Posts Tagged ‘serial fiction’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 2, 2013
Benny Green thinking.

Benny Green thinking.

Agent Curtis

(Episode 26)

Agent Curtis could feel the noose tightening, and he loved it.  Because of questions related to the nature of the Muffin Lady’s death, they’d gotten a search warrant of Benny Green’s offices.  And while processing the warrant they had discovered – kept in a cardboard box for easy transfer off the premises in the back hallway by the dumbwaiter – a separate, portable collection of files.  Payload!

Agent Curtis took what appeared to be one of these files out of a cardboard box on the passenger’s side as he hopped out of his Suburban and strode across the street into an older brownstone.  The building was in Benny’s mother’s maiden name, and so hadn’t been covered under the current warrant.  ‘This guy has more holes than a rodent.  Just a warren of corruption,’ Agent Curtis was thinking as he banged on the dingy green metal door, just off the second floor landing.  ‘Who knows where all these doors lead?’  He thought, glancing around.  ‘I do,’ he thought, answering his own question.  ‘A person could tell by the odor…’

“Wadda ya want?”  A voice crackled out of the tinny speaker with chipped paint.

“Federal Agent Benny,” Agent Curtis said in a clipped voice.  A moment passed.  “We have a need to talk.”

“Funny.  I am feeling no need.”

“Open up, and you will.”

“This wouldn’t be Agent Curtis, the alpha dog of Federal Bureau Division 12, would it?”

“How’d you know?”

“It’s yur piss ant knock,” Benny remarked through the tinny speaker, as the buzzer sounded.

Agent Curtis strode in, carrying the file.  Evidence was one thing.  But confronting the bad guy was another.  For one thing, you could gather a lot of information just by observing the suspect and how they reacted when confronted with some damning evidence.  And for another, it was just, damn fun.

“If you would have just told me it was an old friend, I would have opened up right away,” Benny said, extending his arms.

He sat behind an enormous desk.  So enormous, in fact, that it took up nearly the whole room.  And that was probably part of the plan Agent Curtis surmised.  By the time anyone could be over or around the thing, Benny would be long gone out the rear door.  And where that led was anyone’s guess.  Plus, the desk itself was of a polished hardwood.  Possibly reinforced with a bulletproof steel liner, behind which Benny could duck in case a conversation got out of hand.  But what Agent Curtis had in mind was finally going to happen in court.

“All your friends are dead Benny.”  Agent Curtis replied curtly.  “It’s not a good list to be on.”

“If you’re here about the Muffin Lady, I had nothing to do with that.”

“So you say.”

“So would anyone say, who didn’t have anything to do with it.  Which would include several million people by last counting within a twenty mile radius,” Benny retorted.  “You Federal people.  You get an idea in your head that someone is a bad guy, and it just seems to stick there.  Nothing can dislodge it.  No amount of good works…”

“I’ve heard before how much money you gave to the Sons of Italy.”

“That’s not my only charitable contribution.”

“Save it, Benny.  I just stopped by as a courtesy call.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.”  Agent Curtis waved the file.  “I thought I’d give you a chance to do your packing.  You’re heading for the Big House soon!”

“Ahh!  Somewhere in the sun, I hope.”

“All of the companies you are purchasing portions of with illicitly gotten funds are right in here.  And we’re going to have a money-laundering case against you so tight this time, that you’ll spurt just like a fattened tick.”

“Can I have a look at it?”

Agent Curtis shook his head.  “No.”

“What’d you bring it for, then?”  Benny whined.

“For show and tell.  Just to see you sweat, Benny.”

“I don’t think you’ve got anything, in there.”

Just then a car alarm sounded.  Agent Curtis turned his attention to it; then noticed that Benny Green hadn’t.  Both paused for a moment.

“You think I’d be stupid enough to leave the box of evidence in my office Suburban?”

Benny looked like he was searching for a good retort to that, but had swallowed it.

“I’ll bet there’s nothing in that file.” Benny nodded.

“And you’d be right,” Agent Curtis showed him the blank sheets of paper.

Benny didn’t appear to look happy about it.

Agent Curtis turned to leave, as Benny took out his cellular phone.  Agent Curtis turned back.  “Oh,” he said.  Benny quickly hid the phone.  Agent Curtis laughed, pointing to where Benny had hidden his phone, and shook his head.

“I forgot what I had to say!”  Agent Curtis smiled, waved and left.

After Agent Curtis had surely left, and the door had surely shut.  Benny made several calls on his traceable phone to several names at all the companies on his manufactured list; drug them into a confusing conversation for a time, and then excused himself pleasantly and hung up.  If they weren’t accessible he left a cryptic message.  Then he began to think about dinner and maybe going out with his mistress tonight to see the Lakers perform.  Sometimes celebrity fans would attend, and she loved that.  And when she was happy, the sex was better.  Not professional on her part perhaps, but true.

Photo by Carl Nelson of a professional model.

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 25, 2013
Benny Green's Office

Benny Green’s Office

Later At Benny Green’s Office

(Episode 25)

Benny glanced over his Times at Duane, who was picking his nose, and slapped him with his rolled up paper.  “Get your finger outta your nose, and start doing what I just asked you to start doing.”

But Duane just started digging deeper.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

“You said…  Oh.”  Duane removed his finger “Sorry.  I get lost in …thought, Bennie!” he realized.

“It’s understandable,” Benny replied.  One thought was about the largest log Duane’s intellect could climb over.  Anymore, and he just had to go around.

‘Duane.  What kind of a name was that?’ Benny asked himself.  ‘The kind of name his dead sister, may she rest in peace, would name her kid,’ was Benny’s answer.  He ate.  He got “lost in thought”.  And he followed Benny around like a stray dog, always had.  But he was loyal, and he knew how to keep his mouth shut, two very valuable character traits in Benny’s line of business.  The other thing Duane could do was the heavy lifting.  Because Duane was extremely strong and huge and ugly, that is, menacingly ugly.  All of which made Duane a good messenger in Benny’s line of work.  Benny never needed a delivery receipt.  His clients never misplaced his meaning.

“We have a lot to think about.”  Benny gave Duane a pat on his huge broad back.  Another trait that Benny hadn’t thought to think was that Benny could be nice to him; Benny could be considerate, without it looking weak.  Everyone needed to love something.  It was lonely at the top.  And Duane never took advantage.  Duane wasn’t smart enough.  Plus, Duane was ‘blood’.

Benny glanced over at Duane, who was picking his nose again, and slapped him with his rolled up paper!  “Get your finger outta your nose, and start doing what I just asked you to start doing.  Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

“You said…  Oh.”  Duane removed his finger.   “Sorry.  I got lost in ..thought!”  Benny laughed happily.  A crumble of snot hung on his index finger.

“It’s understandable,” Benny replied.  “So you got it now?”

“I think so,” Duane said.  “We’re being in-vest-ti-gated.  Which is a good thing.”

That’s right!”  Benny smiled.  He re-seated himself and unrolled the front page article he had been reading for the fifth time.  “Now we know who the stoolie was.”

Benny was re-reading about the grisly murder of Nancy Loomis, the “Muffin Queen”.  It was all there on page one, with much more in the continuing article on pages 7 and 8.  How the hell she had gotten herself whacked, Benny didn’t know.  But what he did know, now, and what was interesting was that the Feds were involved.  And since he couldn’t see how any state lines might have been crossed in the commission of said crime, there was one likely reason for that being the case… a racketeering charge.

‘Oh, that Loomis was a piece of female work,’ Benny thought to himself.  ‘Runs a million dollar business using all those computers and spreadsheets, but she still had to come to me when she needed some dough,’ Benny congratulated himself.  ‘Thought I was a moron, too.’

