Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Case of the Junked Jobs

It was a busy day for my lone wolf operation, my phone was ringing off the hook, people were missing stuff, and when their stuff went missing they needed me to find it.

Because I'm Furious D, and I'm a dick, a private dick.

People hire me to find the answers, even when they don't know the question, though when I first heard the knocking on my office window I had a question of my own.

Who'd be knocking on my window? Which happened to be on the top floor of the Leakyroof Towers, a bleak brick monstrosity, that lay on the corner where Easy Street met the Boulevard of Broken Dreams on the outskirts of Hollywood. I pulled the blind, who then excused themselves and got away from my window so I could see who was out there.

It was a mountain.

Literally a mountain, and a very famous mountain at that. It wasn't Everest, it was Perry the Paramount mountain.

"I need your help," said Perry.

"What's the rumpus?" I asked in my coyfully outdated way.

"I got canned," answered Perry, "they fired me, after almost nine decades I got laid off without so much as a 'how do you do.'"

"Why did you get fired?"

"I don't know," said Perry with a shrug, causing an avalanche that buried a passing convertible, "when I ask, all I get is the high hat."

"Thanks for tossing in the noir slang," I said.

"Anything to help," said Perry, "can you find out why I got fired, I mean I got a wife and a small mountain range to support."

"Sure," I said, "and it'll be a freebie, since I still owe you for Tijuana."

"Aw," said Perry wistfully, "those were the days. Thanks Furious."


I hit the road to find some answers.

The road didn't respond well to the hitting, and neither did my knuckles from the asphalt, so I moved on. To find the answer I had to get to the heart of darkness itself, I had to go to Paramount Studios.

"Do you have an appointment?" asked the Guard at the famous Paramount gates.

"Sure," I said, "I'm delivering lunch to the legal department."

"You don't have any food?" asked the guard.

"They're cannibals," I said, "and I'm suicidal."

"Can I see some identification?"

"Sure," I answered, holding out my middle finger, "here's my fingerprint."

"You can't be from around here," said the guard, "you're too polite. How do I know you're not some psycho nut-job?"

"The voices in my head say I'm a great guy," I answered.

"Why am I even asking?" asked the Guard as he opened the gate. "Since I just got my pink slip, who gives a crap!"

"That's a healthy attitude," I said as I went in.

The Paramount lot was quiet.

Too quiet.

A tumbleweed rolled by, and it wasn't a prop from a western, but the real deal.

I felt like Charlton Heston in the Omega Man, but without the albinos in the groovy black robes. Which was a bit of a bummer. I made my way to the executive suite, and went inside, the door creaked and hung loosely from its hinges.

"Hello," I asked, my voice echoing down the hall. I was hoping to exchange some saucy repartee with the receptionist, but she was gone, a small chicken in her place, pecking at the buttons on the switchboard as they lit up.

I walked down the hall, to the office of the CEO. The door was open and I poked my head in. Okay, it wasn't technically my head, but one I found on the street, but I found it, so it was mine now.

"Hello," said a voice from inside, "who are you?"

"I'm Furious D," I said, "I'm a dick."

"I'm sure you are," replied the man at the big desk. "I guess you know who I am."

"Sure I do," I answered, "you're the big cheese, the alpha dog, the big kahuna, the head dingus in charge of this heap."

"That's right," said the CEO, "and why are you here, and why are you carrying a head?"

"Why are you laying off everyone left and right?"

"Well," said the CEO, "money's tight. Sacrifices have to be made."

"So you're giving up your bonus?"

"Don't talk crazy," said the CEO. "That's a justified reward for all my hard work."

"But you just said that money's tight," I said, "and that sacrifices have to be made. I think you, as the highest paid person here should have to sacrifice something before you start laying off the ordinary working folks."

"But then I wouldn't get my bonus?" asked the CEO, a look of confusion on his face.

"And maybe you could also take a pay cut," I said, "perhaps basing your pay on how well the company performs under your leadership."

"Now you're talking crazy," said the CEO, "because if I did that I'd be lucky to get paid at all, let alone get a bonus that could feed Bangladesh for a year."

"But it doesn't give you much motivation to do a good job," I said, "you've lost Dreamworks, your financing is iffy, a lot of your recent hits were produced by others, and you're parent company is over a billion bucks in the hole. Maybe if your pay was based on performance, the company would be doing better."

The CEO started rubbing his head. "Damn," he said, "all this thinking is making my head hurt! Where's my secretary? Oh, right, I fired her to get me a new company car.... Damn you!" The CEO then screamed and leaped out of his open window.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!" yelled the CEO.

"Stop you're goofing," I said, "you're on the ground floor."

"Stop ruining my dramatic moment," barked the CEO, before storming off in a huff.

I think I found the answer to my mystery.


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