Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Deconstructed Detective.

The Deconstructed Detective
by james bezerra

The Epilogue: This is not a short story.


“Thank you,” he says as he breezes into your apartment through the front door and slips across to your kitchen table where he sits down and pours himself a glass of your wine and proceeds to eye your dinner, “for inviting me.”

“I didn’t invite you. Who are ...” you begin to say, but it is useless now because somehow you find that you’ve been inexplicably drawn to the table and that you’ve sat down with him at the table and now he’s offering you a glass of your own wine.

He pours you a glass and exactly half of the volume of the glass is occupied by wine.

“I have news,” he tells you. “I have made a discovery. You have been tricked! You have been the victim of a ruse de guerre. Of a crime. Of a con!”

This is, in fact, news to you.

“What do you mean?” you ask.

“Let me tell you. But first, how is your wine?”

“It’s fine.”

“Wine is made from dead grapes. Did you know that?”

“I’ve never thought of grapes that way. Of being alive or not.”

“What about raisins?” he asks you.

“What about them?”

“They’re dead grapes too. Do you think of them that way?”

“No,” you say, because you don’t.

“Of course not,” he laughs and howls and smacks your table, “because there’s no such thing as a ‘live raisin’ because then it wouldn’t be a raisin at all.”

You shake your head. “True. Fine. But tell me more about this con.”

“I will,” he shouts at you, “just as soon as you stop talking!”

This has offended you. “Don’t shout in here!” you shout at him, “The walls are very thin and everyone will hear you shouting. Any besides, I wasn’t even talking anymore.”

“But you are.”


“Talking now.”

“No you are!”

“I am only talking when I am talking and not while you are accusing me of being the one who is talking. When you accuse me of talking, you are the one who is talking, because you talk in order to accuse me.”

“Fine,” you say - feeling all hrrmgh now, “I will stop.” So you do. You stop talking. You look at him. You wait for him. He is sipping your wine and seems far too content with himself right here in this moment right now. Sitting there happy and content with himself while right now - out there in the world somewhere - someone is conning you. When you can’t stand it anymore you finally say, “Well tell me about this con!”

“Yes,” he says. “I will,” he says, “but first: more wine!” He pours more wine into your glass, but mostly into his, then he asks to you, “Wonderful weather we’re having, isn’t it?”

“Tell me about this con job!”

“That. Yes. Well, you have been played you for a fool.”

“What are you even talking about?”

“You are a victim. Don’t be ashamed. It could happen to anyone.”

“I’m not,” you say. “Now how do you know I’m being conned?”

“It is just the most obvious thing really. More wine?”


“Have you any snacks? Raisins perhaps?”

“Not again with the raisins. Tell me how I am being conned.”

“First you must think as a con artist would. Are you thinking that way?”

“I don’t know!” you yelp, and it is the only thing you have really been certain of during this whole conversation.

He begins to explain, “For a con to work, the one being conned must not know about it, would you agree?”

“Yes, of course.” You agree because that makes perfect sense.

“So the one being conned does not know that he or she is being conned, correct?”


“And you did not know that you were the victim of a con, correct?”

“Y ……..,” you hesitate to fully commit yourself because you can see where this is going, “Yes,” you answer finally.

“Well there you have it! Had you known then you would not have been being conned.”

You hesitate much longer now because of the way he worded that last sentence … something about it … as though he had composed it in such a way as to deliberately confuse you. You sip some of your wine. Finally you say, “That does not prove I am being conned.”

“Ah, but it also does not prove that you aren’t. That is just logic my friend.”

You have to admit that you see his point. That you would never know. You have to admit that there is something logically compelling about his argument, but also, somehow, not. But it has enticed you. You must admit that there is something exciting in what he says. Your heart is thumping a little faster. Your skin is flushed just a little pink. You must admit that he certainly has rattled your cage.

“Who is conning me?” you ask him.

He shrugs, “Well, to determine that we must investigate. Luckily, I am a detective.”

“How do we go about investigating it?”

He pours himself more of your wine. He swirls it in his glass. He begins to say, “Wonderful weather we …”

“No!” you shout at him. “Let’s continue investigating.”

“But we have not yet begun our investigation.”

“What? Why not?!”

“Because you have not yet paid my detective’s fee.”

Frustrated, you tromp to your bedroom, take money from your sock drawer. You return and slap the money down on your table. “There is your fee, now let’s begin.”

“My god!” He shouts and points across the room, “What is THAT!”

You turn to look. You see nothing but the corner of the room. You turn back. “What?”

“I thought I saw something,” he says, “I must have been mistaken. Anyway, where were we?”

“Your fee.”

“Yes! My fee. Well as soon as you pay my fee we can begin investigating.”

“I just paid you your fee!” You point down at the table, but when you look down, you see that it is not there.

He chuckles to himself. He sets down the glass he has been drinking your wine out of. “Now be reasonable, if you had paid me my fee already then we would be investigating already and since we aren’t, then you clearly haven’t.”

You can not deny that what he says makes a kind of sense, but also, somehow, doesn’t? You tromp back to your bedroom, hrrmgh-ing all the way. You return with his fee, which you place directly into his hand while making eye contact with him and saying, “Here is your fee which I am paying to you.”

“Thank you,” he says as he takes it, stands, and begins to slip back toward the door.

“Where are you going?!” you holler at him.

“Well to investigate, of course.”

And with that, he is gone. There is nothing left of him but the sound of your front door closing and after a moment that is gone too. You’re not entirely certain what just happened, but you know that something just happened. Outside it is 9 October 2004.


The Prologue: Did Derrida die, or did he live?



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