WELCOME TO THE LAND OF OZ
The old mustang was fighting to hold it together with each stoplight. “ Listen to that baby purr.” Peewee patted the dashboard of his prize possession. The history between Peewee and the car went way back, it was owned by his late father who always cherished his car more than any of his children. As a child Peewee would stand outside the garage watching his father change the oil, do a tune up, replace the tires, fix the breaks, everything a mechanic would do, but his father would never let anyone touch his car, everything he did, he did on his own.
Peewee never moved an inch from that spot outside the oil stain floor driveway, always picturing himself doing the mechanic work, making it sure it ran like the day it was bought. Peewee remembered one day finding the courage to ask his father if he could help, his father answered back with a strong backhand, and a threatened to chop off his dick if he came near it. “ You really think your pussy little hands could ever handle this car, fuck no. So keep your fucking eyes off it.” Sound words that never left his mind through the years.
Peewee’s father was a heavy drinker, who came home at night to rape his own wife when she refused to let herself be groped, and beat any of his children who were still awake just for kicks. Those were nights Peewee could still remember, he would hover over their beds in the middle of the night, waiting for one of them to flinch, so he could have a good excuse in dragging them out by their hair and beating them until the blood drenched from their nose. One of the reasons he could never sleep comfortably in a bed.
If anyone dared to stop his father’s fit of rage, his old man would make them regret it, as he and many of his siblings found out when they tried to pull him off his assault. “ Is the boogeyman going to get us?” He could still remember those scared words coming out of his little sister Alice as they hid under their bed, trying to hide from their father who was flipping the two other beds over, trying to find Alice, she had thrown away his booze after she saw her father force herself on their mother, Peewee could just remember fighting his father off as he tried to yank Alice from under the bed, in the end he took her place.
When Peewee was fourteen his father was diagnosed with stage four penile cancer, fitting for a man who thought with his dick. The cancer had spread through his groin and to other parts of his vital organs, he sobbed and begged his family to be with him in his darkest hour. They did, but it wasn’t to ease his pain or give the man comfort as he fought to live, it was to see the bastard be eaten away slowly.
September 1, 1994 they came to the hospital for a visit, only to find their father a stiff corpse, Peewee’s baby sister Alice asked her mother “ Is the boogeyman dead ?” They smiled knowing he was. His death meant no more beating for the kids and his mother was free to live her life. It was a day to be relished. All the Doctors and the Nurses frowned at them for looking so pleased, but when you stay years locked up with a rapist and a monster, you can’t help but feel a tad pleased knowing somewhere in hell he‘s receiving what he dished out.
His father’s car was never sold, it was left in the garage for years, never being used or touched, letting the dust and rust eat away at it, he was surprised that they didn’t’ end up burning the thing, seeing how their father cared for it so much. But once Peewee turned sixteen and got his license, he knew what car he planned to drive for the rest of his life. It was the backhand his middle child wanted to give his dead father’s soul, it was payback for all the crap he did to them. It also served as a reminder to never become the monster his father was.
Only two people outside his family knew about this vehicle’s connection with his past, Karen and Jamie. The only people he could trust, that was saying a lot. Though sometimes he wondered if he put too much trust into the wrong people.
“ This thing sounds like it’s going to die at any moment.” Karen said as she smacked the AC, trying to get it to work. “ You should just buy a new one.”
“ You’re smacking it wrong,” He pulled her hand away and hit the sweet spot himself, but it wasn’t a cool breeze of air, it was a cloud of white smoke, followed by a hot and musty garbage like smell. “ See, this baby has ten or fifteen years to give.” He coughed and swatted away the fumes.
“ You don‘t say?” Karen gagged from the smoke, she rolled down the window to catch some air and let the harmful fumes out. She took a quick peak at the back of Peewee’s car, which was litter with old coke bottles, candy wrappers, pizza boxes and a Hentai comics. “ Doing some late night reading on your stakeouts.” She pulled the comic from the back, showing the two busty female characters in front of the cover.
He began to cough and sweat, not because of the fumes. “ I don’t know where that came from, must have been one of my buds.”
Karen rolled her eyes at him. “ I’m the only friend you have!”
“ I have others ! ” He shouted. Feeling disrespected over that comment.
“ Really, name one.” She tapped her fingers on the hentai comic. “ Beside these two.”
“ umm…Kurt… Frank.. Moby.. Joe…” Naming musician as friends wasn’t getting past Karen.
“ What’s Joe’s last name?” She waited for him to answer.
“ Budden..” He could hear the gong in his head.
“ What’s the odds of that.” She couldn’t help the grin on her face. “ Who else?”
“ Ah, fuck it, it’s mine.” He said in defeat, taking the comic from her and putting it under his seat. “ We’re not here to discuss my literature.”
