This has been written for OLWG#168
I was typing reports in the squad room when the phone on my desk trilled.
“Mulvaney,” I answered as I picked up a pen and got ready to write. I listened but wound up putting down the pen. I knew the location; I didn’t have to write anything. “I’m on my way.” They’d found another victim down by the boardwalk. That made five.
I made my way downstairs and took the city-owned slick back from the car park. When I got to the scene I ducked beneath the yellow crime scene tape and checked in with Davidson, the uniform at the perimeter. I spotted Romero leaning over the body and lit a cigarette as I headed over. He motioned and scooted off to the side as I approached. Photographers and CSI personnel swarmed the vicinity.
“Check it out, Joe.” Romero, opened, “Same as the other ones. Eyes have been burned out of her head. She hasn’t been dead long either. I’d estimate less than half an hour.”
I studied the dead girl. She’d been a real looker with flawless skin the colour of café au lait. She was long and lean, a curly brunette dressed for the job; looked like she worked downtown. Looked like she worked maybe for a lawyer, a doctor, or at the paper; something like that – very professional.
“Got an ID, Romero?” I asked.
“Lois Peters,” he replied. “She dropped her purse, right here. Driver’s license picture matches the vic. She lives, or lived, about a block from here on Laurel Street. Nothing seems to have been taken from the purse, she has about a hundred dollars in her wallet. We should be able to rule out a robbery.”
I caught movement down on the beach from the corner of my eye. “Everybody, keep your heads down,” I shouted but didn’t panic. Davidson didn’t listen. He looked up and immediately began to claw at his eyes. I picked up the scent of burning flesh, but it was too late for him. I knew he was a goner.
I pulled dark glasses from my jacket pocket; the ones that I’d had made for viewing solar eclipses. These mothers were dark and I studied the beach. The problem was immediately obvious. There was a fat man in a speedo standing up about halfway between where we stood and where the waves lapped against the sand.
That’s the kind of thing you can’t un-see. I ran across the strand towards the perp. The running was hard; I wore brogues that fought the loose sand with every step. From about ten feet away I dove and took him at the knees. When he went down, I punched him in the face to discourage any resistance. Then I cuffed him and scooped sand on top until the most offensive parts were covered.
“Don’t move,” I ordered, “You’re under arrest. It looks like it’ll be for a double homicide, and that’s only for today, along with creating a nuisance. If we can tie you to the deaths of the other four girls, you’ll be gone for a long time. They’ll lock you in a hole so deep someone will have to pump in the sunshine.”
The prompts were:
- running late
- a fat man in a Speedo
- an old orange cat