the detective 5: unauthorized biography


A detective and his client are seeking what lies beyond the obvious sea. The detective is in a supermarket, the usual refuge in case of an apocalypse, and his client has wisely left the building. (The detective sequence starts here.)

The ceiling and the roof have vanished,
breakfast for a bivalve, and a curling snake
of sulphurous vapor scorches my eyes,
runs bitter in my nose, my throat,
like the small red chillies
one should never purchase.


I hear a disembodied voice, reproachful and despondent,
in synthetic darkness.

I tried to warn you, a scavenging bivalve
found the supermarket—
a tasty concrete treat.
I’d like to help, but there’s nothing I can do.
You’re a goner, I’m afraid.

Who is kneeling over me, offering words of comfort?
Is it my client, with matching axolotls
clinging to each shoulder?

My vision’s been dissolved
by the bivalve’s acid reflux,
and I must make sure.

I reach upward with one hand.

Might I touch you,
warm-hearted stranger,
and verify your identity?

I run my fingertips gently
over the contours of her face, her lips,
a little longer than strictly necessary.

Uai! Her teeth are just as sharp
as I remember.

I’m slightly disappointed
with the imminence of my death,
but my client must press onward
to solve the maritime mystery,
and from my final place of rest—
a mattress of melted chocolates
and assorted sweets—I’ll assist her.

I’ve kept extensive and professional
records of this case, diarising day-to-day.
Even now I’m making notes
of my unexpected passing,
although my penmanship’s a little shaky.

I’m gifting it to you,
all the vital clues with annotated explications.
Doubtless you’ll discover what is waiting
beyond the obvious
after I’ve departed.

And if you find it in your heart …
I cough theatrically, and move to a penultimate whisper.
you might continue with the diary,
even write a few kind words
about your friend and colleague.

Will I get my deposit back?
my client asks, and I nod
for the very last time.


I suppose that every now
must have its day of natural creation,
and here I am with the detective’s dog-eared diary,
reading his so-called records—

impossible facts and crenellated fiction

his fascination with himself,
self-absorption projected onto others

a quantum mechanical flutter:
the incorrect Copenhagen interpretation

and a page of nonsense
about his death, just so I’ll
write his praises in a eulogy
while he’s loitering in the supermarket
stuffing himself with sweets.

to continue

Logic and its lack:

The bilking paradox in time travel arises because effect comes before cause, ie, an event causes a change that precedes it, creating a contradiction. (There’s an example and a little more explanation of the paradox here.)  The situation in “unauthorized biography” is similar. One way to avoid the paradox is to postulate an alternate, new and improved, universe whenever someone time travels, or here, when reality becomes notes in a diary.

Death by chocolate: various restaurants.

Explication: one of the words I find amusing.

Copenhagen interpretation: everyone is entitled to an opinion.

alternate realities, part above

43 thoughts on “the detective 5: unauthorized biography

  1. That’s the first belly laugh I’ve had all day! But such an intelligent and incisive belly laugh! Thanks – I needed it. “Every now must have its day” juxtaposed with a “dog-eared diary” is pretty clever. The dog part. But then the whole thing is pretty damn clever. I started chuckling with the small red chillies and never really stopped. That last stanza did me in! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed, BG. 😃 It’s the time of year when we need a break from reality wherever we can find it. By not being as lazy as usual, I’ve almost finished the sixth and final part (I think it’s the last anyway) which is going to help in the coming week.

      I don’t feel particularly clever because I never plan or think about it, it just comes out, and I really shouldn’t say this, but when I read it back, I often find myself laughing. It seems a little crazy, but what can you do?

      Liked by 1 person

      • And I agree about the value of the comments, although blog awards in general are not my thing, just because of the time factor.

        Anyway, the comment authors have the satisfaction of knowing that others benefit from and enjoy their work. Admittedly everyone tells you that when they want you to do something for nothing. 😸 But it’s still true. 😸

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Delightfully entertaining! I chuckled at “you’re a goner, I’m afraid.” At least he got to “stuff himself with sweets”, right? I wonder how the client’s going to get her deposit back. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am late to the series and today, a lovely sunny Sunday morning on the equator got immersed in a sea that was so obvious I missed all the cockle shells of clues. It’s exquisitely written fantasy because nothing needs to belong to another, each paragraph a new millennial mathematical unsolved equation. I read the series anew from the very first and am enjoying every sequence and love your lack of characters as the landscape becomes the living object. Is must be so glamorous to take a peek into your mind Steve, did I say I am liking this series? I am!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying The Detective, Gina. I’m having a lot of fun writing it, and honestly I have no idea what is a clue or what isn’t, or what will happen next. Whatever is going on in my mind is a mystery to me as well, it simply appears, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t glamorous, just everyday life seen in a particular mirror. Thank you for reading. 😃 PS: If I ever collect my poetry into a book I will definitely have to quote your “millennial … equation” line.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m quite enjoying this series! The ending here gave me a good laugh.

    On a side note, I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award, which you can learn more about on my recent blog post or via the official site.

    Do keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve just come back to the social media confusion after the end-of-year melee. I very much appreciate the nomination. I don’t do award things, even though I know they can be fun. Just don’t have enough time … ⌛️ By the way, I like your vivid artwork, Chromatic Devil. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a really good phrase for the turn of the new year! Oh, absolutely. And no worries, I definitely understand that feeling, and there is no obligation. Oh, thank you very much! 🙂 I’m happy you enjoy my work!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Like much of your writing (which normally leaves me speechless) reading this is like getting pleasantly lost inside a dream…but this dream has more great jokes than usual. I grinned throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In that vein (deveined, if preferred), in re: the “conch” issue, I fear he might be “frittering” away his time, if he tries to figure out ‘heads or tails’ of the matter, anyways…

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest even with the break, I almost got behind myself. No matter how much time I have, it’s always last minute. Glad you enjoyed, yeah I love the discussion too. Everything to do with the participants I’d say. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

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