“ Is that what we’re calling it these days, I thought it was nice cartoon smut to jerk off to?” She flashed her little innocent grin.
“ Hush,” He held his index finger to her lips, only to have it swatted away. “ We’re here to talk about the case.”
That made Karen wince a bit, she was still having trouble in just burying the past and acting as nothing had happen. “Yeah, so fill me in.” She said dryly, she took one last look in the back, picturing the times Jamie had sat back there, listing to the scanner, navigating them to the next destination.
“ They’ve I.D the mother, her name is Mable Douglas, housewife, no criminal record. Children’s name are Mike and Nancy, age four and three. Father name is Link Douglas, he’s a worker for the city.” He pulled a folder from under his car seat and tossed it to Karen’s lap. “ I was able to dig up some info from the state database.”
“ Hold up, how did you get your hands on something like this?” He smiled at her, not saying a word.“ You hacked in?”
“ Yeah, I did.” He gave her a wink. “ It wasn’t that hard. Send some naughty files to some lonely cop, virus spreads and I get full access to whatever I want. Thank God they’re anti virus software is so fucking outdated.”
She gasped. “ Hardcore, my little boy is a full blown man.” She slapped him on the shoulder, which he grimaced with pain. “ What’s come over you, you’ve never done something like this.”
“ I figure since we’re down one man, we need to take our game to the next level, get serious about this.” The bitterness was evident in his voice and he wasn’t going to deny it. The day Jamie walked from the group and called them a joke, he vowed to prove her wrong, no matter what, she wasn’t his friend anymore, she was fuel for his ambition. “ We can finally prove to people that we’re not jokes.”
Karen could see Peewee’s hurt ego bleeding a mile away, all these new tactics weren’t for the sheer passion of the lure like it used to be.
“ How did you think I would react, how Karen!” the voice of Jamie echoed through her head, pounding the inside of her skull. She shook it off and went back to the task at hand. “ Can they trace it back ?”
“ Not a chance, I’m working off some porn addicted priest wi-fi, if anything goes down they’ll just run into a dead end.” The hint of machismo was lingering in his voice, computers were his realm, there was nothing he couldn’t do with them, he was their hacker, their superman of the net.
“ The cops found no body?” She asked him, while scanning through the files, looking for anything out of the blue to point out the possible reason for murder.
“ None whatsoever. “ Peewee zipped in and out from every lane, trying to make his way to Richmond Hill in Queens, which was six miles from where Karen lived. “ Cops are combing the place to find some sort of clue, but I think it’s burglary, there’s been a two percent increase in home invasion robberies in the last year in Queens.”
Karen didn‘t buy it. “ How many of them in murder ?”
“ Good point.” He said, tipping his imaginary hat to her.
There wasn’t a single criminal record on the husband, he and his wife had been married for fifth-teen years, they could be the poster family of happiness. Karen nibbled on her lip as Peewee stared on with a smile, he always enjoyed watching her run at all the angles, her facial expressions alone were priceless. “ I’m willing to bet the farm something must have pushed the husband over the edge, it would explain why the wife was beaten, he can’t take what he did, so he takes a gun to his kids.”
“ Nice theory,” Karen was waiting for the but. “ But what would push someone like Link to lose it, guy’s never been arrested for anything, he’s Mr. Freaking Rogers.”
“ Wife was from Southern California,” Karen flipped through Mabel’s file. “ went to U.S.C, majored an English, ends up just a house wife, so much in her hands, and you end up beaten to death.” Karen ponder the why’s to all of this as she stared instantly on the file on her lap, hoping she could find something to make sense of it all.“ How much further ?” She asked as Peewee took a left turn into the residential area, there was no need for him to answer, the crime scene was staring at her from afar. The flashing lights of the paramedics, the cops all lined up on the street, keeping the onlookers at bay, she couldn’t help but feel an old shiver creep behind her. But to her dismay, they weren’t driving closer to the circus. “ What’s going on, why are you parking so far away?”
Peewee turned off the ignition and pulled the police scanner from his pocket. “ I just thought, we would enjoy the view from here.” The worst bluff in his life.
“ Jesus, who did you piss off!” Karen slammed her fist on the dashboard, she knew that shameful look in his eye.
“ Hey, watch it, you’re going to hurt her.” He said rubbing the dashboard and telling the car sweet-nothings to ease the pain.
“ Who did you piss off ?” She repeated, waiting for him to come clean.
“ Some Irish Boston asshole transferee, a detective by the name of Brian Klecko, “ Karen buried her face into her hands. “ I was doing some snooping, he saw through my..”
Before he could phrase it properly, Karen stepped in. “ Your shit.”
“ More like disguise, but yeah.”
“ Damn it, Peewee. You have to be careful. You always go in with a good cover story and you never go in when you know it’s too hot. These assholes weren’t kidding about putting us behind bars. If they catch you, you could be looking at jail time.” She came down on him like an angry mother catching her son tugging his dick in public for the first time.“ I’m guessing Klecko is running the show right now ?”
