Hi, the name's Quarry, Jake Quarry, private eye. And I'd like to tell you all about my close encounter of the weird kind, a little adventure I call The Case of The Ailing Aliens.
July 25th, last year. It was hot; it was muggy; humidity hung in the air like panty hose drying in the shower. Business had been slow so I had taken a second job just to pay the rent. I was working Main St. when I saw her. She was gorgeous. Slowly and seductively, she walked up to me. She asked for it. I reached in, pulled it out and gave it to her.
"That'll be a dollar twenty-five," I said as she took the jumbo fudgesicle. She paid me and walked away, out of my life forever. Or so I thought.
I continued down Main St. Suddenly, there was a scream from a nearby alley that made my blood curdle like three-week-old milk. It was her. Abandoning my Dickie Dee cart like a baby on Tom Selleck's doorstep, I raced into the alley. My gun was at the ready, my truncheon was at my side and my trenchcoat was at the cleaners. There she was, standing over a body. In her hand, was a gun with more dials, lights and buzzers than a digital watch.
"Drop 'em," she said.
I did so.
"I meant your weapons."
"Oh," I replied as I pulled up my pants and placed my weapons on the ground.
"By the way, sweetheart, could you put that thing away before you hurt someone, namely me."
"Listen, buddy, I've got four murders to solve..."
As soon as she mentioned murder, dollar signs flashed before my eyes like applause signs at a game show. I spoke up. "The name's Quarry, Jake Quarry, private eye."
"I hought you were an ice cream man," she said skeptically.
Shhh! I've gone undercover to investigate the Spumoni family's attempt to corner this city's ice cream market."
She bought the story and my services. She slipped the pistol into her purse like it was a hotel ash tray and we took a look at the corpse. Nothing unusual. Just your standard 8 foot tall, four-armed, green-skinned alien with a laser hole in his forehead and the initials "S.S." etched into the alley dust beside him.
Quickly, she filled me in on what was going on. She was Special Agent Lise Langley from L-I-E-S, the Langford Institute for Extraterrestrial Studies. The green guy was Ragu from Tau Ceti IV. So much for the theory that he was Ralph Krantz from Parry Sound. And he was the fourth illegal alien to be murdered this week. Somebody was mowing down aliens like they were grass on a golf green. But who?
Then suddenly, it hit me like a Lennox Lewis right hook.
"The murderer is Steven Spielberg", I announced with such confidence that I almost convinced myself.
"It all fits. He has the initials; he even has the motive."
"You see, Spielberg's biggest hit is E.T., the story of an alien on Earth. People loved it and the threat of a sequel hung over our heads much like the threat of nuclear war. Until Spielberg learned that there were real aliens on Earth and they were nothing like E.T. If the public found out, box office revenues would disappear faster than beer at Oktoberfest, so he decided to kill the real aliens off one by one until there would be no one left to ruin the integrity of E.T.2." Case solved. This one was easier than a ten dollar hooker.
"That's amazing, Quarry, but wrong. Spielberg is currently in Tunisia filming Gidget Goes To Ringworld. You know, the one with Alicia Silverstone as Gidget and Morris The Cat as Speaker-To-Animals."
That was one theory shot to Hell. But fortunately, like the eternal boy scout, I was prepared. "If Spielberg's not our man then one of his competitors must be trying to frame him, someone like Sylvester Stallone!"
"Yes, it has to be someone devious and Stallone is known to be Sly..."
"That's enough, Quarry," replied Lise as she pulled the strange pistol from her purse.
"I should have known. Everything you told me about LIES was lies. You're in it with both Spielberg and Stallone. Your blonde hair and blue eyes give you away as one of their fellow Californians and --"
"Shut up, you, stupid schweinhund," Lise snapped, slipping into a German accent like it was a pair of comfortable old bedroom slippers.
"Of course, the whole thing was really a nazi plot. The S.S. obviously meant the S.S., Hitler's hired goons."
"That's no way to talk about Uncle Adolf."
"Uncle Adolf?" That was when she spilled the beans like an overfilled coffee grinder. It seemed she was actually Hitler's great niece, Sylvia Shicklegruber. It also seemed that she believed in her uncle's theory of a master race. Only her master race wasn't Aryans; it was humans and she felt it was necessary to protect our position as masters of the universe. That was why she formed L.I.E.S., the Loyal Interstellar Extermination Society, an insidious group dedicated to killing aliens whereever and whenever they may be.
"But why involve me?", I asked.
"I knew sooner or later, the city's dumbest detective would stumble onto my plan and try to stop me, so I decided to lure you into a situation where I could find out what you knew and then kill you."
I had to think fast or I was going to be deader than a proverbial doornail. Then I noticed it, a big fat rat chewing on a piece of garbage like it was a gourmet feast. "Look out behind you, it's an Arcturian Anagram."
She spun and fired. The rat went down and so did she as I hit her from behind.
"I'm sorry it had to happen this way, sweets, but there was something appealing about using one rat to get another."
"You know, Jake, you're good; dumb but good."
The rest was easy. I turned Sylvia over to the authorities and they rounded up the rest of her group. Then I went back to the alley, to think about what might have been if Sylvia had used her energies towards good instead of evil, to find my ice cream cart and to bury the rat. It was the least I could do for the little fellow; after all, he gave his life to keep the universe safe for sentient life everywhere.
This is Jake Quarry, saying "If you ever need a detective, give me a call. I'm in the book, yellow pages, under private investigators ... thirty-one flavours. Good night."