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The Dead Bin

by Gary Clifton

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Dead Bin: synopsis

Davis McCoy, a veteran detective on the Dallas police force, is relegated to the “Dead Bin,” a kind of “doghouse” reserved for cops who have annoyed their superior officers. When McCoy investigates a series of bizarre homicides, he has to work his way past hostile management as well as the criminal underworld. Even the most hardened veterans of law enforcement will be amazed by what he finds.

Chapter 10: Space Cadet

Snitches — a key to the city.

Ivan Klaster, identifiable at ten paces as no rocket scientist, was standing behind the counter. His full head of black hair was punctuated by a vivid white spot above his left forehead. Pale, a ringer for Boris Karloff, he was thumbing through a magazine with photos of nude women on the cover with a headline “I Was Abducted by Aliens.”

Maggs flashed her badge. Ivan buzzed an electronic door lock, allowing us in. Ivan stepped around the counter with the aid of two metal canes with bands wrapped around his wrists. Visible through his sandaled feet, he had no toes.

I studied his feet. This guy, if abducted by those aliens, they’d either make him chief or dismiss all mankind immediately as hopeless. Maybe they’d already kept his toes.

He noticed me looking at his feet. “Fell off a Harley,” he said behind a deep laugh. “Severed my spine at the lowest vertebrae. No feelin’ in my feet.”

“That make your toes fall off?”

Another horselaugh: “Naw, got drunk, slept with my feet in a campfire. Didn’t hurt none... Stunk like hell.”

Maggs gave me a cease-and-desist look. “Ivan, I’ve got some more photos to show you.” She tossed several photos on the counter. “And don’t be tellin’ us you don’t know this guy.”

“Hey, Ms. Maggs, you ain’t showed me them here pitchers before. This here is Stick. He’s a pimp named Isaac somethin’... maybe Isaac Terrell. Drives a black Cadillac.”

“And I know you saw him shoot Buttercup.”

“Listen,” Ivan said belligerently. “I already tol’ y’all, seen a guy in a Cadillac shoot Buttercup. Too damned dark to see his face.”

I leaned over to better see the photos. “Ivan.” I pulled handcuffs from my rear waistband. “You’ve been sentenced to a hundred years for burning your boss’s house last year. Let’s go, asswipe.”

“How the hell?” Ivan bleated like a sheep.

“Wiretaps. We know it all. You’re screwed. It’s the joint for your ass.”

“Ain’t got no telephone,” he wailed.

“Payphones, cellular. It’s all the same. Besides, the CIA planted a chip in your butt cheek when you were born. You’re ours, dude.”

Wild-eyed, he backed up to a mirror, grabbed his butt cheeks, craned his neck, and dropped one cane.

I picked it up and handed it back.

“We also know you know the blonde who was with Stick when he shot Butter,” Maggs said.

“Miss, I done already said I cain’t ID them people, and that’s the damned truth.”

As we turned to leave, I handed Ivan a business card, which he accepted like it was coated with anthrax. I patted my butt. “Remember, Ivan, we’ll be listening.” I pointed to his alien magazine. “And they’ll be watching.”

From outside, I could see Ivan had dropped his pants and was straining his neck backward to the mirror, struggling to inspect his backside.

Ivan would surface again, soon, and not in any way we could have predicted.

Proceed to Chapter 11...

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton

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