Aroma – a short story starring George Clooney & Jack Black

It was raining.

Not because of any chemical-environmental reactions, nor because the gods were angry, or the angels crying. But because it should be. It was necessary for a dramatic ambience to fill the night…

… that’s why Jack was driving through the wee hours, rain falling on the windshield of his black Lexus Hybrid. Blinding him. The actor swearing every time the freeway signal outdistanced wasn’t the one he expected it to be…

… that’s why, when realizing he should have turned a couple of exits ago, he stopped his vehicle, cursed, and drove his car back, this time racing again out of the highway…

… that’s why, once Jack realized he was arriving to his final destination, sped up, intentionally and awesomely breaking wide the golden fence-gates while a thunderbolt lit up the leviathan mansion in front of him…

… that’s why. That’s why it was raining.

Because of drama.

Jack Black – yes, the Jack Black, the actor – was feeling despair and a weird shitty-Shakespearean feeling he could not describe. It was a long trip from the entrance of the facility to the main doors of the luxurious mansion, and he was already building and apology for the possible peacock run over.

Three lightning and a spared peacock after trespassing the main labyrinth, Mr. Black reached the porch and stopped the car.

Goddaming the seat belt, Jack unfastened it and step out of the car and into the now stormy night.

“George!” he yelled. “Geooorge!”

Looking like a British young man who just desperately came rushing to the airport the last minute before his lover’s flight departures, Jack Black closed violently the car’s door.

“Geooorge!” he screamed, rage in his voice, to no one in particular. Now he waited for the rain pouring down from his soaked hair to his mouth, and spitted:

“PffrfgGEOOORGE!!!”

A window just a few meters up and next to the entrance of the big house lighted. A figure approached in the inside, pushed away the curtains and opened it wide.

George Clooney looked down into the thundering night, eyes trying to figure out who was screaming like a maniac at his doorstep.

“Jack?”

“’Evening, George!” responded Jack with a smile.

“What are you do- ? Why haven’t you rung the doorb- ? How the heck have you entered the facil- ? Is that one of my peacocks???”

“Yeah… Don’t know, man. Little bit stressed right know, don’t push too hard on me!”

“Jesus, Jack, what’s the matter?” said George, covering himself with his white and gold bathrobe and protecting himself from the cold.

“Something terrible may be about to happen to us, and I just came to warn you!” Jack seemed quite concerned, almost as much as when he was told School of Rock would not be nominated for Best Picture. That movie meant a lot to him.

George hold that thought.

“Alright, come in, quickly. It’s freezing and I’m getting wet”.

“That’s what she said”, told Jack to himself. Then he approached the door, waiting for George to open it.


The main hall was big enough for a couple of trucks to park, transform and roll out without colliding.

Two big oak doors at each side of the hall and a wide staircase with purple upholstered steps stood in front of Jack the moment he closed the main entrance behind him. Electric medieval-looking torches were lighting the room, while deviant art – sculptures and paintings – decorated every frame of the walls.

George Clooney came rushing downstairs, an electric old-looking candlelight – you know, the ones that are shown in the Harry Potter films, but running with batteries – in his left hand. He was wearing slippers and adjusting his bathrobe again. A different one. A pink one. With unicorns and rainbows all over it.

“You look georgeous in that bathrobe, George”.

“Thanks, it’s Amal’s. Mine got soaked a minute ago ‘cause someone made me lean out a window in the middle of a storm” said George, handling a towel to his fellow actor. “Anyway, what’s wrong, Jack?”

Jack Black dried his face by shaking it in the towel.

“Oh man, so soft! What do you clean this with? Baby-ass fabric conditioner?” When finished with the face, the armpits went next. “Is this sweat or rain water? I really can’t tell them apart.”

George answered with a patient smile.

“So?”

“Whu-? Oh!” Sniff! “Sweat it is.”

“No! I mean why you are here?”

“Oh.”

Jack went gloomy for a moment. Sadness took over his smile and George realized that hiding behind that clown attitude there really was something really, really bad happening. He tried to keep that realization in mind when Jack Black covered his long wet hair using the towel as a turban.

“Maybe we need to sit down. Do you have anywhere warmer in the house?”

“Yeah. Yeah, sure. There’s a fireplace in the living room. Let’s go there, I’ll make you something hot- a hot beverage.” George aimed his friend to follow him.

