Danburg Police Headquarters
Exactly 6 hours 53 minutes since lower Danburg was blown into the Mississippi River
“Barker, get your sorry ass in there and find out why half of lower Danburg is floating in the fuckin’ river.” bellowed Captain Winslow. It wasn’t an exageration either, normally Captain Winslow could be counted on for extending the truth and deliberately dancing the details out to sound more dangerous and harrowing; a mournful cat stuck in a tree would invariably transform into a rabid puma with its eight cousins out for blood and human flesh. Today though, after the first explosions let loose and chunks of the cliff clinging city began dropping into the Mississippi River there was no more need for truth stretching, this was beyond reason. Phones were pealing, they had been for so long, it felt like the phones had never been silent. Barker wasn’t even certain if it was all the phones, all the lines, or one singular screeching ‘brrrnnggg’ that when he squinted his ears and leveled his eyes sounded like a shrew screaming ‘help’ as loud as a bad song.
“Um,yeah…yes, sir”, Barker gasped, looking for all the world like a child with his hand caught in a steel jawed trap. He would rather do anything than go into the interrogation room.
“Now!” Barker leapt up, every limb shaking and sweating buckets. He was crushed with the feeling of being the walking dead and stifled the hyena laugh that threatened to erupt. The idea that he, the lowest of no one on the precinct totem pole, so green in his blues he was just plain wet behind the ears and teal. He was now a big teal colored zombie, he thought with a fool’s bravado and then the laugh escaped as the vomit came crawling up his throat. Whatever testosterone fueled pride had been residing in him had packed up and left for the outer banks when Det. Tyler had come out of Interrogation room 9 ten minutes ago with his left hand missing and repeatedly coughing out, ‘He just ate it”. What was he supposed to accomplish in there with that psycho, that half the force and a now one handed detective couldn’t make happen? He was cannon fodder, a pawn and would be lucky if he ever left the room .
With slow, deliberate steps, and a Clint Eastwood like voice in his head reminding him in cadence to die like a man… die with purpose… die with his boots on…except he was wearing Crocs because of an ingrown toenail and fungus…die with your damn Crocs on then. The ninth door, the last door on the left opened electronically, as silent as a hand slipping into another.
“I need to be home for dinner.” Came a voice from within the room. It was unexpected, calm, something lilting even… that could read poetry and bed time stories, well. Barker, as he lost what cerebral control he barely had, longed to hear the man say, “Once upon a time, long ago and far away.”
“Not likely.” Barker shoved out of pursed lips…to keep them from chattering and flopping about and betraying his abject terror… sat down, purposely tucking his hands safely in his trouser pockets.
“She’ll be piqued.” The man tried to stand, forgetting he was neatly shackled to the table like a hotel television set, and instead was left in a hunched crouch on the other side of the table. He rubbed his hands together as if for warmth and attempted to run them through his mangy, mopish cap of hair. “She might even withhold dessert if I’m too late.” he licked his lips and sat back down. “She tells me punctuality is a sign of respect. ” His eyes closed for but a moment, his face taking on a peacefulness Barker had last seen on his dead Aunt Lucinda. “You have 107 minutes before the last train leaves for home.” He looked down, a vulpine smirk curling his tattered and chapped lips. One split so deeply, that it beckoned for hot fudge sauce and jimmies.
“Then you best start talking.” Barker found simple words were easier to voice and if he were lucky he would leave here with ten little piggies upstairs and downstairs.
“I can’t figure it out.” His head shaking side to side, lips tucked tight. “She always smells like home. I’ve watched her from start to finish; the way she disrobes so carefully, each garment hung or tossed to its proper place. ” He gripped the tops of his knees, rocking forward, his breath hinting at raggedness. “The way she runs her hands under the flow of water into the tub until its so hot I have to pull her back. There’s a sweet temp, I just know there is.”
He stopped and looked right at Barker, and for a moment this lunatic could be any man Barker knew; telling a tale about his ditzy wife he couldn’t live without.
“I think its about 103 degrees and keep telling myself and Eggs that we need a thermometer to find out the exact temperature that makes her nipples soft and her thighs pink.” He sighed just then, his eyes rolling back into his head a bit and his breath became quicker still. ” Eggs has a bad memory.”
“What about the city?” Barker forced out, enjoying this story far more than he was going to hear about the city blowing up.
“Shhh, its rude to interupt. We’re getting to the good part, ” He remonstrated, his tongue writhing about his mouth now, his breath a dull, shallow rasp. “She slides in then, holding my hand , although she chides me for being overprotective, telling me she’ll be fine. She soaks and soaks. And I read to her, stealing glances through the steam, the way the water curls about her breasts. She says I could read the phone book and it would sound like a song. ” He smiles then, if one can call his pitted features spread in a ghastly mask.
” She stands, tugging the drain stopper out with her toes, the ones on her left foot. I painted them licorice pink, which until I saw the color in the bottle had never known licorice could be pink.” His next movement came at that breath, his shoulders shrugged, his eyes clear and deep, longing for something Barker had never even known existed in this world. A tilt of the head and he was looking down or was it inward?
“I dry her with a towel until she’s barely moist,” he whispered huskily, conspiritorily. Barker sat forward, his heart beating like a tell tale heart and his palms, sweat spigots in his pockets.
“Then lick the last of the water droplets away. Especially those sneaky ones that hide. I run my nose the length of her neck, she giggles as soft as rain, her breath catches and I’m awash in home.”
Barker, choking on his own tongue, coughing into his salty hand, asks about the city again…barely.
H, being the mind reading prick that he is, purrs four honeyed words, “Once upon a time…”