Ballbrakker and the Girl with the Walleye Tattoo, continue in Chapter One, part two. After a body is found on a nearby Golf Course, Hertz Ballbrakker starts to open the case which is one helluva Pandora’s Box dare, dontchaknow.
What might happen if Wallander met The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and they both lived in Minnesota.
Excerpts from the soon to be released fictional blockbuster:
The Girl who could just be a’Lyon
Published by Pass the Swede, Bro’ Ltd publishers
Chapter One, In the rough Part two Monday March 8th
Hertz pulled his Volvo Wagon up behind a couple of black and whites parked in the Walleye Wilds neighborhood. He stiffly got out, pulled up this collar on his wool jacket and walked down the path to the area Rod had directed him to. It wasn’t too far, but “damn it be nice if it was summer instead of the winter of no end’, Hertz grumped.
He come over the crest where he knew the 5th hole tee box was and saw the small crowd of cops and medical personal and a tow truck operator with his rig were gathered down the cart path in a valley on the course. He spotted Rod as he got down the hill and Hertz got his stainless steel mug out of his coat pocket and got a nice cup of the ‘killer’ coffee.
“Thanks Rod, it sure helps on a bitter day like today huh?”
“No doubt, Hertz, no doubt. Well I wish I could say I got here first but those dumb asses Skeeter and Dim got here first in the ATV units we bought last year, except they think that they’re for their personal recreational pleasure.” Hertz looked around the area of the corpse and as far as his eye could see was nothing but tire tracks and partially ground up sod.
“ Hey Hertey man theses machines are awesome, dude. They do a mean donut…. And I don’t mean a Hertz donut dare neither.”, shouted Skeeter from the other side of group of personnel. Skeeter and some of the others enjoyed Skeeter’s little joke.
“ Hey Skeeter, come on over here, Ok dar?” asked Hertz briskly.
Skeeter rambled over doing his best John Wayne, that is if John Wayne was pimply faced punk weighing 130 pounds soaking wet. If Hertz had to guess, Skeeter was probably about 25, cocky as hell and thought he was king of the Milacky universe. “You guys really have some talent to make them machines spin all over. You like doing motorcross and jumping snowmobiles and all that gearhead stuff, huh?”
“Yeah we sure do Hertz, you should join us sometime…ab bah bbbbaa.”
But Skeeter got interrupted by Hertz’s hand grabbing his parka collar and lifting Skeeter a good foot in the air. “Skeeter your amazing talent may have been displayed all over a possible crime scene you flushing moron and over a private golf course that pays a hellva lot of taxes to pay nimrods like you. If you destroyed any of their fairways, I will personally supervise you and Dimsy as you re-sod it. Over and out?” , and he threw Skeeter back about three feet, he landed awkwardly and ended up on his ass. His fellow cops laughed at his misfortune.
Skeeter picked himself and said, “Sorry Hertz, I guess Doug and I weren’t thinking. We’ll take care of any damage. Right Doug,” Skeeter looked over to where Doug Dimsdale was standing, who everyone who knew him, called Dim. Dim nodded silently in the affirmative, alternating looks between Skeeter and Hertz and then at the ground.
“That’s what I like to hear boys,” growled Hertz. “So Rod, what do we have here?”
“We got a call from a guy from the neighborhood who was out walking his pooch. I guess his bloodhound starting digging over here and found a hand sticking out of a snow pile. We spent a good couple hours trying to dislodge her but I got nervous that we damage the body. We then got a chain saw and cut a block of ice and snow about a foot around her body. I can tell she’s a young one, looks like little body decay, I don’t think we can tell how she died until we get her to the morgue and thaw her out. I think from the quality of the nails and what I am able to see, she was a looker. But I don’t have any local missing person reports and I don’t get any calls about kids out here partying and getting trouble. She doesn’t look dressed for the cold..” , Rod’s voice trailed off.
