Tag Archives: Crime

My City by the Bay (Chapter 3, Part 2 of 4)

The Gentleman

Several footsteps moved down Pierce Street and could be heard for what seemed like miles. A party of four, which included the likeness of Virginia Woolf and Phileas Fogg, were on their way to a monthly event at the Sable Saddle. Preparation for such a soiree was evident by the attention devoted to look the part.  The residents in the well-to-do neighborhood of Hooker lusted for a time of courtesy and fancy. They protested city council’s decision to pave the cobble stone street years ago, and instead levied a special tax to restore it. The gas lamp posts were single-handedly afforded by the neighborhood’s wealthiest individual: Truman Huckleberry. The HOA, albeit never feeling completely satisfied in pegging the source of his wealth, was more than ecstatic to hear such funds were being devoted to infrastructure. Huckleberry’s income was always shrouded in vague responses and hasty segues.

“Why do I have to wear this ridiculous, fucking get up anyway?” Moaned Virginia.

“Because, my dear, it’s Victorian night. They won’t let you in, unless you’re dressed accordingly. You would like to be with me tonight, correct? At the very least, the vodka.” Replied Phileas.

Virginia slapped Phileas in the chest, after catching the small barb. “Yes, I want to be with you. Dammit, do we have to go into it tonight? I just want to have a drink and maybe have some fun, not get stuffed into some stupid costume of some wolf woman.”

“I understand you’re not the biggest of fans, but you can’t deny you have a strong resemblance to her. Look, Jane, Emily, and I want to go. Humor us for one night, at the very least. We can all go to Dusty Gold Studios soon.” After which, he produced his great grandfather’s pocket watch from his breast pocket. “It’s ten o’clock,” Phileas looked up at the painstakingly refurbished clock tower near town square to make sure it wasn’t in need of winding, “we should be able to get right in and get a seat.”

Making another block in quick fashion, Phileas was caught by the sounds of Liszt. Surely such a masterful performance was worthy of investigation. Peering into the extremely large picture window of Monk’s, he discovered a man wrapping up the piece with vigor. To his surprise, he knew the figure quite well.

“Ladies,” Phileas turned to the group, “please excuse me for a moment. Better yet, I’ll meet you at the Saddle. It won’t take me long.”

“What?! You can’t drag me along to some snooze fest and then ditch me just like that! What’s all this shit about ‘being with me,’ and then disappearing when you feel like it?” Howled Virginia.

“Madam Woolf, the night is still young and I shall gladly spend the majority of it with you.” Phileas then grabbed Virginia by the hips and pulled her in close. Their bodies rustled with the sound of ancient fabric. “Besides, I have something planned for you later on.” The last sentence was within an inch of their lips and they kissed softly. “You’ll definitely thank in the morning.”

Sig stood up to a standing ovation, balancing himself on the edge of the Steinway. “Fooled you all, didn’t I?” He crowed with a grin. Moving slowly, and carefully, he teetered back to his seat.

Astonished with such a surprising display of showmanship, Ginny came down the bar to meet him.

“Hey, uh, that was pretty good.” Ginny couldn’t muster much eloquence with her astonishment.

“Catherine Monroe’s piano lessons were rough, but rewarding.” Sig remarked, remembering all the times he was rapped on the knuckles with a ruler.

“Here, this is one the house, but only ONE. You got that?” She slid him a thimble full of Wild Turkey.

“You’re the greatest, red.” Sig smirked with wild eyes. That curly red hair of hers could be seen from a block away.

Ginny flushed. She was always self-conscious of the fire engine that sat atop her head. Never getting over the childhood embarrassment, she started to sputter with temper.

“NO… no, no.” Sig patted the air with his hand. “I love it. I’m not putting you on. I love it. There hasn’t been one, single time I have come in here and not been captivated by that red ocean that rolls off your forehead.” Sig put his money down with usual gratuity. “It’s more intoxicating than the whiskey.”

Sig headed out the back door, too drunk to figure out how Ginny was able to replace all the glass with brick while he was there. Within moments, he realized he needed to gain a better sense of direction. A few moments after that, he then realized he might not make it home that night. Propping himself up on a brick wall, he took a few deep breaths. The lingering taste of alcohol made him more than uncomfortable. In a notion to head for bed, he tripped over some loose cobble stone and planted his face on the pavement.

“OWwww…” Sig laid there for a good long while. He was starting to think that the ground wasn’t such a bad bed after all.

“Excuse me, good sir, but it seems you have hurt yourself.” A man in a top hat appeared in front of him.

“Am I in London? Do you have tea?” Sig’s thoughts weren’t very attached at the moment.

“Please allow me,” Phileas said as he helped up the drunk.

“Say, thank the Queen for me. She has made fine examples of manners out of her subjects.” Sig was focusing again.

“My pleasure, sir. Are you OK?”

“Aw, nothing’s broken that wasn’t already. Thanks. Say, don’t I know you?”

“Me, sir? Uh… erm… why yes! I’m Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.”

“No, I mean the actor. You look awfully familiar.”

“Why… no… I think you may have me mistaken for someone else.” This excited Phileas something awful, as if to fully understand the implications of being identified.

