Thursday, December 13, 2007

Skeleton in your Closet

Vincent Chan sat behind a very large Rosewood desk talking on the Phone. "Yes Mrs Lim it's all true your husbands having an affair with another man." he said exasperated by this exceedingly annoying woman. This was her, what? Hundredth call since he met with her to tell her that her husband was not having an affair with her best friend but with her best friend's husband. Rule #1 Never, Never, take cases from Dames. "What's that? Yes everyone has one or two skeletons in their closet. I promise you that all the files and videos pertaining to your case will be destroyed as soon as you pay the rest of your bill." He hung up the phone, opened the bottom drawer of his desk, took out a bottle of single malt and a glass, poured himself a large measure, leaned back in his chair and said out loud, "Lady you have no idea what a skeleton in the closet is until you've seen mine."

He glanced over at the calendar on the desk. Tomorrow will be the 2nd anniversary of the day he signed the papers agreeing to the terms of his Great Uncles will. He was to receive an annuity of $100,000 for the rest of his life providing he took possession of an Office, which turned out to be Chan's Detective Agency, in the middle of Chinatown. He was not allowed to sell it or rent it to a third party but had to take over the business and all revenue earned from said business was his to keep. He remembered thinking at the time that there was no escaping destiny and it was his destiny to spend his life in the middle of Vancouver's Chinatown. He had tried to escape as a young man by moving closer to The University. When he joined the Police force after graduating, he became a beat cop in Chinatown and later as a detective in the Asian gang unit, he was thrust once again back into the middle of his culture. At the time he saw the inheritance as a great opportunity to sit on his ass and get paid. He didn't need any extra income and he could use the office and the free time to write the crime novel that he always wanted to write. He signed the papers, retired from the Police force and took possession of the Office looking forward to a new chapter in his life. His Nai Nai used to say that if something looks too good to be true you can bet your rent money that it is.

When Vincent first seen the office that he inherited he was shocked by it's size and opulence. It was nothing like he imagined. There was a small reception area that he first mistook for the office where there were comfortable leather chairs along the wall facing a small desk on which sat a sign saying Please Be Seated someone will be with you in a Moment. The room was decorated in a very modern theme, not what you would expect from an old brownstone building in the middle of Chinatown. To the right of the desk was another door which led into another room that was the main office and it took his breath away. This room was a mixture of Chinese Antiques and Art all tastefully combined with modern leather furniture and a bookcase that took up a whole wall along one side of the office. Vincent walked over and sat behind the antique desk thinking that this is all too good to be true. He went through the drawers of the desk and found the bar. It just keeps getting better an better he thought. He leaned back in his chair and took in his inheritance and that was when he saw what looked to be a door molding peeking out from behind a black lacquered folding screen, depicting the four seasons. He got up and walked across the room and pulled the screen away from the wall revealing a door which was locked. Vincent only had two keys and neither of them fit the lock. He searched the desk and office for the key but there was none to be found that fit the mystery door.
He went back and tried the door again to no avail, it wasn't until he reached up and felt along the top of the moulding that he felt something metal. He fetched the wooden ladder in front of the bookcase and discovered a key sticking out of a neatly carved slot along the top of the moulding. A skeleton key. He climbed down from the ladder and fumbled with the key in the lock. He opened the door and went weak in the knees with what lay behind that door. "Holy SHHhiittt" he exclaimed. There in a closet was a chair and sitting on the chair was a SKELETON. He returned to his desk and poured himself a very large Scotch. Maybe it was one of those medical skeletons, he thought, maybe Great Uncle put it there as a joke. But why lock the door and hide the key? No, this was bad news and the thought of it sitting in the closet creeped him out. He would have to get rid of it. He relocked the door and put the key in his pocket. Tomorrow he would get rid of it and who better then a policeman would know how and where to get rid of a body.

