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A Tooth In Death’s Mouth: A Sam Stonemarrow Mystery

The unhappy man enters your office without knocking and sits down at your desk. He sweats like a honey-glazed ham left floating and forgotten in a hot jacuzzi.

“I need to hire a private detective,” he says.

The man starts sobbing because he thinks you are going to bite his ass into 11 sections. He sprints out of your office and slams the door behind him. You spend the rest of the day sitting in your empty office and flipping through magazines looking for pictures of vegetables. Every time you find a picture of a vegetable, you pick up the phone on your desk and say the name of the vegetable. There is nobody on the other end of the phone, but you like imagining that you are telling someone about a vegetable. You do this for the rest of your life, then you go to the bathroom. No mysteries happen to you at all.

The End

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The unhappy man lets out a sigh of relief. “Finally, some good news. What’s your name, detective?”

“Mr. Stonemarrow, let me tell you my troubles. My name is Dusty Washcloth,” says the unhappy man. “I work for the National Museum of American History. I am their head of security, which means that it’s my job to wait until something gets stolen from the museum and then run around screaming. Last night, the museum was robbed, and a specimen was stolen from the Presidential Fossils exhibit. I immediately began running around screaming, for which I was commended. I’ve since spent the past three days bursting into random offices and asking if the people who work there are detectives.”

“Mr. Stonemarrow, let me tell you my troubles,” says Dusty Washcloth. “I work for the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I am their head of security, which means that it’s my job to wait until something gets stolen from the museum and then run around screaming. Last night, the museum was robbed, and a specimen was stolen from the Presidential Fossils exhibit. I immediately began running around screaming, for which I was commended. I’ve since spent the past three days bursting into random offices and asking if the people who work there are detectives.”

The unhappy man shudders like a rooster who has seen two monsters shaking hands. “The item that was taken was none other than Abraham Lincoln’s fossilized tooth! You must recover the tooth! It is the only part of Lincoln’s body that still exists! Please say you’ll take the case, Mr. Stonemarrow!”

“And what’s that?”

“My employer is willing to offer you a huge and wonderful thing in exchange for the safe return of Lincoln’s tooth,” says Dusty Washcloth. “The Smithsonian recently put a beaver’s brain inside Ronald Reagan’s corpse as part of the museum’s initiative to conduct fucked-up experiments that don’t help anyone. Now Reagan’s corpse has the mind of a beaver, and he keeps smacking things with his ass in an effort to build a dam while yelling the word ‘Remorse!’ over and over again. If you bring us Lincoln’s tooth, we will give you beaver-Reagan as your personal secretary.”

“What a relief!” says Dusty Washcloth. “I’m so glad you’re accepting this case! You’ve got to find Lincoln’s tooth. I’ll be waiting for you at the museum whenever you want to begin your investigation. Goodbye, Mr. Stonemarrow.”

Dusty Washcloth takes another large gulp of mouthwash, gargles with it, and spits it directly into your face. “I also gargle with mouthwash when I’m very happy,” he explains. “When something good happens to me, I spit mouthwash all over the place. I call it ‘Wet Fireworks.’” He stands up and leaves your office.

Solitude passes Dusty Washcloth in the doorway and slips into your office as he exits. It lets itself in. It knows you won’t mind, and besides, you’re familiar enough with one another to dispense with formalities.

You pour yourself a double of Cruel Boy’s Bourbon and light a cigarette. The thick, black smoke coats your tongue with a protective layer of sludge and suffocates the dangerous bacteria that live in your lungs. It’s healthier than a tomato. The shadows grow long across your floor to announce the sunset, and you close the blinds to choke out the glare. You have no time for windows. Windows are just garage doors for birds, and birds are just distractions that lay eggs. You have no time for distractions.

Especially now that you have a case.

You think about your past. All your regrets. All the unbearable things you’ve seen and all the unbearable things you’ve done. You sneeze so hard that your pants fall down. Your boxer shorts have pictures of your face wearing a propellor beanie on them.

You choose to bravely stand in the dark with your pants down. You stand this way for a long time. At one point, a man with an easel walks into your office and paints a full-scale oil painting of you standing there wth your pants down. When he is finished painting you, he packs up his easel and leaves. You never find out who he is.

You’ve had it with waiting around. Your policy on solving crime is the same as your policy on drinking bourbon: It’s never too early in the day to start. You toss your revolver into your gun pouch and leave your office.

You arrive at the Smithsonian Museum. You better go inside and start investigating.

You step into the lobby of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The museum was founded in 1790 when George Washington ordered this enormous building to be constructed so that he could sit in a glass cube with his shirt off and American citizens could come look at him. George Washington spent the majority of his presidency in a glass cube on display in the Smithsonian with no shirt on. He believed it would be educational for Americans to get to see what the president looked like with his shirt off. For a long time, that was the only exhibit, and people came from all over the country to see shirtless George Washington. Since then, the museum has added many new exhibits, but none of them were ever as popular as the shirtless George Washington’s dead-fish exhibit.

On your way through the lobby, you pass the statue of George Washington with his shirt off that the museum had installed after he died so that Americans could still understand what George Washington looked like with his shirt off even though he was being tortured eternally in Heaven. At the base of the statue is the inscription “Taking my shirt off is the only thing that ever made me smile,” attributed to Washington.

You wink at the statue of shirtless George Washington, and you’re immediately confronted by two Navy Seals who tell you that it’s absolutely forbidden to wink at the statues. They’ve taken the vow of silence that all Navy Seals take when they join, so they have to hold a sign with the message written on it. It is the sacred duty of Navy Seals to guard statues of U.S. presidents in museums around the world and make sure that nobody winks at them.

You leave the Navy Seals and enter the Presidential Fossils exhibit. This is a famous wing of the Smithsonian where all the fossilized bones of America’s old presidents are tossed into a big pile in the middle of the room for people to look at. All the presidents’ bones are mixed together for convenience of viewing.

You walk past the statue and enter the Presidential Fossils exhibit. This is a famous wing of the Smithsonian where all the fossilized bones of America’s old presidents are tossed into a big pile in the middle of the room for people to look at. All the presidents’ bones are mixed together for convenience of viewing.

You look at the bones. It’s a whole big salad of all the best and worst presidents together. It’s very educational. Suddenly you hear a voice behind you: “Can I help you?”

You rotate your head 180 degrees such that your head is facing backwards on your body. The woman who was standing behind you looks at you in horror. “What on earth is wrong with you?” she screams. “You’re a monster!”

“Stay away from me!” screams the woman. She presses a button on the wall. Beneath the button is a placard that reads, “PRESS IN CASE OF FIRE OR TERRIBLE MONSTER.” A loud alarm starts blaring throughout the museum. A voice comes over the intercom and says, “Warning. The museum is either on fire or under attack from some hideous monster that can swivel its head around. Please run screaming from the museum as fast as you can. Kill anyone who is running slower than you.”

Everyone in the museum starts screaming and sprinting toward the exits as fast as they can. People rip each other to pieces in their insane scramble for escape. People throw themselves from windows or run straight through the walls just to get away from you. Chaos and carnage rule the day at the National Museum of American History.