“Cool” nodded Jack, aimlessly. “I’m sure there’s going to be a tiger carpet with its mouth open near that fireplace…”

“Maybe what I’ve is got a goat carpet I stared at!” giggled Clooney. When he saw no reaction, he saddened too. “Oh, Jack, what’s wrong? Your puns and jokes are really low and reference-less. I am really worried.”

“Well you should, man. You should”.


Flames’ reflection flickered in the crystalized already-orange eyes of the tiger carpet. It was laying there, aiming at the fireplace, its mouth open, as if roaring to boringness.

Jack was comfortably seating in one of the two beautiful armchairs each side of the resting tiger. He was wearing another bathrobe, a blue one, fitting him perfectly. He covered himself with a big brown blanket.

Thunder stroke in the outside awakening the actor, who was lost in thought while watching the fire dancing. In that moment, George entered the room, a steaming mug in each hand.

Jack watched him smiling, awkwardly, as George crossed the whole dining room.

Maybe you could spend thirty seconds going from a wall to another in that giant room. It was like spotting someone at the other side of the zebra crossing and having to wait uneasily for the light to change in order to salute, although this time there were no cars to idly gaze upon.

Finally, Clooney arrived, gave Jack the hot mug, and sat down.

“You won’t have sugar, won’t you?”

“No, thank you.” Jack felt her hands go warmer. “Fantastic…” Then he spotted a missing place in the wall. “Mister!”

“Yeah?”

“Fox?”

“Hmmm? Oh. That’s reserved for a panda.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“God, no – they are all props, from my movies. They were never alive. I’m not a murderer- not even played one!”

Both actors laughed. It was a courtesy laugh, it was not that amusing.

Soon – when it had to – the laughter banished and Jack spoke.

“Speaking of murder…”

“Yeah. I’ve heard of it”, said George, dead serious now.

Jack Black felt certain relief.

“What the fuck man? Did you even know when they started?”

“I’ve been researching. They say they started a couple of weeks ago, the news say so- but I know they started even before that.” He stopped, dramatically. “Do you recall the brunette woman from the first one?”

Jack paused, his brain engines trying to remember. Then his eyes widened.

“The one with the short hair?”

“Her body was found nearly eight years ago, and it presented the same characteristics. No violence. No sexual abuse. Just dehydrated.”

Jack Black’s jaw dropped. George turned his look away, deeply concerned about the matter. Then something else came to Jack’s mind.

“Do the other ones know? Do you know anything about Danny, John, and the rest?”

Clooney nodded.

“Yeah. He… or she… only takes women. We are safe.”

“For the moment” snapped back Jack. His eyes watered. “George… Melinda is gone.”

There was a long, mourning silence.

“I- I’m sorry, Jack”, said George, saddened. Then he bit his lip. “Who… who’s Melinda? Is she your…”

“She was, I guess. I met here while filming the last spot we were together in. The What more…? one. Tall, blonde, merry little nose… The news haven’t said anything yet, but I’m damn sure she’ll be the next corpse to be found. Dehydrated, like the others.

“But you know what’s the real problem here?” he wiped out the tears from his cheeks and became serious again.

“You tell me, I’m sickly horrified already.”

“That these killings- they shall only appear in little media, and people will soon forget about them. Only the nerds on the Internet are connecting the clues. The Nespresso Killer is what they all talk about. That’s why I’ve come here tonight: to make an end of it… with your help.”

Clooney laughed.

“What? The Batman and the Kung Fu Fat Bear against a serial killer? Are you out of your mind?”

“Not at all. Listen carefully and you’ll understand: no big media is involved. Do you understand what I mean?”

“That the police is maybe covering the killings for people not to freak out?”

“Maybe… or maybe because someone wants to keep their sales as they are.”

George seemed to understand Jack’s theory. Motionless, he asked him to-

“Go on.”

Jack Black stood up, the blanket falling to the ground, and started to walk around the armchairs, a hand behind his back, the other holding the mug.

“This is what we know:

“Through the last eight years, several women have been assassinated. All these women had some things in common. They were all actresses, for instance, and every one of them have been appearing in several commercials alongside one the most successful actors in Hollywood. And you.

“These tends to, and I say, correctly suppose that a Serial Killer – or in this case an Ads Killer – is on the loose. A man or woman who is kidnapping women who have made appearances in one or more Nespresso commercials!” Jack stopped by the fire and looked at George.

“The Nespresso Killer… who is not just killing but dehydrating women. No violence. Just… draining them. But why? Why not me?”

“I’ve got answers for every question in existence which-you-may-not-ask-now-thank-you… But! That one, my friend, eludes me.”

Black sherlocked. Clooney sighed.

“OK. What’s the deal, then?”

“Well – I think that Nespresso is covering the killings.”

“Wait, you mean they murdered all those actresses?”

“No, I mean that they are paying a fortune for their deaths not being an issue in the news. To protect their image. And yours.”

Silence took over the room. Jack and George exchanged gazes.

After a while, George spoke his mind.

“I’m sorry Jack, I really am: but I think you are just crazy talking.”

Jack couldn’t believe the actor.

“What!?”

“I’m sure Melisa walking away has been pretty harsh, and that there are a lot of crazy Internet connections about this serial Nespresso killer- but I really think they are just coincidences.”

“I can’t believe what you are saying…” whispered the actor, heartbroken.

“That’s because, right now, I’m not acting. And truth is harder to swallow than drama. Poor “R” Gere doesn’t even know that the story of that Japanese dog was based upon a real story yet. That would break his handsome, Buddhist heart.”

Jack Black stood there, paralyzed.

“What about-“

“You know nothing about Melinda, Jack. Maybe she’s just out there doing Melinda stuff, and melinding melindingly, waiting for you when you get home. And if she’s not, let the police make his job.

“Here.” George Clooney hugged Jack Black, who was clearly about sob. “Calm down… You know, you can stay here for as long as you may need to, right? In fact, I would be so glad for you to stay with me.”

The comedian freed himself from George’s arms and smiled, gratefully.

“Don’t know man. I’m a bit shaken right now, so I’ll stay tonight for sure. Tomorrow… I think you are right, dude. I’ll go fetch da cops and tell them my theory.”

Clooney smiled back his friend. “Ok, then”, and fetched Jack the blanket laying on the ground. “By the way, I felt you are still quite cold. Here. Have some coffee too. It will make you good.”

“Thanks, George. You are a good friend.”

After covering himself with the blanket again, Jack sipped.

“Hmmm…” He closed his eyes, smiling. “Amazing… What is it?”

“Guess. Try again.”

Jack sipped and consciously savored it. You could almost feel his tongue moving inside his mouth. He then seemed to realize, swallowed and raised an eyebrow. “Nespresso?”

“No. Wrong.”

“What?” Jack sniffed the mug. “Really? Don’t fuck with me, Georgey!”

Mr. Black sipped one more time.

“Nescafé…? Bloomsbury’s? Costa?”

“Wrong, wrong and wrong. Try again. This time use all your senses. Your tongue, your lips, your nose, your… heart…”

Jack looked at his friend, puzzled. Then he approached the mug to his nose, thoroughly smelly the scent of the coffee inside it. There was something familiar in it, but what?

His deep brown eyes opened and froze.

“Melinda…?”

What else…?”

Using a little knife he was hiding in his sleeve, George stabbed Jack thirteen times in the chest, spilling blood all over his body.


Some stabs later, George stopped, heavily gasping, and had a look at Jack’s corpse. The eyes were full of blood and still looking at him.

Such a pity.

He let Jack’s corpse fall on the armchair. Then he sighed and walked away towards the kitchen, each step leaving a track of blood.

In there he approached to a modified coffee machine with several pipes and etiquettes. He then took a wet rag and started cleaning the coffee dispenser.

“I know, Melinda, I know. I really trusted him but- he just knew too much. Besides, I couldn’t let him have you without draining all your virtues, huh? No-one but I could appreciate your aroma.”

When the tap was clean enough, the actor approached a cupboard and got a little cup. Then he put it on the coffee machine and looked closely to the varied flavor selection he had acquired through the years.

“Nevertheless, Melinda my dear, I think I’ll spend a moment or two with Sarah now.” He then started the machine by clicking the button near the “Sarah” label and waited for the coffee to be served.

A misplaced drop made him realize he had blood on his hair. He then looked for a mirror and realized he was a mess: most of the unicorns and rainbows of his wife’s bathrobe were now red.

“He was right,” Clooney smiled. “It was a georgeous bathro- Georgeous? Gorgeo-?”

George noticed the pun and started to laugh.

When the coffee was served, the actor came to get it, still laughing.

“Oh Jack… You son of a bitch.”

He sipped.

THE END.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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