COLUMBO - The Yeard is Deceitful Above All Things - Part 2
(Part One available here)
***end of commercial break***
Richard tore through the police tape and strode to the scene of the crime. As he marched to the victim’s room, Richard picked up a small retinue of awestruck officers and paramedics. The little girl’s room was small, so only the leather enameled Richard, the grieving parents, and the somewhat rumpled looking lieutenant occupied the room. The curious crowed hung back at a respectful distance outside the door.
Richard gritted his teeth and spoke. Silence rang through the room. With calm and collected Sherlock Holmesian logic, Richard explained to his audience the events that led up to the crime.
“What I tell you today is an undisputable fact. By the end of my speech, I will reveal the real identity of the murderer!” said Richard. The audience gasped. “To the untrained eye, the crime scene may appear unremarkable. I, however, have studied the philosophy of Ayn Rand for decades on end. My flawless dedication to Objectivism has granted me preternatural skill in observation and deduction.” Richard shook his fist in the air to emphasize the importance of his words.
Suddenly, Richard’s finger pointed to the floor next to victim’s bed. The eye’s of the audience followed Richard’s finger and saw a pile of books and newspapers.
“The criminal has betrayed herself! Unbeknownst to her, while she kicked the little girl in the jaw, the key to her own identity slipped from her pocket!” Richard scooped up the literature and held it above his head in triumph. One by one, Richard displayed the titles of the books to the audience: The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, several dozen copies of the New York Times, and the Democratic Party Platform. Richard dropped the damming literature to the floor and wiped his hand on a nearby curtain, anxious to rid himself from the polluted influence of those collectivist tomes.
With grim purpose, Richard rounded on a small TV set sitting on a nearby desk. “So confident was the evil doer in her success, that she could not resist sticking around gloating over his success by watching a movie.” Richard flicked on the TV and activated the VCR. The screen flickered to life and words “Fahrenheit 9/11” appeared. Soon the TV began spewing the noxious, death worshipping words of Michael Moore into the room. With a furious yell, Richard kicked in the TV screen. Sparks and smoke filled the room, but the burnt smell was far preferable to the centipede like screeds of that bloated, unshaved liberal.
“But, what does this all mean!” exclaimed Jagang.
Richard hooked his thumbs into his belt and glared, raptor like, at his audience.
“Cindy Sheehan killed your daughter,” said Richard.
Silence rang. The audience gasped. Suddenly pandemonium erupted. Richard held up his hand for calm. Once he had their attention, Richard continued.
“Our steps at this point are clear: we must catch this evil doer and bring her to justice so that this jackal of evil can never again break the jaw of an innocent girl. My work his is done.”
The crowd parted like the Red Sea and Richard strode back to his home, his head proudly held high.
Richard was savoring his triumph. Sitting at his Dvorak keyboard, he was typing his latest masterpiece while listening to the heavenly strains of Shania Twains’ Greatest Hits. The TV was switched on and tuned onto the movie Vanishing Point, a film dedicated to the eternal struggle of freedom. With a voracity that had no equal on Earth, Richard’s fingers pounded the keyboard like Ray Charles brought back from the dead by the power of the lightning bolt while all hopped up on goofballs and supercharged with a sugar rush brought about by caffeine injected coffee beans coated in sugar and molasses. Like a sculptor slowly chipping away the excess stone under which his genius lay concealed, he filled in the blank, white, collectivist screen with words that thundered with the passion of individualism. Words formed sentences and sentences chased themselves merrily round and round like happy squirrels riding the backs of noble goats until they formed themselves into proper (masculine) paragraphs.
“Oh Terry!” (wrote Richard) Ayn’s bosom heaved and listed like an ancient and water logged carrack under full sail in the midst of three colliding hurricanes. She trembled in Terry’s arm like a jello mold in an earthquake. Terry, a good and kind man, gritted his teeth as he contemplated Ayn’s etheric pulchritude. Her flawless, horse-like face cut a jagged scar across Terry’s pulsating heart. Her eyes, crazywild sparks of convergent throbbing authority, stabbed into Terry’s skull like a steel shaft of doom, hammered home by John Henry, the legend, the steel driving man, John Henry who hammered on the right, the big steam drill on the left, yes, John Henry the mighty railroad man.
Gently, gently, Terry lifted her head upwards and back until his nostrils looked down on her chin. Within Ayn’s eyes, Terry could find not a hint of mercy or compassion. Terry’s passion flamed into a supernova of philosophical fanaticism.
“Oh, Ayn!” whispered Terry, his lips flaring like an umbrella. Ayn slipped her hand across Terry’s arm and felt of his bicep.
