The Final Product

Posted: August 1, 2008 in Uncategorized

So my friends, this is my final product for my aforementioned class. It has been cleaned up in terms of dialogue and proofing, and in my humble opinion, it is a bit tighter than it was before. Remember, I always love to hear feedback, even of the constructive variety. Enjoy!

Dump #7

His thirst continued to grow. Each day it seemed that quenching it was becoming more and more difficult. He couldn’t explain his thirst, or why he had to quench it the way he did. And while he knew what he did was wrong, he also knew that not doing it would cause the demons in his head to burst from his cranium in a fury of pulsing gray matter. He would then, of course, be dead, and he couldn’t accept that.

Terry Clement was not a remarkable man. If you saw him in the grocery store you would be neither drawn to nor repulsed by him. He stood about 6’2” tall. His hair was brown and slightly thinning, though he thought he was most likely the only one that noticed it. He was neither thin nor heavy set; just average. In fact, his entire life he had been an average fellow. He was not tortured or abused as a child. His family was average and middle class, and from what he remembered, quite nice. Growing up was, like his looks, unremarkable and plain. True he had never been a hit with the ladies, but he never really tried; they didn’t interest him. What did interest him, and had for as long as he can remember, was death. Dead bodies didn’t do a lot for him per se, but rather he was enthralled by the act of dying. This fact of life interested him so much that he choked himself into near death on several occasions. Not for the sexual thrill of it, though he did find it to be a turn-on, but for research purposes. After each experience of asphyxiation he recorded his thoughts, his fears, and his body’s reaction. He thought this would help him carry out his calling.

It was this obsession with death that made Terry above average in his mind. He fancied himself to be a cunning hunter and an exceptional murderer and he attributed this to his perfectionist’s approach to death.

“I’m the best,” he said to nobody in particular. As he sat on the oak chair in his kitchen, slightly breathless, he thought about what it meant to be the best at his craft. To kill, and to not be caught of course, one must study the process of death. One must study the killers before him in order to find out what they did right, but more importantly, how they got caught. They were all sloppy in his mind (save for the Zodiac) and the only reason they weren’t caught sooner is because the cops chasing them lacked the ability (desire) to truly get in the mind of the killer. Terry Clement knew this, appreciated it, and exploited it. “Stupid cops,” he whispered with a wry smile to the four walls. “You’ll never get me. I’m smarter than you are”

The nameless Latina hooker that now lay lifeless on the puke green linoleum floor was only the latest example of this exploitation. The plastic bag tied around her throat and over her face could not hide the look of sheer terror; her last moments on this earth frozen in an eternal look of fear. Terry hated the aftermath of such a joyous event, but his thirst had grown in the last month; so much so that the corpse on the floor was his third victim this week. He knew that killing at such a rate was dangerous, but he took steps to cover his tracks and ensure his freedom. Frankly, he had to kill; the terror of the streetwalkers sustained him.

The frozen look on the hooker’s face was beginning to nauseate him. It was time to find a resting place for Number Seven. Body in plastic, body in car, body dumped, deed done. He knew the routine and he was ready to get it done…he was getting a bit hungry for a burger.

**************

My name is Austin Daniels and I’m an alcoholic.

That’s probably what I would say if I quit drinking. In my mind, you are only an alcoholic when you quit drinking. Otherwise, you are a drunk, or a lush. Since I am not a quitter, and quitters never win, I’ll go with drunk…or a lush (though I prefer lush—it sounds much more dignified). In addition to enjoying the sauce, I enjoy being a detective for the Kansas City Police Department. I also enjoy the fact that, at 32, I am one of the most respected, and hated, people in Homicide. Call it ego, or the fact that I’m an asshole, but either way, I eat it up. I guess if I stopped being an asshole then you could call me an asshololic, so I think I’ll keep up that habit as well…I hate titles.

My partner in crime fighting, call her Robin to my Batman, is Molly Duncan. On this particular morning she sat next to me in our department-issued black 2006 Chevy Tahoe and this morning Molly is full of spunk. She tends to get this way on Fridays and even more so when the Friday involves a crime scene. Today just happens to be a Friday and today we happen to be on our way, at 10:38 A.M., to Missouri River Killer body dump number seven, so needless to say my curly-haired partner is a little amped up. Newbies tend to get this way.

“Eric told me he was going to take me on a date tonight,” Molly informed me.

Eric is her husband of eight years. Nice guy, kinda dorky, and definitely not as good looking as me. Nobody’s perfect, I guess.

“Oh yeah, where is he going to take you?” I asked

“He said it was going to be a surprise. I’m betting it’s that swanky new steakhouse down on The Plaza.” Molly loves red meat and wine. I prefer beer and chicken wings.

“He’s probably going to take you to a dive bar, get you drunk, and then take you to a gentleman’s club. You know, to fulfill his husbandly fantasies,” I told her. I figured I might as well let the cat out the bag. Sorry, Eric.

After a giggle and a firm slug to the thigh, Molly looked out the passenger side window and let out a sigh, as if she was changing gears in her mind. The dumpsites were all in the same area, and as we turned off of the Broadway bridge and down onto the river access roads, Molly knew it was time to get down to business. That was one of the things I love about her. She was smart and funny, and I’m not nailin’ her. Good combination.

“This makes the seventh body, right? Third body since Sunday?” Molly asked rhetorically, as she knew this to be true. She had been with me on the previous six. I nodded in agreement and set my detective wheels in motion.

“He’s ramping up,” I said. “I’m not sure why he’s ramping up, but four kills in six months, and then three in five days tells me something has snapped.”

Molly furrowed her brow a little bit. “Do you think he had a psychotic break?”

“It’s possible. Probable actually,” I said. “The silver lining to this dark cloud is that serial killers tend to get sloppy when they reach the pinnacle of their ‘work.’ Maybe we’ll catch a break.”

God knows we needed a break. When news of the third body this week hits the airwaves, the city is likely to go into panic, and with July temperatures soaring into the upper 90s this week, that could be a recipe for disaster. Tensions have been high enough in the city with the rash of gun-related gang violence, but add a swift acting serial killer and sweaty human beings to the mix and the situation tends to get a little pissy. Maybe the heat will get to our serial killer, too. Let’s hope so.

We pulled off the access road and onto a gravel road, towards the mass of police vehicles gathered just off the banks of the river. The familiar yellow tape was keeping onlookers at bay for now, but anyone that has been watching the news can put two and two together. I found our Tahoe a nice resting place and put her in park. Molly was ready to rock before the car was even at a full stop. I put my hand out and touched her arm to slow her down. With my left hand I showed her what I saw over to the right: the media.

“Don’t say a fucking word to those vultures,” I told her. “If they ask you a bunch of questions, just direct them my way, cool?”

“Yep, no problem.” Molly longed to talk to the media but she was still too wet behind the ears to ensure that she won’t stick her foot in her mouth.

We stepped out of the Tahoe and onto the gravel road. As soon as my black alligator skin boots hit the ground and made that crunchy, gravely sound, the vultures came running my way, eager to break the story. Let the showering of questions begin.

“Detective! Is that another body? Is it related to the Missouri River Killer? Do these shoes match my blouse? What’s your sign?” Blah, blah, blah.

“No comment,” I said with a smile, both with my mouth and my right middle finger.

Molly was already quickly making her way down to the river banks, eager to fill her brain with the latest crime scene. I, on the other hand, took my dear sweet time heading down there. The reason for this is threefold: boots are slippery, I like irritating the media, and the dead body isn’t going anywhere.

