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Khan of the Crimea
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Debts Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery

Debts Unpaid
A Guy Marlborough Mystery

Smoke trailed out the door of the Cafe Chavez, and the few society types passing regarded it with trained disdain; the Cafe was a place suitable for the wheelings and dealings of stevedores and gamblers, surely, but of no interest to them. The acrid smell of tobacco fell unhappily on these learned noses. The German did not mind.

He entered the cafe at precisely six fifty-four P.M., seated himself near the window, and quite markedly kept his attention from the outside. He knew it was not best to look for the man he was meeting; this would heighten the anticipation of it all, though he was never nervous. This meeting, however, was important. He adjusted his monocle and looked at the menu.

Of course, the monocle was a fake, but it served to enhance the man's German credentials, and at any rate his contact was to look for it. The contact arrived a shade late, the German noted to himself: seven oh-three. Better than some. They exchanged light, nonsensical phrases: "And how is your grandmother's knee?" "Delightful. I see you have purchased two new flower pots." This irked the German, a man of action, but it was necessary. He did not want to talk to the wrong man. He motioned for the wiry, trembling Venezuelan to sit down opposite.

"Mr. Arraqui, I will not beat around the bush."

"I appreciate that." The Venezuelan needed to get his footing; he was still afraid, very afraid.

"You need not be afraid, Mr. Arraqui. Unless you have something to hide."

"No, n - sir, no sir."

"As you know, your people owe us a - debt. I hope you will understand, Mr. Arraqui, that it has gone past that time when my men were willing to accept your apologies."

"Sir, it could not be helped."

"We happen to have certain - information," the German grunted, placing an unlit cigar in his mouth and sliding a folder across the table. "I am sure you will find it as interesting as I do."

Mr. Arraqui grew more and more unrestful. His hands shook. "Mr. - yes - " He gulped.

"You do find it interesting?"

"Fa - fascin - s - yes, sir."

"Good. I will keep this information." The German pulled it back and shoved it brutally into his overcoat. The Venezuelan did not notice even now the oddity of the German wearing an overcoat in this climate. His life was flashing before his eyes. The German spoke and he flinched instinctively. "You will meet me again soon - I will contact you - and if it is not soon enough you will be contacted by ... other of my men. You do not want them to contact you, Mr. Arraqui. You will raise for my men a sum of money which I will name, or you and I will no longer be the only people in possession of that ... information. Do you understand?"

"I - I understand." Hammers began banging at the insides of Mr. Arraqui's cranium; he felt the world pushing in upon his shoulders, saw the angel of death in the Teutonic monocle.

"This is the sum."

Mr. Arraqui looked at the sum on the little paper. He envisioned thugs with German carbines.

"I will be contacting you soon, Mr. Arraqui." The German rose and departed, his cigar yet unlit. Mr. Arraqui stared at the sum, hearing nothing and at the same time everything, the crying of crowds, bloodhounds, sirens, the song of the boatmen on the river Styx. He was awakened from his reverie by a waiter. Forced to contemplate the menu of the Cafe Chavez, Jose Manuel Arraqui y Vinegas ordered his last meal.
 
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Sir Humphrey

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Ohh. Looks suitable smashing stuff.
 

Rensslaer

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Great joy!

Another Hajji epic is begun! :D

A very interesting start -- a bit of heavy-handed "salesmanship".

I'm intrigued to know how this will fit into what some of us know about your impending storyline.

Wonderful!

Rensslaer
 

stnylan

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Now that is a most excellent start to a tale.
 

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Oh, lovely, just lovely, Guy Marlborough thought to himself. He cursed his luck. But to be polite, he extended his hand and it was crushed, exactly as he expected. Ever since he had been a child, he had been simply dreadful with handshakes. He always got his hands smashed. As a result he could not stand them; as a matter of fact, a professor at his university had informed him of a new theory regarding "phobias", irrational fears of harmless things. When anyone extended a hand to Guy Marlborough, which was frequently in this business, a deep, gut-wrenching anxiety took hold, and it was only after the handshakes were over that he was able to calm himself.

Otherwise he was a perfectly ordinary person, as far as rich British detectives go.

"Pleased to meet you," Guy squeaked through his fear.

"Guy Marlborough," the Venezuelan said. "My name is Gustavo Calderon. I am chief of staff for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He sends his regards and regrets that he could not meet you. A rather ... urgent Cabinet meeting is taking place at the moment, I gather."

"Quite alright." Guy Marlborough had the sort of educated Oxbridge accent which made most who met him think, I guessed as much, upon learning his rather pretentious name. "It honestly rather impresses me that the Minister wanted to see me in the first place."

"Well, Mr. Marlborough, it is of course of utmost importance to us, this - goodwill mission of yours, you call it. We look forward to learning the most advanced techniques from your - eh - what you call - Scottish Yard?"

"Scotland Yard, yes, that is where I work, in fact."

"Ah, very good. This is Chief Inspector Lopez. He is in charge of the Caracas police. You will be working with him."

"Good day, Chief Inspector."

"Good day, Mr. Marlborough."

"I look forward to working with you. When will we start?"

"Mr. Marlborough, I am afraid that not much is happening at the moment."

Guy supposed this should be a relief, in a way. The police were a profession whose goal was to remove their own purpose. "I suppose that is rather a relief."

"Yes. All quiet. But if we find any bodies ... !" Lopez smiled; he sounded like he cherished the idea. Guy wondered if he wanted to put on a good show, to procure some dead bodies to impress Guy and apply his renowned detecting faculties to the fullest.

"Yes. Perhaps we'll find some bodies..."
 