“Oh, I apologize. It’s my mistake. Would you do me a favor though?” Sig said with the best possible serious face he could muster, which wasn’t even close.

“Yes. Yes! What is it?” Relieved, Phileas could continue roleplaying.

“Say ‘Long Island’ for me.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 3, Part 1 of 4)

Salvatore Miguel Castro

…or “that damned street rat” to most people who worked in Old Town. Son of a Hammy Park resident and a Columbian gentleman on a “business trip,” the street was his way of life. It had been a while since Sig thought about the first time he met Sal. How long ago was it? Six years… six years ago last August. Sig was buying lunch from a hot dog vendor during an extortion ring investigation. Old Town reeked during the summer months. Years of garbage and neglect had taken its toll on the ghetto. Sig was sure that didn’t help the level of misery pervasive on the street. They were both about as sour.

Hot dogs weren’t the most nutritious thing out there, but the cart was right around the corner from Ferris Mosley’s pawn shop. This was a couple of years before he was slated to work with Benelli. She would have never touched the stuff. That’s probably why she was able to keep fit all this time, and the MMA training didn’t hurt either. The Thomas brothers were fronting a basic protection money scheme with the local shops. They ended up getting tried and convicted under RICO, because of a few soldiers that couldn’t handle the pressure and took plea bargains. A chain’s only as strong as its weakest link.

On this particular day, Sig was fishing for his wallet and the vendor was placing the mustard back in its holder on the cart. The vendor thought his customer had taken his food, and was about to pay for it. When Sig looked up from his wallet, the bare hand was out for his money.

“So, where is it?” Sig looked blankly at the vendor’s palm.

“I gave it to you, son.” The vendor said flatly.

“Does it look like I have it?”

“It’s not like I’m giving you ‘five,’ pal. There was a dog in my hand a second ago. ”

“I don’t have it!” Sig said getting a little heated. He gestured with open hands to show there was no sketchy beef products being concealed on his person. He even went so far as to hop around on one foot, in a circle, as to prove the beef frank wasn’t artfully wedged in a pocket. Immediately after this spectacle, Sig looked around the street for answers. If it weren’t for a small hood walking away from the scene of the crime bobbing up and down, he would have been stumped.

Sig gave the hot dog jockey a couple of bucks and slowly pursued the hooded bandit. Within no time did the figure disappear into an alley. Sig casually passed the entrance and slid down the next alley over. Doubling back, he peered into the alley to see a worn pair of tennis shoes sticking out from the side of a dumpster. Crouching like a tiger in tall grass, Sig sidestepped to make sure any echoes couldn’t be detected by the little frankenthief.

“You know, kid, I could have sprung for another if you would’ve asked.” Sig’s head was the only thing visible from the dumpster.

Startled, the young urchin tried scurrying away with much rustling of plastic and paper.

“Oh, no you don’t.” Sig’s arm was now a grappling hook. “I’m not going to hurt you, or take you in, or anything like that. I just want to talk.” His eyes looked upon the boy with stern, yet surprisingly earnest quality.

“Don’t matter. They’ll just turn me loose. I ain’t worth their time. Ain’t worth anyone’s time.” The kid’s mustard smear bobbed sprightly up and down on his cheek.

“Well, you’re buying mine right now. What’s your name?”

“What’s it matter to you?” The kid was putting on the tough façade.

“More than that hot dog you just swiped, obviously. I know everyone in this town, but I don’t know you. What’s your name?” Playing it cool and logical was the only way Sig thought it could work.

“Dee Snuts!” Why do children have to be so difficult?

“That’s too bad, because I was going to get a can of Coke and chips for you. Since you seem be uninterested, I guess I’ll be going.” Sig released the kid from his hold and started to walk down the alley. It was kind of a long shot, but there wasn’t much left he could play.


“Eh?” Sig turned around with an eyebrow cocked. That gamble paid off better than expected. Not only did he get a name, but he also got the kid to drop his defensiveness.

“My name is Sal.” The kid returned.

“OK, Sal, the vendor’s down that way. I hope you like Lay’s, because that’s all they’ve got.”

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Sal would deliver the word on the street, and in return, Sig would bring a sack lunch. The kid never ate better. Sig was surprised to hear he was 13 years old, but not that he was a denizen of Hamilton Park. His mother was usually strung out and inactive, unless she was looking. She got by with using her womanhood and sticky fingers. He supposed that’s where Sal learned to lift things.

“Yeah, Sal, you sure were something else.” Sig was marveling at an empty shot glass. Ginny the proprietrix of Monk’s Piano Bar and Lounge wiped up the bar top with her rag in anxious circles. He had been in there enough times for her to know when he’s teetering on the edge of mayhem. Shots were never good omens around him, and could herald the coming of things broken. Often times he was fine. He tipped extremely well, was great conversation, and even got her car out of hock when the parking tickets finally caught up with her. Once in a blue moon, though, he was trouble with a capital T.

“Ginny, bring me the ‘Turkey’.” Sig sucked air through puckered lips.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Ginny remember the last time she did that.


