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The night was getting older, and with it, the atmosphere in the club had been evolving ever more unbridled and wild—especially for the last two hours. There were men’s pants and women’s underwear thrown everywhere, and the entire hall was just a mess. People wandered around with empty eyes like ghosts; some staggered and rolled helplessly around the floor; some had their heads resting on the tabletops; and some had sex underneath… In a situation like this, the task of finding Lara’s sister was growing more and more unachievable, but fortunately, it had already ceased to be a priority on my list of tasks, which, by the way, I couldn’t even find in my blurry mind anymore. It was all a mist, with flashing lights and booming music in there.

I looked around myself, uncertain of what was happening. It all started with the cake. It was clearly a part of the performance, which the stupid bastard who pinched my fifty bucks earlier in the afternoon got us to attend. I had really hoped to meet Sonya here, but instead of her, I had to watch the brunette high school teacher, Miss Sonya—definitely not Lara’s sister—trying to educate her young and sexually inept student on the dark aspects of human lust and soul.

In the performance, the porn lady, who had a magnificently big butt, which had the potential to satisfy at least three classrooms of students, wore a confusingly small pair of panties and nipple tassels. The student himself was a thirty-year-old effeminate lad in sexy shorts and knee-high school socks, and most of the time he wandered pointlessly around the stage, sometimes kneeling down and peeking frightened from behind his teacher’s legs, sometimes rolling around the floor like a baby. When, in the middle of the show, the main star almost ceremonially turned her ass to the audience and slowly bent over, he sharply pulled her virtually nonexistent underwear down, showing everybody how deep and dark the teacher’s hairy “soul” really was. From that moment on, everything else boiled down to Miss Sonya’s forthright masturbation, garnished with her student’s insecure petting every other minute.

And then it was cake time, as it turned out! After satisfying every aspect of his colleague’s sexual desire, the lad grabbed a huge knife, which looked quite unnatural in his small hands, and he skillfully cut the cake into pieces—at least a hundred of them. After that, the topless girls who had stood ready during the entire show served one to each and every guest, and one of the chicks served me.

By the way, there was definitely something wrong with the cake. At first, I didn’t realize that, but soon it made my head spin. I felt as intense and unstable as a nuclear bomb whose fission chain reaction had just started, and I thought I would explode any minute. At the same time, my vision was as blurry as the mask of a scuba diver who was very sick with a high temperature, and because of it, I could only see fuzzy shapes around me and no details. Nevertheless, I knew I didn’t have to worry about it. I was aware that everybody in the club felt just the same way right now, and nobody really cared about me.

Feeling heavy and awkward, I vigorously shook my head—or whatever it was that I had on my shoulders at that moment—and, by old habit, splashed my drink on my face to refresh myself. I didn’t expect a very convincing result, and I was right not to. My reactions had already become so incoherent and clumsy that instead of my eyes, I actually hit my mouth, and the drink got inside without even a single drop being lost!

Since I hadn’t seen anyone in my entire life perform such a trick with such monstrous precision, I suddenly felt too big for my boots. It occurred to me that I should stand up and demonstrate my extraordinary abilities on the stage, with which I would’ve surely gotten if not bigger applause than the masturbating lady and her young apprentice, at least as big as theirs. And I’m sorry to say it, Andy, but these would have been my second fifteen minutes of fame within only a day!

Anyway, after I realized how good I was at juggling drinks, I froze in the middle of my gesture and wondered what to do. The gin was still lingering in my mouth, and my glass was already empty, so if I wanted to perform my top trick again, I had to spit the drink back into it, but unfortunately, I wasn’t quite sure about the reaction I might get from my stomach if I started to spit things. Eventually, to be on the safe side, I decided to quit my quest for fame and swallow instead. Sadly enough, it didn’t happen!

The problem was that I had just started to open my throat, and the first drops had rolled down my tongue toward the backside of my palate, and my pharynx had just readily contracted to open the passageway to my gullet when all of a sudden, the liquid got stuck there—in the middle of everything. My throat remained both open and not quite as much, and if I stayed like this for only a second more, the gin was going to slip right into my lungs!

On top of it, that wasn’t even the worst thing of it all. The worst thing actually was that I felt my mouth full of Johnnie Walker! It was a terrible sensation, and it made me lose my shit in an instant. Firstly, I had absolutely no idea what might happen if I let the drink inside since there were so many women around me with no underwear, and secondly, the shock of swallowing something you hadn’t put into your mouth before was so tremendously paralyzing that I didn’t dare do it.

