Downfall VI: Insomniac

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Image courtesy of: whyifearclowns.net

What is it about dead whores that always reminds me of circus clowns? 

Is it the way their faces, ravaged by drugs and mascara, always seem somehow comical in their extremity?  Or is it just that the profession is so similar that my mind is putting the two together on it’s own?  After all, what is whoring other than parading around in a painted mask hoping for cash and a few smiles? 

This woman died happy though, which is more than the killer did for the last two.  Maybe she made him smile too.

Probably not, but she’s dead.  Let her dream. 

“If you want dead crack whores, I know at least ten more sitting in the morgue we can go poke.  Seriously, why the fuck are we out here?” 

“For a man who desires to do my job you should focus a bit more on your own before you open your mouth,” I tell the coroner.

“What the fuck does that mean?”  He hurls his cigarette against the wall, balls his huge hands into fists, and looms over me. 

Oh my stars and garters, I have angered him.

“It means, my dear doctor, that this woman was not a crack user.  Crack cocaine is smoked.  This woman was a needle user and, unless I am mistaken, more prone to the heroin crowd.” 

The coroner is shaking his head.  What difference does it make, right?  One drug or the other still makes for a dead whore and he doesn’t give the first goddamn.

I do.  The devil is in the details. 

“The point, detective, is why do we give a shit about this piece of human trash.” 

I have to bite my tongue.  I shouldn’t answer this question, it isn’t worth it.  So of course I will.   

“Because, you monument to hubris, none of the other women in your morgue were killed by our umbrella toting friend.” 

Three witnesses reported seeing a man in a dark suit approach the woman and pass her something.  She took it, injected it, and passed out.  She hadn’t moved since.  The woman was about to be passed over when I heard about it because who cares?  She was a prostitute, a drug addict, and generally seen in the same light as the coroner was now viewing her.  It also didn’t help that the testimonies of other drug addicts and street people were taken with less than a grain of salt. 

“If he did kill this bitch then good on him.  He did us all a favour.  Maybe we should start calling him the garbage man because he’s getting rid of our trash for us.” 

When dealing with bigots one must draw a line.  The more I address this neanderthal the more he will vomit his stupidity on me, and I like this suit. 

Why did he kill this woman?  What was special about her?  How did she stand out?  There could have been anywhere from five to ten just like her standing within a stones thrown when he killed her.  Why this one? 

Damn this guy.  He has to be saying something, so what is it?  Why be so cryptic.  If you have a message, out with it already you asshole. 

“Detective, can I speak with you a moment?” 

My headache has taken on a new aspect.  That spot right behind my left eye begins to throb and I feel my eye twitch.  Would that I could have gotten through this whole day without having to deal with the captain I might have lasted long enough to down something heavy and brownish to kill it, but alas my luck is not so hot these days.  Here we go again. 

“Yes, captain, what is it?”

“What are we looking into this woman for?  I don’t see the need for this many hands just to clean up a street walker.” 

At least he is addressing her with more political correctness.  Being the police chief means being schooled in the university of pretty mouth, and his is top notch.  I am sure this woman would have appreciated the hell out of him.

I stand up, fingers rubbing my temples, eyes shut tight and I can feel it growing.  This killer is getting in my head and it hurts like nothing I have ever felt.

“Another late night, detective?  Are you even sober enough to be out here?”

I have to laugh at this.  The assumption that I am an alcoholic is cliche to the point of being moronic.

“I have a headache.  That has nothing to do with drinking, it has to do with not sleeping.”


“The job is getting to you.  Maybe you need a vacation.”

I laugh again.  This is turning into a veritable tennis match of stereotypes.

“I don’t sleep because I am an insomniac.  I am not an insomniac because I do this job, I do this job because I am an insomniac.”

His one brow raises and he leans his head to the side, putting his hands on his hips.

“My mamma always told me, ‘son, know what you’re good at and use it.’  Only thing I’m good at is living without sleep and being able to look any horrible thing in the eye knowing it couldn’t possibly lead to nightmares.  You have to sleep to have nightmares.”

I pause and he sighs, shaking his head as he does so. 

“So here I am, not giving a shit if my life makes sense to you.” 

“This is a dead end,” he cuts in.  “The woman doesn’t fit the M.O.”

“For once, we agree.  She didn’t stand out like the others.  That does’t mean he didn’t kill her, it means the M.O. wasn’t correct.” 

He’s giving me the jaw. 

“Look, serial killers can usually be broken into two main types: the ones with a manic obsession who kill a specific type of victim in order to fill a need, and the ones who kill to send a message.  This man is the second type.  He’s sending us a message and we have to figure out what that is.”

“You said the message was about standing out and that appears to be wrong.  So what is the message now?”

I honestly don’t know the answer to that anymore.  That is why my head wants to explode.  It is so full of all the different things these murders could possibly be saying and I can’t sort them out or shut them up. 

“What I know is this: he planned this.  The others weren’t planned, or did not bear the appearance of being planned, but this woman’s death was.  Or perhaps it was simply a plan to kill the first drug addict he came upon, but he knew her drug of choice and brought it along with him.  He knew he was going to kill a drug user and he was prepared.  That means he could have known he was going to kill the others as well and is a master of making it look unplanned.”

The captain is looking as if he just opened his organic frozen yogurt to find that some plebeian has replaced it with pedestrian ice cream.

  “This is both bad and good.  It is bad because we were initially on the wrong track, but it’s good because that means these three victims have a stalker and possibly a connection we missed.  He’s given us another piece of the puzzle and we have to see how these three fit together.” 

“So a street walker, a day trader, and a high end fashion designer are all connected?” 

“It’s a mad world, captain.”

I turn from him and start walking toward the other end of the street, the sun assaulting my face.  The part I left out was that it had been a month since this woman had been killed, according to the coroner, and the killer hadn’t made a move since.  We found her on a nice sunny day because her death hadn’t lead us to her when the rain had been falling.  It’s rained a few times between then and now.  Either the killer has more presents out there waiting for us to find or he was waiting for us to find this one before moving on. 

My mind is telling me its the latter.  He’s watching.  He wants us to appreciate his work and understand.  He can’t move on until we find his little present, like a cat who shits in the living room. 

Well, we found it.  Now I have to check the weather report and see how long I have until he drops another pile for me to appreciate.

7 thoughts on “Downfall VI: Insomniac

  1. I was so excited to see this installment pop up on my reader this morning!! As before, I love the banter between the detective and the police chief. And this coroner with his holier than thou attitude — blech! I’m really excited to see what the umbrella man does next, especially with this twist in the MO.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved it. Didn’t know you had such a flair for the hardboiled detective genre! Really engaging, great internal monologue (and external dialogue)… “You have to sleep to have nightmares” was a great line. And I was wondering about how she stood our or why she didn’t… this is getting really interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am really glad you like it, and thank you for the feedback – as always. I am actually a rather large Raymond Chandler fan so I am just mimicking what I feel is a similar style. His characters were always sarcastic as hell and really fun to read. I hope I can keep the momentum going!

      Liked by 1 person

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