As usual, I was up a tree. Only this time it was a real tree. Which isn't all that unusual either.
My search for Ricky Tavi, the Polynesian Pasta King who'd disappeared from a royal function at his palace weeks ago, was nearing fruition. Or at least fruit. Breadfruit. The tree was full of it.
From my vantage point I could see the giant idol clearly. It was a mammoth stone face, as usual. The face was thin, with distinctively hollow cheeks. The eyes were especially unusual - massive brown tiger's eyes, surrounded by dozens of rubies, which made them look either fiery or bloodshot, depending on how the sun hit them. Both were behind lenses of native glass.
The high priest of the Gilligangis was leading a procession up to the gaping crater before the idol. Between some of the warriors strode a proud figure trussed up like nobody's business. It was Tavi.
The high priest had some of the priestlings pour large containers of a syruppy liquid before the idol. As the overpowering smell of a billion jonquils tried to rip my olfactory center clean out of my brain, I realized there was no hope. No white man who interfered with this scene would live to tell anybody about it.
For ages the Gilligangis had been isolated from the rest of the world by the scent that surrounded their island. The stench was so strong only people born there could get within 10 miles without retching. But several years ago, the greenhouse effect finally killed off enough of the local flora that the air became breathable. Apparently Tavi had decided to trade with the Gilligangis, hoping for a cheap source of perfume to balance his pasta business, which was being eaten into by the Itralians. But the Gilligangis saw Tavi as the perfect sacrifice to their angry god.
Tavi was about to meet the Polynesian Perfume God, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I snapped a photo, climbed down the tree, and ran for my hidden speedboat, revolver in hand. As quickly as possible, I started the boat and gunned it, drowning out that haunting chant of the natives, "Tasbu! Tasbu! Tasbu!"
Somehow I doubt I'll get paid. Somehow I doubt I'll care.
No problem so simple I can't botch it