping is very serious. Very serious indeed. Hope things work out for you. Sorry I can’t help. Too busy you see. Very busy. Busy busy.” I said, and with a quick push Cetera was out of the door.
Putting all my weight against the door I waited for Cetera to stop knocking on it and leave the building and my life.
Feet back on the table and back side once again on my chair I put Mr. Lionel Cetera and his crazy talk out of my head and picked up the banana that had been patiently waiting to be eaten. I didn’t even get to open my mouth when I was interrupted by another knock at the door.

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