Saturday, February 20, 2016

Short Story: Abe Zanarkand’s Merry Quest to Determine Who Marries Mary

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and occurrences are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Abe Zanarkand’s Merry Quest to Determine Who Marries Mary
words: 939

Detective Abe Zanarkand’s entry into the florist shop was accompanied by the clatter of bells hanging on the interior handle door. The florist eyed Zanarkand from behind oversized red rimmed glasses.

Not many people could wear a trench coat and fedora in the July heat and not sweat a drop. The florist knew this meant one of two things, trouble or a lousy tip.

Zanarkand’s hoarse voice broke the silence. “Have you made any arrangements for Mary Drewmore’s wedding.”

The pudgy little florist licked his lips and smoothed the front of his red sweater before he replied. “I can’t tell you that, it’s confidential.”

Zanarkand’s eyes swept the room looking for any other customers. Abe wasn’t against hitting a guy with glasses.

“I’m going to ask you again,” Abe strolled behind the counter. “Better yet, I won’t. I’ll do this myself.”

Zanarkand flipped though the notebook sitting on top of the counter that contained the flower orders. The notes regarding the floral arrangements congratulated Mary by name on her upcoming marriage, but not a one mentioned a husband.

Could this marriage be a celebrity sham? A shameless self-promotion? Surely the most famous UFO abductee from Culver City wouldn’t do this just for attention. Zanarkand paused, wondering if his sarcasm and wit was sailing over the heads of his readers. Their loss he concluded.

The easy money was turning into a moderate hassle.

Zanarkand had interviewed everyone who had a romantic link to Mary. Her claim of having never been kissed, assuredly was a myth according to these fellows.. She had always retained a number of boys on the side. Zanarkand had talked to Walt Jaimers, Letty Davidman, Ward Heland, Tom Jeremas, Mo Fabretti, Lo Jung, and Kop Willeman. All of them said the same thing. They were, or wanted, to marry Mary.

Zanarkand knew two things. This wasn’t Utah, and the tabloid had promised him eight-hundred for the identity of the husband. This was becoming a twelve-hundred dollar job, and the deadline was fast approaching.

The floral shop had been a good idea. His downfall was in assuming that some amount of planning had gone into the marriage. This must be a new suitor, someone who swept her off her feet. In other words, it was a typical Culver City fling. These celebrities seemed to swap love interests on a monthly rotation.

If there was one thing you could count on with a Culver City marriage, other than booze and a topless grandmother gyrating to Hank Williams Jr at the reception, it was the bride and groom booking a stay at the town’s bed and breakfast.

Zanarkand called the bed and breakfast and pitched his act.

“Yes. I’m calling about tonight’s bride and groom."

"Is the room in order?"

"You do know Ms. Drewmore likes three pillows on her bed?"

"You didn’t know that?"

"You must fix it at once."

"And, I hate to admit this, but the groom does not recall the alias under which he booked the room."

"Yes, I know those types all too well."

"Michael Green you say?"

"I will be sure to inform him. Thank you.”

Zanarkand had an alias, but was it enough? The next move was going to take equal parts skill and luck. Fortunate for Zanarkand, he had both in spades.

He picked up the phone and dialed the operator. Put me through to the Swanky Swan chapel. Abe knew there was only one venue large enough to house this wedding.

“What time does the Green wedding start?"

"Blue? Yes, of course."

"I can understand how you’d feel that way."

"I don’t consider it a real name either."

"Thank you for your time.”

Zanarkand had the name Old Blue Fox. He was a shock humor comedian, someone Zanarkand would dub undesirable in any considerable capacity.

If this was a romantic comedy film, Zanarkand might have realized that Old Blue Fox is all wrong for Mary Drewmore, and that he had to stop the wedding to prevent her future heartache. This wasn’t a movie. If he had the cash for a movie ticket, this would have been the end of the story. But it wasn’t. With nothing better to do, Zanarkand decided to stop the wedding.

For Mary and Old Blue, tonight was going to be one of the most memorable nights of their lives. For Abe Zanakarkand, it was... well he wasn't sure what day of the week he was on.

Zanarkand’s car screeched to a stop in front of the church. The driver hurled expletives at the man who had just parked in front of a limo that had the words ‘Just Married’ scrawled on every side. Zanarkand felt an SUV limo with a disco ball was a bit much. Everyone was losing tonight.

Zanarkand strolled right down the aisle as a minister expounded on the myth of true love. Zanarkand took Mary by the hand and looked right into her eyes. “Mary, we both know you’re going to run away from this marriage before you commit. If by some twist of fate you marry this guy, you’re going to experience infamy as his comedic career swirls into the great porcelain drain. It won’t last. My car’s out front and I didn’t pay the meter, let’s go.”

Some people may feel mild discomfort at having sold out another human being to a tabloid. Abe Zanarkand wasn’t just some person, and this wasn’t his first time. Regardless, the bank needed to cash his twelve-hundred dollar check pronto, he had Mary Drewmore waiting for him at the bed and breakfast.
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