“The last time I gave you Wild Turkey, I had a three busted bar stools and a broken jukebox!” Ginny was bound and determined not to let him do anything like that again.

“I can’t help it your patrons like terrible music.” With his face all wrinkled up, he bobbled a bit on the stool.

“No, and that’s final! I have the right to refuse service to anyone, including you.”

With a harrumph, Sig popped off the stool and headed to the piano. Many of the patrons sunk in their seat, as no good could come from a drunken man tickling the ivories. As fortune would have it, they were wrong.  Lightly rubbing his fingers, Sig took himself back to Ms. Monroe’s afterschool piano lessons. She was a spinster, but smart and sharp even at 85. She smarted his knuckles with a ruler, if the notes weren’t supposed to be anything else. Stiff taps on the keys introduced a timeless classic. Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” chimed out of the Steinway and into the audience where a stunned, yet appreciative, crowd sipped their cocktails.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 6 of 6)

A colder wind blew in off the bay carrying the sooty clouds of a rain storm. First North Harbor, then Old Town, Eddingsbrooke, the Dip, Hooker, Uptown and the Shelf were soon covered in a thick, fluffy, wet blanket. Bricks that have seen so much, coated in years of experience and age, were now coated in rain water. The precipitation sped down the sides of the ancient edifices to form continuous “vees,” as if to recall its origins.

Sig was born in the breadbox of America, in an obscure town nobody thinks about after he explains its whereabouts. It’s as irrelevant as the time he spent there. He packed his bags at 18 and headed as far west as a beat up Greyhound bus could take him. His ship landed him here. Over the years, he dismissed that period of time and considered his true birth the moment he walked off that bucket of bolts stiffer than a med student’s specimen. Since then, he has spied every nook, cranny, alley, storefront, bypass, rooftop, park bench, and sewer line this place has to offer. He knows more people here than many of the actual natives and can give you a dossier on plenty, from the junkies in Hamilton Park to the blue-satin-party-dress debutantes of Uptown.

This place. This chunk of dirt. This is his town, and these are his people. That’s why he joined the force all those years ago. You protect the ones you love, and if you’re lucky, they’ll love you for it. Sometimes, when he feels lost, he’ll drive up to Bailey’s Point on the Shelf. There he’ll watch the twinkling lights of the neighborhoods and the spike-like spotlights of uptown. Whether it’s his imagination or not, it always seems like those lights are winking and waving at him. Like she’s waving at him, as if to say she appreciates what he does and loves him as her son. She doesn’t care how much of a screw up he has been, because she knows he’s only trying to do her right. Today, though, she was crying.

Rain falls from such a height you barely think about when it initially starts. You know when it hits you. It’s like out actions. For try as we might, any action can have unforeseen consequences. This unforeseen consequence lay dead in Chestnut Grove.

Benelli threw the GTS in park at the cemetery gates with all of the other flatfeet. Yellow police tape made a challenging cat’s cradle at the front entrance, which the two detectives straddled with robotic accuracy. For its ominous reputation and unfortunate location, Chestnut Grove was a rather charming spot. Goth geeks would love its old-school approach to death and grieving with its worn mausoleums and towering obelisks decrying a faith they discarded ages ago. Half-broken angels by vandals with a beef with God, and ditches from the occasional grave robber foretold of its security (or lack thereof). The unkempt trees gave the perfect signals to criminals that this place was low priority on the city’s watch list.

“I thought you guys rarely patrolled this area.” Sig said in a rather cynical tone.

“We do, plenty of times. This time we got an anonymous call.” The cop was almost trying to save face, but not quite.

“Who’s the victim?” Benelli stopped the argument before it started.

The cop rolled his tongue around in his mouth and proceeded. “We’ve got a John Doe here. Time of death was only a few hours ago. He’s missing both eyes and his kidneys. We fairly sure it’s linked to the organ trafficking.”

“Also could be a message.” Sig’s eyes shot up from the reflections the puddles made on the ground. Their wobbly images reminded him of a funhouse he went to a long time ago. “He probably saw something has shouldn’t have.”

“It’s possible.” Benelli glanced at her watch, “let’s go check John out. Lead the way officer.”

All four proceeded into the graveyard. There were plenty of overgrown paths and trash strewn about the memorials. Sig squinted in the rain to catch the names on the tombstones. Some of the white marble slabs have faded into obscurity, but there were enough to keep him guessing how the deceased was once connected with the town, where they lived, what they probably looked like. No one else said a word. It, in and of itself, was like a funeral procession: everyone thinking along the lines of their personalities. Benelli was probably reviewing the case and trying to think of leads before she had evidence. Sig was trying to recreate the past, and the two officers were probably thinking about lunch.

“Herrrrrrre’s Johnny!” The one officer said, probably trying to shake off his nerves. “They really carved him up like a Thanksgiving turkey.”

“That’s not John.” Sig said with a sick stomach.

“What?” Benelli twisted her head around enough to catch Sig with her right eye.

