Detective McKenzie’s Hobby Case

Submitted into Contest #42 in response to: Write a story that ends in the past.... view prompt



It went viral. The Parish Priest from South Philadelphia was walking out of the rectory of Saint Monica’s Church Rectory when he saw the danger, and he acted. It was brave, it was unusual, but it wasn’t the most amazing thing that ever happened. It seemed like it in the viral worldwide headlines. With the black garb, good looks, and signature dark glasses even at night, Father Buzzetto resembled Neo from “The Matrix.” I am Detective McKenzie. I am not a fan of young dress-wearing geldings wanting me to call them father. I actually did the work to be a father, bore the pain of listening to the same woman complain about the pain of childbirth as if a couple hours of constipation could compete with her mouth for 25 years in causing pain, and spend all my money and every non-working hour serving that woman and my ten kids. I truly would have rather squeezed the kids out my pecker like an over large kidney stone than hear one more time about it. I didn’t have it “in” for Father Buzzetto anymore than I have it in for anybody. General Mattis had a famous quote you probably heard before: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” I’m a cop. I am polite and professional, and I have a plan to collar every perp I meet, and they are all perps. As the geldings are fond of saying, there is no one righteous, not even one. I don’t leave out the geldings. No one is above the law.

The headlines were amazing. “Neo mind-bends a bus.” “Miracle Priest makes emergency bus stop” “Saint Buzzsaw!”  Father Buzzetto was the son of a mobster. His father was not a very nice man. He had the nickname “Buzzsaw” relating to what happened to anyone who ever crossed him. He liked it. About a third of the uniform was on his “extra benefits plan” at the Philly PD, but not me. I called him “Buzzy, Buzz, Buzz-lightyear- Bastardo” whatever was more likely to offend him. I had my fair share of run-ins with Buzzy the elder when I was on the organized crime task force. Old man Buzzsaw hadn’t been my problem since young “Neo” got stationed at Saint Monica’s. It was rumored that like many old mobsters from Philly, he had cashed in his chips and moved on to a better place— Florida.

The kid was trying to cross 17th street near Roseberry street, next to the rectory. 17 street is a SEPTA bus route, with a bus rattling the windows of the row houses across the street from the church every 35 minutes in a blasphemous symphony, with a ghoulish cloud of dust following for 5 minutes after. An exorcism of the street occurred every hour with the ringing of the church bells. I grew up in a little row house across the street from the church. Parked cars lined both sides of the street, creating a tunnel barely wide enough for the bus, and many opportunities for a kid to run out between cars. Twelve-year-old David Kelly ran out between two parked cars near the rectory in front of the bus. Witnesses said that Father Buzzetto covered the ground from the rectory steps to the boy in a flash, less than a second, and grabbed the boy. They made like he was some kind of superhero with his speed and strength. Sounds embellished, I thought. Something is not right.

I grew up across the street from that church, I played street hockey on Roseberry street. I played goalie because I was never afraid of the puck, I was fat, naturally padded, and wide enough to take up a lot of the goal, and I couldn’t skate worth a crap. No way some fat ass priest gets his lazy upholstered ass from the steps to the kid in time, no fucking way.

It was a sweltering summer night. Global warming happened in South Philly way before it was a thing, with the abundance of concrete retaining heat and structures blocking the wind, it was often ten degrees hotter in the neighborhood than it was in the Girard Estate "suburb" just a city mile away. All the neighbors were sitting out on their front steps, telling lies and drinking Budweiser with way too much foam on it. There were at least 40 witnesses. The bus had a sizable dent in the front bumper where Father Buzzetto’s arm had blocked it as he grabbed the kid with the other.

What the hell McKenzie? We don’t have enough cases, you got to make up one, like for a hobby?” the boss of detectives was pissed I was even investigating.

“You on the De-go benefits plan Coppola? Screw you! I am investigating or you can put in writing tell me not to, which will be a headline all its own you horse’s ass.” They used to call Italian immigrants “de-go’s” because they were day laborers who were not trusted to return and got paid “as the day goes.”

We were nose to nose, and it was our childhood all over again. We both had gone to Saint Monica’s School back in the day. He was a class bully. I had kicked his ass. More than once. He never got over it. How he was my boss other than being Italian, I have no clue. Mayor Rizzo’s influence still ran deep. He was a former police chief turned Mayor whose campaign slogan was “He may be a crook but he’s our crook.” When I was 18, I was paid and rushed to be registered to vote for him, several times. His career swan song was when he was declared a racist by the newspaper when he ordered an assault on the MOVE complex, a commune of black anarchists, and killed many of them. It was years later that Mayor Goode confronted a MOVE resurgence by dropping C4 on the roof of the complex, where they stored gasoline. It burned 8 city blocks and caused exponentially more mayhem than Rizzo’s wildest dream. Mayor Goode never once tested positive for the racism virus, being immune as he was African American. Reporting focused on his impossible choices, mistakes were made, and an investigation to find a scapegoat. I think they found a cop and blamed him.

