Kensington Posh: A British Detective Short Story
Kensington Posh was a proper detective. He had a lovely brown pipe, a distinguished taste in tea, and a pair of spectacles that made the most sophisticated teacher look like a primary school dropout. He never forgot a name, could identify a face with his eyes closed, was a whiz in British law, and he ALWAYS found Wally in under 3 seconds.
He lived in a rustic cottage by the sea. He had a maid named Meredith Turnipatch, a butler named Freud Lloyd, and a stable full of prize horses. His bank account held a generous fortune, and his library was filled to bursting.
But although Kensington had
pipe and maid…
butler and tea…
a house by the lake half a mile from the sea…
horses and stable…
and a mind that was able….
…he was missing one thing: Kensington Posh did not have anyone to love.
Lovey Papaya had the best smile of anyone in town. She could make troubles seem like opportunities and broccoli taste like peach cobbler. Her friends came to her with all their worries, and with a smile, a cup of tea and an inspirational saying, they all left feeling like better human beings.
Lovey owned her own bookstore called Papaya’s Pages; it was located on the corner of 5th and Potter Point Road, and was painted to look like a sunset on a book binder. She spent her days doling out reading tips and hosting Story-Telling events for the local children. Her nights she spent writing fan letters to famous celebrities and watching over her dog, Bagel the Beagle.
But although she had
and a dog…
and a store…
and a smile that made people’s troubles no more…
…she had one trouble she couldn’t fix: she was a secret alien from Pluto.
A knocking sound vibrated from the door of the Pish Posh Private Detection Agency. The utterance of “Come in” came from the lips of the owner of the door, and the perpetrator of the knocking sound enclosed their hand around the outside knob and made the proper motion required to open the entryway, stepping into the office in the process.
“Good afternoon,” said Kensington Posh, tipping his hat and sipping his tea.
“Good afternoon,” said the visitor, tipping their hat and tripping over the rug.
“Please have a seat,” said Kensington, tipping his tea and sipping from the saucer.
“Thank you,” said the visitor, sitting in the chair and fitting in comfortably.
“How may I help you?” asked Kensington, primping his flower vase and scrimping his balance book.
“I need you to investigate a person for me,” said the visitor, cringing their eyes and wringing their hands.
“Is it your spouse?” questioned Kensington, flinging out his arms and ringing his gong accidentally.
“No, it’s my neighbor,” said the visitor, licking their finger and flicking a speck of dust away.
“Why do you need me to investigate them?” inquired Kensington, tilting his head and lilting a tune.
“Because I think there’s something wrong with them,” said the visitor, kicking his foot and picking a favorite ice cream topping.
“It’s going to cost you,” said Kensington, drinking his beverage and sinking his eyes.
“Money is no object,” said the visitor, flitting his fingers and hitting a high C.
“Alright, I’ll start tomorrow,” said Kensington, spitting his tea and quitting his nail-biting habit.
It is a bright, sunny day. He wished it were raining. Then maybe the sky would reflect his soul.
He’s seen these characters before. He knows them all. Not a decent soul, not a one of them. He plods despondently yet determinedly down the street and up the sidewalk of the house.
This person must be a drug lord, he thinks as he trudges through his job. Or a kleptomaniac. Or an antisocial menace to society. Or maybe they’re an illegal American!
He gives one last, cynical look towards the brightly colored door. No one is that cheerful, he determines, and then knocks on the door.
The moment the door opens, his world changes. He hears a chorus of songbirds singing out his mother’s favorite lullaby. A sunset sets over a beautiful mountain view, and he feels a fresh breeze right off of the ocean. He sighs in satisfaction as he tastes peach cobbler in the air. The aroma of peppermint and bacon permeates his senses, and his legs start tapping as he gets a sudden yet strong urge to dance the Charleston.
The sunset is beautiful. Truly beautiful. As he gazes at it, he can spy a face in the clouds. The songbirds trill in harmony, “How can I help you?”
As he watches the cloud face, he notices that the mountain look more like a door now, and that the cloud face is growing hair. He blinks slowly, calming his tapping legs.
Now he clearly sees a human face; but the sunset and sunshine are still there! They are in the face… in the smile!
“Hello, sir, how can I help you?” the person says again.
Well this guy has been standing here a while. He’s got some nice moves, though. Maybe he’s deaf.
“HELLO, SIR, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?”
“Hello, Sunshine Face. What’s cooking?”
“Um, I mean, I smell bacon and peppermint. Are you cooking something?”
“Um, no… no, I’m not. Maybe it’s my perfume?”
This guy must be onto me! Maybe my Alien is showing itself through scent! Though Pluto smells more like ice cream rainforest than bacon and peppermint… still, I’ve gotta throw him off the scent!
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Sometimes when I try to shake people’s hands I push them down the stairs. There, that’s better. Do you still smell bacon and peppermint?”
“No, not really. But I sure do have a craving for peach cobbler.”
It worked! Go Universe!
“Would you like to come in? I’ll make you some tea and you can tell me about what you came here for.”
“Oh, oh right! What I came here for… you sure don’t seem like an alien.”
“I mean, you don’t seem like you’re an illegal American immigrant.”
“Oh! Oh right!”
That was too close! I’m gonna give myself away! If only I could share my burdenous secret with him. He seems like such a nice man…
“Here you go!”