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Khan of the Crimea
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Hey everyone! Thanks for the comments!

Rens - this is not the project for which I was getting so much advice :( That one will come sometime in the future. This one was started on the spur of the moment, on the basis of a germ of a seed of an inkling of an idea I had while walking. I think it'll be a lot more fun than the Dracula story. Hope you like!

Chesterton - wow! Thanks! I actually dragged myself into the Victoria section for this one too (well, to be more accurate, I dragged myself out of Into the West). 'Tis a neat, immensely talented place.

thanks everyone and keep reading :) I'm thinking through where I'm going to take this thing, and it's getting to be a pretty crazy ride! will be fun to write :cool:
 

J. Passepartout

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A professor I know told me that once, ten or twleve years ago, his department was looking to hire another professor, and one of the candidates they interviewed had a very weak handshake. My professor proceeded to tell me that it was possible that the weak handshake influenced the outcome, which was that this interviewee was not hired. He seemed to not like that outcome but told me to give firm handshakes in order to prevent anything like that happening to me.
 
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CatKnight

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Very good start! That German's rather intimidating, isn't he? :)

As for Guy's handshake, maybe that's his secret means of identification! I mean, no one would expect someone in his line of work to have a weak handshake, so if anyone ever did try to replace him they'd probably squeeze hard. This would alert his friends that something's very wrong, or Guy's been practicing on his stress ball.

What? Why's everyone looking at me like that!?
 

stnylan

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Perfectly reasonable thing for an Englishman to dislike handshakes - I mean, that means acknowledging other people exist. Good heavens, it means body contact with a complete stranger!!! Do you have any idea how horrendous a thing for a Englishmen to experience?

;)
 

J. Passepartout

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stnylan said:
Perfectly reasonable thing for an Englishman to dislike handshakes - I mean, that means acknowledging other people exist. Good heavens, it means body contact with a complete stranger!!! Do you have any idea how horrendous a thing for a Englishmen to experience?

;)

I wish I was English so I could say this to people.
 

Black Lotus

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J. Passepartout said:
I wish I was English so I could say this to people.
I do too now!
 

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Khan of the Crimea
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The first thing they found was the head.

It sat on the floor of Jose Manuel Arraqui's flat, facing the front door, looking rather forlorn. It had reason to seem lonely; the rest of the body was certainly not found anywhere nearby. The head had been severed with gut-busting efficiency, but the makeshift surgeon had evidently had some trouble with some parts and had found this somewhat frustrating. When the cleaning lady saw the head, she fainted before her mental processes had even figured out whose it was.

It was the morning after he had met the German. It was unclear where he had been after that. It was, in fact, unclear who Jose Manuel Arraqui was.

Thirty minutes after he had been found a wire was sent through the Atlantic to London: BABY BULL FINALLY DESPATCHED STOP CONGRATULATIONS STOP.

Forty minutes after he had been found, the maid awoke and called in the police.





-

Sorry for the small update; more soon. Still getting the last of my college application stuff done, and in any case I just got accepted to Clemson University with a $45,000 four-year preliminary scholarship (they haven't handed out the big ones yet) and I'm going to celebrate by playing Worms: World Party. Also, this is post #1400 for me.
 

J. Passepartout

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It was, in fact, unclear who Jose Manuel Arraqui was.
Interesting... So not only do we have to find out who killed this guy (by we I mean the protagonsists) but we have to find out who the killed man is.

You look like you have been accepted into a few good schools, from what I have seen from you about it on the forums, so keep it up.
 

unmerged(62890)

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stnylan said:
Perfectly reasonable thing for an Englishman to dislike handshakes - I mean, that means acknowledging other people exist. Good heavens, it means body contact with a complete stranger!!! Do you have any idea how horrendous a thing for a Englishmen to experience?

;)
As a Brit from the Home Counties i am disgusted. we brits have no problems with physical contact as long as its profitable or boxing

Black Lotus said:
I do too now!
HA I am a Brit so HA HA HA
 
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stnylan

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One cat thrown amid the pigeons. Why I am not surprised? ;)
 

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"I'm terribly sorry," Guy Marlborough squeaked as he backed out of the apartment and onto the walkway outside, gripping the railing between his white fingers. "I just ... can't stand the sight of ... HURKKKK!" Nothing came out. The Venezuelan captain laughed.

"Don Marlborough, you are not exactly prepared to be a detective, if I may?"

"I can think with the best of them, my good man, but - oh dear. Describe the scene for me, please."

"Well, Mr. Guy, there is a head on the floor. It is the head of Jose Manuel Arraqui."

"How do you know?"

"The maid says he lived here. She has his checks."

"I see."

"Also, we have confirmed his identity with some people who - knew him."

"Family?"

"None."

"What else is in the - room?"

"The floor is spotless but for the blood, sir, which is only around the head. If the head was - dripping -" (Marlborough shivered) "the blood was caught by something until the murderer took it out, perhaps of a bag, and dropped it on the floor."

"Was it dropped?"

"It looks like it is there carefully."

"What?" Corrupted English. "Like it is there, because it is meant to be there?"

"Yes."

"It's facing the door."

"Yes, Mr. Guy."

"Please go through the apartment and see if you can find anything interesting."

"Yes, Mr. Guy. Shall we report to you?"

"Yes. I'll just be hear - uhm - observing this courtyard."

"Very good, Mr. Guy." The captain seemed a little too eager. The celebrated Briton wondered if murder was a sport in this odd country. He certainly was glad that his little trick had worked well. Once the three officers had disappeared into a back room of the flat, Guy Marlborough entered carefully, and without even thinking of gagging.