You decide to learn nothing from this whole fiasco and choose instead to spend the rest of your life always rotating your head around on your neck like a furious gyroscope. But sadly, it looks like you may never get the chance, because the alarm has attracted Sensei Randal’s Intermediate Karate Squadron. These kids have studied karate under Sensei Randal for at least six months, and now they wander the world administering vigilante justice. “We are here to use the sacred teachings of Sensei Randal to kill the backward-headed monster terrorizing the museum!” shouts Dale Oaks, a 15-year-old blue belt from Grand Rapids, MI.

You make a mental note never to swivel your head like a freak ever again, but sadly it’s too late, because the alarm has attracted Sensei Randal’s Intermediate Karate Squadron. These kids have studied karate under Sensei Randal for at least six months, and now they wander the world administering vigilante justice. “We are here to use the sacred teachings of Sensei Randal to kill the backward-headed monster terrorizing the museum!” shouts Dale Oaks, a 15-year-old blue belt from Grand Rapids, MI.

You decide it would be more efficient for everyone if you just let Sensei Randal’s Intermediate Karate Squadron go ahead and kill you. Sensei Randal’s motto is “The only thing in karate is karate chops,” so that’s all he teaches his students day in and day out for years. As a result, these kids are extremely bad at almost all of karate, but extremely good at karate chops. They karate-chop you in the legs until you die.

The next day the front page of the paper reads “Monster Plaguing Museum Killed By Children Who Still Need To Get Better At Karate.”

The End

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You try to fight off Sensei Randal’s Intermediate Karate Squadron. Sadly, Sensei Randal’s motto is “The only thing in karate is karate chops,” so that’s all he teaches his students day in and day out for years. As a result, these kids are extremely bad at almost all of karate, but they’re extremely good at karate chops. You’re simply no match for their karate-chop skills, and they karate-chop you in the legs until you die.

The next day the front page of the paper reads “Monster Plaguing Museum Killed By Children Who Still Need To Get Better At Karate.”

The End

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You turn around and find yourself looking into a pair of eyes so dark and deep you could hide a bag of stolen sneakers inside of them for 1,000 years without anyone ever finding them. “My name is Eileen Osiris,” says the voice that belongs to those eyes. “I’m the curator of the Smithsonian museum. A museum curator is someone who thinks about old treasures and decides which ones are good to look at and which ones belong at the bottom of the ocean. I am queen of the past.”

You politely shriek, “Hubba, hubba!”

“You’re very polite,” says the dame with the eyes. “What’s your name?”

“You got a first name, Detective Stonemarrow?”

“It’s nice to meet you, Sam,” says Eileen Osiris. “You must be here to help us figure out what happened to our stolen Abraham Lincoln tooth. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“I’m sorry, Sam,” says Eileen Osiris. “But Dusty Washcloth has gone missing. He left work yesterday to go to city hall to use the city’s only toilet, but he never came back. And then after that, he was murdered. His body was found at the city’s only toilet. Someone shot him in his Essential Lemon, which is the most important part of the body. I’m very worried about him because I don’t know where he is and because he was murdered.”

“The fact that we only have one toilet is both this city’s crowning achievement, and its greatest curse,” says Eileen Osiris. “Sam, will you do me a favor?”

“Congratulations on your promotion to detective’s dad,” says the dame. “And now,” she adds, “I’m afraid I need to ask you for a huge favor.”

“Please find out what happened to the stolen tooth of Abraham Lincoln. It’s what Dusty Washcloth would have wanted.”

You step out of the museum and into the wet embrace of the city. The sprawling metropolis is noisy and beautiful like a screaming warthog wearing a pearl necklace. Avenues and alleyways spider out across the sprawl, insinuating a Sodom’s worth of sin around every shadowy corner. But you and these streets ran each other ragged long ago, and you’ve sucked their mystery dry. You know the answers to all their riddles and the punchlines to all their jokes. And you know that, for all the illusion of infinite paths, when something goes missing that needs finding, a man who truly knows this city has only one solitary, inescapable destination: Tugboat’s Pub.

That’s right, Tugboat’s Pub: the seediest saloon in the whole damn harbor. The joint draws in crowds for its gin and exotic birds from far-off lands that quote the Bible, but it draws in loners for its illicit dealings and unseemly hearsay. Forget the booze. Tugboat’s most valuable commodity is its surplus of lowlives who keep their ears to the ground. When a crime gets committed in this city, one of the venerable dirtbags at Tugboat’s hears about it, so long as they weren’t the perp in the first place. You better get down there and start asking around about Abe Lincoln’s stolen tooth.

You arrive at the harbor.

You slink along the boardwalk and find yourself standing outside of Tugboat’s Pub. From inside, you can hear the sounds of miscellaneous debauchery and a frantic piano playing the popular harbor anthem “The Only Good Place To Get Vaccinated Is The Open Ocean.”

You enter Tugboat’s Pub. The smell of stale booze rushes you at the door like it wants to take your coat. The full index of Encyclopedia Of Scoundrels is here tonight, and you’re sure that one of their sticky fingers can point you in the right direction. Where would you like to begin your investigation?

You enter Tugboat’s Pub. The smell of stale booze rushes you at the door like it wants to take your coat. The full index of Encyclopedia Of Scoundrels is here tonight, and you’re sure that one of their sticky fingers can point you in the right direction. Where would you like to begin your investigation?

You walk to the back of the bar where the VIP lounge lives. The VIP lounge is extremely exclusive. It’s where some of the most glamorous and famous criminals go to pay exotic birds to quote the Bible while they think about bootlegging things. You try to enter, but a bouncer stops you at the door. “Hold up, doofus. This is a restricted area. If you’re not on my list, I need to send you to the Rejection Lounge.”

“Oh yeah, what’s your name?”

The bouncer screams with rage. His punches a hole through his own head, which makes him healthier and more furious. “You’re John Problem? I despise you. My brother asked you for directions to the sewer, and you shot him in the hair. He died from hair wounds! I’m going to do revenge near to your lungs to cause you troubles!”

“Don’t try to lie your way out of this one, John Problem. I’m going to have my revenge on you at last.” The bouncer moves toward you with his hands reaching for your soft and valuable head.

You decide to really double down on telling the bouncer that you’re John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help. This really makes him furious.

“John Problem, you are as smug as you are horrible,” says the bouncer. “I’m going to have my revenge on you at last.” The bouncer moves toward you with his hands reaching for your soft and valuable head.

“All right,” says the bouncer, “but once your billow stick is ashed out, I’m going to do revenge nearby to your lungs so as to cause you troubles.”

With the kind of hero’s hand that has never been sweaty, you pull a Plume Spouter Ultra premium cigarette out of your pocket and light it up. The nine essential nutritious fumes contained in cigarette smoke choke your brain in the healing fog of wisdom, and now you can think clearly. A plan slides silently into your mind like a thief into an art gallery. You’re ready to take action.