As Richard typed his story, his heart slammed into his ribcage. Richard could feel the sublimity of his own genius. The passion of the scene he was writing threatened to overwhelm even Richard’s stern continence. Ropes of tears dribbled from his eyes like a stampede of goats.
For a moment, Richard feared for his own manhood. Tears were soft and womanly. Femininity was to be regarded with horror at all costs, for the female of the species was weak and prone to compassion. And compassion was a surrender to collectivism. Only by acting like a heartless dick to everyone could you ever hope to be truly free. And men had dicks. Richard was a man. So therefore he must have a dick and act like one too. Men, men like Richard, were hard and unyielding. Were Richard’s tears signs of his unmanning? Were Richard’s tears a sign that he had no dick? This thought haunted him like no other. The philosophical conundrum rattled around in his skull like a solitary gumball in a gumball dispenser.
Suddenly, with raptor like speed, Richard realized that a paradox could not exist, either in whole or in part. Richard’s tears were not a sign of weakness, rather they were a true expression of freedom. Richard’s tears were not tears of compassion, but rather they were Objectivist tears and thus masculine. QED.
Richard ground his teeth in satisfaction and hooked his thumbs over the keyboard and resumed typing. With a speed that astonished even him, words exploded onto the page in melon sized chunks. With growing satisfaction, Richard realized that his latest masterpiece was making progress.
“My love!” thundered Terry in unmistakably masculine tones wrote Richard. “What has distressed you?” Terry demanded, for indeed huge sobs wracked Ayn’s broomstick-thin body. Ayn choked a response through the saline wetness of her tears and the snot running down her nose.
“What is wrong?” pleaded Terry gently, urgently.
“Arghghh!” spewed Ayn through impenetrable sorrow.
Terry stared in bafflement as his True Love cried out in both horror and pain. Terry had heard the door knock and had gone to answer it when he found Ayn sprawled out on the floor in front of the doorway. Bawling like a baby while she thrashed her arms and legs in spasmodic confusion, Terry had searched for the source of her distress.
“Is it the door?” pleaded Terry. “Was it the person at the door that did this to you?” white hot rage built up to a slow inferno inside Richard’s kidneys, as Ayn nodded in affirmation, still unable to force coherency into the sounds she forced through her lips.
Vengefully, Terry swaggered towards the door, which he flung open with a large (larger than most men’s) muscular, arm.
Standing on the doormat was a little girl in a Girl Scout outfit.
“What is the meaning of this outrage!” bellowed Terry.
The girl scout quailed and stammered her reply: “I was just talking to your wife when she freaked out! All I asked her was if she would like to make a charitable donation for Thanksgiving! My friends and I are collecting money to buy food for the less fortunate so they don’t have to go hungry.”
“RAAARRRRRRRRRRGH!” Terry’s wrath was terrible to behold. The little girl screamed in terror and fled. Terry leaped after the child; he was not about to let her get away. Much jaw would be kicked this day.
It was then that he heard the doorbell ring. Richard glanced up in irritation. He debated with himself whether or not to answer the door. Richard realized that it could possibly be a reporter, anxious to interview him about his heroic crime solving abilities.
“Save button, be true this day,” whispered Richard. After saving his document, Richard got up and walked to the door.
Standing on his doorstep was a short, somewhat disheveled man in a trenchcoat. Memory stirred and Richard recognized the man as the police lieutenant who had been talking to Jagang and his wife.
Disappointed that he wasn’t going to get to brag abut his accomplishments to the media, Richard was less than polite.
“What the hell do you want?” demanded Richard. “Shouldn’t you be next door? Or trying to find and arrest the culprit?”
“I’m sorry ah, Mr. ah…” the man apologized.
“Rahl. Richard Rahl,” Richard ground between his teeth.
The man slapped his palm to his forehead with exaggerated exasperation. “Of course! Mr. Rahl! Memory isn’t what it used to be. My wife says I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t stitched on. I’m Lieutenant Columbo, from Homicide.” Columbo held out his hand but when Richard failed to shake it, Columbo diplomatically ignored the slight. The police lieutenant fumbled in the recesses of his trench coat and withdrew a weathered looking pad of paper and the stub of a pencil.
“I’m really sorry to be bothering you, Mr. Rahl but…” and here the funny little man tilted his head and scratched his hair while squinting quizzically at the notes on his pad of paper “…I was hoping you could clear up a few things.”
Richard gritted his teeth and swept his raptor gaze over Columbo. “I’ll go over it one more time and see if you can grasp the deductions of my staggering genius.” Grudgingly, Richard stepped aside and let Columbo shuffle onto the threshold of his cavernous mansion and led him to his office.
“I’m sorry for taking up your time; I didn’t realize you were working,” said Columbo as he saw the computer and the open word document.
Richard waved his apologizes aside. “I was working on story. Your petty stupidities will not hinder its completion.”
“So, you’re an author?” inquired Columbo, apparently unaware of the long boring spew in store for anyone stupid enough to ask Richard a question that involved talking about himself.
“Was,” said Richard. “The story you see is part of my Ayn Rand oeuvre. I will shortly submit it to fanfiction.net. I used to be a full time author but now I limit my writing to pure enjoyment.”
“Ah, I see- you made it big with your books,” Columbo gestured to the Xanaduian splendor that surrounded them.
Richard ground his teeth, clearly unhappy at being interrupted. “No. For some reason all the editors said my work was a cheap knockoff of some guy named Jordon. No- I made my fortune selling my services to the United States government.” Richard proceeded to explain how the interrogators at GuantanamoBay Detention Camp would play Britney Spears CDs for hours on end to soften up terrorists for interrogation.
“The only problem,” explained Richard, “was that the CDs would melt after about twelve hours of continuous use. They were going through too many CDs and costs were mounting. The Pentagon contacted me when they heard that I was able to speak, non-stop, for seven days straight without food or water. I signed a multimillion dollar deal with the Pentagon for providing them with my unique skills,” Richard gloated. “For days on ends I am able to subject the enemies of America to a continuous barrage of Objectivist philosophy.”
Richard smiled his teeth gritting smile. “I’m proud to say that only after several minutes of raw Objectivism, most camel jockeys are reduced to a quivering mass of tears. Within two days of my arrival at Gitmo, the prisoner suicide rate increased by 5000 percent.”
Columbo absorbed this information in silence as he tried to think of a polite way to shift the subject back to the matter at hand. But before Columbo could speak, Richard gestured to a pair of traveling chairs.
“Do you read much Rand?” inquired Richard as both he and Columbo took a seat.
“Oh, no, sir, not me,” said Columbo. “Too heavy and intellectual for the likes of me. I mostly read mystery novels. But recently my wife’s got me hooked on this fantasy series. Some guy named Martin wrote it. Terrific stuff...” By Richard’s raptor glare, and the speed at which his face darkened to a deep crimson, Columbo guessed that he had said the wrong thing.
“I do not write fantasy,” Richard ground between his teeth.
“I never said you did, sir..”
“I write fanfiction about genuine human emotions and human issues,” grated Richard.
“Yes, Mr, Rahl I’m sure you do, and a very commendable thing it is you do, too,” said Columbo placatingly. Columbo was beginning to suspect Richard Rahl had more than a few screws loose.
“If you had read Rand, Lt. Columbo, you wouldn’t have any trouble solving the murder. Objectivism clarifies you thoughts.”
“About that murder, Mr. Rahl, I’m sure you’re right. But there are just a few things that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around. And I’ve got to write up a report about the whole thing, for the record- you understand. I just have to make sure I’ve dotted all the “I”s and crossed all the “T”s. You understand.”
“What is it that I can clarify for you, lieutenant?”
“I'm just a little puzzled about the weapon used to kick in the little girl’s jaw…”
“Steel toed boots,” Richard answered immediately.
Columbo scratched his head. “And how would you know that, Mr. Rahl?”
Richard froze. He realized that he had nearly given himself away. “I, ah, had a look outside the little girl’s window before I went into the house. The footprints clearly indicate the killer used steel toed boots, the best weapon on the market to provide the most jaw crushing force.”
“And you don’t find anything unusual about that?”
Richard’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”
“Your faultless logic clearly demonstrated that the culprit was Cindy Sheehan, a peace protestor. But unless I’m mistaken, aren’t peace protestors only ever armed with their hatred of moral clarity?”
Richard’s heart beat a staccato rhythm within his ribcage, and ropes of sweat started to crawl across the broad expanse of his forehead. Richard squirmed in his seat as his mind raced for an excuse. “Well,” Richard plastered a mirthless grin across his face through sheer force of will. “I do believe you are correct, lieutenant. Perhaps she didn't use, boots after all. I guess I was, wr…”Richard tensed, and scowled at his mouth of its own accord refused to issues the syllables of a word Richard had never in his life uttered in reference to himself.
“I guess I was wr, wr…”
“Wrong?” finished Columbo.
Richard nodded wordlessly and slumped in his chair as his breath came in ragged gasps. He felt physically ill. Brutally killing that little girl was costing Richard far more than he ever thought it would. “If that’s all you needed, lieutenant, then I would like to go lay down. I’m suddenly feeling rather unwell…”
“Just one more thing, Mr. Rahl.”
Grinding his teeth, Richard forced himself to raptore-glare at his guest.
“I’m rather stumped about the manner of her death,” explained Columbo. “You see, I’ve worked with homicide for a long time now, and I’ve seen my fair share of jaw kickings. Always very tragic affairs. But you see, when I searched my memory, I realized that every jaw kicking murder I ever investigated had been committed by an Objectivist.”
“Are you implying something, lieutenant?” Richard’s voice was quiet, dangerously quiet, like a silent fart.
“Oh no, sir, not me!” exclaimed Columbo. “I know you’re an Objectivist, but I would never dream, of casting aspersions on you, sir. No. But you see, what I’m getting at is that, an Objectivist, other than yourself, must be responsible.”
“And, I can’t really square that fact with your conclusion that Cindy Sheehan kicked that girl’s jaw. After all, sir, she IS a peace protestor.” Columbo shook his head with exaggerated confusion. “I suppose it’s possible, that Sheehan might be an Objectivist and a peace protestor.”
Richard’s face darkened as he nearly choked on his yeard and he sat bolt upright with his fist upraised. “There hasn't been an Objectivist born that didn't lust for war, death, and destruction!" Richard thundered.
Instead of quailing before Richard’s fury, Columbo merely smiled. “Exactly my line of thinking, Mr. Rahl! I couldn’t have said it better myself. So then I guess you have to agree with me that if the murderer was an Objectivist, then it couldn't have been Cindy Sheehan?”
A sound that could only be described as an “urk” issued from Richard’s throat. All of a sudden Richard felt boxed into a corner.
“But what about all that leftist literature and other evidence Sheehan left at the scene of the crime?” Richard snapped.
Columbo waved his hand in dismissal. “Easily planted. And after I have the boys at the lab compare the finger prints I found on it with Sheehan’s fingerprints I think we’ll be able to dismiss her entirely as a suspect.” Richard could have sworn he saw a twinkle in Columbo’s eyes, but it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. “I guess that makes two times today you’ve been wrong about something, eh, Mr. Rahl?”
The panic was all consuming. All of Richard’s carefully woven webs of moral clarity were coming undone. Richard needed time to think. “If that will be all, lieutenant, I need to lie down. I told you I was feeling unwell.”
“Of course!” Columbo slapped his forehead. “I’m sorry to have kept you for so long. It’s just I couldn’t resist availing myself of your first class intellect. It’s not every day a lowly policeman like myself can get help from a true scholar of Ayn Rand.”
Sullenly, Richard watched Columbo stand up to leave. But as he began walking to the door, Richard couldn’t help but issue one last spiteful barb. “I hope you catch the murderer, lieutenant. But it probably won’t be easy, considering you just dismissed all the evidence you found at the crime scene. I guess you’re back at square one.”
Columbo paused, his hand on the doorknob. “Oh, I wouldn’t say that, Mr. Rahl. I wouldn’t say that at all. I’ve still got that whole other set of evidence I picked up before you arrived.”
The icy hand of collectivism seemed to grip Richard’s heart. “Other evidence?” Richard whispered.
Despite the whisper, Columbo seemed to hear Richard just fine. With his back to Richard and still facing the door, Columbo said “Yes, Mr. Rahl. The other evidence. But I’m sure you don’t want me to bother you about it. Me and the boys back at the station will just pour over it by ourselves. If you want I’ll let you know what we find after you’ve had a chance to rest and recuperate…”
“Nononono!” Richard waggled his hands in the air. “I’m suddenly feeling much better!” Hurriedly, Richard grasped Columbo by the sleeve of his trench coat and directed him back to the chair.
“I’m sure with my help, I can place you back on the right track,” Richard said.
“Very kind of you. Very…” Columbo paused and let the silence ring for several long moments. “…very altruistic of you.”
Richard clenched his jaw and swallowed a retort. “Just trying to be neighborly,” said Richard through clenched teeth.
Columbo pulled out his notebook and fumbled through several different pages. “Before you arrived on the crime scene, I had a look at the premise. I noticed something fairly strange. At the back of the house, very close to the little girl’s window, I noticed a chicken coop.”
“Or rather, I should say the remains of a chicken coop. By the looks of it, someone had smashed it to splinters…”
Richard’s mind swirled with self recriminations. He had smashed the coop after he murdered Jagang’s daughter. It had been just a small little thing, Richard didn’t think anyone would notice…
“… and the five hundred chickens within the coop, well the less said of what the murderer did to them, the better. I asked your neighbor about the coop, Mr. Rahl, and he said his daughter had been raising chickens for the eggs. It turns out the little girl had been collecting the eggs to donate to an Easter Egg charity hunt. Mr. Rahl, do you know of anyone within the neighborhood who might have a grudge against chickens, or who despises charity?”