“That’s Sal.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 5 of 6)

Sig dramatically threw himself into the seat at his desk. He let out a deep sigh and muttered “that went well. It could have been worse, at least.” All of the paperwork stared at him expectantly. Moving it around in circles with the palms of his hands, a shiny corner of color with a white border appeared. It was a picture of Chrissy and him at one particular New Year’s Eve party. For all the fighting, she could look as sweet as an angel for the camera. He was also thankful that picture was taken before the second bottle of champagne was drained and she was singing David Allen Coe‘s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” for the sixth time in a row.

“Hey, Wachiewski!” A doughy-eared, ox of a man peeked around the corner with a bright, beaming smile. “Why don’t Polacks eat pickles?”

Sig dropped the photo, stared ruefully at his desk lamp, and muttered “this day gets better and better.” Slowly turning to the aspiring comic, he replied, “I don’t know, Pauly. Why don’t Polacks eat pickles?”

“’Cause they can’t fit their head in the jar.” Sucking in as much enjoyment as he could handle, he let out his signature horse laugh. Sig sighed with resignation. After all, everyone plays the fool sometimes.

“What’s wrong? Can’t take a joke? Come on now. Where’s your sense of humor? All’s fair in love and jokes.” Pauly’s 6′ 2″ frame was looming over Sig’s desk like a docking zeppelin.

“Oh, is that right?” An oaken voice interrupted amateur hour. “Got any good ones for me?” Behind the big mook stood Sgt. Darius King, a stout, barrel-chested black man from Montgomery, Alabama.

“Heyyy, uh, Sarge. I… I don’t know what you mean.” The look on Pauly’s face was enough to know he had no idea where this was going.

“Got any good jokes for me? I could always use a good laugh.”

“Oh! OK, two guys walk into a bar…”

“Not that kind of joke.” Darius interrupted

“Oh, well, uh…”

“OK, Pauly, let’s rephrase that. Do you have any jokes about me?”

“No, Sarge, I’d never make fun of you!” sputtered Doherty.

“Really?” King’s brows arched high on his forehead. “You mean to tell me that a white, Irish cop can’t think of one, measly, little black joke?”

The trap was sprung. Pauly had walked right into it, and his eyes widened like a deer.

“No! NO! I wouldn… I’d… no!”

“Pauly,” Darius was using paternal tones now. He was a father of four and husband to Clara, the best baker the force has ever witnessed. Sig would make a habit of finding ingenious ways to swipe more than one of her blueberry muffins from the break room. “Tell me a black joke.” With a light touch, Sgt. King straightened Pauly’s collar.

Doherty’s face went beet red, and his eyes shut as if to finally moderate the things coming out of his mouth.

“A, uh, a black man and a w-w-white man start running in a race…” Who would have thought this big braggart of a man would now be a quivering mess?

“Pauly, is that really the way you talk around your white buddies?” Darius wheedled. It was getting painful to watch, but Sig held fast to his desk chair.

“No,” Pauly whimpered.

“Tell the real joke.” The sergeant’s body was contorted, almost like the coils of a snake, threatening to inflict some type of punishment if he didn’t get what he wanted. Beads of sweat broke on Pauly’s brow and he continued.

“A nigger and a white guy start running a race. Who will win?” Doherty was now a shadow of his former self.

Darius straightened up in surprise and flared his nostrils, obviously to play up the stereotype. “That’s a good question, Pauly. I don’t know. Who wins?”

“Th… the… the white guy.”

“Oh, really?! Now, why… is… that?” Darius always had a fondness for Samuel L. Jackson. It couldn’t be hidden by a planet at this point.

“B…b…because the nigger had to stop half-way and spray paint ‘motherfucker’ on the wall.” Pauly was now on the verge of tears. Insulting the sergeant was nuts, but with a joke like this?

Satisfied, Darius gave Pauly a big smile and a rich laugh. A slight nod of the head produced, “that’s funny, Pauly… but I’ve already heard that one before. Don’t quit your day job.” With that, the sergeant lightly slapped Doherty on the cheek a couple of times and walked over to the break room. Pauly fell in a nearby chair like a deflated balloon. His face gave off so much heat that it warmed his hands as he sat buried in them.

Now that the show was over, Sig got up and sprinted to the break room. There he saw Darius casually mixing the chunks of powdered creamer into his coffee. “Hey,” Sig felt the need to say something, “thanks, uh, thanks for sticking up for me back there.”

King’s head shifted back slightly to give him the appearance of a double chin. “Standing up for you? Hell no. I just wanted to watch his white ass squirm.” With a chortle, the sergeant set out on a course for his desk. He, unlike Sig, actually kept up on his paperwork.

Back at his desk, Sig started to have a fit “Now! Now! Nownownownow!” That was code for, “I need to get this done. Where do I start?” Sorting out the disheveled papers on the desk, he stuffed the large McTaterTot from breakfast that morning into his mouth. Proceeding to keep half of it out like a golden-fried tongue, he banged the stack of papers on the desktop to straighten them out.

