Thursday, September 16, 2010

Water Stolen From the Desert Does Not Belong to You

*a continuation of The Window Blinks When the Mirror Sees

"We almost missed it," Jimenez says, proud of the small box-like device in his hand. "Everyone thought it was just part of the computer system, but one of the boys at impound used to work for an effects company."

Detective Ervin shakes his head. This is getting weird. "So the car was rigged?"

"Oh, totally. See these two leads?" Jimenez points at two connectors. "Left-right steering. These three? Gas, brake, and clutch." Jimenez lets it sink in. "Me, I'd have just rigged an automatic tranny, but I'm guessing whoever did this wanted to show off."

Ervin's partner, Lim, bursts into the room.

"Dude, what?" Ervin scolds, a bit startled.

Lim catches his breath. "That girl? Green eyes?"

"Yeah, man. Spit it out."

"Her dad's an effects technician. Specializing in remote-controlled vehicles."


The two Kern County Sheriff's deputies didn't seem to care what's going on. Both are, by cruel serendipity, Los Angeles transplants and harbor stereotypical ill-will towards most things Hollywood. Particularly the rich pricks who work in it. Then again, most will accurately describe the man yelling at the two deputies as a prick.

Joey Gould is not a tall man and is more than a little heavyset. He knows he's not physically imposing, but he's mastered the art of the insult and has more than enough money and influence to throw around. That the deputies aren't budging is only make his blood pressure go even higher.

"You found my fucking car, right? It's my fucking car! I need it to finish the goddamn shot! You know, the shot we were nice enough to shoot in this fuckhole of a place!"

Gould's rant is a comical sight, explaining why the deputies are trying very hard to stifle laughter. "We don't have your car, sir. LAPD has it."

An expression of shock is followed by an expression of relief. Shock from the car being in Los Angeles. Relief from knowing he can more easily pull strings with the Los Angeles police.


Somewhere a smile widens beyond even the limits of its face. The Devil's joke makes even God laugh. Laughing so hard there are tears. And sobs.


"There are no bodies," Ervin says, tapping the photos of the remote. He's smiling, wondering what she's going to do when they bring her father in.

She leans forward slowly, a succubus knowing well and good what her body can do to men. A far too dangerous trait for one so young. "There are always bodies, Detective Ervin."

His smile begins to disappear with the appearance of hers. He leans back, careful to leave her thinking she's in the position of superiority. "Who stole the car?"

"What car?"

The one your father rigged, you dumb bitch. It is a thought he would be more than happy to let loose upon his lips, but Ervin simply nods, gets up, and leaves.


"You've gotta be fucking kidding."

Someone throws up. Must be the heat wave.


"We don't even know if the bodies in the tub are related to the car," Lim protests. "For all we know, we're forcing two puzzles together and pretending we're Picasso."

Jimenez and a couple of the other detectives turn to stare at Lim, oblivious to what Lim was trying to say.

"If," Lim continues, pounding the two files with his finger for emphasis, "these are related, then shooting up the Aston was done for what? To gather attention, right? Other than the property damage and discharge of firearms, there's nothing to the crime for a pro to be worried about."

Jimenez nods and one of the others, Baldwin, leaves to get get coffee. Lim glares after him. "I'm sorry if I put your brain into overdrive, but for fuck's sake."

Jimenez waves Lim's attention back to the task at hand. "Keep going, man."

"Yeah, fine. Look, we don't even know who the melted bodies are. Burbank's still taking a crack at them. But the point is... if you wanted to claim the killings, why not just call? Or mail a fucking letter? Why get so complicated?"

Ervin storms in. "Because they just found her father's body in the other Aston Martin."

"Other Aston Martin?" Lim asks, the confusion he thought he'd finally begun to sift through returning all at once.

"Propped up in the passenger seat like he's on a Sunday drive."

"Other Aston Martin?" Jimenez repeats the question.

Lim can't keep it in. An exhaled chuckle, full of disbelief. "Except he's dead."

*to be continued...


  1. oh a killer with a bit of style...i like.

  2. I am running behind the caboose here, not having read the earlier chapters, so will have to rectify that. I am beginning to get the hang of your style, which I mean as a compliment, well sort of self-denigration!!

    I am having a bit of strife relating this to the prompt ... seat=possibly ... suicide=mmmm ...

  3. yeah--(sort of) a loose connection to the muse. But intriguing. Footnotes!

  4. A bit confusing at first but once you get used to it, it's really good. the style is original and unique which makes your piece admirable. But like Tom pointed out, I cab't seee the relation between the muse and your story.

  5. This reads like a hard-boiled detective novel. A bit clipped, lots of dialogue. I had to keep going back and forth, first part to second part. I think this was because there were no names used in the first (except for poor Phyllis and Henry), and most of the cops have names in the second. Also, I couldn't quite reconcile her flirtatious behavior with the panic mentioned in the first part.

    Still, it has James Ellroy, LA Confidential vibes all over it.

    I assume you'll tie in the muse before then end. The chair in the interrogation room? The seat in the Aston Martin?

  6. Well, the propped up dead guy is in the passenger seat of the Aston Martin, so that qualifies as "suicide seat" in my little book! Great write, Jeff.

  7. nice nice -- and i really like 'we're forcing two puzzles together and pretending we're picasso"

  8. I'm intrigued... Maybe I'll go back and read the rest...