2 comments

Fiction Crime

Detective Dana Ciccone and her partner, Tony Davis, didn’t find the silences that accompanied their morning drives to be uncomfortable. Dana drove. Tony looked out the window. They both enjoyed the temporary quiet. Twenty years of daily traffic jams from an obstreperous police precinct to an even more insistent crime scene had frazzled them both. But when they did speak, Dana was usually the one to start the conversation. In addition to being a damn good detective, Dana also seemed to be obsessed with random shit.

“Do you believe in the Boogeyman?” Dana asked.

“What, like Andy Gibb?” Tony said, turning from the window.

“Who’s Andy Gibb?”

“Shadow Dancing? Everlasting Love?”

Dana almost spit out her coffee in laughter.

“Not the Boogie Man!” Dana said, making that familiar John Travolta disco hand gesture. “The Boogeyman!” She made a stabbing motion with her left hand.

“No, not really,” Tony said.

“Not really?”

“I don’t like the pitch black dark, but it’s not because I think the Candyman or Freddie Krueger’s gonna get me.”

Dana raised her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders. “Well, why are you afraid of the dark, then?”

“One time, during elementary school, on the playground, someone hit me on the head from behind with a wooden baseball bat. Knocked me out for like five minutes. I never saw it coming.”

“Who hit you?”

“No one saw.”

“No one?”

“Mrs. Delveccio just found me on the ground, unconscious, bleeding from my head.”

“Damn.”

“No kidding. Since that day, I haven’t been able to go to sleep in the dark. When the lights are out, I feel like something’s going to hit me.”

“Do you think that’s where your profound interest in the mundane came from?” Dana said with a snicker.

“Ha, ha. Very funny.” 

Dana and Tony arrived at Highwood Landing Apartments, the scene of this morning’s suicide. They parked on the street, exited their unmarked car, and headed to Apartment 3A.

“It’s not the mundane that interests me, Dana,” Tony said, chucking his empty coffee cup in the trash bin near the entrance of the apartment complex. “I just like to think that I don’t take anything for granted.” 

Dana and Tony walked through the apartment door. 

“It’s about time,” Captain David Anderson said with a sneer.

Tony glanced at his watch and said, “It’s 8:17 am, boss.”

David glanced at his empty wrist, blushed, and said, “Well, you should be here when I get here and I’ve been here a while.”

Dana turned around to close the door. She rolled her eyes.

“Don’t you roll your eyes, Ciccone. We have six more scenes to tag and bag today,” David said.

“Whatcha got, boss?” Tony asked.

“The decedent is a female, late-20s, musician, wannabe songwriter, total loser,” David said.

Dana raised an eyebrow. “I’ve heard male PMS is a thing,” she whispered to Tony.

Tony folded his arms. He glanced at a studio apartment full of music biographies, books, vinyl albums, and musical equipment. A giant poster of Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar on stage at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967 hung in the place where most people would hang a flat screen TV. 

“Who found Samantha?” Tony asked, stretching rubber gloves over his hands. Dana followed Tony’s lead and put her rubber gloves on, too. 

David looked surprised. “How did you know her name was Samantha?”

“It’s on the pick guards of her guitars.” Three Fender Stratocasters stood at attention in a multi-stand, each strung and set up like Samantha’s apparent hero, Jimi Hendrix. “Who found her?” Tony said.

“Pablo, the supe, was doing maintenance on the air conditioners in the building. He found her early this morning,” David said. Pablo, dressed in a mechanic’s jumpsuit, sat at Samantha’s kitchen table sipping coffee from a thermos.

“Before 8?” Dana asked Pablo.

“Si, señorita. The day gets hot muy rapido in the summer. Everyone in the apartment complex had a week’s notice. We start muy pronto,” Pablo said.

“You’re thinking suicide?” Tony asked David.

“Pretty cut and dried, if you ask me,” David said. “I mean, here’s the note, here’s the cup, here’s the pills.” David flailed his arms as he pointed to the evidence. 

