He paced back and forth in his Hershey-stained briefs. The muscles in his bare legs bulged out as he paraded across the carpeted floor. With arms akimbo, chin in the air, and an official Karate Kid trademarked sweatband sweeping across his forehead, Mister G was clearly the man of the house. And it was precisely because of this position that he felt compelled to solve crimes. The mysteries enthralled him and the admiration kindled his burgeoning ego. Although, no one had ever thanked him. Then again, he had yet to solve a crime. But determination is a greater force than success. And delusion is far better than reality. Plus, he had a beard. And all men with beards achieve great things. This time, he set out to solve a murder—a murder that had yet to be committed. He could kind of see into the future, like that lady on Medium. But he fancied another woman on the picture box. And if Angela Lansbury was 20 years younger, and he was 40 years older, perhaps it would work. Perhaps. He paced some more. Up and down. Up and down. Over and out. In and up. Through and near. Cross and criss. Under and by. Then he left the child's jungle gym. The Chuckie Cheese doors closed behind him. He was now on the dark streets of New York. It was cold and gloomy outside—a perfect day for a crime. But it was fine. He had remembered to bring his trench. Dark, ominous clouds gathered above. Cah caw! Cah caw! A pigeon shat on his shoulder. He sauntered down the sidewalk, as most P.I.'s in trench coats do. The pipe in his pocket was still warm. He packed his pipe tightly and lit the bowl. He immediately began choking. At once he remembered that he did not smoke. He ferociously grabbed the pipe out of his mouth and broke it upon his knee. This was the second time he had been fooled. The shame was now on him. Upon his antique desk lay a foyer, and upon the foyer lay an armoire, a hat rack lay upon it all. Gravity understood the situation. Now back in his den, he began to work. Files and cases and briefs and reports all scattered around him. He sat Indian-style in the center of all the madness. If only he could read. Harry Potter on audiotape played in the background. And then, “volde...volde...volde...vo...vo...v.” The vinyl must be stuck. Flimsy record player! He broke it upon his knee. It fell to the ground like the pipe before it, and the parakeet before that. Of course, the parakeet had been more difficult to clean up. But he had become an expert cleaner since his days spent in the convent. Each morning he would put on his robe and slippers and do the morning chores. He preferred Windex to Pledge, although that was a battle he had lost some time ago. The other nuns would laugh at him as he pranced around in his finest jewels. They were just jealous, he told himself. Jealous of his beard and how he resembled Jesus, the son of their savior. But this was no time for nostalgia, he thought. A murder was afoot, and there was little time to waste. Haste makes waste. Haste makes waste. Haste makes waste. He did not understand this phrase and it bothered him greatly. He furrowed his brow. Some cookie crumbs danced out. He rubbed his chin. More cookie crumbs trickled out of his facial hair. He wondered if the Keebler Elves resided in his beard and brows. But, no, that was all made up. Wasn't it? The room began to spin. Topsy turvy. He got nauseous. Dizzy. Get me out of this bubble! He yelled to the heavens. A child opened up the inflatable door to the bounce house. He flung forward, crashed to the ground. He vomited on himself and then left the child's birthday party to which he was not invited. A man needs no invitation if he is wearing a tux! The rental tuxedo now had driblets of vomit staining the double-breasted chest. It would be a shame to return the once-pristine tuxedo to its disheartened owner, but the shame would not be on him. Not this time. And then there was the matter of the girl. There's always a girl. Romance's sweet embrace had lifted him to the top of the Empire State years ago. He found Meg Ryan and a Teddy bear waiting there for him. Oh no, that wasn't right. Damn TBS! So many stories swirled in his mind, at times he lost track of what was real and what was fiction. His door burst open with a thud. A woman posed in the doorway, beckoning to him. Her dull blonde hair was rolled in soft curls, her lipstick was a stark red, and her beige gloves covered her elbows. In a southern drawl she murmured, “I hear you solve murders.” “Preposterous!” the