A video surfaced on YouTube from one of the witnesses. Of course, no one told me, I watched it on YouTube like everybody else. I’m Irish, and a cop. The neighborhood is 99% Italian— meaning all Italian except for me and the Delaney’s. Every one of the Italians is related to every other one, all the way back to Sicily. It’s more inbred than Rockcastle County Kentucky, only with bigger hair too much makeup and fast-talking. Everyone was related to a mobster, and could trace their mafia street cred with pride, like dime-store novel followers of “Billy the Kid” or “Robin Hood.”

There is a line in a Springsteen song “they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night, and the cops can’t get no relief.” I was a kid when they blew up the chicken man. The period equivalents to “watch parties” happened hours before the chicken man’s death. The chicken man knew he had been caught stealing and had crossed a line. The deal he made was he would allow himself to be killed, and his family would be not only unharmed but taken care of in style, still a part of the team. He blew kisses at the van with the hitmen in it prior to turning the key in the front door of his house and being blown up. It was a good mafia death. Too bad there was no YouTube back then.

The priest's video truly was amazing. The priest moved with superhuman speed. Everyone was focused on that, but who cares? Maybe he rowed crew or was a navy seal. What I picked up on was the kid, little David, wasn’t running from Roseberry street—he was running out of the rectory, and the good father Buzzsaw was…chasing him!

Coppola and I went toe to toe again when I told him I was bringing in Father Buzzetto for questioning. I ended up suspended, with the day off to cool down. What a difference a day makes. Little David Kelly, the kid the priest saved, had gone missing.

So there I sat, with Father Buzzetto in interrogation one, Coppola and me sitting behind the one-way glass, sweating him.

“Remember, Mac, kids disappear every day. The neighborhood isn’t sunshine and roses.” Yesterday he suspended me for trying to do my job, today I am Mac, like we are kissing cousins or something. What a wonderful human being, and smart too.

I made the gelding sit for an hour before entering the interrogation room.

“Father Buzzetto, or may I call you buzzy junior? —do you know why you are here?”

“I am here because you hate priests, and do not submit the authority of the church.”

He had a point. I wasn’t overly fond of the gelding class. There was the time a friend of mine in middle school unexpectedly killed himself. The church comforted the family by telling them that they wouldn’t do the funeral, as their son wasn’t mentally ill or a victim of hormones, or negative thinking –but had committed the unforgivable sin and was burning in hell and they couldn’t desecrate the holy ground of their cemetery with him. Often parents blame themselves. They wanted to make sure of that. They told the parents that they couldn’t take communion for a year. I went to a different church now, unrelated to the geldings, independent of them. I couldn’t let him turn this around and get into my baggage.

“Yeah, I may not like priests, but we are here about a missing child who was running away from you.”

I paused for effect. “A child who ran in front of a bus rather than be anywhere near you. Do you deny that David Kelly was running out of the rectory because I can show you the video.”

“My son,” said the man in black in the body of a 30-year-old who had never sired a child to the 50-year-old Irish detective, “I was counseling the young man. He is troubled. I was taking his confession. I am sure he will turn up soon, safe.”

Sometimes you use your intuition and you take a shot. I knew this guy was dirty. I had nothing. Sometimes being a good cop was theatre.

“Buzzy,” I said, “ I know you think Coppola and all the other de-goes are in big buzzy’s pocket—but why do you think he let me take you at this time? You are going to jail, we got you dead to rights for 10 missing children over the last 5 years!” I slammed a big file down on the desk. In truth, I hadn’t reviewed the files, they were a prop.

“I know how you geldings avoid being in the filthy 60—you focus on the troubled kids and you kill them! Dead men tell no tales! You are going down! I am going to make sure every lifer in that prison knows, you will be everyone’s little boy!”

The filthy 60 was a network of 60 pedophile priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that had hundreds of pages of abuses of small boys that the church had swept under the rug. There were millions in civil suits based on it. The church would shuffle people different places but did about as much as Pope Pius did to stop the holocaust.

Buzzy junior wore wrap-around sunglasses like Neo’s in “The Matrix.” He took them off and looked at me. He looked me dead in the eye. It froze me for a second, but then I just wanted to hit him. Paced behind him in the interrogation room to make him nervous. He had to turn his head to look at me.

Coppola came into the interrogation room. “I’m sorry for Detective McKenzie, father.”

Then, he was quiet. Barney Coppola was many things, but quiet wasn’t one of them. He ran off at the mouth like an overflowing toilet, only less sanitary. It is like he was hypnotized.