“Not so fast,” Tony said. “The cup is in her right hand.” 

“So,” Dana said.

“Look at her guitars,” Tony pointed. “They are strung like Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix was left handed.” 

“So what. I bat with my right and jerk it with my left. She’s ambidextrous.” David said.

“You don’t know that, David. The evidence suggests that Sam was a lefty, not ambidextrous,” Dana said.

“Says who?” David said.

“Señor, one in ten lefties es ambidextro,” Pablo said. 

“When we’re out well past midnight, would you call Sally for me and tell her why I’m not home yet?!” David said. He ripped open a travel packet of Advil, took a swig of coffee, and threw the coffee cup and Advil empty packet in Samantha’s trash can under the her kitchen sink. 

“May I see the suicide note?” Tony asked.

David snorted, pointed at the note, and walked toward the living room of the apartment, staring out the window. 

“Nice stationary,” Dana said. Samantha’s farewell message was written on very expensive, tightly-woven cotton paper. 

Tony considered the hooks and twists of her blue cursive. “Is it a farewell poem?” he asked. 

“Maybe it’s song lyrics,” Dana said. 

Tony held the paper close and read its contents. 

I’m the one you want to blame,

Without a soul, no hope, no name.

And now its time to change the game.

Everyday is quite the same.

Goodbye, cruel world.

I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Goodbye, cruel world.

And I knew I would barely leave a trace.

—Samantha Tanya Roberts

“Done?” David asked. 

“No,” Tony said, twirling his magnifying glass.

“No?” David said.

“This note was generated from a laser printer,” Tony said.

“Like hell it is. Blue ink from a pen. Here’s the pen,” David said, picking up the blue Pilot rollerball.

“No, the ink is pixelated. This is a forgery. I think Samantha was murdered,” Tony said. 

“Aye de mi, Señor,” Pablo said. 

“Do you know something we don’t, Pablo?” Dana asked.

“No, señors. I had nothing to do with this. Te lo aseguro.”

“Arrest him, Dana,” David said. 

“Hold up,” Tony said. “Pablo, do you know if Samantha had a significant other? A boyfriend? A girlfriend?”

“Si, a guy named Eric stayed over here about two or three times a week,” Pablo said. 

“Great, let’s arrest Pablo, put an A.P.B. out on Eric, and move on,” David said, walking to the door, pulling his car keys from his pocket. 

“Lo siento, señors. Por favor no me arrestes.” Pablo stood up from the table and backed into the corner. He eyed the door. 

Tony walked to the shelf with the music books and inspected one of the journals. 

“Don’t look at her journals! That’s private,” Dana said.

Tony put the first one back. He pulled another, perused it and put it back. 

“Dana, arrest him!” David said.

“Where’s the third journal? There should be one here,” Tony said, pointing to the shelf. 

“Maybe you should ask Pablo after you arrest him?!” David said. “You two, c’mon. Cuff ‘em and let’s go!”

Tony paused, rubbed the stubble on his chin, and closed his eyes. 

“Tony!” David said, motioning to Pablo. 

Then, Tony pulled his gun and pointed it at David. “Captain David Anderson, you’re under arrest for the murder of Samantha Tanya Roberts.”

David’s face turned red as he said, “Tony, are you out of your goddamn mind?!”

“No,” Tony said. “Dana, look in the garbage disposal.”

“Tony, I don’t know about this.”

“Just do it,” Tony said.

Dana walked over to the sink and peered in the disposal. “There’s some bits of metal and gold in there.”

“It’s the rest of David’s watch.”

“Santa mierda, señor,” Pablo said. 

“I don’t have to take this bullshit!” David said, pulling his pistol from his jacket.

Tony didn’t hesitate and shot David in his right arm. 

David fell to the ground. 

Tony and David locked eyes. David grabbed his pistol—which lay on the floor—with his left hand and shoved it in his mouth. Before he could pull the trigger, Dana struck the pistol from his mouth and kicked David in the head with her boot, knocking him out. 