Eventually, to avoid suffocating, I just had to spit everything out in such a hurry that I even forgot to open my mouth properly, and as a result, I made a wonderful geyser out of myself. I managed to shower with alcohol all the ladies sitting at the nearby tables, with which I gained three furious, two disapproving, and one very naughty look from them. If I continued like this, I had a pretty good chance of becoming the star of the evening even without demonstrating my other “remarkable” talents on the stage!

I raised my glass and sniffed it, frustrated. It definitely smelled of gin! It was only natural; even though my mind was incapacitated because of the damn cake, I still felt adequate enough to remember what I had ordered. I slowly put the drink in my mouth and cautiously tasted the last remaining drops, and it was Johnnie Walker again. It was true madness!

Right then, I felt something even more frustrating. I was still struggling to hold on to the last bits of sanity in my mind when I sensed a subtle presence inexplicably hanging in the air. It wasn’t so much literal or physical as transcendental—as if a ghost had just entered the hall and disrupted the party atmosphere in it. Since I had never actually believed in ghosts, I immediately realized someone was staring at me, and I looked around to see who was doing it. And then I noticed them! The fucking albinos from Iceland gazed at me brazenly, bulging their big cowish eyes like shining blue buttons on the background of their extremely pale faces.

At this moment, the brilliantly “reasonable” thought that it had all been their fault occurred to me, and it grew ever more obsessive the more I looked at the guys. I suddenly believed they were definitely responsible for every single trouble I had experienced in my life so far and for all the misery I had suffered since the day I was born. I kept staring at them for a while—determined to destroy them with my mental powers alone—and at some point, their total indifference to my attempts pissed me off so badly that I opened my mouth to say “fuck you” with my lips. Unfortunately, I said nothing at all. My jaw just dropped, and my mouth remained open without me being able to do anything at all—even close it. I kept gaping stupidly like a fish underwater for probably a whole minute, and eventually, the man stirred in his seat and gestured to me. He raised his hand and opened his mouth, putting his index finger in it but without licking it. Then he thrust it inside a couple of times.

I stared at him in disbelief, feeling totally unable to get myself out of my stupor and answer him. His gesture seemed so extremely offensive that I wanted to go to his table and beat the crap out of him, but I couldn’t move. At the same time, I felt so deeply humiliated, so profoundly shocked, so stupefied, and so stunned to the very core of my being that I literally blushed with irrevocable and immutable indignation. And more precisely, I went totally nuts with fair and anticipated shame. And in order to be ultimately clear here, I practically shat my pants in my just and rightful contempt.

In the next moment, I made myself jump to my feet and dash to the jerks to ask for their regret—still out of my head with rage. Since I burned so much with the desire to twist their sleeves and punish them, I agitatedly rolled up my ears in preparation for the moment, and I closed my eyes for just a second to brace myself for the action. I closed my eyes for only one second, I swear! I blinked just once, and then, when I looked again, the Icelanders had miraculously disappeared!

I staggered, surprised, and completely unable to comprehend what was going on. I stood in the middle of the same hall, but the moment seemed completely different. All the people were running around frantically—every one of them high on whatever drug you might imagine and incapable of controlling themselves. Those who had no strength left just lay on the floor, unconscious, and nobody cared about them. The rhythm of the music boomed with a heart-ripping tempo, and the lights flashed so quickly and hypnotically that they literally made me sick. Now, when I think about it, I realize I just couldn’t have blinked just once. I had probably stood in the aisle between the tables with my eyes shut for at least thirty minutes or so, and it had all been because of the stupid cake they served us!

As I still hung disoriented amidst the swarm of people and tried to pull myself together, the ceiling suddenly swayed and turned around in such a way that it took a highly unusual position under my feet. When I realized I was standing upside down, I felt dizzy and panicked right away, promptly throwing myself upward toward the floor. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it very far. Somewhere in the middle of my jump, I lost momentum and collapsed back down on the ceiling, where I landed on all fours and toppled a few chairs, which were obviously affected by the reversed gravity.