Hertz completed his thought. “ And I doubt she just wondered out to a secluded middle class neighborhood to come and off herself. My gut tells me she was dumped here recently but obviously in haste and the murderer wasn’t too worried about the body eventually being discovered. The prep probably figured, correctly I’m afraid, that fresh snow or melting would cover his tracks. Of course, he didn’t figure on Milacky’s finest assisting his cover up.”
The tow truck roared as the hoist picked up the block of ice and unknown female and it slide up the carrier ramp of the flatbed tow truck. It was undignified, but they didn’t have much choice at this point. Hertz surmised the truck had navigated the pathways in the course and hoped to hell it didn’t tear up more the course than the other two numbskulls had already done. “Anyone find anything of interest by chance?”, asked Hertz.
“Not really. We found plenty of dog crap and yellow snow and a half eaten brownie but that was too fresh to be worthwhile. But footprints or blood stains or anything else of any value seems to be in short supply. As in none.”
“Well hopefully we’ll learn a lot more once Oskar gives ‘er a complete autopsy.” Hertz said referring to Milacky’s Medical Examiner, Oskar Jorgenssen. “Who’s this guy who found her, Rod?”
“Ah some guy named Elmer Nelson, I think my dad and Elmer worked together at the paper mill back in the day. Anyway here’s his address, he’s real close by, and I got Smith getting a statement from him right now. And here if you want you can take this brownie and see if it’s his.” Rod said partly in jest.
Hertz smiled and looked at the brownie and gave it a sniff, and though partially frozen he thought he detected the faint smell of THC. I guess his days in narcotics were good for something. Hertz doubted Elmer was doing marijuana brownies but he’d seen crazier stuff than a seasoned citizen doing hemp brownies. He looked at his watch and saw it was 2 pm and he have to get going soon to meet Belinda and Bjork in time.
He walked up to Elmer’s house just a few doors down from where he had parked. He rang the doorbell. He heard the explosive barks of a dog, one of those small terriers that yep like a much of ladies at a church social. Hertz heard the usual warnings to be quiet or else , which had no effect . And then the sound of a dog squealing like a pooch who knew it had gone too far with his master and finally the slamming of a door. The front door opened about 4 inches and a bald head and a pair of eyes peered out suspiciously. “I don’t want any of what your selling Mister, good…. “ But before Elmer could close the door, Hertz produced his badge and let Elmer give it a once over. “ Geez another cop, I just talked to Mr. Smith, it’s been a long day.”
“I am sure it has Mr. Nelson, I’m Detective Ballbrakker with the Homicide department, could I ask a couple of quick questions as well?”
The door opened and there was Elmer all 5 foot and 4 inches of him if that. He had on leopard spotted jammie pants and ice pack on his knee, a button down cardigan sweater and a bandage that wrapped around his head like a bad mummy imitation. He limped towards the kitchen and offered Hertz a chair at their oval kitchen table. “Can I getcha anything dare, Mr. Baylor….
“ No I’m good thanks and its Ballb… just call me Hertz okay”. Hertz still had his coffee mug and took a big gulp as he felt the afternoon blahs coming on bad. He looked around the kitchen and everywhere were cutout shamrocks, and paper leprechauns and ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ signs and about every St. Patrick’s Day kitschy thing you could dream up. “I wouldn’t think being a Nelson you’d be into St. Patty’s this much.”
“Ah tell me about it dare. Greta , dats my wife you know, loves to decorate for every little “holiday” they come up with. Hell she even decorates for Arbor Day and Fishing Opener… for the love of Sonja Henie. So you’re in homicide, so it’s a murder dare;’ huh?”
“Not for certain yet, but it kinda looks that way. And where is Mrs. Nelson today?” inquired Hertz.
