Sunday, February 4, 2024

"We Specialize, After All, in the Sort of Investigations That Few Others, Even Crackajack Government Agencies, Can Handle"

NO MATTER how you look at it, it's going to take an awful lot of explaining when it's discovered that . . .

"The President's Brain Is Missing."
By Ron Goulart (1933-2022) (ISFDb HERE).
Illustrated by Mike Kuchar.
First appearance: Espionage Magazine, December 1984.
Short story (14 pages).
Online at (HERE; go to text page 24).

   "Unless somebody gives it a countermanding order by noon Thursday, every darned one of them will explode."

THINGS go missing all the time, stuff like socks and TV remotes. The same can be said for people, such as Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart. In this instance, however, what's missing is a vital part of the Chief Executive, and unless it's found soon, as our protagonist puts it, "you’ll all be in considerable trouble"—an understatement, that's for sure . . .

Principal characters:
~ Jake Pace:
  "I happen to play a little piano."
~ Hildy Pace:
  "'The United States government,' reminded Hildy, 'never calls in a private inquiry agency like ours unless they’re desperate, Russ'."
~ The hospital robot:
  "Oh, surely, yes. I imagine you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Leave me with a blownup assassin on my . . . Awk! Ooops!"
~ United States Troubleshooter General Russell Toilet:
  "The alarm system was deftly made inoperative, the formidable duo of robot guards rendered defunct and the storage cabinet opened with ease."
~ Susie Miller:
  "I’m the manager of the place and the bebopper I hired ran off to Yucatan with his wife’s best friend only moments ago and if I don’t find a substitute at once I’ll be up the creek and out on my ear."
~ Preston Ives, Jr.:
  "'Um . . . did I get the message right?' asked Ives. 'You want to buy a whole circus?'"
~ Rowland Pond:
  "You’re not such a bad detective at that."

References and resource:
- "Bud Powell, Thelonius Monk and Red Garland. Maybe throw in a little Horace Silver."
  Wikipedia: Bud Powell (HERE), Thelonius Monk (HERE), Red Garland (HERE), and Horace Silver (HERE).
Bud Powell at the piano
- "a chunky fellow in beret, darkglasses and zootsuit":
  It's fairly rare when a style of clothing sparks a riot but the zoot suit did just that; see Wikipedia (HERE).
- "my bop medley":
  "Bebop developed as the younger generation of jazz musicians expanded the creative possibilities of jazz beyond the popular, dance-oriented swing music-style with a new 'musician's music' that was not as danceable and demanded close listening. As bebop was not intended for dancing, it enabled the musicians to play at faster tempos." (Wikipedia HERE.)
- "a few notes into Un Poco Loco":
  "Un Poco Loco is an Afro-Cuban jazz standard composed by American jazz pianist Bud Powell." (Wikipedia HERE.)
- It has been quite a while since we last visited Ron Goulart's fiction, the story at the time being "Into the Shop" (HERE).

Unless otherwise noted, all bibliographical data are derived from The FictionMags Index created by William G. Contento & edited by Phil Stephensen-Payne.

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