“You are still the same Irish prick. Somehow my stare doesn’t work on you.” He sounded just like Buzzy senior, Buzzsaw Buzzetto the mobster. “I’m glad to see it works in general, with my new eye surgery.”

I’m not proud of my temper. If it only comes up when a superstrong freak priest who is possibly something more hypnotizes my boss and taunts me, I think maybe I am doing okay. You aren’t supposed to have weapons with you inside interrogation rooms, but since 9-11 I never leave home without my ceramic knuckledusters. He was fast and my advantage was surprise. I won my rep in school by cold-cocking bullies, and I cold-cocked buzzy in the lower back, right on the spine, knocking him out of the chair. The priest’s black shirt caught on the spines of the knuckles. I used the fabric to spin him around and use my other knuckled hand to give him an uppercut to the solar plexus—which should have been game over. Buzzy through me off him across the room. Through all this Coppola just stood there, like an idiot. He must have been hypnotized. Buzzetto’s shirt had been shredded, leaving him naked from the waist up. He was covered in scars. I recognized some of those scars. This was Buzzsaw, somehow, miraculously younger. He had many surgeries.

He spoke to Coppola. “You will find the boy down by the lakes, under I-95. He will need medical attention. It appears he fell in with some bad fellows. He is now blind.” Coppola repeated back what he said, like in the military, like a verbatim repeat back of an order. He sounded just like my former nemesis, Buzzsaw Buzzetto. “The lakes” was what we called Roosevelt park, a lake, and golf course down by where the Eagles played.

“You never brought me in. You and McKenzie brought in a mental patient for interrogation, but he beat you both up with hidden knuckledusters and escaped. Now take off your shirt and jacket and give them to me.”

Buzz dressed, and I sat quivering and broken in the corner. I had eaten too much pasta over the course of my life. I thought I was having a heart attack. My head had hit the wall and I was dizzy. He laughed at me.

“A small percentage of the cattle population is immune to our hypnosis, probably too stupid.”

He paused. “It was Winston Churchill who said: there is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at without result. I finally figured out, at my extreme age, why those villains in movies always tell the hero their plans—it is a real high! I don’t think I’ll kill you today, but I will brag a little bit.”

What he told me chilled me to the bone. I got retired early from a head injury. It’s not like TV where you can pop right back up again and do a dance. I was mostly okay, but not fit for duty. I work on the buzz case exclusively as a hobby. Everyone thinks I am a crackpot. Father Buzzetto is now Monsignor Buzzetto. His blue eyes haunt me. They haunt me because they are David Kelly’s eyes. The Buzzetto’s all had brown eyes. The glasses were to protect his failing eyes, now he had new ones. He was Buzzsaw the elder, but something more, something worse. He was ancient. I connected the dots from his pontificating rambling story. I found a black and white recording from the Nazi archive—meticulous about records. There was Father Buzzetto but in a Nazi uniform. According to Buzzsaw, he is part of the ancient race the Bible calls the Nephilim, the demigods that bewitched the daughters of men. He is throughout history, he is Mars, he is Ares, vampires. His people are the source of the vampire legends and more recently the Frankenstein legends. Nephilim have great longevity, but they are not immortal. They began raising humans for body parts with the help of Hitler in the run-up to WWII.  I had studied German when I was stationed in Berlin in the army, and I listened to the chilling words from the past, the 1940s, the same voice, the same face, but different eyes.

“We are the master race. I am pure blood Teuton, in the direct line of Vlad the Impaler. There are many of us. The lesser races exist to serve us. Do you know why transplant operations fail? It is because we fail to go through the cattle until we find the correct match. I have a Jewish Kidney on the left, and a Gypsy kidney on the right. I think when my eyes fail, I will get Irish eyes, I love it when Irish eyes are smiling. Doctor Mengele and I had to remove the kidneys from one hundred Jews before we found the right one. We can live forever, the immortal third Reich. Baby parts are very important to the cause for smooth skin. Please rape and impregnate as many of the cattle as you can, we need to cut up the babies for research, especially for skin transplants.”

May 18, 2020 15:29

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Zilla Babbitt
14:14 May 28, 2020

Here for the critique circle :) Very creative story! An interesting supernatural twist, and I think this would work just as well for the "narrator reveals a secret" prompt. You've got some funny, witty anecdotes and aphorisms in here that made me laugh. A few things: 1. Please indent and make more paragraphs! It doesn't change the content of the story but it changes how I read it: easier and cleaner. 2. I think if you have woven a suspicious theme around Buzz, like McKenzie was sort of creeped out about him, it would have made the Nephil...


Iam Danger
19:49 Jun 01, 2020

Thanks so much for the feedback! Very helpful!


Zilla Babbitt
19:52 Jun 01, 2020

Sure thing!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.