“Julean!” Sang the TV at full blast. 


He’s a blue alien!”

Julean peeked out from a booth at the very back of the dark bar, his eyes glued to his own commercial. 

“He’s a therapist to the stars!”

The commercial came to a fullscreen shot of his face, smiling professionally. He gave the bar a quick scan to see if anyone had recognized him. 

“Hey turn dis crap off will ya?” Interrupted a gruff bar patron. “Who da hell wants to hear about some dumb blue alien?”

Julean slowly retracted his head back into the booth. Not his crowd. The commercial was his agent’s idea, anyway. He thought it might raise his profile to help with the show negotiations over at StudioTV&Film. But as luck would have it, the negotiations were over and done with before the commercial was even finished. Still, it would make for a good primer when the show actually comes out, he was told. 

For a moment, Julean imagined a future where the gruff bar patron told others that he had “actually met the dumb blue alien at this very bar.” Then he drank the rest of what was in his schooner, paid the tab and left. Busy day tomorrow. 

When his office entry buzzer rang the next day, it wasn’t who he expected. Does anyone ever expect it to be the cops? Guilty people, maybe. But the only people who’ve ever walked through Julean’s entryway were his patients. And sometimes his agent. And, once, the location scouts from StudioTV&Film. And, of course, the crew that were shooting his show. Julean was starting to feel like a real celebrity. Maybe the cops saw his commercial and wanted a session?

“Hello officers,” exclaimed Julean, “how can I help you?”

“Yeah I t’ought so.” Said one of them. “I’s dat blue alien from TV.”

Julean beamed. It was working. His profile was being raised so fast that first responders were coming in off the beat just to meet him. 

“Yes… that’s right… it’s me.” Julean curtsied. 

“So uh,” started the other one, “wha’ stars do you therapize? Anyone we wud know?”

Julean laughed his trademark smug laugh. “I think you misunderstand, my dear boy. It’s a play on words, you see? Not ‘stars’ meaning ‘celebrities’ but ‘stars’ meaning ‘the galaxy.’ I’m for those who live amongst the stars.” Another smug laugh. 

“Huh.” Said the cop. 

Julean feared he was already losing his new audience. “But… I have also worked with some… prominent… figures, you might say.”

“Is dat right?”

“Indeed.” Julean decided to change the subject. “So… who died?” He joked.

“Your patient. Why whadda ya know aboud it?”

Julean was stunned. Actually stunned. “Oh… nothing. Just a… figure of speech, my dear.”

“Uh huh.”

“That’s terrible. Which patient? I have so many. You know… the stars.” He put his hands in the air and curtsied again. 

“Righ’. It was a patient of youses named uh Frankey Lapis. Ring any bells?”

“Well of course. Sweet, sweet, dear Frankey. Say it isn’t so.”

“It is so.”

“Indeed, but say it isn’t. May I ask how?”

“We was gonna ask you the same question, Doc. He turned up in a river on Tit’an, sector nine, but forensics says he didn’ drown. More likely died from lacerations some hours earlier den dumped in der.”

“Oh that’s horrible. Lacerations? Poor dear Frankey.”

“Yea. Well, our question to youse, Doc, is did he ever tawk about suici’e? We most likely want to rule dat out before we can fully investigate the, uh, deat’.”

“Well… this puts me in a bit of a bind. You see, everything we talked about was to be kept confidential. I couldn’t well betray dear Frankey’s confidence. Not even in death.”

“Uh huh, well, if youse don’t wanna help us ou’, we’re gonna have to do dis de hard way.”

“Ooh, interrogation? Well, I’m game. Although, I have quite the secure mind, let me tell you.” Julean went to give the officer a playful prod in the chest but it didn’t seem like he felt like playing, so Julean kept his finger to himself. “I have a feeling I’ll be able to keep it tightly locked against anything you can throw at me.” 

“Nah, it’s illegal for us to interrogate youse, seein’ as youse ain’t a suspec’. I jus’ mean we’re gonna ta hav’ ta go ‘round and tawk to more people. Makes our job harder.”

“Ah, well, I’m sorry my dear but I am a… stickler for the rules, due to my exceptionally… sharp… moral compass, you see. But please do keep me up to date on how your investigations are going.”

“Uh, well, you can, uh, probably read abou’ it in de dailies.”

“The news? Why would you want to get those animals involved?”

“‘Coz his fadder was Lor’ Lazuli. Or did ‘e, uh, keep dat confidential, from youse?” His partner giggled, gruffly. 