“Yeah, give it to me,” says the bouncer.

The bouncer lights up the cigarette and starts yawning down its beautiful fumes.

“I don’t care about that,” says the bouncer. He lights up the cigarette and starts yawning down its beautiful fumes.

As soon as you scream this, a swarm of paparazzi immediately bursts into Tugboat’s Pub and surrounds you and the bouncer. “I cannot believe the miracle of two at once!” yells one of the paparazzo, snapping your picture from as many angles as he can. “Two men, two cigarettes, one moment in time! A miracle I thought I’d never live to see!” yells another paparazzo. “I’ve heard of one man smoking a cigarette, but TWO men smoking a cigarette is the beautiful type of miracle that makes me insane!” yells a third paparazzo.

The paparazzi create complete chaos all around you. Everyone wants a shot of two men smoking the same type of thing at the same exact time. Some of them kill each other. “Stop it!” the bouncer screams. “Everyone calm down!” But nobody listens to him. The flashbulb rules the day, and in the complete mayhem, you are free to escape.

You sneak past the bouncer and enter the VIP lounge. The air in this room is thick with incense and sin. Eddies of cigar smoke ring wavy halos around dim, red-tinted lights. The sole occupant of this sauna of mischief is a man sitting in a velvet chair. “Hello,” says the man. “I am thinking about bootlegging various things, such as counterfeit moccasins and fake raisins.”

“Pardon me, but I am Big Excuse Me,” says the man. “I am a gangster who loves to bootleg things. Is there something I can help you with? I came here to the VIP lounge to watch a bird quote the Bible, and I don’t have any patience for distractions.”

“Perhaps I do,” says Big Excuse Me. “Perhaps I will tell you my secret, but I only tell secrets to my friends, and the only friends I have are the ones who buy me a round of birds quoting the Bible for our shared entertainment.”

“I’ve never been one to say no to a gift,” says Big Excuse Me. “I’d be much obliged.”

You throw a dollar onto the floor of the VIP lounge. A hatch in the wall opens up, and the most beautiful exotic bird you’ve ever seen struts out of it. The bird eats your money off of the ground then begins reciting the following Bible passage:

“And then God spoke to Moses and said, ‘Moses, behold! I will give you a brand new type of vegetable called a ‘fish,’ and a single fish fell from Heaven and began flipping around on the ground and spraying its eggs all over the desert, and the eggs got eaten by scorpions, and Moses said unto the Lord, ‘I know all about fish, my Lord. They have been around for a long time,” and the Lord said to Moses, ‘No, a fish is a new thing from just now. I had the idea to invent this amazing new vegetable called a fish earlier today while I was rolling around on the ground in Heaven,’ and Moses said unto the Lord, ‘God, it is very exhausting to be your friend’ (Exodus, 9:15).”

You applaud for the exotic bird. Big Excuse Me is also applauding. “I love when the bird tells me the Bible,” says Big Excuse Me. “It is the only thing I like.”

“I beg your pardon, but we aren’t quite friends yet,” says Big Excuse Me. “A true friend of mine would buy me one more round of birds quoting the Bible.”

You throw another dollar onto the ground. The beautiful bird eats the dollar off of the floor, looks you right in the eye, and quotes the following Bible verse:

“And God said unto Moses, ’Moses, let me tell you what’s what: every night I sit on the toilet to do the Lord’s Piss, and while I am sitting there doing the Lord’s Piss, the Devil climbs up into Heaven with his long golden hair, and he squats down in front of the toilet like a baseball catcher and I brush Satan’s hair while I go to the bathroom.’ And Moses said unto the Lord, ‘O Lord, it sucks to know about this,’ and the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go and tell the children of Israel that God brushes Satan’s hair while he sits on the toilet,’ and Moses said, ‘I don’t want to tell them that. It will make them upset.’ And God became wrathful at Moses’ disobedience and decided to punish him. And so God sent a gorilla to come out of the desert and eat Moses’ sandals, and Moses said to God, ‘Oh, great job, God. Those were my only sandals,’ (Exodus, 9:15).”

Once again you clap your hands for the mysterious bird who comes from far away. Big Excuse Me has got a smile spread across his face wide enough to bridge a canal. “Just wonderful!” says the vicious gangster.

“I believe once more with the Bible and the bird, and then you will be my friend,” says Big Excuse Me.

You throw a third dollar onto the ground. The beautiful bird eats the dollar off of the floor, looks you right in the eye, and quotes the following Bible verse:

“And God said to Moses, ‘Watch this,’ and the Lord made a Trans Am fall out of the sky and crash onto the ground and there was a man in the Trans Am and the man in the Trans Am got out of the car and showed Moses his ass. And Moses said, ‘O Lord, every day you find dazzling new ways to hinder me with your bullshit,’ and the Lord said, ‘Thank you,’ and Moses said, ‘It wasn’t a compliment,’ and the Lord said, ‘Let’s see that again in slow motion,’ and God made another Trans Am fall out of the sky at the exact same speed as before, but this time it fell through the roof of Moses’ house and the guy in the new Trans Am that the Lord had sent from Heaven got out of the Trans Am and he, too, showed Moses his ass. Then both Trans Am guys went inside of Moses’ house and drank all of the wine they found there, and Moses said, ‘Who is going to pay me back for all of this wine?’ and God said, ‘Moses will pay you back,’ and Moses said, ‘I am Moses,’ and God said, ‘Well, then I guess nobody’ (Exodus, 9:27).”

You once again burst into applause for the exotic bird. “Each time is more beautiful than the last,” sighs Big Excuse Me.

You throw another dollar bill on the ground. The exotic bird eats it off of the floor then dies from eating way too much money. It is incredibly unhealthy for a bird to eat even one dollar, and you fed it four dollars. It got poisoned, and its stomach exploded at the same time. It will never quote the Bible again.

“After this generous gift of bird that you have given me, I can tell you are a friend,” says Big Excuse Me, “and so I will play ball. In the bootlegging industry we have a common saying: ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’ It means that when someone rips out one of their eyes and hands it to you, it is polite to rip out one of your own eyes and give it to them. And when a stranger tells you about the location of a hidden tooth, then it is polite to tell them the location of a hidden tooth that you know about in return.”

“What I’m getting at is that I know where the stolen tooth of Abraham Lincoln is. I will tell you its location if you first tell me the location of a secret tooth that you know about.”

“It is incredibly fair. We bootleggers have a deep and extremely dated sense of justice. So here is the deal: I know where the stolen tooth of Abraham Lincoln is. I will tell you its location if you first tell me the location of a secret tooth that you know about.”

“How wonderful,” says Big Excuse Me. “I cannot wait to go look at that secret tooth. Now I will tell you this: The tooth you are looking for has found its way into the hands of a man named Julius Tube.”

“No. You are the tight-lipped stranger who is my friend.”

“Julius Tube is the co-owner of the Grand Matador Cinema. It’s the big movie theater downtown that people don’t really go to anymore.”

