The 13th Sign

January 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm (Detective story, Humour, Short Story)

Carson Albion Private Eye was once again walking the streets of LA.

Not on a case.

Well maybe a case of rum when he got back to the office.

No, he was going out for dinner which he’d then take back to his office.

His dinner habits consisted entirely of take-out.

One night Chinese, next night Japanese, night after that Vietnamese, then Thai, then Indian, then Korean, then Italian, then Mexican. And then the process would begin again…

Tonight was Chinese food night.

And Carson Albion was headed to his favourite Chinese food take-out restaurant The Ming Lantern.

He ordered the lemon chicken, the ginger beef, the sweet and sour pork and fried rice.

After receiving his complimentary fortune cookie which he put in the bag, Albion once again headed out into the night.

As he walked down the street, a familiar voice greeted him, “Hey Albion.”

It was Lt. McQuinn of the LAPD.

“Lt.,” Albion nodded back, “you look like you’ve had a busy night.”

“Into the paddy wagon with the others,” Lt. McQuinn directed two constables who were bringing down a body in a body bag from an upstairs apartment.

The constables put the body into the back of the paddy wagon where a whole bunch of other bodies in body bags were stacked.

“That’s the 13th dead astrologer tonight,” Lt. McQuinn explained to Carson Albion, “ever since the New Astrology emerged en masse last week with the 13th sign Ophiuchus the serpent-bearer being introduced and everyone’s astrological sign being bumped around, some people haven’t taken kindly to their new signs and have ended up killing their personal astrologers as a result. This has resulted in one big headache for the LA homicide department. We don’t know who to look for in terms of suspects. Whether we should be looking at the old astrological signs of potential suspects or the new signs.”

“That would be a problem all right,” Albion had to admit.

“I guess all the rehab clinics in Hollywood are going extra crazy at the moment too,” McQuinn said, “with thousands of stars and celebrities checking themselves in saying that now their sign has been changed, they’re having more trouble than ever with coming to terms with who they are.”

“Makes me glad I’m not a regular guest on the Oprah Show,” Albion stated.

“Me too,” McQuinn agreed.

Albion walked down the street carrying his bag of Chinese food while McQuinn got a call on his car radio saying that a split personality astrologer was holding a gun to his own head and threatening to kill himself unless he went back to being a Gemini.

Albion passed by the Starstruck Motel on the way back to his office.

He stopped when he noticed a man in a turban standing on the second floor outside walkway of the motel. The man played a musical instrument and a snake was rearing its head from the top of a basket.

The man then picked up the snake and kicked his way into a motel room.

This didn’t look good.

Albion removed his gun from his trenchcoat pocket and ran up the stairs.

He then entered the room where the man with the snake had kicked the door open.

The man stood on the bed atop a screaming woman holding the snake in his hands and ready to drop the snake on top of her.

The man in the darkened silhouette of the motel room looked like the figure of Ophiuchus the snake bearer- the 13th sign.

Albion fired a shot at the man and the man fell back off the bed.

Before dying, the man’s last words were, “I guess this means I won’t be getting my green card.”

The snake then crawled out of the dead man’s hands and put its venomous cobra head on the bed where once again the woman screamed.

The cobra’s head was blown away with a single shot from Albion’s gun.

The woman in a short black lingerie night dress threw herself into Albion’s arms and planted kisses all over him.

Albion returned the favour.

After several intense hours of lovemaking on the bed, the woman said she should really call her parents back home and let them know how she was doing.

The woman was Jade Priyanka Sen a rising young Bollywood starlet from Mumbai, India who had come to Hollywood to expand her acting portfolio.

The dead man with the dead snake was her abusive ex-boyfriend who had followed her from India to America.

“I really should be getting my clothes on,” the woman smiled at Carson Albion before kissing him good-bye.

“I guess I should get back to the office and eat my Chinese food before it starts getting cold,” Albion picked up the bag marked The Ming Lantern.

He walked out into the LA night and headed back to his office.

He ate his dinner and drank a bottle of rum and opened his complimentary fortune cookie.

The fortune said,


Albion crumpled up the small piece of paper and thought to himself, more people should really be getting fortune cookies from The Ming Lantern.

There might have been less dead bodies on the streets of LA tonight.

-The 13th Sign
A short story
by Christopher Dracul Van Helsing
written Monday, January 17th, 2011


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