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     Before boarding a plane for Argentina Martin Fierro, depressed by the predictable nature of his life, spent an inordinate amount of time contriving to fake his own death. He assumed being a person without a past would allow him a sense of rebirth, a breath of fresh air when he settled into what he hoped would be an idyllic life in the bustling cosmopolitan beehive known as Buenos Aires. Ultimately he concluded that, although it might have been possible to fake one's death a century ago, now, with the all-seeing eye of the internet and various related governmental agencies, such a possibility was, well, impossible.

     Now, looking out the window of his newly acquired Buenos Aires office onto the fourteen lane traffic jam known as the 9th of July Avenue Martin expelled a slow, weak groan–a groan suggesting life wasn't as satisfying as it was decades ago. Unlike most of the drivers on the avenue below Martin wasn't suicida—he hadn't fallen that far—but his intention to live life in large, broad strokes had slipped through his grasp.

     Faking his death, an act that broke multiple taboos in a variety of cultures, might have given him a sense of vitality and a chance for an improved life. Or maybe not. Most likely in a moment of bravado, he would confess the deception to an unreliable confidant, be found guilty of some grave felony, and find himself in a spiral exceeding his current downward arc. It was difficult for Martin, shaken as he was by life's recent developments, to trust himself with a secret of such magnitude. The exact severity of faking one's death was unclear, but he was sure it was against the laws of most civilized countries. Given the drawbacks, he decided to move forward without the worry of potential humiliation—or incarceration. But something had to change. Living without a sense of vitality was lackluster, flat, and wrong—like unsalted oatmeal.

     Martin hadn't eaten oatmeal in ages, and the thought made his mouth water. He glanced at his watch. If he hurried, he could make it down the four flights of his office to the corner bakery. He could buy a factura, a flaky Argentine pastry, jimmy the equally flaky elevator, and be back in time to consult with his new client. The client, a man he knew only by his reedy, English-accented voice over the phone, was due in his office in fifteen minutes. Darting out now for a moment was a risk, but he doubted his client would be on time—as was often the case in this charmingly lackadaisical country. He squinted at his watch, weighed the consequences, then bolted out the door.

     Roald Higginbottom knocked on the door, slightly ajar labeled Investigador Privado. Below the title it read Marital Infidelity Our Specialty and.... The rest of the slogan had peeled off leaving an unreadable patina of adhesive. The word our in the slogan was stretching the truth—implying several or perhaps a legion of detectives. The truth was that circumstances had yet to require Martin to hire an assistant, or a secretary, or anyone else, for that matter. Lack of funds, a situation precipitated by his ex-wife, forced him to maintain his position as a one-man-band of detection. After brief reflection, Fierro thought the suggestion his firm had more than one employee would engender confidence from potential clients. Besides, he inherited the office from the previous tenant who had multiple employees—who could blame Martin for saving a few pesos by not having the door repainted? He was considering hiring an assistant, and until then Martin told himself that all savings would be passed onto the client.

     Roald eyed the door, noted the dust and peeling varnish, and knocked again. The disrepair, rather than being off-putting, implied Roald might be able to afford the detective's services. He pushed forward, edging the door slowly open, "I say, anyone home?"

     By this time Martin had made his way to the front of the queue and was rummaging his pockets for the few pesos, it would take to cover the cost of the pastries. Finding the right combination of oddly sized coins he purchased two large crescent-shaped facturas, one of which he stuffed into his mouth as he rushed out of the bakery.

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