“SIG!” Benelli walked up to the desk at a brisk pace, “we’ve got a murder in Old Town. They think it might be connected to the case. We’ve got to go!” Sig blinked at her, wide-eyed, with the wafer in the same position it had been for a while. “Get that thing out of your mouth, and let’s go!” She never thought any of his antics were funny. How depressing.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 4 of 6)

The Precinct

Wide fluorescent lights and tan hallways were enabling the anhedonic feeling Sig kept as he walked to his desk. All the windows were in some stage of open, which meant the air conditioning was on the fritz again. “With all of the money the city gets in tax receipts, could they at least get a building with solid heating and cooling? It must all go to the mayor’s office.” Sig was often cranky when he had to be at the station, but the anticipation of meeting with the chief made it worse.

True, there were a few good things about the office: the shapely district attorney strutting around in her power suits with a feminine flair, the break room with the magically refilling pastry box, and his internet connection. These were few and far between though. Often times the place reminded him of grade school, only smelling slightly less like puke and Tony’s meat and cheese pizza.

Reaching his desk, he viewed utter chaos. Kinko‘s must have had a roaring party last night, as papers were thrown everywhere. They didn’t, however, cover up the bright pink water wings delicately placed on top.

“Very funny. VERY funny.”

The horse laugh from around the corner indicated that Officer Doherty had something to do with it. Pauly is a moron. He was the kind of kid that ate mayonnaise sandwiches and enjoyed making fart noises with his armpits. Sig thought of Pauly as his karmic punishment for leaving the toilet seat up way too often.

As Sig announced his presence in the office, the chief’s door swung wide open. “Wachiewski! Get your ass in here right now!”

McGreavy’s Office

“Would you care to tell me what this is all about?” A newspaper was flicked into Sig’s lap. The front page showed his El Camino being hoisted out of the river’s murk with the headline “Hollywood-style Chase in Old Town Leaves Local Cop All Wet.” McGreavy’s peppered mustache danced with his usual ticks of anxiety. He needed to switch to decaf, get a prescription, or both.

“Aww, they didn’t even get a picture of her good side. She looks fifty pounds heavier from that angle.” Sig replied with a furrowed brow.

“Cut the cutesy shit out, Wachiewski. You tore up Old Town yesterday, and I want answers.”

Sig could always tell where the line of tolerance was drawn. Today, it was right at the soles of his shoes. With a disappointed sigh, he took a large breath. “I was following a lead on the organ trafficking case. One of my highly-reliable sources gave me a tip on One-Eyed Jack’s. So, naturally, I went down to check things out.”

“Fuck a goddamn duck, Wachiewski! Not only could you have blown a solid lead, but you could have also gotten someone killed! And I don’t mean you; I don’t care about your rotten hide.”

“Warm, as always, Chief.”

“Shut up and listen,” at this point, the grease on the bridge of McGreavy’s nose was making his thick, plastic-rimmed glasses slide down to the tip. He paused in a moment of nerdish self-consciousness and pushed them up with his index finger. “The next time you get something that smells fresh, you don’t ever throw it out in the sun to rot again! Fucking cavalier wiseass sonofabitch!”

“Flattery will get you everywhere, Chief.”


Sig had a ambivalent relationship with his desire to fan flames. McGreavy was hot, and getting even hotter. He always was a screamer, but this was off the charts. Sig wondered if his wife Linda knew he was having a better time without her. Poor woman.

“You bring any ‘tips’ you get back here. That way we can position people accordingly. Do you realize how ruthless these people can be? Do you realize how bad a fuck up like this can give them a heads up or worse, make our department and the mayor’s office look like a bunch of incompetent boobs?!”

“I don’t know, Chief. You brought Pauly on board. I’d say it’d be calling a spade a spade at that point.”

“YOU ASSHOLE!” McGreavy launched a lovely Number 2 pencil, which promptly struck Sig the chin.

“Ah, hey! That was wood. I could have gotten splinters or something.” Sig said, rubbing his chin.

“You look at me, Wachiewski. If you botch this case, so help me God, I’m going to bust you down to parking patrol for the rest of your career. How you like to be a meter maid, permanently?”

“I’m not as lovely as Rita, no.” Sig reflected for a moment on the stylishness of the leather strap they wear over their shoulder. Then he thought of a brunette doffing her cap and shaking her luscious hair to her shoulders. That daydream wasn’t meant to last.

“You’re as pretty as Canal Street the morning after Mardi Gras. Now get out of my office, before I throw something more substantial!”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 3 of 6)

Master William could never understand the concept of catch and release. “Why bother, if you’re only going to let it go, Mister?” Sig enjoyed some caperberry liqueur from his cordial glass and adjusted his hat. “Because, my dear boy, it’s the thrill of the hunt! Lustreland Falls has plenty of blinklefish, and they put up quite the fight!”

“But I’m hungry.” William was constantly hungry. Second breakfast was two too few, and seafood was his favorite. He wondered if he was an osprey in a former life. He broke a leg trying to fly off the Baubleglam Towers in Y’tarem city trying to find out. What a disappointment.

William pawed at his ruff. “Do I really have to wear this thing?”

“Absolutely.” Sig said slightly hurt.


“Because you’d ruin the absurdity!”

No more than a few seconds after the exchange, there was a tug on the line. Sig reeled and reeled, turned his fishing pole left and right. “This one’s a whopper, my dear lad!” He fought and fought with a few harrumpfs and a “fiddle-dee-dee” on the side. At the end of such a foreseen battle, he held up the largest blinklefish anyone has ever seen. As he popped out the hook, it fell against the dock.


That fish must have been made of solid gold. It began to convulse.


The last bang wrenched him out of it. The door! Someone was at the door. “al-RIGH-timcomin'” was about all Sig could muster at that moment. He didn’t do well with getting up from sleeping. He put on some dirty clothes and cracked the front door to the chains. A young woman with long, dark brunette hair stared at him unsurprised with her brown eyes. It was his partner, Benelli.

“Ohhh, heyyyy…” Sig said in a way that would make anyone question his sobriety.
“We need you at the station.” Long Island was a faraway place, geographically speaking, but would only be a stone’s throw with his partner around.

With that, he combed his hair and put on his holster and shoes. There was breakfast waiting for him in her SLS GT Coupe.

“You only do this, when McGreavy’s about to bite my head off.”

“Yeh, they pulled your car out of the ‘chumi this morning. You’ve got some talkin’ to do. The Chief doesn’t like his force being so loud and obvious. It makes everyone nervous.”

“That’s what he gets for hiring a smart mouth like me. Say, how did you get the money to buy this thing, anyway? It’s mint.”

“I’m better with money than you are.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 2 of 6)

Up-down-up-down-up-down. An urge to vomit grabbed Sig’s stomach as he stared at the water. Sea sickness was calling to him. “Oh, bucket… buck-ET… BUCK-ET!” Wildly twisting to Captain Fryer, he mimed for some sort of medical assistance.

“Off the stern, boy.” Fryer said without removing the nautical pipe from his mouth. Dots lined up on the bridge like birds on a telephone line. He heard a screech, and the Barracuda darted back to Old Town. That must have been the cause of all this commotion. He’ll make a note of it on his report.

*Herf* “Oh!” *hurbrle* “Oh, God!” *hooooool* “Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick!” Sig rested on the railing with his chest. This was worse than being hung over. “I need to get off this boat, Cap’n.” Closing his rheumy eyes, he tightened his face in vain to shake off the nausea and immediately recalled the time he made a mess on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the county fair. Fumbling for his badge, Sig offered it to Fryer with a sour composure. He felt like a soaked shopping bag in the middle of a grocery store parking lot.

“City police, eh? Well, we’ll get you to your station. Before that happens, we’ll need to get your story on all this excitement. You mind?” Fryer’s face didn’t move from its original position since they first met.

“Eh, mind if I send it to you later? I can get back on my own all right. I need to do a few other things first.” No! No paperwork right now. He’d rather make a harmonica out of a cheese grater.

“I suppose,” Fryer said, “but don’t make me wait. Last time I played ball with you boys, it took two weeks to get a profile. I’m not a man to be kept waiting.”

“Yes! Yes. Oh, absolutely! You’ve got it, Cap’n.” Sig’s sickness eased with the glee of a temporary reprieve. The boat moored on the safer side of the Nagawatachumi, and Sig clambered out on to the docks. He was never very graceful, and often felt like the slow clown in a pie fight.

Bus Stop

Sig stood in a lonely puddle, with the rest of the riders clumped conspicuously to the left of him. He might as well be wet; there were storm clouds over him. Pantsed again, and it wasn’t even gym class! Damn gawkers. He plugged another cigarette in his mouth but instantly realized they were soaked, too. “Bah!” He launched the pack at the trash can and made a few of the other riders jump.

The silver box on wheels rolled up and opened its doors with an exasperated sigh. Banners of slick law firms and exotic vacations clung loosely to the sides like the hopes of their financiers. A squeaky slosh was heard ascending the stairs and Ralph Kramden was given his fare, and maybe some algae, for his service. Although this time Ralph was Bunny Washington and he was just as suspicious as anyone else on the bus. “Damn,” Bunny shook his head and muttered, “just when I thought I’ve seen it all. Some honkey has to come and test me.”

With a sluggish gait, Sig sat right beside a little old lady who recoiled from the moisture. As the bus resumed its course, he looked over to her and gave a Jack Nicholson smile. “There’s nothing like a good swim to make someone few brand new. Wouldn’t you say?” It wasn’t his best impression, but it was good enough for jazz.

It wasn’t luxurious, but it was home. The wet clothes quickly made a pile near the door, and he lumbered to the fridge. “Great! My car’s gone, and now my beer, too.” He slammed the door shut to antagonize his forgetfulness. Exhausted. Moments later, he was sprawled over his single bed. Before he passed out, he figured he’d go out and buy Star Trek bed sheets. If he were to be single like this, he might as well enjoy some of the small things in life.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 1 of 6)

Impact wasn’t the most pleasant. In fact, it was like hitting a concrete wall. As a sign of Sig’s patience with Chrissy, he was “rewarded” with a 5 point racing harness in his Camino. At that time in her life she obsessed with his safety. This was years before the fallout and a bitter one at that. “Get hit by a bus” was the last thing she said when she left him. She always knew how to translate her emotions into words so eloquently.  She probably would have a fit, if she knew it probably saved his life.

