Monday, May 26, 2008

Translator of Kill

Wherein Jeb and F. Scott Espectaculo are called to the crime scene

Oh predator, my predator had been scrawled next to the body. The dropped dictionary. At first Jeb thought it was paint.
“Nope. It’s nylon based. Not scrubbable, not matte.” He paused.
“Not Dick Blick,” F. Scott Espectaculo added.
“And from the thermometer reading, this body’s never been so comfortable.” Scott looked up from his watch— the putty knife in his other hand— as if telling time over Thanksgiving dinner.
“I couldn’t care less if it’s nylon or Dacron. Put the knife down first. This sprawl has a ripe n’ healthy pallor compared to that last scene,” Jeb flashed.
“True. True,” F. Scott’s voice trailed off, as if thinking of his first time.
“Benjamin Moore?”
“Let me jog your memory. Come on, it’ll be momentary exertion.”
“You did it standing up. Nor did you have any time to establish lasting contact.”
“We were at the bagelmart, the east side of town, see, and the parking lot had piled up with cop cars, too thick for any criminal action,” Jeb added.

“True, true. They’d make arrests the moment you uttered the word ‘Kill!’ remember?”
“Yeah I do. And the dancing Shriner with the capgun quit bothering us, his hatful of sprigs from God knows what plant, running around, owning the place, pinching everyone’s nose and chuckling, ‘I’m a Jesus fish, I’m a Jesus fish.’
“Remember?” Jeb looked at F. Scott imploringly. Jeb stopped.
“You have a piece of something right there.” Jeb, pointing at his face: “Here?”
Espectaculo looked up from his watch. Two ten pm. It read Jueves, August 23.
“There, yes. You got it. But shit! I’d almost forgotten to ask. Wasn’t this guy head of some international spelling crime get-together happening in town for the next few days? I tried to get tickets— figured it’d be a great place to meet people we might later bust. You however, had said not to be hasty. Him?”
F. Scott’s voice had been ascending in pitch since wasn’t.
“You can’t tell that from his suit. Gee, you’d think they’d know just where to shop. This is obviously faux.”
This last comment came out, nearly a shriek, a soprano.
“But in this case, a very interesting case indeed, the perp must’ve raided Home Lumber, Paints & Construction to find this mix. It’s rare. They use it in racing,” Jeb huffed.
“Well then, we should get to the bottom of each word’s roots.”
“A stellar plan,” Jeb broke in. “To get some idea of what and who we’re dealing with.”
“To kill. I kill. You kill. He or she kills. They kill. We kill. You all kill.”
“That’s great Scottie ma’ boy. But where’s the meat? Where’s the etymology?” Jeb, frustrated, asks.
“Probably in the same family as cuore, with a real family-building feeling and tone,” F. Scott said, not taking his own eyes off the chest cavity, his cleaning aimed at making a tidy little space for accepting that this was happening. He scarcely wanted to say it: M-u-r-d-e-r.
“The word just makes your insides ache.”
Espectaculo knew the word. Of the words he knew, it happened to be nearest to Murcia. He had wanted a vacation there. To sunny Spain. Shaped like an almond, smell of punch. The voting had gone to the north. Eventually, Estremadura had won out. Scott would have to wait until much later to gaze at the snarling, windless bulls of the ring. The matte blood; so rare to spot matte on fur and see it still moving. He wasn’t much used to living contexts.
And tyrannicide was certainly another coin, too. Set upon by whom he called dogs; that unstoppable violence from income disparity and even poorer statesmanship. And there they were, The Joneses. But murder? Snuff the Joneses? Scott hadn’t heard it in years.
“It seems unlikely that he just stepped out for a cigarette and blam! in this outfit. He eats a bullet. In this weather? You’d hear the sound. This part of town is dead. The gray of it, I’d lose my appetite for just about eating anything. I don’t know why we’re here.”
“To put the fixings on this body and ship it to the basement guys,” Jeb said. “With better degrees.”

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