Copyright (c) 2019 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
Elmo and Wesley
By R. Peterson
The neighbor’s back yard was connected to the McClary’s by a six-foot high urine-soaked hedge that my baking bread nose told me doubled as an animal privy. I would have walked around the front but Mrs. Gorman (the name on the mailbox) had a filthy plumber’s-snake, with dingy, skid-marked Fruit of the Loom underwear hanging from it, strung from a broken garage panel and across her entry walk. The clotted cable was attached to the handle of a discarded upright refrigerator/freezer that was obviously trying to rust its way across the far edge of the property line. I don’t trust people who air their dirty laundry in public … they are always dangerous and often vicious when cornered. Somewhere, on the next street over, a rabid half-wolf bayed at the yellow moon as it hid from the rising sun. I pushed my way through the thorns and tried to act like a dog lover.
A monstrous shadow leaped from under a sagging porch and charged toward me. Before I could turn and run, the beast was on my back, baring its teeth and ripping most of the flesh from my neck as I screamed in pain. I drew my service revolver and fired several warning shots in the air before the cat finally released me and crouched at my feet hissing. It was a good thing Mrs. Gorman had the good sense to have the animal declawed or I might have been seriously injured. I saw a light go on in the house and as I waited for the woman to open her door I was distracted by a sputtering noise coming from the sky. Black smoke, and what looked like unburned aviation fuel, poured from several bullet holes in the back end of a spiraling-out-of-control helicopter. They wouldn’t beat me to any more crime scenes now would they? I wiped the gun clean and tossed it into the hedge. My spare pistol was in my pants and was such a large caliber that I had to unzip my trousers to get it out. Law enforcement had to be careful; this was a dangerous neighborhood.
I could smell bread fresh from the oven as Mrs. Gorman banged open the back door at the exact same time as the helicopter crashed two blocks over. “Look what you did!” I pointed a finger at her and then at the orange ball of fire rising into the sky.
“It’s my husband’s fault!” Mrs. Gorman was quick to go on the defensive as she scowled at the screen door. “I’ve begged him to put some oil on these hinges.”
“Is your husband here?”
“No he passed away seven years ago,” she said. “He had a gun to his head in the basement; died with a smile on his face before I could stop him!”
“Pity,” I said. Now there was no one to blame for the aviation fatality.
“I’m here because your neighbor Mrs. McClary has had almost a half-pound of margarine go missing,” I told her.
“I know,” Mrs. Gorman said frowning. “I’ve been watching it on the news.”
“Is that fresh bread I smell?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Gorman was suddenly as bright as gasoline poured on a fire. “Would you like to come in for a bite?”
“We’re not allowed to take gratuities from the public,” I told her as I pushed my way into the kitchen … but I will need to take several samples back to headquarters as evidence!”
She introduced herself as Wanda and I showed her my credentials.
The oven door was open and two loaves cooled while four others that had already been sliced rested on the table. The Widow Gorman had a hawkish beak of a nose with black hairs growing out of a wart perched on the end. Her legs were like tree stumps some poor farmer had been attacking for years with a tractor and she had a waist-line that wasn’t going to quit until it exploded and took half the city with it. If I was younger I might have made a play.
“Would you like a spot of jelly on these slices,” Wanda gave me a wink as she reached for a butter knife. I shot her two times as she was unscrewing the lid from the jelly and once more as she began to butter the slices. I was out of bullets and yanked out my radio to call for back-up. She calmly went on her business waving her arms in the air obviously thinking my gunshots were merely harmless flies buzzing around her enormous bulk. She finally dropped the knife on the table and my held-breath came out in an enormous rush. One eyebrow raised above her stare. She obviously wanted an answer. “Just one side,” I told her taking a bite. “Forensics will want to dust these for prints.”
“Wesley!” I tried to keep my voice normal as I breathed into the radio. Even to my ears I sounded like the same demented pervert who called the Russian women’s wrestling team relentlessly during the last Olympics … a stalking crime that was never reported. “I’m at the Gorman residence next door. Could you bring me some evidence bags?”
“Who is this?” He sounded flustered and annoyed.
“This is Sergeant Inspector John Elmo,” I told him.
“Fat chance buddy!” Wesley laughed. “We all watched Elmo go out back.”
“It’s me you idiot!” I was losing control.
“Wait a minute and I’ll get the real Sergeant Inspector Elmo on the radio for you,” Wesley said smugly.
I stared at the suddenly silent radio in my hands and then looked up. Mrs. Gorman looked like a crocodile in a dentist’s chair. Her mouth was open … and she looked dangerous. “Do you like music officer?” She winked at me just before she turned and lumbered toward an old Sylvania phonograph buried under a terminal stack of Barry Manilow records.
