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In the Cabinet (Part Five)


In The Cabinet

A Jack Collier Short

By Brett N. Lashuay




Last week’s entry can be found here.



Day Five: Becky, The Goth Punk Princess


            Morning came far too early and arrived by banging on my front door. It was loud and constant as I got up from my bed. I never have that moment I’ve often heard people talk about in the morning. I wake up knowing who am I and what I’m doing. This is not always a boon, because it means I know that there is only one reason a person comes banging on your door in the morning like that.


            When I came to the door and looked through the window there was no doubt. I saw Crammer through the window and almost wanted to run back under the bed, but he had seen me too and there was no point in pretending I wasn’t there. I walked to the door in my sweat pants and t-shirt and realized that it had happened again. I touched the door handle and started to open the door while trying to decide if I should tell him that Becky was dead or should I let him start hammering me with questions. I opted to let him tell me, because it would be showing off to tell him.


            “What is it?” I asked.


            “What time did you leave Rebecca Hain at her house last night?” He asked.


            “Why?” I asked, trying to play up the fact that people are misty first thing in the morning.


            “Answer the question.” He seemed to understand I was faking it.


            “Why do you want to know?” I asked squinting at him. If I was going to let him tell me she was dead, I was going to make him tell me.


            “She was killed last night.” He said, “Hard to say, but the M.E. thinks it was at about a quarter after one.”


            “That would be right around the time I dropped her off then.” I said hitting my head on the door jam. “He was fuckin’ waiting for her in the house.”


            I hit my head against the door jam a few times and then stopped. I opened my left eye to glare at Crammer and the guy he brought with him. After a second I realized what it was that had shook loose. The klaxons of alarm bells started to go off, but this time they came with a memo typed in a thirteen point san serif font.


            “What do you mean hard to tell? If it was done at one, that’s only a few hours.”


            “Eight right now, but six at the time we discovered her.”


            “So what the hell,” I asked calmly. “Does hard to tell mean?”


            “It’s just that it wasn’t that easy.” Crammer looked very uncomfortable. “She was all cut up.”


            “The killer spent time playing with the body.” The other detective said,


            “Let me put some clothes on.” I said opening the door for them to come in. “You can take me there.”


            “I really can’t.” Crammer started, but then stopped as I walked back to my room to change.


            “Who found her?” I asked as I came out after putting on a clean pair of pants and shirt.


            “The cleaning woman.” Crammer and the other dick said standing up as I came out.


            “Let’s go look.”


            “You really don’t want to.” Crammer sounded both pleadingly sympathetic. “It’s bad.”


            “I have to go see my client.” I explained. “Even if she is no longer able to see me.”


            “I’ll need Doyle to stay here and look around.” Crammer said.


            “Make sure he checks the car to see if I’ve driven it since about one in the morning.” I told Doyle through Crammer. “And my fire place would be a great place to burn bloody clothes.”


            “Sure.” Doyle said nodding at me. He looked like he wished he would find something. I sort of got the feeling that he’d rather be mad at me for doing what I was about to see than be mad at himself for sending me to see it for the first time.


            “We checked your car before we came to the door.” Crammer said when we got outside. “That doesn’t mean you couldn’t have gotten home some other way, but I think if you were going to do someone you’d have better sense than to do it like this. I’d like to think you’re more human than this fucker.”


            We rode in silence to Becky’s house, and when I got in I could see what he meant. We had to wear paper galoshes over our shoes to make sure we didn’t tramp any evidence in from the outside. That was a bad sign, as was the trail of bloody foot prints that went down the stairs and out the front door. Crammer led me up the stairs, but when we came to Becky’s bed room he turned away to avoid looking at her.


            If you’ve ever studied the killings of Jack the Ripper, you’ve probably seen the photograph of Mary Jane Kelly. If you haven’t, I don’t suggest looking it up because it’s a fairly grizzly sight. Even in black and white, even being more than a hundred years old, it’s pretty difficult to look at. I found myself facing a living color reproduction of that picture. Looking at the floor, I could even see that the killer had moved Becky’s bed to put it up against the wall like it was in the photo. The bed had been against a different wall if the imprints in the carpet were to be believed.