Since I remained there for too long, still unsure of where I was supposed to fall, a couple of pairs of feet unexpectedly stomped on my hands, and when I looked around in extreme pain, I caught a glimpse of Lara in the crowd. Unfortunately, she wasn’t down with me but up on the ceiling with most others, and she grinned rather stupidly. Instead of hanging behind the wall of bodybuilders, she was now in front of the crowd, and right next to her, a frustrated guy, almost the size of the Statue of Liberty, stared at her in shock. Not far away from them—near the target—I noticed another one, holding his hand pressed against his left ear and screaming. There was a huge knife on the floor at his feet and a small puddle of red substance.

I awkwardly tried to get up and move away from the people because they kept stepping on my hands and kicking me ruthlessly in my ribs, but because the damn ceiling was still swaying, I couldn’t keep my balance. And since nobody cared to help me, I felt unbearably lonely and upset at this moment. I felt like I was out of this world, in some parallel universe, where I was invisible to other living creatures. I tried to stand up again, but after a few seconds, I reeled severely, spreading my arms to hold on to something, and a waitress who was just passing by slapped my face without saying even a word to me. She seemed to have misread my intentions and thought I wanted to grab her by the boobs, but she was wrong. It was simply impossible for me to do such a thing because she had three, no, four tits—one of them appeared later—and I had just two, no, three hands!

I looked around myself, confused again. I desperately needed something stable to grab, but I only saw crazy people around me, running like lunatics, who never paused for a moment. In the distance, I noticed a pool table with two, four, or eight chicks playing eight, sixteen, or thirty-two balls, and I walked unsteadily towards them, bumping into as many objects as possible to change directions. Otherwise, I would have surely missed the table by at least twenty feet! I actually had no particular reason to be there; I just didn’t want to be here.

And right then, I saw it! It was as if I was in a dream. It was peacefully resting on the table edge near one of the corner pockets, its wings slightly spread apart and trembling—a big and extraordinarily beautiful butterfly! It seemed so calm and alluring—just like the one from the song my grandmother used to sing to me when she tucked me into bed in Idaho. The song went like this:

“Sleep, my sleepy angel
close your tired eyes and sleep
butterflies are resting on your tushie, angel
don’t you scare them, don’t move at all
just shut your eyes and fall asleep!”

I didn’t know why, but at this moment, I suddenly craved to hold this peculiar butterfly in my hands. It happened almost spontaneously—in just a blink of an eye, I was already on the task of catching it as if my entire life depended on it. In my blurry mind, the weird thing reminded me of something, but unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what it was. The only problem with my little plan was that, in my condition, I needed at least a hundred years just to make a single step in the right direction, and the creature would surely fly away long before I reached the place where it was resting.

I made a really monstrous effort to move faster—even to sprint—but instead of quickening my pace, I unexpectedly ran into a table, which came my way out of nowhere as it seemed. I didn’t even register when I climbed onto it, and at some point, I noticed myself squirming there, my butt kneeling over a fat-roasted turkey on a large plate. The poor thing was so frustrated that it produced an awful sound and squirted all of its stuffing into the bosoms of the two ladies who sat on both sides of the table, facing the neck and the bottom of the turkey.

As soon as I realized what a terrible thing I had just done, I promptly panicked. The ladies were very tough, though, and didn’t lose their shit or waste their time. Instead, they jumped to their feet—anxious to kick my poor ass—and although I somehow managed to trick one of them as I jumped down from the table, the other one I couldn’t bypass so easily. I fell on the floor with her, landing my butt onto her face and doing to her just the same thing I had done to the turkey before that.

From here to the pool table, it was just a couple of leaps. To prevent my attackers from pulling themselves together, I plunged forward as fast as I could and spread my arms to grab the butterfly. The creature was already aware of my insidious intentions, however, and it beat me by just one second. It seemed it had watched my actions very carefully and it quickly flew toward the exit door. And after it, flew I! It was not until then that I actually realized my entire butterfly odyssey had been nothing more than just chasing a butterfly image! It was printed on the butt of someone’s white pants, and right now, this someone was sneaking out of Eternity hot on their heels.

After a minute, we were out on the street, and the cool early morning air rushed into my face, refreshing me. I regained full consciousness right away and even got sober, and with my mind clear now, I was able to grasp the entire situation. I instantly knew why the colorful butterfly back in the club had seemed so familiar and what the stained pants of the whore in Lara’s picture reminded me of. They were just the same thing!

