Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stop Breathing By The Seaside - The Flash Fiction Challenge 2016 | Challenge #1 Assignment Group 54 - Mystery / A Wharf / A Dog Collar

Stop Breathing By The Seaside
Two detectives investigate a murder on a wharf and find the solution in the dead man’s stomach.

“This guy died from his stomach tearing open, probably someone kicked it in,” Dr. Daniels spat, cold and clinical, into the phone. “There are signs of violence and fighting.”
“Ok, let me know if you find anything else,” answered Detective Jones.
Jones hung up the phone and sighed in exasperation.
“What did the doc say?” asked Detective Smith.
“There was a fight,” Jones answered.
“Surprise surprise, wanna head down to the crime scene and see what we can find in the daylight?” Smith asked.
“Yeah,” Jones said as he set down his coffee mug with a thud. “Let’s go be cops.”

Smith pulled out of the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, Jones sat beside him juggling a dozen jelly donuts and two vanilla coffees. The coffees and donuts were evenly dispersed between the stomachs of the two detectives as they parked illegally in front of the business offices of the Widgery Wharf and Port Facility. The smell of the sea and fish stung them as they opened the car doors on this muggy July day.

Built two centuries ago, the wharf was still a thriving fishery and working waterfront, with fishing boats, house boats, seafood processors, boatyard repair places and lobstering operations going along right beside the trendy bistros and condos.

“I got a call about a dead fisherman, last night, around 11:30,” said Wharf Operations Supervisor Dick Jacobs. “One of the guys was on his way home and saw Jimmy laying on a pier. Same thing I told the cop last night. I got a busy day today, we got an artisan fest on Union Wharf next to us.”
“You got time to make us a list of the places Jimmy Stock sold lobster too,” Jones asked.
“Yeah, the fest starts at 10 a.m., I got a bit, I’ll write some down.” Jacobs began scrawling chickenscratch on a sheet of paper and handed it to Jones. “I really didn’t know Jimmy all that well, so that list may not be complete. But if I think of any others I will call you.”
 Smith handed Jacobs his card, asking if Jacobs knew of any enemies Stock had. Jacobs snatched the list back from Jones and wrote BILL GREEN at the bottom of it.
The detectives thanked Jacobs for his help and told him they would be at the wharf all day, investigating the crime scene and checking the lobster places.

“Nobody liked him,” said John Frost. “But I don’t think anybody would kill him.”
“What about Bill Green,” asked Jones.
Frost chuckled a bit and considered a second then said “Maybe Bill would do it, Jimmy was sleeping with his wife and rubbing his face in it, but I don’t know.

“Yeah, Jimmy left here last night around 8, he said he was going to meet with Bill’s wife, but I don’t think he did,” said Jesse Stone. “Jimmy was on his way out, and we were trading niceties and in walked a big block of a man, square and bulging everything, and he asked Jimmy to step outside… something about a loan.”
“Did you recognize the big guy at all?” asked Smith.
“I’ve never seen him before. Most of the fishermen are in good shape, but this guy was a gladiator-type, he probably spent most of his time in a gym,” said Stone.

“Jimmy gambled a lot, he was trying to find somebody to loan him money to redo his boat too,” Tyler Grace said. “Most of the old school guys still use wooden traps, he wanted to upgrade. Nobody would give Jimmy a loan though, he was a mean guy, weatherbeaten, dirty talking, didn’t care for frivolous things and didn’t really care for people he didn’t need. He was kind of a dick and he wasn’t making tons of money. Hell, none of us are nowadays, with the environmental rules and the climate changes and everything else.”

Jones and Smith walked back toward the crime scene on the fishing pier. There was a husband, some gamblers and who knows who else after Jimmy Stock. One lead sounded as good as the other. Women always lead to murder. Money always is a crime. The detectives didn’t know which lead to chase first.

Smith’s cell phone rang and he stopped to answer. Jones kept walking and he saw a man in his 20s, scruffy, wirey, coming toward him walking a small dog. The dog ran up to Jones as he stopped at the end of the crime scene pier. Jones scratched the dog’s ears and asked the owner what kind of dog was it.
“It is a labradoodle,” answered the scruffy man.
“Have you had it a while, just walking it down here without a leash,” Jones said. “I could never get my dog to do that.”
“Just got it today,” the scruffy man answered. “I haven’t even named it yet.”
“What’s your name man?” asked Jones.
“Ely, Ely Cumberbatch. I live in those condos over there,” Cumberbatch pointed to the pricey condos abutting the wharf. 
“You walk down here a lot?” asked Jones. “I’m with the police department, investigating a murder down here last night.”
Smith walked up and Jones introduced his partner to Cumberbatch. Smith stopped, a shocked smirk on his face, and murmured something to his partner.
Looking uncomfortable Cumberbatch excused himself and tried to walk away, but Smith had his gun out and was standing in his way.
“My partner just got a call from the morgue,” Jones said to Cumberbatch. “The guys down there found a dog collar in the stomach of the man who was killed on the pier last night. The tag said the dog was named Tulah, and it belonged to Ely Cumberbatch. So, why don’t we head to the station and you can tell us about your walk last night.”

“That asshole kicked my Tulah. Kicked her in the stomach and she died a few days later. I had to make him pay,” growled Cumberbatch.