Monday, July 8, 2013

A Vic Musket Mini-Mystery: The Stool Pigeon

“When interrogating someone, they say you can tell if a person is lying to you by how they look into your eyes.  A good liar makes deliberate contact, thinking that an unflinching willingness to expose themselves to scrutiny lends them credibility.  But someone who is truthful is desperate for you to believe, and it shows.  The one trying too hard is the one you should trust, and the ambivalent subject is almost always deceiving you.”

A pale, sweating man in a bathrobe sat at card table in a smoke-filled and light-deprived room.  His nervous breathing was the only sound audible over the ringing of ice in a whiskey glass, dancing from the unsteady hand that held it.

“I think it’s all bullshit.”  He began again after a deep drink.  “There are no tricks of the trade, and the great detective doesn’t have some super-human insight to impress the studio audience with.  I get my answers every time, the old fashioned way.  With a promise of violence.  And I always keep my promises.”

Detective Vic Musket drank the last from the glass, then dumped the two ice cubes on the table between them.  “Take the ice.  You’re gonna need it.”  He said, pulling a small claw hammer out of the left front pocket of his filthy overcoat.

“For fuck’s sake, Vic.  I’m not the one who shit on your car.  My dumps come out of tubes these days.  I couldn’t make a proper log like that if I tried.”  The sweating man swung open his bathrobe to expose a small, crooked penis and a colostomy bag strapped to his leg.  Looks like this bitch isn’t in heat after all, thought Vic.  There were only so many people it could be.  Someone young and slim enough to climb atop his vehicle without denting the hood, but someone large enough to leave an NFL sized shit draped across the seam between the roof and the windshield.

“Sorry, Bill.  I haven’t done you right in the past, and you seemed like the logical culprit.  And, uh... sorry about the problems with your shitter.”  The man relaxed and swung his robes shut, albeit a little too slowly.  “No worries, Vic.  Help yourself to another glass of my whiskey, then get the fuck out.”

“I’m not done with you yet, Bill.”  Vic said, pouring himself another glass.  “When I walked through your kitchen I noticed two empty cans of creamed corn.  The same kind of corn that peppered the length of that log on my car.  But you couldn’t have left it there... Or could you have?”  Vic stepped closer to the man, yanking his bathrobe open again.  “But when you showed me the bag I noticed it had been leaking.  I thought the odor was due to your poor housekeeping, maybe a dead pet, but the small brown stain on the inside of your white bathrobe told another story.  A colostomy bag is a disposable item, for obvious reasons, and if used properly is a clean receptacle.  But yours has been tampered with.  And as a man who spent a lifetime as a plumber, you seem to be the type who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.  Come on Bill, what kind of depraved fool hand-forms his own diseased shit into a makeshift log just to vandalize another man’s car?”  He held up the claw hammer once again.  “A very sorry man, indeed.”

Vic Musket climbed into his car with a whiskey glass, but no hammer.  Whatever he left in Bill’s apartment was evidence now, but he had been careful not to leave any prints.  Some might call his actions overkill, but his car was his home.  He ate there, drank there, and slept there, and any man who would desecrate his only possession deserved the harshest punishment.  He drank the last of the booze and tossed the glass over his shoulder into the backseat, where it landed without a sound.  How strange, Vic thought.  As far as he could remember, his backseat was always filled with empty bottles.  But where he expected a crash, he heard nothing.

Striking a match, Vic leaned into his backseat to see.  But where last night there were only bottles, there now laid a bedding of discarded corn husks.  Then it came flooding back.  The tequila, the drunken driving on the countryside, the cornfield he raided before making his way back to the city with an overwhelming pressure in his guts...

Vic was two blocks away before he heard the ambulance arrive.


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