“It’s incredible how many people without money think that the people with money are morons.”  Benny shook his head.  Duane took the cue and shook his head also.

But that was one of the things that gave him an edge in this business.  The other was that Benny could anticipate things.

Benny looked over the top of the Times at Duane, who still hadn’t set about doing what it was Benny had asked him to do!  Even though he had snapped the newspaper twice!  He looked as though he had taken the long route around another thought of his, Benny sighed.  “Whenever you engage in criminal activity, there is always going to be a stoolie.  It’s just the way it is,” Benny explained to Duane.  “So the thing is, to prepare for it, which is what we’ve done now.  We have salted our involvement through bogus loans to various, handpicked businesses in the area which I’ve been trying to get my hands on for years, and now, this is my chance.”  ‘There,’ Benny thought.  ‘I’ve explained it about as well as it can be explained.’

“That sounds good Bennie!” Duane cheered.

“It is Duane!”  Benny smiled.  “Because when the Feds – being the bureaucrats they are – are going to go looking for files, because they like files, and they love a paper trail.  And then, they are going to find these files and my paper trail.  And then, they are going to use these files to begin investigating for evidence of ‘involvement’ of others.  And then,” Benny smiled, ‘they will not find any involvement of others.  Because all of these paper trails?   I made them all up!”

“I like that,” Duane said.

“Thank you Duane,” Bennie said.  He raised his finger.  “Which means, being the bureaucrats that they are,  that they are going to re-double their efforts to find and uncover this involvement of others.   Because, being the bureaucrats that they hope to remain, it would be career suicide to find that there isn’t any involvement on the part of so-named others after expending the monies and time which they have already expended to find this involvement of others AND gone before grand juries.  All of which – between the investigations and the litigations – is going to be my cue to begin my involvement!”  Benny cried gleefully and pounded the desk.  “Because all of these formerly healthy, profitable, hand-picked companies are going to really need my money by then, to defend themselves against all these investigations brought by their government against their involvement with me!  It is so beautiful, I could just kiss the opportunity!  Because  I.  Just. Love. My.  Government!  Remind me to get a flag.  I want to hang it right over there.”

“That would be real pretty and Patriotic too Benny,” Duane said.

“Thank you Duane,” Benny said.  “Why don’t you go over to Pete’s now and fetch us a couple of the blue plates, like I asked you to do?”  Benny handed Duane the money.  “You buy.”

“Gee, thanks boss!”  Duane smiled, fingering the money, and left.

“Damn!  I feel good,” Benny exclaimed to himself.  And he settled into his desk chair, pointed at the door, while reading the newspaper article through again, while waiting for Agent Curtis and that other one to arrive with the bogus files in hand.  And if he remembered correctly, that other one of the Federal Agents in this area was a real ‘looker’.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 23, 2013

Editor:  Okay.  Back to crime, murders, sex, violence and all that… set in a rural milieu.

Is This an Ivy League Mistress?  (Vote Frequently; Vote Often.)

Is This an Ivy League Mistress? (Vote Frequently; Vote Often.)

“I just love this recession!”

(Episode 24)

 Benny Green slid off of his mistress.  “I just love this recession!” He crowed.  Really high profit businesses were scrambling like rats to deal with their cash flow problems, and Benny was gobbling them up right and left like a hungry alley cat.  ‘And some really high rollers were tossing some really nice mistresses out on the streets, besides’, Benny thought, kicking the sheets gleefully.

Benny, himself, had just upgraded to a natural blonde, ten years younger than his former for near the same outlay… with better teeth and a lot less profanity.  He glanced to the left.   And she had just risen from bed and was in the kitchen now, steaming his latte and warming his brioche, which she was soon to bring out on a tray with a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice and a freshly printed edition of the mornings news.  And this had happened many times before over the past few months.  Still, he nearly had to pinch himself to believe his good fortune.  ‘How the very rich lived!’  Benny was just finding this out now, himself, from her, the natural blonde debutante from some rich eastern Ivy League school.

He didn’t know which.  And frankly, he couldn’t care.  Plus it probably all was a lie.  But, ‘dammit if I’m not living like one of the 1 percent’, Benny thought gleefully, exulting in his newly found prosperity and snapping open the front page of his newly printed morning paper as his mistress unfolded the legs of his bed tray over his ample midsection.

“Shit!” he exclaimed.  “Someone popped the Muffin Lady.”

His mistress quietly mopped up the spilled juice.  Benny almost stopped reading to get a little head, but then let the thought go.  ‘Business first.’

There it all was, just below the fold: a tale of a gruesome rape, complete with a decapitation – if the sources were to be believed.  And there, way down at the bottom, was a hint of Federal involvement.  Which Benny took to mean right away that he’d better call Delores.

“Delores,” he said over his cell.  “You may be getting some visitors soon from back East.  Make sure those files we discussed in the pasteboard box…”

“It’s too late, Benny.  They’re already here.”  Delores’ voice shrunk to a whisper.  “And I’ve been trying to hide that box as well as I can, but I don’t know…”

“So… that’s great!”  Benny exulted.  “That’s perfect.  That couldn’t be better!  Now you just sit back and let them find it.  Okay?”

“You sure about this?  That’s what you really want?”

“I’m sure about this.  That’s what I really want.”  Benny could hardly contain his glee.  “Okay?”

Delores acknowledged and he hung up.  “Well, now,’ he thought, ‘I think we know who the rat is.’

There was always one, which was why Benny was always prepared.  It baffled Benny how so many people felt that if things were going good, then they were always going to go good.  Baffled him, but also made him a lot of money.  “Lots of people didn’t anticipate a recession and so it just gave me a opportunity to be of help,” Benny snickered.  And “ lots of big wig criminals refuse to acknowledge the risk of getting caught,” he wagged his finger at his mistress.  “But sooner or later, getting caught is nearly a certainty.”  His mistress nodded, agreeing with his wisdom; seeing she had lived the fallout of it, firsthand, Benny figured.  The first mistress he’d ever had, had served him warmed up pizza and flat beer on the lid of a limp cardboard pizza carton, served in a sour bed, all the while finding fault with whatever scheme Benny had been cooking up at the time – until it had invariably descended into a screaming match/ food fight.  ‘Why am I screaming at my mistress?’ Benny had to ask himself at the height of it all.  ‘This is nuts!’  But at the same time, the thought of changing her out just hadn’t occurred to him, as all of the other mobsters he had complained to had related the same problems…

“Jeeze, we may get older, but we do get wiser.”  Benny smiled at his blonde bedmate.  She smiled back.  ‘Perfect teeth, and such a lovely smile’, Benny thought.   And for about two seconds, Benny Green was a satisfied man.   Because Benny has a satisfaction Attention Deficit Syndrome.

‘But with all this new business he anticipated coming in – maybe he could trade up again?  And what would that be?  Maybe a sixteen year old, fourteen, thirteen…?  That could be a little risky.  How young are they supposed to get?  Maybe someone who just looked fifteen!  I mean, really naïve.   That sounded about right,’ Benny considered.  ‘I never could get laid for all the rice in China at that age.  And maybe now he could make up for that.  But how would he find someone like that?’   Southeast Asia?  But he really wanted a blonde.  Maybe Columbia?’

Benny made another call to Deloris.  ‘Then again…’  He hung up.

‘Nope.  Better not call Deloris.’

Photo taken from Google Images by lascivious Editor.

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 13, 2013

Pork Chops2

The Marriage Therapist

(Back on the Farm, Continued 3)

(Episode 23)

(In our previous episode, Stan had shown Harriet and Bob the bar code embedded in the underside of his left forearm.  Bob had asked how you get one of those.  And Harriet had asked, “Who are you?”)

