Waiting Menu!
  • light
  • dark
  •  A + 
  •  A − 
  •  ¶ − 
  •  ¶ + 
  • clear
  • Rec. 
  • « Scr
Loading Content!

When I stepped into Cacadulu, it was the late afternoon, or maybe even early evening, and I was on my last legs. I couldn’t even believe I was still breathing! My brutally abandoned and disappointed receptionist nymph was missing again, and I was glad because I was tired and sweaty like a dockworker who had just loaded the entire Titanic all by himself with fuel and provisions for its last journey. For the same reason, I headed for the elevator instead of taking the stairs.

I reached the door, pushed the button, and waited patiently for the bell to ring. Soon the door opened, and I walked inside, but then I unexpectedly tripped over the bellhop, who was lying on the floor, doubled up. He looked really, really terrible, and he was shaking badly—obviously doped. When he saw me coming in, he bleated with a hollow voice, “Whusup, me’!” Then he took the trouble to raise his body a little—just enough to reach the line of buttons on the control panel and push an arbitrary one—after which he dropped back down and immediately sank into the sticky swamp of his catatonic stupor.

We rode the elevator like this: I stood up, and he lay curled at my feet all the way to the fourth floor. There, I stepped out and took the stairs because I really didn’t want to disturb the guy with my insignificant earthly problems. After all, according to the Indians in the Amazon rainforest, he communicated with gods now.

Up in our room, Lara was just getting up from her heavy, twelve-hour-long hibernation. She looked like a grizzly bear prematurely pulled out of her winter sleep: her hair was ruffled as if she had suffered an electric shock; her eyes were swollen as if she had had a fight with Mohamed Ally; and her shirt was so twisted around her torso that the buttons were on her back, making it possible for her breasts to stay undercover for the first time since I had met her.

“Where have you been all day?” She asked hoarsely, even before I stepped into the room.

I looked at her, puzzled. She had clearly woken up just five minutes ago, and I didn’t know how she knew I had been missing, but I didn’t bother to ask her.

“I went to the zoo to kill an hour or two because I couldn’t sleep,” I replied nonchalantly instead.

“Really?” She unexpectedly took an interest in my words. “Did you see something funny while you were there?”

“As a matter of fact, I did!” I decided to tease her a little. “There was an accident, and a kid got injured in the lion’s den.”

Lara looked at me, surprised.

“No shit!” She was even more interested now. “And what did the kid’s mother do?”

“The mother was actually having a chat with the other moms at the playground, and she didn’t see a thing.”

“Wow! That must have been rough! Mothers are real motherfuckers, you know!” Immanuel Kant of Sheyenne presented me with her rude philosophy, and then she added, “When I was at the zoo the last time, the only thing I saw was ass-picking!”

“Ass-picking? What do you mean by that?” I didn’t get her point. “You saw mothers picking at each other’s asses?”

She glared at me for a moment. “For fuck’s sake, what’s wrong with you? Of course, I didn’t see that! Monkeys were doing it!”

“I’m just asking,” I shrugged and stepped onto the balcony to have a quick smoke. As I lit the cigarette, I looked at the street beneath my feet, and it seemed even more brutal now than in the morning when we checked in. It was literally clogged with garbage cans and other crap as if we weren’t in America in the late twentieth century but in the poorest slum in Mumbai a hundred years ago.

Inside the room, Lara promptly used the short break from our weird conversation to grab the proof of my early morning sexual disgrace and utilize a significant amount of its contents. The bottle of Johnnie Walker was still on the nightstand, but the white rose in it was now openly inebriated and red. The corner beneath the window turned out to be the detox ward where it was thrown to rethink its addiction, and the small paradise it was extracted from promptly became a playground for the invader. Actually, the flower had I incredible luck that the invader didn’t think it was a suitable snack for a drink!

“Last night I knocked myself out a bit. I think I’m gonna keep it cool tonight!” Miss Big Words started throwing big promises in my face right after she quenched her thirst. After that, she patted her chest and belched, which was a really “reassuring” sign.