man roared and slammed the door on her face. Never trust a woman pretending to be from the 1940's, he told himself. The Grandfather Clock ticked away as the seconds passed. Closer and closer and closer and closer. Murder breathed down his neck. He had rescued Murder from a shelter years ago. She was a kitten who had a fancy for sitting atop her owner's head. With a boisterous sneeze, Murder flailed across the room and landed on her paws. The head-sitting and room-flailing had become a ritual for the two pals, as Mister G was severely allergic to kittens. If only Murder had the ability to grow into a cat, this problem might be solved. Yet there were bigger fish to fry than those that Murder so loved. A human being's life was at stake. Mister G picked up his magnifying glass and left his dwelling. He searched the sidewalk for clues. Something. Anything. He hunched over and trailed along the straight. His head charged crown first into a man's crotch. He shot up and looked into the angry eyes of a man he once knew well. Sir Walter Reginald Spearmint. Yes, that Sir Walter Reginald Spearmint, inventor of Spearmint Gum. Sir Walter looked Mister G square in the eye and spat his chewing gum in his face. He then rushed off, no doubt to attend an important business meeting. As children, the two men had been quite chummy. They had built mansions with Lincoln Logs and castles with sand. But the sea had washed away the sand castles of youth. And Mister G had broken the Lincoln Log mansion by trying to fit into it. Suddenly, he had a hunch. Of course—Lincoln! He ran down the street searching his pockets for change. He needed to find a penny. Preoccupied with his search, he didn't notice the banana lying on the ground. Whoopi! He bellowed as he flipped to the ground. Years later he awoke from his coma. Now even more resolved to solve the murder he had set out on long ago, he returned to his residence. Everything was still in its place, and in proper working order, except for the Grandfather Clock. It had stopped ticking. Had time ceased to exist? For him, he supposed, it had. Months later, he would find out that he had not been in a coma at all. Rather, he had a slight concussion and a very vivid imagination. He preferred to believe that he was a man journeying from the past. Life is what you make it, he told himself.Memories of past lives overtook his psyche. He thought back fondly on his high school years. There was the talented and bossy young starlet, the jock with a heart of gold, the playboy, the pregnant cheerleader, the nerd in the wheelchair, and the nameless lackeys/background dancers. And then there was him—the high-schooler with a full beard and a chubby tummy. They were misfits, and yet, with each other, they felt accepted. He shed a tear for his earlier glee club days. Life seemed so much harder, and yet was so much simpler back then. Not like the smog that plagues the streets today. Not like murder. Unless, of course, the kids did some kind of gag on a Halloween episode. He got off of his La-Z-Boy recliner and turned the knob on the television, shutting off the program. He had lost the remote control some time ago. It had vanished under the couch pillows, he presumed, but there was no way to know for sure. He drew the blinds, for sunlight always reminded him of times past, of life not lived. He huddled around his fire pit, burning books one by one. He was an illiterate and stubborn man. But he wore a top hat and a monocle nonetheless. Murder was fancy, he thought. A man should look fancy whence he solves a murder case. And so he did. His penguin suit had arrived just in time, although the beak was much too big. Yet his snakeskin loafers fit perfectly. He gelled his beard and coiffed his eyebrows. The time had come to solve the murder of the man next door. With a sigh and a grunt he pushed open the door labeled “3B.” He pooped his pants a little bit. A man held a gun in the middle of the room. Our hero ran out yelping like a puppy, flailing his arms around in a whirlwind motion. He ran down the stairs, but tripped on his shoelaces. Clank. Clank. Clud. Creak. Crop. Cramble. In the midst of all the madness he wondered if the murder he had set out to solve would be his own. No, of course not. Haste makes waste. It suddenly all began to make sense. The Keebler Elves, the pipe, the incessant children-themed attractions, the convent, the broken record. His life was suddenly sprawled out in front of him. All he had to do now was live it.