You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. Ray Bradbury said that in 1994, several years before the proliferation ... Read More
Jellybean Highfive’s unofficial detective business was booming -if booms are what explosions make. Oh, the devastation, he thought.
It had blown up in his face, his third case –The Case of the Bulimic Fatty. He had found the truth at the bottom of the case, but had uncovered it in such a way as to cause it to be forever hidden, like King Tut’s coffin. Will they ever find it, he thought. “I wonder,” he said. Probably not, he mused.
He wondered this while walking down a street connected to many other roads. He wondered how anyone could call a street “secluded.” All streets met up with other streets, didn’t they? He tried to imagine a street all alone, on an island perhaps, sad and secluded, with only its top five books to read.
“All roads lead to Rome, Jellybean,” he said to himself, “and Roman roamers roam them. That’s where I come in.” He smoked on a cigarette, imagining himself to be in a movie called “Jellybean Highfive.” He often did this, even while brushing his teeth. He would look himself in the eyes, half-closing them in a dramatic slit, and imagine a gravelly voice-over voice gravely laying out the impossible odds. “But one man stands in the way…Jellybean Highfive.”
His reverie exploded when he realized he was standing in the way –of a pretty blonde who needed to get past him in order to board a bus headed who knows where.
“Pardon the interruption,” Jellybean said, not able to move due to the magnetic magnetism of her face. Like a tractor beaming its headlights at a deer, he was lit up by a terrifying attraction.
“What are you staring at?” she said prettily.
“My destiny,” he whispered, slitting his eyes and cocking his head just so.
“Oh,” the woman said, embarrassed.
“You should never be embarrassed,” Jellybean said, finally moving to the side and making way for her. He extended a hand to help her up on to the bus, then took off an invisible–nonexistent, really–fedora and made a slight bow.
To him, she was the queen of the city just then. It seemed as though the entire street inclined her way. Birds seem to sing, people seemed to hum, and the sun broke through the charcoal crush of clouds to illuminate her lovely face. Then she vomited. She looked around for a moment, then escaped into the bus as the doors closed. The bus lurched forward and disappeared into the maze of interconnected avenues in the auburn autumn afternoon.
Jellybean stood there, spellbound. All he had was the memory of her. Then his mind started working, dots began connecting in his mind. He walked quickly somewhere, using his mind to think thoughts. He got out a notepad and made massive checkmarks in it. He stopped and shouted, “I have it!” in triumph.
But his triumph turned quickly and his face fell. He stood, looking absently around, like a child from a broken home standing in an outfield, realizing that the one he was scanning the bleachers for hadn’t come like he’d promised.
“It’s not the streets who’re secluded,” he said in a hoarse whisper. He noted absently the rushing crush of people everywhere. “It’s the people in the streets.
“People,” he said in a gravelly voice, “like…ellybean Highfive.” He looked up at a camera that didn’t exist, stared hard, then looked away. His gaze tracked down the crowded street, as if a bus might stop anytime and vomit out the most beautiful girl in the world.