“My dear, I knew everything there was to know about dear Frankey.” He didn’t, clearly, and it would have bothered his oft-massaged ego even more if his mind hadn’t already gone to how a high profile case like this could affect his upcoming TV show’s ratings. Perhaps even the show itself. His thoughts started to race. Would StudioTV&Film still want to produce his show if he was somehow involved in the case? Would his professional integrity be questioned? At least his (ex)patient, Frankey, was star-adjacent now. That had to add some draw. Either way, that’s not the kind of show Julean wanted to make, he told himself. He was far higher brow than celebrity gossip. 

“Well, tha’s all fer now, Doc.” Concluded the officer. “Don’ leave town, huh?” The two of them sustained an even gruffer giggle as they left the office and walked down the hallway. 

Later that evening, Julean called his agent. 

“Raspar & Raspar Incorporated. Toaddy speaking. Is that you, Julean darling?”

“Toaddy, my dear, I have a somewhat… difficult… question to ask. So I first beg of you to receive it in the most nonjudgmental manner possible.”

“Of course, Julean darling. Are you using again?”

“No, no, my dear. Nothing like that. This is about a patient. Well… now… ex… patient of mine, if I’m completely honest.”

“Ok, well, shoot, darling.”

“Well… if I was to say that I was somehow connected… through this… ex… patient, you see, to a kind of a… high profile… celebrity police investigation, would that cause any kind of problems with the… show?”

“Julean. Darling. What are you caught up in?”

“Oh my dear, no, no.” Short smug laugh. “This is purely… speculation.”

“Oh well, thank the bloody stars for that.”

Julean grinned, nervously confident. 

“Darling, if you were caught up in anything untoward, the network would immediately shut it down. It’s Ganymede6, after all. They’re a notoriously family-oriented network. They’re paying for this whole thing. StudioTV&Film are just producing it. They’re not calling any of the shots. Although, I’m not sure they’d be over the moons either.”

Julean’s face fell. “Well. Lucky I’m not then, my dear Toaddy.”

Julean offered a half-hearted farewell and hung up. He would not, repeated for dramatic effect, NOT let anything get in the way of the success of his show. His five year plan depended on it. He decided, at that very moment, that he couldn’t let those useless cops ‘investigate’ Frankey’s death so publicly. And he certainly couldn’t let their lack of fidelity screw up his impending fame and fortune, not that he was doing it for the money. So he also decided, also at that very moment, that he would use his superior intellect and unmatched understanding of the mind to solve this case in half, nay, a quarter of the time that it would take anyone else. 

He sat down with dear old Frankey’s files and played back his recent session tapes. He was sure there would be clues in there somewhere. His confidence was a little dashed in regards to not knowing Frankey was related to Lord Lazuli, but maybe that in itself was a clue? Of course! On the tapes, Frankey talked about a silent partnership in a ‘new venture’. He must have been trying to distance himself from the family name, perhaps the family business and maybe even the family money. “This investigation is a lark!” Julean exclaimed. He would have it solved by the morning. 

Morning came. The case wasn’t solved yet but Julean had identified a number of leads to follow up on: the ‘new venture,’ of course; somebody Frankey constantly referred to as ‘X’; and, the most promising of all, a tiki bar that Frankey mentioned multiple times, which also happened to be on Titan. Julean felt it would be smart to take a twenty minute investigation nap before heading over there to gather more evidence. 

Four hours later, he woke up and was readier than ever to get the investigation going. Titan was just a short lightspeed jaunt away. Julean changed his shirt, added a Panama hat to zhuzh up his look, grabbed a few of Frankey’s session tapes and headed over to his local lightspeed station. Less than an hour later he was walking into Frankey’s old Titan tiki haunt. He picked a table that would give him the best vantage point over the other patrons and ordered what sounded like the most sophisticated cocktail from the menu. Moments later, the server brought over a fishbowl the size of his head, filled with a liquid almost as blue as he is, with enough tropical fruit decorating it to make a fruit salad. A third through his tropical monstrosity, he started to think that he was playing the part of the no good, day drinking, alcoholic pretty well. So well, that he decided to order another. He tilted his Panama hat a little further forward to give off that ‘incognito’ vibe, and tried to identify anyone who could be a possible fit for ‘X’.

“Do I know ya?” Demanded a lady in his eyeline. 

“Not that I know of, my dear.” He responded. 

“Haven’t I seen you in here before?”

