It had been a long time since old Detective Dandy had taken a vacation. Not for five years, he recalled, when he got away for a week in ‘79. He had taken care of so many cases but had forgotten to take care of himself. He felt old, weary. But that was about to change. The old man would finally knock off for a couple weeks and forget about it all.
He smiled, looking down at the brochure in his hand. Pictured on the piece of paper he held was a brightly decorated room, the Hawaiian themed suite of an Edwards Hotel. And once he got off the plane, it would be all his. He would put his head on the soft pillows, as the brochure had described, and forget all his Earthly problems. That was the plan. No ghosts, or werewolves, or worms that reanimated the dead. No, just rest. He let out a content sigh.
The plane touched down and Dandy exited, gathering his luggage from inside the airport. He had travelled light, with just the necessities, trying to keep it simple. Life in the city was complicated, heavy. Here he would be light and free. The bright day met him when he exited the building, followed by a gust of warm air. Back home, it had started getting cold, but here in sunny Florida it felt like Summer all year. He inhaled deeply, feeling the warmth inside his body. Dandy hailed a taxi.
“Take me to the Edwards Hotel, please.” He said leaning back into the seat. It was incredible, he had only been here for minutes and already he was starting to feel rejuvenated. In his head he started to plan what he would do after he got to the hotel. He would of course traverse the beach, he would take in the local bars, and he would find the nearest bookstore and explore. He loved the smell of books, and he was curious to see what they read in this sunny part of the world.
He stepped out of the cab and looked up at the tall white hotel, his home away from home for the next week. With a grin he threw open the doors to the building, lugging his suitcase behind him. He stepped up to the front desk where a blonde young man looked busily scratching on some paperwork. His name tag read Tony.
“My good man,” Dandy said, “my name is John Dandy, and I booked the Hawaiian sweet.” The young man ran his finger down a clipboard, mouthing the names quickly as he went.
“Uh huh, yes, I see it here.” He turned around and grabbed a key from the wall behind him. “Room 315, here you go.” He slid the key across the counter to Dandy, who pocketed it.
“Thank you very much.” Said Dandy. Without acknowledging the Detective, the young man snapped,
“Gomez!” He cried. Another young man, this one with dark hair and a thin mustache, dressed in a red bellhop uniform, rushed up to the counter.
“Yes, boss?” Asked Gomez.
“Take this man’s luggage and get him to his room.” Replied Tony.
“Of course.” Said Gomez. “May I?” Gomez asked, gesturing toward Dandy’s luggage. Dandy handed it over, smiling.
“Lead the way.” He said. The bellhop, luggage in hand, led Dandy to the elevator. Inside, there was silence. The old man could tell Gomez was uneasy by the lack of conversation, and finally the bellhop said,
“So what brings you to town, boss?”
“I’m just an old man who needs a good rest.” Dandy answered.
“Well, this is the place for it.” Said Gomez. “Ah, here we are.” The two of them stepped off of the elevator and once again Gomez showed him the way. “This is a great room. There’s a personal hot tub.” He said with enthusiasm. Dandy tapped the brochure hanging out of his jacket pocket.
“Oh, I read all about it.” Gomez entered the room first and sat down Dandy’s suitcase, who in return handed the young man a few dollars for a tip.
“Thanks, boss.” Gomez said, tipping his cap to the Detective. The bellhop left and Dandy laid down on the bed.
“Now,” he said to himself, “before I got out, I’m gonna take a nice long rest.” He placed his white Panama hat over his eyes. “And nothing is going to disturb me.”
Dandy was suddenly awakened by a shrill scream. It started him with a jolt. He sat up in bed, his hat falling to the floor. He sat desperately searching for a moment, confused.
“Who’s that? What’s that?” he asked. Then the voice, that of a woman, let out another scream. Dandy rushed to the door and threw it open, looking around. A few doors down form him there stood a woman, her hands on her face, her body still, as if in shock.
“What’s going on here?” Dandy asked, marching toward the young black-haired woman. But as he got closer, he saw the reason for her screaming. There, before her on the floor, lay the body of a man. Upon looking further, he recognized it to be that of the clerk from the front desk, Tony. Dandy had seen enough bodies to know the young man was dead. The body was contorted, a look of anguish on his face.
“What happened here?” Dandy demanded. He looked back at the young woman.
“I was just…coming back to my room and there he was. He wasn’t there when I left and I was only gone for maybe 10 minutes.” She shook her head in disbelief.
