“Trouble in Paradise”
Filton Sibley, Detective, No Case Number
Copyright 2019, Ric Jonsen
It started right after I got off “de plane” on what was supposed to be Fantasy Island. I didn’t even get my complimentary lei. Story of my life.
First, I noticed vacationers and locals in bikinis running everywhere, then I heard the gunshots. I had left my weapons in Chicago, not thinking I needed them for a tropical getaway. I crouched under the plane to survey the situation and heard more shots coming from a what can only be described as a two-story hut.
Then suddenly, there was utter silence. I saw cover to the right that would lead me around the building and took off in fits and starts to make sure I was protected in case gunfire erupted again. Another helpful skill they taught at police detective school, which was much easier than high school.
As I made my way around to the back of the building, I wondered how I had gotten into this mess. I didn’t ask for a vacation anyway. But had won a stupid contest somehow after a particularly rough case, my first as part of a new elite Chicago detective force. I had been a private eye for years since I “mostly” graduated high school in the late seventies. Heck, I had been one since I was a kid, and now joined four generations of Sibleys as police personnel.
I came upon several frightened bikini-clad ladies huddling behind some crates. I decided to forgo my usual charming introductions, or various successful pickup lines, mainly because I had tripped and fallen on my face right as I got to them.
Dusting myself off, I asked them if they were hurt and they shook their heads, but still didn’t move. I understood. Some madman with a gun was threatening their island paradise. Not being a seasoned detective like myself, they were not used to the savagery of gunplay, the brutality of evildoers, and the general roughhousery that ensued in these types of situations.
I gave them a quick nod as if to say Stay here and quiet. I’ll sneak up behind the culprits and put an end to all this, and maybe we could share a Mai Tai later? Then, I moved on to the back of the tall hut and found a stairway that went up to a door on the second floor. As I got halfway up the stairs, I could hear voices shouting.
“Give us what we want, and you’ll live to see another day!” The voice was shrill, but sinister.
“Quiet! I’ll do the talking!!!” Said another deeper voice, not quite as threatening, but even-toned. Likely the ringleader of the terrorists.
“We are doing the best we can,” came a scared reply. “It just isn’t in our power to give you what you want at this time.”
“We are doing the best we can,” came a mocking reply from the first shrill voice.
“I said quiet!” said the other.
Terrorists had likely seized control of the island, and were now threatening not only the staff, owners of this resort, but also my dang free vacation! There would need to be a reckoning!
I took a deep breath as I often did in these situations, whether it was busting in on Chicago mob bosses playing an illegal poker game with the highest stakes, jumping off a bridge into the freezing Chicago River to save a young lady who had been tossed in there by some evil genius out to rule the world, or starting to sort laundry when the piles got too high on my bedroom floor.
Throwing caution to wind, and possibly my all-expense paid vacation due to my death, I burst into the room ready for action, with no weapon except my fists, which had seen plenty.
“Whaaaat?” a parrot squawked and flew off the shoulder of a large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and flip flops.
A man behind a counter gasped and then sighed. “Can I help you sir!?”
“Hey me first!” the large man asked, holding a piece of paper, and an empty ice bucket. “For the last time, I want to know what happened to my luggage!”
“Hey me first!” repeated the parrot. It still sounded shrill and sinister.
“What is going on here! People are scared to death out there!” I demanded.
The manager shook his head. “I’m sorry, as I was trying to help this gentleman we had a power transistor blow, Mister…”?
“Sibley, Filton Sibley.”
“Ah yes, Mr. Sibley,” the man in a lovely white suit and black tie smiled broadly, sweeping his arm around. “Welcome to Fantas…”
“Is this lost and found or isn’t it?” The large man interrupted, obviously tired.
“Lost and Found!” squawked the parrot, which I now realized was in fact more annoying than an actual terrorist.
“Mr. Sibley, if you would be so kind, let me take care of this man and his…pet.”
I unclenched my fists, the apparent danger passed, and looked around at the various gift store island trinkets while the Mr. Roarke lookalike dealt with the unhappy guest. The large man did not get immediate assistance, and although he was given some free drink vouchers, the man (and his parrot) walked out of the room grumbling.
“Now Mr. Sibley, please accept my humble apology for your harried arrival here on Fantasy Island. I think you will have a lovely time during your stay.”
Turns out he was right. Not only did I also receive drink vouchers, the lovely ladies I told him I rescued were part of my fantasy package. We enjoyed a lovely week of frolicking through beach waves, solving absolutely no mysteries, and drinking many, many Mai Tais.