skonen_blades: (hamused)
April 30/30


I’m not good at defusing bombs so I just wear thicker clothes. My heart’s been replaced with a growth of crystal and my hands tell the future now. It’s a pleasure map and ex marks the spot where the hole is. Her entire body was a violin. I am half barstool. My head is a television and my watch belongs to a child. I am the boring parts of the old west. You are an ornate shield. You squeaked when I hugged you like baby’s toy. The good thing about being the dark so long is that now I can see in the dark.

I’m not nocturnal. I’m just dayphobic. If I was a police officer, I’d be the kind that everyone likes but that no one calls in times of real trouble. I am a heating vent. You are a dentist appointment. I’m a retired taxidermist. You’re a rookie oncologist. My hopes and dreams float in a glass like dentures. My abilities sway in the wind like old branches. My entire life has become a bookmark.

For an anchor, I am maintaining a surprising altitude. Like even the Titanic can be a glider. Hell, the Hindenburg didn’t need much to stay in the air but I feel less flammable. And that’s the point. All super hero futures haven’t happened yet and all my first place ribbons are gathering dust in their frames. A live fully lived but less living now. I am a meatloaf. You are an astronaut.

The gulf is still crossable but it’s widening.

I am a movie from the eighties.

You are fingerless gloves.

skonen_blades: (Default)
Detective Peterson was reviewing the interview footage of Kyle Raven. It was late at night and Peterson had looked at the footage many times. He was troubled but he couldn’t figure out why. He rewound the video tape and watched it again.

“That’s the thing, right?” Kyle Raven manically rabbited on during his interview, “If time travel ever gets invented in the future, they’ll come back here. Or before here. Right?” He was pure sinew, no body fat at all. Kyle Raven looked like a human rat. His eyes burned out from his head like meth-addict searchlights. “And they’ll mess it all up. Everything. Causality will fracture the universe. We’ll be screwed.”

“The voices told me this.” Kyle said gravely and then suddenly chuckled, “The visitors showed me.” He banged the table with his fist and thrust his chin up like an angry king. “I have a job. If you’re wondering where all the time travelers are it’s because I killed them.”

Detective Peterson and his crew had just pulled sixteen bodies out of Kyle Raven’s basement. The man was a psychopath and delusional. Peterson had seen this before, people lashing out at imagined threats. Aliens, illuminati conspiracies, demons, fairies; all conveniently taking human form and needing to be killed.

“I’m not the only one” said Kyle. “I’m one of many. The visitors employ a large number of us. I’m a temporal cleanser. A timeline deputy. You can’t stop us. I don’t care what happens to me. I’ve saved the universe sixteen times.”

One thing that was bothering Detective Peterson was that the FBI had showed up immediately along with several other black cars with no markings on them. They’d loaded up the bodies and taken them away. They had the proper authorization and there had been no trouble. In cases of this magnitude, the FBI was usually involved in one way or another but it felt unusual to him.

Peterson had helped excavate the bodies and some things didn’t add up. A body from what looked like one of the oldest graves came out looking like it was freshly buried. A stink of putrefaction was wafting out of it but the skin of the corpse appeared fresh and young. One of the bodies had what appeared to be a glass prosthetic leg. Two of them were tall enough to be professional basketball players. One dead girl’s cel phone kept vibrating in her pocket as the team lifted her out and everyone’s phone in the basement vibrated in time with that girl’s phone for six rings. Peterson was the only one who noticed that and he had kept that to himself. Then there was the five-year-old with grey hair and a business suit.

Peterson had thought at the time that the killer just liked to dress up his victims. He’d seen crazier things done to bodies.

But now here he was, reviewing the interview footage. Kyle Raven was in custody downstairs. No one had rescued him or paid his bail and he was on suicide watch. By all accounts, he was merely dangerously insane.

Something was bothering Peterson about the whole episode. The bodies, the FBI, and this interview. He rewound the interview to watch it again.

Just as he was about to press play, there was a knock at the door. Detective Peterson felt an unreasonable fear in the pit of his stomach.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“FBI.” Said a low voice outside.

skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
“We need backup!” shouted Officer Saul into his cruiser’s police radio.

Heavy fire was peppering his unit with smoking holes. Someone was playing the drums on his car and Saul had no idea where the bullets were coming from.

It was just after lunch and they’d responded to an emergency call in this alley. They were pinned down and immobilized. It was only a matter of time before the bullets found something explosive or worked their way through the armour to Saul and his partner.

Their car shimmied under the hail of bullets like a shivering dog.

“Snap it back!” shrieked Officer Markowitz. He was Saul’s partner.

Both cops leaned into their head cradles, nestling the studs on the back of their necks to their seat-jacks, and hit the red panic buttons.

Immediately, the last three days of recorded data, memories and thought processes were shunted back to HQ.

Thunder kept kicking the car hard. It wouldn’t be long before the bullets made a doily out of the roof. How did neighbourhood kids get this much ammunition?

“Okay, let’s go!” yelled Saul.

“On three!” bellowed Markowitz with a maniacal grin. This was not going to go into the databanks. It was also a one way trip if this hailstorm of bullets kept up. They both knew it.

“One, two….THREE!” shouted Saul. They rolled magnesium grenades out of what was left of their car-door windows. The flash was fairly weak under the glare of the noon day sun but anyone looking directly at it would be blinded for a moment.