“Now, uh…” Dandy began, probing for her name.
“Molly.” She said shakily.
“Now Molly, go back to your room and call the front desk, tell them to call the police.” Dandy directed. Molly nodded and ran off. Dandy let out a sigh of disappointment. “On my vacation? Someone had to die on my vacation?” He asked himself. Dandy looked at the body. He could see no wounds; no marks present of any kind. It looked like the young man had struggled, by the position of his body, but there were no real signs of what killed him.
“Perhaps it was a stroke.” Dandy said, smoothing his white mustache down. “Maybe a heart attack.” A wave of pity came over Dandy. The body before him was so young, with so much life ahead of him. He stood shaking his head. Suddenly Gomez rounded the corner. He looked down at the body in horror.
“Tony!” he cried. “Tony!” He repeated. Dandy could tell the bellhop was in shock.
“Yes, son, I’m afraid he’s dead.” I have someone calling the police now.” He said, patting Gomez on the back.
“But I just saw him not too long ago.” Gomez finally said. “I heard the screams and came up here from the second floor.” Finally he looked at Dandy. “What happened?” Dandy shrugged.
“I’m not sure, I just found him like this. Looks like a stroke or something. I don’t see any marks on him.” Gomez looked up at him, amazed.
“You a doctor, boss?” He asked.
“A Detective. I’ve seen my fair share of…everything.” Dandy replied.
“Poor Tony.” Gomez said glumly. “You’re looking for marks? Do you think he was attacked? Murdered?” Gomez cried.
“Just a force of habit after so long. Gut instinct never to rule it out. I’ve come to see that not everything is as it seems.” Inside, of course, Dandy was hoping it was nothing more than what it looked like. He felt selfish, hoping his vacation wasn’t in jeopardy.
When the police showed up, they interviewed everyone on the third floor. Had they seen or heard anything? What did they know? When they got to Dandy, the old man was sitting on his bed.
“Name?” the officer asked.
“John Homer Dandy.” The officer wrote it down in her little booklet. Before she could ask any questions, Dandy told her he had been sleeping. “I’m a detective myself.” He said. “On vacation.” He cleared his throat. “I only mention it because I already had a look around, couldn’t find anything too out of the ordinary.” The policewoman nodded.
“We’re not sure what we’re looking for yet. Doesn’t look much like there was foul play. We’ll have to look around some more and get an official report from the coroner.” She said. She turned to leave. “In the meantime, don’t leave the hotel, we may have more questions.
“Of course.” Dandy agreed. He looked down at his watch, then sadly down to the beach below his window. “Well,” he said solemnly, “at least the view is pretty.
The police had carted off the body not long after speaking to Dandy. He was glad they had worked so quickly. It meant maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t have much of a chance to snoop. But he knew that he would. It was ingrained in him to solve mysteries now, second nature. But this was his long awaited vacation and he didn’t want anything to remind him of his life back home. Still, he couldn’t help but reflect. It struck him odd that no one had seen anything, and that it had all happened so quickly without a sound. These factors gnawed at him. He saw Gomez pass by the door and he called out to the young man. “Gomez, do you know what Tony was doing up here?” Damn, he thought. He couldn’t stop himself from meddling.
“Don’t know, boss, I think he should have been at the front desk like usual.” Gomez took a seat on the floor, crossing his legs.
“Is there anyone up here who might have known?”
“I don’t know, there’s lots of people up here. Gomez answered. He began to pick at the carpet nervously. “You don’t think it was…murder, do you?”
“I can only say I hope not, but something in my gut is tugging at me. He stared ahead for a moment. Under his belt he had a lengthy career and, he liked to believe, he had gone far, and he had always listened to his gut. It was an invaluable tool for an investigator. Finally, he stood up from his bed and walked across the hall.
“What’s this?” He had spotted, near the small vent at the bottom of the wall, something strange, a stain? He knelt down to inspect it closer.
“Goo?” He said to himself. The grills of the vent were covered in a green goo, leading to a small stain on the floor. Without looking closely, it would be very easy to miss it.
“What is it, boss?” Gomez asked, sneaking up on the old man. Dandy jumped.
“Don’t do that! I’m an old man and you’ll give me a heart attack.” He calmed himself. “As for what this is…I have no clue. Fishing around inside his jacket, Dandy produced a handkerchief. He dabbed a bit of cloth against the vent. Whatever it was, it was viscous, green, and smelled.
