Tuesday, July 24, 2012



A  short-story or whatever by Tim Buck

(Rendered from the original Portuguese into English by the Masked Translator)

Chapter 1

Ha ha ha...

Please pardon my little outburst. I have an unusual sense of humor. And it strikes me as laughable to be writing this down. Trying to reconstruct with words certain events of the recent past tickles my funny bone. Because what happened had to do with the strangeness of words themselves. I also tend to laugh when I put pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. It's so surprising and delightful to make things mesh and begin forming a recognizable shape.

Allow me, please, to introduce myself. My name is Jack Cardoso. I am a detective. A Brazilian detective. Retired. I was and still consider myself to be a rather splendid detective.

My knack as an investigator came to me at an early age. I grew up in Greater Belo Horizonte, which is located in the southern central part of the country. It is comprised of 34 municipalities and a population of five million souls. One of those municipalities is Sabará, to the east of Belo Horizonte city. That was and is currently my home. There is so much iron embedded in the surrounding hillsides that sometimes cars get pulled uphill by sheer magnetism. Ha ha ha......ha ha...hmm...

But seriously, as a child I had an instinctive talent for finding things. When I was a little rascal, the neighborhood women, who were always losing things around their houses, would call for me to find those missing items. I would stand, arms akimbo, in the middle of the last room they remembered seeing their lost trinket or cooking item or emerald-colored high-heeled shoes. I would concentrate as if in a trance, and within minutes, things came crystal clear. I would walk confidently on my little legs and point to the errant object.

Gold mining has been a basic industry in our region. And finding gold became a talent of my teenage years. I didn't follow the standard rules of metallurgical technology. I relied instead on discernment of topography, in relation to the characteristics of flora and the behavior of fauna. I can't explain my aptitude, and it's not anything extrasensory. Aspects of a phenomenon – sought object or mysterious event – simply spread out inside my head, with associative threads forming a subtle pattern. The circumstantial array begins to offer up to me its implicit essence – the main thing. So an answer,  a solution, a discovery leaps into my quiet thinking. Yes, I would walk those large hills that are covered with eucalyptus, rosewood, and wild peppertrees. Until the landscape “spoke” to me. Until I knew with a comfortable degree of certainty that gold waited and winked here or there below, veined in the sleeping rock.

When I became a young man, I did a stint as consultant for the local police department. Crimes were solved with my help. After that, I have spent my entire adult life as a private detective, taking on cases ranging from domestic suspicions to kidnapping to locating lost relatives. Even the occasional diversion into more eccentric avenues: debunking mediums, explaining UFOs, exposing subliminal messages embedded in television frequencies that caused a mass addiction to Brazilian singing and dancing contests. 

I remember one case, especially. Old General Azevedo lost his marbles. I was called in to find them. He had lost them -- Oxbloods, Cat's Eyes, Glimmers, Bumblebees -- when he was a child. The loss had haunted him even into elder age. In his memory and imagination, they had grown to the size of wondrous-colored planets. He dreamed of them, night after night, as the years had hobbled into the future. To make a long story short, I discovered, through interviews with his ancient friends and relatives, that he had been a young sleepwalker.  After a session of psychological probing, surreptitious hypnosis, and renegade logic, I converged on an empirical apotheosis. We located his sleepwalked bag of missing marbles in the fist-sized bole of a gnarly tree still standing on the family villa.  I can still hear the old general's gasp. I can still see him tearfully loosening the bag's drawstrings and pouring his lost marbles to the ground. The silver tips of his handlebar mustaches quivering.

Okay...now to the account, the mystery that inspired this present writing. 

It had come to my attention that certain individuals in France were saying strange things. And since I had become bored as a detective retiree, I decided to investigate, to find out why peculiar things were being said by these famous and semi-famous French philosophers. I don't fly,  so I set sail (so to speak) one brilliant summer morning.

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