Fighting For Poirot (If only in my daydreams).

♥~Fighting For Poirot~♥

 

Chapter 1

{When a fictional detective’s most formidable enemy

is his own creator

he needs all the help he can get.}

         Poirot Friend

If you’re reading this, chances are, you’ve heard the question,  If you could meet a famous person, living or dead”  who would it be?”   So I’m going to pretend you just posed that very question  and then  I’d reply, “ANY famous person?  Can this famous person be the creation of another famous person?  Like a beloved character of an author or screenwriter ?   If the answer is YES, then we can play. If not,  we need to move onto the next question.”

Yes? YAAAAY!!!!  Then I can answer that question.  But before I do, I need to warn you that I like the famous person created by the first famous person better than I like the first famous person, but we’ll get to that.  Trust me, we will SOOO get to that.  For now, I’ll answer your question. Then again, if you’ve been listening to me for the last little while, you already know who I’m gonna say.

HastingsPoirotThenandNow
Back in the day!

What can I tell you?  I like him.  Hercule Poirot had a strong work ethic and a heart for people, even if he did, on occasion, SOUND self-involved.  On the other hand, when things got serious ,  there were few people more trustworthy.

   I look forward to finding out how this story is going to end. …or start, for that matter.  It’s just something I want to do off the top of my head. And then I’ll fix it as I go along.