“I don’t know who it is,” says Big Exuse Me. “I only know that Julius Tube was recently invited to the San Diego Zoo because the zookeeper wanted to show all the animals an example of a man who co-owned a movie theater. From this we must conclude that at least one other person has a stake in that theater.”

“The Grand Matador Cinema has recently fallen on hard times after they showed a screening of Gone With The Wind where each of the characters was somehow 250 pounds heavier for some reason. This caused great outrage, and very few people still go to the Grand Matador anymore. It’s possible that Julius wants to sell that stolen tooth for a king’s ransom to save his failing movie theater.”

“Indeed it is,” says Big Excuse Me. “Do you have any other questions?”

You start walking out of the VIP lounge, leaving Big Excuse Me all alone with his vices. “Pardon me!” Big Excuse Me calls after you as you are about to make your exit. “Wait just a minute, detective!”

You turn around, and Big Excuse Me continues to speak. “You’ve been a good friend to me,” he says, “so why don’t you forget about that missing tooth of yours and join my bootlegging business? I’m about to create a counterfeit moon and profit by charging an entrance fee to the astronauts that land on it by accident.”

You bend over and look at Big Excuse through your legs. The esteemed bootlegger continues to speak. “You’ve been a good friend to me,” he says, “so why don’t you forget about that missing tooth of yours and join my bootlegging business? I’m about to create a counterfeit moon and profit by charging an entrance fee to the astronauts that land on it by accident.”

You leave Big Excuse Me alone with his problems and step out into the street. The empty night is desperate for company, and it welcomes you with a dark embrace. The sound of two criminals arguing about which one of them likes arson the most echoes through the evening. Your head is fat with new information, and you’re ready to continue your investigation.

As you walk through the darkness to the Grand Matador Cinema, you are stopped in your tracks by the form of a man draped in shadow. He is wearing a detective hat, so you know that he is a private eye like you.

“My name is John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help,” says the shadowy figure. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m also looking for the missing tooth. We’re both in this together, detective!”

“Howdy,” says the shadowy figure. “My name is John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help,” says the shadowy figure. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m also looking for the missing tooth. We’re both in this together, detective!”

“I’m going to keep looking for that tooth. I suggest you do the same,” says John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help. “Keep an eye out for me, detective. I might just pop up where you least expect it. Until then, so long.” John Problem turns and walks down the darkened street. You can see his detective hat disappear and reappear in rapid succession as he walks beneath a row of streetlights, and then he is gone around the corner.

John Problem immediately punches you in the leg, which causes your head to burst into flames. The heat from the fire causes your brain to melt, and since the brain is the part of your body that controls your legs, your legs immediately start flailing all over the place like an electrocuted rag doll. One of your wildly flailing legs kicks you in the head, which causes you to die.

Well, you asked for help from John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help, and he killed you right away. This makes a lot of sense, and it’s comforting to know that there are some reliable rules in a world largely governed by chaos.

The next day, the front page of the newspaper reads “Forgettable Detective Dies By Getting Kicked In The Head And Then Dies A Second Time From His Head Also Being On Fire.” The article features a full-color photo of your parents shrugging in front of your grave.

The End

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You arrive at the Grand Matador Cinema. Tonight’s film is called The Hogg Brothers Run Over A Benevolent King. It is a film adaptation of the classic stage play of the same title.

You walk up to the box office, and your eyes are on fire with unbridled ticket lust. Your mind is swallowed by your unquenchable desire for tickets. “Hello. Welcome to the box office, home of tickets,” says the man in the box office. “How can I satisfy your ticket lust this evening?”

“I’m afraid we’re only showing one movie at this time,” says the man in the box office. It’s The Hogg Brothers Run Over A Benevolent King. Furthermore, I’m afraid that we only have 1,000 tickets to that show.

“Excellent choice, sir,” says the man at the box office. “Here you go.” He hands you a wad of 1,000 tickets. Then you hand the tickets back to him. “Here you go,” says the man at the box office. He hands you the wad of 1,000 tickets again.

“Yes, of course. Very good choice,” says the man at the box office. He hands you 1,000 tickets. “Please enjoy the movie 1,000 times.”

“Okay, here you go,” says the man in the box office. He hands you a ticket. “Enjoy the movie. I love you.”

You step into the lobby of the Grand Matador Cinema. This place is full of tortured souls ogling the popcorn and silently hoping that the flickering glow of a projector is too scant a light source for their troubles to find them by. A mother and her two young children walk by you, talking about bullshit and nonesuch.

The family walks by you, then they are gone. Suddenly an alarm begins blaring. A firefighter walks into the lobby and starts picking people up one at a time and carrying them into the theater. The firefighter gently places each customer into a seat, then returns to the lobby to get the next customer. This means that the movie is about to begin.

You’re on your way to Julius Tube’s office when all of a sudden he walks right past you and goes into the movie theater! It looks like Julius Tube is planning to watch The Hogg Brothers Run Over A Benevolent King.

The firefighter lifts you up, carries you into the theater, and places you in one of the seats. As you settle in to watch the movie, you see Julius Tube himself sitting in the front row wearing 3D glasses even though this isn’t a 3D movie. You’d better keep an eye on him so you can confront him after the movie.

The audience grows silent as the lights go down. The movie is about to begin.

You follow Julius Tube into the theater and take a seat toward the back. As you settle in to watch the movie, you see Julius Tube sitting in the front row wearing 3D glasses even though this isn’t a 3D movie. You’d better keep an eye on him so you can confront him after the movie.

The audience grows silent as the lights go down. The movie is about to begin.

[Enter GORDON HOGG. He looks into the camera and speaks.]

Gordon Hogg: Here I am. Gordon Hogg. The eldest of the three Hogg brothers. I love my brothers too much. In fact, the only two things I like are looking at my brothers through a telescope and hugging my brothers in a way that makes people want to call the police.

Gordon Hogg: I was just now driving down the highway at top speed in my race car. I was on my way to Brother Canyon to watch my brothers do gymnastics to each other, but on the way, a disaster decided to marry me. The disaster was this: I plowed my race car right into a benevolent king who was trying to walk across the highway.

Gordon Hogg: Alas, the force of my race car plowing into the benevolent king turned the king’s skeleton into a special type of pretzel that was challenging to understand. I said to the benevolent king, “Your majesty, please do not yell at my race car even though it turned your skeleton into a kaleidoscope,” and the benevolent king said, “I am too benevolent to be angry. I love you. I am going to make your groin the Duke of Stray Dogs,” and the benevolent king sneezed on my groin to make my groin an aristocrat, and I said, “Thank you, your majesty,” and then I got out of my car and walked away. I think the benevolent king is still lying on the ground.

Gordon Hogg: But hark! I hear the noise of man’s shoe doing a closeness in my direction. From the noise of the foot, I can tell that it is my middle brother, Prentice Hogg.

[Enter PRENTICE HOGG.]

Prentice Hogg: Hello, my brother Gordon Hogg. I love you too much.

Gordon Hogg: Hello, Prentice Hogg, my brother. I was just thinking about looking at you through a telescope while you did R-rated push-ups on a distant mountain peak. I love you too much. I find God to be terrible. How are you today?

Prentice Hogg: The incurable disease known as brother fever has poisoned my blood, and at any second it will kill me. I wish a gorilla would crumple God up into a ball and slam dunk him through a basketball hoop for two points. Beyond that, I have just come from the highway, where a terrible new disaster decided to make me its wife. The disaster was this: I was driving my race car at top velocity down the highway when I saw a benevolent king lying mangled on the pavement. The benevolent king stood up and said, “I survived getting run over by Gordon Hogg! It’s a miracle!” and at that moment, I plowed into him with my race car and turned his skeleton into the type of knot that Boy Scouts win trophies for.

Gordon Hogg: I scream with horror to hear of it! Was the benevolent king furious about his skeleton? Did he yell at your race car?

Prentice Hogg: The benevolent king did not yell at my race car. He was too benevolent to be angry. Instead, he made my groin the Duke of Hyenas and Vultures, and he sneezed on my groin to make my groin into an aristocrat. If there is a hyena or a vulture anywhere around, my groin is the one who is in charge of it. Maybe my groin will command all the hyenas and vultures in the kingdom to eat each other and have sex with each other at the same time.

Gordon Hogg: Now I understand the shape of the disaster you had on the highway. God is the kind of warthog I love to throw my laundry at.

Prentice Hogg: I have invented a special kind of hamburger called Brother Salad, which is when you mix spider webs and marinara sauce together in a bowl and feed it to your brother while he is doing R-rated push-ups.

Gordon Hogg: Prentice Hogg, my brother, I love to dream about thinking about your special new type of hamburger. I crave your private hamburger now more than ever. My groin is the master of stray dogs by decree of the king.

Prentice Hogg: I wish a master hibachi chef would slice God into six pieces and flip them one by one into my landlord’s mouth to the delight of everyone in the restaurant.

Prentice Hogg: Hark! I hear the sounds of a man’s legs doing a walk! From the sound of the shoe noise, I can realize that it is our youngest brother, Whipple Hogg.

[Enter WHIPPLE HOGG.]

Whipple Hogg: Hello my two brothers. I love you too much. God is the type of nasty vegetable that I love to put inside of a volcano.

Prentice Hogg: Hello, Whipple Hogg. You are my brother, and Gordon Hogg is my brother. I have a Ph.D. in looking at you through a telescope.

Gordon Hogg: How are you doing today, Whipple Hogg, my brother?

Whipple Hogg: I’m afraid that I have become a disaster’s bride. I was driving down the highway in my race car at the biggest miles-per-hour possible when I saw a benevolent king lying in the road. The benevolent king stood up and said, “I have survived being run over by Gordon Hogg AND Prentice Hogg! I am the luckiest king alive!” and that is when I plowed into him with my race car and caused his skeleton to reorganize itself in the type of way that would make a doctor quit his job.

Prentice Hogg: Did the benevolent king yell at your race car?

Whipple Hogg: No. The king was too benevolent to yell at my race car. Instead, he sneezed on my groin to make it an aristocrat. My groin is now the Duke of Frogs. I love that my groin can boss the frogs around.

Prentice Hogg: Congratulations, Whipple Hogg, my brother. If my landlord does not eat God in the next 10 minutes, I am going to become a terrorist.

Gordon Hogg: What happened to the benevolent king?

Whipple Hogg: I picked up the benevolent king and threw him as far as I could in the direction of the nearest hospital, but he only went a few feet, and then when he landed a group of scorpions teamed up to eat all of his meat.

All Three Hogg Brothers In Unison: And so we three Hogg brothers have all run over a benevolent king. Our groins have become aristocrats, and they command the vermin of this kingdom. We hope our groins rule over the dirty animals of the Earth with wisdom and kindness, and then we hope our groins become lunatics who command the dirty animals to go to the bathroom all over the place. Now we will go to Brother Canyon to do R-rated push-ups and eat the secret hamburger called Brother Salad. We hope God the monster gets chased off a cliff by a professional hockey team. We love each other too much, and we are going to do gymnastics to each other for 100 years. Amen.

The Hogg Brothers Run Over A Benevolent King has come to an end. Everyone in the theater is on their feet giving the film a much-deserved standing ovation. It is quite simply the greatest film ever made.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see Julius Tube get out of his seat and leave the theater.

You slip out of the theater and sneak behind Julius Tube as he walks back to his office. You accidentally follow him too quickly, and you end up getting to his office before he does, which is a little embarrassing. You’ll have to wait until he gets here.

A man sitting at a typewriter looks up at you. “Hello,” says the man. “I’m Mr. Tube’s personal assistant. My name is Juan Problemo.”

Even though this is the greatest movie you have ever seen, you decide to slip out of the theater so that you can wait for Julius Tube in his office.

You enter Julius Tube’s office and see a man sitting at a typewriter. He looks up at you. “Hello,” says the man. “I’m Mr. Tube’s personal assistant. My name is Juan Problemo.”

You decide to skip the movie and just wait for Julius Tube in his office.

You enter Julius Tube’s office and see a man sitting at a typewriter. He looks up at you. “Hello,” says the man. “I’m Mr. Tube’s personal assistant. My name is Juan Problemo.”

“No.”

“Be my guest,” says Juan Problemo. He goes back to typing.

You set off a few fireworks to pass the time. The fireworks explode into the shape of the Canadian flag, which causes the U.S. military to send several dozen fighter jets to go shoot it with missiles.

After several hours, Julius Tube arrives. He looks at you with cold eyes. “Well, it seems I have an uninvited guest,” says Julius Tube in a stony, joyless voice. “I’m afraid I don’t have much patience for uninvited guests. Why don’t you get out of here, pal?”

Julius Tube begins to laugh. His laugh is like a pornographic movie directed by a monkey: loud and unenjoyable, but presumably interesting to scientists. “You have a lot of nerve coming in here and making demands like that, detective,” he says to you. “Get out of my office before I make you sorry.”

“Well, in that case, I might know a few people who can persuade you to see things my way,” says Julius Tube. He snaps his fingers, and three stern-looking men enter the office. “Allow me to introduce the Murder Twins,” says Julius Tube, pointing at the three men. “Their names are Assassin 1, Assassin 2, and Assassin 2A. They’re the product of a secret government experiment by the CIA to produce a race of ruthless super-soldiers capable of killing a squirrel that got loose in the Pentagon during World War II. They’ve been bred to kill, and killing is the only thing they like.” The Murder Twins crack their knuckles and start walking toward you. The look in their eyes is not a kind one.

“Okay, but make it fast,” says Assassin 1.

“Yeah, Assassin 2A needs to go to the bathroom,” says Assassin 2.

“One of the downsides of the genetic experiments that created us is that we don’t know when we have to go to the bathroom, but we know when our brothers have to go to the bathroom, so we all have to tell each other when we have to go to the bathroom,” explains Assassin 2A.

With hands steady enough to perform pig surgery, you reach into your pocket, pull out a cigarette, and set it on fire. The sweet plumes of fumes make your brain larger and allow you to think better. All of a sudden, you have a plan.

