Without A Head (part 1)
Breathing wasn’t so difficult, but standing on my toes long enough to keep the noose from making breathing impossible was tough. While I stood there wondering if it was worth the effort, I gained a new respect for ballet dancers. Before today, I had spent life waiting for it to start, but at that moment I wondered if I existed by reason of insanity or God’s absence of pride.
It all started because someone’s luck had run out for good. I wasn’t in my usual bad mood because it was spring and I couldn’t wait to waste my evenings watching my baseball team giving it’s all, trying to shorten my life span, when a body that had no place to hang a hat on, flew through my window. I may not be the greatest detective, but I never forget a body without a face. Whoever it was, didn’t give a damn about gender or stereo types. It took me a few minutes to figure out that this was a guy I could have easily beaten up with all my appendages tied behind my back. And it was certainly a guy I wouldn’t turn my back on in the shower or maybe I would. I’ve been told either side of me is the worst of two evils. The flabby stiff had no identification or a note from its parents excusing it from life, so I figured I’d let the cops figure out who had been thrown on my throw rug.
After a few hundred times of giving what the cops thought was the wrong answer, they bagged the body and carried it out of my house the way it might have come in if it had a head. Didn’t take me long to envy the headlessstiff because I now had one hell of a headache.
When working on cases, detectives often ask questions to themselves and most of those times they don’t get answers, and if they do they’re usually the wrong answers, which leads to more questions. This time I wasn’t getting any answers, right or wrong. And I wasn’t even sure I was asking the right questions, or why I was grilling myself. I was hoping someone would toss the dead guy’s head though the window so we could put both our heads together and maybe find a few answers. That’s when the home phone rang, as well as my cell, the doorbell; and the tea kittle started to whistle. I knew where the front door and the tea kettle were, the other two I had to track down. My home cordless must have ran off with the signal (I still haven’t found it), and I tracked down the cell phone a note too late, but I did manage to quiet the tea pot and arrived at the door before the big guy standing there pulled the trigger.
Unfortunately for him, he either forgot to load the bullets. All he got out of the six-shooter was a click and all I got was a bad bout of angina. We stood there looking at each other, eye to eye, nose to nose, twitch to twitch. Since it was my doorway he was surrounding, I figured, he wouldn’t think it was rude of me to say the first words. “I guess you’re not Avon calling.”
“Hertz,” I said, letting him know I was familiar with commercial banter.
“We try harder,” letting me know he was not a commercial newbie.
“Avis,” I pinned that down quickly.
“Fly the friendly skies,” he blurted out.
“United,” I spit.
“Nixon is the one,” he said proudly like a true “red state” Republican
“68 election.” I was on my game.
“Tippy Canoe and Tyler, too.” I’d heard the phrase many times I was pretty sure it a was campaign slogan for John Tyler, but I wasn’t sure and I wasn’t in the mood for a history lesson, so instead I said, “Tinker’s to Evers to Chance,” then before we both could admit we were stuck in clichés we couldn’t pin down I said, “If you’d planned ahead, your gun could have done its duty and we wouldn’t have had time for trivia.”
“Yeah, well that ain’t my fault. My stupid roommate must have borrowed my gun last night and forgotten to reload it. I don’t know how many times I told the guy to leave my stuff alone. Last time it took me an hour to wipe the dried blood off my knife. Then the idiot cleaned his finger prints off but left mine. And forget about the knots he left in my piano wire. My lucky wire, too. Six clean kills.”
“You just got to be more careful when you pick out a roommate.”
“You never know about a guy till you move in with him. The thing is he came highly recommended from his roommate in the can. That’s what I get for trusting a con who testified for the prosecution”
“Well, it was nice talking to you.” I said cheerfully as I started to shut the door, but the gun man stuck his size twelve-and-a-halfs in the door jam and said, “Maybe I should have phoned first, but since I’m here already, I think I’ll come in.”
End Part 1