“Wow, this is some of the best tea I’ve ever tasted! And I have a distinguished taste in tea. This is out of this world!”
“Oh no it’s not! I made it right here in this kitchen, I promise! Nothing unearthly here in this house!”
“Haha, I meant it’s delicious.”
“Oh. Thank you, heehee.”
“I like your laugh. And your smile.”
“I like yours, too.”
Monday’s Log: Went to Target X’s house. Doesn’t look like illegal alien. Might be hiding drugs in tea. Very good tea—suspiciously good.
Tuesday’s Log: Target X might be magician; delightful hallucinations appear whenever X enters room. Maybe hypnotist. Tea is clearly British, however; very distinguished.
Wednesday’s Log: Target X definitely not kleptomaniac; always leave house without missing anything. Tried to leave hat but X ran out and returned it. Had to hide cuff links in bathroom towel to have reason to go back tomorrow.
Thursday’s Log: Cuff links returned, cleaned and sprayed with scent. Smells like pine trees on a beach. Possible location of drugs? Left coat there today.
Friday’s Log: Joined X for story-telling time with children at place of business. Ruling out possibility of X being social menace. Coat smells lovely.
Saturday’s Log: Helped Target X bake cookies. No use of illegal drugs during process. Hypnotism still working theory; songbirds won’t stop singing.
Sunday’s Log: Took day off. Met Target X for casual conversation at diner. If on duty, conclusion would still be negative for any form of public or criminal or social menacing.
Monday’s Log: Target X acting suspicious. Became evasive about my looking for band-aid in medicine cabinet, stopped my search. Investigate further tomorrow. Songbirds sounded sad today; feelings match.
Lovey: (paces room anxiously, wringing hands) I can’t stand the secrecy! I can’t lie to him anymore. I have to tell him!
(Kensington enters house.)
Kensington: Hello, Miss Papaya.
Lovey: (runs and flings herself at him) Kensington! I can lie to you no longer! I MUST come clean!
Kensington: No, Lovey, it is I who must confess! (holds her hands)
Both: I’m not who you think I am!
(Both fling the other’s hands away in shock)
Kensington: I told you I was an interior decorator! (falls on knee in remorse) But I lied. I’m a private detective and I have been investigating you… for PROFIT!
Lovey: (gasps) No, Kenny! Not for PROFIT!
Kensington: Yes, for PROFIT! (throws himself on floor and wails)
Lovey: Oh, Kenny, I believe I can forgive you… for my secret is far worse than any you could confess! (puts hand on forehead) I told you I was an Englander! But… I’m not! (falls against wall in agony)
Kensington: (sits up, stupefied) You’re not… an American! But… the tea! (grabs teacup and hurls against wall in confusion)
Lovey: No, I’m not an American!
Kensington: Don’t tell me you’re from Australia! South Africa! Asia! Canada! The North Pole?
Lovey: No, never! I’m not a decent human being!
Kensington: (stands and grabs her hands) Oh, Lovey! You’re the most decent human being there ever was!
Lovey: (gazing into his eyes) Oh, Kenny! I guess, when you think about it that way, I’m a pretty decent human being… for somebody who is NOT a human being at all!
Kensington: (drops hands and backs away) Lovey! What are you saying?
Lovey: I’m an ALIEN! (flings out arms dramatically)
Kensington: From where??? I’ve covered every place I can think of!
Lovey: From PLUTO! (flails arms hysterically)
Kensington: (gasps) What??? How could you be???
Lovey: (falls backwards over arm of sofa and hangs forlornly) I was exploring the galaxy 70 years ago, and I crash-landed here. It was so lovely here that I didn’t want to go back! Pluto is so cold and frozen. Here you have seasons and animals and forests and beaches! (sighs heavily, writhing into new position) So I found ingredients to make a potion to make me look human. I picked a name, learned your language, and bought a business. (stands up and runs at wall, hurling herself at it with arms out as if hugging the house) I love it here! But I don’t deserve it! I’m a fraud and a liar, and I deserve to be swoggled like a bambett and fleaflogged like a collybobble!
(Kensington looks stunned and confused.)
Lovey: That’s Pluto speak.
(Kensington looks less stunned and confused.)
Kensington: Lovey, I don’t care that you’re not from planet Earth! (runs to her and grabs her hands) For the first time in my life, I’m hearing the birds and watching the sunsets, all because of you!
Lovey: (clutching his hands) Really?
Kensington: Yes! Lovey, as long as you’re not a druglord or a kleptomaniac or a menace to society or an illegal American, I want nothing more than to marry you!
Lovey: Oh, Kensington! (they dramatically embrace)
Kensington Posh was a proper detective. He smoked a brown pipe, drank lots of tea and solved many cases. He lived in a rustic cottage half a mile from the sea that was taken care of by his maid and butler.
But Kensington also had a lovely wife. Her name was Lovey Papayaposh, and she had the best smile of anyone in town. She owned a charming bookstore and was friends with everyone she met. She loved writing fan letters to celebrities, and she and Kensington both took care of their dog, Bagel the Beagle.
Kensington promised to never tell anyone that she was an alien, and in return, they made plans to visit Pluto together on their one-year anniversary. She would show him the bambetts and the collybobbles, and then together they would return back to the earth… back to England… back home.