Mr. Gullet moved like a silent killer with a feather duster.
Indeed, he was a killer of dust, sliding around the room getting into every corner… every nook, every foreboding cranny. The crannies were often the problem areas, both for dust and for disclosure. He made an inaudible hum as he dusted the eyes of Fife Incarnate, the Cadbury Fife doll.
The doll looked at him unblinkingly. For moments it did not cease not blinking. As Gullet stared it down he thought he heard it moan, yet perhaps the tone was too high pitched. In any case, as always, the doll had a pronounced effect on him.
In another corner of the room was an installation entitled “A Series Of Famous Moments In Metal From The Scene”. It was a complex arrangement of twisted metals from things that had blown up or otherwise been destroyed in the vicinity of various supposed Cadbury Fife missions. Amongst the pieces, Gullet was told, was wreckage from the Zebu, a rocket that Cadbury once flew on, and also a placard from the University of Lick, where Cadbury had taught philosophy.
Cadbury Fife had walked out of all that wreckage, Mr. Gullet pondered, yet he wondered whether he still had it in him. Maybe, with Gullet’s help….
Gullet was tall, almost 7 foot when erect, placed on a board and stretched flat. Deformities however, in a number of structural body parts, such as his spine, shoulders, neck, legs and buttocks, reduced his effective height to barely 6 feet. Even then a downward gaze and slumping posture made him seem shorter still. He had the physical and metaphysical appearance of carrying a huge weight and this was certainly accurate to the extent that he took his responsibilities with an unbearable seriousness.
He was assistant to Cadbury Fife, Private Detective, and that was what he was.
This evening he was doing triple time, which was normal Cadbury time, to make sure the 3AM appointment went smoothly. Smoothly, like a gushing waterfall of lubricant. A waterfall with Cadbury going over it in a barrel. And Gullet had to push the barrel off, then dust his way down to the base of the waterfall to collect the pieces.
Selia: An appointment for next Wednesday, at 2pm, please.
Gullet would have jumped in surprise, however he was not physically capable of jumping, or mentally capable of expressing surprise. Had he not been busy dusting the Portrait of Fife Bearing Fife, he would have realized that Selia’s appointment had reached its natural endpoint.
Gullet: [Turning and moving to his desk] Yes, indeed, madam. We are here to receive.
Selia: [Smiling with a strange self-satisfaction at understanding something] Yes, indeed, Mr. Gullet. And thank you.
And she moved through the reception, and exited the door, with just the slightest scent of musky profanity trailing after her.
Gullet hoisted himself upon his desk machinery, with what awkwardness and rancor he could manage given that no one was around, which was considerable. Flicking the switch he had earlier unflicked in disgust, he accessed the video feed of Cadbury’s Office.
In the video he saw Cadbury, lying prone on the floor, on a towel, his arms by his side, his canes neatly by the side of his arms.
All seemed in order.
Gullet: And we are done.
Clicking a few times, he created an appointment for Selia, changed his status from “Critical Alert” to ”High Alert”, and sent a quick email to himself about an idea for an Upside-Down Hat that he had just had.
Then he switched off the lights and left.
An early night, he thought.