Happy Halloween! Campbells world visitors! As with last week’s post I warn not for the weak of stomach. However, don’t read, miss out!
Magee Goes Trick or Treat, Part 2
“What’s this, some kind of sick joke?” Chief Mallory fumed. He looked hard at Myrtle Crump the Department’s medical officer. “What do you mean the head doesn’t match the body? You’re saying that these are two different victims?”
“Yes,” she nodded.
“Are you sure?” Sippi asked. “How strange.”
Chief Mallory looked hard at Magee. “Can’t we just have a simple cut and dried murder? Why does it always have to be perverse? Once the press gets hold of this we’ll be inundated by media just like last summer with the Fipps case.”
He looked back at Myrtle? “How do you know?”
She sighed. “The head’s clearly female. She grinned at Sippi. “No sign of an Adams apple’s. But headless body is male. Laced with enough oxycodone to send him into La La Land. Most likely an overdose was the initial cause of death.”
Sippi frowned. “So he could have been decapitated to hide his identity?”
“Possibly,” Mallory said. “But this means that some where on God’s green earth there’s another head minus a body.” He looked at me. “Hear that Sherlock?”
He clutched his half smoked cigar and leaned back in his chair. “Why can’t we have a simple murder. The kind with suspects, clues and motives? Why does it always have to be like this?”
“No such thing as simple murder Chief,” Duty Sgt Andrew Swift said. “There’s always a trap door or mystery meat in the pie.”
I wasn’t sure where this talk was going, but I waged my tail anyway.
Mallory squinched his nose. “I’m calling the Feds in on this one, We’re a good department but if there’s some son of Jack the Ripper out there hiding in the bushes we’ll need more help to bring him down than just us.”
Hearing that didn’t make Sippi happy. “If you call in the FBI chances are they’ll dispatch Agent Jones from the Boston office. He’s their all star trouble shooter.”
“Good!” Mallory’s eyes lit up. “Agent Raven Jones, fine investigator. I just wish you two could get along better. Two all stars! What amazing possibilities.”
“Don’t go there Chief.”
What do you have against the boy?”
“That’s it.” Sippi said. “He’s just a boy. A boy with great big man sized hands and enough charm to keep from fouling out.”
“Yes,” Mallory leaned forward.
Sippi eyed Myrtle. “It’s a long story.” But she said nothing after that.
“Not one word of this to the press,” Mallory said. “No need to cause panic in the streets.”
“Sure,” Myrtle said. She looked over at Sippi.
“But Chief,” Desk Sgt. Swift said, “that young reporter from the paper’s already has been sniffing around. He wasn’t satisfied when he left.”
“Classified,” Mallory roared. “Button it up. Not a word.”
“Yes, Chief,” they chorused.
Mallory chomped on his stub. “The last thing we need here is a crusading reporter out to snag a Pulitzer Prize.”
“We’ll do our best,” Swift said.
“Wait a minute,” Mallory said.
“You got that look in your eyes Chief,” Sippi said. She bent over, petted
me and slipped me a spicy shrimp treat.
Mallory tapped his ash into a rusted ashtray that smelled like a dead
cigars. “Get him in here tomorrow. What’s his name this reporter?”
“Pride,” Desk Sgt said. “Dick Pride.”
Mallory sat back. “Right now, clean up the skull. Take mug shots. We’ll handle it like it’s a missing person.”
“You’re not expecting me to do that are you?” Myrtle said.
“Who do you think,” he roared. “You’d rather the Department hired a classy hairdresser?”
Myrtle gave him a dirty look.
He turned to the Desk Sgt. “Let this kid know the photos are of a missing woman . Happens all the time. No big story there just doing a community service. Get him to publish the photos and we’ll see what happens next.
The Sgt nodded. “Got it,” Chief.”
“But Chief,” Sippi interrupted. “Isn’t that tampering with evidence? Do something like that now and someday getting a conviction….”
His face reddened; his voice grew louder. “You got a better idea Bopp? You want panic in the streets. You want the Selectmen’s office overrun with nervous calls? You want families fearful of letting their kids outside alone? One word of what this really is and the media circus from last summer will be back in a hurry.”
Myrtle shook her head. “I think you’re exaggerating,”
His voice boomed. “How do you know that!” He turned to Sippi. “Now take Magee back to the crime scene and let him sniff to his heart’s content.”
He turned to me. “Hear that Sherlock?” Then he laughed. “Maybe this Halloween you’ll be up against the Headless Horseman.”
No one laughed.
“Trick or treat,” Sippi petted me and fed me another shrimp ball. “And just when I thought we’d have a peaceful beginning to the holiday season something like this has to happen.”
I wagged my tail, but no more treats were forthcoming. Next we went back to her office where Sippi poked around in her file cabinet and I looked out the window. I was eager to go. The case was afoot. Eventually we got back to the Common, but sadly although I sniffed around some more, nothing turned up.
Before supper Raven brought Aunt Bea to Sippi’s condo. He walked in with her, carrying her bags.
Aunt Bea picked me up, petted me and set me down. Then she bowed to Ku who meowed and stretched his paws. I smelled something different about her. It made my eyes water.
Then she picked me up again and gave me a delicious treat I had never tasted before. I wagged my tail and made little satisfied noises. I loved her voice. It sounded like soft sand.
Raven had brought hard cider. He poured it into glasses and handed it around.
Sippi sipped hers. “I love the way you invite yourself over.”
“Full court press,” he smiled. “I talked to Chief Mallory this afternoon.”
Sippi and Raven explained the situation to Aunt Bea filling her in about the double murders and decapitations.
Aunt Bea sat on the couch. She cuddled me in her lap. Ku joined us. He sat beside her and gave her a long meow. She seemed pleased, closed her eyes and was quiet for a few moments. Ku and I sat very still while Aunt Bea went into her silence. When she opened her eyes she said, “Ritualistic killings– possibly even more than two sacrifices. It was carefully planned, not a crime of passion.”
“Great,” Sippi said. “That’s all Chief Mallory needs to hear to put his blood pressure over the top.”
“Then it’s best we don’t tell him,” Raven said. “At least not until we get it solved.” (to be continued)