“I had what psychiatrists would later come to call, an ‘ambivalent’ relationship with my mother,”  Stan continued.

“You know Stan, we ain’t asking anyone around here to talk about their mother,” Bob interrupted.  “But that Federal Government part of it, I believe we both find interesting.”

“Shut up!”  Harriet poked Bob again with the gun barrel.

“I believe it’s germane to the tale, Bob,” Stan explained.

Harriet nodded emphatically.  Bob shrugged.

“Who knows how or why, but I can hear her voice just running around in loose in my head… just this utterly uncontrollable bitch!  Even now.”

“She died?”

Stan nodded, and shook out another funny looking cig from the carton.

“How’d she die?”

“Car accident.  House fire.  Ice pick through the eyeballs!!!   Or de-capitated and mangled viciously in a bloody threshing machine accident, which was investigated and cleared me of all blame when I was only 12.  What does it matter?!  The point is, that it stopped the voices!!!”   Stan lit the cigarette with a shaking hand.  His head twitched to the either side several times, until inhaling the cigarette and blowing out slowly visibly calmed him.

“Okay.  That sounds good,” Bob said, cautiously.  “That sounds real good.”

Harriet nodded emphatically.

“But then, as I carried on with my fucking life and resumed my fucking career, in … Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan – any place with fucking sand, it sometimes seemed!  I heard voices, in the native language…  The psychiatrists later said that I must have been a very sensitive boy.”  Stan interrupted himself.  “Not that a female ever makes sense.  But these were in a foreign language.  And they were always female, very domineering, very demanding, very curt, and short, and unloving…  and hectoring!”  Harriet frowned.  Sam waved frantically in the air as if to ward off a flock of attacking crows.  “So I had to bow out and headed back to the States, where at least I could understand the whole jabberfest.”  He sighed and took two more long tokes of his cigarette…  ‘which didn’t smell exactly like a cigarette,’ Bob was thinking.

“You want a toke?”  Stan whistled with held breath.

Bob started to nod and say “Yes”, until Harriet glanced his way and Bob shook his head and said “No” softly.  Stan nodded.

“Oh, they would start out in the morning discrete and humble enough, just say asking what time it was, or asking about this or about that, real pleasantly, or reminding me to do something.  Then progressing to asking me what I had planned for the day, and then adding something to that plan of the day, plus a request to help them with one or two things, if I could, before I did any of that which I had planned for the day, and finally beginning to sound hurt and petulant when you tried to beg off in order to just get a little of your own momentum going… Or maybe just start the day with a cup of coffee first before being harassed, from one end of the kitchen to the other, for Christsakes!  Making requests and giving orders…   And then, of course, they’re on you for swearing and cussing and getting upset… at something else!  not them, for Chrissakes.  Because you’re trying to be good about that.  And by the way, ‘Whereever did you get so sour and suspicious?’ and ‘How come you have to get so incensed by the slightest little request when I ask it?  I don’t mind doing things for you?’”

Stan nodded.  “Yeah, like you can ever remember anything I ask you to do!”   I tried talking to it.  I tried being reasonable.  But all it would do was to ignore me, or ask why I was upset.   Or finally, after I was just about to flip out, “are you okay, Stan?”  Like it really cared!  It would ask, all concerned like.   Until finally, I decided.   I’m going to have to kill it.  I had been killing a lot of people for Uncle Sam by that time; so it only seemed like the next logical step to begin killing some for myself.”  Stan glanced around as if looking for support.

The support was not forthcoming.

“Well now, I can kind of see your point.”  Bob nodded finally.  “I mean, I can kind of see how a man could get to that state.”  Harriet swung the gun towards him.  “Or, you know, begin thinking that way if it was a bad day or something, or you had taken sick.  …And then immediately putting it out of his mind, of course.”

“You see there are some women, I don’t know why, but they are like powerful broadcasting stations.  Their yammering thoughts just stream out!  And the closer they get the more powerful they get.  Until murder is about the only thing.  And then it’s a territorial thing, too.  You have to defend the boundaries of your psychological territory.  Like Frost says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  So.  In a way , it’s like any mission.  You get a reading.  You triangulate.  Then you go in on a Sweep and Clean.”  Sam made some Delta Force movements.

“This’s all fine and good,” Harriet said.  “But I don’t see why you had to go and get my husband involved in all of this.”

Stan exhaled slowly while staring up.  “I thought it would help your marriage.”

What?!”

“You see, Harriet!”  Bob exclaimed.  “I told you Stan was bound to have a real good reason for whatever it was that I was doing!”

“You were raping someone!”

Bob shrugged acknowledgement.  “Okay.”

“That’s marijuana you’re smoking, isn’t it?”  Harriet demanded.

“Yeah?”

“That’s illegal in this state.”

“I… I thought they just passed a law.”  Stan scrunched his brows with the effort of recollection.

“They may have just passed a law in this county.  But we are still proud citizens of the United States.  And it is still very illegal to smoke that in the United States of America.”  The gun barrel rose up and down as Harriet said the United States of America.  Stan’s eyes followed the gun barrel as Harriet recited this, and he started laughing, until he started coughing.  Putting out the joint, he looked up at Harriet with reddened eyes.  “My bad,” he said.

Harriet nodded.

“Where was I?”

“You were telling us how you were doing some Marital Therapy with Bob here.”  Harriet poked the gun at Bob.  “Out in the dark, in the woods, with some woman called the Muffin Lady, who you drug from her car and raped and assaulted.”  Harriet nodded.

“Oh, yeah.  That’s it.”  Stan rubbed his face.

“For a while, after moving Stateside and mustering out I made a living for myself doing Marital Counseling,” Stan continued.

“He did Marital Counseling!”  Bob exclaimed to Harriet.

Harriet cocked the gun.  “I’ve got ears don’t I?”

“Just sayin’,’ Bob squeaked.  “So maybe we could both listen and learn something?”  Bob suggested.

“You just ain’t got a brain in your head, do you?”

“You got to admit, the blush has kind of gone off of our relationship over the past couple of years, Harriet.”

“?”  Harriet looked at her husband, speechless.

Stan nodded.

“?”  Harriet looked at Stan, speechless – before some harsh words came to mind.  “Oh, I’ll bet he was just super at that!”

“Many of my patients swore by me,” Stan declared.

“And I’ll bet the others swore at you.”  Harriet laughed.  “That is, if you hadn’t cut their tongues out.  Or beat them senseless, and murdered and raped them.”

“We considered every form of therapy.  We didn’t take anything off the table.  You take violence and rape off the table and it’s no longer a fair encounter.  It’s not a natural environment.  The men are at an immediate disadvantage.  How can you expect to plant and grow the seeds of a lasting relationship, if you deny one of the partners their natural inclinations?”

“You’ve got to admit, the man makes sense.”  Bob nodded.

“You see who thinks you make a lot of sense?”  Harriet nodded to Stan.

“Reality doesn’t care what we think of it,” Stan replied.  “In fact, it doesn’t even know we exist.”

“You think you’re Reality?

“Actually,” Stan took another toke and looked up in thought.  “It doesn’t even know it exists.”

“You see there.  Now something tells me, that makes a lot of sense.”  Bob pointed.

Harriet rolled her eyes.

“I was impotent, Harriet.  And now I’m not!”

“What in the world are you bringing up now, Bob?”

“What I’ve been trying to tell you, for the past several weeks, Harriet!  But you just keep mumbling, “Go out and milk the cows Bob,” and turning over and going back to sleep,”  Bob implored Harriet. “Like I’m not even there.   …That I’m no longer impotent.”

“Oh, Bob.  Would you shut up about that!”

“But it’s important!”

Now is not the time!”

But he’s a therapist.”

“He’s a serial killer!”

“Well…  Can’t a person be both?”

“I swear!   I am going to shoot you, so full of holes… that it will spell your name.  R.o.b.e.r.t. (.B.o.b.).W.e.e.d.s. right up and down that newly empowered little weenie of yours,” Harriet swore.

“Harriet!  I’m potent again!”

“So can we talk about this later then?”  Harriet turned with the gun emphatically.

“Sure.  Sure.  …Maybe we could have little Bobs?”

Harriet cocked the trigger again.

It was quite a while before anyone spoke.  Until finally, Harriet shook her head, as if to wake.  “So.”  Harriet coughed.  “Perhaps we could move on to this… so called, government involvement.”

“Your hour is not yet up.” Stan smiled.

“Good.”  Harriet leaned back and threw her bead back on Stan.

“Yeah.  How does that barcode thing there on your arm supposed to work?”  Bob asked.

Stan looked at Harriet.  Harriet nodded.

“Well,” Stan replied.  “If I get in a sticky wicket somehow…  say the authorities have located me and are about to move in, or my mission has been compromised, I simply run this patch on my arm through the scanner of any nearby store and my information is immediately uplinked to a massive central server, an internal clearinghouse of all digitally originating information worldwide, where this code is recognized and activates a very Black Ops insertion and rescue operation.  It takes about 24 hours to be fully staged and operational.  So it’s not a complete failsafe.”

“Huh!”  Bob grinned, touching it.  “What does the store read out on the cash register say?”

“It says, Have a Nice Day!  J”  Stan replied.

Bob laughed.  “That’s great.  That’s real nice.”

“And it gives you 50 cents off on a frozen package of peas.”

“Umm.”

“He’s joking, you nitwit,” Harriet said.

“No I’m not, actually.”  Stan replied.  Bob looked vindicated.  “And it’s just such comments such as that, which have served in the past to destroy this man’s fragile masculinity.  To the detriment of you both, I might add.”

Harriet was abashed.  “I don’t know.  It just come out…”

“It’s true.  That sort of attitude just comes out, runs out of her like puss.”  Bob nodded.

“Well.  Words do hurt.  And it’s something to think about, especially if you are trying to improve your relationship.”

“I’ll try to do better.”

“Good,” Stan said.

“And I’ll help all I can with it,” Bob made a heartfelt offer.

“Good then!”  Stan smiled, clearly enjoying the cathartic moment he’d helped sponsor.  He stood.  “Let’s all join hands then in a short prayer… and then see what’s for desert.”

“Oh cripes!”  Harriet had set the gun on the table and was wiping the sweat from her hands before clutching those of the others.  “I got so wrapped up in that article in the Times that I plumb forgot about fixing the dessert.”

“It’s no matter.  It’s no matter.” Stan nodded.

“Yeah,” Bob agreed, holding out his hands.

“Let us pray.”

Photo lifted from Google Images

Murders in Progress… by Eldon Cene

December 9, 2012
And finally:  Let's Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

And finally: Let’s Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

(Pin-up in Sheriff Leland’s back room, which was replaced by the White Board)

Whiteboard

(Episode 19)

             A week had passed.  They had identified the first murder victim as Clarisse Clemens, another newbie to the area, which explained why no one had appeared to claim her body (parts).  Also, she had a rap sheet.  Apparently at one time she had also worked as a prostitute and a bunko artist.  Neither one very successfully it appeared, because she was found way out here and missing her head with a total of $19.37 and a six pack of condoms in her pocketbook.  Agent Hailey had retrieved a lot more information about her from their forensics team, which Agent Curtis wanted her to postpone sharing until he could be present at the meeting.  Presently he was in the city preparing to move against Benny Green and his operation, and he wanted to keep his ‘operational status’ clear for that, before entangling himself in that ‘rural muck’ portion of the investigation once again.  “Besides,” he said over the phone, “that’s what I have Agent Hailey there for.  I assume you two are working together okay?”

“Yes, we’re doing fine,” Leland replied.  “She’s very capable.  There’s no need to rush for that reason.  Although I would like a look at those findings as soon as possible, the pressure in a small community to find the perpetrator being what it is,” Leland said.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Agent Curtis replied curtly.  “But I have to let you know, Benny Green is still my top suspect.”

“We’ll see you when you get here,” Leland replied and hung up.

“You’ve got all the forensics?” Leland asked.

“Faxed this morning,” Agent Hailey replied.

“Thanks,” Leland replied.  If Agent Curtis knew the kind of end run Agent Hailey and he were perpetrating, he might have to re-consider who was pimping who.  As it stood now, Leland had an inside to the full resources of the FBI through Agent Hailey.  And Agent Hailey had a full run of the investigation through him.  And “all there is left now is marriage,” Leland smiled, happy with how this was all playing out.

“Is that a proposal?”

Agent Hailey had softened quite a bit under Leland’s professional wooing, and was becoming a real part of the team.  ‘…of two’, Leland considered happily.  It was like every day was another date with his dream law enforcer.  He had never been so happy chasing a murderer.

“I have my tux pressed,” Leland bantered.

Agent Hailey sobered.

“Maybe we’d better go over that new evidence and tape it up,” Leland said.

As her gift to the operation, Agent Hailey had brought in a large whiteboard with tape, yarn and marking pens… where they were doing some mind mapping of the crime.  Ruth was impressed.  “Never saw me do this to chase down a missing cow, now did you?”  Leland grinned.

Ruth smiled.  Ruth was happy when Sheriff Leland was happy.  And currently, he was chasing down this cruel, ruthless, absolutely amoral serial murderer with his shoes two feet off the ground like a love struck schoolboy.  She just hoped he didn’t become too addled by infatuation and kept his wits about him.  About Agent Hailey, she still hadn’t made up her mind.

“You see this latest news?  It’s that ‘in-depth’ interview that schoolgirl Nancy Gillis did of you coming back on the bus from the crime scene, and written up for the Kimmel High Wolverine.”  Ruth dropped a massive newspaper upon Leland’s desk.

Leland’s mind was on the whiteboard, but he turned when he heard the ‘thump!’.  “The Kimmel County Wolverine puts out a paper that big?”

Ruth shook her head.  “It was picked up by the New York Times!” Ruth said deadpan.

Leland and Agent Hailey both stared as Ruth placed the front page of the New York Times neatly where they could see the picture and headline, just below the fold.

The photo, taken in provocative shadow, was of “Sheriff Leland Kelly, Kimmel County Sheriff, oiling and reassembling his 45 caliber Colt Anaconda behind the partly open blinds of his front office.”

The headline read:

 

“They Pursue Serial Killers Differently in Kimmel County”

 

            Ruth gave Leland the sober eye.

            “Ooooh shit,” Leland whistled.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress… by Eldon Cene

December 7, 2012

Elderly Woman Working Jigsaw Puzzle3

Ramey Gets Interrogated

(Episode 17)

            Ramey had emptied two bottles of wine getting through the rape kit procedure and was now fast asleep under the sheet, head lolling off the table top, his breathing ragged with glottal stops and gasps.  It was annoying.  And it was interrupting Leland’s conversation with Agent Hailey.  So Leland shoved Ramey’s head roughly back onto the table.  “Shut up Ramey.”

Ramey murmured something dental and vaguely offensive, took a lazy swat at the air, missing Leland by a foot, and rolled over.

“I scraped his nails, took a buccal swab, and checked him for cuts and bruises, scratches, the works.  He’s clean as a baby’s butt, and with hands just about as soft,” Agent Hailey said.  “It makes no sense.

Leland snapped himself from his reverie.  The woman was just so damned beautiful he felt as if he were watching a movie.   “It does if he’s just a dentist,” Leland said.

Agent Hailey moved them quietly out of Ramey’s hearing.  ‘All they needed was soft candle light,’ Leland thought sadly, with the regrets of someone who feels he is going to miss that train.

Agent Hailey frowned.  “Usually there’s a telltale.  You don’t just drag a struggling woman 50 yards through undergrowth, in the dark, to a spot where she’s beaten and raped after meanwhile taking several shots at you, without some kind of abrasive evidence.  It doesn’t add up.  Even the most careful killers usually have some kind of scratch to explain away, or forest dirt under their nails, or hair or blood splatters, or knuckle abrasions, or clothes to dispose of.   It just doesn’t make sense.”

Unless he’s the mild-mannered dentist who didn’t do it.”

“How could he have known all of this beforehand, if he didn’t do it?”

“He didn’t know all of it beforehand.  He just knew her name.”

“Then how could he have known her name.”

“I don’t know.  Maybe he overheard it from some gassed patient blathering on under the effects of an anesthetic which stimulated his already overly excitable imagination,” Sheriff Leland got a little excited himself, “… into a formed narrative of great moment?”  Leland smiled.  Agent Hailey looked at him funny.

“Then how could he know all of it afterward?”  Agent Hailey pursed her lips, leaning in.

Less impossible…”

“Not much.”

Leland paused before answering.  Agent Hailey was actually hissing softly.  But the difference between hissing and puckering for a kiss was spatially pretty much similar.  Leland angled his head this way and that, considering which attitude most got their noses out of the way.   It was mostly a matter of attitude,  Leland considered… and remained lost in these considerations until she kicked him.

“Ow!  I don’t know.”  He rubbed his shin.  “And kicking me usually doesn’t make me any smarter.”

“Fine then.  You talk to the guy a while, while I go through the house.”

“We haven’t a warrant.”

You haven’t a warrant.  He signed one for me.” Agent Hailey gave a pert flip of her head.  “Actually, she signed one for me.  But I’m thinking it’s probably valid, given the circumstances.”

Leland waved her off.  Agent Hailey was really interfering with his focus.  And he figured it was about time to interrogate Ramey, anyway.

“So.  Ramey,” Leland called out to the bleary dentist after he had rousted him and administered some strong, hot coffee.  “What’s been going on with you?”

“Oh, Leland.  You wouldn’t believe…”  Ramey’s head snapped back and a sharp, crisp demanding woman’s voice issued from the other side of his mouth.  “Have you caught my rapist yet?”

Leland was caught aback, even though he had been expecting something of the sort.  Ramey’s whole aspect seemed changed.  “Ma’am, I realize you probably have a lot you will want to tell me, but I would like to speak with Ramey, the dentist, first.”

He wasn’t raped.”

Leland next expected Ramey’s head to turn entirely around and to vomit green goo.  But he remained firm.  “The dentist, please.”

Ramey’s head snapped back, and it was the Ramey Leland knew.  “Oh, Leland,” Ramey began again.  “I feel as if I’m married, only I’m 25 years in and we’re really getting on each other’s nerves.   She won’t leave me alone!  She wants this done.  She wants that done.  Nothing’s quite right.  She just doesn’t seem to be able to be satisfied.  And she’s got all this anger, which I feel she projects onto me.  Who I feel she doesn’t really know, or actually care to know.  I finally had to give up and started drinking.  How do married men take it?”

“I don’t know, Ramey.  I’m not married.”

Ramey nodded.  “Why do men ever enter into such a state?”  Ramey whined.

“I don’t know, Ramey.  I think maybe sex has a lot to do with it.”  Leland put his hand on Ramey’s shoulder.  “At least, it seems responsible for a lot of the crazy things I see in my line of work.”

“Yeah.”  Ramey nodded.

“Look, Ramey.  I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.  Okay?”

Ramey rolled his eyes.

“But I need to know.  What is this thing between you and Nancy Loomis?  How are you two connected?  How did you know she was going to get murdered?”

“I didn’t know she was going to be murdered, Leland.  All I was doing was mowing my yard!  Even now.  You see how it’s half done.  Did you even notice the mower left out there?  I was mowing my yard when suddenly, I received these horrific visions, and the name “Nancy Loomis” sounded in my ears.  You remember when I realized your 13 year old dog, Lucy, had been hit and killed, and then drug off into the woods by a coyote, and I knew just where to find her?”  Leland nodded.  “It was just like that.  So I called Ruth – who was as officious as ever.  Leland, I have to say, that woman is not to be trusted with power.  Do you know she calls your Sheriff’s office a department, when you aren’t looking?”

“Yes, I know this Ramey.”

“Well, anyway.  So I’m trying to tell her what I know, but I need to know what I know for certain before I commit myself because, as you know, in these small towns it’s very hard to preserve your reputation as a professional.  You’ve just got to watch it like a hawk!  So I try to ask Ruth what she knows about a ‘Nancy Loomis’.  But she says she can’t reveal any information about an ongoing investigation.  So I say, “So there is an ongoing investigation regarding Nancy Loomis?”  To which she says, “I can’t say.  We can’t reveal information regarding any ongoing investigation either factual or fantastical”.  You know how bureaucrats talk and repeat the same things with that kind of nasal thing going when they’re trying to dish you?  Well, Ruth does that too, Leland.”

“I know, Ramey.”

“And then pretends like she doesn’t know me.  I’m her dentist, for Pete’s sake Leland.”

“I know, Ramey.  I know.”

Ramey sighed.  “So I tell her to have you call me.  And of course you don’t call me.  And the rest is history.”

“I’ll say I’m sorry one more time, Ramey, and then that’s it.”

Ramey nodded.

“You haven’t taken me up to the part where you got married.”

“Married?  Oh yeah.”  Ramey shook his head, rattled it, actually.  “There wasn’t much to it.  I go to bed.  And the next thing I know, I wake up.  And there’s this partly naked woman in a ruined dress in my head with me.  I mean, she’s a mess!  And she’s pissed as hell.  It’s like one of those Las Vegas wedding things I’d guess, where you head out drinking, and the next thing you know you’re waking up in some strange motel room with some woman you don’t recognize – who smiles at you with just these awful teeth – who says you’re married.  I mean, it’s a mind blower Leland.  And you’re left just casting about for landmarks.  Which, again, is why I called you.”

“I know.  I know.  And I’m sorry, Ramey.  But I’m here now.”

“Yeah.”

“Look.  Maybe it’s time I speak with Nancy…”

“It’s Ms. Loomis to us Leland.  And I think that’s a good idea.  And while you’re at it, could you just tell her that I didn’t have anything to do with whatever has happened to her, and so perhaps she could just calm down a little, at least with me?  It’s a small space in here.  I mean, inside my head.”

“I’ll do what I can Ramey.”

“Thanks.”  Ramey’s head turned, and the fish wife re-appeared.  “That took you long enough.”

“Well,” Leland said, “Ramey had some concerns.”

“He’s a fucking dentist.  Who cares what concerns a dentist can have?”

“Well, to a “fucking dentist”, strange as it may seem, their concerns sometimes reign uppermost, in their minds.”

“Well they shouldn’t.  Because, God knows, I’ve been complaining loud enough.”

“He agrees, which gets us to something he wanted me to bring up with you.”

“I’m in his own head, and he needs an intermediary?”

“Well, perhaps you come on a little strong.”

“It’s a man’s world!  How would you expect me to come on?  Do you know how hard it is for a woman to make a go of it in the kind of ‘Good ‘Ol Boy’ business climate there is that exists out there?  Do you think I just got given a 5 million dollar industry to run?  No!  I didn’t think so.  I had to build it from scratch.  From the mixing bowl up!  And after all that, all that toil and sweat and after breaking the glass ceiling all on my own without any help from you or any other man, do you know they call me?  The Muffin Lady.  Well, you know what?  I wear that moniker as a badge of pride.  Go ahead.  Call me the Muffin Lady.  And I’ll call you and raise you 5 million dollars.  What do you think of that?”

“I think that you’ve shown a lot of pluck.”

“Luck?  Luck?!  What’s luck got to do with it?”

“I said, pluck…  PLUCK!”

“Okay.  Well, good then.  He must have messed up my hearing when he punched me in my good ear.”

“That’s probably it.  Now if we could just get to your recounting of events?”

“I would love to go there, finally, for Christ’s sake.”  A tear trickled down Ramey’s cheek.  “You’re going to help me nail this bastard?”  Leland felt some sympathy rise up.

“We’re going to blow a big wide hole, right through him.”

“That sounds good.  That works for me.”

Leland nodded, and they began their interrogation.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

November 26, 2012

 

Rape Kit continued

Episode 16

 

And…” a hand came out of the door pushing Sheriff Leland back, “he wants a woman.”  Another hand came out after him then, and pulled him forward.  “And… not Ruth.”  The hand appeared to be Ramey’s.

Leland stood there nonplussed.

“I believe it is in the patient’s best interest, Leland,” Doc Chatham whispered.

“I believe I’ve got just what you need,” Leland said, holstering his pistol.  And he waved Agent Hailey over.

“Ramey, meet Agent Hailey of the FBI.  Agent Hailey, of the FBI, meet Ramey.”  Leland pushed on the door.  “Ramey.  You’re going to have to open the door wider if you want to Agent Hailey to be able to get through.”

The door slowly opened wider.

Leland introduced Agent Hailey again with a nod.

Ramey looked like hell.  But he looked at Agent Hailey, sized her up with a hardened aspect that Leland had never seen on Dentist Ramey before, and let the door swing open as he turned on his heel and stepped back inside.  Agent Hailey gave Leland a ‘what-the-hell?’ look.

“I’ll get the kit,” Leland said.  He motioned that she should go in.

 

“It’s not so much a split-personality disorder as it is a two-person personality disorder,” Dr. Chatham said as he conferred quietly with Leland outside on some porch chairs.

Meanwhile, Agent Hailey was inside questioning Ramey and performing a rape kit exam, ‘however that goes,’ Leland wondered.

“Typically, with a split personality, it’s just that.”  Doc Chatham stared at Leland intently.  “Either of the personalities may have their own name because they share none of the personality traits of the other.  Whichever character represents the splinter personality is what the literary crowd might call a ‘stock’ character or a ‘flat’ character.  They are the simple possessor of one character trait the heretofore ‘whole’ personality disavows, in essence saying, ‘that’s not me.’”  Doc Chatham spread his arms wide.

Leland nodded.  He’d watched the movies too.  And he didn’t much care for this ‘psychobabble’.

“But in Ramey’s case, this ‘splinter personality’ is much more like a ‘whole’ person!  It has its own name, sure.  But it also has a history and knows things which would seemingly be foreign to a person like Ramey.  Unless our Ramey has been very clever at living two, totally different lives.  And, one life is as a woman.”  Doc Chatham stopped as if to let that sink in.

Leland wondered where he thought it was going to ‘sink’.

“The upshot of this is that either I am being totally buffaloed, or I’ve never seen or heard of anything of this sort before.”

Leland stared at him.

“That is, of course, outside of the movies.”

“Oh yeah?  What movies have you seen?”

“I was just being rhetorical… or something,” Doc Chatham spread his hands… possibly in hope.  As if he were entreating Leland to dispel the confusion and perhaps come up with something.

“And you are going to ask me to bill the County for,” “….this?”  Leland and Doc Chatham stood taking the measure of either for a long breath.   Leland spun his hand.

This got old Doc Chatham’s back up.  “You can take that up with my office manager, Leland.”

Leland didn’t want to take up anything with her.  And he didn’t think Ruth would either.

“Fine.  Okay.  Thanks for your help in this time of crisis Doc,” Leland grumbled.

The Doc left abruptly, and Leland stood outside for a while, before he figured it was better that he go in.  Just ‘cause it was silent, you never know what could have happened.  He knocked softly.

“C’mon in,” Agent Hailey chirruped sweetly.  “We’re all done.”  She opened the door while snapping a latex glove from her right hand.

“You don’t want to know,” she said, in answer to Leland’s astonished glance.

Ramey was lying naked on a living room table with his knees up and partially covered by a sheet.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

November 23, 2012

Rape Kit

(Episode 15)

After Leland had dealt with the last of the reporters, he returned to the booth where he sat, eating his pie across from Agent Hailey.  “You want to come with me to visit a suspect?”  He asked.

“Why all the favors?”  Agent Hailey replied.

“As long as you’re going to get pimped, you might as well get paid.” Leland said.  “Besides you may come in handy.”

“Handy?  How so?”  Agent Hailey put down her fork.  She hadn’t eaten much of the pie.  Which was too bad, Leland thought, because the pie was good.  “You want the rest of it?”

Leland rose.  “C’mon, let’s go.”

As they left the café Leland shouted back to Carmella, “Department billing.”

Carmella flipped her receipt book and wrote this on the back of the check.

“Regular tip,” Leland added.

Carmella nodded and scribbled a quick calculation on the front of the check.  “What do you want me to call it?!”  Carmella called after him.   “A date?!”  She flipped the receipt book over again and looked real interested as she smiled at Leland.

“Community rela  …PRESS relations,” Leland corrected himself, and slammed the door behind them.

Out by the Kimmel County Sheriff’s SUV, Leland paused before unlocking the vehicle.  “If you come, you’ve got to promise me this is just between you and us.  The FBI proper needn’t know any of this yet.”

Agent Hailey didn’t hop in.

“Hey.  They ‘pimp’ you out.  They’re assuming you’ll do what’s needed to please the customer.”

Agent Hailey looked up and down the street, perhaps looking for her vanished partner, as she considered this.

“Why don’t you want me to share any of this with the Agency?”  Agent Hailey asked, after she’d settled in and fastened her seat belt.

“Because this town only has one dentist.  And if the FBI were to interrogate him presently, like as not, he’d be whisked off to a black project somewhere and we’d never see hide nor hair of him again.”  He pulled down his lower lip.   “And I’ve got receding gums.”

“Sorry to hear it.”  Agent Hailey replied.

Leland nodded.

Heading out of town by way of a network of back alleys and crossing a dirt lot or two, Leland shook the remnants of the press corps which had stuck to his tail like burrs.  Agent Hailey raised her brows at the irregularity, and gripped the door handle, initially thinking that perhaps this Sheriff was the town lunatic.  But when Leland indicated the rear view mirror with a nod of his head, Agent Hailey looked behind and caught the method behind this madness.  The last of the press vehicles was bottomed out on a log hidden in a field of weeds and the fellow was getting slowly out to inspect the damage.

“So…” Leland began as they hit the paved road leading north out of town with a brief chirp of the tires, “…Ramey, our local dentist / psychic.”  And he began filling Agent Hailey in on the details to date as he drove swiftly north.

By the time they had reached Ramey’s, Agent Hailey was pretty well up to speed on all that Leland presently knew about the case – as it applied to Ramey.

“It sounds to me like we have already located the killer,” Agent Hailey said as they pulled into Ramey’s gravel drive.  There was another car there, which Leland knew to be Doctor Chatham’s.  “Unless you believe this man can truly predict events?” Agent Hailey adjusted her hip holster to cant her duty weapon a bit more comfortably. The Glock 23 functioned flawlessly, in sand, rain, and mud, but carried like a plastic brick.

“Were it so simple,” Leland sighed, remained seated in the car and indicated Agent Hailey should do likewise.  “But there are ways any normal person, and especially a hypersensitive Dentist/Psychic like Ramey could have come across a snippet of this information around here.  And then there are some other discrepancies.  Ramey doesn’t have any buddies to speak of, and all indications are that these crimes involve two perps.  Second, I know that Ramey is nervous around any kind of weapon.  And third, I just have a real hard time imagining Ramey as any kind of sadistic murderer.”  Leland indicated Agent Hailey’s revolver.  “So let’s not shoot him, just yet.”

“Fine,”  Agent Hailey said, holstering her revolver.  “Do I take the front or the back?”

“You take the side,” Leland indicated with a toss of his head.  “That way you’ll be able to see both exits.  I’ll go in.  Give me five minutes.  And I’ll either step back out and wave you in,  or you can break down the door and come in shooting.”

“Gee.  Sounds like fun.”

So that’s what they did.  Agent Hailey stationed herself twenty yards south of the house, where she could see both entrances to the home with revolver raised and locked in both hands.  And Leland rang the buzzer.

Doctor Chatham answered it, peering out the cracked door.  Leland had to bend down to hear him.

“He wants a rape kit,” were the first words Doctor Chatham uttered.

“You’re kidding,” Leland replied.

“Noooope!”

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

November 18, 2012

Downtown Kimmel

Romance Over Pie

(Episode 14)

Agent Hailey returned with two capped, Styrofoam containers of coffee.

“Where is Agent Curtis?”  She looked around.

Leland nodded to indicate the direction Agent Curtis took.

Agent Hailey swore, stared up the street a while and then offered Leland the coffee.

“Thanks.”  He reached for the coffee.  “Agent Curtis suggested I buy you a slice of cherry pie.”  He nodded his head to indicate the café across the street out of which she had just come.

“So he pimped me out again.” Agent Hailey snorted.  She took a moment to survey her options, which included a short visual inspection of Leland.  “Sure.”

Leland glanced both ways and made to lead across the street.   Agent Hailey paused.  “All those press boys are inside you know.”

“I know,” Leland called from mid-street.  “Ruth hates having them underfoot and milling around outside.  So she promised them updates if they’d wait in the café.”  Leland nodded across the street.  “Seems to be working so far.”

Agent Hailey raised her brows and followed.

Inside Carmella ushered them to Leland’s regular booth.  It was at the far end nearby the juke box.  Whenever Leland wished to have an especially private conversation he pushed in a quarter and played “Rock Around the Clock”.

“How’s business Carmella?”

“Not bad.  The press corps, they are pretty cheap.  But there’s a lot of them.  And if you keep them waiting long enough they’re going to buy a meal.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”  Leland smiled.

“Thank you,” Carmella said.  “You might also suggest to them that a tip would help to lubricate your lips.”

Leland frowned.  “I’ll do what I can Carmella.”

Carmella nodded down the way towards the boy sitting at the counter working on what looked to be the second of two huge floats.  “That’s the one pulling in the chips.  He offers to take them to the scenes of the crimes.  He charges thirty dollars a trip, I’ve heard.  And he will only take one person at a time.  My guess is, he’s making more than you.”  Carmella nodded, as she flipped the page on her waitress pad.  “What will you have?”

Leland recognized the boy who had run the Mercedes.

“Two pieces of your cherry pie.  And maybe these coffees in some cups?”  Leland handed Carmella the Styrofoam containers.

Carmella scribbled.  “Sure,” she said, leaving.

Leland stared out the café window, in order to keep from staring at certain parts of Agent Hailey, which actually he could observe well enough in the reflection in the window.

“Agent Curtis does this all the time, you know.”

Her voice seemed to be saying “look at me”.  So Leland did.  Really nice breasts, bound really tight, beneath a buttoned up blouse.  If she’d just worn a normal open shirt it wouldn’t have been as near a turn on.  But her attempt  to repress her sexuality seemed to  torment  it and make it scream.  Any guy would want to help.  Plus she was very good looking, with plump, plush lips, a pert nose, freckles, and eyes like tropical beach water.  Leland just wanted to stay here all day.  Coming over to this cafe had never gotten him this excited.

“He pretends to drive off without me.  I get invited for pie.  We chat.  I learn all I can.   He says it’s just a matter of utilizing all of our assets.   That I should do the same thing for him – if it’s a younger woman.”

“It will be a struggle to give fair value.”  Leland smiled.

“You don’t mind being used?”

“Use away.”

Agent Hailey shrugged.  “Fine then.”

The pie came.

“It’s pretty good pie here.”

“Good,” Agent Hailey barked.

Carmella set it with a conspiratorial smile, and left.  The first reporter approached.

“Sheriff.  Vince Delaney of the Seattle Times.  Do you have an I D on the second victim, yet?”

“Yes we do.”

With that the rest of the press rose.  Leland raised a palm, and turned his attention so all could hear.

“My advice:  Order yourself a nice meal.  Tip the waitress generously.   Maybe get a drink.  And if you just wait until I’m done conferring with my colleague here, I’ll tell you more.”

The man from the Times was about to open his mouth when Leland shook his head and rotated his index finger back towards the group.  The man’s mouth closed, and he turned back to rejoin the group.

“So!  What can I get for you all?”  Carmella cried.

Agent Hailey and Leland continued their conversation.

“I don’t know when I’ve been so closely observed,” Agent Hailey said uncomfortably.

“Sorry,” Leland said.

“I don’t mean like that.”  She nodded her head.  “I mean them.”

Leland nodded.

“When it comes time, would you like to say a few words also?”

Agent Hailey shook her head.  “Uh… no?”

“A large part of advancing in the law game involves public speaking.”

“No.  I’d rather you just go ahead and advance yourself.  I’ll just concentrate upon catching a killer.”

“Alright.”

They ate their pie quietly.  Agent Hailey raised her head to speak, perhaps to apologize, but Leland shook his.  “Save it,” he said.  The last thing he needed now was an argument with a woman.

Once Leland had seen that all the reporters were starting to tuck themselves into their meals, he pushed himself back from the table and rose, saying, “It’s time for the Kimmel County Dinner Theater.”

Agent Hailey’s eyes followed him as he made his way over to the press corps and pulled out a chair which he leaned over the back of.  “I’m Leland Kelly, Sheriff of Kimmel County, for those of you who don’t know me.  And I appreciate you saving your questions for the present time.  This is Agent Hailey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”  A lot of the men craned their necks for a better look, as their brows rose.  Several diners who were not members of the press contingent nodded quietly also, damping the clatter of their cutlery as they followed developments with gawking gazes.  “The Bureau has generously offered its help, both manpower and technical acumen, to Kimmel County in a combined effort to track the perpetrator of these egregious crimes.  Though we have not yet identified the identity of the first victim, the second victim appears to be a middle-aged woman from the Seattle area by the name of Nancy Loomis.”

A hush fell over the press crowd.  “You mean… the Muffin Lady?!” a voice cried out.

Leland nodded.  “Apparently she is also popularly known as the Muffin Lady.”

The Muffin Lady was a well known figure in the area, having been spotlighted in many promotional ads for her company.

“Was she decapitated like the first victim?”  A reporter cried out.

Leland paused, considering how much he wanted to reveal, and was beginning to shake his head, when a teenager in braids, from over her writing pad, declared:  “Something was rolling around in that body bag like a bowling ball.”

Leland looked directly at Nancy Gillis, who had poked her head out from behind the reporter from the Seattle Times.  All heads turned to Nancy Gillis.  “You were at the scene, initially?”  One of the reporters asked.

“Yes she was,” Leland answered, in an effort to take charge of the briefing once again.  “And the victim was decapitated.  Though, whether or not, this confirms linkage with the first victim is still to be determined.”

