Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Ankh-Morpork PD Status: Killjoy Extraordinaire Actual Posts: Lots!
I was glancing through some of the older stuff I've written and found this little gem. I just can't seem to stop myself from making hard-boiled detective type characters.
Viridian sat at his desk, staring woodenly ahead. He should’ve raged, should’ve written furious letters, should’ve...done something! But his opponents in the Council were too persuasive. Even the fact that he’d done the impossible and found a way to track Alpheratz hadn’t improved his case.
His case. Not anymore.
Also, his glass seemed to be getting rather empty.
Almost subconsciously, he opened the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out the bottle that had almost magically appeared there. Maybe it had been left by the previous chief. Made sense, really.
He poured a little of the liquid into his glass. Not too much... it wasn’t even noon yet and the last thing he needed was for that damn Council wizard to come in at the wrong time and get him fired for incompetence of some stupid bullshit.
Ha! Incompetence! Let the Council look for Alpheratz for a few weeks and they’d realize the meaning of the word. They may have their fancy contacts and special high-level spells and enchantments, but they didn’t know Prock like he did.
Prock would dance rings around them.
Of course he would. He had to.
Maybe it was the whiskey thinking, but Viridian realized with a start that he was actually on Alpheratz’s side in this matter. Just this matter, though. Guy still needed to be locked up somewhere safe...just...
The Council had overstepped its bounds. Gone above the Law. Viridian rather hoped Alpheratz would make them pay dearly for their transgressions.
On the other hand, if it hadn’t been for Prock in the first place, none of this would have happened. Yes, yes. When it came right down to it, it was all Prock’s fault.
Viridian glared straight ahead. One day... one day he’d wipe the smirk off that bastard’s-
“So, who's this, then?”
Viridian sat up far too fast, reeling with the sudden change in altitude. Maybe he’d poured himself a tad bit too much in retrospect. And here... here was his second least favorite person in the world and he was holding-
Somehow the insufferable son of a bitch had noticed and picked up that picture. The one he usually kept face down on his desk. He did that for a reason. Couldn’t the biserable mastard... er... miserable bastard just keep his goddamn hands to himself?!
Very carefully, so as not to betray the fact that the room seemed to be gently rocking, he stood up and snatched the picture back.
“It’s none of your buish-business!” he snapped.
“So it is true! I figured you were always protecting that two-bit thief-”
Viridian slammed the picture frame down on the desk. Even when Prock wasn’t around he still managed to make life difficult!
All right. Not very eloquent, but Viridian was beginning to feel that perhaps he had had slightly too much whiskey.
The other man seemed to notice this as well.
Damn his eyes.
“A little early, isn’t it?” he remarked with a raised eyebrow, “Better hope the Council doesn’t find out...”
“It’s lemonade,” interrupted Viridian, immediately feeling stupid. If he’d been slightly more sober, he’d have probably thought of something better to say. Or at least more believable.
The other eyebrow joined the first, “I didn’t know they made lemonade eighty proof...”
Oh. Right. He’d left the bottle on his desk.
Quickly, he replaced it into it’s proper drawer, vaguely noticing how very empty it had become. he was fairly sure there had been quite a bit more in it this morning...
But for now, the damn Council wizard.
“So, did you come here just to gloat or do you actually have some business with me, Magister?” he spat.
“Actually,” the magister began, “do you mind if I sit down?”
Viridian nodded at one of the chairs across from the desk.
“Thank you,” said the wizard, taking a seat, “As I have just begun my investigation,” Viridian winced, “And as you were the previous investigator,” another wince, “I was wondering if I might have your file on Alpheratz Procyon. It would speed things up immeasurably.”
No. Absolutely not. Did the man not know how fucking long it had taken to compile that thing? How many hours he’d spent collecting stories and hearsay? What it took to get any information at all on the most elusive man in the world? Did he?
And to expect him to just hand over that wealth of information just like that! It was a humiliation worse than being pulled off the case in the first place! Viridian knew he was being unreasonable, but damn it! He deserved to be allowed the odd moment of... of... unreasonableness! If that was even a word!
But, then again, the magister had very pointedly not mentioned that one word from him could send Viridian into a very early retirement.