“You mean this morning you knocked yourself out big time,” I altered her phrase, stepping inside but leaving the door open. “Don’t worry! I’ve left no more hidden Johnnie Walker vases in the room to tempt you. This is the only one!”

The hopeless drunk just snorted and pounded down another gulp, whereupon the bottle in her hand withered, showing obvious signs of anemia. I stubbed out my cigarette in the ashtray and took the clothes I had brought for her, throwing them on the bed. Then I put my gun in the nightstand drawer and headed to the bathroom to take another shower because I still felt dirty after my traumatizing experience in the car.

When I came out—about twenty minutes later—the pants and the shirt were still there, and Lara didn’t even seem to have noticed them. I expected as much. Clearly, her inborn cowboy attitude stopped her from changing her clothes without a very serious and pressing reason. After all, they were still good enough—they only had a couple of insignificant stains of mayonnaise and ketchup and a few splotches of her puke. Other than that, they were just fine!

Since it was still indecently early for work and the weather wasn’t motivating for outdoor activities yet, I decided to take my time and poke my nose into Lara’s previous life. That is, if she had any, of course! Lately, I suspected that God had invented her and sent her to me with the only mission to punish me for the mistakes I had made in my life.

“So is this how you usually tackle all of your problems?” I asked her casually, trying to start a conversation about her alcohol-abusing habits. “With drinking bouts and blackouts?”

“What do you mean?” Virgin Mary didn’t understand my question.

“Well, you haven’t been sober and alert for longer than a few hours during the past week, have you?”

“What is your point exactly?” She looked at me as if it wasn’t perfectly clear even for a blind, deaf, and stone-dead mole in its hole a hundred miles underground what exactly my point was.

I chose to be extremely graphic in my explanation because I wanted to be sure that at least some of its meaning would work its way into her blurry mind.

“The point is that ever since we met, you’ve consumed as much alcohol as a small brewery would produce to satisfy the demand in a small prairie town,” I elaborated.

“And why does it have to be a prairie town?” Lara grunted, keeping our chat ever more weird and absurd.

I looked at her, stupefied and unable to answer. Well, why indeed? Holly smoke; I hadn’t even thought about it. I didn’t think it was that important!

“You know what? I think you’re no better than me, actually.” The bibber went on, suddenly retaliating to my attack. “Let me ask you something, okay? How much do you think the brewery would need to produce if you lived in that same town?”

“It’s completely natural for a man in my line of work to let off some steam!” I tried to defend my very reasonable habit of having a couple of drinks during the day.

“Well, it’s only natural for your clients to take the edge off too while waiting for you to let off steam!” She dodged it surprisingly skillfully. “It would have been nice if you at least did your fucking job between your drinking sessions!”

I frowned, offended. Her words annoyed me a lot, but I just didn’t want to initiate a fight over something as subjective as my daily routine. That’s why I decided not to fall for it.

“It’s highly stressful working with you too,” I explained calmly. “And just so you know, I do work between and during my sessions. Problem is that most of the time you’re too wasted to notice because, unlike me, you obviously can’t hold your liquor. And then, after you come to your senses and your next terrible hangover hits you, you’re stressing me out, and won’t let me do my job!”

“Phew!” My opponent totally refused to see my point, which I expected. “You urban pussies don’t even know the first thing about working in a stressful environment! If I made you slave twelve hours a day on an oil drilling rig outside Evanston, you’d know what I’m talking about!”

“Oh, come on!” I didn’t bite. “Don’t tell me you’ve worked on an oil rig because I’ll just die laughing!”

“I surely know what it’s like!” Sheyenne’s slave dog didn’t give up her attempts to make me feel bad. “My father worked there long enough and took me with him a couple of times, so I know the routine!”

“Your father was an oil worker?” I was sincerely surprised because, if I had to guess, I would probably have gone for a cowboy or a farmer.

“He was a derrickman,” Lara explained quickly. “There isn’t much to do in Sheyenne outside of the oil industry, you know. Almost the entire state belongs to Amoco!”

“I didn’t know that. What about your mother? Did she work on an oil rig too?”

“No, my mother was a nurse. She died upon my sister’s delivery when I was two and a half years old. I barely remember her.”

Probably, at this moment, it would have been appropriate for me to say I was sorry—or at least to shut my mouth about it—but I just mumbled instead, “So you were two sisters and your father, and you all lived in a little house on the prairie like in the TV show. Were there any evil Indians around to make your life more difficult?”

My assistant gave me a weird look.

“No,” she answered curtly. “My father was good enough in this role!”

And as she said that, she sharply turned around to grab the whiskey bottle again. It was obvious that she was quickly losing interest in the conversation without a swig every now and then, and I didn’t say anything about it, but I definitely didn’t like it.

“In fact, most of the time he wasn’t even around,” Lara went on after the short booze break. “It’s about six hundred miles between Evanston and Sheyenne, so we normally wouldn’t see much of him, but when he would come back—usually stewed to the gills—he’d jump into the role of being a parent, and that’s when troubles would begin. One night he surprisingly popped in at ten in the evening when we weren’t expecting him, and he put on a hell of a show! At the time, an old and almost deaf aunt of ours kept an eye on us, but she stayed down in her room as usual, watching soap operas with the TV volume so loud that it thundered all the way to the Rocky Mountains and back. Sonya and I were upstairs, having fun with two of our neighbors when our dad rushed into the living room downstairs like a hurricane and started shouting and breaking things. The poor boys literally peed their pants! They were so scared that they jumped out of the window on the second floor, and when our father saw them in the yard, he started shooting at them with his rifle. Luckily, he was too drunk to hit an elephant from ten yards away, so nobody got hurt eventually.

“And what happened next?” I asked her when she paused again to take another sip. “Did he come upstairs to kick your slutty asses?”

“No, but he ripped our aunt’s ass apart for,” she finger-quoted here, “letting underage fuckers into the fucking house. The poor woman barely survived it. The next morning, two of our uncles came around with shotguns and bats, and they beat the crap out of the bastard, so everything was settled in the end. This is how you resolve your problems in Wyoming, you know! Nobody calls the police.”

When she stopped talking, I looked at her, still dismayed. It actually explained many things about her personality and actions, and I thought that maybe I should cut her some slack after all. With relatives like hers, it was probably the normal way to go.

“Ultimately, the outcome of the entire fuss was that we raised ourselves alone from that moment on,” Lara finished her little story with the next gulp. “All of our relatives gave up on us, and nobody wanted to come to our house anymore. I think it was one of the reasons for my sister’s decision not to return home. It’s tough to live in a place where everybody hates you for what your father did!”

I didn’t reply at first, and I just reached out to pull the bottle out of her hand because she was already pissing me off with her constant swigging. The evening hadn’t even kicked off officially yet, and she was already drunk! Lara didn’t react to my invasion, and she let it go.

“It seems you’ve had pretty sweet teenage years then,” I concluded when I secured the booze in my hands. “Most kids would only dream of escaping parental control for a few nights over their entire childhood!”

“It’s true,” Lara agreed, and she licked her lower lip thirstily. “The asshole totally got it, and when Sonya turned sixteen, we kicked him out of the house for good. I think he still lives in a caravan not far from the rig, but I don’t think he works there anymore. No one would let an alcoholic operate drilling machines, you know.”

I nodded to indicate that I knew it and screwed the cap back on the bottle. The poor bastard really met his match with his wild daughters! That’s how it usually goes in life, though. People never think about Newton’s third law when raising their kids. They never realize their bullshit will provoke a reaction, which will come back to them hard when they are old.

At this point, I was pretty much tired of Lara’s bullshit, and I didn’t want to hear anymore. My curiosity about her past was exhausted, and I wanted to call it a day. Besides, I really hoped I could give it another try with Sandra later because I felt terrible about the mistake I had made earlier this morning. Unfortunately, my assistant didn’t think so. During the next hour, having gained serious momentum in storytelling, she decided to enlighten me with more of her “career” as a growing-up Sheyenne beauty. She visualized for me—quite graphically—how she helped Sonya get rid of her virginity, and she giggled the entire time while explaining it to me. It turned out she had used a banana to deflower her little sister because “the matter was delicate” and “the tool had to be soft and delicate too”, as she put it. Unfortunately, the improvised dildo broke inside the patient’s vagina, so the “doctor” had to scoop it out with a teaspoon eventually. By the way, telling me about it didn’t make her uncomfortable at all. She also shared with me a few other embarrassing things of that sort, but after hearing about turning Sonya into a woman, I simply quit listening.

As she talked, Lara never actually stopped looking fixedly at my hands. It was clear that when I took the bottle from her a while ago, she thought I was going to have a sip and pass it back, and now she wondered why it was taking me so long to do it. To put an end to this misunderstanding, I just turned around and threw the bottle out the window so that she understood that the whiskey was gone. After a few seconds, we heard the noise of broken glass and someone shouting angrily down the street, but since I’ve never been into poking my nose into other people’s lives and since the situation didn’t seem serious, I just ignored it. Anyway, my idea worked. Lara looked at me, puzzled at first, but then, without seeing her pacifier in my hands, she totally lost interest in talking.

She stayed in the bed for a while but soon felt bored and tried to get up. She staggered heavily while doing so. I looked at her, frustrated and thought that maybe my preventive maneuver with the bottle had come too late after all. She didn’t seem capable of getting her stupid ass even to the bathroom, and that was probably why she didn’t even try it. Instead, she turned around and walked out onto the balcony, after which she started to climb down the fire escape. I jumped up, horrified when I saw where she tried to put her left foot—she clearly thought the downspout was the way to go!

I promptly threw myself toward her and pulled her back at the last possible moment before she fell. “Where the hell do you think you’re going? You’re trying to meet your dead mother?” I shouted at her.

“I’m gonna check on the scumbags in that shack in the harbor,” she replied, unconcerned. “That’s what the entire whore-interrogating thing was all about, right?”

And without further explanation, she turned again—this time in the right direction—and decisively grabbed the fire escape railing. Quite naturally, she refused to give it up when I tried to talk her out of it, and she refused to postpone it until we had thought it all through. She also wouldn’t hear about other, more conventional methods like taking the hotel’s staircase or riding the elevator because it had to be incognito, she insisted. We needed an alibi in case something got wrong.

To be honest, she had a really valid point here, but that didn’t make me feel better about her intentions. Maybe the alcohol hadn’t affected her mind as badly as it looked after all, but it had surely impaired her movements, so I momentarily realized that I had to be with her. Right after taking this decision, I was promptly overwhelmed by the huge list of things that could go wrong and mess with Lara’s awful plan while we were executing it. For example: whether we would be able to approach the place unnoticed; whether the Butterfly had warned her pimps about our little interrogation; what terrible surprise might be waiting for us in the shack; and how we were supposed to leave the place if the “terrible surprise” decided to chase after us. Unfortunately, none of these unpleasant variables helped me persuade my partner that her idea was total bullshit.

In the end, I managed to change only one thing before we set the entire operation in motion—that I should be the first to climb down the fire escape. I actually didn’t like the possibility that she might collapse upon me, but I had no choice because watching her from above as she collapsed alone scared me even more. Of course, the second option would have spared my health and nerves to a greater extent, but since I had always been known as an incredibly stupid man, I completely missed my own point here.

Thank God, none of us was destined to die that evening, and after ten very stressful minutes, we safely reached the ground. Or I reached it, at least. Lara just stopped about six feet before the end of the stairs and shouted, “Catch me!” Then she jumped. The only problem was that when she did it, she had already been flying down for a couple of seconds, zipping past me and crashing into the nearby garbage can. She didn’t even give me the slightest chance to react—not that I would have taken it because the entire thing was actually too stupid—but anyway!

“God damn you, you hopeless prick! Haven’t you played basketball in school?” I heard her swearing somewhere in the trash right after she landed there. Thankfully, it was already too dark, so I didn’t get to see the expression on her face.

“No, I played chess at school,” I replied curtly. “We don’t usually throw figures at each other in this game!”

Grunting, she got up, patting her clothes to remove the garbage. I was surprised to see it because she didn’t seem like the sort of person who would care about it, but she did it anyway. One thing I definitely had to give her, though: she had a very strong head. Her father would have been proud of her if he were around!

After we were both on our feet and ready to go, we quickly discussed our options, and we agreed on taking a cab and leaving the Ford in the parking lot because it would be good for our alibi too. It was actually a wise decision, provided we knew exactly where we were going. And we didn’t! The entire time in the car, we kept arguing about it, and when we eventually arrived at the harbor, the cab driver was so pissed off that he literally kicked us out, charging us the equivalent of the Cayman Islands gross domestic product. Lara paid the bill without batting an eyelid, and as I watched the ease with which she kept taking money out of her pockets, I started thinking she was a magician. Maybe she just put pieces of paper in one of them, and then they turned into dollars when she pulled them out of the other. There was simply no other explanation!

We got out of the car, and for the next almost half an hour, we had a really good walk around the neighborhood, while looking for the exact place. Unfortunately, all the intersections in the area were so alike, and the buildings were so old and wasted that we often couldn’t tell them apart. At some point, I stopped by a small pier just outside the port fence and took the crumpled picture of Sonya and her friends out of my shirt pocket. Then I stepped on the platform and turned around, raising it in front of my eyes. Despite the darkness and ketchup marks on the photo, the places obviously matched.

I looked at Lara. She looked at me too, and I silently nodded toward a rickety shack by an abandoned three-story building, which threatened to collapse over it any minute. They were both behind her back. About fifty yards to the left, there was an open space covered in asphalt, probably an untended parking lot or something—now full of scrap metal and other trash.

I involuntarily shuddered. The place looked ominous, and it was dark as hell. I saw Lara hesitantly scratching her head, and then she whispered that we had to be very careful. I was actually surprised to hear her say it because it wasn’t her style, and I presumed she was scared too. She suggested that only one of us go in so that the other might call for help if anything got wrong. At first, I frivolously approved of her idea before realizing that “one of us” would be me. At the next moment, I felt ruthlessly deceived, but it was too late; I had already agreed to her plan.

With a sinking heart, I stepped off the pier and sneaked to the shack, moving to the front window to scout a bit. I eavesdropped there for a minute or two with my ear pressed against the wall, but it was all quiet on the other side. Then I cautiously looked through the glass. It was dark, and I couldn’t see a thing inside, which made me shudder again. It was actually spookier than an Egyptian tomb, and I couldn’t imagine anyone living in there. Tutankhamon would have definitely picked the place for his eternal home if he had known that Carter would desecrate the original one at the beginning of the century!

In the next second, as if to confirm my fears, a cat nervously shrieked somewhere in the darkness and literally put me on my toes. Horrified, I thought it must be a black cat, living its ninth life, because I really doubted an ordinary one would dare stay in a scary place like this! I actually wanted to scream too, and I wanted to run somewhere safe—preferably in a place with lots of sandy beaches—but I had to show Lara what a tough and fearless bastard I was, so I gathered myself together and pretended I was cool.

Since nothing extraordinary happened in the following two minutes—no one cared to come out and see what I was doing here—and since I started losing control of my nerves again, I turned around and cautiously moved to the door to end this torture as soon as possible. It didn’t surprise me at all that the door was unlocked, and after listening tensely for another two minutes, I quietly pushed it open. More silence and more darkness met me inside, and while I hoped the scumbags hadn’t gone to bed too early, I stepped into their place, leaving Lara outside to make stupid gestures to me.

It all changed right after I sank into the shack, though. Things immediately turned one hundred and eighty degrees, and I momentarily realized the sheer recklessness of my ill-judged break-in. It was actually my assistant who was to blame! When I was around her, I was not only Murphy the Great but also Murphy fucking Bond who would embark on reckless, suicidal missions totally unprepared and without thinking at all. Like the situation at the moment: I had no flashlight, no gun, and no nothing! I had left my Colt in the hotel because I hadn’t planned on coming here tonight, and now that I had left Lara behind and her poisonous influence was loosening its grip on me, I suddenly realized what I was really doing.

Despite everything, I kept pushing forward blindly because I just couldn’t turn back with my pants soiled and admit that I was scared to the very core of my gentle soul. And even though the place looked deserted, it didn’t actually stop my knees from wobbling and my limbs from shaking so badly that my pants literally whipped like the sails of a brigantine, which was being chased by the wind around Cape Horn. Every time I tripped over something, and it rattled with a nerve-wracking noise in the darkness, I jumped up terrified, expecting to meet my death. The door behind my back was still open, but outside on the street, it was almost as dark as it was here, so it was no help at all.

Eventually, I reached a wall and stopped. When I touched it, it felt weirdly wet and kind of greasy, and since I couldn’t think of a single reason why that would be, my treacherous imagination unleashed itself, and it soon came to the horrible conclusion that someone’s brain and blood were smeared on the wall. Shaking uncontrollably, I started grouping in the darkness to gather more information about the trap I had put myself in, but I was doing it rather mechanically. In my mind, I was actually trying to sink into a wormhole and teleport myself to the Lesser Antilles, five hundred years before white people came to the islands and turned them into drug stops between the Americas. And to make things even worse, soon, my hands grasped something hanging from the ceiling, which felt like a metal chain. My imagination whirled again and hurled me into the scene from MacLean’s book “Puppet on a Chain”, and I suddenly saw myself hanging on that thing.

And that was actually the end of my heroic journey! Suddenly, I couldn’t bear it any longer, and the last bits of dignity in my head disappeared within an instant. I sharply plunged for the door, crying desperately in my mind, but surprisingly, I hit another wall after taking just two steps back. I banged my nose into something, and the blow was so strong that thousands of sparks danced around me, and then the entire place burst into bright light as if a nuclear bomb had exploded in a tiny matchbox.

I looked around myself, dazed. It turned out that in my panic, I had accidentally turned on the lights. Before that, I had obviously walked through the entire shack without realizing what I was doing, and then I had crammed myself into the tiny bathroom. Now, after bouncing back, I was sitting on the toilet bowl with the toilet tank chain rattling anxiously near my left ear, and I was trying to stop my cowardly heart from coming out of my mouth and saving itself alone.

After taking a minute to calm myself down a bit, I nervously got up and turned around to take a piss in the bowl. After all these wild emotions and stressful moments, I needed it anyway, and besides, I was in the right place. Then I zipped my fly back up, patted myself clean, straightened out my clothes, and went back to the living room to turn on the lights there, too.

Lara was already sticking her head through the door, looking curiously inside, her eyes full of awe. She was obviously amazed by the supernatural bravery I had just demonstrated to her, but she was still too overwhelmed to say anything about it. I didn’t comment on my heroism either.

©2022 S.T. Fargo


Damn you, Detective!—Chapter 12 | a Crime Story by S.T. Fargo

Read this online detective novel for free!

Tags: science-fiction book, SF books, sci-fi novels, detective sci-fi, crime fiction, crime novel, PI stories, criminal investigation, private eye, murder case, mafia, gangsters, thugs, fantasy, mystery, ebook, writing, literature, free-read, online reading, S. T. Fargo, S.T. Fargo, Murphy, Mellrow