CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
For a few weeks, Lorna Glover had been dating Felipe Perez, a boy from the office where she worked. But she was perplexed. She could not work out what his feelings for her were. Her friend, Sonya, suggested she consult the Emotional Detective Agency in Baker Street, who specialize in just this type of situation.
It was Thursday lunchtime and Lorna had an extended lunch break of a few hours. She decided to take the opportunity to check out the Agency. When she arrived in Baker Street, there was a queue starting at the Agency’s front door and extending along the pavement for about twenty yards. The queue contained a mixture of both men and women. Lorna joined the back of the queue and over the next two hours she gradually edged her way towards the Agency’s front door. At last, she was standing in the reception area, at the head of the queue.
There was a long corridor leading into the heart of the building, and on either side of the corridor, doors opened into it. Occasionally, a client would reappear from one of these doors, sometimes a man and sometimes a woman, but they would always be accompanied by another person who seemed to work for the Agency.
These Agency workers always wore a nondescript overcoat and plain shoes. Their facial features were attractive in some way, but Lorna could not tell if they were male or female. They were rather like the androgynous models in glossy fashion magazines, having been perhaps carefully selected for their blurred sexuality—or their sexuality having been blurred by the industry. These workers accompanied the clients through the Agency’s front door and appeared to follow them back out into their everyday lives.
It was Lorna’s turn and she was taken along the corridor and directed to enter one of the doors. Beyond it, there was a room furnished with two easy chairs, a coat stand, and not much else. Sat in one of the chairs was a person who was introduced to her as Agent Melancholy.
Agent Melancholy had attractive features and long hair, but, again, Lorna was not sure whether Melancholy was a man or a woman. The agent stood up, greeted her in a soft voice and indicated for her to sit in the other easy chair. While the agent was standing, with no overcoat on, Lorna took the opportunity to quickly scan their body, looking for any bulges that might give away their sex, but she could not detect any. They both sat down.
Lorna said, “I’ve heard you can detect the emotional life in men.”
Agent Melancholy said, in a soft voice, “Ah, yes, we do our best. But you have to understand that this is the final frontier of human discovery. With some men, detecting the emotional life in them is like trying to prove that, if a cat could speak, it would be able to learn Japanese. How does one go about doing that? First of all, have you ever heard a cat speak?”
“No, I haven’t”
“Well, there you are. So how do you know whether it could learn Japanese or not?”
Lorna said, quite truthfully, “I can’t see how you could tell.” She was beginning to feel relaxed. She sank into the easy chair. There was something simple and straightforward about Agent Melancholy and she felt that, though the agent’s questions seemed a bit strange, she was able to easily answer them.
Melancholy said, “And this is your experience of men?”
She said, “With most of them. Well, no, with pretty much all of them.”
“I see,” said Melancholy. “So you want us to find out whether—supposing your man were a cat—whether or not he would be capable of speaking Japanese?”
Lorna said, “I don’t want him to speak Japanese; I just want him to speak to me.”
“Japanese would be a first step though?”
“Do you think you could get him to speak Japanese?”
“I doubt it; we’re speaking metaphorically, you understand.”
Lorna said, “Yes, I see. Well, no. No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Agent Melancholy told her, “Well, you see, this is the first problem. Do you know what the problem is?”
Lorna said, “I want to know if he cares for me at all.”
A man who was out walking his dog, stopped on the pavement before 17 Misconception Boulevard. He looked on as his dog positioned itself, then cocked its leg against the garden’s waist‑high wall. While watching the jet hitting the wall, the man decided to have a go himself, so he unzipped his flies and began urinating over the wall while whistling nonchalantly.
He heard something nearby, looked up and noticed a car in the driveway with a man inside it prodding the windscreen and shouting at it. Obviously (reflected the dog‑walker) he did not appreciate the kind deed they were doing him by washing his wall.
The dog‑walker zipped up his flies, turned and launched into a brisk march along the pavement. The dog’s lead twanged—the dog not having finished doing its kind deed. The man tugged violently but the dog merely jerked forward a step while keeping its leg cocked, so the man attached the lead to his belt and threw himself along the pavement. The dog made a loud choking sound, hopped along on three legs while its fourth wavered undecidedly, then the dog dropped all resistance and sailed on along the pavement.

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