DCM Knights
Detective Comics

Bobo's Wonderful Life: Part I
by Chip Caroon

with apologies to Frank Capra

Seasons greetings, gentle reader. I am Bobo T. Chimpanzee, although many folks just refer to me as "Detective Chimp". And before you "War on Christmas" warriors get all in a huff over my introduction, I want you to know that I mean no offense, and am trying to be inclusive of all of the holidays going on this month. The one simple greeting keeps me from having to remember all of the individual days, and takes much less time than listing them all out.

Before I begin my tale, I want to make something clear. I am a monkey. The Chimpanzee part of my name is not ironic or coincidental. Technically, it's not even my real name, but neither the human vocal range nor any written human language can properly express my given name, so I don't even bother.

I have been set up as a private investigator for a while now, primarily in New York City. I find city folks are more accustomed to, shall we say, "odd" faces. I suppose they are more used to the various super-heroes and their foes that frequent the news. Outside of cases, I keep mostly to myself.

One of my favorite places to frequent is Uncle Billy's Burger Bar, a hole in the wall burger joint that actually is a fertile ground for clues and tips. I stumbled across it on one of my earliest cases, and ended up helping Billy (the owner and aforementioned "uncle") out of a jam.

That is why I was there eating lunch on December 23rd. I had just finished Billy's signature bourbon and bacon deluxe burger when Billy rushed in from the front and frantically ran towards the back. I could a lot of shuffling and banging, with some concerned vocal exclamations. It was definitely the sounds of a frantic search.

I calmly stood from my seat and walked to the back area, nodding to the boy standing at the counter to acknowledge what appeared to be a customer's "forbidden" entrance to the back area.

Billy was in his office, which had been ransacked. "Bobo!" he exclaimed. "Just who I need to see!"

I nodded. "What's the mess for, Billy?"

Billy sat down in his chair, and wiped his forehead. "I was, er, scheduled to make a . . . deposit . . . this morning. But when I got there, the money was gone!"

I nodded again.

"They're gonna shut me down, Bobo! Or worse!"

"When did you last see the money?"

"Well . . . I know I was counting it last night. I put it in the safe. Then I came in here this morning, and pulled it out before I left."

"Obviously, it's not in here," I sighed.

Billy shook his head.

"Come on," I said. "Let's retrace your steps."

Now, gentle reader, I probably should explain. First, Billy is very forgetful. The kind of person that would have lost his head several hundred times over if it wasn't attached to his head. He understands his limitations, and came up with a system to try to limit his forgetfulness. Actually, I have to say that I'm quite impressed with some of the lengths he has gone to not forget things, and how well the system works sometimes. Something must have gummed up this works this time.

You are probably wondering why someone with such notable memory issues would be running what appears to be a cash based business. Well, I should also mention that burgers are not Billy's only business, and he wasn't exactly doing business with a bank. Let's just leave it at that, because the other details are not important to my story.

I ended up spending the better part of two days retracing Billy's steps in a largely futile effort. I have a low tolerance for having to repeat myself, but allowed myself to suffer through it for Billy. When it started snowing in the early evening, I realized that there was no amount of Christmas cheer that would improve my disposition.

"Billy," I said as we walked back in front of the diner once again, "go home. Go find the boys and hang out with them. Enjoy Christmas, and don't worry about anything. I'll get back to you as soon as I find something. I'm going up to the bridge to think."

The bridge is my quiet spot, tucked away at the edge of the city. I don't even know how I found it, but there is something about that place that helps me relax. Although, now that I think about it, there is nothing about that bridge that makes sense. I couldn't even guess as to the body of water under it, and I've never seen anyone else ever use it, either by car or by foot. It is a quaint little bridge, and really looks like it belongs upstate in the woods or something.

And that is how I found myself at the bridge on Christmas Eve. By the time I got up there, it had been snowing long enough that most of the other ambient sounds had quieted. If I stood still for long enough, I could hear the snowflakes hitting their already fallen comrades. I pulled my coat tighter and leaned against the railing, looking down at the water.

"Christ, I wish I could find some break in this case," I muttered.

About three seconds later, I heard a crash in the water below. "What in the world?" I wondered as I peered over the edge.

"Help! Help!" I could hear someone exclaiming from the water below. I looked down and saw someone splashing around, in obvious distress. I looked around. There was no easy way to get down the hill to the water. I took a deep breath as I took my coat off and climbed up on the railing.


I dove off the bridge, my body tensing up as it hit the cold water below. I put my left arm around the guy struggling, and used my right arm to swim to shore. Fortunately, he calmed down as soon as he realized I was there. We made our way to shore.

"Can you walk?" I asked.

The stranger nodded. "I believe so."

I looked up and for the first time, noticed a cabin at the end of the bridge. "Come on, let's get up there. We can probably dry off."

The stranger nodded again.

A little while later, we were inside the cabin. It appeared to be abandoned, but was still decently furnished. I mean, we only needed a couple of chairs, but it also had a line strung up in front of a fireplace. I started a fire, and we put most of our clothes across the line to dry. I looked around in any cabinet I could find, to see if there was anything to drink. The stranger sat in front of the fireplace, just studying the flames.

"So, buddy, what's the story? Having second thoughts?"

"Second thoughts about what?"

"Suicide. Most people don't yell for help when they're trying to kill themselves." I reached over to the next cabinet and added in a lower voice, "Of course, I would have picked a better bridge."

The stranger laughed. "Oh no. I was there to help you."

I stopped dead in my tracks, and slowly turned around to look at the stranger. "Come again?" I asked slowly.

"You needed help. I jumped in to keep you from jumping."

"What?" At this point, I started having serious concerns that I would need to be calling the department of mental health. "I wasn't planning on jumping. In fact, even if I were, how does you jumping in save me?"

"But I heard you call out! You asked the Almighty for help."

I looked at him with a puzzled look on my face, until I remembered what I had muttered right before he jumped in. I started laughing. "That wasn't a prayer, that was just an exclamation! I just -- wait, how did you possibly hear that?"

"I guess I'm sort of your guardian angel for the time being."

"And who sent you to do that?" I asked, skeptically.

The stranger looked up at me. "Him. God."

"So you're being literal about this angel thing?"

The stranger nodded and stood up. "My apologies for not introducing myself earlier. My name is Raphael . . . A.S.C."

"A.S.C.?" I asked.

"Angel, second class," he replied.

I looked around to his back. "Wings?"

"That's what second class means. I haven't earned them yet."

This was the point where my heightened brain processes started clicking. "So, I'm your project? Your means to get wings?"

Raphael nodded sheepishly. "I overheard your . . . exclamation while I was on the way back from my last mission. I thought it might help in my endeavor."

"You're looking for brownie points on Christmas Eve!" I laughed.

"It is often said that good deeds count extra during these holy days."

"Well, sorry that you ran into a bit of a detour," I said, walking over to the clothes line, and checking the status of the clothes, "but, it looks like in a few minutes, you'll be ready to get back to brownnosing God. "

Just then, the door blew open and a massive wind gushed in. I could see all of the trees around the cabin swaying quite heavily. Raphael rushed over and shut the door.

"Oh dear," he said. "About that . . . "

I could feel my eyes grow wide. "I didn't manage to piss off a deity, did I?"

Raphael shared a nervous laugh. "No. But I think I might have misread the situation and, uh . . . gotten a bit ahead of myself."

I grunted. "What do you mean?"

"Well, I kind of thought this would be one of those things where you're down on your luck, getting ready to throw it all away, and I would swoop in and convince you that you really do have a wonderful life."

I just stared at Raphael for a few seconds. Then I realized that this whole situation was just absurd and started laughing. "And that was me being erased from existence?"

"Like you were never born," Raphael sighed.

I started taking my clothes off the line and putting them back on. They had magically dried out again. "Okay, angel boy, how do we get out of this one?"

"I suppose we just have to let it play out until you come to a profound revelation."

"Hmm. Right now, the most profound revelation I have is that it's time for a drink. Let's go find one."

Next issue: Bobo's Christmas adventure continues!