It’s been a long while since I participated myself in a Flash Fiction Friday prompt. Flannery and Joyce have been doing a great job keeping the site together and coming up with great prompts. I started a story a few weeks back from the prompt Is Anyone There? that I plan to expand and finish for an anthology later this year. This week’s prompt by Joyce was a word list: gunshot, train, mime, balcony, monkey, rain. So this is my contribution to Words, Words, and More Words.
Normally I would give a few rewrites on a story before letting out in the wild, especially one like this that is a little left of what I usually write. So consider it for what it is, a rough stab at story about a mime and a murder. I hope you enjoy it none-the-less.
Ain’t No Friend of Mime
I got the call on the squawk, a 10-55 with units on scene and coroner in route. I was 20 minutes from the end of my shift, ready to call it a day when McGrady invited me to the show.
McGrady met me at the bottom of the stairs outside the complex. He had a fresh pack of nails, pulling away at the cellophane with nervous fingers. He took one out and offered the newly open box. I waved off, reminding him I was nearly a year into redemption. He thought better and tucked his unlit burner behind his ear.
“So what do we got, Bill?”
“It wasn’t ours at first. A lady across the yard called in the complaint. A 288. She told dispatch there was a man in the apartment across from her spanking his monkey.”
I didn’t know if McGrady was having me on or not. He liked to be a joker, but he managed the delivery with a straight face.
Bill continued as he led me up the stairs. “Another call came about five minutes later, a shooting with a 10-54. Patrol arrived on scene and confirmed, upgrading to a 10-55.”
We passed through two officers, probably first on scene, both seemed to be having a laugh, and entered the open apartment. They acknowledged us with a nodded, “Detectives.”
It was a sparse apartment, a worn out couch to one side against the wall, a beat up coffee table a leg length away, and directly across a kitchenette with a small table and a single chair. You could cross the room in three long strides. Only two other doors in the room. One next to the couch was either to a bathroom or a bedroom. Based on how the pillow cushions were positioned on the couch, I was going to wager a bathroom. The other was a glass door, shattered, that lead out to the balcony, the sheers wafted open in the night breeze, and I could see an old biddy with binoculars across the way. The only decoration was a framed picture of some clown with what appeared to be a splatter of shit across the glass.
I hated clowns.
These weren’t the first thing you saw when you entered. No, you couldn’t help but see the dead clown–sorry mime–in the middle of the room with his outstretched arms choking a monkey. A gunshot both, possibly from the same bullet based of the placement of the bodies.
I liked mimes less than clowns. I grimaced.
Bill, with a stone face, pointed to the bodies. “If it weren’t for the bullet holes, I’d say it was autoerotic asphyxiation.”
I patted him on the back as a smile cracked his lips, “Yeah, Bill. I’m sure you can tell that to the Captain.”
“I would, but he’s the one who gave me the line.”
“So do we have anything? What’s the story?”
Bill flipped open his notes, “Yeah, the mime here is a Marty Marceau. Changed from Martin Mullen. Occupation, well, mime. He worked down at The Green. And..” Bill looked around the room, “must of done pretty well for himself.”
“We got a timeline? He and the monkey look pretty fresh.”
“Yeah, rigor hasn’t set yet. Probably about 45 minutes. Girl downstairs, says she’s the girlfriend, she found ol’ Marty here choking the monkey. She called 911 moments after the initial complaint.”
I rolled my eyes. “Girlfriend have a name? She still available?”
“Yeah, she’s in her apartment with an officer. Her name is Angela Lansbury. She’s a…”
“Don’t tell me, a writer?”
I turned to head out, “Never mind. Let’s visit the girl.”
She was down there with the officer, mascara bleeding down her face.
Her apartment was more decorated in oranges and pinks, the furniture was new but looked comfortable, entertaining. On the walls hung evocative prints of fruit in a pop art style. She wore pink hot pants that I was sure had the word JUICY on the backside, the top was a white halter that didn’t leave much to the imagination with a new set of Double Ds. Her hair was professionally bleached with a streak of pink, and her lipstick matched her shorts. Being a writer must be a lucrative business?
She looked up, the rain of mascara couldn’t hide her sweet face. She hadn’t lost all her innocence. I’m sure she fooled more than one editor with her school girl wiles.
“Angela, could you tell me what you told the officers earlier? What happened upstairs?”
Her lips quivered and she squeezed her fist white knuckled. She began to cry again.
I sat down beside her. The couch was soft, yet firm. I imagined that would be useful for a writer. Angela turned away and grabbed her large shoulder bag, trying to slip her hand inside to snag a tissue. I saw the glint of metal.
I stood quickly, “What do you have there, Angela?”
She started to pull the tissue out, but slumped into the couch and let the bag fall to the floor, the barrel of .22 slid out.
“I did it” she said practically in audible.
I grabbed the gun and the purse, dumping the remaining contents onto the glass coffee table. House keys, vibrator, condoms in various sizes and colors, an extra pair of panties, a wallet with about $300, some loose change and a train ticket. Everything a woman on the run needed.
The officer who had sat with her pulled her to her feet and cuff Angela.
“Why? Why did you do it?”
“The monkey. That bastard was cheating on me.” She saw our strange looks, “Not the monkey, you dopes! Marty, Marty was. He hated that monkey. It was that stone bitch, Bella’s monkey. She’s one of them human statues, did her bit across from Marty day in and day out. I knew it was only a matter of time. She wasn’t the only one, there were plenty of others.” She fumed, raging, then continued, “he had the monkey and I knew. For sure. No way he’d watch that monkey, unless…”
I thought back up to the corpse laying on the floor, and as she was escorted out the door I had to ask, “What did you see in him?”
She softened and smiled through her mascara stained face, “He was a good listener.”