6 DEGREES OF DECAPITATION
Chapter 5: The Curse of the Budgie
Picture it: the basement of a building in UCLA. I'm in the office of historian Dr. Hugo First, and joined by travelling archaeologist GiGi VaVoom, former sidekick Playful1 had been kidnapped by the same folks who have been chopping heads and leaving me holding the proverbial bag. They wanted me to find the lost Albanian Budgie, but then somebody put me in a room with a bomb.
That's the sort of thing that happens when you're me, Furious D, Private Dick.
"Let's get out of here," said GiGi, "I'm scared and totally dependent on your rugged manliness to save me Furious D."
"If we run, the bomb will go off and destroy the entire building," I said, my tone reminiscent of a young Charlton Heston.
"It is full of Film Students," said Professor First.
"Yeah," I said, "they may be a dime a dozen, but the equipment in this building is valuable. I have to defuse it. Does anyone have a screwdriver?"
Dr. First shrugged.
"I can help," said GiGi, dipping a hand into her ample cleavage and pulling out a screwdriver.
"Thanks toots," I said, downing the screwdriver and tossing the glass aside, "now I need the tool screwdriver, not the drink screwdriver."
GiGi nodded and reached down again.
"Will a Phillips head do it?" asked GiGi.
"Yes," I said, taking the screwdriver and carefully opening the case.
Inside was a bomb, a big one, and it was pretty fresh. It was Grindhouse.
"Okay," I said, "I need an editing suite and some marketing materials."
"I'm on it," said GiGi, dipping again into the depths of her V-neck shirt.
It took a lot of work, but I defused the bomb.
"Well this twist is confusing," said Dr. First. "First this guy with the gun frames you, kills two celebrities and also takes a hostage to make you find the Albanian Budgie, and then he leaves a bomb."
"He didn't leave the bomb," I said. "Someone else left it. Someone who doesn't want us to find the Albanian Budgie. How did you know all that?"
"GiGi told me about the links at the top of the post," said Dr. First. "They really are convenient."
"Yes," I said, "they are, but we don't have time for that. What we do have time for is another screwdriver and everything you have on the Albanian Budgie."
Dr. First nodded and scurried to his bookshelf, while GiGi passed me a fresh drink.
"I have a map to the Albanian Budgie's location," said Dr. First, taking out a rolled up parchment. "But the directions are in ancient Beothuk."
"I just happen to be fluent in Beothuk," I said, "in fact, I'm the only living person who is."
"How?" asked GiGi.
"Let's just say that I'm a cunning linguist."
"Worst double-entendre ever!" declared Dr. First.
"Why is the map showing the location of an Albanian treasure written in the language of a lost tribe of North American natives?"
"It's a long story," I said, "and it involves Vikings."
"That makes perfect sense," said GiGi.
"Can you read the map?" asked Hugo First.
"Yes," I said. "But according to the text this map leads to another map, which leads to another, each one leading us closer to the Budgie."
"That sounds like a pointlessly complex way to hide a treasure," said GiGi.
"Yeah," I said, "but it's a great excuse to drag out the story. Let's roll."
The three of us hopped into GiGi's car.
"Where to," said GiGi, revving her engine.
"The next map is in Beverly Hills," I said. "But first we have to stop at Sony Pictures."
"I have to pick up an old friend who can help us," I said.
We zipped into the Sony lot and made a bee-line for the executive building. The bees pointed us to the building and buzzed off.
We came up to a door on the top floor, the sign on it said C.T. Badger, VP-Development.
"What can a studio executive do to help us?" asked GiGi.
"He's not any studio executive," I said opening the door, "he's the best back-up man a Private Eye can have."
GiGi stepped inside the office and froze.
"He's a badger," said GiGi. "I thought his last name was badger, but no, he really is a badger."
"How are you Chompy!" I said, as my old buddy leaped from his desk with a happy snarl and gave me a hug.
"How can a badger be VP of a major studio?" asked Dr. First.
"It's not that odd," I said. "Paramount is run by wombats, and do you know who runs Fox?"
"Foxes?" asked GiGi.
"Nope," I said, "ocelots."
"I give up," said Hugo First. "I can't stand this inanity, you're on your own."
And with that Dr. Hugo First stomped off in a huff.
"That's okay," I told Chompy, "he did his part for the story. Now I need your help."
"Hey," said GiGi, "who parked the tank outside?"
TO BE CONTINUED