            What little that was left of Becky, including the dragon tattoo on her left hand, identified her for me enough. I couldn’t use her face, because there was nothing left of it. I sighed heavily and turned around to look at Crammer’s back. I walked past him and he came down the stairs behind me, I doubt he ever looked back once, I know I didn’t.


            “Who found her?” I asked.


            “Cleaning lady.” Crammer said. “She said she’d been called and told to come early today, she normally doesn’t come until the afternoon.”

            “So someone who knew there was something to find came and told her to find it?” I asked.


            “Yeah.” Crammer said. “We’ve got that kid she worked with down at the station. He couldn’t have done it unless he boosted a car or something but he’s gave us the information that you drove them home so that’s helpful.”


            “Ain’t it just?” I asked. “You know, I’m starting to resent the fact that people think its okay to kill someone just because I’ve got a case that involves them. It’s really starting to piss me off.”


            “They said the explosive was put under Hain’s seat in his car.” Crammer said patting his side. “They got into his car and put a block of C-4 under his seat. There was a bit left over from the detonator, they said it was a remote detonator. The person with the bomb probably watched him get in and then hit the switch.”


            “Fuckers.” I nearly spit the word without considering why I made it plural.


            “You know about this slasher case?” he asked me as we walked back to his car.


            “Not a damn thing.” I told him.


            “Okay then.” He opened the back door of his car and pulled a file out of his briefcase on the back seat. “I had a copy made for you.”


            “Thanks.” I said taking it.


            “If you get caught with that, it’s probably both our asses.” He told me.


            “I stole it while you weren’t looking.” I told him.


            “Yeah.” He nodded. “You want to get your car and come down to the station? That Homunculus kid says you’re a friend of his, maybe you can take him home or something.”


            “Yeah.” I said. “Let’s get my car and your detective.”


            “We’re gonna get this fucker.” Crammer confided to me as we drove away. “The dumb ass left her twat full of come right next to the bed. Cut it out when he was done fucking her and put it on the night stand.”


            “What gentle euphemisms you use.” I commented, slightly amazed at my own ability to quip. “One might not know what you were talking about.”


            “Once they know whose come it is we’ll get him.” He said as if he hadn’t heard me, which he probably hadn’t. “I guaran-fuking-tee that.”


            “What if it was planted to throw you off?” I asked.


            “We’ll find that out too.” He said. “We’ll get him.”


            The way I was treated at the police station, you’d think it was my mother that had died rather than a girl I knew in high school. I have rarely been treated with so much deference, particularly not when I should have technically been a suspect.


            I gave my statement to a detective and was released on my own cognizance. I was also allowed to pick up Hewie before I left, which was nice for him because he needed to see a friendly face. I only started to wonder later why they’d let him go with me, but I’ve never really come up with a good reason. Maybe they’d decided that since he didn’t have a car or anything like that, that he could be eliminated as a suspect. I have no idea.


            Maybe it was just how sad he looked. He looked pathetic, like he hadn’t had a wink of sleep all night. He also had the shakes, which I attributed to not being able to have his morning hit of whatever it was he had in the morning. While we were driving he looked at my brass key fob as it dangled from the ignition.


            “What’s that mean?” He asked pointing at it. “Seven with one blow?”


            “Back in July I killed six people in about six minutes and then killed a seventh about twenty hours later.” I told him simply. “This makes me the Jack the Giant Killer in the eyes of the person who gave me this car. The brave little tailor, all that.”


            “So you’re used to people dying?” He asked and then the tears started. “Because I’m not.”


            He didn’t cry like a little bitch or anything, nothing queeny or effeminate. It was just a kid who hadn’t slept and had two major shocks one right after the other. He put his hand over his face and then put his entire are up over it to hide himself as best he could.


            I pulled off into a parking lot and put my hand on his shoulder. He didn’t shrug me off, but he didn’t lean in towards me. He just leaned against the window and cried it out for a few minutes. He put his right hand over mine after a minute and gave me a squeeze. He composed himself soon after and I gave him a tissue from the ash tray, which is all I use it for.


