It was the ugliest scene I had ever seen. The body looked like it had been tossed onto the couch like a discarded rag. Blood dripping onto the floor. But what was truly foul was the stench. Old bags of Cheetos bags strewn about without care. Monster energy drink cans empty across the table. Sickness crawled up my throat and wanted sweet release, but I couldn’t afford to sabotage the crime scene, not this time.
“There was a laceration to the rib and a broken collarbone. Approximately 50 stab wounds. Very nasty stuff.” I don’t know how they were able to make this determination without getting forensics involved, but I guess time was of the essence if we were going to catch the killer.
The stiff’s name was Melvin Miller. 28 years old and was a professional “gamer,” whatever that meant. But even though I was a 50 something curmudgeon who could barely operate a smartphone I knew that the world of video games was a dark one indeed. All sorts of racists, Nazis, and virgins congregated on online forums and shot each other in virtual skirmishes, taking out their frustrations which were caused by a world uncaring for their sick, deluded minds. And Melvin Miller was certainly one of these poor, wretched souls. Now, he was just another statistic. Sickening.
Later that day I went down to the station to interview the only suspect we had: Melvin’s mother and roommate, Regina. She was an overweight woman and not very attractive. Just my type. But it just wasn’t those days. A young man had been slaughtered and the sky was filled with rain and death.
“So, Mrs. Miller,” I opened with. She sat across the table. She was staring down at the ashtray which already held the bodies of sixteen cigarettes. “I understand that you did not like some of your son’s ‘activities.’ Neighbors reported arguments between you two, mainly about taking away Melvin’s video games.”
“What are you insinuating?”
“Oh nothing. Nothing. Just the fact that you killed your son.”
“WHAT? I would do nothing of the sort!”
“I see. I see…Of course you wouldn’t. After all, he was your precious son. Your baby boy. That’s why you didn’t kill him, on purpose…”
Her eyes started to water, her lips quivered, but she held it all back. She refused to cry. I did not know why.
“See, I have a theory: you two got into an argument. Probably over the fact that he doesn’t have a job and is a generally lazy bum who preferred the company of cheetos and pixelated violence over everyday responsibility. And, push comes to shove, you accidentally stab him 50 times. In the heat of passion. And you know what? It happens. It happens, what can you do? Well, other than confess…”
I smiled, knowing that I had her in my hands.
Her eyes lowered. “Can I have another cigarette?”
“Sure. Of course.” I handed her another and lit it for her. If things had been different maybe I could have taken the dame out. Maybe have made a new life with myself, helping to raise Melvin. Teaching him how to shoot an actual gun. Like a man. But, you’re dealt with the cards you’re dealt.
“I want to speak with my lawyer.” And with that her lawyer stepped inside the interrogation room. Holding two briefcases with papers falling out. Crooked eyeglasses and an unkempt tie that wanted to escape.
“D-detective Jones. I-I-I’m sorry I’m late. Traffic was just SO BAD. So bad…Oh. Hi Mrs…um…”
“Right. Sorry. I’m bad with faces so I…anyway…I would like to speak with my client alone, if that’s o-o-okay?”
I leaned back in my chair and shrugged. “Fine. But watch out. She’s a killer.”
The lawyer grinned nervously at this as I stepped out. I wasn’t able to cull a confession out of her that night. But you know, things don’t always have to go your way. Things are interesting that way.
So, I was sitting home alone, watching Two and a Half Men when it happened. A loud bang rang through the air just to the side of my head. Glass cracked. I stood up and pulled out my glock. I peeked through the window and saw a car speed off. A bullet hole in my window told me all I needed to know: that I had to give up this case and retire.
And that’s what I did. After all, I was simply getting too old for this and while I didn’t mind hassling the random minority or hitting on suspects, it was time to move-on, and maybe this was God’s way of letting me know that the goose was cooked.
So I moved out to M’uahahahahmnaa, an island floating off desolate and alone in the Pacific. I even married one of the natives. Life was good. Until I received the letter. Apparently, shortly after I retired, Mrs. Miller was found dead. An apparent suicide. But something in my gut knew otherwise. That there was something more to this murder. Something lurking in the dark, seedy underbelly of competitive video games, but I was an old man basking in the sun. Beer bottle in hand. Watching the bright, blue waves singe the sky. Paradise kept me here. And I kept to paradise. The world had its own affairs and, damn it, that’s all I needed to know.
A very deep and literary response to The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS April 20/19, Word of the Day Challenge: Ugly, and Genre Writing Challenge April 21.