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Things are a little different where time doesn't matter ...
A Collection of Dennis Clough's Wit
Cold Case Murder in Story Land
| Category: || Humor Fiction |
Posted:|| August 18, 2013 Views: 311|
I'm Detective Joe Gurgaon and I've been head of Homicide here in Story Land forever, or so it seems. I'm older than dirt and I know where all (or most all)of the bodies are buried.
I've had my share of big cases, petty misunderstandings and unsolved mysteries in my day. Which isn't over, by the way, no matter what you've heard. Um, you haven't actually HEARD anything have you? No? I didn't think so. There's always rumors flying around about changes in the Department needing to be made and some saying such are way over due. But I still got it...don't you think?
People seem to be surprised that Story Land needs a police force, let alone a Detective Department. They think that every thing here is just hunky-dory, Tinker Bell dust, and magic on holiday.
But people are simply careless readers or they wouldn't think of this place like that...innocent. Not sure where crime first entered; perhaps it has always been here. After all, the cow jumping over the moon goes back a ways and apparently that was simply a well thought out diversion so the dish could run away with the spoon.
Yet there's a much darker side to the evil here and it does involve murder which is why there's my homicide division in the police department. It's MY division even though some cocky kid, holding his still-wet-ink-graduation papers from the Story Land Detectives' School is always showing up at my desk. Like now, for instance.
"Whadda ya want, Kid?"
"Detective Gurgaon? Hi, I'm Detective Peter Simpers. I was told to report to you this morning, so here I am, ready to go to work."
"Thank goodness you're finally here! The forces of evil will finally back off now that you're on the scene. But in the meantime, sit on that bench over there. I'll be with you in a moment."
I like to let 'em know whose in charge right from the get-go. You can't believe how they swell up if you treat them as an equal right from the get-go. So I made a few phone calls, and shuffled some papers while I sized the kid up.
He was dressed in an open collar shirt and tan pants; casual but neat, shoes shined and hair cut short. OK, he looked like me on my first day. He got points for calling me "sir", not reacting to my test sarcasm and doing what I asked without a bunch of dumb questions.
I called him over. With my best air of earnest authority, and in a conspiratorial tone of voice, I gave him his first assignment.
"Kid, I'm sorry to throw this one at you, but it's been a bone in my throat too long. Frankly, I'm stumped and I'm glad you're here with fresh eyes and your brand new diploma."
"Gosh, Detective Gurgaon, thanks! I'm ready to jump in. I can't wait to get going."
"Here's the details of the case. I suggest you sit down again, read it and become thoroughly acquainted with all the known facts before you proceed. Then, if you have questions, ask me before you leave. I'm counting on you."
"OK, you're the boss."
I went back to work, but kept watching him out of the corner of my eye. I answered the phone and assured the Chief that the new kid had arrived and was perusing his first assignment. He laughed out loud and I smiled. The kid was coming towards me with a puzzled look on his face.
"Call me 'Joe'. We're going to be putting in some long hours here, so lets skip the formalities."
"OK, Joe. But I don't get it.
"Get what, Pete?"
"This 'report'. This case is hundreds of years old and all I have is one sheet of paper?"
"Refresh me. Read the report to me."
"OK, Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. All the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't put Humpty-Dumpty together again."
"And the problem with that report, Pete?"
"It's...it's crazy! Hundreds of years have passed since this report was handed in and there's no evidence of any progress in the investigation."
"Peter...Pete. This is Story Land. Time means nothing here. That homicide could have happened yesterday as far as we here are concerned."
There was a long pause in the conversation as Pete processed the information. I'm a big fan of the old Jack Webb series, "Dragnet". So in my best imitation of Sargent Joe Friday, I turned my steely grey eyes on the rookie and said, "Go get 'em Tiger. Bring back some fresh meat on this one...now!"
He looked at me with a mixture of surprise and hurt that almost reached my calloused old heart. Fortunately, I recovered and kept giving him both barrels until he looked away, pulled himself together and left without a word.
The next morning, rookie Detective Peter Simpers, assigned to Story Land Homicide Division, reported for his second day of duty. He looked so frazzled that I felt a momentary pity sweep over me. I fought it off, reminding myself that one of these kids was going to get my job someday and I was not about to help them. I still got it, no matter what they say.
"How's the case coming?"
He brightened up for a minute and then said, "OK. I've eliminated a few suspects at least."
My jaw almost hit the floor before I composed myself and said, "Oh good. Tell me about it."
"Sure. As you know, the only evidence in the case is the cadaver itself. It was pretty scrambled, but I found a good chunk of shell and ran it over to the lab for DNA testing."
Let me stop here and tell you that the Humpty-Dumpty "case" is our department's little joke. It's our form of asking a rookie plumber to go and fetch a left-handed monkey wrench.
In short, we never expect anyone to solve this case. Usually, we let the rooks work on it for a week. Then we call them in to a departmental meeting and quiz them in front of everyone as to their progress in the case. After a little fun expressing our surprise and disappointment with their efforts, we let them in on the joke and welcome them to the department. Sometimes, they weep with relief.
But this kid was different. He was serious. I was interested. There was no DNA testing when I started.
So I said, "So what did the lab find, anything?"
"Yes! They found some sweat stains."
"Really. And I'm going to get a DNA sample from everyone even remotely connected to the case."
"So how to you propose to do that?"
"My plan is to work on the most obvious people and expand the circle from there. Right now, I'm questioning the Seven Dwarfs, as they were seen in the area of the wall when HD was pushed, according to folklore of the time."
"Humpty-Dumpty. Using initials instead of that weird name lends a seriousness to my investigation, don't you think?"
I was impressed. This kid had taken this old chestnut of a case and it looked like he might crack it wide open.
"I would think the Seven Dwarfs would be snow white."
"Joe, everyone is a suspect until we close this case."
His self-confidence and his inclusion of me in looking forward to a successful resolution of the HD case was contagious. Yet I felt my grip on my job slipping away.
Later that week, Pete came in and sat on my desk. Pushing back his Dick Tracy hat, he sighed.
"What's up Pete?"
"Had a suspect, but it turned out to be a dead end."
"Been there, done that and wrote the report. Tell me about it."
"We had a match on the DNA."
"Wow! Really? Whose was it?"
"It was Doc, of the Seven Dwarfs' fame. But turns out he was a first responder and was trying to do what the King's men couldn't do either."
"Too bad kid. Any other leads?"
"Nope. Nothing promising anyway. Gotta go collect some more samples, see ya."
The kid worked night and day while I was torn between telling him it was all a joke and half-believing he was going to pull it off.
This detective stuff is funny work. Things crawl along slower than the Grasshopper dragging his violin on a snowy day looking for an ant nest and then suddenly, you're at the end of the rainbow and rejoicing in a pot of gold.
The kid did it! He found an eye witness to the murder of HD! It was Dopey, of all people. No one had asked him anything for obvious reasons but my boy Pete worked his plan and came up with the man who had seen everything.
In Dopey's own words (translated), "The Wicked Witch hired the Big Bad Wolf to do it and blame it on Snow White!"
Further investigation revealed that she then turned her hired killer into a frog, an agreed upon sort of underworld witness protection ploy.
So right now, my boy Pete is out with six of the most gorgeous Princesses anyone ever saw, supervising the kissing of every frog in Story Land. As soon as the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) is exposed, Pete will put the cuffs on him and the HD cold case will be solved.
Meanwhile, my job is safe for a while longer and I plan to keep it that way. Can't wait to put that Cock Robin thing in the wunderkind's lap.
I still got it.
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