Enjoy!

~~~

       I’ll begin my story at a restaurant.  Something nice.  Moxie’s .  Downtown Winnipeg . A food court would NOT be to Poirot’s liking. He’d think I was trying to kill him, even though….  Well, you’ll see.  Besides, you can’t hear yourself think in a food court, never mind trying to understanding anyone talking!

It would be a…. Saturday afternoon, after lunch rush so we could get our light meal (see also: Dessert) minus too much of a wait.  Even with my over-acting imagination,  to get decent service over a lunch rush was too much to ask for.  I had arrived at five minutes before two and was escorted to table out of the way of the bar-crowd hubbub. Sitting in one of the comfortable chairs; reading and sipping a Tisane was a face I could have picked out of a crowd of thousands!  Hercule Poirot.

“Merci, Ma’am,”  Poirot smiled and nodded to the twenty-something server.

“Quite welcome.  I’ll let you decide what you’d like to ….”

“Actually,”  I said.  “I’m really dying for a dessert.  It’s Saturday and the rule is,  ‘Life is Short. Eat dessert first’ . Do you have a dessert men…?”

“The gentleman beat you to it,”  the server said, nodding to Poirot, who held up the dessert menu! I couldn’t help but smile as I sat down and accepted the dessert menu from him.  “Do you need a few minutes to decide?”

“Uh…yes, please,”  I said.  With that, the server left to wait on other tables and I held out a hand to my guest. “Monsieur Poirot, thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me!  I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long.”

Taking my hand and bowing to it, (as per the actions of a gentleman) M. Poirot  apologized for ordering his drink before I arrived.  “No, no. I arrived a bit early myself. It is my habit. And while I wait, well, a  good book, it goes better with a soothing beverage.”

“Can’t argue there. I spend weekends practically living on flavored coffee while I scribble away in my notebook. My editor loves me but my doctor is sure I am drowning my poor kidneys in Hazelnut Haven.”  I said, browsing the dessert menu before asking my guest,  “What dessert did you order?”

Poirot thought for all of a nano-second. “It has the oddest name, which I hope does not come true, but  the  ‘Death by Chocolate’ Torte did look very much appealing. Though, I, like you, am in  the danger of being frowned out of the doctor’s office one day.”

I shrugged, “So let them frown.  Chances are their own doctors are giving them advice they don’t take.”

Poirot’s eyebrows arched. “I had not thought of that.”

The server returned with Poirot’s dessert. Yes, I was definitely having a slice of that.  “Same for me, please! And do you have flavored coffee?”

“No, but we have flavored creamers.”

“Do you have …. Hazelnut creamer?”  I asked.

“I can check. If not, there is Ameretto or French Vanilla.”

“French Vanilla,”  I decided. “But only if you don’t have Hazelnut. Thanks.”

The woman left with my order and Mr. Poirot and I were about to resume our conversation when a woman walked by. She moved slowly but then saw Poirot and scrunched up her already bitter face and picked up her pace.  I wouldn’t have noticed at all except for the wounded look on my friend’s face and in his eyes. Then I turned to see the person who had darkened my dear Poirot’s  otherwise very pleasant countenance.

“What was that all about?”

Poirot sighed and sipped his drink. “I do not know. I don’t recall specifically what I had done to cause her to dislike me,  she just….does.”

“And what is this nasty little madame’s name?  Though I think I already know.”  I glared in the woman’s direction.  Four seats away and I could see her clearly. Clear enough to glare daggers into her.

“It matters not,”  Poirot said sadly. “Pay it no heed.  I am sorry I said anything.”

“Well I’m not sorry,”  I said, getting up from my chair.  “Dear sir, I owe you this.”

“Owe me? How?”

I didn’t answer M. Poirot’s question directly.   “Sit tight. Enjoy your dessert. And believe me, you won’t miss anything. If this gets as loud as I think it will, you’ll practically have a ringside seat.”

I left the poor man pondering what  ‘ringside seat’  meant as I walked with single-minded determination to where the woman was sitting. Her server had just left, and I had JUST enough time to slow my thoughts and let my temper cool a few degrees.

“Hello,”  I greeted her civilly enough. “Would you Agatha Christie by any chance?”

“I would,”  the woman didn’t look as I’d imagined. In fact, (or maybe it was just my imagination)  she more resembled a sometime associate of Poirot’s;  Mrs. Ariadne Oliver.  Odd. And yet, not so odd.  “Do you have something for me to autograph?  If so, please produce it so I can have my coffee in peace.”

“You don’t seem to care for my company, Ms. Christie. Any particular reason?” I asked, seating myself in the chair opposite to her.  Her eyes glared daggers into me, possibly repaying my volley of optical weaponry.

“That…man you were sitting with. I don’t like him much! In fact, I DETEST him, if the truth be told.”

“Really? So that expression on your face, as you passed us by, had nothing to do with your breakfast of lemons and sour milk?”  I insisted, with more bravery than I felt. “What, exactly, did M. Poirot do, to earn such rancor from you?”

Ms. Christie’s server returned with her coffee and what looked to be a Danish and asked what I would like.

“Nothing. I just came to visit.  My guest…”

“Oh, that reminds me. Your guest, Mr. Pyro, asked me to let you know that he is sitting with another friend. A Jap? Rather rude, I thought, till M. Pyro explained that it was the man’s last name. Once I met the man and saw that he wasn’t even Japanese,  I knew that M. Pyro was not being rude. In any case, once you finish with your conversation, he will be free to dine with you.”

I was relieved that I wouldn’t be leaving him uncomfortably alone.   “Tell him that will be fine. Thank you. And I’ll be back at our table in the next five minutes.”

“Sooner!”  Ms. Christie informed me.

The server left and Ms. Christie busied herself fixing her coffee. Sipping for taste, Agatha set her coffee cup down. “WHAT do you want?”

“I believe I just asked.  What is it M. Poirot did to you or said to you that has you referring to him in the most unkind terms.  He doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who goes around insulting people for the sheer fun of it. So what could he possibly have done to you?”

“Specifically?  Nothing. Haven’t you ever disliked someone just because of who they are?  What they’re like?”

“YOU created him, Agatha. Whatever Poirot is or was, for the most part, is your doing. Now, I’m a ….I guess you’d call it a HOBBYIST writer. I don’t make my living at it.  However, I am aware that a character will take on a life of his or her own, eventually.  But we’re not talking about Chucky here!”

“Chucky?” Agatha said annoyed as well as impatient that I wouldn’t leave.

“A doll that was brought to life by a killer who was into voodoo.  Poirot, on the other hand, as well as any other created character, is connected, in some way, to their creator, and therefore not utterly autonomous.”

“Meaning WHAT, in plain English, Ms….?”

“Sorry about that.  O’Reilly. Leigh Anna O’Reilly.” I said before returning to the topic of conversation. “Meaning, Ms. Christie,  that characters are not created in a vacuum.  Any …characteristics about M. Poirot you don’t like, you had to have found somewhere. But then, why not stop it where it started. Nip it in the budd, or… ”  I stopped and weighed my words carefully.  I cared for the man Agatha Christie had so easily shrugged off.  “Or…”  I said with a deep sigh.  “you should have put some THOUGHT into creating the character before you committed him to the typewritten page.  Surely you wrote an outline longhand. A map of sorts? Such a tool would have provided an idea of the direction the character was going in,  so you could put a stop to said character when you decided you didn’t like him anymore.  That way, you could maybe….. find another character to step in, or turn him into a villain who DID do the killing. Something!”

“You talk like you’d have missed him,”  Agatha said with an annoyed huff in her statement.

I nodded.  “I would have missed him.  The problem is, Agatha, that you wouldn’t have. CURTAIN was evidence enough of  your apathy.  Thankfully, Mr. Kevin Elyot repaired the damage well enough.  Letting HASTINGS find Poirot instead of the temporary help Poirot had, so he could pull the ruse, which would enable him to bring down X.  And then, of course, there was the lack of any sort of decent funeral for him.  THAT was cold.”

“What are you talking about? Poirot got a funeral!”

“Buried at Styles court?! You call that a FUNERAL!?  Good GOD, woman, he wasn’t a bloody hamster!  You bury little creatures….a turtle, Guinea Pig, Hamster,  Gerbil in the back yard and hold little funerals for them, to help a child mark the occasion of a loss. t’s how they learn. Either that or a body no one wants the cops to find! On the first score, Poirot was NOT a turtle!  And Norton wouldn’t have done that because he couldn’t get away with it.  Anyway, Scotland Yard would have done right by Poirot. He did right by them on any number of occasions! ”  I glared at her.  “But then, no matter how much Japp or Hastings would have wanted to do, for a good friend and fellow detective,  you had the final say. And you didn’t want Poirot to get squat!”  I laughed, in derisive amazement.  “And when I THINK of what Mel Brooks did!”

“Mel Brooks?!  Who’s he when he’s home  and what’s he got to do with what I don’t really want to be discussing in the first place?”

“Mel Brooks is …well, he doesn’t do it so much anymore, but he was a huge director in the seventies.  Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, as well as a host of other movie remakes and parodies. However, the project I’m referring to is the musical version of The Producers,  where Mel so….musically handed Hitler and the Nazis their own heads on a silver platter. It was brilliant!  Now, of course,  we’re not actually referring to real Nazis, or the real Hitler.”

Agatha heaved a loud sigh of  aggravation. “You don’t say! Oh, Ms. O’Reilly, could you please make your point. How do we go from my NOT giving that little twerp, Poirot, a king’s internment , to talking about a director making musicals about the Nazis!?”

“Only this!  Mel Brooks is Jewish. In strict principle, why would any Jewish person be the least bit decent to tormentors of their past?  And yet Mel Brooks let his Hitler (see also:  Gary Beach playing Roger E. Debris playing Hitler) sing his own praises.  With all due theatrical facetiousness, of course, but there is was.   And this is worthy of more of a songwriting effort than a man who did his best to SAVE the lives of people, or, at the very least, solve their murder?  And, in the case of CURTAIN, find the killer before anymore murders are committed.”

“You wanted me to write Poirot a SONG?!”   Christie was incredulous.

I was decidedly calm and looked the famed author full in the eye, “No, Ms. Christie.  But would it have killed you to have shown the man a modicum of RESPECT  in light of what good Poirot did and wanted to do?  Instead, you treat the man…a character YOU created, with at least indifference. At worst, with flat-out disdain.  You didn’t want him to have a decent funeral, or even a love story.  He lives alone, for the most part, and then, at the end of the day, he would DIE alone.  Mel Brooks treated his ENEMIES …his ENEMIES, Ms. Christie, MUCH better than you treated an ally! I’d sooner be a Nazi in a chorus line of a Mel Brooks musical than a Belgian detective who is beholden to you!”

“He was an egotistic little…parasite! Wish to God I’d never created him!”

I sighed deeply;  wanting to screech obscenities at this woman even as I wanted to cry.  “Finally! Something we agree on,”  I whispered.

“I beg your pardon.”  Christie was now genuinely surprised before she recalled I’d said earlier.  She sipped her coffee and listened.

“Better that Poirot had not been created to begin with than to be mistreated by by his creator. You didn’t stand up for him, Ms. Christie.  You’re like the woman who thoughtlessly gets pregnant and then spends the rest of the child’s life making him feel guilty for existing when it was your irresponsible actions that initiated his conception. But there others who do care for Poirot. They’re called ‘fan fiction’ writers.   Those who will give that good man a love story and the send-off you couldn’t be bothered with.”

“You could be sued for that!”  the woman flung down her cloth napkin.

“No, we can’t.”  I told her, standing up to leave. “Speaking for myself, I don’t make a dime off my writing.  I just,  much like M. Poirot, want to see justice done. In this case, for him. I will give Poirot  the love story he and Virginie Mesnaurd should have had.  His memorial will be given by the good men of Scotland Yard, who appreciated M. Poirot’s help over the years.  I might even add to the solemn proceedings some of the people he did help.  Perhaps,  Norma Resterick and David Baker.  Catherine Grey,   Elinor Carlisle, L.B. Tysoe, Flossie Monroe and various others. They might want to say Thank you,  even if you don’t”

“Quite the contrary, Ms. O’Reilly. I owe M. Poirot a lot. At least from a financial standpoint. On the other hand, if it wasn’t for me, he wouldn’t exist at all.”

I couldn’t help but smirk at this smug woman.  “Do you emotionally black-mail all of your characters,  Ms. Christie, or just M. Poirot?  And while we’re on the subject of EGOTISTIC PARASITES,  if Poirot has ego issues, dear, then I daresay he gets it from YOU. You, who don’t want the  ‘child’ your literary pride created and yet, kept him to remind him of what YOU did!  Boo -Hoo! Poor, brave you;  who survived TWO world wars, with all the INHUMANITY foisted upon humanity by humanity, and you can find nothing else to gripe and moan about besides a fastidiously tidy Belgian Detective!  You have GOT to be kidding me! Oh yeah,  I know I’d  sooner have my home reduced to rubble by the German Air Force than suffer the indignity of having my mantle-piece nick-knacks symmetrically re-arranged. Oh, how you must have suffered.”  The sarcasm dripped from my lips. I only hope M. Poirot got to hear some of it.

The visual dagger volley was returned “Enough!  Ms. O’Reilly, If you do NOT remove yourself from this table right this second, I will have your removed. I’ve had all the verbal abuse I’m going to take.”

“Don’t panic, your majesty, I can’t take much more of your company either!  But I  I will let one last thought ring in your pearl pink ears;  Safely assuming that  Mr. Poirot got  his egotism from you, his creative ‘mother’,  (God help him!)  then I can’t help but wonder where his kindness and compassion come from? Because if he possessed any of these traits in the novels, you obviously didn’t see them or didn’t care to acknowledge them. Thankfully,  the series’ writers and Mr. Suchet , they saw and brought out what you didn’t want to admit to.
See, even in Curtain, M. Poirot sought to bring a killer to justice the only way he could think of.  And yet, there were no cudos for him because he wasn’t even commissioned. Who would hire a 70 year old man with a heart condition after all?  Not to mention the fact that no one at Styles, save Poirot and the killer, himself, even knew there was a killer.   Had Hercule Poirot been the ‘egotistic little creep’  you call him, then he could have lived out his last days at Claridges, in comfort.  Why should he care what happens?  He’s retired. Let someone else figure it out.  And if they don’t find out in time, ”  I shrugged. “so what? Odd that this egotist didn’t take that position.  Instead, he risked his life and put himself in a place of spiritual peril…something else Mr. Elyot dealt with, that you couldn’t care less about, … to bring a killer to justice without a word of praise or a penny for his efforts.
IF that is the EGOTISM you claim Poirot is so famous for,  Ms. Christie, then the man was definitely NOT on his game. Because everything I just described contradicts the Poirot only YOU see.  And then… ” I paused to catch my breath and redouble my efforts. ” I let my mind wander to all the stories that were told in that series, because producer Brian Eastman and your ….YOUR own daughter, Ms Christie,” I pointed a finger at her, to make my point. “cared enough for her fictional big brother to not only say Yes to the Poirot project, but also CAST the leading role and then to tell the brave actor, in no uncertain terms,  that Poirot was to be treated with RESPECT.   David Suchet took Rosiland at her word and even upped the ante.  He would PROTECT this man’s eccentricities and personality ‘quirks’ to the point of  getting into arguments with directors who wanted to work around those traits.
The end result is a three-dimensional, fully realized,  UNIQUE human being, who is so loved,  that many of his fans still can’t even bear to watch Poirot’s Last Case.  They don’t want him to die. Whereas you couldn’t wait to get rid of him.
Oh, how much you missed, Agatha.”

  And with that, I walked away from her table,  clearing my throat and wiping a couple of tears away.  I spoke my peace and stood up for a friend.

                                                                           ~~~~

Back at my own table, Poirot and I appeared at the same time, took our seats and resumed our informal  meeting.

“How went the meeting with that woman I maybe should not have mentioned?”  Poirot asked.

“I’m glad you did, and it went well. For us anyway.  If Agatha had any valid reason for her animosity against you,  she said nothing to me about it.  I’m just glad I spoke my peace before my little grey cells exploded like popcorn kernels in hot oil.”

“But you did not need to defend…”  Poirot attempted to object.

“Yes, I did. On principle. You’re an honest person, M. Poirot. If you knew you did anything to purposely offend Ms. Christie, then you would have apologized, yourself, I’m sure.”

Poirot nodded, “Oui. Bien sur!  I just do not know what wrong it was I have done.”

“Never mind that,”  I waved the matter off. “I spoke my peace and you shouldn’t have anymore problems with her. “How did your improptu reunion with uh…oh, right , Assistant Commissioner Japp go?”

“Oh, it was the occasion most pleasant! We talked about the old times. It was nice. I only wish you could have met him, but you were still …lecturing that woman.”

“Grilling her like a chicken on a summer bar-b-que, more like. In any case, I’m glad you had a friend to talk to.”  I said, tucking into my dessert. “And now, speaking of talking, you promised you would tell me about three of your most famous cases.”  I fished my notebook and pen out of my purse and prepared to jott until my fingers fell off but Poirot had a smirk on his face as he dabbed his moustache .

“Non, mon cher, you will not need to jott. I will share with you, the first hand,  experiences of three of my great cases.  ON one condition. In the first two scenarios, you will be as the guest invisible.  Like, in the story of the miser at Christmastime, who gets the visits from the…”

“Oh, you mean ‘A Christmas Carol’ .”

“Oui!  C’est Ca! You will observe the stories but that is all. You may even be part of the household staff, in the first case, but no more.”

“I won’t be able to help?”

Poirot shook his head.  “Matters, they  will be…how do you say,…dicey enough and I would not want you to stuck in the middle.  There will be a time,  mon cher ami, when I WILL need your help. And then, you will not have to ask. You will know.”

I thought for a half a minute, if that, before I agreed.  “You drive a hard bargain, Poirot, but okay. Deal.”

“Bon,” he said with a smile. “Your dessert, it is finished?”

I glanced down at my plate to see nothing but a few crumbs.  I was so caught up in our conversation I hardly noticed when I was eating.  “Guess I am.”

“Then we shall be on our way.”

I protested when M. Poirot offered to pay the bill. “You are going to be doing enough to help me, today.”   I said, handing the cashier the bill and the cost of the meal; leaving the five dollars change for our server’s tip.

As we headed for the door, Poirot declared in a whisper,  “That was the gratuities most generous, Mlle. Leigh Anne. Are you the heiress who likes to spend your papa’s money?”

I had to laugh. “I wish. No. This is just an extraordinary day. I’m in the company of a gentleman  and so I’m in a very good mood.  So, good sir, where to now?”

M. Poirot opened the door of the restaurant and I found myself walking into a busy street in downtown London.  And yet, somehow, I wasn’t a bit surprised.

 



                                                                         ~Chapter 2~

STYLES COURT

 

Styles1

                 Even with my limited …very limited knowledge of  history and a hundred other factors, I could tell this was not present day anywhere!  The cars. The clothes. Women who dressed like ladies. Even down to my own dress…literally.  And my handsome M. Poirot. In the …what was it…seconds, that it took us to walk outside of a restaurant in downtown Winnipeg, we’d be whisked to early 1900’s England,  and Poirot went, from being a middle aged man to a gentleman in his early 20’s?  30’s?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

an.”