Julean decided every lead was worth chasing and turned on his investigatory charm. “Well, maybe. How often do you… tiki?”

“Huh? Oh, I’m in he’e all the time. That’s why I think I must know ya.”

“Well, when was the last time you… saw me… here?” He could feel the words coming out a little wonky but went with it anyway. This lady was clearly blottoed too. 

“Dunno. Maybe tha other night. With tha dancers from one of tha Keplers. And tha fight.”


“Brawwl! Big one it was. Ya wasn’t here?”

“Oh brawl. Yes, my dear, yes. It was quite the… clash… of the… Titans.”

“Ha. Ya funny. So ya was here.”

“Yes. In fact, I was here with a friend of mine… Frankey Lapis?”

“Don’ know ‘im.” 

Damn, thought Julean. 

“Say, ya wanna getta bite to eat?” Slurred the lady.

“Oh… no my dear. Liquid lunch today.” Julean supped down what was left and gave the giant glass a little ‘empty’ shake to excuse himself. He helped himself up to his feet and moseyed as well as he could over to the bar. The bartender pointed at him, Julean pointed to his empty fish bowl and thumbs’d up and the bartender thumbs’d up back. A pause in whatever interplanetary sports league they were showing on the giant screens gave way to a Galactic News segment. Julean stared as well as he could at the familiar face staring back at him from the screen. 

“Frankey. Dear boy.”

“You knew him?” Asked the bartender, looking through Julean’s third drink’s tropical fruit forest. 

“Yes. Very well.” Julean actually felt a little sentimental. He listened out for details from the newscaster. There wasn’t much, they had the body and the name he went by.

“He was a good dude.” The bartender offered. 

Julean sensed an opening. “Yes… and he loved this place…” he tee’d up. 

“Tha’s right. He was in ‘ere all the time. Had some good laughs. Afta a lotta drinks, if ya know what I mean.”

Julean supped down on his giant blue drink and winked in affirmation. 

“So, was you here with him the other night?”

“Yes. The brawl!” Julean put up his dukes. 

“Ha. Yeah. Brawl? I mean, I’ve never seen such a put on. Know whad I mean?”

“Yes.” Julean didn’t. “No. What do you mean?”

“Oh, you thought that was real? Guess they’re getting better.”


“The kids. Whassisname. The art guy.”


“No, no, his name’s Duffy or somethin’. He does art. He’s an artist. I guess.”

“I’m sorry my dear, I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re talking about.”

“So dis guy, Duffy or whatever, puts on dese ‘fights’ all over the place. You know, like, performing art or somethin’.”

“Performance art?”


“Sorry, what does this have to do with poor dear Frankey?”

“That was the last time anybody saw him. I thought you knew that.”

“Well… yes… yes I did.”

“Yeah. Well after the police cleared everyone out, he was gone too.”


“And then he turns up in tha river. Why does it feel like this is all news ta you?”

“No, no my dear. Just waking up from a little drunken stupor.”

“Yeah, well I was going to say tha’s probably tha last one I can serve ya. Don’t want them cops back again.”

“The cops. Right. Do you remember anything else about that night, my dear?”

“You know, I got people waiting.” The bartender excused himself. “You got someone who can get you home?”

Julean waved him off. He knew he was done talking. 

Duffy. Duffy. The name went over and over in Julean’s tropically addled mind. Frankey never mentioned a ‘Duffy’ in their sessions. Did they know each other? Or was it just a coincidence that they were in the bar together? Was Duffy ‘X’? Frankey always had a thing about artists. Was Frankey involved in the performance art? Was it the ‘new venture’? What if this whole disappearing thing was part of the art? No, they have his body. And lacerations. That’s right, the cops said he died from lacerations. Perhaps from broken glass? How ‘real’ were these fake fights? Damn, he should have gotten so much more out of the bartender. The tropical concoction had gotten the better of him. He could see the bartender staying over at the other side of the bar and knew he didn’t want to serve him any more drinks, or any more information, more’s the point. But he said that Duffy puts on these fake fights all the time. That means there must be a record somewhere. Julean went online and started checking Titan’s local art rag. 

D’foe! “Ha… not Duffy!” Julean cried out. The bartender glared. Julean buried his head back in the art article. D’foe Ver Milion, an up and comer in Titan’s affluent art community. It looked like these staged fights were a monthly occurrence. D’foe even had an exhibition at a gallery on the other side of town. Julean paid his tab, doffed his Panama at the bartender and stumbled out into the early afternoon. 

