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The Great Divide (An Absurdist Mystery)

by Rie Sheridan Rose

My name is Sigfried Sunday. I’m a detective. My job begins early every morning. Take the other day. I woke up at two o’clock—or, more accurately—I was awakened at two o’clock by someone throwing a wet blanket over my head.

I jumped up, kicked him in the face, and subsided with a groan. Bleary-eyed, I glanced over the edge of the bed and noticed my girlfriend Sheila was lying on the floor groaning.

“Sorry, Sheila,” I growled. Then I jumped out of bed and grabbed the nearest clothes I could find. It sure felt funny walking down the hall in lingerie.

I staggered to the window at the end of the hall. The noonday sun was blazing on an empty street. All at once, two dudes raced into the middle of the alley and began doing the Charleston. I was shocked. Two grown men dancing in the street, and it wasn’t even four o’clock yet.

I shut my eyes and remembered Sheila. She was some dame I’d picked up in front of my office. She was the girl of my dreams. I’d been suffering from nightmares for some time, and now I knew why.

I went back to the bedroom and noticed a trail of blood leading out of the room. Using my great powers of deductive reasoning, I decided this might be a clue, so I followed the trail into the bathroom. I found two teeth on the counter and a note.

The note was from Sheila. She said she wanted me to find something for her. A purple gorilla. I scoffed. I snickered. A six-inch tall purple gorilla. I choked.

This was going to be a challenge. I went to my dresser and pulled out a drawer. It fell on the floor. I could tell this wasn’t my day.

Rummaging through the clothes on the floor, I dressed inconspicuously in yellow bell bottoms, a turquoise shirt, a green tie, and purple socks. Then, donning my army boots, I set off on the chase.

Six years later, I stumbled back into my apartment—weary, depressed, but not discouraged. This called for another plan. I changed my clothes. This time, I decided to wear my crowd-merging suit of black velvet doublet and hose with the name “Sunday” written on the back in silver sequins. Totally drab, and easily forgettable—that’s the impression I like to leave. Then I stepped back into the street. I thought I knew where to find that gorilla.

I went to Sheila’s apartment. Sure enough, it was still there—but Sheila wasn’t. I was determined to know where she’d gone.

I persuaded her landlady to tell me—it only took me an hour to wrestle the little old lady to the ground. She told me Sheila’s new address.

I knew the place well. A seedy part of town. When I got there, seeds were all over the ground. Some had even sprouted into plants.

I looked up Sheila’s new apartment. I looked down Sheila’s new apartment. Then I opened the door.

She was sitting on the table. Not at it. On it. That seemed strange, then it hit me—a vase suspended over the door. I went out like a light.

When I came to, I knew why I was there and who I was dealing with.

“I know who you are. That note was to throw me off your trail. Despite a clever use of elevator underwear, I know you to be the purple gorilla yourself!”

The gorilla sighed and gibbered coherently, “That’s right. I knew you would trace my trail someday. Now you must die!” With that, he pulled a loaded banana and fired.

I ducked and hit the control button on his underwear. All at once, he shrunk to a height of six inches.

I put him in my pocket and carried him off to the SPCD—Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Detectives. He’s resting quietly in a shoebox, which just goes to show, once again, that a gorilla in the box is worth two on the loose, or some Sundays aren’t split by bananas.

Rie Sheridan Rose‘s short stories currently appear in numerous anthologies. She has authored five poetry chapbooks and collaborated with Marc Gunn on lyrics for his “Don’t Go Drinking With Hobbits” CD. Yard Dog Press is home to humorous horror chapbooks: Tales from the Home for Wayward Spirits, Bar-B-Que Grill, and Bruce and Roxanne Save the World…Again. Mocha Memoirs published the individual short stories “Drink My Soul…Please,” and “Bloody Rain” as e-downloads. Melange Books carries her romantic fantasy Sidhe Moved Through the Faire. Zumaya Books is home to The Luckless Prince as well as her newest novel, The Marvelous Mechanical Man.

Lead image: “Purple gorilla” (via Flickr user Eric E Castro)