Best step cautiously. It would probably help matters if the other wizard thought him too drunk to be tricky.
“Of course,” he said, finally, “but there’s some... uh... formalities that need to be followed before I can give you that information. It’s the only source of data, after all.”
“So what? I need to sign some things?” asked the magister.
Heavens be praised, a newcomer to bureaucracy.
“You might say that,” he started carefully, “There are also some forms that need to be filled out. And since we’ve never had an information transfer this large before...” a lie... well, sort of a lie, “there is no specific protocol for this sort of thing. But I’m sure we can work something out.”
Oh, yes they would. Already, a plan was forming at the back of his mind. This... this must be something similar to what Alpheratz felt all those times he’d used his twisted genius to squirm out of impossibly tight situations. Maybe he should drink more often.
But now, his mouth was moving faster than his reason.
“Well, now. We’ve got our standard II1B, that’s just for you to fill out,” with a flick of his hand, he summoned the appropriate form from one of his filing cabinets. It was a good start, a twelve page beast that featured a full background check and a number of awkward questions. Viridian couldn’t even remember what it was for, only that it took nearly a half an hour to complete.
“This is just so that we know precisely who is making the withdrawal. Contact information, background, reasons for request... you get the idea.”
The wizard was flipping through the form, “Is it really necessary to list my beginning school instructors? And what size pants I wear?”
Viridian tried not to grin, “Essential.”
“So after I fill this thing out,” the magister did not look like he was anticipating the action, “do I get to view the file?”
“Does this look like a public library?” asked Viridian in a shocked tone, “This is just for us to verify that you are who you say you are. After you fill this out, then I’ll send it out for processing. That will take about a week... “ as if just noticing the wizard’s expression, Viridian leaned forward and added conspiratorially, “Of course, I know you are who you say you are, but the paperwork has to get done. Nothing I can do about that. But, I can speed up the process a bit...”
“How?” asked the wizard hopefully.
“Well, normally, we’d have to wait for the results from this form to come back before going to the item retrieval forms. But since we already know what the results will be, I can get you started on those right now and you can get them filled ahead of time!”
Viridian watched with satisfaction as the wizard’s shoulders slumped a little in dismay.
“So what do I have to sign?” he asked wearily.
Viridian was on a roll. As quickly as he could, he began to summon form after form to his desk, careful to choose the longest and most complicated that he could remember, the ones with the most writing, the intimidating ones. He’d see if the snarky bastard was quite as snarky when he left.
And of course he was as sickeningly helpful as possible all the way through it. He even highlighted the portions of the forms that needed to be filled out.
“So, we’ve got the 516B, that’s for basic item retrieval, and the 516B28C, which is the extension for rare or restricted items. Don’t worry, most of that is just explaining the differences between different types of items. You can just skim it to fill out section 6B here,” out came the highlighter, “Then, there’s the NIK23, NAK42, and the PADIWAK3B12. Those are Naval regulations and restrictions-”
“Wait. Why do I need to fill out Naval regulations and restrictions forms?” cut in the bemused wizard.
Viridian let out a long-suffering sigh, “This is a large file, magister. Some of the information of Alpheratz’s incursions encroaches on the confidential activities of various government branches. It is necessary to accept the terms for each of these just to be safe.”
Viridian knew he was spewing bullshit now, but the wizard seemed to buy it.
“Oh,” the magister said in a small voice.
Viridian started up again, “We also have the ETC36a, which is for traffic regulations in cities with populations of one hundred thousand and above...”
Viridian grinned inwardly. If that wizard could walk out of his office by the end of the day without the assistance of a wheelbarrow, he wouldn’t have done his job properly.
He wasn’t going to give up that file without a fight.
ETERNAL QUEEN OF HALLOWEEN STATUS CONFERRED. ~ Comrade Pants
How can we be sure that Alcoremortis isn't just Comrade Pants trollplaying as a girl? ~ GuruGuru214
You're a shiny bright star; floating amongst a million slimy slugs in a sea of sludge. You transcend the pre-conceived and supposed limits of the human race, to emerge from the pit of pitiful maggots as a beautiful, majestic butterfly. ~ Davies
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