Parody crime fiction
Scarlet’s life was dull as hell and she knew it. What was she doing working herself to the bone to keep her business running? What would she get out of it in the end? Dark circles under her eyes and sore joints. The measures of success for any modern professional.
She envied men. They got the added bonus of going bald. Showing off their gleaming pates for everyone to gasp at in wonder.
‘He must have worked himself like a slave!’ they would say. The lucky bastards.
What she needed was a strong male authority figure to inject some purpose into her dilapidated life. Little did she know, the author was about to do just that. He found her at the airport bar, sipping a glass of tonic water and ice. No gin, he noticed. Perfect.
‘Listen here,’ he said in a tone of firm command, slotting a cigarette into her mouth and lighting it. ‘Enough of this boring day job B.S. You’re going to be an amateur detective. How the hell does that sound?’
‘Excuse me?’ she asked, looking at him in astonishment. Her hand reached up to remove the cigarette and he stopped her. Seemed to grasp her eyes with his and not let go. As much as she struggled, she couldn’t move.
‘A large gin and tonic.’ He clicked his fingers at the barman. ‘Go easy on the tonic.’
‘What’s going on?’ her voice was quiet, scared.
‘No. More spunk.’
‘Are you fucking crazy?’ she demanded, her high-pitched curse drawing attention from passers-by. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’
‘Yes! You’re getting there. In a minute, once you get on the plane, I’ll write someone having a suspicious seizure or whatever in the bathroom. All you have to do is solve the crime. Got it? Good.’
Scarlet shook her head and took a long drag from her cigarette.
‘I’m not getting on any damn plane.’
‘I know. You’re just here to drink tonic water and imagine what it’d be like to take a holiday. That’s sad.’ He snorted in disgust. ‘Go catch a flight to somewhere hot. I don’t care where. The choice is yours.’
‘No it’s not.’