"Hey, the season premier of Fitzgerald & Cassidy is on!"
"Cool, change the channel. I love the opening theme song."

It was exactly 4:01 AM at Oceanside East Police Department. A lone figure was sitting in the captain's office, waiting impatiently for an audience. He had snuck into the office under the cover of darkness with only two donuts and a large cup of black coffee to keep him company. Outside the temperature had dropped to below zero and the first donut was a strawberry jelly.

"Who the hell are you?"

The stranger had nodded off in Captain Parker's office, which allowed him to be surprised by the entrance of the ranking officer at Oceanside East. Parker summoned two uniformed officers and told them to take the man for questioning.

"Wait. I'm going to die. I've been murdered."

"Get this clown out of my office. Put him in the drunk tank. And tell Fitzgerald to get the hell in here."

"Don't you understand? I've been murdered. I want to press charges."

"I'll take his statement."

"Cassidy. Where is your partner? I need to see his sorry ass."

"We want this case, captain."

"Which case?"

"This case, captain."

"You are already on the Dubinsky case."

"I believe this man's story, captain. His murder bears investigating."

"He's alive, asshole. Get me the Dubinsky killer and throw this drunk in the tank."

Cassidy was certain the stranger had been murdered. While Captain Parker was distracted by a sudden pain in his groin, Cassidy escorted the murder victim out of the captain's office and over to his own desk.

"When did this happen?"

"About two hours ago.
I was standing outside my girlfriend's apartment because we had an argument.
Two men snuck up behind me and injected me with fluid from a big hypodermic needle and ran away laughing."

"How often do you get laid?"

"Not as often as I would like, unless you count that thing I do with my sister..."

"We usually don't count that."

Lieutenant Fitzgerald stormed into the police station and slammed the brown paper bag containing his lunch onto his desk. The lunch in question consisted of an overly dry egg salad sandwich, stale peanuts and a can of vienna sausages. Fitzgerald glared at Cassidy and then at the stranger. He demanded to know what was going on. "Too early to interview assholes like this," he muttered under his breath before lighting a cigarette and sitting down. "What's up, clown?"

"My name is John Reece. I was murdered about two hours ago. I want to press charges."

There was something about the man's cologne that Fitzgerald found himself drawn to. He considered asking about it, thinking that the woman down the hall might find it captivating. Fitzgerald had tried to get her attention and perhaps cause her to develop a romantic interest in him. This man's cologne was deadly, yet understated. Fitzgerald made a mental note to figure out what it was later on. The case suddenly became interesting to him. It could help him with his romantic pursuits.

"So, John Reece. Who murdered you?"

"Two dairymen."

"How do you know they were dairymen?"

"Just a suspicion.
I'm a little disoriented right now.
I was just murdered."

"Maybe we should get him to a hospital," suggested Cassidy.

"No way, Boy Scout. We can't do that. If we do, then we jeopardize the entire case. They might save his life. Then we have no murder because we have no victim. This way we have an eyewitness who eventually becomes the victim. Tasty case."

"That's why I came here."

Fitzgerald pulled Cassidy aside and strongly suggested they go to the scene of the crime. After filling out the necessary paperwork, which Fitzgerald did with a freshly sharpened burnt umber crayon, they learned the man's name was Victor Amstead. The crime had occurred outside his girlfriend's apartment, which was at 1711 Benthurst Place. It was a ten minute drive in the brown unmarked sedan for which Fitzgerald had purchased a vanity plate reading "LUV ASS." It was approved by the department only after Fitzgerald convinced them it was great for undercover work. No cop would ever have such a license plate.

The apartment building in question was in one of the better neighborhoods in town. It wasn't the kind of place one usually encountered murder, unless, like Fitzgerald liked to say, "Someone is sleeping around and their dick is bigger than yours." A quick scan of the scene revealed two discharged syringes and a five page booklet on "Benefits of the American Dairy Industry."

"Very suspicious," reported Fitzgerald.

"We better get these syringes back to the lab. I'll stay with Mr. Amstead and head over to the lab."

"I'll talk to the neighbors about the dairy angle. I don't see any fucking cows, though. What do you think, Cassidy? Think there are any three-toed farmers out around these parts?" Fitzgerald began laughing maniacally, gave Victor Amstead a friendly punch to the stomach, and walked towards the apartment building. Amstead immediately dropped to the ground and began vomiting greenish bile.

"I'll call in an ambulance." offered Cassidy.

"Yeah, you do that. Wimp can't take a punch."

After the ambulance arrived and removed Victor Amstead from the scene, Fitzgerald and Cassidy began ringing doorbells. Few people were home. It was a workday and this was the kind of neighborhood that business executives tended to live in. Fitzgerald and Cassidy weren't giving up, however, and finally someone answered their call. At apartment 546-B, an elderly woman holding a partially shaven housecat came to the door.

"Help you?"

"We're cops, lady. There was a murder outside your building last night. Curious if you saw anything with those half-blind eyes of yours. Of course, that is if you can still remember anything that happened before breakfast. Do you even know what year it is, bitch?"

"Yes, indeed, I do know the murder of which you speak.
Young fellow, always starting trouble.
Lot of people in these parts strongly support the dairy business.
That son of a bitch comes around pitching milk substitutes."

"Jesus Christ, not one of them. You know the men who killed him? Injected him with chemicals last night out in the street. Who killed the hippie, bitch?"

"I won't tell you unless you promise they won't be hurt.
These men were patriots.
Protecting the interests of honest American dairy farmers."

"These men are murderers, ma'am," interjected Cassidy. "They will be prosecuted to the limits of the law. Life as we know it is beautiful, and it is our sacred duty to preserve and protect."

The woman slammed the door. Fitzgerald balled his fist and prepared to punch his partner in the face. Instead he settled for kicking him in the shin.

"I'm only telling her the truth, Fitzgerald."

"Sometimes you tell too much truth, asshole. Look, it isn't that I want to bust these guys. The old bitch was right. They are patriots. Sometimes patriots have to stand their ground. Sounds like your buddy Victor was preaching against the American way, trying to force his hippie ways on honest citizens. Makes me want to puke."

"Look, Fitzgerald, no matter where you stand on an issue, murder is against the law. We are here to uphold the law. In my opinion, these people do good things, introducing natural substitutes for products that may in some way be harmful either to the person consuming them or to the environment. They don't deserve to die for it."

"Want to bust some dairy lovers' heads? Fine with me. Let's go get 'em."

"Where do you suggest we look next?"

Fitzgerald pointed at two men running down the corridor in dairy farmer outfits with hats shaped like cow heads. Cassidy nodded and they ran a left end blitz, catching the dairy farmers off-guard and throwing them to the floor. Fitzgerald took some quick cheap shot punches at the two men before helping Cassidy drag them down to the car.

"A good day's work."

The police radio chirped and the voice of Sargeant Veronica Wheeler called out their names.

"What do you have for us?"

"Your murder victim is going to live.
He was injected with animal steroids.
His ass is getting much bigger, but he's otherwise fine."

As they rode to the station, both Cassidy and Fitzgerald quietly tried to determine what charges they would book the two dairy farmers on.

"That was a really weird episode."
"How come we never see Cassidy dating anymore? They always seem to have stupid cases."
"I think there is a rerun of Friends on the cable station. Maybe it is one we haven't seen yet."

Back to Last Season: The Lives Within Them

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