I will miss you Detective McClusky. You were the best of us.
- The Egg Party
The Last Case of Dectective Tiff McClusky
By the Egg Party
My old partner was leaving town so we decided to drink. We made a toast to drinking: may it be volumous and depressing. When I woke I was in a weakened state. That damn son of a bitch could drink me under the table. Shit, he could drink to the point where I would be excavating under the table to create a multi-level basement parking lot of despair. In this vulnerability she messaged me. Wasn't a common state for me to be in. She was neither common either.
SAD NEWS. CALL ME WHEN YOU CAN. X
So I mustered. I drank a coffee and had a cigarette. If it was bad news I knew that my partner had a timely substitute; my brother was in town and he messed about with this truth business too. Sam, the old faithful, needed a holiday. He said he wished to burn more of his bridges. He met the dame, read the case and decided that he would just take the money and run. Deserved it really. He would be back. I was quietly hoping for someone to come hire me to chase down that battered dog. He would be back.
I made the call. She tells me, distraught, that Detective Tiff McClusky was dead.
Dead in a locked room. Where was Martin Beck when you needed him, that malnourished genius. The innevitability of the news made it all the harder. The city was too much for that chick Tiffany. She was always wanting to escape. She got the name Tiffany from one of those abscondments, once again creatively faking her own death. I never took her dissappearances personally. It was the lesser of two of drastic options, the other being true death. She had started again with a new family and identity. When she returned we all decided to shorten the name for her. She was not a Tiffany. She was a Tiff.
Her trouble was that she had a scary curiosity. Good for her job but bad for her soul. In the last few months she was sleeping under her house more frequently. Developed a strong tendency for changing her bed location regularly, worried about protection. She never walked the same path twice.
It was death by crushing. What in the damn fuck. She was taken into a medico in a semi-conscious state. There were no marks on her body. Only a brutally crushed rib cage. There was no blood either. No sturggle. Perhaps the years of confused terror had led her to giving in to fate. When whomever that kilt her came she knew that it was time she would give up running. Death was a gift. Or this was my positive interpretation to soothe my personal horror.
I arrived at my old house. It was empty save for the love of my live and the decaying body of Tiffany. We decided that we would bury her before her child came home from school. It was difficult thing to see her lying motionless as an adult. How the kid would take it would be only a guess.
Burying her at home, where she lived in her later years, was appropriate. It did not feel even slightly illegal or wrong. It was right. McKlusky had no time or interest in funerals or the people that organised them. The spot chosen was under the Nashi tree. What a fruit to symbolise her. A plant created by humans, not made for this world.
Wrapped in a collection of old towels I lowered her into a final sleeping place. No bastard could touch her down there. Her eyes didn't need to be shut for they clasped tightly together of their own volition. The lids had a ethereal look to them, as if she could continue to see the world with a protective armour. She weighted less than nothing. I wept.
The details were curious. She was found at 7:30 PM the previous night. Her house was detached from the main domicile and it had a two meter high fence around it. She liked her privacy but would try and need enter the main house often for company. She lived with two other ladies but they were younger and distant. They knew her personality and left her well enough alone.
The door was a unique contraption of my own making. I also knew her and what she liked. The locking mechanism was like no other. Any attempts to break into the fence(there was no other entrance) would create a loud noise. Tiff was savy and would have woken to the disturbance. A cat burgalar could climb. She attracted all sorts of wild attention. I looked round the fence for signs of forced entry or clumsy grappling with the wood. There was none.
Looking around the house I saw nothing. Her house mate, Gerogia, was in bed, shaken, not leaving her bed even for food. She would not talk. The big silent type. I could gain nothing from the other girl, Poppy, she was running around like someone consumed with flames. Both dead ends. For now anyway.
No clues. No hope of capture. I sat and drank a third coffee with Gretta. She was shaking visibily. We hugged many times and we wept more for our fallen friend. Fuck this job and this life. As we hugged I felt her body and I missed it. Would we have sex again to distract us from this trauma? No it was not a good idea. Just a bunch of bad ones heaped together.
I walked to the street and contemplated door knocking. I walked to the neighbour's door and held my hand in a tight fist. No regular knocking. Only a forceful squat knock. I stopped myself and checked my self. Where was I at? I was too too close. Too upset. I would try the bars that reminded me of her. My old friend McClusky. The drinks were bitter and watery and I did not settle on any one place for long.
I needed inspiration within the irrationality. I went to a local disco. It was an odd affair. The lights where always off and it was intimate and private. In the dark I danced up a storm. A dance to promote thought. In the dark, spinning with budding tears in my eyes I came to the realisation that I would get no resolution. This phantom killer would not be caught.
I left before the lights went up. On the way home I rode a wobbly line.
Lying on my bed, smoking inside, I had a visitor. A sleek mute. Hair flecked with all the browns. Some of the grays. Not old but ancient. The guest sat on my bed with indifference and said nothing. I had spent the day dealing with the annoyance of broken communication. But this was different. It was the affirmation of my solution. Dancing was the opium and violin playing of my detective skills. I had to trust it.
But this strange cat was the symbol of my enemy. Graceful and naturally evil. But without malice. She was a reflection of the confusing nature of humanity. I stared her down but all she could do was wearily close her eyes.
I called my brother. He answered in a jovial way though running through his voice were the tell tale signs of a person who had just flown in from distant land. Who had caught up with too many people and had been left spun out by the unfamiliar familiar.
I talked and he listened to the case. He would not take the job on board because he knew that it was a dead end too. With out Sam he was a welcome reassurance. But he would drink with me. Least we would both die with a severe Asian blush creeping over bloated corpses.
So we drank.