Two weeks later, while awaiting trial, ex-Captain David Anderson hung himself in his jail cell. Judge Thompson set bail so high that Anderson couldn’t even get the bond together. An autopsy revealed that Samantha’s cause of death was an overdose of Oxycontin pills. She also had Rohypnol in her system.

Also two weeks later, Captain Dana Ciccone and her partner, Tony Davis, found themselves in yet another morning car ride to yet another crime scene. Dana drove. Tony looked out the window. 

“Tony, can I ask you something?” 

“Sure.”

“When Mrs. Delveccio found you, do you think she saw who hit you?”

“Maybe. Why do you ask?”

“Well, this whole thing with David. How did you know it was he who killed Samantha?”

“Too much was wrong with the crime scene for Samantha Roberts to have committed suicide.”

“Yeah, I get that, but I thought it was Eric, the boyfriend. When did you know it was David?”

“When he threw away the coffee cup and empty Advil container.”

“Really?”

“Think about it. Samantha Roberts’ trash can was under her sink. How else would David have known where it was unless he had been there before?”

“Maybe he got lucky?”

“Think about how smooth his motion was. He didn’t hesitate in the slightest. Have you ever been to a friend’s house for the first time and had to look for the trash can? Takes me like five minutes to find the trash can. I look like a goddamn moron opening all the cabinets. And, for David to try to rush us the way he did—a total give away.”

“Why do you think he killed her?”

“She and David were having an affair.”

“No way.”

“ I think he wanted to end it and she threatened to tell Sally.”

“How do you reach that conclusion?”

“The fake suicide note.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Samantha’s third journal was missing. The way he crafted the note to look like her handwriting was he scanned individual sentences from her journal and Photoshopped them to look like a coherent poem. Then, he printed the text out in blue onto her nice stationary.”

“But that doesn’t prove that they were having an affair.”

“He had to be close enough to her to have access to her journals and her stationary. My guess is he grabbed them on an overnight stay.” 

“But what about Eric, the boyfriend.”

“David was Eric.”

“Huh?”

“David arrived for their trysts in disguise. He probably wore a wig or a hat. And, if Pablo asked David who he was, David told him is name was Eric.”

“What about the watch?” 

“The night of the murder, he had everything set up. He took off his watch as he washed his hands and it fell down the kitchen sink. He panicked, tried to turn on the light over the sink, but turned on the disposal.”

“That’s why he looked at his empty wrist when we arrived. He didn’t remember in the moment that he lost his watch down the drain.” 

“Yeah, that’s what I think,” Tony said, sipping his coffee.

“David was a smart guy though. How do you think he messed up with the hand she held her cup with?”

“He probably didn’t know the difference. I mean, most people don’t know that Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Dick Dale were all southpaws.”

“Who’s Dick Dale?”

“A surf rock guitarist.”

“Any good?”

“One of the best.”

“If you were able to deduce all of this about David, why did you never ask Mrs. Delveccio what happened to you?” 

“I was a kid.”

“She’s probably still alive. You could call her.”

“Maybe I don’t want to talk to Mrs. Delveccio.”

“Why not?”

“Because after what happened with David, for the first time in my life, I can fall sleep with the lights out.” 

“So what?”

“There is no boogeyman, Dana. There’s nothing in the dark that’s gonna get you. The real monsters are here, now, in plain view, but hiding in the mundane, not the dark. Never, ever, ever take anything for granted.” 

“Holy shit.”

“What?”

“Mrs. Delveccio was the one who hit you.” 

August 11, 2021 23:17

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

2 comments

Akshara P
04:17 Aug 12, 2021

This was such an interesting story, the pacing and descriptions were great! I really enjoyed reading! And if you have any time, could you please check out my story, "Jace walkers fatal mistake" part one and two and then comment for advice? 🙂

Reply

Mike Garrigan
09:13 Aug 12, 2021

Thank you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply