"Hey, Marge! Fitzgerald & Cassidy is the first of a special two-parter!"
"Gosh, I love network television!"
"These people don't seem right at all."
"Well, no shit, Cassidy. What did you expect when you transfered into homicide? Smiling dead people waiting for us to call them a cab to the morgue?"
Fitzgerald removed the half chewed, unlit cigar from his mouth a spit tobacco juice onto the pavement. He snorted and reached for the half-crushed pack of Lucky Strikes in his overcoat pocket. Slipping one of the bent cigarettes out with his fingers, he raised it to his lips and then patted down his coat pockets in search of a light.
"Hey, Cassidy, you got a light? Put my damned Zippo in the pocket with the hole again. It probably fell out when we were walking over the bridge. Dammit."
"I don't smoke, lieutenant."
"Fucking Boy Scout." Fitzgerald snorted again and walked away from his new partner. He put the chewed, moist cigar back between his lips and gnawed at it angrily. Then he walked through the doorway into the kitchen at 1077 Winston Avenue.
Even someone like Fitzgerald, with a quarter of a century on the force and twelve years as a detective in homicide had to admit the images raging in front of his eyes were totally out of the ordinary. So far they had found six bodies. All were arranged in very uncomfortable positions in different rooms around the house. One elderly woman was found in a back closet with her head sandwiched between a coat rack and some very nicely made oak shelving. Fitzgerald made a mental note to himself to see if they carried any shelving like that at the local Home Depot. It would look very nice in the closet in his bedroom. The shelving in there now had been installed by the former tenant of his apartment. It was neither attractive nor functional. Fitzgerald figured it was made out of particle board and nailed to the drywall with inefficiently small screws. Whenever he put his hat and gun on the shelf, the shelf tilted and the hat flew one way and the gun flew in the other direction. Nine times out of ten his gun would go off. He would be damned if he was going to unload or un-cock his gun before putting it away. There was always the chance some freak, hopped up on heroin or joy sauce, would come into his apartment looking for money or anal sex. There was no way Fitzgerald was going to put up with that.
"Hey, Cassidy, what did ya think of the shelving in that closet where the old lady bought it?"
"Lieutenant, I think you better have a look in here."
Fitzgerald pulled the masticated cigar out of his mouth once more and tossed it into the kitchen sink. He spit in the general direction of the baseboard heater lining the kitchen walls. He couldn't believe anyone would paint their baseboards pink. Shaking his head, he strolled quickly out towards the sound of Cassidy's voice.
He found Cassidy in the apartment's second bathroom, which looked nothing like the bathroom they had found adjacent to the living room and kitchen earlier. This bathroom was much larger. In fact, it was unusually large for a two bedroom apartment with four rooms and woodwork that dated back to the turn of the century. It was so large, and so ornate that Fitzgerald would have called Better Homes & Gardens for a photo shoot had it not been for the bodies taking away from the natural beauty of the bathroom. There were corinthian columns, six of them, which looked like they came from an art museum. Two tubs, one set into the floor and the other supported by gold plated feet that looked much like lion paws, highlighed the experience. The multi-fauceted sink was a beautiful, rose colored marble and the young Finnish girls who were busy throwing water on the hot rocks of the sauna did not even pause when Fitzgerald came into the room.
"You ever seen something like this before, Fitzgerald?"
"Smart ass," muttered Fitzgerald as he searched again for a lighter or match so he could light his cigarette. One of the Finnish women approached him with a piece of charred wood and got his Lucky Strike going. Fitzgerald thanked her and ordered the two uniformed cops accompanying Cassidy and himself to take the women in for questioning. "I've never seen Finnish women wearing so little clothing before," Fitzgerald told his partner. "That one over there has a pretty nice shape to her."
"I'm more concerned about all the whip marks on their backs."
"Be glad you got to see some free, high quality titties today. Don't worry about those marks, those Finns like to do that shit. They call it vista or vasta or some shit like that. Oh, sargeant, find some sweatshirts for these ladies to wear on their trip to the station."
"Jesus, don't you fuckers buy sweatshirts at those charity auctions? The proceeds help out kids from broken homes and kids who need special attention in school so they can learn how to read. You know, when I was in the first grade this real nice teacher named Mrs. Morse could tell I was dyslexic and she gave me a lot of extra attention and now I barely have any trouble reading at all. There are a couple dozen sweatshirts in the trunk of my car. Give the ladies one each, and help yourself to the rest. Maybe your wives would like one?"
"Gee, thanks lieutenant, that's swell."
"See, Cassidy, sometimes Christmas comes early for the boys."
"Lieutenant, would you please pay attention to this case?
For at least five minutes?"
"Look, Boy Scout, I never went to a fancy detective school like your punk ass did. I learned about detective work from watching Columbo and listening to Dixie Chicks albums."
"There are eleven bodies in this room...
None of them have arms...
None of them have legs...
They are all very slowly crawling around the room...
Their eyeballs are missing."
"Finished yet, college boy?"
Cassidy's appraisal of the situation was fairly accurate. There were eleven bodies on the floor without arms or legs or eyeballs. They were somehow very slowly moving in random directions across the floor. Sometimes they moved towards the sauna and sometimes away from it. Fitzgerald took a long drag off his cigarette and bent over one of the bodies and slowly picked it up and held it in his arms. Cassidy looked on in horror, starting to mutter out sentiments without any rhyme or reason to them.
"Hey, Boy Scout, I think it is trying to dance with me."
The limbless body was definitely moving more frantically now that Fitzgerald was holding it and breathing cigarette smoke into its highly sensitive, non-smoker eye sockets. Fitzgerald he knew he had this one cornered. Whatever it was, or used to be, was of the type of low breeding that created life forms that were painfully adverse to bright lights, loud noises, smoke, spicy food, or whatever their wimpy little selves couldn't handle this week. Fitzgerald knew he had this bastard on the run.
"Look, Cassidy, a clue!" Fitzgerald couldn't help but laugh. He had used inductive reasoning to push the case towards a climax. The mouth of the limbless body opened, made horrible animal-like sounds and then an anatomically correct human woman, one quarter of its expected size climbed out and landed on its back on the floor, covered with unpleasantly murky goo.
Tune In Next Week For The Second Part
of this Special Episode of Fitzgerald & Cassidy:
Inside us all is a little person we are dying to let out