The walk was doing Julean good. He could feel his incredibly sharp mind getting back to its peak state. He hit play on one of Frankey’s tapes and imagined him walking these streets. Imagined him at Titan’s other fine establishments. Fine, as in, not great. He thought about all of Frankey’s secrets that may or may not reside in and around these buildings. Secrets that he didn’t even tell his therapist! How did Julean not know he was the son of a lord? Was anything he told him actually true? Well, yes, the tiki bar. He certainly never mentioned a D’foe. So D’foe could well be ‘X’. Frankey did always have a thing for artists. Julean turned a corner to see the gallery. He pushed open the door and went inside. Large scale photographs of the ‘fight’ scenes covered the walls. Quite beautiful, in a shocking sort of everyman kind of way. Julean studied them as he went around, hoping to catch a glimpse of Frankey somewhere, until he noticed he was being studied too. 

“This is not a, um, community gallery, sir.” Said a taut lady at the back of the room. 

“Pardon, my dear?” Asked Julean, genuinely inquiring. 

“The entrance fee is not merely a suggestion.” She clarified.

“Oh… of course, my dear. How much do I…”

“You can pay me here,” she tapped on her console, “before consuming anymore of the installation, please.”

“Of course.” Julean paid and kept his investigatory charm going. “Have you worked for D’foe long? Stunning imagery. Frightful realism. Masterful mind at work.”

“I don’t work for Mr Ver Milion. I’m employed by the gallery.”

“Right. Of course. Well, you’re in good company.”

“Yes, D’foe Ver Milion is incredibly important to the artistic community here on Titan. I gather you’re not, um, a resident?”

“Well, I travel the galaxy for work, I see myself as a resident of the entire universe. You may have seen my television commercial?”

“No.” The lady tsk’d. “Television.” She almost spat the word out onto the floor. 

“Well… anything else you can tell me about the collection?”

“The exhibition will be on for three more weeks, at which point we have a closing event that Mr Ver Milion will attend in person.”

Julean’s eyes lit up. 

“The event, of course, will be invitation only.”

Julean’s eyes drooped back down again. This whole thing would be over in three weeks anyway. He would be linked to the case, lose his TV show and have to go back to his regular, depressing, patients. He smiled a dejected smile at the gallery lady and continued studying the large scale photographs. They really were breathtaking. He noted that the fights seemed to get so real that chairs were broken and trash cans were knocked over, tables were turned, glasses smashed. Glasses! Maybe the lacerations were made by broken glass? Perhaps, if the performance got out of hand, a shy, reserved participant like Frankey could be accidentally lacerated in the melee. But killed? The cops did say they were looking into suicide. Julean supposed that if the lacerations from the broken glass were on Frankey’s wrists or neck or anywhere else with an artery, and if he was at the bottom of a heaving crowd of performance artists, he could likely have bled out before the ‘fight’ was broken up. This could very well be an accidental death. And this D’foe would understandably not want his art associated with a real death. It may increase the value of the art, in time, but it would implicate him in manslaughter or something. He would most likely go to jail. So maybe he dumped the body? “Understandable.” Julean could relate. Had he solved the case? Well, he still hadn’t seen Frankey in any of the large scale photographs he was studying. Perhaps he wasn’t one of the performers but was still caught up in the tiki brawl all the same? His conviction in his own deductions were starting to wear a little thin, when a foil sticker on the side of one of the large frames caught his eye. It had an address on it. An address right here on Titan. Julean checked the other pieces and saw the same foil address sticker. 

“Well, it’s either the framer’s… or D’foe’s himself.” He mumbled. 

The gallery lady gave him a stern stare. Julean doffed his Panama and headed out to follow up on his new, potentially promising, lead. 

The warehouse building that stood at the address on the foil sticker didn’t give Julean anymore clues. It could just as easily be an industrial framing facility as it could be an artist’s compound. The only thing that gave it away was a tricycle in the entryway. Julean couldn’t decide whether to feel aloof or threatened. He had always imagined there was an ‘art’ to what he did. But he still wanted everybody to know that he was way smarter than anybody who merely painted or took pictures or whatever for a living. Still, no one thought that therapists were ‘cool’. Not ‘cool’ like artists anyway. He decided the tricycle made him feel aloof. It might be cute for a performance artist to ride around on one but if he did the same he would lose all of his patients, not to mention his credibility. He was better than that. It gave him the confidence boost he needed as he hopped up the stairs to the floor where the studio was. The booze had mostly worn off and he was feeling sharp as a tack, ready to interrogate the hell out of this artist type. 

“Yes, hello, what can I do for you?” Asked (who Julean assumed was) D’foe. 

“Hello my dear boy. I’ve just witnessed the most… striking… exhibition and I was looking for the artist whose brilliant mind it came from. Are you… D’foe Ver Million?”

“Mmm. Who’s asking?”

“My name’s Cerulean. Julean Cerulean, my dear.” Hat doff. “I strive to help young artists, such as yourself, with financial backing and exposure-“

D’foe cut him off. “Aren’t you that TV shrink?” 

“Yes, my dear, my work in the televisual… arts… allows me to offer young artists, such as yourself, more opportunity than-“

“Ok, whatever, come in, look around.”

“Thank you, dear boy. D’foe? Is it?”


“Wonderful.” Julean marched into the warehouse studio. He was starting to feel a little threatened again so he emphasized his well-educated stride and pompous pauses even more. “Tell me about these… wonderful… fight scenes you orchestrate.”

“You know. We fight. I shoot it. It’s all brutality and toxic masculinity and all that. Real Stone Age stuff.”

“Yes! Yes. We surround ourselves with these modern objets, modern machines. ‘The future!’ we tell ourselves. But our minds… our minds are primitive, my dear.”

“Right, yeah.”

“And how many… fighters… do you usually have sparring at once?”

“Started small. Two, three, four. But now I’m, like, choreographing, like, thirty or forty and stuff.”

“My dear boy, that is rather impressive isn’t it?”

“Yah, I guess so.”

“Yes! It is! And do you know all of the… pugilists… by name?”

“Sure. Some. Most. All. Sure.”

“I wonder… did you ever work with… a wonderful acquaintance of mine… a person named…” Julean stopped pacing for dramatic effect, “Frankey Lapis? Otherwise known as Frankey Lazuli?”

“Yah. No. Who? No, I don’t know him.”

Julean had gotten what he needed, an opening. Now to turn the screws. 

“Are you sure D’foe? Are you certain, dear boy?”

“Wait. What? Hey. Relax. Do you wanna buy somma my art or not?”

Julean cooled off, to do a little ‘good cop, bad cop’. “Yes, dear boy. Yes I do. Now, what do you have to show me?”

D’foe, a little flustered and acting fairly guilty, even if he wasn’t sure what of, showed Julean around all his various projects, past and in-progress, in the studio. He half-heartedly explained each. Julean thought that if he really was looking to back an artist, it wouldn’t be this flake. He hardly knew how good any of his own work was and had no idea whatsoever how to sell it. It was while D’foe was fairly nonchalantly trying to explain a really rather exquisite collection of his ceramics that Julean noticed Frankey’s news story in the Transgalactic Press open on D’foe’s console. He switched back to ‘bad cop’ to turn the screws even harder. 

“Well… would you look at that? The Frankey you swore you didn’t know is right here on your newsfeed.”

“Well, yah, that’s why I was, like, confused when you was asking.”

“Confused? Confused my dear boy? You might have well confessed!”

“What? Confessed? What are you talking about?”

“You know full well, don’t you? Don’t you, dear boy?”


“Yes! You killed him, didn’t you? Didn’t you, dear boy?”


“Yes! You tried to hide it didn’t you? By dumping his body. What did you kill him for? Money? Jealousy? The thrill?”

“Alright, alright, I heard he died at my show the other night but that’s all. That’s all!”

“Ah ha!” Julean felt a rush like he’d never felt before. In his line of work this was called a breakthrough, but it usually took months, or even years. In his investigatory capacity he was getting a breakthrough in minutes. 

“Please!” Begged D’foe, “I can’t do this right now. You’ve got to go. You’ve got to. Otherwise I’m calling the police. I’m calling them!”

“Call them. Call them! Confess to them too!”

“No. Stop it. No!” He broke down in tears. 

“Alright, my dear boy, alright. There, there.” ‘Good cop.’ “Now what else can you tell me?”

Just as he thought he was getting somewhere, Julean heard the studio door open. He looked over to see a small gang of performance art types heading his way. Julean guessed these were the fake fighters from D’foe’s photographs, and wondered if all that fake fighting meant they knew how to real fight. 

“Get him out of here,” cried D’foe, “get him out!”

The performance artists stared at Julean standoffishly. He knew that, despite his imperceptibly strong mind, his body was actually frightfully weak. Fearing that this would turn physical, he stepped away and held his arms up to the gang. “I’m going, don’t worry my dears, I’m going. I’ve got what I want. Right, my dear?” D’foe sobbed harder. The performance artists all stepped towards Julean. He held his hands higher and backed towards the door. 

“You know, you all look like you could use a few sessions. Fathers didn’t love you? Mothers smothered you? I’m actually serious now, my dears, I could do you all some good! Think about it. Ganymede-555-5555.” He kept backing out. “Look out for my commercial!” 

The largest performance artist stepped closer to him and reached out, Julean winced, but it was only to slam the door in his face. “And watch my show when it airs!” He shouted through the closing door. 

Wow. What. A. Rush. Julean decided to stake the place out to see if it turned up anything new. 

He found a hip little café across the street that had a good view of the entrance and of D’foe’s studio windows. He could see D’foe pacing back and forth and his performance art entourage following him, trying to calm him down. Beyond the warehouse, through the golden haze, Julean could see the light was leaving the Titan sky. It left behind a beautiful shock of bright orange, which faded gradually into a deep, dark purple before dropping away completely to black. A star in the distance twinkled at him. Julean imagined it was someone watching his commercial on a distant planet, deciding to book an appointment. 

Eventually, D’foe and the performance artists moved away from the windows. Julean adjusted his view to the entrance and counted the steps that they were likely walking down. Right on cue, the entrance door swung open and a still irate D’foe marched through, his entourage trailing faithfully. Julean watched them disappear around the next block, he daintily drained his espresso cup and wandered back over to the warehouse entrance. It was unlocked. “Artists, ha!” Julean said out loud. 

Back inside the studio, Julean took a self-guided tour around the various exquisite works of art, absorbed, now that he didn’t have interrogation on his mind. D’foe really was some kind of artistic genius, even if he didn’t know it. Julean wondered if he could get any of these works out of here without anyone noticing but then surmised that art theft truly would implicate him in this whole mess. He didn’t know if he couldn’t prove that D’foe was ‘X’ but he might be able to prove he was involved in Frankey’s death. He just needed something to corroborate it, so he could go to the cops and shut this whole thing down and finally get back to his own life and career and impending success. He decided the proof wouldn’t be in the art, it would be in paperwork or correspondence. He dug through D’foe’s various desks and drawers and filing cabinets. “What… a… mess.” He kept muttering to himself. But he was starting to see a pattern. Various checks and invoices and even handwritten notes from a P.B.B. or P.Bellrose, sometimes P.B.Bracken and, on a couple of occasions, merely Prestly. “Would love to get my hands on this identity complex,” he said to himself. Prestly Bellrose Bracken’s various pieces of paperwork often came on headed papers, each of which had different addresses, most of them were around Titan. “This P.B.B. must own half the moon,” Julean muttered, “or, at least, rent it.” He scribbled down the most likely address where he would find them, the PBB Building downtown, and slid out of the studio door, thoroughly impressed with his own investigatory skills. 

It was late. Julean didn’t feel like going all the way back to Ganymede, even though lightspeed travel basically meant it took no time at all. It was more a question of distance from the case. Julean had pretty much cracked it in a day. All he needed was some confirmation of D’foe’s character from this Bellrose or Bracken or whatever they went by, and then he would be able to go to the police with a solid accusation. Bracken was clearly an upstanding member of the prestigious Titan community. Julean imagined himself in their company for a while. In their circle, even. Perhaps they could all benefit from a few sessions with him. Maybe this could be a new segment on his show? The high society of Titan and their terrible traumas. Julean checked into a nearby high end hotel resort and got a suite. He deserved some pampering. He took a shower and a steam. Titan’s water really was quite exquisite. He ordered a tossed salad from room service and settled down in front of the big flat screen in his bedroom for the night. The first thing he saw, when he clicked it on, was a story about Frankey. The newscasters had a lot more information than he saw in the tiki bar earlier. Obviously, they had Frankey’s body. “Yes.” Confirmed Julean out loud. They also had the Lazuli family connection. “Ok.” They knew that he was last seen at the Titan tiki bar. “Damn.” And they also had footage of the body being dumped. “What?” Albeit dark, grainy and censored footage. Julean knew the cops must be feeding them information. It was only a matter of time before they connected him to it all. Or maybe they already knew but were drip feeding the audience. 