            “Thanks.” He took the tissue and blew his nose. “I’m just not used to it.”


            “Pray you never get used to it.” I told him. “So where were you last night? You don’t look like you slept.”


            “I was up crying until five.” He said with a shrug. “I mean, Sam had died.”


            “Something between you too?” I asked.


            He didn’t say anything, but when I turned to look at him he nodded. He wiped at his nose again and reached to the ash tray for some more tissues. He blew his nose and then wiped his eyes with the other tissue. I looked out the windshield at the darkening skies and almost mentioned that it looked like rain. I looked at him though and decided to save it for the moment. He looked edgy and nervous, which made me wonder about his mental state. If he was an addict of something, he might need it soon.


            If he were actually a girl, instead of a boy who looked like one, I might have put my arm around him and told him everything would be alright. I felt the urge to do so, to give him some form of physical contact so he knew he wasn’t alone in his universe of pain, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it just then. I’d put my hand on his shoulder, that would have to have been enough for a while.


            “Tell you what.” I said pulling out onto the street. “We’ll go to my office and start to work some of this shit out together, you and me.”


            “Well, I should really get back home. I’ve got some stuff to do.”


            “Nah,” I said as if I weren’t really listening. “It’ll be cool, I’ve got a spare tooth brush at my office, we’ll get Chinese or something.”


            “Okay.” He relented, I assumed that if he needed it badly enough he’d let me know about it. “We can do that, but I’ll have to get my medication from my place before 5 or I’ll start getting sick.”


            “Okay.” I nodded, must not be that bad an addiction then.


            We drove to the office and I could have sworn he got winded walking up the stairs. The bit of sweat on his head might have been my imagination, or it might have been that going up the stairs was a lot more strenuous than you’d normally think. Of course he looked a little more nervous as I opened the door and glanced at Debbie, who was still typing furiously on her keyboard. I stopped before entering my inner office and looked at her and then him.


            “Debbie, this is Hewie Homunculus.” I said pointing at him. “This is my secretary Debbie.”


            “Hi.” He said barely nodding at her.


            “Have you seen the news?” I asked.


            “Yeah, we lost another client.” She nodded, her fingers still swiftly moving across the keys typing whatever it was she typed when she was here.


            “Hewie is connected to the situation.” I told her. “We’re going to discuss it.”


            “Okay Jack.” She smiled at me with her coded smile.


            “We’ll need some lunch.” He said.


            “Yeah.” I nodded. “Where are the take out menus?”


            She looked at me blankly for a moment and then blinked at me. It was probably just a bit too long, but she seemed to pick up quickly enough that something was up. She didn’t nod, or wink, which is always an encouraging sign. Instead she looked in a drawer of her desk and then looked up at me.


            “They must be in your office somewhere.” She said putting her hand flat on her desk.


            “Ah, okay. C’mon Hewie.” I said waving to him and we went into my office.


            She had clearly gotten that a message was sent. The problem was that I didn’t know exactly what kind of message I was sending. I hoped I sent a message that was something around the keep vigilant and perhaps let the police know where we were sort of thing. She looked like the only thing I had said was that I didn’t know where the menus that had always been in the same place were.


            We went into the office and in order to keep up the pitiful charade I’d started I had to start rifling through my desk to see if I could find the take out menus I keep in the second drawer on the left hand side. I found them after not too long, because I didn’t want to give the impression that I check my entire desk before going for one of the more obvious ones. I tossed the pack of menus on the desk and unclipped them so we could look through them.        


            “What do you like?” I asked spreading the menus out.


            He reached for a La Shish menu and started to flip through it. He looked at the menu while sweat started to bead up on his forehead and his breath started to come a little faster. I couldn’t exactly tell, but I would have thought under normal conditions he was starting to have some withdrawal symptoms.


            “I suppose this would be good.” He said pointing at something on the La Shish menu.


            “Okay.” I said looking at his choice. “Let me pick something and we can have Debbie go get it for us.”




This is part five of thirteen, come back next week for part six and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Cabinet tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

October 2, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment