Flash Fiction: Flushed evidence
“What in the blue haze?! Ask the shadow? What the hell kinda message is this, Dibbs?”
“Your guess is as good as mine, Bends. I’m puzzled by this one. Just puzzled. ‘Ask the shadow.’ What shadow and why would we talk to something that’s not really there?! We’re going to have to call in the calvary for this one, Bends. This is some serious shit.”
Tamara looked at the strange man. He looked curiously at her. The two of them shifted their eyes over to where the “shadow” was and said nothing.
“Bends! Get your hind end over here quickly, my friend. Look what I done found in this here toilet!”
Bends turned slightly toward Tamara and the strange old man, then walked briskly into the bathroom where Office Dibbs had been. He hiccupped, then sneezed, and wiped his nose with the corner of his shirt sleeve.
“Whatchugot, Dibbs?” Something important?”
“ I believe we may have landed ourselves a bit of evidence. Look at this. Dark red clumps of hair. Three of them. Three fine clumps of dark red hair. You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”
“I sure am. Someone tried to flush some evidence and looks like it came back to bite them in the ass.”
“Bag it and tag it, Bends!”
“I’m on it, Dibbs! You logged it already on your pad there?”
“I sure as hell did.”
Tamara looked at the strange old man, and he looked back at her. The shadow was nowhere in sight, and the room took on an eerie smell — something in between the depth of loneliness and the reality of divorce. Tamara breathed out a labored sigh and the strange old man folded his short, chubby arms.
“Hey! You, sir? You’re the owner of this place? This your motel?” Dibbs called to the strange old man, finally recognizing him for who he was.
“Name’s Topher. Topher Brocklin. It is my place, yep. Been the owner now for ten years. Place was handed down to me by my uncle Teddy.”
“That’s mighty nice, Topher. Topher Brocklin, you say? Any kin to Macy and Moe Brocklin up there on 55?”
“Yep. My cousins. Distant. But cousins all the same.”
“Okay. Well, it’s nice to meet another Brocklin. Take a look at this, please.” Officer Dibbs held up one clump of hair with his gloved hand and sashayed it in front of Topher Brocklin’s eyes. “Judging by the hair still left on the deceased’s head, this is not hers. Any idea who it belonged to?”
The strange, Oompa Loompa’d man stood back on his heels, tightened his folded chubby arms, and mumbled, “Tess. Tess has dark red hair.”
Tamara looked at the strange old man, then up to Officer Dibbs and Officer Bends, and shook her head in disbelief before saying, “What kind of place are you running here?! Isn’t Tess one of the other maids?!”
Officers Dibbs and Bends were thinking the same thing, but both nodded at the woman’s recollection and noted the disgruntled look on Topher Brocklin’s face after her comment.
“The woman has a point here, Topher. Have you seen Tess at all today? Better yet, have you seen either of the other two maids today?”
Topher Brocklin stood there weary-eyed and unfocused on the serious issue building before him. Had he seen Tess or Daphne earlier at all? Did either of them clock in? He scratched his oily head as if to unearth the answer.
“Well, officer … I — I can’t says I have.”
“You can’t say or you don’t know, Topher. Topher Brocklin? Those are two different things, you know?”
“I mean … I don’t recall. I can’t remember.”
Tamara huffed out an exasperated sigh and just shook her head. The officers stood there, flummoxed by the situation unfolding right before them. And the strange old man cried.
Just as the first tear fell, the shadow reappeared.