Cold Mac & Cheese and other musings

March 10, 2010

Dead Man’s Hand – II

Filed under: Creative Writing — D.J. Lutz @ 2:10 am
Tags: ,

Calvin noticed the squad car pulling up to the marina. Time to put this away. Calvin surreptitiously put the Sig in his back holster and untucked his shirt. The patrolman was still inside his car, talking on his radio. Probably checking with dispatch to let them know he was there and to see if there were any new details. Leaving the safety of the vehicle, the officer surveyed the area, hand on his still holstered service weapon. Calvin knew better than to approach quickly; a call that starts with ‘shots fired’ gets the adrenaline going. You never know who the bad guys are, either, until the situation allows. The last thing Calvin Baxter wanted to create was a headline in tomorrow’s paper that read “Retired Detective Killed by Mistake.”

“Do you know anything about a disturbance in the area?”

The officer, a Corporal, had observed no one else in the area and as such had approached Calvin.
“Yes, sir. I made the call to 911. I’m Detective Baxter, Norfolk, retired.”
“Officer Barrett. Dispatch told me there was a gold shield here somewhere. So, what do we have? Who got shot?”
Calvin pointed to the marina office. “I was on my boat, down at the end of the pier. Heard a single shot come from inside the office there, so I made the call. Some guys on that big boat over there tell me that their buddy is in the office somewhere.”

“Could have walked into a robbery,” Barrett offered. Calvin glanced over at the office. “Yeah, I thought so, too, but I haven’t seen anyone come out yet, and it’s been a good five minutes.”

“ Any other exits?”

Calvin thought for a moment. “You got the front door there, and…to the best of my knowledge there isn’t a back door.” Calvin then realized that he really didn’t know about other exits. He had never seen one, but that did not mean there wasn’t one. “We better check,” he hedged.

Barrett, still with his hand on the top of his pistol, walked around the side of the small office. “No back door, although there does seem to be some sort of chute leading into the water. Any idea about that?”

Calvin’s eyes lit up. “The chum chute. Of course! Yes, there is an old bit of ductwork going down to the water. It’s where boats used to pull up and get their bait. Old man Drake would just weigh out how ever many pounds of chum you wanted and then send it down the chute into the buckets on deck. I don’t think you can use it now, though. He built some storage down there, sort of blocking the way of the chute, once boats became too big to slip up to the office.”

“Could someone slide down there?”

“I suppose they could. Be awful damn nasty though. You would really have to know what you were doing to make it all the way down without causing a noticeable splash. Didn’t hear anything like that.”

Corporal Barrett pulled his gun from the hard plastic speed holster. “Well, someone shot something. Time to take a look.”

The windows had slightly opaque white curtains; he strained to get a good look in.
“See anyone?”
“There’s a guy sitting at the desk. I think we may have a suicide.”

With his free hand, the officer reached for his radio mike, draped over his left shoulder and threaded through the epaulets of his well-ironed, military-creased shirt. “Dispatch, 105.”
“Go ahead 105.”
“10 – 54. Send Rescue, 67th Street Marina. At least one victim.” Possible dead body, man, this keeps getting better and better.
“Ten four.”

Barrett, gun in hand, lead the way to the door. Calvin instinctively put his hand behind his back, just in case…
The door wasn’t locked, after all, the marina office was technically open for business. Normally Kay would have been there at the front counter. The question was…if there was a dead body in the back office, was there a live body anywhere else? Fortunately, the marina office wasn’t too terribly complicated a structure. One main room, rectangular, about 40 by 50 feet, with a small office in the back, cordoned off with a set of love beads, probably original to the early 70’s construction. The bait freezers and chum chute took up an entire wall.

“Clear.” Corporal Barrett put his gun back in the holster, a distinct click sounding as it snapped into place.

The siren from the volunteer rescue squad was becoming more and more audible as Calvin pulled the beads away from the doorway, allowing Dallas Barrett to take account of the bloody scene in the office.
“Have to wait for the coroner to call it, but it sure looks like a suicide. Safe’s closed, no sign of struggle. God only knows why he did it…”
“The guys on the boat looked to be playing cards, gambling problem? Maybe Kay can tell us something.”
“Who’s Kay?”
“Kay, the counter girl. She was loading supplies onto my boat when we heard the shot. She’s still down there if you want to ask her anything.”

The rescue squad had arrived. It took less than a minute to call it. Dead. Not mostly dead. All the way dead. Just by the nature of the death, photos were taken from every angle. There did not seem to be any other evidence to process; everyone agreed that suicide was the most likely scenario.

“What a mess. Must have been a hollow point to tear up the chest like that,” Barrett observed. While the entry wound was not too traumatic, the rest of the chest cavity was in total disarray, half of it blown out the exit wound. What neither Dallas Barrett nor Calvin Baxter could have known, or seen at this point, was the original, fatal wound. A wound caused by an ice pick…


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