Here I present the first “guest contribution” to my blog in the form of a little parody by my husband, Alex. I suggested that he write a Poirot spoof, and he (kind soul that he is) obliged me with a little piece of flash fiction.
Sense of humor required. And when you’ve read it, you can’t tell me that you haven’t had the same idea that Poirot had, while watching some episode or another of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. 😉 With no further ado–
A Whole New Ball Game
“My dear Hastings! Come, let me tell you about the adventures I had while you were off in Scotland, shooting the… whatever you were shooting!” My interlocutor was none other than the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. The curious little man with the impeccable yet preposterous moustache is a dear friend of mine, though he has his own quirks which can be at times insufferable.
We were at a charity ball that evening; neither of us had brought dates but, as was the norm, there were more than enough society women also needing partners that we were able to dance as frequently as we had wish to; which in Poirot’s case was not that much, typically, though I certainly fancy a turn or two, especially with the auburn-haired women; a great weakness of mine.
It was while I was taking a much-needed break from the dance floor, that Poirot, champagne glass in hand, had approached me with his query I mentioned at the beginning of this tale. No man for small talk, he; always getting to the point, economical in words when needs be.
At any rate, he seemed in good spirits, as though some case of great importance, or at least of great challenge to his much ballyhooed little grey cells, had occurred.
“Poirot, good heavens! How great to see you, old chap!” I replied. Poirot took a rather decent swig of his champagne, I thought, but seemed none the worse for it, and began his little tale.
“Ah yes, where shall I begin? A most interesting event, indeed. A femme, one of those auburn-haired beauties you are so enamored with, mon ami, stopped in one day.”
“Do continue,” I said. We sat down at a table and Poirot continued to recount his tale.
“Miss Lemon said it was something to do with a lost dog. You might remember that we long ago resolved never to call any case too trivial or too unimportant. So, although Poirot does not usually take on such cases, I thought that it might be a diversion. Without you, mon ami, the fact is that I was a little… stricken with the ennui, you understand. At any rate, this woman, she came in and handed me a 100-pound note.”
“Good Lord!” I interjected. At that, I noticed as Poirot finished his glass of champagne and then, deftly, snagged for himself another glass from a passing waiter.
“Yes, so for 100 pounds, one does hunt for lost dogs, if one does not have the standards of Poirot! But this is not enough for me. And I told her as much. ‘Madame, I do not need your cash; Poirot is not some third-rate back alley investigator.’ At this, she slapped me on the side of the face!”
“Good heavens! She didn’t!” I said, and Poirot finished this new glass of champagne. I began to be a little concerned for my friend; both on account of his rather quick intake of alcohol and also because I simply was not sure where he was heading with this particular story.
“Yes, mon ami; she braised the side of Poirot’s face with her open hand, just so!” He gestured a little comically—partly for effect, I suppose, but possibly also, I surmised a bit of the alcohol starting to take effect. “And then when I wished to explain why, she grabbed a second hundred-pound note and placed it with the first!”
“Good heavens!” I said. And then I saw Poirot go for another drink. I began to wonder if I was not being put upon a little.
“Bien sur, mon ami! And now I had to ask; ‘Dear woman, why so much, for a pet dog?’”
“She laughed. Not a pet dog but rather an ancient golden dog idol, with precious jewels for eyes. She had been robbed, Hastings. Of a valuable artifact indeed. At once I took up the case!”
He continued to recount his tale. At points I would interject as my emotions overtook me, and each time he took a drink. It got to the point where my friend was quite red in the face and practically bellowing his little tale, mixing up the words all a-jumble.
“And then! Hastings! I fid not dind, I did not find the dog after all— for she, devious woman, was trying to flay Poirot for the pool! Des femmes!” And with this he fell asleep.
I inquired of the nearby waiter. “My good fellow, what is going on with Mr. Poirot? I have never known him to act so… vulgarly. He is discretion itself!”
“Well, ain’t ‘e tho?” replied the waiter. “‘E said sompin about playin’ a li’l game on yer, sompin about yer, ‘ow’d ‘e say it, catch phrases or some such. He’d go ‘n take a swig ev’y time ye’d say one of yer thin’s. Anyway, ‘e tol’ me to give ‘im a refill ev’y time ‘e got low, and blast me if ‘e wasn’t thrashin’ that champagne there like it was wa’er on an ‘ot day! Af’er wot, 8 glasses, I’d be fast ‘sleep too, eh?”
“Oh.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. My friend was playing me once again; not for a fool but for a hard night’s drink! If he weren’t such a damned fine detective and a brilliant mind that routinely shows up even the best of Scotland Yard’s men, I should find it hard to forgive that terrible joke he played on me. One never could fully understand Poirot. He just wasn’t British.