Crime Fiction

Cassy lives in number two, works at Burger King, and complains that nothing exciting ever happens to her. 

           In number one there is a man named Franco. Franco is a murderer. Though Cassy and Franco live right next to each other, they have never met, but they will tonight.

           In number seventeen lives William; a drug addict. William’s mom and step dad don’t know that William has a meth lab set up in his room.  William doesn’t know that his mom and stepdad are both dead, Franco killed them last week. If William wasn’t high all the time, he might have already met Franco, but he hasn’t…yet.

           Down the hall from William there is a maintenance closet. In the closet lives the maintenance guy. Everyone knows the maintenance guy, sort of. Tonight, I’ll bet they wish they had known him better. 

           Toby lives in number three. She hasn’t left the building in over eight years. Franco brings her groceries and she pays him in cats. Can you guess what he does with them? Toby has at least two hundred cats. All day and night she sits on the couch and watches soaps swimming in a sea of cats.  Perhaps she will get off that couch tonight.

           Down the hall from Toby there lives a young woman named Deb. Deb is about the most normal person that lives in the whole building. She has never been late, has never gotten drunk, and has never committed any crimes… until tonight.

           Next to Deb are twin brother college roommates. Pete is lying face down in an old pizza while Tom is in the bathtub sleeping off a hangover. The cats are sleeping off hangovers too. Tom doesn’t know that they are there because he can’t remember that last night, he delivered a pizza to Toby and that was his tip. Too bad Tom doesn’t remember what else he did last night, because if he did, he would be leaving the country now.

           Down the street from the apartment building two bad men are sitting in their car and waiting. Tonight, they are going to kill Tom for what he doesn’t remember that he did last night…poor Pete. Too bad he looks just like Tom.

           Today is October the twentieth. It is five o’clock in the morning. Cassy is waking to the blaring of her alarm. She sleep walks to the shower, curses when there isn’t any hot water, gets out of the shower, dresses, grabs a donut, runs out the door past a sinister looking black vehicle, finds a genuine ruby in a pizza box, pockets it, and heads off to work.

Deb wakes up at exactly five am. At five oh one am Deb enters the shower, exiting it at five twenty one am. She dresses and heads to the kitchen for a nutrient shake. Exactly ten minutes later she emerges from her apartment and walks to her car, trips over a pizza box, waves pleasantly to the sinister looking men in their black car, and proceeds on to the train station.

The man that lives in the utility closet has been awake for half an hour already. He will spend the rest of the day mopping, except for a brief moment when he will let two of the most dangerous men in America into the building.

Toby and her cats are watching the shopping channel and have been since eight o’clock last night

It is now eleven o’clock. Tom just rolled over in the tub. Pete has recently woken up. He fills Tom’s hand with shaving cream and tickles Tom’s nose with a piece of string. Tom wakes with a start and smears shaving cream all over his face. Pete laughs and hands him a piece of paper towel. Tom stops short of wiping his face with it, reads it, begins looking frantically into every pizza box in the apartment, and then sits down to hyperventilate.  

William and Franco are still asleep. Franco is dreaming about running over children and eating jellybeans.

“The time at the tone will be three eighteen….beep.”

Cassy is so bored at work that she is listening to a time announcement.

The maintenance closet’s resident has just opened the security door and let in the two ominous looking men. They said they were cable repair men. After a look around, they decide that they will need more ‘equipment’ and leave to get it.

It is now seven o’clock. The ‘repair men’ have returned after a stop for supplies and to change a flat tire. They were speeding, ran a red light, cut off a hearse, and hit a curb. Fortunately, the driver avoided being ‘t-boned’ by swerving wildly through the intersection. Unfortunately, the back door of his hearse was slightly ajar and his cargo went sailing across the street. 

Perturbed, the hench-repair-men are now trudging up to the security door. William is seated behind it smoking a bong. The two men beckon for him to open the door. William pretends he is a mime and laughs. The men punch through the window and drag him out to the bushes where Toby has disposed of her area rug. They proceed to beat William and leave him for dead.

It is seven fifteen and Deb has gotten home from work. She heads upstairs, passes the two men beating William, runs up the steps, and nukes her dinner. Then she heads down the hall to do her laundry.  In the laundry room Tom and Pete are dressed in chaps and cowboy hats riding a foaming, unbalanced washing machine. She turns around and decides to drive down the street to the Coin Muncher Laundromat instead. She struggles out the door with her basket, hops over Will’s body wrapped in an area rug, gets in her car, and begins driving to the laundromat. Deb never does make it all the way to the Coin Muncher though, because this is when things get interesting.

It is eight oh five and Deb has just returned from her trip.

“Oh my God,” screams Deb. 

Tom was drinking a beer while sitting atop a slightly moving a rug. He belched and Deb unloaded her story on him.

“I ran over that poor man that was camping in the street in his weird black sleeping bag. I think I…,” Deb lost it.

Tom stared at her over the rim of his beer, unfazed.

“I killed him,” she squeaked. “I got so scared that I put him in the car and I drove back here. He’s by the front door.”

“Cool is that dude dead,” exclaimed Franco.

The cable repair hit men are currently lost.

“Damn it, I thought you said you knew where that freaking kid lived,” grumbled henchmen number one.

This was the fourteenth door they had knocked on and they were starting to run out of excuses as to who they were.

“Pizza delivery,” chimed the first henchman.

“Oh…again,” Toby mumbled while stoking a cat.

 “This is actually Tom’s pizza and we’re looking for him so we can deliver it,” adlibbed the second hit man.

“If you’re delivering Tom a pizza then where is it,” questioned Toby.

“Look lady, the friggin pizza is in the car. Now tell us where Tom is already so his food doesn’t get cold,” snapped the second henchman.

“What food,” asked Toby.

“The pizza lady- the friggin pizza that we’re trying to deliver,” screamed the second henchman.

“My you two look sinister tonight! Are you going to a Halloween party?”

“Why yes, we are! It’s at Tom’s place- do you know where he lives,” attempted the first henchman again.

“Oh…you’re delivering Chinese food to Tommy’s party, how nice.”

“Pizza, Chinese- whatever lady. We just need to know where this Tom guy lives okay.”

“Well, why didn’t you just say so then! He lives just down the hall.”

Rewind. Deb is still alternating between sobbing and hyperventilating while Franco is poking the stiffened corpse with a stick and wishing that he had been the one to run over him instead…while eating jelly beans.

“This is so awesome,” he exclaims. “You said you ran this guy down in cold blood?”

“I didn’t run him down in cold blood! It was an accident,” wailed Deb.

Meanwhile Pete is looking between the corpse and Tom.

“Tommy, are you thinking what I’m thinking,” he whispers. 

“Yeah man- you wanna get wasted again tonight?”

“No, but that’s not a bad idea. See, I’m thinking that this dude looks like you…if you were kind of dead and run over and stuff.”

“Dude, that’s nasty.”

“This dead dude could solve your problem bro. See those guys want you dead right? So, we go outside, dress this dude in your clothes, and I run him over in front of the bad dudes while you hide somewhere out of sight. Then they think you’re already dead and stop trying to kill you.”

“Duuuuudddeee,,” exclaimed Tom.

“Hey, you guys want help getting that body outside,” offered Franco.

“Heck yeah man,” exclaimed Pete jumping up from his seat on the squirmy rug.

“Mmmmfffff,” moaned the rug.

“What the,” exclaimed Pete.

“Lemme see, is it something else dead,” yelled Franco rushing to unroll the carpet.

Inside he discovered Will.

“Oooh,” squealed Franco, “I’m gonna stash him somewhere for later…I mean I’m gonna get him inside so we can get him help later.”

Before anyone could object Franco was dragging Will across the tile by the ankles.

It is now nine o’clockish and Franco is almost orgasmic in his eagerness to touch the dead body. Between the three men they managed to drag the corpse into the parking lot.

“Now we need your clothes,” said Pete.

“What…here man,” panted Tom.

“Dude, yeah…all I need is your clothes and then nobody’ll wanna kill you anymore.”

“But man, it’s cold out here.”

“The clothes you’ve got on have your DNA on them so it will be more believable that the body is you and not whoever he was…hey is that a toe tag,” finished Franco.

“Dude, listen to the crazy dude. Now come on, let’s go- get naked already,” slurred Pete.

Tom wriggled out of his chaps and handed them over to Pete.

“All your clothes.”

“Come on man- they don’t need my boxers too!”

“The police are going to investigate this thing and wonder why your corpse isn’t wearing any boxers!”

“Ummm, aren’t they gonna be wondering why your corpse is wearing nothing but chaps anyway,” cut in Deb.

“The girl’s got a point,” muttered Franco.

“Dude- just take off your boxers,” shouted Pete.

Tom slunk behind a tree and moments later flung out his boxers. Deb averted her eyes as Franco and Pete dressed the corpse. When they were done Franco wrestled their new mannequin into a standing position.

“Check it out-it looks exactly like you,” squealed Pete.

“Dude- that dude is Asian. He looks nothing like me,” yelled Tom.

“But he’s wearing your boxers so no one will notice,” hiccupped Pete.

“You two are complete idiots,” screamed Deb.

It’s nine fifteen and the henchmen have finally broken down the correct door and discovered that the apartment was completely empty.

“What the F…..,” exclaimed henchman one.

“How can a pizza delivery kid be so hard to kill,” exclaimed henchman two.

They were about to depart when the squealing of tires drew them over to the window. Looking out they saw Tom, naked, dive into the bushes as a car hit some poor sap.

We’re back at nine fifteen in the parking lot with one corpse, two idiots, a psycho, and a hysterical woman. Sounds like the punch line to a bad joke, doesn’t it? Too bad the priest and the rabbi are on vacation.

 “Well dudes the only way we’re gonna know if this is gonna work is to try it,” instructed Pete. “So, Franco you hold the dead dude up, Tom hides in the bushes, Deb screams, and I’ll drive the car at the corpse.”

“I don’t wanna hold the corpse and get killed too,” protested Franco.

“Well then Tom, you hold it,” snapped Pete.

“Idiots,” yelled Deb. “If Tom holds the dead guy then no one will believe he’s the corpse.”

“Chick makes another good point,” conceded Franco, “why not make her do it?”

“I’m not strong enough,” protested Deb.

“I might have something that’ll solve this,” grunted Franco.

Moments later Franco reappeared dragging the carcass of Will.

“We’ll just use this dude to hold the corpse. He’s so messed up he’ll do anything we tell him to,” yelled Franco.

“That’s man slaughter,” screamed Deb.

“You’re one to talk,” snapped Franco.

They fixed it so that Will was wedged against Asian dude’s corpse. Tom concealed himself in the bushes while Pete revved the car engine. 

In seconds the car hit the corpse and Will. Will rolled off to the side while the corpse landed with an explosion of limbs. Deb took off running with Franco in toe. Tom followed suit. Moments later Pete fled in the direction Deb and Franco had gone.

While the good Samaritans of the world called the paramedics a breathless Deb, Franco, and Pete met up safely behind the building where the fire door lived. 

“Just wonderful,” panted Deb. “Now how do we get back in the without being seen?”

“No worries, there’s a door right there,” sung Franco.

“That door has an alarm on it genius! If we open it we’re gonna bring the entire fire department!”

“Au contraire,” took over Pete pushing the door silently open. “This door hasn’t had an alarm on it in months. Tom and I unhooked it so we could get back in that night that our man Stevie swallowed our keys.”

It is five to ten and Tom is following one of Toby’s cats through her open window. He hears Toby’s gravelly voice ring out behind him.

“Oh hello, are you a stray kitty? I’ve never seen a big pink hairless kitty before. Come in kitty and have some milk.”

“Do you think it worked,” asked Pete as the three of them walked down the hall looking for Tom. “You think they really bought it?”

 “Dunno man, why don’t you ask them- they’re coming down the hall now,” stated Franco .

“That’s not funny,” snapped Deb.

“I wasn’t joking,” stated Franco.

A popping noise raced down the hall at them.

“Ow,” exclaimed Pete grabbing hold of his shoulder. “I’ve been shot!  Run crazy man and hysterical chick!”

The ensuing chase goes on for ten minutes and leads over a wadded up rug and back into the parking lot to where the corpse and Will are. Exhausted, Pete raises his hands to surrender.

 “Not so cocky now are you Tommy boy?  Bet you’ll think twice before stealing a ruby from the mob and leaving an IOU in its place huh?”

“Any last words chum,” sneered henchman one.

“I’m not Tom,” whispered Pete.

“Like I haven’t heard that one before. Any other last words?”

“What smells like vinegar and burning cat hair?” 

“Boooooomm,” explodes the building.

“Ahhhhhhh,” scream the people.

The time is ten forty-five and Cassy is pulling into the parking lot. She parks in a spot next to an ambulance and calls her friend Tia. She complains to Tia about how boring her life is as she twiddles the genuine ruby. She’s oblivious to henchman two diving at her to recover the missing gem. She yawns as the man is tazered and dragged off screaming. 

Now she’s complaining about how long it is taking the firemen to put out her building as an EMT taps her on the shoulder. The man begs her to move her car as quickly as possible as two other EMT’s come running up with the remains of Will on a stretcher. She scoffs about losing the good parking spot, but ultimately obliges.

She tells Tia that the gem is probably fake so she’ll throw it out when she bumps into Deb who is trying to retreat from the corpse’s family. They are so happy that his remains have been recovered that they can almost forgive her for accidentally running over it. Cassy disentangles herself from Deb, but is interrupted again by Toby’s screams as they load her up for Bellview.

 Frustrated, Cassy finally gives up and says she’ll just call Tia back as a man in handcuffs, screaming something in Spanish jumbles past and knocks her phone on the ground. 

As she squats to scoop up the pieces, she over hears the conversation of two detectives.

“Alright chief, this is what we’ve gotten together thus far.  The body count stands at four and a half.”

“Four and a half?”

“Yes sir, four dead bodies and one person beaten almost to death and wrapped in a rug.”

“I see.”

“Oh, and one person shot in the arm. We are currently looking for the man who murdered the three bodies recovered from one Franco Frank Thomas’s apartment, but we’ve been unable to locate the tenant. We’ve also got one burnt down building as the result of arson by the janitor combined with a methamphetamine lab dysfunction, and a missing ruby. Animal control has removed five hundred thirty-two cats, a guy in his birthday suit, and his twin brother. Shall I detain him for questioning?”

“Please do.”

The detective beckons to Pete and Tom to come with him. Pete is holding a wad of gauze over his arm and Tom is wearing a Red Cross blanket like a Toga. They are ushered into a waiting police car. Cassy prepares to head over to ‘Phones to Go’ for a replacement, but she is stopped by a shadowy form. It is Franco Frank Thomas. He regards Cassy for a minute.

“Hey how’d such a pretty lady wind up in a flaming parking lot like this? Wanna go and get a drink,” he coos.

Cassy smiles and gets into the passenger seat of his car unaware that his trunk is filled with an axe and some jelly beans.

August 26, 2021 11:09

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