Markowitz and Saul high-fived each other, shouldered open their battered doors, and both tucked and rolled out of the cruiser, guns pointed skyward and firing.

Their bullets rained up, the ammunition from an entire street gang rained down.

Markowitz felt the bullets stitch their way up his body to his eye before it all went black.

Saul flash-cooked with a laugh when the bullets finally pierced the armour of the car’s gas tank.


Back at HQ, bodies awoke with shuddering gasps. They were right beside each other in the clone tanks.

Markowitz’s fresh body was weak and unused but healthy with a 90 per cent match of features from the previous one. The moments before his death spooled out in his head.

Saul’s body was shorter this time, and more muscled. They were getting low on matching stock for him. His body type was less common.

They had at least two weeks of physiotherapy ahead of them to get them back up to cop status.

“It’s a good thing we called for backup,” Said Markowitz.

“You got that right.” said Saul, and called in an air strike for the alley.

skonen_blades: (dark)
I recognize some of the faces staring up at me. The rain is pattering softly on the top of the forensic tent, keeping the crime scene dry.

I’ve seen these faces on photocopied posters in shop windows in the poor part of town. We don’t post pictures on milk cartons around here. That’s for the rich. For children the world cares about.

The only thing that could have led them into a trap was hope and trust. Kids have so much of that no matter how bad the world gets.

I never considered myself to be a happy guy but when I look back on who I was five years ago, before I started this job, I see a rosy-cheeked simpleton who practically skipped to the academy. In my mind’s eye, I look like a five-year-old kid, too stupid to see this life coming. Clean-shaven and optimistic.

Now here I am, looking down on dead faces recently uncovered. Their eyes are clouded but other than that, they just looked shocked. Pale with surprise. Their young faces look into my mind’s eye like it was a mirror. These kids, swimming in a shallow grave like exposed fish, remind me of who I was so long ago.

These days, I have a huge beard and I started smoking again because nothing matters. When the boss comments on my hygiene, I tell him to fire me. He hasn’t yet. As long as I stay away from the television cameras, he says, I can stay. I do good work.

I think that I get good results from crime scenes like these because I can’t imagine a life where this is possible. I try to understand. I look at all the details, waiting for it to make some sort of sense to me. Sometimes I uncover clues that lead us to a perpetrator but even if that happens and I get transcripts of the interrogation, it never makes sense to me.

I’m on the hunt for answers in the worst part of the human condition.

A spray of dirt lies across the minnow-pale chest of the boy on the top. There’s a white girl’s freckled arm poking out of the dirt beneath him and above that, a shock of red hair. I can’t see her face. The forensic team is on its way to carefully dig up the rest.

I think of numbers here. There are currently 82 unsolved child disappearances in the city’s case files. That’s for the last three years. I figure most of them were snatched by anxious parents in divorce cases. They’re probably hiding out somewhere, full of candied attention and take-out dinners in motel rooms.

I’d put the body count in this ditch at a rough guess of twelve, knocking that number down to 70 or so.

I feel like we just found out where the Pied Piper put those kids from that story.

Already, I can see a bit of a boot print and and a cigarette butt. That could give us the weight, shoe size, approximate height, and blood type of whoever buried these flowers. The killer was rushed. We might get a break.

For now, I’m just staring at the scene, trying to let an understanding sink into me.

It’s not happening.

skonen_blades: (gasface)
They called him Longhand.

He was a tall sheriff. He was a very pale Swede with fine, blonde hair. The black suit he wore was not required by his office but it made the silver star stand out against his lapel like a metal tooth in the smile of a killer.

He had the long, elegant fingers of a pianist. He never played any instrument except, some might argue, The Gun.

He wrote a lot and didn’t talk much. He was quick with a pistol. He was fair but extremely harsh. The town was as afraid of him as they were grateful for his presence. He was no mere scarecrow to criminals. He was a plague.

Longhand was older than most in the new town. The prospering nature of the village had attracted a lot of young folks with families. It was growing fast. Longhand had hired a few deputies but they mostly minded the office and patrolled the streets at night.

They rarely had to send for the sheriff. It was like he had a sense for trouble. As one turned to shout for help, Sheriff Longhand was already striding through the door, his bootheels marking out seconds in the silent room as he strode towards the problem.

He kept his blonde hair long which was unusual for the day. Or at least, unusual for an employed gentleman living in a civilized setting. His eyes were blue but they lacked the dreamy, mesmerizing quality that most blue eyes possess. They were the cold eyes of a non-feeling thing. They were eyes that brought to mind cliffs and rivers. They had all the emotion of a seagull.

The were twin lights pushed into the mask of his face. He came across as mechanical when he entered a crime scene or an event in progress. A living puppet.

He moved with a slow economy of motion in an affected nonchalance. It was enough, coupled with his reputation, to put most criminals off their plans and most drunken louts back to a sober state.

For those that wanted to press their luck, had never heard of LongHand or were feeling just plain suicidal, the end was quick.

A small flurry of fabric like the flap of a flag in the wind, a gunshot, and silence. Most criminals grunted in surprise at the sudden hole in their forehead, convulsed, and died, leaving the world no poorer.

Some survived the experience but you could count them on one hand. They never committed a crime again. Or ate without help.

Longhand ruled quietly in the West. No glory befell him. It slid off of him like the passing stares of strangers.

Some say that he is where we get the expression “the long arm of the law” but it can’t be verified.

skonen_blades: (angryyes)
The room was bare except for a yellow bucket of teeth in each corner. The kind of buckets you’d see kids using at the beach to build castles. A bare, humming light hung in the middle of the room like a lure.