But half of the reporters were now turned to Nancy Gillis and tossing her questions.  She was quite demur with her answers, and ended it finally by saying,  “All of your questions will soon be answered if the next issue of the Kimmel High School’s Wolverine News, due out tomorrow!  I suggest you get an issue!  We’re starting with a three part series.  The first will start with an evaluation of the scene of the crime.  The second will involve a short interview, conducted directly thereafter, with the leading investigator, Kimmel County  Sheriff Leland Kelly.  And the third, which I am still working on will cover the extent and reason for possible Federal involvement in the case.  As for local color and the reaction from local residents, we have made an executive decision to let this softer news be covered by the more standard commercial news outlets.”  The press corps nodded, shocked.  “That’s it for now!  If you need me, for any further comment, I can be reached through the Wolverine Press.”  Nancy Gillis spoke quickly, and then she left.

Leland waited and then tried beginning his briefing anew:  “As I was saying…”

But everyone had their head turned and were following Nancy Gillis’ exit from the café.  And Leland felt as if he were speaking into a vacuum.

“Who was that?”  The first reporter to look back at Leland asked.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

November 12, 2012

Veteran’s Day!

The Feds Continued…

(Episode 13)

 

“What the hell kind of cell is this?”  Agent Hailey said, looking around.

Leland wondered when they would remark on it.

Leland explained Ralph Bunch.  Ralph Bunch was their local poet/painter /alcoholic,  who had been doing fine with a wife and kids until he got kicked in the head while milking his cow one day, which gave him blinding headaches he assuaged with drink.  In time the headaches went away, along with his wife and kids – but the drink stayed.  The man was too proud to accept charity so when the cold came, Leland often had to arrest him – which actually was illegal.  And in return Ralph painted murals to pay for his room and board, ‘which probably was illegal too’, Leland mused.   ‘But what the hell, wasn’t illegal?’

In fact, just to see who had the better working knowledge of illegality in the area,  Leland and Ruth, now and then, would play the game, “So Arrest Me!” over lunch.  They’d flip a coin to pick someone in the area.  The first one to ‘seize or detain something by legal authority’,  won.   Sometimes it went on for days.  But they usually ‘got their man’.   Whoever scored a felony – the other person bought lunch for a week.  Leland had the upper hand in his understanding of the law, but Ruth was overwhelming with her knowledge of local affairs.  ‘Shit’, sometimes Leland wondered why he went driving around talking to people at all.

But to get back to what we were talking about, Leland had Ruth run out for Ralph’s paints and linseed oil.  And while Ralph worked, the two of them would often chat – sometimes elaborating on a mental design for the perfect woman – to the strains of Chopin or Rossini with the odor of art in the air.  It was a refreshing change from the boring smell of ‘office’ and staring at metal filing cabinets.  No one in Ralph’s art work ever needed arresting, except perhaps for lewd conduct.

“That’s his second wife.”  Leland smiled at the curvaceous nude with the ravishing lips who levitated above the bunk where they sat, pink nipples fully aroused with the left having an enlarging pearly droplet of mother’s milk hanging just above Agent Hailey’s squinting right eyeball.  ‘Whom actually’, Leland felt with absurd pride, ‘he had had a hand in designing.’  Fronds and lovely moonlit flowers abounded.  Strange animals filled the forest glade and strangely shaped clouds filled the ceiling sky.  Leland smiled.

“How’d this guy find someone like that to marry him, after being kicked in the head and having his face rearranged by a cow?”  Hailey frowned.

“He hasn’t.” Leland sighed.  “This is just the schematic …for the model  …for the prototype.”  Leland shook his head.

Hailey started to read some poetry scratched across the mons pubis.

“He’s our local John LeClair.”  Leland shrugged.

Hailey raised her brows and gave Leland a second look.   “He’s not a suspect?”

“Hailey, you want to run across the way and get us some coffee?”  Agent Curtis said.

“No,” Agent Hailey said.  But she rose, and walked out swiftly, probably to best plan where she could hide to kick Agent Curtis in the nuts when he emerged.

 

Agent Curtis coughed.  “You’ve been here ten years?”

Leland and Agent Curtis strolled back into his office.  Ruth had found them a respectable chair, produced it, commanded them politely out of the jail cell, and shut the door, where she listened, catching what she could.

Where Agent Curtis had sent Agent Hailey, Ruth didn’t know.  But she would find that out soon enough, too.  She found out everything soon enough.  That phone on her desk was like the center of a vast spider web.  It rang with any little ‘tingle’ in the firmament.

“Actually, I grew up here,” Leland said, staring out the window at Main Street, watching Agent Hailey stride across it.  Right now, the Press was right across the street drinking coffee in Mayor Pete’s Campaign café.  Leland could see them looking through the window back at him looking through the window at them.

“I know.”  Agent Curtis nodded.  “You played linebacker in high school.  Attended Stanford on scholarship where you majored in Criminal Law.  And then worked another eight years for the LA Police Department, where you rose through the ranks, finally breaking your pick in the Latin Gangs division.  Where, I imagine you may have picked up some Spanish.

“Si.  Beuno.  Sí, lo hice.”

“I’ll take that as a “yes”.”  Agent Curtis smiled.  “…with qualifications.”

“You’d be right.”  Leland was beginning to like him.  “You’re still not convinced Benny Green is not behind this, are you?”  He said.

“No, I’m not.”

“Why?”

“Benny isn’t a complete fool.  He reads the papers, and being a no-good, lo-life, dickhead, slime ball of a worthless dog pile of shit, he particularly likes the lurid crime stuff.  He reads that there has just been a recent horrific murder, in Nancy Loomis’ very area, committed by some kind of lunatic.  People are worried it could the beginnings of a serial killer’s rampage… and, Benny’s sure of it!   He got wind of what Nancy was doing with us, and this looks like a great way to tie up some loose ends.”

“Yeah, I can see that.”  Leland nodded.   This relaxed mano-mano charade had to end.  People were getting killed out there and he had work to do.   He rose.  “Well, as long as you feel that way, I would guess that the resources of the Federal Government are with us?”

“That’s pretty much the case,” Agent Curtis agreed.  “Until we have it confirmed, one way or the other.”

“Good.  Because I’ve got two bodies plus heads stacked up like cordwood over in the freezers at Vern Smithers’ butcher shop, and enough evidence bagged in the back room by some local teenagers here to keep a small army of agents busy for at least a week or so,” Leland said.

“Okay.”  Agent Curtis stopped on his way to the door.  “But tell me.  I’m curious.  How do you intend to proceed?  I’m guessing you are still hanging onto your crazy lunatic, theory of events.  But I would think in this isolated area, an oddball like this who suddenly appears would stick out like a sore thumb,” Agent Curtis observed.

“Not really.  The rural areas attract oddballs of every sort, plus drifters.  There’re a lot of itinerant farm laborers passing through.  And then we’ve got a large Latino community.”

“Your Spanish doesn’t help you there?”

“I know the Latinos well enough around here that they’ll tell me what they can’t tell me, and that’s pretty much everything.  Something goes haywire in their community and they kick the guy across the boundary so’s I can grab him.  But otherwise it’s a closed society.  We probably have a thousand undocumented aliens working all around here whose bosses aren’t particularly keen for them to be known, seen, or heard from.  If this screwball has any kind of sense, all he has to do is put on about 2 extra shirts and a baseball cap and we’ll be none the wiser.  He could be walking past outside right now, or buying a gallon of milk and a six pack of beer down at the store.”

As a matter of  fact, Leland had just turned away from the front window and was shaking Agent Curtis’ hand again,  as Stan walked past… wearing two flannel shirts and a dirty Seattle Seahawks football cap.

Photo by Carl Nelson


%d bloggers like this: