Dr. Thoth: Between the
Please, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Dr. Thoth.
I am living in a rather large tourist trap called the Gold
Coast. I often find it too gaudy here for my tastes, but I like sitting on the
beaches and watching the ocean. It reminds me of the river which travels through
I have been many things in my life---scholar, computer
programmer, writer, judge…
There are few things that would surprise me. I fancy myself
prepared for every eventuality.
A woman walked into my office.
I was, of course, prepared for this. I am a private
investigator. Women often walk into my office.
I leaned back into my chair and turned my head on side to
study her. Judging by her expensive tailored suit, she was a businesswoman of
some note. It was not a conservative suit---it had all sorts of ruffles, rips
and zips. I guessed that she was probably working in the arts. Right up my
She sat down in the chair in front of my desk and fidgeted
with her handbag and glasses. I folded my hands into a pyramid and waited for
her to speak. Always best to let the clients speak first. It gives you the
opportunity to examine them. In my experience, half of the mystery is what the
client decides to leave out of their initial story.
She stared at me. I didn’t mind. I was used to that. My
secretary, Ms. Seshat, says it’s because of the ties I wear. They are a little
loud, I admit, but everyone needs a little colour in their lives.
Finally, she folded her hands in her lap and spoke. “My name
is Wendy Addams. I am here on behalf of Le Cercle. We were told you could help
us. We have a most urgent and private matter.” She paused. “A manuscript has
So I found myself traveling to Le Cercle. Le Cercle was a
small theatre company with an international reputation situated in a large city
My questions as to why the manuscript was important and what
was its content were to be answered by the Director when I arrived. Safe to
assume that they weren’t worrying about the absence of the manuscript---they
could easily print out a million copies if they wanted to. No, they must be
worried about who has the missing manuscript and what they will do with it. The
manuscript’s contents must be fairly hot stuff. Controversial----slanderous?
I arrived in
As I ate, a man at a nearby table lowered his newspaper and
exclaimed: “Still living off other people’s scraps, you old
“Marcus!” He was an old friend of mine. Well, maybe more of
a friendly acquaintance. We were both investigators. He probably wasn’t too
happy to see me here in his territory.
“Thoth. Here on business?” he asked---though it wasn’t
really a question.
“News travels here quickly. What do you know?” I questioned
“Nothing useful. Just that you should watch where you stick
your beak into,” he warned me and went back to reading his
“Thanks, Marcus. Take care of yourself.” He grunted in
response from behind his newspaper.
I continued on to Le Cercle. He may just be jealous and
trying to scare me off the case or he might be genuinely warning me. Time would
I met the artistic director, who shook my hand
enthusiastically and insisted I call him ‘Rob’. I helped myself to some of Rob’s
biscuits that he had conveniently left on his desk and settled myself in for the
After the compulsory pleasantries, Rob began to explain their problem to me
“Well, a few months ago, we received a script from an
emerging writer and we’ve been developing it with the writer since. It’s a
brilliant play. No question about that. It queries the very way that we, in our
society, construct public figures and place them on pedestals.”
I prepared myself for the ‘but’.
“But, though it is fictional, the writer has chosen to use a
real---deceased---public figure and his family---for strictly allegorical
purposes, of course.”
Ah. Both controversial and
“And a copy of the script went missing?” I
“Yes. It was on my desk and I had to leave for a fire drill.
When I got back, it was gone. We were then contacted anonymously, threatening to
send it on to the family of (the public figure). Naturally, we didn’t acquiesce.
We’re a relatively small theatre company, Thoth---we can’t afford blackmail and
we can’t afford a lawsuit, either. We’d like you to go to the family, intercept
the manuscript and ensure that they won’t sue us. Distance us from the play and
promise them it won’t go into production, if necessary.” He paused. “I would
also like to know who stole the script.” And there he finished.
So. I was to be a mere “gofer” boy. Normally I would think
such a task to be beneath my capabilities, but business had been slow of late
and I was starting to fear my brain would atrophy---so I took the
The first thing I did on this
case was seize my opportunity when Rob briefly had to leave the room. I looked
under his desk. Nothing. There was a paisley couch in the office. I looked under
It never does to overlook the obvious.
I pocketed the script, I thanked Rob and left to get on with the rest of my job.
I read the script while I was traveling to Mr. Public
Figure’s family. No, I won’t tell you who Mr. Public Figure is, but, yes, you’ve
heard of him. And boy, did this play ever tear him to shreds. Mr. Public Figure
vs. Mr. Private Figure. It portrayed him as a cruel man, who was cruel in all
his dealings---especially with his children.
I was beginning to become suspicious. Something wasn’t
ringing true in the outline Rob had given me, but it didn’t seem like Rob was
being purposefully deceitful…
This script wasn’t a play---it was a cry for
I had a hunch. I went to see Mr. Public Figure’s eldest
daughter. We’ll call her Jane. Jane is a nice name. Jane was middle-aged, tired
and dowdy-looking in her dressing gown.
I stated my business.
She was unhappy to see me.
“I’m sorry, I can’t help you. I don’t know anything about
theatre.” She tried to close the door to her house. I stopped her.
I simply held up the script and showed it to her. Jane’s
demeanor altered. She straightened up and no longer looked so dowdy. For someone
who said she didn’t know anything about theatre, she was a good
“You’d better come in.” She opened the door for me and led
me into an unkempt kitchen.
As she made tea for us, I helped myself to some
“Things aren’t what you think they are, Dr. Thoth,” she
said, as she poured the tea.
“No?” I nonchalantly asked. “Then you didn’t write this
script about your father?”
She stopped suddenly. “So you know.”
“No, I’m guessing. The script just seemed too detailed. And
it’s understandable that you would want to write under a nom de plume. I must
admit that I don’t know why you would blackmail Le Cercle.” I shrugged my
“That was Janus. The girl who was posing as the writer of
the script. She wanted money.” She looked me in the eye and softly said, “You
must think I’m a terrible daughter.”
“After reading your script, I’m more inclined to think you
had a terrible father.”
She took that in for a moment. “I want the world to know
what he did to me. Can I pay you to ensure that this play will go into
“No need to pay me. They’re keen to put it on, they just
don’t want to get sued,” I pointedly mentioned.
“Oh, I’ll make sure nobody sues. Though, we will all be
suitably shocked and outraged at the dishonouring of my father’s memory, of
“Of course.” I looked at her and left the house. I never saw
I went back to Rob and returned the missing manuscript,
assured him that the family won’t sue, the blackmail would end and that the
theft was not an inside job. I was paid, thanked for my good work and sent on my
And that was that.
No mystery, no shoot-outs, no crime---unless you count the
one that was perpetrated by a man long dead. No justice, either.
Some revenge. I don’t normally advocate revenge, but Jane’s
heart was too heavy for an innocent---and where I come from, the fastest route
to hell is to have a heart that is heavier than a feather. I hope the exposure
of her father will make her heart a little lighter.
After all, that is what I do---what I have always done. I
restore the Ma’at, the balance of the world. One day, everything will be as it
In the meantime, I stopped in South Bank again and had
myself another fine meal of discarded chips.
Copyright: Jasmine Choinski
Organic Divination for the Urban Jungle
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