I woke up with a splitting headache. Boy, I thought to myself, that Neasden acid was real powerful stuff. One more trip like that and I wouldn't be coming back. Wow, those crazy slugs!
I swung my feet to the ground and gazed around my room; that's when I saw Foster sitting in my one armchair. I jumped, then I skipped, hopped, bounced around on my head, and sprang from one piece of furniture to another, gibbering and foaming at the mouth.
"When you have quite recovered," said Foster, after I had subsided into a heap of quivering protoplasm in the corner. "Take a look in the mirror." I uncoiled myself and staggered across to the mirror. I looked at my image for a second and then recoiled violently. (Subtle, subtle). "My God, I look like Rudy." I groaned.
"That's right," agreed Foster. "Your speech and thought patterns are also similar to his."
"Great, now I'm the only freak private detective in the world." I need a beer." I went to the fridge and opened the door. "Shit, none left."
"Here, have one of mine," said Foster. So, (altogether now) I had a can of Foster's.
As I drank my lager, I reflected on the events that had occured in the Jupiter station (how about this for literary merit - flashbacks already, but probably an effect of the acid). I thought how they twisted my body, warped my mind, tangled my hair and bent my arms into curious figure of eight shapes. I decided to stop thinking before I was sick.
"Okay," I said, when I had finished my beer, "Now what?"
Foster opened his mouth to speak (at least I assume he was going to speak) when the door of the apartment burst open and a .45 calibre bullet blew his head off. I wondered briefly if headless bodies would be the - in- decor this year, and if Habit would stock them. Then I threw myself behind the bed (which was quite hard) - by that I mean that it was hard to throw myself, not that the bed ... oh, forget it.
"Come out with your hands up!" shouted a voice.
I thought about it; would I come out fighting and die horribly in a blaze of glory and .45 automatics, or would I surrender?
I surrendered. I stood up with my hands in the air, then gaped silently at my captors. It was the fuzz. Three officers and a detective had their guns pointed at me. It made me nervous for some reason. "Okay Rudy," said the detective. "You're busted. We got so many things on you, you'II be inside for twenty years."
"But I'm not Rudy," I protested. "Oh yeah?" sneered the bull. "Ain't I seen you round the streets for the past five years?"
It was then that I realised I was in it up to my dandruff laden shoulders. I had to get away. But how? Could I go Pontinental? Or take an Awayaday? Even three weeks in Bognor Regis might help... no perhaps not. I decided to play for time.
"Anyone for a game of Scrabble?" I asked pleasantly.
The detective gave me a blank look, but I handed it back. I already had enough to send off for the giant wall poster of Crippen.
I tried again. "Why did you kill Foster?"
The detective grinned. It was a nasty sort of grin. The sort you'd see in a washing powder commercial. "We didn't," he said. "You did." He pulled another gun out of his pocket. "With this." I wondered if he bred them for a hobby.
"You can't pin this dirty rap on me," I said. (This line appears by courtesy of James Cagney.)
"Enough of this jawing," said the bull. "Put the bracelets on him, we're going down to the station house."
"Do you think they're really me?" I asked, as they put the handcuffs on my wrists.
I was hustled down the stairs, out of the building and into a waiting car. I was put in the back seat, sandwiched between two of the patrolmen. I had the feeling that I was already cold meat. The car pulled out into the street and we drove downtown. As we passed the first intersection, a car shot out of the side road and smashed into our motor. We slewed wildly across the road, the driver fighting with the wheel. He wasn't having much success with the short left arm jabs and threw a wild haymaker right. The wheel saw it coming and weaved out of the way, retaliating with a straight left which caught the driver on the jaw. He staggered back and the wheel, seizing the opportunity, drove forward with both fists and the driver was only saved by the sound of the bell indicating the end of the second round ... Sod off Carpenter, this is my bit.
The car hit a wall and bounced to a halt. I was half stunned by the impact. I felt hands pulling me out of the wreckage.
"Put him down, Hans," said a voice I recognised.
It was Petal.
I opened my eyes to find my head on Petal's lap. I couldn't see her face, but with what I could see, I wasn't worrying.
"Gil, Gil, are you all right?"
I winced bravely. "Sure," I said in my tough guy voice, with just a hint of a quaver. Then a thought struck me. "How do you know I'm Gil?" I asked.
"Darling, you've been duped," she said, putting the bag of crisps down.
"More like Rudyed." I murmured.
"You see," she explained, "Ginsberg's behind the whole thing. He's a schizoid. Half the time he's on one side and half the time on the other."
"You mean Ginsberg is head of the so-called Galactic Organisation?" I clarified for you dumbos who are used to having everything explained to you sixteen times on American cop programmes.
"That's right. Once he had returned from the G.O. to the Four, he retained enough of his personality to remember you'd been turned into Rudy. He then arranged for the real Rudy to be bumped off, so as not to confuse the issue, and had you framed to get you into his power."
"How do you fit into all this?" I asked stupidly.
"In the top left hand corner, where there's a space just my size."
I groaned. "Look, sister, 1'11 do the funnies around here. You just sit there and look pretty." She gave me a black look. Ho hum, what a collection I will have. "I'm a member of the U.N. and NOT a sex object."
I said nothing. I don't object to sex.
She helped me to my feet. I put them on. "Come on," she said. "We'll go to the UN headquarters, where you'll be safe."
On the way there, she explained that she had joined Ginsberg's organisation on instructions from the UN, who were interested because he was using the Bay City Rollers as a front for milk-legging activities.
At length we arrived at the U.N. building and took an express elevator to one of the upper floors (the Guardian was on strike). Petal left me in an anteroom while she fetched her boss. I walked to the window and looked out; it sure was a long way down. I heard the door open and looked around just in time to this guy coming toward me like a castrated gibbon. I was shoved straight through the window, then I was falling, 80 floors to the cold hard concrete ...
TO BE CONTINUED?