Cuter than Christmas yet deadlier than Death itself, Dr Malegatto Alter was a tiny kitty with brains, brawn and seriously big ballistics. Not that I’d ever tell her she was cute, hell there’s only one man brave enough to do that and rumour has it she’d burnt his house down as a thank you. No, when you find yourself knee-deep in a piranha pool it’s not a good idea to cut yourself shaving as my old mum always said, “The sheriff knows I’m here,” I blurted hoping the edge of fear wouldn’t show through my voice.
The green eyes bore through me, her metal claw (a drunk once told me that she’d lost her arm pulling Satan’s heart out through his stomach and I was tempted to believe him) twitched a little as she regarded me with the level of loathing normally reserved for cockroaches, slugs and unexpected houseguests. “Well bully for you,” she said after a pause so long it could only be measured in lifetimes or games of Monopoly, “but that hardly answers the twin questions of who the devil is in my Squiddy Thing and why, now does it?”
“I guess not, I need to get him out before I can try. Any ideas?” I tried to sound a whole heap braver than I felt and I was under no illusions about my failure in the matter.
“Ideas? Ideas? Of course I have some ideas you blithering fool! Right at this moment the idea I’m giving quite a lot of time to involves you, some rope and the quay if you ask any more stupid questions!”
Her whiskers quivered in rage and I found myself thinking how adorable it was. I even contemplated reaching out to scratch behind here ears, but the thought of my hand being torn off and rammed down my throat brought me to my senses. “I mean about how to get the stiff out of your little pet here, assuming you don’t want me to slice it open…” it wasn’t a great comeback as comebacks go, but hand-tear-throat-ram you know.
“I most certainly do NOT want my sqiddy thing cutting up! I have prepared a solution that will cause a metabolic reaction within the creature that should expel the foreign body in a safe, natural manner.”
“That’s right, I’ve created a squid laxative!” she let out a peel of evil laughter that would have given Satan the willies, were he not dead due to having a heart-shaped hole in his abdomen. “Ahem,” she stopped laughing with a slight cough, “sorry, force of habit and all that.”
“Some habit,” I said, “must make playing Trivial Pursuit a real pain in the keister.”
“You have no idea,” she muttered darkly.
I tactfully changed the subject “So, this squiddy exlax, how do we administer it? Some form of injection?” I walked towards the green column, wondering at the best place for a needle. There was no answer and when I turned I saw Dr Alter struggling into what looked like a deep sea diving suit. She twisted the helmet on and looked up at me. I could see her mouth moving but couldn’t make out a word. I make the universal pointing at my ears sign and mouthed “What?”
She flipped out the glass “I said, I already have.”
Behind me was a loud, low rumble followed by a slow ripping sound.
“Oh sh…” was all I managed to say before a torrent of liquefied squid innards and dead John Doe crashed into my back and I washed past Dr Alter in a stinking waves of green slime. I’d swear she was smiling inside her helmet as I passed her.
To be continued…
All the “Goodunnit? Murder in Steelhead!” posts can be read here.
Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Sheriif Ortega’s intial desk report is here and here
2) Dr Alter notices the body here and here.
3) Elle reports that the issue was raised at the town hall meeting here.
4) The murder is discussed at the weekly town hall meeting here.