For a while, we kept galloping along the street, following the canal curves, but the woman didn’t actually stand much chance to slip away—especially while wearing those tight-fitting pants, which her ass stretched almost to the point of ripping apart. Eventually, to spare her the humiliation of trying and to spare us both the physical effort, I put my right foot in front of her feet in a very soft and gentlemanly way. Unfortunately, I felt bad about it in the very next second because, since the chick was hurrying so much, she momentarily lost her balance, swerved aside, stumbled, and literally crashed into a dumpster and broke her nose.

“God damn it!” I swore quietly and raised my arms, ashamed and embarrassed. “Why are there so many garbage cans in this damn shithole of a city?!”

At this moment, I sensed someone’s presence not far from me and noticed Lara running over to us, panting heavily.

“What’s the matter with you? Why did you disappear so suddenly?” She asked me, wheezing like a lawnmower. Her lungs were literally on the verge of exploding, and she could barely breathe. “I thought you were on to something!”

And here, she suddenly noticed the Butterfly.

“What the fuck… isn’t this… isn’t she… look at her!” She kept stuttering as she spoke because she was too amazed to form a proper sentence.

I said nothing and just turned my head aside, giving myself air. I believed I had just solved the entire case and was entitled to enjoy my well-earned rest now.

“What have you done to her?” Lara still couldn’t curb her amazement. “Do you realize that if there were such a thing as a whore’s labor union, tomorrow, a whole crowd of their members would gather in the detective’s labor union all because of you?”

“Well, I think it wouldn’t be as dangerous as a gang of twenty bodybuilders with thirty-nine ears hanging in front of my apartment all because of you!” I grunted instead of answering her. She just looked at me, confused.

I slowly raised my hand to retrieve a handkerchief from my shirt pocket and gave it to my unfortunate victim. The Butterfly took it, and she awkwardly wiped the blood off her face, but with it, she also smeared the five layers of lipstick and makeup she had on. She didn’t actually look very well even before that, but now she appeared even grotesque.

Then, without further ado, Lara turned to her and started “interrogating” her. She did it in such an unprofessional, if not a naïve way that I felt like I was watching a cheap police movie from the early seventies.

“Okay then!” the “bad cop” grumbled. “Tell us everything there is to know about everything!”

And the Butterfly told her everything there was to know.

“Let me go!” she screamed rather loudly.

“Well, that’s definitely not what I meant!” My assistant grunted hoarsely. “We’d actually want to know only things we don’t already know!”

“But who are you, people? And what do you want from me?” The woman kept sobbing, confused.

I looked at her. I had no desire to step in and rather wanted to leave the interrogation to my partner because… well, our prisoner was a woman, and ethics demanded so. That’s how they did it in the movies, at least! Nevertheless, I considered it necessary to answer her question just for the sake of clarity. “You can call us Bonnie and Clyde,” I added. “These aren’t our real names, of course, but it’d be better if you didn’t know them. It’s for your own safety!”

Naturally, I had absolutely no intention to abide by the rules of the labor union Lara had invented for me or to introduce myself to the whore, and it was actually a very reasonable decision, but there was a small problem with it. It turned out I didn’t have to hide anything from our captive because she already knew everything about me—including my full name!

“For Christ’s sake! Are you Mellrow?” she suddenly shouted louder than a ship’s horn greeting the shore on a foggy night. Hearing my voice, she somehow completely forgot she had never seen me before. “You’re Murphy Mellrow, aren’t you? But that’s impossible!”

Quite naturally, Lara got mad right after hearing her words and turned to look at me, furious.

“Don’t tell me,” she rumbled. “She knows you, but you can’t remember why, right?”

I shrugged awkwardly and simply followed her instructions, telling her nothing. The slut did, however. She kept shouting things like these, and she kept repeating them, her high-pitched voice reverberating throughout the neighborhood, amplified by the night’s quietness.

“You’re not supposed to be alive!” she lamented. “You died! You shouldn’t live!”

I frowned. It was definitely a bummer to hear such a thing, and for a man in my delicate condition, it was even devastating. To convince myself that I lived, after all, I secretly pinched my right thigh twice and concluded that I had to be alive because I definitely felt the pain. “But what if I’m just imagining it?” My mind drifted back to uncertainty at the very next moment, sending me back to where I had started.

“Okay, wait a minute here! Just stop it for a moment!” I hissed at the woman, annoyed after my little experiment ended with nothing definitive. “Tell me who died and when!”