I reached the body, which has been dutifully covered by the M.E. Molly is chatting with the other officers and first responders on the scene while I try to process the scene in my mind. Her feet were barely touching the water. This is pretty much the norm. I’ve never been able to figure out if the killer means to put the victim’s feet so they are barely touching the water, or if it was just coincidence. The victim is fully clothed, much like the other victims. I have also found it odd that the prostitutes found murdered so far have all been fully clothed, and have shown no signs of sexual assault. The killer is most likely not a sexual sadist, and is most likely not killing purely for a sexual charge. With that in mind, I would assume that this poor girl was most likely not sexually assaulted either. Good for her, bad for me. There is always more evidence to go on when a sexual assault is involved, but I guess for her sake, one less thing for her to worry about before she stopped breathing.

I squatted and pulled back the yellow plastic sheet that covered the body. Her face, with a terrified look of suffocation, is covered in a clear plastic bag which has been tied around her throat, also part of our killer’s modus operandi. This is most likely how she died, and what a horrible way to die it was. The killer may not be a sexual sadist but he was a sadist nonetheless. He most likely took great pleasure in watching them suffer up to their last breath. Despite the plastic bag and terrified look, I could tell she was Latina, probably in her mid to late 20s. Her body didn’t look used and abused like a seasoned lady of the night, so her freshness on the streets was probably her demise.

I had seen enough so I pulled the plastic back and rose to my feet; the coroner would tell us more after an autopsy. As a matter of detective instinct, I surveyed the immediate scene around the body and began to walk back up the bank. I always try to put myself in the mind of the killer and in this instance I wanted to find a walking path that would be easiest for a man carrying a body. The gentle slope to the right of the body led directly up to a cleared path of grass, most likely cleared by foot and bicycle traffic. If I was the killer, and hauling a body at night, I would most like choose this path. Easy to see. Easy to walk down on. And most importantly, easy to get back up quickly.

I followed the path back up the slope, looking down to the left and right to see if anything sticks out. Nothing. As I reached the top of the slope I turned around back towards the river, hands on hips.

Hmmmm, I thought to myself. Talk to me fucker.

To my left, just off the path I walked up and slightly further down the slope, I noticed something red in the grass. As I walked over towards the red object I took off my latex gloves on and knelt down, I quickly saw that it was…

**************

…my wallet, Terry Clement thought. Where the hell is my red wallet?

He had been tearing apart his two bedroom house for three hours, frantically searching for his wallet. He couldn’t have left it behind, could he?

“It has to be somewhere,” he whispered frantically, sweat pouring off his brow.

“Where the fuck is it?” he screamed and knocked the TV off the stand. His anger is blinding him. His pulse was racing with fear and his hands were sticky with insanity. He is appalled by his sloppiness. He knows the police have found the body by now, he heard so on the police scanner. It’s a safe bet they have found the wallet as well.

Options were running out, as is time. Does he stay or does he go? Surely they will come knocking, if for nothing more than to ask a few questions. Can he hide his guilt? Can he hide his anger? He doubts it. He walked into his bedroom and waded through the piles of dirty clothes and fast food wrappers to his nightstand. He pulled open the cherry wood drawer with the brass handle and grabbed the loaded .357 Magnum he acquired, “just in case.” He never thought he would need it, but with all the gang shootings and druggies running around the neighborhood, better to be safe than sorry. He checked the cylinder to make sure it’s loaded and walked back into the living room.

What to do? What to do? What to do? This mantra is pounding on his skull as he paced back and forth like a lion in a cage. He finally decided it is best if he left. Maybe he can watch from a distance until the coast is clear. He grabbed his keys and his hat and his sunglasses and headed for the front door when…

**************

I didn’t think I could possibly get a break this obvious. And as I drove to the address listed on the driver’s license of one Terry Clement, which I found in the red Velcro wallet lying on the banks of the river, I still didn’t think it will really amount to much of anything. That part of the river had plenty of foot traffic on the weekends and I figured I’d just run across someone that is thankful to get his life back. Besides, who would be stupid enough to leave behind a wallet after dropping off a dead hooker?

I thought it would be best to leave Molly behind. The scene still needed to be processed and if we both left in a hurry, the Vultures might be tempted to follow me and I’d hate to have to run someone off the road on a Friday. So while Molly is wooing those still at the scene with her cleavage and curly hair, I turn onto Bannister Rd. I can’t help but think I need a drink. Maybe two. Maybe 85. In due time Austin, in due time.

I pulled up to the address listed on the license. It’s a nondescript house in the middle of a not-so-nice part of town with beige trim and a decently manicured lawn. There is a late 80s green Ford Tempo in the driveway and one of those annoying lawn gnomes with the British accent in the flowerbed.

“Won’t you take me on an adventure, sir?” the Gnome said in my head.

“Fuck off. Go eat some tea and crumpets,” I replied. Damn Brits.

I stopped the Tahoe across the street, put her in park, and sat still for a second. I didn’t notice any activity around the house. The car in the driveway and the lack of activity around the house made me a bit suspicious. I couldn’t really say why it made me suspicious, other than it was some sort of intuition. For the record, I have great intuition, almost Jedi-like, and it, along with instinct, rarely lets me down. Maybe I should call for back up if my radar is going off like this. Fuck it, I’m a big boy.

I checked myself in the rearview mirror to make sure I’m still good looking. Yep, I am. I grabbed my hip holster and police-issued Glock out of the Tahoe’s center console. Not my favorite weapon, but the department stopped letting me carry my .44 caliber Desert Eagle about a year ago. They were afraid I might actually blow someone’s head off. After pulling out the piece, checking the clip, and racking the chamber, I affixed it to my right hip and get out of the car. The sunlight causes me to squint a little bit and the 11:30 A.M. heat tells me it’s going to be a scorcher. I need to get this done quick so I can slam a couple of cold ones.

As I walked up towards the house and surveyed the street, I see some movement through the windows. Not enough to alarm me of course, but enough to tell me that someone one is home. As I reach the front patio, I unsnapped my sidearm out of habit and flipped off the safety. I figured it wouldn’t be very polite to just walk right in, so I decided to knock on the door. I like to do those rhythmic knocks that annoy everyone: You know: knock, knock, knock, knock, knock…knock…

**************

…knocking on the door. One of those annoying knocks. Five knocks, delay, then two knocks.
No turning back now, Terry, he thinks. You know what you need to do.
Knock. Deep breath. Knock. Gun raised. Knock. Gun aimed. Knock. Hammer cocked. Knock. Hands sweating. Pause. Pause. Knock. Door unlocked…

“Come on in.”

**************

knock.
At the request of the person on the other side of the door, I turned the knob slowly with my left hand, right hand on my piece. As I pushed the door open, the familiar sound of exploding gun powder fills my ears as a bullet rips through the wooden door and over my right shoulder.
I kicked open the door, squatted, and drew my gun, all in one swift motion. The guy on the other side fired blindly, obviously surprised by the door flying at him, and probably surprised by my cat-like reflexes. My vision is cracked and blurry due to the glare of the sun and the darkness of the house, which leaves him at a distinct advantage. He fired again and as the barrel of his gun lit up in a furious explosion, I fired back at the light of his pistol. BINGO! I heard the sound of penetrated flesh and saw his silhouette flail backwards. The gun that was in his hand and popping off at yours truly goes flying out of his reach. Damn I’m a good shot.

Back upright, I walked over to him, kicking the silver .357 Magnum pistol further away from him. Nice piece, I thought. Too bad you are a shitty aim. My eyes finally adjusted to the darkness just in time for me to see that I hit him square in the throat. The blood gushing from the hole in his neck tells me he is all but dead. I guess the blood gurgling sound alone would’ve told me that he was a goner.

After about 30 seconds his gurgling stops and he lets out the gasp that says he is free from his mortal coils. I looked up from his now lifeless body and scanned the room. The den area displayed the tell-tale sign of a serial killer: a shrine of newspaper clippings and pictures as homage to his work all cut and taped neatly to the wall. Looks like I got the right guy this time.

It’s Miller time.

If you have to kill a snake, kill it once and for all.
–Japanese Proverb

LongStar

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