“Get out! Get out! Get out!” Sig screamed to himself, but he needed to calm down. A capsized car isn’t the best scenario to be in but it wasn’t like he had a choice. “I’m not dying like this!” The water was filling in the car in no time at all. He took a deep breath and unlocked the doors, hoping beyond hope he could still get the door open.  Fortune was smiling on him as the pressure wasn’t yet enough to seal it. Sig took another breath before he popped his belt. The action made him bathe in Nagawatachumi waters, a questionable source of water for all endeavors. Using the steering wheel as an anchor he pushed the door as hard as he could and slowly pulled himself out.

Disorientation is always a fun time. What is up is down, left is right, and he was desperate for some clarity. Noticing the direction the bubbles were taking, he felt a little better and went with the flow. A burning sensation in his chest told him he wanted more air. He clamped down and wriggled as quickly as he could to the surface. The murky river water brightened then broke, and Sig let out a gasp that would frighten a sea lion.

“Over there!” A voice called out from the patrol boat. “About time someone was on top of things. I’m certainly not.” Sig was huffing like fat kid in gym class. He should know; he was that kid. The boat pulled up alongside and offered him help out. “You’re lucky to be alive, son.” Captain Fryer called to him as the river police yanked him up over the starboard side. The grizzled, pepper-haired vet couldn’t muster a whole lot to say. After his years in the Navy, there wasn’t a whole lot that got him too excited about anything.

“It’s a shame.” Fryer muttered while lighting his pipe.

“What’s that?” Sig peered up from his towel, still a little out of sorts from the whole affair.

“It looked a damn fine car, too.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 1, Part 3 of 3)

Sliding through all four lanes of Douglass Avenue, the El Camino drifted behind a moving truck. “Mah!” Sig spun the wheel to the left and fishtailed his lane change. The ‘Cuda came alive and began to mime the Camino down the road. Sounds of a bee hive gone mad echoed down the road.

“They’ve got the better ride, but do they know how to jam?” Sig spoke, as his 8-track looped to the beginning. A slight ping notified the permission of a dirty habit. The tip of his menthol was singed and a curl of smoke arrived on the scene. “If today’s the day, at least it won’t be these that are the death of me. That’ll show her.” By “her” he meant his estranged wife, Christine. Chrissy had a way of throwing insults like pizza dough. She had her own spin, and they’d stick when she wanted them to.

The Camino ducked and dodged down Douglass for another thirty seconds, before a sharp right gave him a way north. He jammed on the clutch and power shifted the 8-ball capped stick into fourth. The ‘Cuda’s hockey stop nearly checked a bum into a bench, but it recovered and made another dash to the fleeing car.

“He’s not that great with the goods. That’s a shame. I’d hate to see him get it dirty.” With that, Sig made a beeline to a fruit stand off to the right. The proprietor, torn between dodging and protecting his assets, decided to save his own skin by hopping on a pile of black trash bags behind him. With a quick flick of the wrist, The Camino juked left and only smacked the right-side mirror on the kiosk. As intended, the sprinting ‘Cuda couldn’t dodge the stand quick enough and plowed through a variety of melons and fruit.

“Dammit!” No-neck said. “I just made my last payment on this thing two months ago!”

The gap between the Camino and the ‘Cuda widened and Sig could not push the pedal hard enough. Jumping a few hills, Sig smacked his head. “Moof!” could be heard as the blur passed several pedestrians.

He finally hit the bridge and stood a chance of making it back into friendly territory. The ‘Cuda, once again, recovered and hit the straightaway. The Camino could not match the speed of the muscle car, and soon No-neck was bumping The Camino’s rear end.

“She’s not that kind of car!” Sig screamed as he did all he could to keep the car steady.

Just a few more seconds, and he would clear the crown of the bridge. His grip could crush steel and he wanted to puke that cheap beer he just had at Jack’s. Clenching his jaw, he held on and steadied the car for what seemed like hours.

“Steady. Steeeady. OK, half-way th— OH SHI!” Sig failed to see the traffic jam at the other end of the bridge. It was rush hour, and those lucky enough to live in North Wharf wanted to get out of Dodge. With this distraction, the ‘Cuda made a solid bump and the Camino was out of control. A slam to the right and slam to the left knocked the cigarette from his mouth, and the ‘Cuda went in for the kill. By some fluke, the last slap sent the Camino up and over the rails.

All Sig saw was blacktop, then blue and lots of it. It wasn’t a huge drop, maybe 15 feet, but it certainly was enough to drain the blood from his face. White foam soon enveloped the Camino, and the chase was over.

No-neck slammed on the breaks only to clear a bumper by three inches. Getting out, he went to check on his handiwork. A ring of suds marked where the car had made its surprise splash landing and a police tug was already preparing to survey the site. The river cops were strangely different than the regular heat, as they were more prone to do their job. Provided Sig could get out of the Camino, he would be able to find a route back to safety. No-neck slammed his fist on the steel tubing of the rail.

“He dead?” Tiny stuck his head out the car’s window like a dog.

“No, he ain’t dead.” Said No-neck flatly.

“Miss Redglove ain’t gonna be happy with us.” lamented Tiny.

“Really?! What makes you say that?” No-neck was building in irritation.

“Well, we didn’t get him or kill him. That’s bad. Ain’t it?”


© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , ,

My City by the Bay (Chapter 1, Part 2 of 3)

Almost tripping over the barstool, Sig leapt up and bolted for the back. To his advantage, there was enough excitement to cause confusion in the room. Mr. No-neck grabbed him, and Sig shifted his weight onto the guy’s shoe. There’s nothing like a searing pain in the foot to get someone off your case.

With a loud slap, the door to the alley opened up. Blinding sunlight and stench. It wouldn’t be Old Town without its aroma. So familiar… so repulsive. Too bad he didn’t have time to vomit.

The dumpster was a decent enough refuge to hide behind for the moment. Better yet, it was the place he decided to hide some supplies before he went it. Someone had one too many drinks; the packaging was covered in puke. There’s a small amount of bravery required in handling puke-soaked items, but it’s better than ending up dead. A plastic bag produced a Ruger SP101 and a paper bag with a change of clothes. There was no time to lose. He had to work fast.

He couldn’t deny it now. There was something up at this place, and it was pretty serious. If Sig could get back to the station, maybe he could start cross referencing disappearances within a certain radius of the place and find something in common. He had to find out why they were being taken. That’s part of the hunt, but first: the getaway.

Immediately after he slipped on the change of clothes, the backdoor of the bar swung open. No-neck and a friend came out to play. “Fine,” Sig thought, “I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.” Crouched behind the dumpster, he waited. The figures peered around the alley for a starting point. Sig strained to hear any jabber from two goons who didn’t know any better.

“Why are we after this guy, again?” bumbled a tall, brutish man with a several day-old beard.

“He was harassin’ Harley, and snooping around ’bout the bodies.” Mr. No-neck had that quintessential Jersey accent. Sig winced about the cliché before continuing to listen. “We need to find out what he knows, and probably show our unwanted visitor the way to Chestnut Grove.” Chestnut Grove was the name of the dilapidated cemetery in the heart of the ghetto. Cops rarely poked around there, because of the high probability of finding the recently deceased. Less paperwork that way.

“Miss Redglove never liked unwanted company.” The lug childishly pondered aloud as he pulled back a stack of pallets, only to discover a two-inch gap made a poor hiding spot. He was a regular Baby Huey. They probably have some apt nickname for him, like “Tiny.”

No-neck was a few steps ahead of him on the intelligence scale. He had already peered into the dumpster Sig was behind and wiping his hands clean on a kerchief. The congealing food grease and liquor remnants apparently took up temporary residence on his palms. The dumpster smelled beyond foul and he was glad it was suspect free. With a little relief, he decided to scope out a nook in the building beside the bar. It was the backstage exit area for the Hips and Jiggles ‘Gentleman’s’ Club. Those walls had some stories to tell.

Knowing when to spot opportunity, Sig pistol whipped No-neck without much more thought. He didn’t want to shoot these two, as that was only used as a last resort. Less paperwork that way. The slight grunt and subsequent thud was enough to wrench Tiny out of his meditation upon an olive loaf sandwich. Spinning around, Tiny found himself with a coldcocked partner and a rather high-strung man in a pink hoodie and a snub nose.

“Whaddyado to him? Don’t make me angry, mister.” For all Tiny wasn’t, he was at least polite.

“I wouldn’t try anything smart, pal.” Sig was sure that he didn’t have to worry about that, but felt the need to say it anyway.

“You don’t wanna mess with us. We’ve gots a good thing going. I get paid and my Daisy likes the flowers I get for her.” Sig could only imagine they were from funeral arrangements.

“Listen, I’m not looking for an economics debate,” as he would probably end up using the pistol on himself, “but what I am looking for is you to step aside. Nice and easy.”

The big man’s eyes darkened. He knew failure would be bad, or at least bad in the sense he had to listen to Miss Redglove scream at him again. He didn’t like it when she screamed at him. Throwing things at him were fine, but screaming, no. She was pretty (stunning, as it turns out), and it made him very sad when pretty girls were mad at him.

“I can’t let you do that, buddy. Miss Redglove likes me to do my job.” Tiny shook his head as if he were agreeing with her in a previous conversation.

“Oh, is that who that is?” Sig said, spying over Tiny’s ham-fisted shoulder.

As surefire as basic instinct, the meat head turned to look down the street. He saw no one there. Then he saw black with a white starburst.

“MMMMMMMOTHERFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT,” yelled Sig, as he would have been better off clocking masonry. Clutching his right fist underneath the .38, he dove in a gap between Tiny and the wall.

When the brute finally sorted out all the pieces, he roared, “hey, that was cheap!” Sig didn’t stop to apologize. He was out on the street and ducking into his El Camino. With a plaintive sputter and hack, the car screeched onto the road and headed to the St. Mary’s Street bridge. That was the best way to get on the “right” side of the river. Fortunately, driving south-side of the Natawagachumi required very little adherence to traffic and safety laws.

Tiny and No-neck were making their way to a 1974 Vitamin-C Barracuda as best they could, shaking off their latest surprises. Their engine started. It wasn’t over yet.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , ,