BLOOD ON THE HARDWOOD CONCRETE CH.2 - DANGLY BITS
By Debbie Davis
You eye the dead girl. Should you call the chief? Why are you even debating this? He’s useless as the day is long. There’s no time. The only back-up you need is right here with you. You’re unsure how much help Sweet Lou is going to be. His skin has taken on a horrible shade of green, like split pea soup mixed with the Chief’s pit juice. Sweet Lou looks like a nancy about to cry. In fact, you’re fairly certain you see tears pooling in his eyes.
Curly points a finger longer than your . . .. “He’s getting away!”
“Follow me, boys!”
You give chase, almost slipping on the intestine-littered sidewalk. It reminds you of that time you and the Chief went boxing together. You’d been surprised that he didn’t disintegrate in front of your very eyes. His perspiration was like Niagara Falls, and you almost slipped then, too.
As you pick up speed, you wish you hadn’t loosened your pants after consuming the three-meat lasagna. Right now, they’re trying to make an escape much like the trenched henchman. That bastard is fast; fortunately, your pants are not.
You wave your gun in the air frantically. “Not on my watch, you lousy good for nothin’!”
The man in black weaves through the alley. The pavement is uneven, and you’re having a hard time keeping up. To make matters worse, he’s looking back and overturning trash cans, complete with mice, to trip you up. You take pause as you notice the trash can from directly behind Gino’s is home to a particularly large swarm of rodents, and you feel the bile rise in your throat, the lasagna on the verge of making a second appearance.
Who is the nancy now? You think to yourself. Who is the nancy now? You give yourself a mental slap and get your head back in the game. You launch yourself up and over, hurdling the trash cans with so much ease that you surprise yourself. Your gut doesn’t slow you down nearly as much as it should, even though it jiggles a little like Chief’s jowls when he talks.
The darkness of night descends upon the alley, offering the fast bastard even more camouflage. The weather changes suddenly too, as you feel the air around you shift in a windstorm. Wait! That’s not the wind! It’s a tornado. A tornado of red and blue and stars and stripes. A tornado of limbs. A tornado of badass. Skilled hands like surgeons, powerful legs like workhorses. It’s the boys you know you can always count on. It’s the Globetrotters! Sweet Lou’s nancy moment has passed, and now you can only see a steely look of determination plastered on his face.
It’s this moment your brain chooses to send a signal to your body, a friendly reminder that you are no longer the young beat cop you used to be. Age has caught up with you and she hasn’t been kind. She’s been a sultry bitch. Your feet slow, your breathing becomes labored. You’re wheezing and can’t catch your breath.
You stop and put your head between your knees, just for a moment. Just until everything stops spinning. You can still see the bandit ahead and the Globetrotters closing the space between them with formidable speed.
“Get him!” You shout to no one in particular, waving your gun again. “Get the murderer!”
Curly stops. “I’m not playin’ anymore,” he yells. You look up in time to see him raise his arm over his head, armed with the deadly force of his favorite weapon: His basketball. He pitches the thing with no effort at all. From its current trajectory, the cop in you knows the trenchcoat killer is going down. Hard and fast. Still trying to catch your breath, you can’t help but wonder why Curly didn’t just do this in the first place.
The ball sails through the air. When it makes contact, you’re pretty sure Curly killed him. He falls to the ground, the only noise his head cracking on the pavement.
You summon the last of your energy and surge forward to catch up with the Globetrotters. Curly is now strutting like the hero he knows he is. “Nice job, kid,” you say, even though Curly probably isn’t that much your junior.
The man who fled is lying face down. You take off your fedora and bring it to your chest, bowing your head. Murderer or not, you’ve still just seen his life slip away. You are about to order a moment of silence until you see his chest moving ever so faintly. The bastard is alive!
You let out a scream, then recover by clearing your throat. “He’s alive!” You say.
Twiggy flips the man over with his foot.
You scream again.
In your worst possible nightmare, you couldn’t have imagined this. You’ve seen the Chief in the shower at the station before and you were sure nothing could be more terrifying than that. You were wrong. You make a mental note to find a therapist.
Underneath the grandeur of the trenchcoat, the man is naked. Naked as the day he was born. You inadvertently notice something else hasn’t changed much since the day he was born either. You squint and try to adjust your eyes. The last thing this fellow needed was a ball to the head. He’s got enough problems.
“You think it’s real?” Curly asks.
You shake your head. “I’m not sure. How could nature, how could God, be so cruel to one man?”
“Naw,” Twiggy shakes his head. “It can’t be real. It’s like part of it is missing.”
As much as the size—or lack thereof—of the man’s manhood—or lack thereof—intrigues you, you can’t waste any more time talking about it. “Someone has to pat him down,” you announce. “Check for the murder weapon.”
The Globetrotters look at you like you’ve lost your mind. Like you look at the Chief when he attempts to tell you about his relations with his lady friends. You roll your eyes and sigh. “You’re a bunch of nancys! The whole lot of you!”
Twiggy steps forward in a threatening stance until you point your gun. “Don’t test me, Twig. Not today.”
“You’re the cop,” he says, “you pat him down.”
The bile is back in your throat. Obviously he’s got nowhere to conceal a weapon aside from the coat, so it can’t be all that bad. You force the bile down and inhale sharply. “I’ll do it.” You mutter something else about nancys under your breath as you check the man’s pockets. You check a second and a third time just to be sure.
There is no weapon. “He’s clean. He’s got nothing,” you say.
It appears your killer has made a stealthy escape. The man who ran is merely a flasher. A meager, meager flasher.
Curly’s temper erupts. “All that for nothing! Nothing! I’m gonna kill him myself.”
A. Allow Curly to let loose on the little man, sure that you’re doing him a favor?
B. Instruct the Globetrotters to haul the flasher into the station, then go back to the crowd to look for evidence of the real killer’s whereabouts?
C. Bring the flasher into the station yourself and call it a night?