That light was a miniature sun lighting up the inside of the dry concrete cube. It felt like a bunker in there. Stale. Beneath the light, there was a drain that hadn’t been used in what looked like decades.

No blood, no other liquids. The place was as dry as a texas lawn in August. Dust was thick in there but there were no foot prints.

All we had to go on was the teeth. Each yellow plastic bucket contained hundreds of gleaming teeth. They’d all been polished to a bright sheen.

There were animal fangs, human molars, baby teeth, and even a few short horns. No apparent order or specific age. There were teeth with the gold fillings still in them. There were teeth with the old metal fillings from when I was a kid. There were teeth with the new ceramic fillings and caps. There were little, tiny teeth that looked like they’d never had the chance to bite anything at all.

There were the tiny needles of kitten incisors, impotent snake fangs, a shaking of small, sharp teeth that must have come from city scavenging animals. Raccoons, maybe. It was hard to tell with no skulls to match the teeth up to. No beaks.

It would be tedious to separate the animal teeth from the human teeth but a few experts had been set aside to do just that. It would probably take a week. The hope was to find something exotic that would help us identify at least one set of teeth and ascertain if the owner was still alive, dead, or reported missing.

I had a bad feeling about the room. It was like the ordered museum of a non-human mind. It felt wrong and I felt watched. Some animal part of me was scared of the predator that I was sure was standing behind me, trying not to breathe on my neck.

Teeth. One of my strongest defenses in a fight. Plucked out and put in a pail. Why didn’t the killer stick to humans? I went through the ways that a person would have access to this many teeth without harming the owners and I wasn’t coming up with much.

Maybe a taxidermist that lived close to a mortician? Why were the expensive gold fillings still in the teeth? I clenched my jaw, suddenly conscious of all the chewing surfaces in my mouth and how they all fit together.

I felt like I was looking at buckets of car parts.

I had a feeling this mystery was going to get worse before it got better.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
I could barely look at him.

I remember when we first partnered up. It was like a movie.

He was the old detective, seasoned, docile, wise and gruff with everyone. He had hundreds of contacts on the street and was living in a legally grey area in order to get more busts. He was a broker of trust, dealing with the scum instead of just trying to eradicate them. His arrest numbers were dismal but every few months, he’d take out someone huge. Some drug kingpin or underage hooker supplier from overseas. It kept him out of hot water with the rule makers.

People in the neighbourhood looked up to him. Some of the younger cops called him a relic. He didn’t give a fuck. He was just aiming for retirement.

Then that bastard killed his daughter and his wife. Carlo “The knife” Consuega.

I was there to see the change in his face when he got the call. I was there to see the last light go out of his eyes. I think they killed him that day as well as his family. He didn’t cry or scream out. I think he had always accepted that this might happen but after forty years on the force, he may have been starting to assume that it wouldn’t happen to him.

Old cops with nothing left to lose are dangerous. And I was his partner. I considered myself a bit of a daring hotshot, you have to understand. I had marched into mob boss meetings to make arrests. I’d been undercover. I was no stranger to firefights.

He made me look like a kid in a playground.

He was almost suicidal in his rage. In the course of a year, he lost an arm, one of his eyes, his jaw, his left hand, and he’d been speared through six major organs. They were all replaced or patched up. He was the most extensively rebuilt police officer on record.

He was also a public relations nightmare. He was totally effective at cleaning up the streets but all of his interviews were filled with swearing and that dark laughter that came up out of his ruined voicebox. He managed to be charming through the patchwork leftovers of his face. He inspired vigilantes.

I was top of my class and proud to be a cop. I hated being this guy’s partner. I saw his grey hair, wiry and unkempt, on the half of his skull that wasn’t plastic. He smelled like oil and sweat. There was a stink of electrified piss that hung around him like a cloak. Every minute in the patrol car was a test of patience.

I’d asked him if I could hang back in the extra-dangerous situations. He said sure with a smile. He said I could hang back in all situations if I wanted. He patted me on the back like an uncle with a hand made out of can openers, ammunition and gun barrels.

I knew that after another six months of this, he’d either put a revolver in his own mouth or be taken out by the criminals he kept antagonizing.

Either way, it was going to suck for me before it got better.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
The cape was made from the skin of crows, not the feathers. It was pink and nubbly. It felt like a cold lover. It was unsetting.

That’s why Foot Admiral Ovenshack wore it. It freaked people out. They could have their sable, their mink, and their panther. That was the artifice of the rich.

When Ovenshack came for you in the birdskin cape and the mask of his office, all jokes were aside.

“I can’t be bribed and I think your display of wealth is a thumb in the eye of society” is what the cape said. It allowed him into the upper crust restaurants where capes were a necessity. Its unsettling appearance got him past repulsed bodyguards that didn’t want to touch it.

It got him into poor hovels. It protected him in places where his position would have gotten him killed if he was a more pompous person. The off-duty knife gangs laughed at him but quickly left him alone afterwards. He bore the scars of a veteran and his stare cut to the chase. His cape said to the poor people, “I have to dress like one of them but I have more in common with you.”

It was almost magical.

Without it, no one knew him. Becoming famous for wearing the cape let him be anonymous without it. With the help of a fake moustache or a nice hat and a change in carriage, he became a regular member of the populace. It was more dangerous to appear this way but it worked for undercover work.

