THE CASE OF THE COUNTERFEITING CUCK
It was , well, I can't remember what time, actually, but it was on a day when all we wanted to do was sample some new drinks.
They strolled in, trouble and flirty, too. We knew today's plans were wrecked. And it wasn't just that; my intuition warned me in that way it had, telling my gut right from the start this one's trouble. And my head? Well, let's just say I had a million questions. Questions that, while they wouldn't crack the case staring at us from the doorway, were important all the same. Questions like Damn it, this client was on Joey's BINGO card, weren't they?
Of course, the Indulgent Detective Agency is ready to help any and all of the Artistocracy, those talented folks who provide us with such amusements, so naturally, we'd handle whatever had just come our way. I spoke first, and I asked " Should I welcome them to our Detective Agency?" Our soon-to-be client frowned at everyone in the room before they responded, " This isn't the bathroom." They sighed and continued, "But yeah, I gotta problem, and the lot of you come highly praised."
One of my cohorts chuckled under his breath. " I come when lightly punished, too."
I don't think the client heard, but I don't have to tell you there were multiple coughing fits.
"I suppose I need your help."
"I suppose we can help," I said, "if it won't take longer than a week or so."
"It is a matter of urgency," they said. Our client held out a cred ring for examination. It was a smoky, streaked steel, the kind that reminded me of industrial beams.
Dutifully, I took the ring from their palm and slipped it into a reader. The bobble contained enough cred for a realistic alternate bioID. Now, we normally don't take money--we don't need it, and the Artistocracy doesn't have much to begin with--but this offering...well, it had me intrigued. Why would they drop that much on hiring us, when they could just buy their way out of the Artistocracy altogether? Where had they come across a cred ring this valuable?
Despite questions piling up in a backlog, I held them back and just nodded. "Go on."
"Two days ago," they began, "my lover and I were in the middle of--"
OOOOO, my brain gobbled that up. I figured trouble, but now I knew this was gonna be a juicy one, too.
"--and it was so slick and wet--"
I could picture it, or at least half of it, with our client standing before us; the anticipation stripped my senses of everything but the sounds of this explanation.
"--and right in front of his approving husband--"
At that point I surmised that our client and their lover had a cuckold in the room, rubbing one out while his spouse conflagrated some romantic overtures with their lover. What it had to do with any kind of case, I had yet to hear.
They went on, "--so we painted the walls with the stuff--"
"Shit," I said, fanning myself heavily, and then, "tell us more."
"Stroke after stroke took to the canvas like a dream."
"I'll bet," my outspoken cohort commented with a smirk.
The client gave him an odd look, but continued, "It was a masterpiece. From start to finish. Guaranteed to outsell them all on gallery day."
My brain at that point did a somersault. If they had plans to sell--"Were you recording these acts then?"
I really didn't want to chase after some missing porn holo. But, well, we were here to help, after all. Quite frankly, no one gets the need to hide scandals better than the Indulgent caste. No one else has our certain set of skills to succeed, either.
"Recording...these...?" They repeated slowly, before nodding even slower. "Well, no, we didn't tape the process. That's part of the problem; if we had, you see, he wouldn't have been able to do this."
"The husband?" the Princess of Macedemaia asked from the back of the room.
Yeah, that lovely lazeabout was there for the weekend. Get over it.
"Yeah," the client confirmed. "He copied everything by himself, stroke by stroke, and claimed it was his own work!"
Great galloping stallions! Not just any porn holo, but a solo number intended for two! Curiosity, I will admit, had me curious. Before we got this guy, I simply had to see what mad genius of a mockery he'd created.
"I mean, an original?!?!" They scoffed. "An original, by that--that--"
" Ne'er-do-well!' came a well-accented shout.
The client simply looked bewildered as they tipped their head to one side. "I was going to say counterfeiter."
"No one is better at this sort of thing than us," I assured them.
"Good. Because my lover and I want that piece of fakery thrown out in the street!"
"Aha!" I shouted next, " Your wish is our command!"
Another chimed in, " What say ye, detectives?"
And a third added, "Let us begin the 'The Case of the Counterfeiting Cuckold!'"
Everyone in the room gasped. A round of applause broke through the agency. Truly, a magnificent title. But now, we had a husband to find.
And I was pretty sure we had a porn holo to steal.