The next day he brought in a large sports equipment bag and packed away the skeleton, which he discovered on closer inspection was rather small , probably a woman and probably Asian he thought. He waited until midnight and loaded the bag in the trunk of his car and drove to an abandoned well in the country that he knew about and dumped the skeleton. Keeping the equipment bag in case it could be traced back to him. He went home for the weekend sure that the problem was taken care of and that no one witnessed the disposal. He even began making an outline of the crime story he was planning to write, maybe he could include the skeleton he thought.

He returned to his office fresh and relaxed, anxious to start typing the first chapter of his novel. He went over to the closet and opened the door hoping to hang up his coat only to discover that the skeleton was back sitting on the chair like it never had left. The color drained from his face. Someone must have seen him dispose of the body. He retreated to his desk an took out the bottle of Scotch, at this rate he would be an alcoholic in no time flat. He went over the events leading up to and following the disposal of the skeleton when he suddenly realized that even if someone did see him dump the skeleton in the well, how would they know where it came from because he didn't return to the office, but went straight home and how would they manage to retrieve it from a fifty foot well. This discovery didn't make him feel any better, in fact he felt much worse because if there was no logical explanation for the skeleton returning to his closet, something supernatural was happening and that didn't sit well with a little superstitious Chinese boy brought up on ancient Chinese folktales.

He remembered his Nai Nai telling him that spirits couldn't travel across large bodies of water. He checked his watch and decided that he could still make the ferry to Vancouver island if he hurried. He ran downstairs and picked up the sports bag from the trunk of his car. He knew that it wasn't a spirit but an actual skeleton but it was the only he could think of doing at this point. Five hours later his skeleton was tucked safely away under a pile of leaves and fallen branches out side of Victoria and he was on his way back to catch the last ferry home. He used all his skills as a detective to make sure that he wasn't followed. If there was someone playing with his mind, he sure that he had outfoxed them and that would be the end of matter.

The next day he went to his office later then usual, it's not that he had any clients to worry about. He entered the office and sat at his desk trying to avoid staring at the closet door. He pulled out his laptop with the intention of starting his story only to discover that there was no Internet connection. "Crap", he would have to call the cable company and have one installed. That could take weeks he thought. He might as well go across the street to Starbucks and write there. He packed up his computer and was on his way out the door when he decided to put his mind at rest and check the closet. He strolled confidently over to the door and flung it open shouting, "Ta dah!" and there it was, as before sitting on it's chair with what he could have sworn was a smirk. He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes when a loud buzzer went off behind his desk. What the FUUUUUUUUUUUUU, someone must have come in the outer office. He quickly locked the closet and relocated the screen in front of the door. He then entered the reception area to find a tall curvaceous blond dressed in a tight grey suit and white blouse open at the neck, just stopping at the cleavage of what looked like a pair of 38's. "Hi. my name is Cherry and I here to apply for the secretarial position you posted in the Paper."

That was two years ago. Lola was still in the closet, he decided to give her a name, and all kinds of mysterious and wonderful things have happened since. Things that he was sure that he would one day pay dearly for, but until then he would enjoy the ride. The novel was still unfinished and...There was a knock on the door followed by the entrance of a tall leggy blond to tell him that he was late for his Two o'clock appointment.

4 comments:

Paul December 14, 2007 at 7:08 AM  

Brilliant - I toyed with the idea of having the skeleton be an actual skeleton, but I just couldn't pull it off. I love the imagery of a smirking skull. Will you be "fleshing this out" further?

The Alchemist December 14, 2007 at 10:36 AM  

yes, I'll probably go back later. I had visions of the skeleton helping him solve crimes after one day getting drunk and talking to the skeleton about the case.

Square1 December 14, 2007 at 4:19 PM  

Oh nice. I just read your comment and I love the idea. I was thinking maybe Lola was turning out to be some kind of good luck charm for your character. I would love to know heer back story, maybe she could tell him what really happened juxaposed to what he plans to write in his story. whatever you do, this was brilliant!

pjd December 14, 2007 at 4:37 PM  

Fascinating. It was rather a long read for me given my schedule today, but I enjoyed it and was really drawn in. I want to know what's behind all this. Does the MC ever find out?