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by James Vachowski
Description: Goosey Larsen isn't your average detective, and it's doubtful that he'll ever reach that level of performance. His annual personnel review described him as someone who "lacks motivation" and "needs to improve his interpersonal skills." Goosey can usually be found coming in late or sneaking out early, but when dead bodies start turning up in downtown Charleston, Goosey is forced to do the one thing he hates most: policework.
eBook Publisher: Solstice Publishing/Solstice Publishing, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: June 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [330 KB]
Reading time: 217-304 min.
Waking up these days usually involves either a hangover or a cold sweat. I prefer the hangover. Drinking before bed helps keep the nightmares away, and lately I'd been having the same terrible dream where all of a sudden I'm sixty years old and still slaving away as a Kike Larsen, Central Detective extraordinaire, of the Charleston Police Department. Of course, technically, drinking is forbidden while on call. It's usually not a big deal, but that damn pager went off at, hell, it must have been six thirty. And again at six forty-five. And once more at seven, when the noise finally became intrusive enough for me to roll out of bed and grab it off the nightstand. "Respond to the MUSC gym for an 07, crime scene already 97," the message read. Great. It was a death case, first thing on a Monday morning, and to make things even worse I'd have to deal with those tightass weenies from Crime Scene.
I reeled sideways into the bathroom and grabbed onto the sink to steady myself. There was a half-downed can of Coors Light or Bud Light or something Light on the countertop, still cool, so I knocked it back while I let the water in the shower warm up. What the hell, I thought, as I did my best to take my sweet time. The corpse wasn't getting any deader, so there was no point in skipping the shower. I slid under the warm water with the bar of soap in one hand and the can of beer in the other. Fifteen minutes and one more pager outburst later, I grabbed a pair of wrinkled khakis off the floor and hunted around the closet for a dress shirt without too many grease stains. The pants were way too tight, but after I fell backwards onto the bed with my legs in the air, I squeezed them on and coaxed the zipper into closing. When I checked the results in the mirror, instead of looking somewhat professional it seemed more like I was trying to smuggle a small pair of plums.
I discovered my badge hiding under an empty bag of potato chips and slid it onto my belt, next to the gun that hadn't been unholstered in years, and then stepped out into the blinding sunlight. My unmarked Ford Crown Victoria was waiting for me in the parking lot. The eight-year-old baby-blue beast was covered in a thick layer of green springtime pollen and I wished I'd taken the time to wash it before leaving work Friday, or on any other day before that. Come to think of it, I actually hadn't washed it in a few weeks. At least the dirt made it look a little less like a police car. Even when you're in an unmarked car wearing plainclothes instead of that blue polyester monkey suit that passes for a uniform, people can still flag you as a cop from a mile away and they never hesitate to bother you with the smallest complaint when you're trying to do some real work.
After turning out of the driveway from my apartment complex and pointing the car toward the downtown peninsula, I eased into the right lane and snatched the hand mike. "812, Control. I'm 08, en route MUSC." One of the worst parts of being the on call detective was taking reports for inconsiderate geriatrics who kicked the bucket in the middle of the night without giving proper notice. The Medical University of South Carolina was not only a medical school but also the biggest hospital in the state. It was the biggest reason our patrol officers went out on disability from carpal tunnel syndrome after writing pages of reports about Emergency Room customers. Between binge-drinking college students, hypochondriac bums, fruitcakes overdosing on cocaine and the usual suicide attempts, MUSC kept our officers hopping on the weekends.
One summer a couple of years back there was a gang shooting almost every other day down in the East Side. It got so bad the victim's homeboys would drive him to the Emergency Room, then toss the guy out and take off like the place was some kind of a drive-thru garbage dump.
I grumbled as I considered the prospect of getting stuck working a violent murder case instead of my usual missing persons files, which were always pretty straightforward. I drove up the James Island Connector as the sun rose over the water. Looking at the golden, sparkling morning, it was hard to be in a bad mood.
When I made the left turn off of Calhoun Street onto Courtenay, I realized that this case must have been something other than the usual hospice patient found laying face down in a bedpan. Two black and white patrol cars were parked up on the sidewalk, their amber warning lights flashing. Instead of being parked right up in front of the Geriatrics building like I would have expected, they were further down the street at the Wellness Center, the hospital's huge new gym. It wouldn't be a croaked old geezer then. More likely, some janitor tripped over a mop bucket and broke his neck.