Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Case of the Corpsed Up Career

The sound of Harvey Weinstein muttering something about "Ben Silverman's doodle," as he rooted through my trash looking for indie movie to not release wafted through my open office window, accompanied by Springtime air, and the exhaust of a hundred SUVs heading down Sunset Boulevard, on their way to a Global Warming Awareness rally.

Other than that, it was quiet in Hollywood.

Too quiet.

And quiet isn't good when you're a man like me. You see, I'm Furious D, and I'm a dick. A private dick to be exact, a shamus, a gumshoe, a peeper, a P.I., and about a dozen other names that don't cause people to giggle shamefully like when you say the word "dick."

It was not a good time for me. My back hurt from a recent business trip to Tijuana, not from anything to do with the case, but from having to give a donkey a decent burial in the desert. I knocked back a shot in honour of Senor Pepito, a true hero, and was just about to have a little afternoon nap, the crazed mutterings of Harvey Weinstein my lullaby, when my phone rang.

"This had better be good," I said to the phone, "I've been having a recurring dream about Zoey Deschannel and I don't like to miss an episode."

The phone rang again, making me think that answering the phone would be better than yelling at it.

"Furious D," I said in my most world-weary, yet still noble tone, "private dick."

"I got a case for you," growled the familiar voice of Lt. Gruff Cliche, who worked for the Hollywood Police. Not the LAPD that handled law enforcement, but the Hollywood PD, who handled the celebrities. They were a hand-picked elite, sworn to serve and protect the rich and famous from doing any serious time for their various and sundry crimes.

"I don't do celebrity cases anymore," I said. I gave up working the Fame Game, not out of any moral quandary, just because celebrities, and their sins, had become so damn boring.

"You haven't been doing any cases lately," said Gruff, "I thought you could use the business."

"Why can't you handle it?" I asked.

"We got our hands full," said Gruff, "too much fame, too much money--"

"--too few brains," I concluded, remembering the motto of Gruff's unit. "What's the case?"

"It's a homicide."

This was the moment the orchestra would do some sort of "dum-dum-duuuuummmmm" and cut to the next scene.


"What do you have Doc?" I asked as I strolled into the Hollywood Career Morgue. The place smelled of disinfectant and bitter failure. Vivaldi played on a CD player in the corner, how he managed to balance himself on a stereo while playing the violin was another mystery for another time.

"We have a dead career," said Doc Exposition, a tall, thin fellow in a white lab coat.

"All the careers here are dead," I said as one of Doc's assistants wheeled a dead career past me on a gurney, it's destination, a reality TV show on basic cable.

"This is a young one," said Doc Exposition, lifting the sheet like a celebutante's mini-skirt, revealing the remains of what was once a promising career. Of course the promise was long gone, replaced by what smelled like urine.

"Cause of death?" I asked.

"Pissed away," answered Doc.

"Then case closed," I said.

"Not quite," said Doc. "The problem is that we don't know whose career this is."

"Oh," I said. "I need to see everything you've got, and then I need to see the crime scene."


Doc Exposition showed me everything he had, which made me wish that I had said "everything you've got on the case" instead. I had forgotten that his nickname was "Doc Exhibition."

I left the Career Morgue and headed for where the HPD found the carcass. It was a back alley behind a fashionable nightclub called
Shaggers. I had seen dozens of such scenes back when I worked celebrity cases. There was puddle of puke, reeking of booze and I didn't need to be a CSI to see that it contained no food matter, a used up tube of lipstick, something that looked like a receipt half in the vomit puddle, and a hair caught in the door. The hair was bottle blonde, and I couldn't tell the root's colour with a naked eye, or even a clothed eye, so I took samples of everything and went back to my lab.


By lab I mean basement. I woke up Chompy, my pet badger, tossed him a cheeseburger and broke out my Junior G-Man Crime-Lab Kit.

I was right about the vomit, no food at all. The lipstick was made by a fellow named Les Behan, a popular brand in Hollywood among starlets craving tabloid media attention. I then turned my attention to the receipt. I had the chemicals ready to restore the faded ink, so I opened the bottles, poured them into the pan, took a deep breath full of fumes..............

When I regained consciousness, Chompy was slapping my face and gesturing for me to get back to work. Thankfully he had opened the basement windows and aired the place out enough for me to breath again without hallucinating. By the time I staggered back to my worktable the ink had been restored. It was a summary by an accountant, listing fees paid to the actor with the dead career. There were movie salaries at first, small at first, then they got bigger, then smaller, and fewer and farther between. Then all that were left were "appearance" fees from nightclubs. At first they were big, then they too got smaller, and smaller, until all that was left was one free drink per night. Alongside these fees were the costs, hotel suites, houses, cars, car repairs, fines, legal fees, and rehab stints, all sucking down cash by the bushel.

I then put the hair under my microscope.

The hair wasn't definitely not a real blonde, in fact, the root was red.

I picked up my phone and dialled Gruff.

"Hey Gruff," I said, "I have an ID on your dead career. Yeah I could tell you who it is, but I want my readers to guess who it is and leave their answer in the comments. Yeah, I know I'm breaking the fourth wall in a way by getting them involved, but this is metafiction."

So, do you know who owns the career?



  1. I take a leap...

    Molly Ringwald? I know I dipping a bit far, but I can't recollect anyone recently except for that dude who leads the CSI:Miami band. Red heads are definitely in the minority over in hollyweird.

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  4. I would wager that the career's former owner's first and last name both begin with the 12th letter of the alphabet (to make it not so obvious).

  5. I'd go with the 12th letter one.


  6. You're right Tony.

    You win a date with the celebrity in question.

    BTW- You must pay for everything, she's currently broke.

    Oh, I shouldn't pick on these celebrities anymore. They're getting depressing.

  7. Lay off the Lo' you ingrates! Twisty whippersnappers all! She be in a slump, whot with all those trips down to the there clients-err clinics! ..of report.