Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ~ "Dagwood of the Mind"
by Dash O'Pepper

Author's Notes: This is a parody of the second season Columbo episode, "Dagger of the Mind" (#2.04) by Richard Levinson & William Link; teleplay by Jackson Gillis. While I adore Richard Basehart as Admiral Nelson, his portrayal of Nicolas Frame was so over-the-top in that episode that I wanted to explain its existence away, and have a bit of fun at the same time.

"By the pricking of my thumbs…" he muttered, as his head lolled in a fitful sleep. "…this way comes—"

He jerked awake, feeling the creeping spread of liquid along his thigh.

Thankfully, that shot one theory to hell, he thought, righting the half-empty glass he was still holding in his hand. He reached toward the coffee table, grabbing a handful of deli napkins to dab up the mess before it soaked into the sofa cushions—never mind his uniform slacks; at least a damned spot on them would come out.

Harriman Nelson's hands shook involuntarily, as fragments of a nightmare came looming from the recesses of his memory. It hadn't been the spilled soda that woke him—that was what had pulled him back from the abyss.

"Get a hold of yourself," he chastised himself. He was a man of science, of logic, of plain old-fashioned common sense. A dream was nothing more than a confused jumble of the day's actions, mixed with a healthy (or sometimes unhealthy) dash of the id. His stomach grumbled in painful acknowledgement.

He usually followed Jamie's advice to the letter about his diet, but there were times when his cravings got the better of him. Tonight had been one of those. He'd gone all out for this dinner—a triple-decker Reuben piled high with corned beef and sauerkraut, as well as heaping helpings of coleslaw and potato salad on the side. The Kosher deli he'd gone to even carried Dr Brown's old-fashioned cream soda from New York.

Calming himself, he picked up the remains of his dinner, and headed for the kitchen. While he knew he'd probably pay dearly tomorrow with a massive case of heartburn for his gastronomic indulgence this evening, he wanted to believe that the chimera he couldn't quite shake was going to make a good down payment.

He attempted to put the dream's fragments into some kind of coherence. He was Macbeth. No, that wasn't right, was it? Although, he did distinctly remember seeing three witches—one had even mentioned Seaview. In the dream, he was an actor—and a washed-up ham at that, he harrumphed—playing the role of Macbeth. And there was Lady Macbeth, too. It looked like she'd applied her stage-makeup with a trowel, and he'd never heard Scottish spoken quite that way.

There was a murder, or was it two? But why would he want to kill Terry Thomas and Bernard Fox? Then there was the shrewd detective in the rumpled raincoat, doing a James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson impersonation. The man was vaguely familiar. Nelson distinctly recalled that the policeman had one glass eye; he remembered how it moved out of rhythm with the other. He tried to recall where he'd seen the police lieutenant before. NASA, wasn't it? At General Martin Peterson's tenth anniversary party: Sammy Davis, Jr.

The way the mind plays tricks on you, he laughed. Now, if he could only get the cloying sweet smell of cream soda out of his trousers.

~ Finis ~

© 2016 Dash O'Pepper

Disclaimer: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a registered trademark of Twentieth Century Fox, Inc. The above copyright is not in any way meant to infringe on copyrights already held by the estate of Irwin Allen, Twentieth Century Fox, Inc. and/or their subsidiaries.