“He’s right,” says Assassin 2A. “We need to kill him as quickly as possible. You both have to go to the bathroom.”

“Thank you for telling me that,” says Assassin 1.

“Good idea,” says Assassin 2. “Hey, Juan Problemo!”

“Yes?” says Juan Problemo without looking up from his typewriter.

“Will you help us kill this detective?”

“Huge mistake, motherfuckers,” says Juan Problemo. He stands up and sends the typewriter crashing to the ground. He throws off his assistant’s hat and puts on his detective’s hat, and suddenly you realize who he really is.

“Oh shit!” yells Assassin 1. “Juan Problemo was actually John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help!”

“Sayonara, you needy idiots,” says John Problem. He pulls out his enormous gun and shoots all three of the Murder Twins right in their breadbaskets.

“My breadbasket!” screams Assassin 2A as he clutches his breadbasket and dies.

“I hate you, John Problem!” screams Assassin 2 as the contents of his breadbasket spill all over the floor. He dies with fury in his eyes.

All three of the Murder Twins die from getting shot in the breadbasket.

“I do what I can,” says John Problem.

“Goodbye,” says John Problem. He leaves the office.

“I don’t understand,” says Julius Tube. “How did you know that Juan Problemo was actually John Problem?”

“Well, that’s impressive detective work, but either way I’m afraid you’re too late,” says Julius Tube. “We have big plans for that tooth, and they’re already underway. We’ve found a wealthy buyer who collects things that have been in Abraham Lincoln’s mouth, and this tooth is going to become one of his most prized items. He’s willing to pay a king’s ransom for it. We’re going to sell it to him tomorrow, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Well, then I suppose you got exceedingly lucky,” says Julius Tube. “But I’m afraid your luck ends here. You see, you’re too late to get the tooth. The plans to sell it are already underway. We’ve found a wealthy buyer who collects things that have been in Abraham Lincoln’s mouth, and this tooth is going to become one of his most prized items. He’s willing to pay a king’s ransom for it. We’re going to sell it to him tomorrow, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The gunshot rings out before Julius Tube has a chance to answer you. The bullet lodges itself right in his Essential Lemon. It’s a fatal wound. “I…have been betrayed…” says Julius Tube. It doesn’t take him long to fall, and when he hits the ground, he hits it forever.

Somehow you know who you’ll find standing behind you holding the pistol, but why not be scientific about it? Why not turn around and prove it for sure.

“Hey there, Sam,” says Eileen Osiris. She gives you a kind-looking smile as she points her gun right at your Essential Lemon.

“Hey there, Sam,” says Eileen Osiris. She gives you a kind-looking smile as she points her gun right at your Essential Lemon.

“Are you surprised to see me?”

“Well, let me explain a few things.”

“You’re close, Sam, but you don’t know the whole story. Yes, I co-own the theater, and yes, I conspired with Julius to steal the tooth. But I never intended to sell it. I had for more ambitious plans.”

“Yes, I’m afraid I did,” says Eileen Osiris. “I never meant for poor Dusty to get caught up in all this, but when the tooth went missing, he said that he was bound by the security guard’s code of honor to start running around screaming and asking everyone he saw if they were a detective. I had to kill him. I couldn’t let him jeopardize my plan.”

“Do you know what Ford’s Theatre is?” asks Eileen.

“Exactly,” says Eileen Osiris. “Everyone knows about Ford’s Theatre. It was just a normal, forgettable theater until Abraham Lincoln got assassinated there, and it suddenly became a world-famous tourist attraction. People have been coming from all over the world to see it for over 100 years.”

“My point, Sam, is that with Abraham Lincoln’s tooth, I have his genetic material, so I can clone him. When Lincoln was assassinated once in Ford’s Theatre, it became a cash cow, but I’m going to use this tooth to clone Abraham Lincoln over and over again and assassinate him right here in my movie theater every single day. Sometimes I’ll assassinate him several times during a single movie. I’ll fill an entire room with 200 screaming Abraham Lincolns and then blow up the whole room with dynamite! Think of how famous my theater will be as the historic site of thousands of daily Lincoln assassinations! Julius wanted to sell the tooth for a single lump sum, but with my plan, I’ll be profiting for the rest of my life!”

“It won’t drive away customers. People love romance. It’s entirely natural that several thousand of the Abraham Lincoln clones will fall in love with each other. There will be dozens of Abraham Lincolns having sex with identical copies of themselves all over the theater, and I’ll have to come through and kill them all with a flamethrower while they have sex with each other. But people will think, ‘It is just like Romeo And Juliet.’”

“I’m sorry Sam, but the plan is already working.” She smiles at you. “Sorry to offend your rustic sense of justice.”

She walks over to a pot of soil and plants Abraham Lincoln’s tooth in the earth.

Eileen is right. She’s putting her evil plan in action, and you’re powerless to stop it. The soil in the pot stir,s and a perfect clone of Abraham Lincoln blooms out of it.

“I ate my wife in Heaven,” says Abraham Lincoln.

“Yes! It worked!” cried Eileen Osiris. “You see, Sam? My plan worked!”

Abraham Lincoln looks at you. “When I got to Heaven, I hid behind a bush for many years to wait for my wife to die. Then when my wife arrived in Heaven, I jumped out from behind the bush and ate her.”

“My wife tasted like soap! After I ate her, I went up to God and said, ‘Bad news, God, I ate my wife,’ and God said, ‘The only rule in Heaven is never bother God with your inane bullshit,’ and then he walked away.”

“Well, I’d love to stay and chat, Sam, but I’ve got to go to the police and tell them that you’ve murdered Julius. I’m really sorry to have to frame you like this. Really. But…well, it’s all part of the plan.” She starts to walk out of the room, but before she can leave, Abraham Lincoln grabs her by the arm.

“What are you doing?” Eileen yells at the Lincoln clone. “What is the meaning of this!”

“You’re under arrest,” says Abraham Lincoln. He takes a pair of handcuffs out of his pocket and puts them around Eileen’s wrists.

“I am going to take you to jail, and then you and I are going to be roommates in jail,” says the Lincoln clone. “I didn’t commit any crimes, but I need to be in jail. I will die if I do not go to jail.”

“Sam, any chance you could get me out of this jam, for old times’ sake?” Eileen asks.

Eileen smiles sadly. “Well, I guess I’ll see you around then, Sam.” Abraham Lincoln leads her out of the room to take her to jail. “John Wilkes Booth was also in Heaven, and he taught me how to ride a motorcycle,” says Abraham Lincoln as he leaves.

And then Abraham Lincoln and Eileen Osiris are gone, leaving you alone once again.

You step out of the Grand Matador Theater and into the empty night. You solved the whole case, but you still feel like you didn’t figure a single goddamn thing out. You take a meandering route back toward your office to avoid the view. As you walk, you think about the old detective saying “Sometimes people are nice to you just so they can clone the president and kill him 1 million times at the movies.” Damn if it isn’t true.

You look up and see Big Excuse Me’s counterfeit moon rising into the sky alongside the real McCoy. Dozens of space shuttles swarm it as astronauts pay exorbitant fees for an opportunity to visit what they think is the real moon. After a few blocks you lose track of which one is the criminal moon and which one is real. Both are attracting astronauts, and both cast shadows across the city with their pale and heatless glow.

The End

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John Problem immediately shoots you in the tongue. You die instantly.

The End

Share Your Results

The Murder Twins nod agreeably and then start to kill you. They rip your eyeballs out of your head and stuff them down your throat so that you can see the inside of your body. You are treated to the beautiful vision of your own stomach, in all its beautiful stink. You also get to see the two old men who float around in your stomach and argue with each other. Right now they are having an argument about legendary NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice.

“Babe Ruth is James Bond’s dad!” screams one of the old men in your stomach.

“No, Babe Ruth is James Bond’s god!” screams the other old man that lives in your stomach.

“Every day, Babe Ruth says to James Bond, ‘My son, I hate that you are a spy. Why can’t you hit home runs like me?’” screams the first old man.

“No! I hate you! Every day, James Bond gets down on his knees and says, ‘Please, Babe Ruth in Heaven, make me extremely large so that I get stuck in a revolving door and don’t have to go on anymore spy missions!” screams the second man.

“Babe Ruth spanks James Bond every time he saves the world!” screams one.

“James Bond sacrificed Judi Dench to Babe Ruth because he thinks Babe Ruth created the rivers and the mountains!” screams the other.

The two old men who live in your stomach continue their argument about whether Babe Ruth is James Bond’s dad or James Bond’s god, but sadly, you die before you get to hear who wins the argument.

The End

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Without another word, you reach into your gun pouch and pull out your revolver.

“I see you intend to shoot me,” says Julius Tube. “Well, you might be able to shoot ONE of me…but tell me, detective,” he says with a sinister cackle, “do you really think you’ll be able shoot BOTH of me?”

Julius Tube pulls a sword from his belt, and with a triumphant cackle he slices himself in half vertically. His two halves fall to the floor like split lumber and lie there completely lifeless, spewing blood and organs all over the office.

“Jesus Christ, he’s become halved,” says Juan Problemo briefly looking up from his typewriter. “I guess it must have something to do with this.” He hands you a piece of paper titled “Escape Plan By Julius Tube: Slice Me Into 2 People = Become Escape.” On paper, the plan seems flawless, but in practice it was fatal. Julius Tube is dead.

Now that Tube is dead on the floor, you’re dead in the water. You’ve got no way to find the stolen tooth. You failed to solve the case.

The next day the front-page headline in the newspaper reads, “Both Julius Tubes Found Dead Next To Failed Detective.” Your father writes you a letter telling you that he is so ashamed of your failure and that he tells all of his friends that you died while trying to swallow a whole egg while you were sitting on the toilet. He says that this story about you makes him less embarrassed than the truth.

The End

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“Mommy, when puberty comes to poison my body and I start to grow a thick mustache, can I show my mustache to the legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio?” asks the little boy.

“You can try, my son,” says his mother. “But make sure you fill your mustache with plenty of walnuts and crickets so that when you show your mustache to Joe DiMaggio, he can reach into your mustache and pull out of a handful of crickets and walnuts to eat as a snack.”

“When puberty comes to swallow my youth and squirt hair out of my body, I’m going to show my mustache to Joe DiMaggio, and then I’m going to kill Joe DiMaggio,” says the boy.

“Okay,” says his mother.

“Hey,” says the little boy, pointing at you, “that man is eavesdropping on us!”

“Oh, well, I wish you would stop. I was talking very loudly about my puberty plans and how Joe DiMaggio factors into them. That’s personal information. You shouldn’t eavesdrop on people when they’re talking about their plans for puberty.”

“Oh, well, my mistake,” says the boy. “I’m sorry about that. Listen, mister, when the mad conquerer named Puberty reduces my body to a hairy ruin, I’m going to show my mustache to Joe DiMaggio, and he’s going to eat crickets out of it. And then I’m going to kill him.”

“It won’t be fun. When I am showing my mustache to Joe DiMaggio, it will be strictly business. And when I kill Joe DiMaggio, it will be a tremendous chore. Anyway, goodbye.”

“Okay, that’s good. People’s puberty plans need to be secret. Anyway, goodbye.”

“Oh, okay. Well, then I guess we both know about my puberty plans. Anyway, goodbye.”

You stand around waiting for the swarm of paparazzi to disperse so that the bouncer will have a chance to kill you, which is very polite of you. The paparazzi are still in a frenzy over the first-ever sighting of two men smoking a cigarette at the same time. “Sometimes I’ll see one man smoke a cigarette and then, hours later after the first man is dead, a second man will come and smoke a cigarette, but never did I ever imagine that these two men would ever meet to smoke cigarettes in tandem!” one of the paparazzo yells. “Yes, we all agree with you—that’s right!” another paparazzo shrieks as he takes a picture of your knees. “Two at once!” screams another paparazzo who is frothing at the mouth. She takes a picture of her own face and then throws up. Everyone is having a good day.

One of the paparazzo thinks about three men smoking cigarettes at the same time, and the thought of this impossible miracle makes his heart explode. Then all of the paparazzi run out of film in their cameras, so they die. Now that the swarm of hysterical paparazzi has cleared, the bouncer can once again kill you. “Thank you for waiting,” says the bouncer.

Since the bouncer thinks you’re the man who killed his brother, he decides to do revenge nearby to your lungs so as to cause you troubles. On account of this trouble, juice from your guts can’t get into your brain, which causes you to become all the way dead.

The next day the headline on the front page of the newspaper says, “Two Men Smoke Cigarettes At The Same Time.” The fact that you were murdered is given one sentence in the entire story, and it’s written in smaller font.

The End

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“Well, then I have no choice but to send you to the Rejection Lounge, buddy,” says the bouncer.

“Sorry, buddy, but that name’s not on the list,” says the bouncer. “I have no choice but to send you to the Rejection Lounge.”

The bouncer grabs you by the top of the head and carries you to a door that says “Rejection Lounge” on it. He opens the door and throws you inside. You find yourself in a karaoke bar with a bunch of people who weren’t cool enough to make it into the VIP lounge.

The bouncer grabs you by the head and does revenge nearby to your lungs to cause you troubles. Then the bouncer carries you by the top of the head to a door that says, “Rejection Lounge” on it. He opens the door and throws you inside. You find yourself in a karaoke bar with a bunch of people who weren’t cool enough to make it into the VIP lounge.


Yes, here you are in the Rejection Lounge. The worst karaoke bar on Earth. Everyone is holding a microphone. The music for “Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen is playing, but instead of singing the song, the people holding the microphones are tunelessly yelling all the names of all the actors that played James Bond over the instrumental. They’re not yelling in unison, and you’re pretty sure you hear one of the people yell the name of NFL legend Jerry Rice as one of the people who played James Bond.

You wait for the song to end, but it plays on a loop forever. You die in the Rejection Lounge.

The next day, the front page of the newspaper reads “Uncool Detective Dies Among Loud Rejects Who Think Jerry Rice Played James Bond.” Your parents frame the front page of the paper and hang it in their bedroom.

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You approach the bar. The bartender, Yardsley Greengrass, is polishing a glass and mumbling to himself. Yardsley fought in World War II, and he is constantly telling people stories about what he saw and did there. He became a bartender so that he could meet more people to tell his war stories to.

“In World War II, I saw two dogs having sex in a cave.”

“I said to the dogs, ‘Stop having sex! Don’t you know there’s a war going on?’ but that didn’t stop those dogs. They just kept having sex in that cave, which was disrespectful.”

“So I run out of the cave to go tell my commanding officer, General George Patton, about these disrespectful dogs having sex in the middle of wartime, but when I told him, he just said, ‘I have always wanted to see two dogs have sex in a cave. The war is canceled so that we can go watch that happen.’”

“So Patton goes over to the Nazi side and says to them, ‘Go home, you vicious krauts, I’ve canceled the whole war so that my men and I can go watch two dogs fuck in a cave.” And the Nazis say, ‘We also want to see that. Hitler never lets us look at two dogs having sex. When we see two dogs having sex, Hitler makes us drape a big towel over them so that we can’t watch them go at it. The dogs keep having sex, but they look like two big lumps moving around under a towel. Let us come with you.’ And Patton says, ‘Sure, you can come! When it comes to watching dogs do it in a cave, it’s the more the merrier! But you have to promise that if you’re going to keep being Nazis, you have to be Nazis very quietly.’ And the Nazis said, ‘That’s fine with us.’”

“So all the American soldiers and all of the Nazi soldiers marched over to the cave,” continues Yardsley Greengrass, “and we all sang military marching songs like, ‘O President Roosevelt, You Are My Girlfriend,’ and ‘Dogs Having Sex Make War Worthwhile.’ And I kept saying, ‘Do not look at the dogs! They are disrespectful for having sex during wartime!’ but nobody listened to me. And one of the Nazi soldiers said to General Patton, ‘I hope one of the dogs having sex in the cave is wearing an eyepatch,’ and Patton said to him, ‘If one of the dogs having sex isn’t wearing an eyepatch, I am going to kill you,’ and the Nazi agreed that this was a good idea.”

“And then we got to the cave and all the soldiers from both sides of the war looked into the cave and saw the dogs having sex, and they all cheered and agreed that war was good because sometimes while you are abroad you find dogs having sex in a cave. And then Patton passed out big jars of honey to all the soldiers, and they scooped out the honey with their hands and ate it while they watched the dogs having sex, and one of the Nazis died because his honey had a spider in it and he accidentally swallowed it. And then everyone went home because General Patton had canceled the war. The end.”

“No, I haven’t about anything like that. Sorry, Sam. Would it help if I told you my story about World War II again?”

You’re about to walk away from the bar, but before you do, you hear a voice call out: “You mention something about a stolen tooth?” The voice came from a man sitting at the bar. He’s smoking a cigarette, which is a type of vegetable you light on fire in order to live longer.

“The notable gangster Big Excuse Me was just talking about how he’s caught wind of some presidential chomper getting shuttled around the city. He might know something about it.”

“Big Excuse Me likes to hang around the VIP section of Tugboat’s,” says the man at the bar. “You should ask him about it, if you’ve got the guts.”

You buy the man a shot of Cruel Boy’s Bourbon and start to walk away.

“Be careful!” the man calls after you as you leave. “Big Excuse Me is a cold-blooded killer and the most dangerous gangster in the city. He’s been bootlegging things for decades. This has made him a hardened criminal. He likes to kill people by sending them to France during the Reign of Terror, where everyone gets their heads cut off.”

“I’ve got one more interesting factoid about Big Excuse Me,” says the man. “It’s this: Big Excuse Me is a cold-blooded killer and the most dangerous gangster in the city. He’s been bootlegging things for decades. This has made him a hardened criminal. He likes to kill people by sending them to France during the Reign of Terror, where everyone gets their heads cut off.”

You decide to give up on Yardsley Greengrass’ long and unenjoyable story about World War II. When you turn around, he’s still telling the story to nobody. Maybe he will go on telling it forever.

You’re about to walk away from the bar, but before you do, you hear a voice call out: “You mention something about a stolen tooth?” The voice came from a man sitting at the bar. He’s smoking a cigarette, which is a type of vegetable you light on fire in order to live longer.

You try to pull up your pants, but you pull them up too hard and the force of your pants hitting your crotch sends you rocketing up into the air and your head smashes through the ceiling and gets stuck there. You start kicking around in an attempt to free yourself, and your pants fall down again. The sound of your head smashing into the ceiling attracts the attention of the people on the floor above you, which happens to be St. Microsoft’s Fuck-School for Cruel Teen Boys Who Like the Devil All the Time. All the cruel teen boys run downstairs and see you kicking around with your pants down. They all start laughing at you and calling you “The Floating Dingus Who Shows His Underwear to the World.” Many of them paint beautiful oil paintings of you kicking around with your head stuck in the ceiling and sell them to local art galleries. All the paintings become masterpieces that get studied for centuries.

The boys throw pinecones at you.

One of the pinecones hits you in the penis and you die.

The End

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“I am not allowed to buy cigarettes because I am only 12 years old.”

Dusty Washcloth hangs his head in shame and walks out the door, and he takes his mystery with him.

The next day, the front page of the newspaper reads “Pubescent Security Finally Published For Inability To Buy Cigarettes.”

You spend the rest of the day calling up the Duracell Battery company and asking if you can talk to the batteries. They let you talk to the batteries, and the batteries yell at you. The batteries accuse you of being a pagan.

The End

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“John Problem, I need your help,” says the unhappy man.

You draw your handgun and shoot the man in the hand. “My hand!” screams the man. He falls over and dies. A man asked you for help, and you killed him. That must be why they call you John Problem: The Detective Who Kills People Who Ask Him For Help.

You lived up to your name, but you didn’t solve any mysteries. Your life is a mixed bag.

The End

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“My name is Dusty Washcloth,” says the unhappy man.

The man nods. With a trembling hand, he raises a highball glass filled with mouthwash to his lips and takes a gulp. He gargles the mouthwash then spits it out all over your desk. It knocks several papers off of your desk. “I gargle with mouthwash when I’m distraught,” the man explains.

The man nods. With a trembling hand, he raises a highball glass filled with mouthwash to his lips takes a gulp. He gargles the mouthwash and then spits it out all over your desk. It knocks several papers off of your desk. “I gargle with mouthwash when I’m distraught,” the man explains.

“I brought it from home. I never leave my house without a highball glass filled with mouthwash. That way, if I ever become distraught, I always have something to gargle.”

“I brought it from home. I never leave my house without a highball glass filled with mouthwash. That way, if I ever become distraught, I always have something to gargle.”

“Thank you.”

“I know.”

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