Roland Banks marched with deadly purpose out of Arkham Asylum; he paused, and lit a longed-for cigarette. Reaching inside his over-starched trench coat he pulled out three toy steel jacks. As he smoked he pondered the delusions of the insane and squeezed the sharp points of the jacks into his palm; blood trickled down his hand and onto the forecourt’s white steps. Roland shuddered, but inwardly he was pleasured by the harm inflicted upon himself. He’d do this one by the book he thought, no matter what sort of freak show this town had to offer. Roland looked back inside the asylum to his partner Thomas Malone. Malone was showing the receptionist some symbols from a tome, becoming more and more annoyed when she didn’t understand what he asked her. Malone had kept the strange tome close to his person ever since Roland had met the occult detective. He should have arrested Malone long ago for obstructing justice, however the little weasel of a man had recently visited Arkham for his own investigations and Roland needed a guide.
“Mr. Malone,” he called, “we have all that we need. I’ll not have you bothering that poor woman with your ridiculous notions of devilry. Come on, man, the maniac who attacked you last night may have bought that knife recently. Let’s try the shopkeeper at the Curiositie Shoppe.” Roland drew the knife which they had wrestled off the maniac. Looking it over he said: “It feels brand new.”
“That’s because it’s enchanted, sir.”
“Excuse me, Malone?”
“The knife looks new but it may be thousands of years old or from a different dimension.”
Roland laughed out loud. “Malone, you should write that stuff down. The penny papers would leave ’em all in stiches with that bit.”
Roland walked into the shop, pulling out his leather bound notepad.
“You let me ask the questions,” he told Malone. “Keep that mystical poppycock to yourself for the time being or I’ll take you to the Police Station and you can tell the boys downtown all about your thoughts on dimensional mumbo jumbo.”
Roland stepped through the Curiositie Shoppe’s door and paused for a moment, listening with delight to the chimes. He had no interest in the junk displayed in the window or on the shelves, so he went straight up to the counter. His assistant, Malone, covered the front door, however he was distracted by the occult permeating every inch of this hell house of horrors. Roland reached into his pocket and drew the knife which had led him to this odd place, and he slammed the knife upon the counter, suspiciously eyeing the clerk behind the register.
“Who did you sell this to?” demanded Roland. “There’s a maniac loose in Arkham and I’ll be damned if you’ll peddle your wares to any lunatic with a dollar and a mind for murder. Now, who did you sell this to and what did he look like?” He poised his pencil above his notepad and waited impatiently as the clerk seemed to gather his wits before answering the questions.
Just then, a crazed monkey wearing a red band uniform and Shriner’s hat, which had one of those adorable tassels dangling from its brim, leaped on to the counter and grabbed the knife. It waved the knife around, and touched itself most inappropriately for a trained monkey—a wild monkey Roland could’ve understood, but certainly this sort of perverse behaviour was unacceptable even to the most deranged primate enthusiasts.
“Get the knife, Malone.”
The monkey raced across the shop with the knife, leaping and bounding upon all manner of crap and collectables. Roland and Malone raced after it, tripping over whatever lay in their path; finally, Malone caught the creature and it dropped the knife. Roland snatched the knife up off the floor and looked back triumphantly at the clerk, but he had mysteriously gone—mysteriously meaning he had run out the back door. Roland sighed and put the knife back into his pocket. “We’ll come back another time, then. But we’re arresting that monkey for obstructing justice!”
Roland picked up the primate, wrinkling his nose in disgust. He left the Curiositie Shoppe without a clue as to what was going on or what he would do next.