The Butterfly stared at me even more shocked than before, and she took a deep breath as if to scream again, which made me slap her cheek softly to warn her against it. She was making too much noise already, and I was afraid someone might call the police. My gesture sobered her up a bit, and she lowered her voice immediately.

“They killed you!” she wept instead.

“They? Who were they?”

“But what are you talking about? Why are you acting so weird?”

At this point, Lara decided she had had enough of this bullshit already, and she angrily turned to me. Not only didn’t she understand our strange conversation, but she also felt left out of it, and she clearly didn’t like it.

“This is fucking ridiculous!” she grumbled threateningly. “You two start to really piss me off! I think at least one of you must tell me everything from the very beginning, and I think it must happen now!”

Since I had already discussed my amnesia with her so many times, and since I definitely didn’t want to talk about it again in front of our captive, I made an expression that even a retard would understand. Lara gave me a sour face and turned back to the whore.

“Well, it means you’re the one who bears the brunt then!” she roared. “Who killed him and when did it happen? Come on, spill it!”

“Larry and Bob did it,” the Butterfly sniveled hesitantly.

“Who and who?”

“My pimps! Well… kind of like my pimps.”

“Which one is it? Are they your pimps or not? Don’t give me more crap!” the “bad cop” snapped, annoyed.

“We’re also friends.”

“Did you see with your own eyes your pimp friends killing him? Were you there? Because he seems alive to me, you know.”

“No, but I heard they were telling the story to everyone! It was like their thing when they wanted to laugh with friends.”

“Keep talking!”

“But that’s all! I heard they had killed him, and I had no reason to doubt that. I don’t know anything else!” The slut whined, her shrill voice rising again.

“You know what?” My assistant cop suddenly turned her head toward me, impatient. “Why don’t you go somewhere to have a cigarette or two? I need some time alone with her!”

Even though I didn’t want to leave right now, I shrugged and slowly walked down the canal, whose waters filled the entire neighborhood with an overwhelming smell. As I said, I had decided to let Lara interrogate her, and I thought I could ask the Butterfly what I wanted to know later. Besides, I was really losing ground at this moment. Everything in my life had been so confusing that I wasn’t even sure my name was Murphy Mellrow anymore, and I was just taking it for granted simply because half of the city said so.

I kept walking and stopped about fifty yards from the club, looking around for something to sit on. I saw an old, rusty bucket and turned it upside down, resting my butt on it. I felt terribly depressed. As I watched the sludge in front of me, listening to its murmur and breathing in its sticky smell, I sensed the reek entering my lungs and jamming my alveoli like sour tomato pulp. Exactly the same way I felt about my life. It was just a dirty swamp with caked sludge on the surface, which blocked everything below from emerging and shedding light on the events of the past few days. The only things I could conclude definitively were the fact that I couldn’t conclude anything at all and that I hate blondes so badly now.

As I thought, I dejectedly reached into my pocket to retrieve the pack of cigarettes I had lifted from that table in Eternity. I lit a cigarette and slowly smoked because the smell was really awful, and I needed to burn some tobacco to disinfect the air I was breathing at least a little bit. A few minutes later, the cigarette was over, but the feeling of despair remained. It was only natural: the mess in my life was so huge that I probably needed another life just to know where I should start fixing it.

“If only I could understand just a tiny fraction of the things that have happened to me lately, I probably wouldn’t be so… well, I definitely wouldn’t feel like… well, I would at least know what’s happening to me!” I started thinking at first, but then I stopped because I was astonished by the “wonderfully” structured and “perfectly” clear thought that I had. It sounded exactly like, “If only I could shit gold, I wouldn’t feel like shitting anymore, and I would be rich!” This brain of mine—simply an amazing thing! If I kept producing “brilliant” insights like this one, it was only a matter of time before a crowd of people and animals gathered around me and started drawing knowledge from the bottomless well of my wisdom.

I slowly took another cigarette out and lit it, imagining myself as a sage. I pictured myself sitting here on this rusty bucket by the stinky canal, my feet dipped in the slime, oblivious to the stench, presenting all the living creatures with invaluable pieces of advice and helping them understand the world they lived in. Everywhere around me, as far as I could see, there was a crowd of people, and the highway they had built for the occasion was literally jammed with vehicles, waiting for their chance to come closer. There were also numerous BBQ and beer stands to serve the earthly needs of those who had come for spiritual enlightenment, and also an outside broadcast unit with a bunch of whispering reporters, ready to absorb every word of mine and deliver it to their multi-billion audience across the globe.

At some point, I got carried away so much and sank so deep into my daydreaming that I started distorting the space-time continuum and provoking events with the sole power of my thinking. It wasn’t long before I heard a loud noise nearby, and a brown male horse silently approached me to become my pilgrim, obviously. The animal stopped by the canal, snorted a couple of times, stamped its hoof, pissed noisily for half a minute, idled for a while longer, snorted again, and then walked away peacefully. I actually expected him to do something more than that, but as it seemed, these were the only needs my first pilgrim had at the moment.

“Well, it was a well-mannered horse, at least; he pissed in the sewage water!” I nodded my head approvingly and dropped the cigarette butt on the ground. Then I shook myself off existential or philosophical moods and walked back to the club to see what my detective partner and her detainee were up to.

Just as expected and fitting for her nature, my detective partner was actually up to something only a woman who wouldn’t care to wear underwear for a week would have thought up. She was helping the Butterfly lose her clothes, hideously pulling them and using the blouse to tie her hands behind her back. The two women stood in a well-lit spot, right under the moon, and I had no problem seeing them clearly.

To be fair, despite all her brutality, my unprofessional assistant definitely had a flair for police work. Forceful nudity was long known to be a very efficient method of mental harassment, and Lara was obviously well aware of that. She was on a roll now, taking full advantage of the vulnerability people usually feel when they have no clothes, especially when everyone else around them is elegantly dressed in ketchup-smeared garments.

Since the scene I was witnessing was pretty ugly, I stopped about twenty feet away from the couple, and as a true gentleman, I turned my head away to avoid looking at them. It wasn’t until the victim was stark naked that I actually looked back, and because there were so many new and interesting details now, which I couldn’t distinguish well enough from such a distance, I slowly approached the two women to take part in the ongoing interrogation.

The Butterfly, by the way, turned out to be a very interesting person regarding her visual style. When I reached her, I noticed that she had exactly the same butterfly tattooed on her butt as the one she wore on her pants. Lara just held the latter in her hands and threatened her victim that she would shove the printed butterfly into the asshole of the other one, which, by the way, coincided with its owner’s asshole. As far as I could see, she wasn’t joking about it and even wanted to demonstrate how it would happen.

Apart from everything else, our prisoner was clearly a nymphomaniac too. It turned out she had a butt plug tucked into her ass, which was probably why my partner hadn’t fulfilled her threat yet, and her nipples were pierced with rings in the form of phalluses. Another interesting detail was that she had a tiny padlock hanging on her clitoris, and as I watched it, I couldn’t help but think that she only missed having a small jar full of sperm hanging on her neck to sip on when she was thirsty!

“I have no fucking idea where Sonya is!” She was still sobbing and repeating the old song, her cheap lipstick smeared all over and around her mouth and even down on her neck. The makeup on her face was a total mess now. If someone unaware of the situation could see her here, he would probably think we had beaten the crap out of her and then slit her throat.

“Don’t give me this bullshit again! I warned you!” Lara snapped at her angrily. “I have a picture of you and the gang. You can’t make me believe you know nothing!”

“The picture’s old! It’s at least half a year old—since the time we first met back in Orlando. After that, I ditched the guys, but your sister remained.”

“Why would she send me a photo of you and the bastards anyway? What was she trying to tell me?”

“How in the hell could I know that? It’s your sister, after all! We’ve never actually been close friends. She was simply Larry’s girl, and I was Bob’s, and that was all there was to it! We barely even spoke in private!”

“But why do you have to put one of these weird things into your ass?” I suddenly felt the urge to cut in on their conversation, nodding toward the butt plug even though the thingy was completely beside the point here. The only reason why I did it was to participate in the interrogation, but then I realized that perhaps this wasn’t the right time.

They both turned their heads to look at me, surprised.

“Well, I have a session with a client coming up,” the whore explained after a short hesitation. “I’m just warming up my business zones.”

I nodded understanding. Her explanation seemed reasonable enough, but I decided to strictly adhere to the standard professional routine and steer clear of gossipy questions in the future. I had to maintain my status as a respectable detective, after all!

“So why did you ditch the gang then?” The next moment, I tried to reverse the damage I had recklessly done to my image. “Things were going pretty smoothly between you and the guys. At least the picture implied so!”

The woman looked at me with concern before replying. Since her hands were tied behind her back, her tits stuck out with their big, dark nipples standing out distinctively against her pale skin. She nervously shifted her legs as if she had to pee or something.

“At first, it was all smooth, yeah,” she answered after that. “But then again, I knew things would fuck up sooner or later. It was inevitable.”

“Meaning?” I had to ask her to explain because I missed her point.

“Larry and Bob are small-time drug pushers. Things always end badly for guys like them!”

“Badly how? Were they stepping on someone’s toes?”

“Probably! But I wouldn’t know that, would I? They weren’t telling me shit because they thought I was dumb.”

“Well, they were actually damn right! Dildos and butt plugs aren’t particularly helpful for thinking,” Lara muttered maliciously.

I sharply turned my head to look disapprovingly at my assistant and indicate that it was my turn now and she should just listen. Despite her remarkable knack for maltreating people, she totally sucked at interrogations. I was pretty sure she had asked the Butterfly only one question the entire time while I smoked, which was, “Where’s my sister?”

Our prisoner promptly used the misunderstanding between us to demand her freedom again.

“Let me go! I don’t know anything else,” she sobbed quietly.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here,” I turned my head to her, trying to relax her. “Personally, I have no intention of walking you around on a leash, but you’ll have to tell me some things before I let you go. And please stop squirming like this because you’ll definitely get yourself an unwanted orgasm!”

Right after I gave her my witty remark, I felt embarrassed about it because I realized it was kind of rude. I also realized she was actually squirming because she felt uneasy with the sex toy in her ass.

“Okay, let’s get back to Larry and Bob!” I quickly resumed the questioning, eager to change the subject. “What beef did they have with me?”

“You messed with their deal, alright?” The whore reluctantly mumbled, still unsure of my true intentions. She looked at me rather weirdly and obviously thought I was leading her into a trap.

“Look, don’t pay attention to my weird questions,” I tried to predispose her to cooperation. “I have my reasons for asking them the way I ask them. You just answer them honestly, and then I’ll let you go, okay?”

She nodded to indicate she was ready to talk.

“So what was the whole deal about?” I went on.

“It was drugs, as usual. You should know that! Only this time, they were way over their heads with it. It was just a matter of time until they tripped, so I scrammed!”

“What do you mean they were over their heads? Give me straight answers!”

“I believe they wanted to cut their middleman out. They thought their profit was too small.”

“Their middleman? And who would that be?”

“Don’t know; I’ve never met him. I told you I was nobody!”

“Right! And now you’ll probably tell me you don’t know anything about the end buyer or the suppliers too! But it’s only natural. You were just Bob’s girl, and everything you cared about was your manicure and hairstyle. Is that so?”

The Butterfly didn’t reply and looked tensely at me.

“What did I say to you earlier, huh?” I suddenly leaned toward her and rumbled threateningly into her face. “It’s not gonna work if you keep beating around the bush like that! You’ve been with them for at least three months. Were you blind?”

She shrugged.

“I’ve only seen the thug who paid Larry and Bob. He was a really huge guy—like seven feet tall and he always carried two guns under his armpits. Really scary! Every time they met outside, they talked for a while, and then Larry and Bob returned with the cash.”

“Return to where?”

She hesitated again, but then briefly described a shack close to the cargo docks at the port. It was probably the place we had seen in Lara’s picture, and the whore explained that it was just two blocks from the fence on the south side.

“Okay, let’s get back to Sonya then. When was the last time you heard from her?” I went on after that. I actually wanted to ask her more about myself, but I left it to the end. I was simply trying to act professionally.

“It was a couple of weeks after I scrammed. She called me because she was afraid they would kill her.”

“Who were they? Larry and Bob?”

“No, the middleman and his gorillas. Larry and Bob messed with the guy really badly, and one day, when the three of them returned to the shack, they found it turned upside down. Nothing had been missing, Sonya explained, because the thugs obviously didn’t know where to look, but they sure weren’t going to stop. She was worried so much and wanted me to help her, but how could I? I couldn’t even help myself!”

“Why would the middleman ransack the shack? What was he hoping to find out?” I wanted to know.

“I have no idea. Sonya mentioned something about the guys trying to blackmail someone along the chain to secure their position. Maybe that was it.”

“Well, it doesn’t add up, does it?” I expressed my disaffection with her explanation. “It makes no sense that the middleman would leave the scumbags alone after finding nothing. If he was so pissed off, he would have wasted them instead!”

“And he will! Have no doubt about it!” the whore said quickly. “He’s waiting for the deal to be over.”

“Which is when?”

She didn’t reply. The expression on her face read that I couldn’t expect her to know that.

“Do you think she’s still there? At their place?” Lara suddenly broke the silence that followed, asking about her sister. She seemed very concerned.

The Butterfly shrugged. “I have no way to be sure, but I guess so. I haven’t heard from her since so she must be there.”

“Any idea what your pimp friends might have on their middleman?” I quickly attempted to steer the conversation back to the deal because the fact that Lara’s sister hadn’t called her didn’t necessarily mean she was still alive. I just didn’t want my assistant to focus on that right now.

Our prisoner shook her head. “I’m not sure this entire thing is about the middleman. I gather they have some kind of compromising photo material, but I don’t know about whom. Sonya was really vague about it when we talked, but I had the feeling she was definitely in it. She said she had busted her ass so hard, but now Larry and Bob would screw it all up. That’s all she said.”

“Well, maybe she’s found her way out of it eventually, just like you did,” I suggested hesitantly and turned my head to look at my cop partner. I knew it was tough for her to swallow the new image of her little sister.

“Nah, I don’t think so!” The Butterfly rejected my idea right away. “She’s a greedy bitch, you know! She didn’t really seem to want out, but rather drag me into the shit and make me help her.”

“Hey, watch your fucking mouth when you talk about my sister!” Lara suddenly burst out. “I’ll fucking push that weird thing so deep into your asshole that you’ll need a corkscrew to get it out!”

The Butterfly looked at her, not particularly worried. I wasn’t quite sure, but I thought she actually liked the idea up to a point.

“Your sister’s no fucking saint, you know!” she mumbled instead. “I don’t know how close you two were, but I think you don’t know her very well.”

Lara looked at her sourly, but she didn’t reply. She only frowned, her face as dark as a thundercloud, and then turned her head aside.

More silence followed, and the whore kept staring at us for a while, but then she suddenly started squirming again, only this time it was jerkier. At first, I thought she was trying to scratch her ass or something, but then I realized she wanted to take the butt plug out. Since her hands were tied pretty tight, though, she couldn’t do it, and as she wriggled, the tattoo on her ass moved so vigorously that it seemed like the butterfly image was going to fly away any second. I felt sorry for her, watching her suffer like this, but unfortunately, I had no way to offer my help.

A few moments later, the woman stopped squirming and turned her eyes to me. “Will you let me go now?” she asked. “I’ve got nothing more to tell you!”

I glanced at Lara. She still stood silent, not reacting at all.

“Just one more thing,” I said hesitantly. “Did your pimps explain what exactly they did to kill me?”

“What? What do you even mean by that?”

“You said they told the story to everybody.”

“I said I heard they told the story! I wasn’t with them at that time; Sonya just mentioned it when we talked.”

“And that was all she gave you? That I was dead and no other details?”

“I don’t know, for Christ’s sake!” the whore whined impatiently. “Even if she said something more, I probably didn’t pay much attention. I had no idea you’d resurrect from the dead and ask me about it! Can I go now?”

I looked at her, disappointed. There really seemed to be nothing else I could want from her now, and I obviously couldn’t take her with me and lock her in my bathroom in case I remembered something later. So I stepped closer to untie her hands, but it took a while because Lara had made a pretty decent knot. When I finally managed to undo it, even before I gave the Butterfly her blouse back, she turned around and grabbed it from my hands along with her pants from the ground, and then she ran barefoot and naked as fast as she could. She never looked back.

About forty feet down the street, her silicone butt plug unexpectedly slipped out of her ass and plopped on the pavement, but she didn’t bother to stop for it. She just kept running. Seconds later, a stray dog appeared out of nowhere, approaching it and sniffing it, and at first, it wagged its tail excitedly but then sharply turned around and disappeared back into the darkness. Clearly, it didn’t find the toy tasty or interesting enough.

When the street was empty again, I turned my head to Lara and gestured that we should leave. Then I picked up all the remaining stuff of our released prisoner—the shoes and the underwear—and dropped them into a garbage can, following my assistant around the building to its other side.

The new day was just breaking when we reached the Ford and sat silently inside.

©2022 S.T. Fargo


Damn you, Detective!—Chapter 9 | a Crime Story by S.T. Fargo

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