Mr Magnifico - In Need of Assistants PDF Print E-mail
Mr Magnifico sipped his coffee with the necessary air of pretension, regretting only that he had forgotten his scarf and pipe. Smoking was disgusting, but the detective couldn’t stand not fitting in. In an age of non-conformity Mr Magnifico went against the grain by going with it. He took another sip; the coffee was perfectly brewed. That little barista had surely earned his change today. The detective liked his coffee as he liked his women: foreign and bitter. He waited patiently for the first of his interviews. A beautiful woman in her early thirties entered the shop with such perfect timing it could only be a contrived cue. She wore a modest skirt, which immodestly accentuated her curves. Her suit jacket declared “professional” so loudly it was probably paid to do so. Deep brown waves of hair fell about her shoulders. The cascade of ermine tresses lightly brushed her cream like skin and accented her storm-blue eyes. She crossed the small waiting area with unparalleled confidence.

A distracted barista mistakenly called out, “A tall vente mocha whip with no peanut butter for My Queen!” as he stared. The woman ignored him, gliding past with angelic grace and sat down while maintaining eye contact with Mr Magnifico.

With crisp professional movements she handed a portfolio notebook to the detective and introduced herself, “I am Eliza Monroe. I have three degrees in varying fields of criminology, I have been published four times in criminal justice journals, and you will find the attorney general of Nevada’s recommendation letter is just below my resume.” She then sat back in her chair slightly, not lounging, just enough to punctuate the completion of her introduction.

“Very impressive. Very impressive. Tell me, Mrs. Monroe…” the detective paused with a half raised eyebrow. The woman beamed and blushed, both within the proper boundaries of professionalism. She replied, “Actually, it’s Ms.”

“Please ma’am. There is no need for you to flirt. You are far too qualified to necessitate such cheap gender tactics.” Mr Magnifico continued to speak over her flustered objections, “I only have a few more questions.” He shuffled her papers, placed an index finger on his lips, and then pointed at her. “Crystal Pepsi or New Coke?”

“What about them?” she replied, twisting slightly in her seat.

“Bill Cosby is lost in the woods carrying only a spoon. Go!” Mr Magnifico made a square with his thumbs and index fingers and peered at her.

“Sir, I’m not really sure what you are talking about.”

“You’re a tree blowing in the wind. Happy tree, happy tree.” The detective waved his arms in the air.

Ms. Monroe timidly raised her hands and waved them back and forth. The detective sighed and lowered his limbs. “Thank you Ms. Monroe. I have your number; we will be in touch.”

Eliza stood up and strode out of the coffeehouse, confused and shaken. Mr Magnifico sat back and sipped his coffee. “Poor fragile little flower. Never had a chance. She would have been too distracting anyhow. All that shameless flirting.”

The dulcet voice of a British songbird filled the room; the detective tapped his feet and sang along to the gentle blend of pop and soul as he waited for the next applicant. A tall man sauntered through the door; he wore a black three-piece suit of conservative cut. A straight black tie pointed to the center of his white cotton blend shirt. Lanky arms swung in time with long steps as he approached the detective. “Mr. Jack Magnifico?” Gil Thorne extended his long arm down to the detective. His serious gaze froze the detective’s tapping finger mid-note and slew all silliness and humor.

Mr Magnifico had yet to shake the man’s hand or finish his note. There was only the chilling eye contact until detective uttered, “I know why you are here.”

Mr Thorne nodded gravely. “Good. Then let’s get down to business.”

A spark burned in the detective’s eyes. “O! You’ll have your challenge.”

Mr. Thorne remained standing. “Excuse me? I’m sorry, I don’t think I under”

“There is no apologizing now! You have come to claim my title of Staremaster! I must warn you my last staring contrast lasted two weeks. It nearly zenned me, but at last I was able to fell the giant reclining stone Buddah of Thailand.”

Mr Magnifico found a comfortable groove in his chair and reclined in preparation for a lengthy battle. Mr. Thorne stared in confusion and thought: Was this some sort of test? It wasn’t initially, but the detective soon wondered if Mr. Thorne’s stare was powerful enough to overcome the will of criminals, causing them to break down and reveal the intimate details of their crime even if only the most circumstantial of evidence is presented against them.

Mr. Thorne had little patience for silliness and thus quickly turned and left the coffee shop.

Mr Magnifico continued to stare and fantasize about solving a case with a gaze. The double doors opened wide, in a combination of drama and necessity, as a large man ducked into the shop. His massive shoulders grazed both sides of the doorframe, blotting out the sun. The large man noticed someone staring at him and using ESP, ascertained that the staring someone was the detective. The giant adjusted his lederhosen, straightened his cassock, and glided across the room on an air of mystery and sneakers. With a well practiced flourish he introduced himself, “I,” he paused momentarily, “am NOSTRAMAGNUS!”

Awestruck, the detective could only stare. Nostramagnus continued, “And you are Mr Magnifico, world famous detective currently seeking an aide. You are a warrior and mystery is your eternal opponent.”

“Ha!” laughed the behemoth mystic, his deductive prowess apparently freezing Mr Magnifico in amazement. “I see I am much more than even you could have predicted.” He flexed audibly with the sound of tightening leather. The detective gawked at the man’s protruding pectorals.

After a moment Nostramagnus began to feel mocked. He had encountered this before, non-believers who would refuse to communicate in any way other than telepathy, as if the mystical energies required to divine thoughts and emotions could just be fritted about, but still, the detective’s eye remained steady, daring the Nostramagnus to read his thoughts.

“So be it!” shouted the burly man as he placed his forefingers against both temples, his robes rippling dramatically. His consciousness pressed out from his third eye and drew back the cheesecloth veil of Mr Magnifico’s mind. The gaping detective’s thoughts lay bare for Nostramagnus. To his surprise there was but one thought prancing about detective’s mind, the image of Mario bouncing in time to the chant “meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow.”

Nostramagnus’s consciousness recoiled. "How could he have known of my kitten phobia?" thought the psychic. He was terrified of kittens, with their curious claws, rambunctious nature, and impossible cuteness! The mystic motioned a mark in the air with his finger to ward off evil spirits, kittens, and the like. He reasoned that the detective must have used the mental link to sneak into his mind in order to mock his fears.

Twin balls of fire ignited in Nostramagnus’s mind. His anger grew and consumed him, yet the detective ogled him cruelly.

“Why must you mock my weakness, Mr Magnifico?” pleaded Nostramagnus furiously. His massive Vienna sausage fingers gripped the small coffee table. His knuckles turned red, white, and blue in nationalistic ire as he struggled to restrain himself. Mr Magnifico continued his ocular onslaught, though in reality he was contemplating riding Nostramagnus into battle against mystery. With a savage and dramatic roar, Nostramagnus flipped the table upward where it became either too frightened to come back down or had escaped into another dimension.

The detective, however, was completely unmoved. Slump-shouldered and defeated, the hulking hurler slunk away. At the door a young Korean man with an application in hand stopped him and asked if he was ok. Nostramagnus placed a large hand upon the man’s shoulder and most of his upper arm. With a solemn look back at the detective, who was still staring, Nostramagnus told the young man, “Good luck to you, my son. I too sought this profession. Let us both pray that you are found more worthy than I.” With that he walked dramatically to his mint green Geo and drove off.

Craig straightened his tie and rechecked his EPC (Elemental Plane of Coffee) application. He hadn’t realized the competition for a minimum wage job would be so fierce. Following the large man’s direction, he walked over to his prospective employer. Craig thought it odd that there was no coffee table but was content to hold his application.

After several minutes of awkward silence, Craig waved his hand in front of the interviewer’s face, but received no response. He sat down and looked around the bustling coffee shop. Everyone was milling about paying no attention to the catatonic customer. It almost seemed as if they were purposely not paying attention. Craig shook his head to rid himself of such paranoia. He had a habit since childhood of making things around him much more absurd and interesting than they really were.

Craig timidly gave the interviewer’s knee a shake, which caused the staring man to blink a few times and stretch into a yawn. “Must have dozed off…” Mr Magnifico looked at the young Asian man sitting across from him. “Mr. Thorne. I didn’t know you were a Chinaman.”

“Korean. I’m Korean.” Craig corrected. Slightly amused at the interviewer’s confusion he continued, “My name is Craig. Craig Winters. I’m here for the interview.”


“Craig? It says Ping Pong here,” asserted Mr Magnifico, pointing to a magazine.

“True. But that isn’t my name. You’re reading a National Geographic article on the economy of China.” Craig cocked his head to one side. “I haven’t given you my application yet.”

“But you acknowledge that it is true.” Mr Magnifico nodded his head in victory. “I appreciate the mental test. That is something I look for in all my candidates for employment, people to keep me on my mental toes.”

“I’m glad. I really would like this job.” Craig was confused but happy; the interview was proceeding well, albeit unorthodoxly.

Craig tensed. He had no barista experience and anticipated the end of the interview. He casually wiped his palms on his slacks in an attempt to appear calm.

“How many forms of ancient Shaolin Kung Fu have you mastered?” Mr Magnifico asked.

“Um. None?”

“Yes, yes. The path of a true martial artist is endless. There are always ways to improve. Very good answer.” Mr Magnifico scrawled a note in the margin of the magazine. “Are you willing to travel?”

Craig hadn’t realized that being a barista required such extensive qualifications. “As long as expenses are covered, I suppose.”

“Of course. Very good.” Mr Magnifico was ready for the coup d’grace, the question no one could answer. He had already decided to hire the young man, but he wanted to test him anyway. “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

“A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood,” Craig answered, suddenly thankful for having taken a class on nursery rhymes and tongue twisters last semester.

Mr Magnifico leapt into the air with a “huzzah!” Upon landing he exclaimed, “You’re hired! Draw up a contract stating your salary and conditions plus the clause that you stay with the company for at least six months. You start immediately!

“Wow. Thanks,” Craig sputtered. He was confused and ecstatic; he had never drawn up a contract before. “What time should I come in tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow?” Mr Magnifico stopped jumping. “I believe I said immediately. There is a mystery to be solved this very moment – the mystery of the missing bathroom,” asserted the detective as he began to dance about. I’ve had seventeen cups of coffee and the mystery is most urgent.”

Just then, a man approached the pair and introduced himself, “I’m Archibald Kim. I’m here about the job.”

Mr Magnifico covered his arm with his nose. “Who are you, and what smells like dog?”

“I’m a chef,” Mr. Kim responded.

“That doesn’t bode well. Come, Ping Pong. We’re off.” Mr Magnifico pushed past the Koreans and into the fresh air of destiny.

“It’s Craig,” Ping Pong called out as he chased after the detective.

“Sure it is. You must learn to accept defeat, Ping Pong.”
 
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