“Don’t get it too close to your face!” Gomez cried. Dandy examined it closely.
“I’ve never seen anything like this.” He said, puzzled. He looked back down at the vent. “I think…” he began slowly “something might have crawled through this vent, as small as it is.”
“You mean something gooey?” Gomez said with a gulp.
“Precisely. Responded Dandy. “Can you get me a screwdriver? Is there one around here?” He asked. Gomez dashed off, and after a few minutes returned with the tool in hand. Dandy unscrewed the small vent cover and set it aside.
“My word…” said Dandy. The two of them sat staring at the inside of the vent. It too was covered with green slime. ”I’d say whatever it is,” Dandy said, “it went this way.” Dandy rubbed his chin. There was no way a person could fit into the vent, it was far too small. And it probably wouldn’t do any good if anyone could, they might just run into the thing that had made the trail. They sat against the wall for a moment. Dandy’s mind switched gears.
“Tell me about Tony.” He said. Gomez thought for a moment.
“He was kind of curt, and he didn’t really like anyone. I always thought it was odd that he worked a job that required customer service.”
“Hm. Any enemies?” Dandy asked after a moment.
“Well there was the Chef, Jimmy. And our old manager Mark.”
“The chef?” Asked Dandy.
“Yeah, Tony and Jimmy, they used to date, but recently Tony broke it off. Not a lot of people know any of that.”
“Ah, I see. And tell me about your manager.”
“Oh Mark. He was a pretty nice guy I guess. Tony just took his job.” Gomez snapped his fingers. “Oh, and there was a guest somewhere on this floor that Tony got into some argument with.”
“Anyway to tell who?” Asked Dandy.
“Sure, it was me.” Came a voice standing over them. Dandy looked up to see Molly standing there.
“You? There was a connection between you? What was the problem you had with Tony?” Molly stared at the Detective for a second.
“I—I used to go to High School with Tony. I came back to town and…he was a jerk then, and he was a jerk now. He started acting just like we were kids again. This time I stood up to him. But I never wanted to see him dead.” Dandy thought for a moment.
“You were the one, however, to find his body. That could be seen as suspicious.” The woman shook her head.
“I—“ she stammered, “I would never kill him, I just wanted to forget him.” Dandy nodded his head looking at Molly.
“Well, I’ll find something if there’s something to find.” Dandy said with confidence. For a moment there was silence.
“So…you do think someone killed him?” Asked Gomez.
“I have my suspicions.” Dandy paused. “And I think our only clue went that way.” He hoisted a thumb toward the vent. Molly bent her head and looked down inside.
“What is that?” She asked, gagging. Dandy stared hard at his handkerchief.
“Don’t know yet,” he said, “but I intend to find out.”
It was Gomez who led Dandy into the kitchen. The Police had not yet begun to look into any leads, if they had any, and thus had not moved beyond the floor bwhere the body was found. Thus, Dandy took the initiative to investigate on his own, just as he had swore he would not do.
Sitting on a crate, head in his hands was Jimmy the chef.
“Uh, Jimmy?” Gomez said, tapping the chef on the shoulder. Jimmy looked up, tears in his eyes.
“Tony’s dead.” He said. Gomez patted him on the back, offering what solace he could. After a moment, Dandy broke in.
“Pardon me, but I’d like to ask you some questions.” Jimmy looked up at the old man blankly.
“Are you police?” he asked.
“I’m a private detective. I have to ask, well, I heard you and Tony just ended things…did that make you hostile?” Jimmy waved his hand in the air.
“We broke up, sure, and I was mad but…we were talking, even just today and Tony seemed open to the idea of getting back together.”
“I see.” Dandy said. “Can you tell me anything else—“
“Boss!” Cried Gomez. He was standing near one of the pantries, pointing toward the ground frantically. Dandy rushed over . There on the ground was a trail of green ooze.
“It must be in there, whatever it is!” Dandy said, flinging the door open. He did hate being right.
There in the pantry, with cans and boxes strewn all about was a giant green blob. Round, oozing, and pulsating. It had no face, no mouth. It absorbed soup cans and cracker boxes through it’s jelly like flesh. From behind them, Jimmy called out.
“What the hell is that?” He stumbled back, falling onto the ground. Dandy and Gomez dashed out of the pantry doorway as the blob began to crawl slowly forward. The chef threw up his arms trying to defend himself in any way he could. Onward crept the blob until it rolled over Jimmy’s foot, then slowly up his body.
