Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fixer [Interim Title] Chapter 2 Part 1

[See Chapter 1 Part 2]

Chapter 2:

Some people are morning people. They get up in the morning all chipper and happy, ready to conquer the world, a cheery smile on their face and humming a joyful tune.

I hate those people. Especially when they're cops.

Here's a clue: when someone is banging on your door at 6:30 AM in the morning, it's probably not good news. If someone is banging on your door at 6:30AM in the morning and your webcam security system shows it's a cop, it's probably worse. Add in the fact that I'm not a morning person, and I wasn't at my best when I jumped into a set of sweats, slid into some sandals, then padded to the door. But with this cop, being at your best wasn't a problem. Simply being sentient was good enough.

"Hey, Dick," I said brightly to the cop who was poised to bang again when I opened the door to him.

"That's Richard."

"Awe, that's so sweet! But you'll always be Dick to me." I gave him my most iridescent grin, guaranteed to melt ice from any man's heart. It delayed Officer Richard Welch for exactly one second before he put his game face back on. I can't blame him, I guess, considering that the last time he believed my smile, he ended up suspended for a week for inadvertantly destroying evidence.

Buddy panted behind me, tongue lolling from mouth. "Care to come into my office?" I said, pointing Richard at the chair in front of the manager's desk. I gave Buddy a hand signal and Buddy parked himself next to the desk, looking alert. "Good boy!" I told Buddy, patting him on the head, and sat behind the desk.

Richard looked confused. He was supposed to be brow-beating me, apparently, but now he was perched on a wooden chair on the other side of a desk from me, a wooden chair deliberately lowered (and my chair deliberately raised) so that we were seeing eye to eye instead of me having to look up at him, and he seemed a bit flustered for a moment. Just for a moment, though.

"Why did you kill him?"

I blinked. "Excuse me?"

"I'm sure you had a good reason. Just tell me, and we'll take care of it."

"I'm sure I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about," I said in my best ditzy blond voice. Which was the truth.

"You're not fooling me," Richard said. "I know you."

"Uhm, Richard, who is it that I'm supposed to have killed?"

"That's a good question," he said. "A darned good question. Not a stitch of ID on him. Naked as the day he was born."

"And this has something to do with me... why?"

"What, you thought the guys at the impound yard wouldn't notice the smell?"

A light switch clicked in my head. "This is about the car I had towed out of my spot last night?"

"Your fingerprints are inside it."

"Of course they are. The driver's door was unlocked, so I looked inside to see if there were any papers in the glove compartment. If I'd known whose car it was, I could get them to move it instead of having to tow it. But there weren't any papers there."

"So how did you get him into the trunk?"

"Uhm, how much did this person I supposedly killed weigh?"

"Around 250 pounds."

I laughed, and shook my head. "Dick, Dick, Dick. Listen to you. I'm five-foot-one, weigh a whole 110 pounds, and on my best days at the gym can squat maybe one-fifty. I think you need a new theory."

"The last man you killed was almost as heavy."

"Uhm, Dick? I hate to break it to you, but those charges were dropped?"

"Yeah," he said bitterly. His own role in that wasn't something that he was proud of, I'm sure.

"So you ran the plates? You ran the VIN?"

Richard smiled. "You're a trip, you know that? You seriously expect me to tell you that?"

"C'mon, you might as well tell me. You know I'll run the VIN as soon as you leave."

"It won't get you anywhere. The car was reported stolen a month ago."

I sighed. "So you got someone dumping a stolen car in an empty spot in a parking lot with an unidentified dead body in the trunk. It could sit there for a month before anybody noticed. Except they had the bad luck to leave it in my parking spot. Sucks to be them, I guess. I hope. Dead bodies are bad for property values, y'know?"

"Any idea when it was left there?"

"Not really," I said. "I went shopping around 7PM, it was in my spot when I got back at 9PM."

"Where'd you go shopping?"


"Buy anything?"

"Gosh, Dick, you need to indulge your feminine side sometime. Shopping isn't about buying things. It's about... shopping. No I didn't buy anything. I just... shopped."

"Let us know if you find something out?"

I smiled. "Are you asking me for help with your case, Dick?"

Richard looked uncomfortable. "You do seem to have a habit of, uhm, knowing what happens on this side of town."

"Gosh, imagine that!" I said brightly. "Maybe it's because I, like, live here?"

"We'll owe you one," Richard said, still looking like he had just eaten a toad.

"I'll let you know what I find," I said. "Now I need to get ready for work. The door?" I pointed him towards the door, and he obediently started for it, then realized that he was doing the bidding of someone who was at least a foot shorter and hundred pounds lighter than he was, and turned back to me.

"Let us know," he said again, and I nodded, and smiled at him. "I will," I said, and waved bye-bye with a perky little wave that I'm sure he didn't believe for a second.

I went to the door and watched him bang on other doors for a while. Sleepy women answered the doors and shook their head, "No hablo englais!", and he eventually gave up and left.

But I wondered: Was it an accident that a dead man was left on my doorstep? Or was it a message?

And if it was a message... did it have anything to do with why I was rolling in the garbage the previous evening?

Posted by: BadTux / 3/23/2006 07:24:00 PM  


*applauds wildly*
# posted by Lab Kat : 24/3/06 8:26 AM  

Sitting on the edge of my seat and waiting for the next installment...
# posted by SB Gypsy : 25/3/06 6:35 AM  

Pretty good, BadTux. Soon I'll be blogging about you under "crime fiction"!
# posted by Joyful Alternative : 25/3/06 6:04 PM  

I just started reading Raymond Chandler's _The Long Goodbye_ today. It'd been years since I last read any of his stuff. What's interesting is that when I set out to write a neo-noir after my epic Mars-athon (Veronica Mars itself being a neo-noir, with a bit of The O.C. tossed in to keep the network execs happy), somehow my style ended up close to his, despite the fact I hadn't read his stuff anytime in the past 10 years at least. Just goes to show you how much he influenced the field.

A word of warning. Things are going to get pretty gritty shortly. We're going to find out something rather... interesting... about the corpse. And along the way, learn something about why people think Kathy leaves a trail of bodies behind her.
# posted by BadTux : 26/3/06 9:39 PM  

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