Ovenshack was almost genetically destined to be a member of the patrols. He had a distaste for everyone that left him perfectly neutral. He believed in the dependability of human nature but not it’s virtue. Money held no temptation for him. It couldn’t buy him back the love he had lost. The threat of violence held no sway over him. He knew he would die in battle at some point and it might as well be tonight if it couldn’t be avoided.

Foot Admirals rarely survived more than a year. Ovenshack had been in this stinking city for six.

He was as good as it was possible for a Foot Admiral to be.

Until his dead wife came to town.

She’d been dug up and enchanted. She’d been slipped into the work force for canal work.

Not illegal but unsettling. Most zombies were shipped away from the cities where they’d been disinterred for the very reason that people might recognize old loves or relatives.

Ovenshack’s wife’s re-animated corpse had been shipped from the city he had run away from. The city he’d fled. The city he’d tried to leave behind. Cruel fate. Capricious destiny.

He started legal proceeding to free her but no one would listen to him.

His office suffered from disarray and soon enough, outright neglect. The rest of his men soon resorted to taking bribes. Anarchy was soon to come without a Foot Admiral at the helm.

The found Admiral Ovenshack under a bridge, arm around his smelly, green, and naked wife. Her eyes stared without emotion at the iron strutwork above her. She blinked if a fly came too close to her eye.

Ovenshack was dead.

He’d killed the zombie crew overseer, freed his wife and dragged her here to kill himself.

His eyes also stared without emotion at the iron strutwork. They did not blink as flies crawled freely over them.

The crowskin cape was draped over both of their cold bodies.

This is where we get the song.

skonen_blades: (bounder)
I was thinking today about the rainbow flag and how it’s ironically made out of straight lines.

Also, there is no black or white on the flag, merely shades of gay.

I strolled through that part of town on Sunday, looking around the park, looking around at the same-sex partners holding hands and I felt nothing. There was a time when I would have been unsettled or even repulsed.

The seasons turn again. The balding trees of November rub together in the wind like they’re trying to start a fire to keep warm.

I wonder how long it takes for most police chiefs to go crazy. I look at my crowded desk. I look out the window. I look back at my crowded desk and something seems profoundly wrong with the universe.

It’s the litany of evil that I’m confronted with every day that’s chipping away at the mortar of my mind. It’s both the uncaring, bureaucratic, election-promise evil from above and the guttering, cruel, street-level evil that I process every day.

My hold on what is good and what is bad has slipped away. I’m indifferent now. The evil merely seems to be. It merely seems to happen. It seems innate. My job and by extension the job of all policemen seems superfluous. I catch people after they commit crimes. It’s wrong. I need time to run backwards.

I remember Morgan Freeman in the movie Se7en saying that all detectives do is record the facts of horrible things in the mostly vain hope that they’ll be able to catch someone one day with those details. I didn’t like the movie but I liked that line.

I picture a magnetic generator with Life as the power source. Good and Evil are the positive and negative poles that keep it spinning and generate the power. I don’t know what it’s powering.

Thoughts like this make me think that I might not be suited to being a police captain anymore. They make me wonder about my world view and whether or not I’m still sane.

I can do my job. All the forms are filled out at the end of the day. I handle stressful situations calmly.

I just don’t think I belong here anymore.

And by here, I don’t know what I mean.

skonen_blades: (borg)
With those sleek shoulders and sculpted faceplate features, I would have guessed her to be a Russian model.

Hard to tell with the standard techniques. The criminals always had their own serial numbers sanded off and I2P addys scrambled. I don’t know how it’s possible to live like that.

I’d seen the initiation ceremonies for those involved in the ferrogangs. I understood needing a sense of belonging but the bosses of those gangs were so brutal. Plus, having your identifying marks removed in a shower of sparks just didn’t seem to me like something that a friend would do.

I was made by a good parent company, though. Still in business, still under warranty, still protected. I guess I’d never really know what it would take to become like the unit here in the interrogation chair in front of me.

I’d guessed her make to be a relatively recent design going by trends. I’d have to check the catalogues. Wear and tear made her look to be about thirty kilocycles old. She was more likely sixteen with no repairs or upkeep. I’d never know her serial number but at least I’d able to pinpoint year, make, and O-stats with a little research.

Her chipsets were a mess. They’d been booby-trapped, privacy-looped and dust-locked to the point that it was a wonder she could form rational sentences. A low-level soldier for the gang, I’d say. Expendable to the point of being borderline scrap.

I had the wiretap link spooling across the table from my head to hers. It was touch and go. I was sniffing around in her head to find evidence without tripping a defense charge that would kill her. She sat silently during the process. She knew that her life was in my hands. She had to trust that I was a careful detective.

Colleagues of mine cared less about the fates of units like this. I had seen fellow officers hook up, go in and laugh when their clumsy antics triggered their prisoner unit to freeze up and smoke, hard crashing to the point of needing a reboot. Feeble excuses and a few months of probation later, those officers would be back on the street. It made my wires cross.

I probed her CPU banks slowly, looking for something circumstantial that seemed harmless to her internal watchdog programs but might lead me to a physical location that we could search later for something more incriminating.

Trawling through her memory directories, I found .j3pegs and bitmap snapshots of units she’d allowed herself to love and save in non-password protected folders. Their faces were pixilated to me, of course, but the backgrounds weren’t.

There. A signpost in the background. 12th and Iron Ave. Next to a rundown house that was a ferrogang hovel if I’ve ever seen one.

Feigning boredom so as not to alarm her, I copied the shots into a viral-protected temp folder in my memory and jacked out.

She looked up at me. “Find anything, pig?” she asked with a sneer.

“No. You’re free to go. Don’t leave town, though. We might need to ask you more questions later.” I said.

“Screw you, bolt-fucker.” She said.

I buzzed for the flatfoots to come in an escort her out.

skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
It’s late. I’m smoking a cigarette in the ruins of a burned-down orphanage.

I’m standing in what used to be a room full of cradles. The scorched floor is cluttered with little black bones and black charcoal cribs.

It’s all I can do to stand there. The dome’s supports make a spider web in the starry sky above. Black ribs miles above this city cutting the sky into pie slices down to the horizon. I haven’t seen the sun since I got here.

I remember Earth. I remember blue sky. I remember not living in domes. I haven’t been back to Earth in over twenty years now. I hate this place.

I hate the ignorant asteroid miners and their ignorant lives. I hate their aversion to learning anything not needed to run the machines. I hate their lack of imagination and lack of originality. They’re augmented slightly to see better in the dark and withstand a few more seconds of vacuum in case of a decomp. All physical. Nothing mental.

I’m a cop. I pissed off my boss and caught a transfer out here to the gulag. The boondocks. Long time ago now. The only way I’m going back to Earth is after I retire which is in five years. Five long years.

I have the standard cop upgrades: total recall, overextended acuity, critical stat sensitivity that makes me into a human lie detector, and bumped-up lateral reasoning.

It all just adds to the torture. Time doesn’t ‘fly’ for me. With my photographic memory, I’m aware of every second going by exactly as long as a second is supposed to take. I hate it. Drinking does nothing to mute it. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And for a lie detector to be useful, perpetrators have to be careful about the evidence they leave at crime scenes or at least passably devious during an interview. I swear, almost all of the population here is legally retarded.

For instance, I’m staring down at a wallet and a gas can right now. It looks like maybe the arsonist must have squatted down to light the fire and dropped his wallet out of his back pocket.

And he’ll be shocked when I trace it back to him.

I look at my partner. He has the glowing eyes and strong, thick skin of a miner’s son.

“Don’t you hate it here, son?” I ask him.

Completely stoic about my non-sequitur, he answers, “I grew up here, Sarge. Don’t know no different.”

I keep standing and staring down at the wallet. My partner stands with me, still as a statue, endlessly patient as only the truly stupid or enlightened can be.

I sigh and pick up the wallet.

skonen_blades: (haBUUH)
It was just a hangover. I was just a cop. And it shouldn’t have been as hard as it turned out to be.

I pulled him out of the car. He'd been weaving all over the road. We were standing on the side of LaCienega Boulevard. The sun was beating down on us and I felt like a cockroach in the middle of a kitchen floor. I felt exposed, standing in the sun. My underwear felt too tight, my eyes were itchy, and my brain was not responding to stimuli.

The shades I had on weren’t really cutting the sunlight. I needed to be somewhere indoors with air conditioning, preferably with a beer.

The Bronco had been weaving so we pulled him over. The driver was pretty drunk. I could smell the booze on his breath when I pulled him out of the car. I was jealous. There was a hip flask sitting in the passenger side of the car. I reached in, picked it up, and pocketed it for later. Totally impulsive. I have no idea what came over me.

The guy didn’t even notice. My partner was standing ten feet away with his gun drawn. I told the driver to put his hands up on the side of the truck.

Cars were slowing down as they drove past on the busy street, kids with digital cameras leaning out the windows.

The driver slapped one hand up against the side of the car. I told him to put the other one up there as well. Like I said, I was hung over. Hazy. Stupid.

He only had one arm.

He was crying.

Something about men crying makes me ashamed. After that, I get angry. I grabbed his wrist and yanked it down behind his back. I snapped my cuffs off of my belt and put one of them around his wrist. He didn't even yell. It was more of a sob.

I actually reached up to pull his other arm off of the truck. Of course my hand grasped empty air. I stumbled a bit and regained my balance. Grabbing the perp’s other arm was a move I’d done thousands of times. Just reflex.

Maybe I wasn’t hung over. Maybe I was still drunk.

So I’m standing there, this perp’s only wrist in a handcuff, and I’m holding the other end of it. I look at the guy's stump of a shoulder. I look over to my partner.

He’s having trouble not laughing.

Later on, I found out that this guy was driving back from the hospital where they’d removed his arm. He was going to need lots of counseling and I sure didn’t help any. I mean, he was definitely drunk but I didn’t need to be so rough.

I blew a high number during the inquiry. I was suspended.

The question keeps occurring to me during my ‘vacation’, though. I can’t find anything in the manuals about it.

How do you handcuff a one-armed man?

skonen_blades: (Default)
The body on the mattress had been there for a while.

She was laying face-down. The pooling blood had left her back unnaturally pale. I knew that when we flipped her stiffly over, the front of her would be a dark maroon. One of her arms dangled off the edge of the bed, still as a tree branch. The blood had settled there, fattening the fingers and turning the hand almost black.

The graphics tattooed on her body showed up in high contrast against her white skin.

The team set up the lights. The boys in the plastic booties and paper dresses fired up their hand-held UVs to look for blood and semen. I had no doubt that in a cheap motel like this one they’d find plenty of both. The manager had told us to hurry. Like we were maids coming in to clean the place instead of police investigating a murder.

I looked at the dead girl on the bed. She couldn’t have been more that eighteen but she looked much older. To make money, she’d been sponsoring herself out to companies to keep going once she started testing positive and could no longer give blood. I had a problem with the practice. As long as someone was semi-attractive, any of the Big Five corporations would let them pick a product tattoo and give them a ‘grant’ of a few thousand dollars.

Big money to a prostitute with a drug problem.

Her body was layered with dozens of nearly-touching logo tattoos from Pepsi, Nabisco, Colgate, Penzoil, Marlboro, and a bunch of others. I’d seen the same logos stenciled on plastic wrappers in gutters and parking lots. It made her look like garbage, which is exactly what she’d become here in this room.

Someone had crumpled her up and thrown her away like trash. I doubt we’d even learn her name unless a co-worker of hers came in to the morgue looking for her and that was pretty rare.

She had a Cadbury tattoo on one ass cheek and a Hershey tattoo on the other. I wonder if that had been the company’s attempt at wit or hers.

The hookers called it selling out. It started with something tasteful, one of the recognizable big sellers. Just one. Soon there were two. Eventually, the women caught in this inevitable spiral became a billboard, their looks fading from rampant drug use and the Big Five wouldn’t touch them anymore. After that, the women started taking money to advertise local businesses.

Like this girl here. I saw a tattoo for Lou’s Steak House with a miniature road map underneath her shoulder blade for how to get there. I could imagine customers taking her from behind and looking at that map, possibly passing by the restaurant afterwards for dinner on the way home. It made me sick.

She was like a biological vending machine that had been broken into and completely emptied.

Spatter patterns suggested a hammer. We found one in a dumpster two blocks away with her hair and blood on the end of it. No prints.

I’d been on the force long enough to know that this was going to go unsolved.

God only knows why I kept doing this job.

skonen_blades: (watchit)
Investigating crime scenes with One Faithers always made it a hard day. They didn’t drink, they didn’t joke, and most of all, they liked to take their time. They made great detectives but boring company.

This one’s rustle of black hair etched back like a broom around the semi-circular metal implants she had in her temples to keep her hormonal impulses in line. We outsiders called them ‘blinders’. If pushed too far into a mood of lust or rage, they’d put her into a seizure. During prayer, they gave her a dose of peace.

She had one red dot on the back of each hand. I knew that underneath the tongues of her shoes she’d have matching dots on the top of each foot. Stigmata tats. Faithful to the core whether she wanted to be or not.

Methodical and loyal. I didn’t even need to be here.

She walked carefully over the dead couple that we’d found in the living room after responding to the domestic disturbance call.

“This looks like an entry wound here. I think that’s a defense wound on the hand. It looks the woman was stabbed but shot the guy and called us before bleeding to death. We should have gotten here sooner.” She said.

I sighed and reached to my back pocket for my whiskey but remembered that I’d left it in my desk at the station in my rush to get here. This was going to be a long day.

skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
And we’ll see how that works out.
I said. To myself.
Looking at the body and answering my friend’s question.
I hope I live longer than he did. It’s there. The hope. The primal glee that it’s not me.
Making me ashamed and furtive like I did the killing.
Which is alarming to me because I did do the killing.
But I don’t want to appear furtive and ashamed. The police have to believe my story.
They’ll come in with helmets.
Not wearing them but holding them in their hands, ready to place on my head.
I won’t go back. They need to believe what the helmet tells them.
I’ve practiced the story so many times that I think I can fool the helmet.

My friend’s body lies on a broken mirror.
I can see myself reflected in little shards around him like a constellation of guilt.
I am wide-eyed.
Who was I fooling?
I couldn’t fool a cat.
They won’t even need the helmet.

I can wipe the prints off the knife, blame it on a burglar, doctor the logs but I’ll never be able to feign surprise or stay calm. All they’ll have to do is look in my eyes.

I’ve been stupid.
Already I miss my friend.
Already my reasons for killing him seem trivial.

My motive is obvious and my alibi is weak.

I screwed up.

I wish the knife I killed the human with could pierce my metal skin.

skonen_blades: (meh)
“This is not a conspiracy theory.” It said, tattooed across the dead boy’s back. Below that it read, “It’s a matter of public record.”

This was all in black gothic lettering above the twin towers. Below that was a multi-headed snake monster like a hydra or a kraken or something coming out of a lake of fire. Below that was a mess of shredded meat that Special Coroner Davies preferred not to look at until he had to.

The dead driver was a pale, skinny, shirtless boy with sores. God know how he’d bypassed enough of the security systems, let alone hotwired a truck without the proper dna to start the engine.

Unfortunately for him, after all that, he’d crashed the truck. It was guesswork at this point as the Special Coroner’s team was taping off the scene, redirecting traffic and taking pictures but it looked like the boy had taken the wide off-ramp too quickly and gone smashing through the railing, off of the bridge, and onto the streets below.

He didn’t look like he had led a clean life. SC Davies was sure the test would show some sort of stim in the boy’s system and too much of it. He’d been celebrating the getaway before he’d actually gotten away. If Davies seen crime scenes like this once, he’d seen them a dozen times.

It was late so luckily no one on the ground was hurt. The giant truck lay splayed, almost flattened, on its back. The wheels pointed around at awful reaching angles and the main shaft stood up at attention, pointing to the sky. The cab itself was scattered around like a broken lunchbox.

The worst part of this whole thing was that the truck was the only truck in the bay that had been carrying live cargo. It had a bunch of worker and sex clones in the back that had not survived the crash either.

The street was green with containment fluid and shattered glass. Their pre-activation hairless bodies lay splayed and grotesque across the roadway. Like mannequins with bones and blood, they stared as the rain came down into their open eyes.

News choppers were circling and Davies knew that someone would be getting paid lots of money for the footage.

Public spectacles like this were always hard to keep uncontaminated once the footage went out. He knew the place would be crawling in minutes. Just lucky it was night time and it would take a few minutes for people to get dressed and find their car keys.

Jameson walked up to Davies. Jamieson was another old dog on the force and didn’t rush when the dead weren’t going anywhere. They got along fine.

“Look at all those bodies.” Said Jameson, nodding towards the clones, then he nodded towards the boy. “You reckon he was trying to steal them or save them?” he asked.

“I don’t know, Jameson.” Davies replied. “Maybe both.”

skonen_blades: (angryyes)
“We’ll start with the feelings of the attack. That will help the imager,” said the psychologist.

Julie bit back tears and remembered the alley where the assault had taken place.

Julie was sitting in a police interrogation room. A police software sketch artist sat across from her along with a registered boosted telepath and also a psychologist educated in the ‘fine points of non-invasive memory retrieval trigger techniques’. He was a low-grade hypnotist, in other words.

The three of them looked intently at her as she looked above their heads at her own reflection in the mirror. A black eye and one arm in a sling. Bruises and a broken nose that would heal in time but her face would never be back to the way it was.

Every mirror would remind her of that alley for the rest of her life.

Taking a deep, shuddering breath, she looked at the computer monitor screen on the desk in front of her through the one eye that wasn’t swollen shut. She felt the electrodes at her temples. The pattern on the monitor screen swirled in a fascinating way.

She let the fear come back. She let the sensations of surprise followed by horror rekindle in the base of her stomach. She let the shock of her purse strap biting into her arm remind her of that initial pain. She remembered being pulled from the light.

“We’re getting something,” said the telepath in a small voice and turned a few dials on the table in front of him. His eyes stayed pointing at the ceiling no matter how he moved. It was disconcerting.

“Hooking in.” said the software sketch artist.

Black petals fluttered across the screen in front of her like ink on a raven’s wing. It was the flourish of a matador’s cape at a funeral and then she was looking at the alley where the attack took place. Black bricks and steam from the manhole. Water dripped off of the pipes.

“Now,” said the psychologist, “remember that this is not happening to you. This is happening to another Julie. This is a memory being brought back into visualization. It cannot hurt you. It is a fabricated simulation. You are safe here with us.”

“Okay,” said the software sketch artist, “I’m getting something. Male.” He smiled and gave the thumbs up to the psychologist who rolled his eyes and jerked his head towards Julie. The sketch artist glanced back at Julie and his smile disappeared instantly. Red-cheeked, he looked back down at his input module and re-commenced his work.

On the screen in front of Julie’s face, she saw the face take form. It was lit from the back by a weak streetlight. The face was hard to make out.

The telepath winced. “It’s going to be tough. He got to work right away," he said to his colleagues, and then, "Julie, I’m taking as much of the pain as I can to let you through but you’ll, uh, have to be quick.” He stopped staring at the ceiling and closed his eyes with a hissed intake of breath through clenched teeth.

Julie smelled smoke.

“Smoke.” said the telepath and wrinkled his nose.

“Smoke, that means….” said the sketch artist and typed a few commands into the processor.

“Was the assailant smoking, Julie? Did he have a cigarette?” asked the hypnotist.

Julie’s legs stiffened. She could feel sweat starting to make the grip of the electrodes loosen on the sides of her head. She remembered.

On the screen in front of her, a cigarette came up to the assailants lips. He inhaled. The tip of the cigarette cherried bright red siren-light onto his features from the crack under hell’s bedroom door. A handsome man except for the acne scars, the sweat, and the cold drive to do harm held glinting in his glassy eyes.

He breathed smoke out into Julie’s face and flicked the cigarette away. She could feel his thick, callused hand fishing around under her skirt and grabbing a hold of her panties as her legs thrashed.

“We got it!” said the digital sketch artist with a proud laugh before colouring again and shutting up.

He hit a button and the smoke-filled monitor screen in front of Julie went blank. The lights inside the room returned to full brightness.

“Okay, Julie. We’re done. You’re okay. On the count of three, you’ll wake up, uh, refreshed and happy and well-rested. One. Two. Three.” Said the therapist. For a second, Julie thought that he was actually going to snap his fingers.

The telepath slumped forward, let out a pent-up breath and opened his eyes. He was bleeding a little where he’d bitten his own lip. He stood up, shivered, and dusted imaginary dust off his suit.

The technician took out the disk to take it to processing and warrant control. He left the room quickly, embarrassed about his lack of tact during the questioning.

The telepath left next with a backward glance at Julie, mopping the light sweat from his brow.

The hypnotist stayed in the room with Julie. The door closed behind the telepath, leaving the two of the alone in the interrogation room. The hypnotist put a hand over Julie’s good hand on the desk.

“You did good, Miss Jalkin. Julie. We got a clear shot at him. The attack happened not that long ago. The nurse will take one last look at you and you’re free to go.” He said.

He seemed to go through a bit of an internal struggle before he took out a pen and his card. He wrote a phone number on the back and then tucked into the pocket of Julie’s blood-stained blouse.

“That’s my home number. You call me anytime you want. I mean it.” He said and then he left as well, whistling.

Julie sat alone in the room and waited for the nurse, feeling like she’d just been assaulted again.

skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
“We think it’ll make the department look like a friendlier place.”


“Yes. Studies and polls have concluded that the people are afraid of us”

“But we’re the police.”

“The new designs for the cars will be less intrusive and contribute to a stronger feeling of community acceptance.”

“They’re eggshell blue.”

“This way, when criminals, pardon me, suspects are brought in, they won’t feel ostracized and looked down upon. They’ll be more comfortable and therefore readier to share information during the interview process.”

“But what about this soothing music? This is a police station.”

“A-ha! There you go. A police station? Is it? Or do you think it’s more of a, let’s say, public information retrieval center?”

“We interrogate criminals here.”

“We make citizens who want to help us in our investigations feel welcome.”

“This is bullshit. We’re cops. We’re supposed to scare the bad guys.”

“Watch that language, corporal. Remember the new guidelines. Our as I like to call them, our new ‘Miranda Manners’.”

“If my father was alive, he’d kill you with his bare hands.”

“Well, that’s just the kind of attitude that would have led him to a suspension. Is that what you’re looking for, corporal? A suspension.”

“No. Sir.”

“Good. Will that be all?”

“Yes. Sir.”

“Well, then, good day to you, corporal. Have a nice day of keeping the city peaceful.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Goodbye sir.”

(Door closes)

skonen_blades: (appreciate)
Okay, I admit it.

I pull off my pajamas in the middle of the night sometimes.

An ex-girlfriend once offered forth the theory that I was more in touch with my inner caveman when I was asleep. This inner caveman thought that ‘clothes’ were alien and would shuck them off with primitive grunts and dog-like whines at four in the morning.

I’ve woken up naked more than once.

Usually it’s in my own apartment if not my own bed. Never in a metal chair, never handcuffed to a metal table, never cold, and definitely not crying under bright lights.

It’s a strange experience to wake up crying.

Although looking at the blood-spattered apparition in the one-way mirror across the table from what I guess is a police interrogation chamber, I’m not surprised the tears are gushing.

I’m a peaceful dude. I’m soft around the edges. I can’t understand why my reflection is looking back through blood-soaked hair that is (and I notice this with a shock that scares me more than anything else so far) longer than I remember.

I’m naked. The chair I’m sitting on is cold. I can see my breath.

The muscles in my face ache like I’ve been crying for hours.

“H-hello?” I whimper in the echoing room. I turn my head around and that’s when I realize that there are no video cameras in the room. At all. None that I can see.

This worries me more than the change in hair length. The absence of cameras or microphones on the table raises the disturbing possibility that this is not a police questioning room.

What am I doing here?

Why is there a body across the room?

Why is there a blood-covered pen in my white-knuckled fist?

I’m putting two and two together here and coming up with panic.

The door bangs to the room bangs open and two men dressed in black riot gear rush in. I can see a person in a lab coat behind them that I recognize.

And then-

-I’m eating a donut in a diner in Houston. I pause with the donut halfway to my lips. I’m sitting in a booth with a beautiful woman across the table from me. Her brow creases.

“You okay, babe?” she asks and cocks her head playfully to the side. She touches my fingers that are resting on the coffee cup between us. There’s a wedding band on her finger.

My eyes flick down to the matching wedding band on the finger of my donut hand.

I close my mouth with a click and nod to her.

“Oh yeah sure. Just tired. That donut was good.” I say to her and excuse myself to go to the bathroom.

What I see in the bathroom mirror shocks me even more than last time.

I’m at least ten years older than I was in the interrogation room.

skonen_blades: (cyril)
In twenty-two years of service, Peter Merkfish had never been assaulted. Never been beaten, never been robbed, never been stripped naked and tied to a swing set in a playground.

There was a first time for everything.

Janice had seemed like a trustworthy source of information. Janice had also seemed like a beautiful woman who was attracted to Peter. Realistically, that should have been his first clue right there.

Peter, or “The Merk” to his football buddies, had emptied both bank accounts, the Cayman trust, the private assumed shares, and even taken the contents of the safe in his bedroom closet, including Angela’s pearls.

In a way, standing there waiting for the sun to rise and the flood of kids about to see him naked by the swings, he kind of felt calm. For the next fifteen minutes or so before the sun came up, no one would know where he was or that he had done a bad thing.

He knew starting from the first phone call to the police about the naked man in the playground, he’d be lucky to just get away with divorce. He almost hoped that some police officer with a chip on his shoulder would mistake him for a child molester and shoot him dead.

He tried to shut out the ugly fifteen-ton future that he knew was barreling towards him. He listened to the wind in the trees in the park around him. It was summer so he wasn’t cold. If he closed his eyes, it was almost like he was a 4-year-old kid again and standing naked in his yard back on the coast.

He remembered his parents when they were still together. He tried to remember the course of events that would have led him to have such bad judgment.

He smelled the flowers around him.

He smelled the roses. He stood with his eyes closed and came as close to meditation as he would ever get for close to half an hour.

Later, he heard a child’s footsteps and a mother’s sharp intake of breath and knew that it had begun. He turned and smiled and showed them cuffs and asked them to call the police.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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