He mumbled with his head down to the floor. “ Yes. “
She shook her head at the situation. “ We should have come in disguise and in a different car! ”
“ What’s wrong with what we’re wearing ?” He objected.
Karen didn’t need to answer that question, she was dressed in leather pants and a leather jacket, he wore his tore jeans and the ‘Have a nice day’ smiley face black t-shirt, they looked like the 21 jump street rejects. “ We need to get closer, there isn‘t that many cops outside patrolling the yard , maybe we could sneak in.” she slumped forward in her seat tapping her fingers on the dashboard, thinking of a way to get closer to the crime scene, just to get a glimpse in what they were dealing with and not be seen. “Turn on the radio, let’s see what we’re picking up.” She gave him a nudge.
The radio crackled to life, they waited for a few seconds until they got some activity. “ We’ve found a new trail of blood,… it looks like it leads down to the basement… we’re checking it out…. Klecko is upstairs viewing the kids dead bodies.”
Peewee stuck his finger in his mouth as Klecko was mentioned. “ Biggest asshole…”
Karen hushed him up, she wanted to hear what they found. “ You think his wife was cheating on him,” She spoke after a few seconds of silence. “ makes sense for the killing, father didn’t want to lose the kids, lost his marbles when his perfect life around him collapsed?”
Peewee wasn’t sure if he should answer her, she had told him to hush up. “ Are you talking to me?” She flipped him the finger. “ So, you are. I doubt it. Guy doesn‘t fit the profile of a hot head or even have that side of him.”
“ When was this called in? “
“ five to six hours ago, neighbors heard gun fire, cops report to the scene, find no one alive, missing father. I dug up everything I could before picking you up, it was rushed, but I dug up what I could.” Karen patted him on the shoulder for the great hustle, he wiggled in his seat from the boost of confidences. He felt a tad emotional, here they were again, just like old times sitting inside the car, chasing down whatever they could through the midnight hours. “ I’m glad you’re here, I really did miss you.”
Karen winked at him. “ Me too, buddy.”
“ All units, report… I think I found the body, the blood leads into a back wall, there’s like another fucking room in this place…….”
Gunfire exploded through the radio and the night sky. The onlookers screamed and ran away from the scene heading into near by houses like a bat out of hell, the officers guarding the scene pushed people away to find safety for their own hides. “ Holy shit! “ Peewee yelled and ducked out of instinct. “ Should we call for help ?” He stuttered, this was his first actual shootout, but he couldn’t understand how calmly Karen stood in her seat, not flinching for a second.
Seconds later a bloody drenched man came running from the front porch of the house holding his fist into a gaping wound from the bottom of his jaw. “ What the hell..?” Karen looked on amazed, tapping her foot sporadically almost dancing to the rhythm of the chaos, anyone else might pissed their pants from fear, but she couldn’t contain the look of amazement on her face.
“ The elephant man?” Peewee said like a scared child, he took a closer look at what the shooter was wearing. “ He’s wearing a jersey?”
The wounded man began to run in their direction, he had his right fist jammed into the wound and in his left hand he carried a weapon, a weapon which turned out to be a gun as he approached closer. “ I think that’s our missing father.” Pieces of his teeth scatted to the pavement floor, trickling down like broken pieces of candy corn.
A group of officers stormed out from the house, guns drawn chasing down the suspect. “ Put your hands up!” They shouted and cursed at him. Not once did the suspect look back.
Link Douglas noticed Karen and Peewee in the car, but he paid no attention to them, his eyes scanned the area looking for a way to out run the cops. He yelled in pain, which caused blood and loose teeth to fly out of his mouth with each scream.
“ This is your last warning !” The cops screamed at him.
The father turned around furious that they dare tell him what to do, he pointed his gun at the cops and fired off one round over their heads. They answered back with a volley of gunfire into his chest. They paused for a second, amazed he was still standing, only to have Link cry out like some possessed demon calling out for blood, putting the fear of God into the cops, that they answered with another round of bullets, each round that connected exploded through his body, showering droplets of blood to the wet pavement. Neighbors screamed and cried as his body finally dropped to the floor. Soon silence fell, leaving everyone staring at the each other not knowing what to say.
Both Karen and Peewee stood frozen, amazed at what they had just seen, they looked at each other, hoping for someone to break the silence. “ I lost my job at the Deli.” It seemed like the best ice breaker for Karen after the current event.
“ I can get you a job at the video store, no problem.” Peewee said, he rested his head on the steering wheel, praying quietly, never expecting to have the night end like this.