Richard’s thing rose. “The question you should ask yourself, Columbo, is who wouldn't have a grudge against chickens!? Filthy, vicious, fowl, creatures! They seduce you with their eyes. Their lying eyes. Their beautiful lying eyes. With their eyes they tell you they love you, but they don’t. They just want you for your body…” Richard suddenly realized that he was perhaps revealing more about himself than was prudent.
“So, you yourself, Mr. Rahl have something of a love-hate relationship with chickens? Interesting.”
Richard flushed. “A ruined chicken coop is a pretty slim evidence to try and pin a crime on someone.”
Columbo nodded. “I agree, and that’s why my witness testimony will come in handy.”
“Witness testimony?” mumbled Richard. “But there were no witnesses when I-” Richard’s mouth snapped shut. That had been close. Too close.
“You see, I’ve been taking statements from people around the neighborhood. I was lucky enough to find a young man by the name of Fitch. His statements have proven quite illuminating. On the day of the murder, he and several of his friends were on their way to church when they were passing by Jagang’s house. Fitch told me they bumped into a rather lanky gentlemen, with a…” Columbo squinted at his notes, “…beard and ponytail style haircut. A style more commonly known as a 'yeard.' ” Columbo peered over his notes and took in Richard’s luxuriously maintained yeard.
Nervously, Richard licked his lips. “Witness statements are notoriously inaccurate. Memory can be a slippery thing. No doubt Fitch only saw this yearded gentlemen for mere moments. And it was night when the murder was committed! No doubt Fitch was unable to discern this man’s features in the dark!”
“Partially correct, sir. Partially correct. It was nighttime when Fitch and his friends were finally able to break away. But when they initially met the suspect, it was in broad daylight. You see, when Fitch and his friends bumped into him, they apparently made some snide comments about his yeard. They were less quiet than they should have been and the suspect overheard their remarks. According to Fitch…” Columbo glanced at his notes and began to recite the statement, “ ‘…the yeardo swept us with his raptor like gaze and then launched into an eight hour speech on the nobility of the yeard. We tried to leave a couple of times because he was boring us to tears, but every time we tried to leave he threatened to kick our jaws in with his steel toed boots.’”
Richard tried to stammer a reply, but Columbo was not finished.
“And the final piece of evidence, the one that I think that will cinch it is this.” Columbo stood and opened his trench coat. Richard instantly recognized the object that Columbo withdrew.
“We think that when the killer left the bedroom, he climbed through the window and he accidentally dropped it.” Columbo held the sword in his hand. And though his hand covered the grip, Richard knew that if he were to lift it they would both be able to see the word “TRUTH.”
Denials scrambled to Richard’s lips like a room full of clowns comically trying to leave through a narrow door all at once.
“I don’t suppose, Mr. Rahl you were going to try to tell me this sword belonged to Cindy Sheehan?”
Richard tried to thunder a reply, but his thing hung limp and useless. Richard was only able to sputter some half incoherent defiance.
“I’ve never seen that sword in my life!”
Columbo raised a skeptical eyebrow and he made a sweeping gesture with his hand that encompassed the entire room. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of pictures lined the walls and littered the table and countertops. The pictures contained Richard’s favorite subject:
The only other constant besides Richard was a single sword. Repeated over and over again within every room in his mansion, Richard’s image struck manful poses with the Sword of Truth clutched closely to himself; there was Richard using the sword to put out a burning house; Richard using the sword to shave; Richard using the sword to carve a statue; Richard using the sword as a pogo stick; Richard using the sword to eat soup; Richard, buck naked on a bear skin rug, clutching the sword between his thighs.
The evidence was infinite and damning.
Richard’s shoulder sagged as he realized was defeated. “But my plan was so masterful!” Richard’s voice was hoarse and close to tears. “Every step planned and executed with the precision of a well played game of chess!”
Richard was too stunned to react when two police officers were ushered in by Columbo. Richard’s stupor was only broken when they fastened the handcuffs to his wrist and led him to the door.
“Lieutenant!” Richard called. “I think I may have under estimated you! If I had to be exposed, I’m glad it was by someone with an intellect that rivals my own. Are you certain you’ve never read Rand?”
“Never,” Columbo shook his head.
Columbo watched as the officers led Richard to a squad car and drove off. Only then did he glance at his watch. It had only been two hours since he had been called in to investigate the murder.
“That’s the fastest I’ve ever solved a case before,” Columbo said to himself. “Man, what a dumb ass.”
- Zap Rowsdower