The bongo introduction to Copacabana has barely started when Wanda grabbed my hand and yanked me to my feet. She slid a table and chairs against the wall with one foot while the other tapped the floor seductively. I searched frantically for Wesley each time she flung me past the large living room window. We were tangoing into the second chorus when I spied him punching his way through a pair of boxers hanging with the dirty underwear in the front yard. Wesley was pushed into a rose bush and knocked down as an enormous D cup bra danced around him victoriously but he staggered to his feet before the hissing cat from the backyard could count him out at ten.
I was at the end of my rope when the knock came. “Get rid of whoever it is,” Wanda smiled as she undid two buttons on her tent-sized blouse, batted her eyes and shoved me toward the door.
Wesley was disoriented and punch-drunk from the fight with the undergarments but I still thought he might recognize me. He flashed his badge when I opened the door. The extra loud music made his thin hair stand on end.
“I’m sorry but I’m looking for Sergeant Inspector Elmo,” he said. “Have you seen him?”
“It’s me you moron!” I was furious.
He turned and smiled at the cat referee who had almost counted him out. “Thank you Mr. Me yew Moron,” he said. “You’re obviously well known in neighborhood fight circles.”
“Did you bring the evidence bags?”
“So you’re the one making crank radio calls!” Wesley put his hand on his gun.
It was then I realized that my loyal partner was only trying to extract me from a very painful situation. “I was,” I stammered. “I’ll sign a confession as soon as you get me to the police station.”
Thirty seconds later, he had me on the floor with both arms handcuffed behind my back. I lay there for almost an hour while he finished dancing with Wanda and ate most of the bread.
We had to fight our way through the dirty laundry when we left and I saw my one chance to escape. Wesley had just side-stepped a lacy pair of stained knickers when a lustfully stiffened nightgown gave him the slip. I flung myself into the hedge.
An hour later he was still calling my name and I’d had enough. “I’m here,” I cried. I was cold, wet and hungry.
Wesley’s face was like a ray of sunshine as he pulled me from the brambles. “I’ve been looking for you for hours,” he said. His smiling face became a stew-pot of concern when he noticed the handcuffs. “Who did this to you?”
“A maniac,” I told him, “a malicious, fiendishly-clever and original malcontent who no doubt will wreck the entire civilized structure of the world unless he’s brought to justice!”
“He can’t be all that clever and original,” Wesley laughed, “if my handcuff-keys fit his!”
That logic was hard to argue with. “How is the investigation proceeding?” I pointed toward the McClary house.
“Good news,” Wesley said. “Billy McClary confessed to stealing the margarine after Captain Wolfe caught him trying to conceal a box of Ritz crackers under his bed.”
“That is good news,” I told him.
“Not really,” Wesley looked like he was close to tears. “Billy’s horrific crime spree looks to have been going on for years. We found a box of raisins under the bed hard as rocks and what was left of a banana that had been skinned alive. The stolen margarine had started to melt and curdle due to insufficient refrigeration and was near liquid when we sent it to an emergency hospital in one of the choppers.”
“So Mazola is in good hands?”
“No,” Wesley shook his head. “That woman next door slammed her back door and caused the helicopter to crash! There is no end to the crime in this city! Captain Wolfe knows we’ve all reached our limit of endurance and has requested a fresh set of faces.”
“Who is he bringing in?”
“Dale and Dennis.”
I laughed and shook my head. “Those guys are idiots!”
“They’re rookies,” Wesley said. “but they’ve got to learn the ropes sometime!”
Two nights later we were back behind what was left of the Farmer’s Insurance billboard on lonely Donkuff Road. The notorious jaywalker had still not been apprehended. Large pieces of the sign, some with three or four inch long nails protruding from the shattered lumber, were strewn across the highway. We would have cleaned it up, but it was beyond our skill, we’re cops not sanitation workers.
I was just starting to nod off when the ground began to rumble. A speeding semi-tractor trailer had just rounded the curve and Wesley had the good sense to flip on a twenty million candle spotlight just in time to catch the unwary driver square in the eyes. The blinded teamster skidded into the road debris at almost seventy miles an hour and three of his eighteen tires blew-out almost instantly. We both noticed Delbert Adams fighting the steering wheel as the jack-knifing truck window careened past. How some criminals manage to escape justice, only to terrorize others, in a seemingly endless and vicious cycle is beyond me.
The truck spun a full three-hundred sixty degrees before it bounced off a rock cliff and rolled several times … bursting into flames. It took only moments to realize the truck had been transporting eighty-thousand pounds of Fourth of July fireworks.
We watched in patriotic awe as the night sky around us was lit up almost like daylight. From somewhere Tootsie Pearl’s voice crooned from a buzzing audio speaker. Almost a full hour later, just after the last colorful explosion burst in the sky. Wesley pointed at a charred and smoking figure staggering illegally across the highway.
We had our jaywalker!
THE END ?