Julean hardly slept at all that night. He was so close to cracking the case, but not so close that his TV show and impending success were safe. He hardly touched his scrambled eggs the next morning, eager to get to Bellrose Bracken’s and then onto the police station. 

He was so relieved when P.B.B.’s secretary let him in, that he didn’t even notice how strange it was that Prestly already recognized him. 

“Doctor Cerulean, I presume.”

“Yes! You must have seen my commercial.”

“Right. That’s right.”

“Well… then you’ll appreciate that I’m a professional, my dear, and allow me to get straight to the point.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’ve been investigating the death of Frankey Lapis, aka Frankey Lazuli, and through process of in-ves-tig-a-tory elimination have deduced that the murder was carried out by none other than your charge… D’foe Ver Milion.” Julean paused for effect. “Does this surprise you, my dear?”

“Not at all.”

“Oh. Really?”

“No. D’foe’s a barbaric type.”

“Well… exactly. In fact… I’d hoped I could obtain a character assessment from you to aid in my accusation to the police.”

“The police?”

“That’s right, my dear.”

“Whatever you need.”

“Well… thank you.” Julean was finding this whole investigatory thing pretty easy. He was quite adept at it. 

“You were Frankey’s therapist, correct?”

Julean’s stomach dropped. The news must have released his information. Those animals. 

“He spoke very highly of you.” Prestly continued. 

“You… knew… Frankey?”

“Yes. We were business partners for some time.”

“He… never…”

“Never mentioned me? Yes, I know. He withheld a lot from you. His family. His work. He told me.”

Julean wasn’t sure what to say, for once. 

“Anyway, let me write you that character assessment.”

Julean’s mind was already in overdrive. Was D’foe actually ‘X’? How did P.B.B. fit in? Was he involved in Frankey’s ‘new venture’? Prestly just said they were business partners. How did he know so much?

P.B.B. continued, “D’foe would probably benefit from a session or two with you. Although, I imagine you have to listen to a lot of his type drivel on.”

Julean went into wordplay autopilot. “Yes. All day. You could say I’m bored certified.”

“What’s that?”

“Just a little… healthcare humor, my dear. ‘Bored’ as in ‘board.’” Julean clarified. “It works better written down.” 

Just then, something in Julean’s calculations clicked.

After he left P.B.B., he raced back to D’foe’s. He should have been headed to the police. He thought he had this case all tied up. It had all made perfect sense. All except for who ‘X’ was. Julean reminded himself that he was very ethically minded. He couldn’t send the wrong man down just to save his burgeoning TV career. He surprised even himself, thinking that way. He got to the warehouse and raced up the steps, burst through the door and tried to compose himself. 

“‘Ey, whassup up, Doc?” Said a familiar voice. 

“Officer?” Questioned Julean. 

“Yea, dat’s right. Whad are you doin’ here?”

The other officer led D’foe out of the back room, cuffed and crying. 

“Have you arrested that man?” Asked Julean.

“Yea, whassit to ya?” Demanded the officer. 

“Well… I came to a… similar… conclusion during my own investigation.”

“Youses investagation? Whadda youse doing investagatin’? Ya lucky we don’ drag youse downtown fer leaven’ Ga’mede.”

“Well I… think you’re wrong, my dear.”

“I don’ give a ratsass wha’ you t’ink.”

“But what makes you think-“

“We got da footage of ‘im dumpin’ da bady!” The officer raised his voice as his partner dragged D’foe out of the door by his handcuffs. 

“D’foe, my dear-” Julean pleaded.

“Don’ tawk to ‘im.” Snarled the second officer. 

“D’foe, what does Prestly have to do with… all this?”

“It was a commission. A commiss-”

“Shaddap.” The other officer walloped him on the head. 

“Officer, my dear, this is brutality.” Pleaded Julean.

“Yea, well, welcome ta police work- ‘ey look, Doc, you’re on TV.”

Julean looked over at the flat screen, expecting his commercial to be staring back at him. But, in fact, it was everything he had been trying to avoid over the past few days. 

“Lazuli’s therapist was none other than a Doctor Julean Cerulean.” Informed the news anchor, playfully. “The, self-appointed, ‘therapist to the stars,’” she giggled. “He must have some pretty famous patients to deserve that moniker.” She guffawed. “You ever gone to see the Doc, Berta?”

“Never heard of him!” Laughed the other anchor. “His patients can’t be that famous.”

“Well, he’s got a famous patient now. Even if Lazuli is an ‘ex’ patient.”

The room felt quiet. 

“It’s a play on words.” Julean said quietly, to no one. “Animals.”

While he was fully absorbing his career dissolution at the hands of a couple of daytime news jackals, the officers had forcibly removed D’foe from his art studio, stuffed him into the back of their police cruiser and left. 

Julean stared at the screen. His name and credentials were running along a ticker below the dark, grainy, censored footage of Frankey’s body being dumped. Forever indelibly linked to a horrific crime. He felt his phone vibrate. 

“It doesn’t look good, darling.” Said Toaddy on the other end. 

“I know… just… give me a minute, my dear.” Julean said as he hung up. Frankey’s tapes were racing around inside his head. D’foe didn’t actually seem like a killer. Certainly not a mastermind. He was more like a scapegoat. A patsy. Prestly must be more involved. But how? Why? Ex business partners? Did Frankey screw him over? That didn’t sound like Frankey. He didn’t care about money. He didn’t care about power. He didn’t even care about business. He cared about art. He cared about love. Ex lover? That made more sense. 

Julean felt like he was about to lose everything. So he was determined not to lose the case, however loose his theories were. He ran back over to Prestly’s building, past the secretary and straight into the office. 

“Twice in one day, doctor? I hope you’re not planning to bill me.” Prestly smirked. 

“You’re not a patient, my dear.” Julean huffed. “But you should be.”

“How so?”

“You’re the ‘X’.”

“What’s that?”

“‘X’, meaning ‘Ex’. It makes more sense written down.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You were the reason he was always on Titan.”


“That ended sometime ago. But your relationship didn’t. Not until more recently.”

“Relationships end everyday.”

“Yes, but for you, that was the final rejection. You’d been broken up about losing Frankey as a business partner for years. You couldn’t understand it. He said he didn’t care about money, you couldn’t understand it. He said he didn’t care about power, you couldn’t understand it. He said he didn’t care about the business. His family name. Everything you cared so much about. You thought the two of you were the same. You kept thinking it was you he was trying to leave. Not the business. Not the money. Not the power. Not the family name. But he wasn’t. You were the only thing he did care about. But it tore you up because you couldn’t understand that about him. And it tore him up that you didn’t believe him. And that tore the two of you apart! And you couldn’t let that happen-”

“Now, wait just a minute-” Prestly seemed to be rattled for the first time. 

“You paid D’foe to do it. You were already paying him. What’s another commission? A commission to commit murder! How did you even know D’foe? Did Frankey discover him? Was art his ‘new venture’? He always had a thing about artists.”

Prestly looked past Julean, horrified. Julean turned around to see P.B.B.’s secretary at the door, with a phone in his hand, surrounded by a growing number of employees. Both Prestly and Julean knew that meant the police were on their way. 

Prestly paced. Julean felt his phone buzz again. 

“Darling. You’ve got to face the music sometime. Look, I have StudioTV&Film and Ganymede6 on the other line. I can get you out of all of this without having to pay the kill fee but you will have to work with me, darling. You will have to do as I say-“

“Wait… my dear. Get StudioTV&Film over to the PBB Building in Titan Central Plaza right now. We’re going to shoot some promos.”

“But darling. They don’t want you. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

“Get them here. Now. If they don’t like what they see, I’ll pay the kill fee out of my own pocket.”

“But darling, it’s two billion-” Julean hung up. 

“Prestly,” he said. “My dear. I think I can help.”

“What the blazes are you talking about?” 

“You! I think I can help you! You said Frankey spoke very highly of me. And I was certainly helping him. I could help you… move on! Get over him!”

“In prison? Because that’s where I’m going!”

“Why not? I’m very good. And it’ll make a wonderful setting for my new television show.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Indeed. And it might just work, my dear. Now… tell me… what happened.”

The next week, the promos for Julean’s new show ran everywhere. Ganymede6’s parent network, Jupiter Entertainment, upped their media buy. It was set to become their hit show of the season. The murder that had gripped the galaxy, the leader of Titan’s high end community at the center of it all, the therapist of the victim who was attempting to turn the jilted ex lover’s life around during a life sentence in prison. “What’s more ‘family’ than a story of reformation?” Ganymede6 reassured themselves. The ratings were going to be out of this world! 

“You’re all stars to me, my dears.” Julean said to camera. “Come and see me soon. And… until then… keep on shining”



He’s a blue alien!

He’s a therapist to the stars! 

And the people who live in them!”

Posted by:Tim Bateman

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