“ What the fuck!” A brown hair man, wearing a black trench coat shouted as he made his way to the dead body. “ What happened !?” He asked the officers, who relayed the last few seconds of Link‘s Douglas life to him. The man shook his head, cursing under his breath. He turned to scan the crowd, knowing the backlash of this night would rain down on him. “ You got to be fucking me.” It was then when his night seem to get worst as he spotted Peewee parked a few feet from him.
“ Klecko ?” Karen asked, Peewee just nodded. “ Let’s go outside and say hi.” Peewee tried holding her back, but Karen pushed him aside.
She slowly opened the door, the dead body of Link Douglas laid a few feet away from her. “ Hello, my name is..”
“ I don’t give a fuck who you are, but if you’re with him.” Klecko pointed at Peewee. “ I got a pretty good hunch on what kind of a sad loser you are, but right now is not the time, go home!” He ordered
“ That’s rude, my name is Lilly Foster,” Far from it, but she wasn’t about to use her real name. “ I have a few questions about this whole thing..”
Klecko flexed his jaw, he wasn’t in the mood for games right now, he had an officer bleeding out from a gunshot wound in the gut and a dead suspect laying in front of the street. It was going to be a long night of paperwork ahead for him. “ Listen, I’ve dealt with your friend over there in the past few weeks, I can’t handle you guys right now.”
Peewee finally exited the car, taking a deep breath before speaking. “ Hey, man, sorry. We’ll be on our way.”
The detective just shook his head at him. “ This isn‘t a game, what you people have is a sick disease, you want to play detective, join the fucking force .” There was a hint of a Boston accent each time he spoke.
Karen rolled her eyes at him, disgusted at his profiling. It was the same with every other detective they met, they only saw a group of losers, trying to be something they weren’t. “ Save it, you guys did a poor piss job. A man kills his family and you can’t find him. The guy was hiding under your noses after his botched suicide, I know kids who play hide and seek that would have found him.”
Both Klecko and Peewee stared at her asking the same question. “ Suicide? “
She laughed hysterically at them, enjoying the puzzle look on their face, the cops pushing the crowd back looked towards her direction wondering what the commotion was about. “ The gaping wound in his jaw, it’s a dead give away. The idiot killed his family successfully, but he failed to off himself. Thing I can’t figure out, why beat the wife to a pulp.”
“ Maybe he ran out of bullets…” The detective wanted to smack himself for playing her game, that and giving the worst observation of his life.
“ Not possible, he wasted two shots on the kids, one on himself, one at the officer who found him, and another at your cops who were chasing him down. Judging by the gun in his hand, “ Karen made her way to the body, moving one officer aside that blocked her view of the weapon. “ It’s a 357.Magnum, how it didn’t kill him or left him in worst shape is anyone’s guess. This typical model holds around ten rounds. Plenty to kill the whole family.”
“ How did he get a gun like that in the first place.” Peewee had to ask.
“ Black market, it’s not that hard.” Karen quickly added.
“ Wow, she’s good.” The young black officer standing beside Karen said out loud, Klecko shook his head at the officer, the last thing he wanted was to boost her confidence.
“ Why beat the wife ?” She seem to ask the dead man on the floor.
“ Maybe she was cheating!” Klecko yelled at her, furious she was taking his case from under him and making a joke out of him.
“ The jersey.” Peewee said tapping his hand on the hood of his car. “ It’s a Norte Dame jersey.” They stared at him puzzled. “ Norte Dame, the college football team, they were playing USC today!”
It struck Karen like lightning.“ The wife went to U.S.C, who won!?” She looked among the men for an answer.
“ USC 42-38.” The young black officer said, only to turn his face back to the crime scene as Klecko shot him a glance.
“ He killed his wife over a football game!” Karen jumped in mid-air, hugging the young officer, who joined in their celebration.
“ What the hell are you talking about, that makes no sense! “ Klecko grabbed a hopping Karen by the arm, opened the car door and pushed her inside. “ I want you two out of here right now, this isn’t a fucking game.”
“ You can’t throw us out of here, we’re about to solve the case.” Karen protested, she tried to get up, but Klecko pushed her back down in her seat.
“ I got a feeling if I look in your car I’ll find some illegal scanners, because that’s the only way you would know about the officer being shot. ” Both sleuths swallowed dryly. “ That’s what I thought, now get in the car, turn around and never come back here, got it, one more thing,” He stared at Peewee with a fiery hate in his eyes. “ Leave Maggie Donner alone, I’ve gotten two calls about you stalking her, that woman has been through enough, So drop it.”
“ Maggie Donner, whose that ?” Karen asked, but had the door slammed right in her face.
Peewee got back inside his car frustrated, he cursed at the cocky detective as he began to point them out to the officers on the scene, telling them to arrest them if they failed to leave in a few seconds. “ What an asshole, but we showed him, and now he has his panties in a knot.”
“ Peewee,” Karen grabbed his arm. “ Whose Maggie Donner ?” The car roared to life.