Tuesday, May 20, 2014


"So, you don't have a problem with me dating another man tonight?"
"Really? Should I feel insulted?"
"You can forgive me for murdering two people. I feel like I can forgive you a little infidelity. Especially since you're clearing it with me before hand. Especially especially because it's part of you investigating Exron, and Sabien Pallis just left his island."
"Well, if you're fine with it..." Vera hung up.

It was a fancy English restaurant. The Checkered Cloth. Evidently, they weren't English enough to spell their name with a 'q.' Vera was dating Tristan Pennings, the regional president of Exron. The fact that a member of a corrupt company was willing to date Vera Rapport said something. It said he did his thinking with an organ other than the brain.
They both placed their orders. The waiter (who gave new meaning to the word snooty), jotted it down, and gingerly ran off to another table.
"So," Pennings said, "let's discuss why I'm here."
"I'm not stupid." Suuuuuuure. "I know your reputation. I know you're going to try to find out about all the evil monsters I'm bankrolling. Well, it won't work."
"We'll see."
"I'm only using you. You can't get anything from me."
"We'll see."
"You won't make me talk."
"We'll see."
This went on for three courses. Vera pumped Tristan for information. Tristan bragged about how it was impossible to pump him for information. The snooty waiter gave them a series of increasingly awkward glances.
Finally, two hours in, the snooty waiter pulled out a gun and started threatening people. I think that's the sort of thing that affects a five-star rating.

Throughout the building waiters pulled out previously concealed weapons. A lot of rich people started screaming. They stopped screaming when the waiters pointed guns at them.
"Is this Phoenix," Tristan whispered. "Did he find out you're seeing me?"
"Yes, I told him. Now stay quiet."
A man walked into the building. A lean man wearing a suit covered in green question marks.
"This evening's entertainment has gone a bit awry.
 If you answer all my questions, though, it's likely you won't die.
 The first riddle is directed, let's say, at you, madam. 
Pray tell, say the word, and tell me who I am."
He pointed his walking stick at her. The staff could shoot anything from a bullet to soap bubbles, but the woman was somewhat nervous.
"Correct," the maniac grinned. He proceed to shoot three strangers with water, nitric acid, and cough syrup, respectively.
He went on to accost six more people with increasingly difficult riddles, murdering the two who failed to answer correctly. Then, he turned his attention to Vera.
"I come to you, fair lady, with a small demand.
To call upon the robot, who dresses as a man.
I think that you have met him, so I need not say his name
Tell him to come here quickly, he'll be happy that he came."
Vera took a second to parse what the Puzzlemaster had requested. She took out her phone, barely flinching as the maniac fingered his walking stick. She waited for me to pick up the phone.
"Vera, I heard a restaurant in London had been taken hostage. I take it you escaped."
"No, Puzzlemaster says you should come here. Sooner than later."
She put her phone away.
"Correct," Puzzlemaster cackled. He turned his attention to Tristan.
"The fires of democracy first forged this city great.
Its residents are bickering, and arguing of late.
Its monument does tower, high into the sun.
It's time give your answer, because this riddle's done."
"Umm... Athens?"
"Incorrect!" Puzzlemaster stabbed Tristan in the eye. "Washington, D.C!" He stabbed Tristan again.
Vera was getting very, very nervous.

I raced across the European continent. Puzzlemaster hadn't mentioned any specific time limit. But the more time he and his merry men controlled the Checkered Cloth, the more time he would spend killing rich people. Better step on it.
I was crossing over the North Sea when I got another phone call. "He wants you to land outside the building. If you get within twenty feet, he'll blow it up with everyone inside." I wondered if me managed to fit that in a four-line riddle. I also wondered what he wanted.
Puzzlemaster wasn't like most villains. He was a lot crazier. He was really more of a brilliant terrorist, who randomly visited death and destruction upon people who were bad at answering rhyming questions. And innocent bystanders. And guilty bystanders.
He planted bombs in Chicago and forced the Dark Detective to track them down. He'd once hijacked a plane and crashed it when the captain couldn't answer a particularly difficult query. And now he was holding my girlfriend hostage.
I landed in front of the restaurant. The modern-day Sphinx stepped out to greet me with a question:
"Sir, I have a question, answer if you please
Of a substance that enlisted in the war against disease
A slippery slope to health, is what this thing provides
Please tell me what it is, or your lover dies."
 A tough one. It took me a second to realize what the first letter of every line spelled. "Soap."
"Correct," the madman cackled.
"But now I have a task that I want you to fulfill.
If you do not complete it, you know who I shall kill.
Look upon your table, skip to number ninety-two.
I think I'll have it weapon's grade, if that's all fine with you." 
He anticipated my next question.
"There is a special object, across the sea in France.
It is the golden standard, for measurements of mass.
I want fifteen times its wait, and I want it soon.
Your deadline, so to speak, is ten hours past noon."
It was 8:30, local time. This guy wanted fifteen kilograms of highly enriched uranium in an hour and a half. Shit.

1 comment:

  1. I wondered if me managed to fit that in a four-line riddle. I also wondered what he wanted to "I wondered if he"
    I want fifteen times its wait to "I want fifteen times its weight"