“Get it off! Get this blob off of me!” Dandy looked all around, trying to find something, anything, to remove the gelatinous creature.
“Aha.” He cried. He grabbed a sharp knife out of the sink and plunged it into the monster. It went straight in with a sucking sound, and then the jelly flesh around the knife began to absorb the blade. Now the creature was on Jimmy’s head.
“He’s going to suffocate!” Yelled Dandy. Jimmy flailed about, reaching for anything in his reach. He managed to grab a glass full of water off the crate he had been sitting on. He brought it down on the blob, the glass shattering and the water bathing over the creature. Contact with the water made the monster recoil. It didn’t let out any sort of noise, but quickly crawled away, freeing Jimmy’s head from its body. Jimmy began gasping for breath.
“Don’t let it get you!” Dandy yelled to Gomez. But the thing, badly burned from the water, had already begun its retreat. It squished itself through another vent on the wall, it’s body hastily oozing through the grills.
“What the hell was that?” Jimmy asked again, breaking the silence of the three men.
“It was some kind of Blob, like in that 50s movie.” Dandy said. He knelt and examined the broken glass and left over water.
“And it seems like it can’t stand water.”
“Where did it go, boss?” Asked Gomez.
“It could get anywhere from the vents.” Jimmy said. Dandy scratched his head and thought for a moment.
“I don’t know where it’s going, but I have a feeling we’ll know when it gets there.”
Out in the lobby, Gomez stopped abruptly. He stood staring at a man in a tan suit. The man looked back at him.
“Mark, what are you doing here?” Gomez asked. He leaned in and whispered to Dandy, “That’s our old manager.”
“I’m just here to gather a few of my—my things.” Mark responded.
“Did you hear the news about Tony?” Gomez asked. Dandy eyed the man as he responded.
“Yes.” Mark said dryly. “It’s a terrible tragedy. No one seems to know exactly what happened.
“Well we do!” Cried Jimmy. Dandy silenced him. In a hushed tone he said, “Not now son. Not now.” Mark looked at Dandy for a moment and then he became uneasy.
“Well,” he began, “I’ll be seeing you. I’m getting my things and leaving.” He rushed by them awkwardly. After he was out of earshot Gomez spoke up.
“He did it. He’s totally guilty. Look at him.”
“Definitely.” Said Jimmy.
“We shall see.” Added Dandy. The three men went back up to Dandy’s room and contemplated for a moment.
“Something doesn’t add up with Molly.” Dandy said after some time. “I know she’s keeping something from us. I’ll go get her at once.” He walked down the hall to Molly’s room and knocked on the door. After a moment, Mark answered. Dandy looked confused.
“What are you doing here?” The Detective asked. Mark scoffed at the old man.
“Me? What are you doing here? I’m allowed to visit my sister, aren’t I?” Suddenly Molly appeared at the door.
“Dandy, this is my brother Mark.” She said. Dandy smoothed his mustache.
“So, there’s more to it than there appears. There always is, of course.” Dandy said. He paused for a moment. “Terrible to you in high school, then he goes and gets your brother fired, ruining his life.”
“Now, Detective, hold on…” Molly began, but Mark cut in.
“Who is this man? What is he talking about.” The former manager began to grow indignant. Dandy gestured for Mark to calm himself.
“I, sir, should be on vacation. But here I am investigating a murder.” Dandy said.
“A murder?” Mark cried with disbelief. “Oh, I get it. You think we killed Tony, is that it? We’re your suspects.”
“I haven’t enough evidence to lodge such an accusation, however—dear lord, watch out!” Dandy jabbed violently at the TV behind the two of them. Green slime had begun to ooze down the surface of the screen. Suddenly it began to shake violently, rocking side to side. Finally, with a horrible rattle the TV exploded, revealing insides the remnants, the horrible green blob. It could evidently take any shape or form, fit any place, get anywhere, Dandy reasoned. Though, this was a thing beyond reasoning.
“My God, run!” Yelled Molly. But it was too late, the blob began to lash out, hurling itself at the siblings. Dandy lunged to Molly, who was nearest him.
“Get out.” He said, thrusting her toward the door. As he turned around he saw the blob beginning to absorb Mark, who flailed around helplessly. The monster was up to Mark’s waist.
