Thursday, September 14, 2006
The Drugstore Comic Book Incident (III)
Part three of absolutely, definitely no more than six in a thrilling new hardboiled noir serial.
I’d called the cops from the payphone down the street and they’d arrived within a half hour. The one in charge was an old, familiar face: Lieutenant Finbar O’Nann, who’d been a sergeant on Vice back when I’d been on the force and who had transferred to homicide to fill my shoes after I had… well, after I’d left.
The crime scene boys got busy and O’Nann stood watching with one hand fidgeting about in his trouser pocket and the other full of the sunflower seeds he was partial to. He was big and Irish and short-sighted, with coarse red hair in his ears and nose and on his palms, which rasped unpleasantly when you shook hands with him. I hadn’t this time.
‘Lemme get this straight,’ he said. ‘You happened to be passing by when you saw the door of this store open, so you looked inside and found this.’
‘That’s right,’ I said, and took a nip from my hip flask. He squinted across at me, a look on his face like a thorn tree in winter.
‘You realize I could take you back to the station house and have the truth beaten out of you.’
I smiled. I’d taught those guys everything they knew about extracting a confession by force. I lit a cigarette. The only reason I was hanging around now was that I needed O’Nann’s help – an ID on the stiff, for starters – and I figured he’d be willing to trade. I’d searched the dead guy myself, of course, but he wasn’t carrying any credentials, just fifteen bucks which I pocketed. Hell, I don’t get many perks in this job.
One of the crime scene techs was taking photos. The flash from the camera lit up the walls which were sprayed maroon. Whoever had severed the guy’s hands had done it before he was dead, because the arteries in the wrists had continued pumping. The wounds were clean ones. The hands were missing.
‘Must of tooken his hands to stop us fingerprinting him,’ remarked O’Nann, the fidgeting in his pocket becoming more frantic. He gets off on this kind of thing. The hand holding the sunflower seed was shaking too.
‘Nope,’ I said. ‘In that case they would have taken his teeth as well so you couldn’t check ‘em against dental records.’ I lit a cigarette.
He glared at me. ‘So what do you suggest then, smart-ss?’ He nibbled a sunflower seed.
I shrugged. ‘Hand fetishist, maybe. Check your files. Or he was wearing lots of rings so the killer took the hands to save time. Doesn’t explain why they were cut off before he died, though.’
He agreed grumpily to keep me updated on his findings if I did likewise with whatever investigation I was involved in, and I split. As I left I heard him sigh, and without looking round I knew he’d spilled his seed on the ground.
I walked home through streets that were already becoming muggy again after the rain. The sidewalks were awash and I gave up trying to sidestep the puddles. G-d-damn frigging city with its G-d-damn lousy stinking drainage system. I stopped at my regular all-night liquor store for JD and smokes but it was being held up by a couple of hoods when I went in, so I had to go the one down the street where the owner charged me full price.
Home was a second-storey apartment in a faceless brick tenement in midtown. I moved there two years ago when my wife walked out. She said the final straw was when I gave her that bad case of crabs. I still kick myself today. She loved seafood but I’d left it out of the freezer too long.
I let myself into the lobby and took the stairs, feeling jaded. I had one missing guy, one dead guy and a wicker connection. I’d searched the wicker store before calling the cops, of course, but had found nothing. Maybe O’Nann and his boys would come up with something.
As I climbed the last few steps to my door I listened out for Monstee, my bitch. She’s a rare breed of terrier, a genetic dead-end with blue hair and low cunning. When I get home she sinks her teeth bone-deep into my leg and I kick her off against the wall. She p--ses on my head and I do the same to her. We horse around like this for a good ten minutes. It’s like love.
This time there was no tick of claws on lino, no frantic joyous whimpering. I pushed the door open. Light from the hall spilled into my living room.
I lit a cigarette.
There, crawling piteously across the carpet, was Monstee, her eyes staring at me pleadingly. Red foam was coming out her maw and there was the smell of beefsteak hanging in the air. Right away I knew she’d been poisoned. Standing over her, his face obscured with a nylon stocking, was a man. In his hands was a camera.
Taking pictures of my Monstee.
I was on him in a second but he was fast and brought his hands up and in one of them he had a gun so I kept myself close to stop him being able to take aim. I got him in a headlock and close up I could smell the wicker on him. He grappled me and we turned and crashed, sending the coffee table shattering. He got a good kick in, right up in the privates, and I reeled away but I couldn’t let myself get too far because of that G-d-damned gun so I rolled toward him again and dove for his legs and sent him thudding against the wall.
The neighbor started yelling and I cussed back at her thru the wall. I felt sick from the kick to the jewels and I could feel my strength draining. He got in a kick to my head and the floor lurched. I looked up at him, watching the barrel of the gun center on me.
Sic transit gloria Podophagi…
Is this the end for Foot Eater?
a) Don’t be ridiculous, he’s the narrator telling the tale in the past tense.
b)Ah, but he could be telling this story from the afterlife!
c)Who cares, tell me if the dog survived!
Spilled seed, a bad case of crabs - I do so love me some corn noir. I groaned of course, as one must do with corniness of that sort but with this episode you have elevated corn to an art-form, Foots. I groaned, sure, but in a thrilling mixture of exquisite pleasure and pain.
You never disappoint, Footee.
I fear for Monstee though. What will become of Monstee? I care about your life too, of course, but only insofar as I need you to finish the story. But in his brief appearance wee Monstee-dog has somehow managed to capture my heart in a magical, harp-musicee way. His scampy bladder evacuations, his noble canine bearing, his trusty blueness!
What happens to Monstee??
Monstee better make it through, though, otherwise my 2-year-old will be in permanent tantrum mode.
Of course you make it through, duh. If you didn't, I'd have to kick your shite in.
Everyone on my link list gets at least a cameo.
McShae. Maroon. Ayres. Barbudo.
My world went spinning.
Was that my cameo? Or does this snippet from episode one get explained any further?
Oh, and if it turns out you're narrating from the afterlife I'll be seriously disappointed.
My guess is the attacker shot one of his balls off in the struggle for the gun.
quite find what I was looking for. I'm looking for
different ways to earn money... I did find this though...
a place where you can make some nice extra cash secret shopping.
I made over $900 last month having fun!
make extra money
Stop pampering to the fragile egos of your Blogging chums, anyway, whens my big part? do I get a trailer?, only green M&Ms,I feel like you've played with me without giving me a happy ending, does this sound gay? great work Mr Foot.
crab... seeds... everything! Good stuff Foot!
If dog do die, have it stuffed and adopt new one!
The anti mortem explanation of blood on the walls was most informative.
Thus passes the glory from the podophage.
Old Knudsen: you'll get your part when I'm damn good and ready for it and not a moment sooner, and you'll be pleased.
SafeT: that would be telling, but you've hit on one of the more important plot strands there.
Andraste: I'm still thinking about it.
Monstee: forget my response to Andraste above, I've made up my mind.
FMC: those sound like crocodile tears, just the type I'm trying to elicit.
Dr Maroon: that's of the podophage. Back of the class, immediately.
Next bit will be up probably Wednesday.
"Many are the battles lost, before the ultimate triumph of flutes made from the bones of our enemies"
Sennapod 47 BCE.
Do you take a drink old feller? eh? eh? Betcha do. Does the Poe shite in the woods?
if i were a more virtuous woman, i might have a problem about the thought processes around these parts.
(well, i am virtuous, but i have a sense of humor.)