Open and Shut: Part 1

I know you can’t wait to read Mac’s chilling and circumfloribus Vest-Pocket-Challenge-winning entry, so without further ado here it is.

Warning: the following contains coarse language, sexual innuendo, depressing content and altiloquence. Reader discretion is advised. Please also note, the author takes no responsibility for forensic, medical or police-procedural accuracy.

People always choose the most inconvenient time to die. Or more accurately where I’m concerned, people’s bodies are always found at the most inconvenient times.

The call came just as I was putting the finishing touches on my latest masterpiece of xylography—a flammivomous dragon, whelming his exitious, burning breath over a jimp knight.

Jaunty though he was, the knight was a tragic figure. Heroic in his brave fight against a larger opponent with considerably more firepower—literally, in this case—his shield was nonetheless almost to the ground, his eyes already closed so that his last glimpse would not be of the hideous, nefandous form of the dragon.

Most people don’t get that choice. At least the ones I see, anyway. When I get to them, their eyes are always open. As if in their shock at being murdered they couldn’t even choose the simplest defense against their killer. And so it’s his image that they see last—his victory, their defeat.

Most rookies are bothered by the blood, the smell, the injustice. Not me. My regret has always been that I cannot give them that xenium and close their eyes to the horror. Not even after it’s too late for them to care.  In the end it’s a bald luskish guy in the morgue that finally sews their eyes shut to this hell as he washes their ket into the gutter. This one would be no different.

At the phone’s insistent ring, I put down the piece of wood with a sigh. By now I’d learned not to let sudden noises cause me to yawl or make my hands jump and ruin a centuplation of hours of work. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to replace the simple solidity of wood with the medium of modernity.

I answered the phone with a curt: “Who died?”

A nidorosity was my partner’s greeting. “Ugh, sorry, dude. What can I say, Bob makes a mean pot roast.” He paused to take a swig of something—no doubt some watered-down taplush. “They’ve got a DB for us. Female, late twenties to late thirties, looks like a suffocation. 43rd and 2nd—ten to one drug-related.”

He didn’t need to eclaircize; that area was Grand Central for drug deals. Still his conclusion irked me. Detectives were zetetics, their job by definition was to search, question, seek answers. Assuming the obvious obnubilated the clues that lead to justice. But Edwards wasn’t about justice; he was about expediency. Unfortunately, the justice system was also a bureaucratic system, which meant buzz words like expediency and efficiency were more holy than the truth. And that’s why Edwards was on the fast track to lieutenant and I was on the slow track to early retirement.

Of course it didn’t hurt that Edwards was also a bestselling crime writer and our captain liked having a “celebrity” with a pretty smile to trot out on occasion to the press. In my opinion, his books were hedge-notes filled with cacography and battology. But then, I did have a vocabulary straight out of the vest-pocket dictionary.

Still, even with Edwards’ nonexistent imagination I wasn’t about to challenge his odds on our most recent vic. “See you there in 10.”

To be continued…

Stay tuned for “Open and Shut” part 2 and part 3!

2 Replies to “Open and Shut: Part 1”

  1. I know the challenge that was put out there in order to write this short story. What a great idea and even better….what a great story!! Very, very impressed!!

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