Except he and the stories in which he appears are funnier than all that. His steed is a decaying Winnebago motor home on which a vandal has spray-painted that Maynard Soloman Investigation Services SUKS!, and Soloman is on the run not from outlaws or marauding Comanches, but from unpaid medical bills.
The titles of the 4 Funny Detective Stories — Starring Maynard Soloman say much about author Benjamin Sobieck's targets: "Maynard Soloman Solves the War on Drugs," "Maynard Soloman Fixes Social Security and Eats a Pony," "Maynard Solomon & The Job-Nabbin' Illegal Immigrants," and, in a story that comes as close to heart-warming as the old cuss gets, "Maynard Soloman Proves Santa Claus is Real."
So, yes, the stories are sharply satirical, but even the villains are not all that threatening as individuals. They remind me of Bob and Ray's boobs and hapless schemers. So, what keeps the stories from veering over into mere spoofs? That Maynard, booted off the police Obscenities Division because of health problems and cheated of medical payments by "the arthritic bean counters on the force," opens his own mobile detective agency "to keep gas in the 'bago and the can opener turning." That they show a U.S. government aiming massive amounts of money at small problems while neglecting big ones. That Maynard will sneak in a mention of his stomach pains and his long-gone wife. There's is always the barest hint of grimness beneath the fun.
Mostly, though, Maynard is the philosopher-cum-man-of-action that we all wish we could be, the detective who solves mysteries by turning idiocy against itself. He knows about the state of customer service in America but, unlike most of us, he acts:
“In my years, I’ve learned that customer service is a luxury that must be demanded. Asking for help nowadays is like organ donation. You’d better have a good reason. And nothing conveys reason better than a round of healthy cursing.If you don't know what a blasphemous pillock is, don't worry; neither does Maynard. But it sure sounds good.
“`Hey, you blasphemous pillock. If you’re done bogging off, I need some gal-damn service,' I say and kick the box a couple times.”
© Peter Rozovsky 2012