(No animals, human or otherwise, were harmed in the production of this work. Although there WAS considerable pain and suffering involved...)
Rigor mortis had not yet set in, though the flies were taking a definite interest. Tire tracks ran in a characteristic pattern across the corpse in a ditch- the whole thing gave me an eerie sense of deja-vu, in fact.
"Derksen?" my partner asked. "Think maybe he's been littering again?"
"No," I replied. "I don't think so. There are no signs of torture on this body."
"Hmm. I was thinking perhaps that Derksen was getting into a-"
"DON'T say it," I replied irritably. "Please. Can't you let the dead rest in peace?"
"Peas? What peas?"
"Never mind that right now. We've got a crime to solve!"
"What about resolving some grime?"
"CRIME, you idiot! Jeez!"
My partner was silenced by the glaring look I shot at him, but he looked hungrily disappointed that there wasn't any cheese.
We were both distracted at the sound of metal being crushed. My partner and I looked back at the remains of our former squad car. My partner looked at me then pointed at the mammoth-sized hole, in the shape of a footprint that surrounded our flattened vehicle. After taking a deep breath he sputtered out, "What the HELL was that?!"
"Oh, the cinema is running a Godzilla marathon, those damn Japanese are letting those Godzilla movies run amuck."
"I don't care if you've seen a gorilla with fleas and I absolutely will not loan you a buck."
I gave up then and there all hopes of my partner being able to aid me on this case. That must have been some sort of telekinetic cannon that smashed our car. MY GOD! I realized that I had underestimated my opponent. He was copycatting Godzilla Himself! The blackheart was relying on the panic and confusion generated by this monstrous act to somehow aid his plan! I grabbed my partner and with him hailed down a passing rubber-necker.
"POLICE! I am hereby commandeering this vehicle for official business." I said hurriedly while flashing my badge. The man inside simply got out and gawked at the destruction in front of him. I threw my partner into the passenger side door and got in.
Then I realized we had flagged down the hearse from a funeral procession. Oh well. With a screech of rubber echoed down the length of the funeral train, we headed for the station.
Detective Frink (there seem to be Frinks EVERYWHERE these days) greeted us at the door. "You," he said, "are in trouble."
"Trouble?" I asked. "Me?"
He looked puzzled for a minute. Then a couple of pieces fell out, breaking the illusion. "Yes, you! Remember the Quigley case?"
"Yes, of course."
"Then follow me!" He turned and stamped away. I waved for my partner to follow him, then tagged along at a discreet distance. Sure enough, Frink stopped short to yell some more, and my partner cannoned into him. Frink tumbled through an office cubicle wall, and a chandelier fell on his head, knocking him unconscious. Well! My partner had proven himself useful for something after all!
It was time to search for clues, but a concentrated clue-hunt around the station grounds proved fruitless. So I checked with the soberly-dressed people in the funeral train, but they didn't have a clue either.
Almost a whole day had passed, and we were still clueless! It was time to go out into the field.
We didn't find any clues in the field, either. And I almost got shot by a farmer enraged at all the tire tracks through his corn. The merry funeral-goers were getting restless as well. Things were looking dark.
But it was only a power outage, something that had been happening quite frequently lately.
We dusted the corpse for fingerprints and found that he definitely had them. This wasn't going to be of any help unless of course it was suicide, which wouldn't explain the tire tracks.
Forensics was probably going to have to help with this one. We put the body in the hearse, and to our shock, found another corpse in the car. We definitely had more than we bargained for in this case.
Much to our surprise we had twins; in fact they were identical twins. I looked at my partner, he was picking his nose. Good Lord, why am I stuck with these idiots, why not some one with at least half a brain?
My prayers were answered when a car screeched across the road, skidded and slammed into my partner, knocking him into the hearse, dead. I quickly thanked my God and looked at the driver of the car.
She was the most stunning, amazing, beautiful creature the face of the planet could ever produce. That is, if you were into women with severe facial rashes and over the age of seventy.
She slowly stepped out of the car, hobbling slightly while using her walker, and looked me straight in the eye. That gaze, no it was more than that, something deep, penetrating deep into the inner most parts of my soul.
"Young man," the old woman crooned, "what are you doing here? Can't you see you have a serious problem?"
I shook my head happily, "Not a clue ma'am."
"It figures. You young whippersnappers never know how to solve crimes these days. Why back in my day Frink came in glass bottles. And cost half a nickel."
"Frink?" I thought to myself, "what does Frink have to do with anything?" The women stared at me, as if expecting a reply. Finally, I said, "Well ma'am, I'm sure the price of FrinkJ is related to the monopolization of the FrinkJ industry. As you know, FrinkJ baronies now control the majority of FrinkJ production."
"Aye," she said, "those filthy baronies are a blight on our world! And Channing Corp.is the worst of 'em!"
I thought for a moment, the cogs in my brain turned and something clicked into place. OF COURSE! These killings were not the work of a crazed individual, but a hired professional! Someone was behind it all.
Suddenly from out of the blue the woman said, "You know, Channing Corp.'s stocks have been going down lately, if they don't do something drastic they'll lose a lot of money. I just hope they don't do anything.....drastic...Hmm... Channing.... FrinkJ... Drastic... My mind swirled with unreeling possibilities.
The hearse was getting a bit crowded now, what with three bodies in the back. I knew I was going to have to solve the case soon if I was not going to have to requisition a larger vehicle- perhaps an ice-cream truck.
The drive to Channing Corporation's world headquarters was most enlightening. There were groves of Frink trees all around the place, and legions of Frink farmers burying body parts all around them under the eerie light of millions of indoor/outdoor chandeliers. Meanwhile, legions of anthropomorphic white rabbits, deer, moose, horses and assorted felines guarded the heavily fenced perimeter with assorted heavy field artillery.
Something just didn't seem right, somehow.
I had to think quickly. Unable to do that, I came up with the best laid plans of mice and men. Realizing that had nothing to do with this case, I decided that the best bet would be to try to enter the corparate compound.
I borrowed the coat from the corpse from the ditch, and drove the hearse to the checkpoint.
"Delivery" I said to the bear of a man that was guarding the checkpoint. It was unusual that he was a bear of a man, since he was an anthropomorphic muskrat.
"Oh, proceed to the main shipping dock then" he replied.
"By the way", I asked inquiringly, "Where would all of the corporate records be kept?"
"They keep them in the vault in the office next to the shipping/ receiving office. They keep it unlocked and unguarded during business hours and you'll have no problem getting in there since it's out of view of anyone. You just need to remember to turn on the light," he explained.
"Where is the light switch?" I inquired askingly.
"I can't divulge that information; it's a secret" he scowled.
I drove off towards the shipping/ receiving dock and stopped after I ran into it. Then, stealthily getting out of the hearse, I snuck into the vault and promptly tripped over something in the unlit vault. After getting up off the floor and fumbling for the light switch, I inspected the box that I tripped over. It was labeled "TOP SECRET WORLD DOMINATION PLANS VIA BUYING OUT THE CHANNING CORPORATION AND USING CORPSES TO HELP GROW FRINK TREES". This could be the clue I was looking for!
Or perhaps not. Who knew?
There was only one way to find out. Carefully I opened the box, only to be confronted the corporate logo of Derksen Industries. Everything became clear, then, and I nodded sadly. We had been in a rut all this time after all.
Last Updated: Sat Mar 6 2004 22:13:49