“ Get this thing off me, old man!” Mark cried. Dandy looked around for something, anything that he could use to help get the man free. But with a horrible gurgling noise, the blob swallowed Mark fully into its body. This thing had gotten bigger since the pantry, and Dandy knew that there was nothing he could do against such a creature in the current circumstances.
Within the green gelatin, Mark’s eyes grew wide and the look of terror vanished from his face. Dandy knew the look, it was too late. He threw himself out the door and shut it with force. Looking to Molly, who stood in the hallway, he yelled:
“Run! Run to my room!” He held tightly to the door handle, hoping that the blob wouldn’t begin to pull against him. But he didn’t have to wait long for it to start oozing under the door, getting all over his brown shoes.
“Damn thing can’t be contained.” He said. He figured it would take a while for the blob to get out from the room in this liquid form, he only hoped they had enough time to get away. He ran to his room, stopping at the doorway.
“Everyone out now!” He commanded.
“What about Mark? Asked Molly. Dandy shook his head slowly.
“I’m sorry but it’s too late, now everyone get out of here!” The four of them ran from the room frantically. Dandy knew it was a terrible thing to lose someone so close to you, and he was frankly amazed that Molly could keep going. But in a moment of shock, the human body can do unnatural things. They hopped onto the elevator and desperately pressed at the buttons, any button to get them off this floor.
“Hit the ground level.” Dandy said. “I’ve got a plan.”
Once on the ground floor Dandy led everyone directly to the pool room and he and Gomez evacuated all of the swimmers.
“OK, now if that thing is following us, as I believe it is, all we have to do is wait here by the pool. We’ll have to find a way to trick it into the pool. If need be,” he paused taking a deep breath, “I’ll let it attach itself to me and I’ll jump in the pool.” Everyone was silent, until finally Molly cut in.
“Oh, Mark. That horrible thing got Mark!” She sank down to the floor. Dandy knelt down and grabbed her by the shoulders.
“Yes, my dear, I know it’s terrible. It’s a tragedy. But now we have to kill that thing, that creature that got your brother. Then we’ll mourn, ok?” Dandy wasn’t one for speeches like this. He had a hard time even expressing himself in a greeting guard, but he hoped that any words would get her off the floor. Still sobbing, she got up and leaned into Gomez. Suddenly Jimmy looked alert. There was a dripping of green ooze from the ceiling.
“Get ready, we can kill this thing, all it takes is water!” Dandy said, encouraging the others.
“OK, I think this has all gone far enough, old man.” Jimmy said, producing a pistol. “I can’t let you kill the blob. It is a handy pet, you know?”
“Ah yes, I knew it was you. I hoped to deal with that after the monster.” Dandy said casually.
“And how did you deduce that, Sherlock?” Jimmy asked.
“Quite simply.” Dandy replied. “It seemed a little too lucky that you knew water would stop the blob, back when it attacked you. And not only that, but during its assault on you, you dropped this.” From his pocket Dandy produced Tony’s missing name tag. Jimmy laughed.
“We loved each other, and he was going to let all that go. I couldn’t let him walk away like that.” As he spoke, more goo began to fall from the ceiling. ”My pet is coming. I got it from a traveling salesman that came through. Said it was from outer space. I don’t know what it is, all I know is I can use it to take care of anyone I want.”
“That thing won’t listen to you for long, it’s getting bigger and more nasty.” Said Dandy. “In fact, I think it won’t even listen to you know.”
Suddenly the thick green body of the blob came down all at once over Jimmy’s head, again.
“It’s got a taste for flesh, boss!” Gomez yelled, jumping behind Dandy. Ahead of them the young cook threw the pistol to the ground groping at the blob that had absorbed his head. It began to climb down his body, in a moment he and the creature would be one. Desperately he hurled himself into the pool.
There was a violent hissing noise as the water began to bubble, the blob beginning to disintegrate.
“Dreadful stuff. Dandy Said as he bent over to pick up the pistol. As the blob began to die, there was a panicked flailing from Jimmy, who could once again be seen. He splashed his way loudly to the side of the pool, grasping for the edge desperately.
“Young man,” Dandy said, pointing the pistol his way, “you’re under arrest.”
Soon the police would come and take Jimmy away. And they would take Molly to the hospital. Poor girl. If only he had been quicker…younger…maybe he could have saved her brother. He frowned looking at Gomez. Finally he spoke.
“Know where we can get a drink, boss?”