The Case of the Haunted Mansion
By Mike Stevens
This was such a waste of his talent. Inspector Bulbous Noclue was cleaning the bathroom of the inspectors office, at the behest of his jerk of a boss, Captain Clark Testysag. Noclue was much too good at solving crimes to be wiping up a mess from the office’s toilet. What a jerk Testysag was! He and Testysag had never gotten along, and, since Testysag had been promoted to captain instead of Noclue, he’d been lording it over Noclue’s head. He was always finding the worst jobs possible for Noclue to take care of. Well, Bulbous Noclue was nobody’s clean-up boy. The next time that weasel Testysag ordered him to do some degrading job, he was going to go off on Testysag! The hell with this! He wasn’t a complainer, and he wasn’t a scrub, he was a highly-trained police inspector. Just then, Testysag called him over to his desk. Noclue got his back up, and yelled across the room,
“Hey, drop dead, Testysag; get somebody else to clean up a mess.”
Testysag replied, “Fine, Noclue; I was going to give you a case, but, whatever.”
Noclue turned beet-red with embarrassment and sheepishly said “Oh, I’m sorry, boss. I was expecting you to order me to do something else. I do want a case!”
“What the hell else were you expecting me to say?” asked Testysag.
Bulbous replied, “Oh, nothing; what’s the case, boss?”
Testysag then said, “Somebody wants us to investigate a supposedly-haunted mansion to see if there’s really some criminal activity responsible for the strange happenings at the mansion. The lady who called it in said she’s seen juvenile delinquents coming and going from the house at odd hours. She suspects they’re using the cover of the house being haunted to scare anybody away from investigating too closely. I want you to check it out. If there is illegal activity at that house, we need to shut it down.”
Bulbous was excited by the case. Haunted? Come on! The lady who’d reported it was probably right; the house was more than likely being used in some type of criminal activity. “Sure, boss; I’ll look into it.”
“Okay, the first thing you should do is call this lady, and get the straight dope on what’s going on.”
The straight dope? Man, was Testysag a dork; but, he answered, “Okay, boss; I’ll get right to work.”
The woman who’d reported the case had told Inspector Noclue that she lived right across the street for the ‘haunted’ house, and had noticed strange cars and seen strange things, such as lights blinking off and on, for several nights in a row, and she wanted them investigated. She’d told him that the house had a reputation as being haunted, but, like Bulbous Noclue, didn’t believe in ghosts, and she figured there was a more earthly, illegal reason for the strange happenings. Noclue had told her he’d look into it, and get back to her.
He was now parked across the street from the house in question, and was just about to exit his car, and go inside. He’d learned from the woman that the house was vacant, and left unlocked, so he wouldn’t need a key to gain access. He climbed the steps, and opened the front door. He blinked in the darkness, after coming from the street, with its bright streetlight, and flipped on his flashlight. He would have preferred to come during daylight hours, but work was a bear, and he couldn’t get away until after dark, but at least he had this flashlight. He played the beam over the desolate interior, with its broken furniture and peeling, faded paintjob. He saw nothing out of the ordinary. He climbed up the old, spiral staircase, man, this house was old, and stood listening at the top. Suddenly, there was muffled talking, and a light was visible under the door. Someone was in the room straight ahead. Bulbous strode to the door of a bedroom where the voices were coming from, threw it open, and yelled,
“Ah, ha! I’ve caught you punks red-hand—holy hell!” and stopped cold, for there, in the middle of the room, was two specters, one trying, unsuccessfully, to hold his guts in, and the other had half of his head missing. There was blood sprayed on the walls and the floor. Between them was a bloody axe the two specters had apparently been fighting over. Bulbous Noclue lost control of his bowels, and took off running, down the stairs, and out the front door; that was some scary stuff!
He ran to his car, not feeling the mess in his pants, started the car with trembling fingers, and floored it, spraying gravel behind the accelerating car. He drove in a panic until he arrived back at the station. He rushed into the office, and ran to his desk. He had never been so scared in his life! The other inspectors who were still there, stared, and Captain Testysag said,
“What’s the matter with you, Noclue? You’re white as a sheet, and you don't smell very good. You look as though you’ve seen a ghost.”
Noclue mumbled “Yes, sir, I did.”
“What? Bull, Noclue!”
Bulbous stammered, “No really, sir; I didn’t believe until tonight, but ghosts are real.”
Testysag laughed and replied, “What have you been smoking Noclue?”
Bulbous was mortified; they didn’t believe him. Then Testysag said snidely,
“I guess I’d better go out there, and find the truth for myself. That’s what I get for sending Uncle Doofus here to investigate.”
Instead of being angry, Bulbous was concerned. “What yourself, Captain; the two ghosts have an ax.”
Testysag left, chuckling to himself, “An axe. Ooohhh, I’m scared now!”
Captain Testysag returned after less than ½ hour, saying he had found nothing. No ghosts, no axe, and no blood-soaked walls. As he disgustedly turned away from Bulbous, he shook his head. Bulbous couldn’t believe it; he knew what he’d seen. He reluctantly phoned the woman who’d reported the case. He had to put a positive spin on this. When she answered, he said,
“Ma’am, good news! I’ve solved the case.”
She replied, “That’s great news; what was it, some juvenile delinquents, like I thought?”
Noclue answered with, “Not exactly; the house is most definitely haunted!”
After explaining, he hung up the phone, and waddled his way to the bathroom.