Elmer leaned in, cupped a hand by his mouth and mock whispered, “She’s out in the backyard with the udder bodies.” He let a slight laugh escape. Hertz didn’t say anything but gave a long hard stare at Elmer, who slowly leaned back and straightened up and took a big swallow. “I guess that wasn’t none too humorous was it? I am sorry, Greta is in Arizona visiting friends, the lucky stiff…. I mean as opposed to the unlucky stiff, oh geez no pun intended dare. I think I’m just trying to take the edge off of seeing a dead body near my home. And this bruise on my noggin has got me acting stoopid, dontcha know. What’s the world coming to? “
“Its okay Elmer, by the way you don’t know anything about this brownie here, we found it not too far where the body was.” Pulling out the brownie Rod had given Hertz back at the crime scene; Hertz was having a little joke of his own now and he wanted to see how Elmer might react.
“Brownie, … I don’t know nothing but no brownie there Mr. Avis”, said Elmer in a rather uncalm manner. “ If I gonna hava buzz, I mean some dessert, I prefer a piece of pie or a scoop of ice cream. Greta’s the chocoholic, not me dare.”
“No problem, just curious, its about all we found around the crime scene. Maybe you should let me meet the bloodhound who found victim. If that’s okay with you?” Hertz asked, hearing the muffled barks of Annika behind a door off the kitchen. He put down the brownie on the table and turned in the direction of the dog noises. “He’s got a lot of spunk doesn’t he?”
“It’s a she, Annika is er name, you know like Annika Sorenstam the famous golfer.” Elmer relieved to get off the brownie subject, jumped up quicker than he thought possible and hobbled over and opened a closet door where Annika burst out like she was shot from a cannon. “Watch out she’ll be all over you for a minute or so. She pulled me hard when she found the body, that’s why I look like the walking wounded here.”
Annika jumped up on Hertz’s trousers and licking his hands and circled him a few times, tried to get up in this lap. Hertz decided it be better for him to control her if bring her up and pet her on his lap. He leaned down and picked her up. He had a soft spot for dogs like most humans. “Well ain’t you quite the hunter huh girl? I can see she isn’t shy, my widdle Annika,” he cooed as he petted the ball of white energy. Hertz turned back to Elmer who had sat back down at the table. “Before I forget, have you seen anything suspicious in the last couple of weeks?”
“No It’s pretty quiet back here, and that’s the way we like it. Can’t think of anything off hand.”
“Any strange neighbors or any unusual activities, comings and goings you can think of?” asked Hertz who was more focused on Annika than the answers Elmer was giving.
“No… not really.” Elmer seemed to be pondering. “Well you know the Burgers down the street are kinda different. I think they got one of dem open marriages or at least the old lady shore does. Boy her and the old man can go at it some days, and I see different cars and different men come and go now and then.”
“Sounds like pretty normal kind of domestic issues, we can’t arrest people just for poor morals or loud arguments dare can we?” Just then, from his coat pocket, Hertz’s cell phone gave off a muffled noise, a vaguely familiar tune:
If you change your mind, I’m the first in line
Honey I’m still free
Take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down
If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Honey I’m still free
Take a chance on me
“Hmmm, that ain’t my usual ringtone.” Hertz puzzled aloud. He wrapped Annika in one arm and reached with is other free hand to get the phone. It was Mucus Morgenson, the junior member of the Homicide squad. “Hey Mucus. I been thinking aboot you. Looks like we might have caught a murder finally.” Hertz said and then flinched realizing he had another set of ears nearby. “Could of used you this afternoon, where you been?”
“What you mean you think you got a murder, cuz I damn well knows we gots one where I’m at.”
“Don’t be yanking my chain, Morgenson.”
“No yankee doodle chain pulling a dandy. Found a youngish blond female dead as a deadbolt with a big gash in her head in a rain shelter out here at Viking Village Links and Bowling Emporium.”
“Really, is the body still there? I like to see the crime scene before they come for the body”
“Yeah I just got here about twenty minutes ago. Were out on the back nine, call me when you get close and I can direct you in.”
“No problem, thanks Mucus, talk to you then.”
“You got another murder, Mr. Alamo?” said the concerned Elmer as Hertz ended his conversation.
“Geez, Mr. Nelson, its Hertz by the way. Here is one of my cards. I gotta go and listen we don’t know if we got even a murder right here, so don’t go panicking or nothing dare. You got that?” Hertz stood up from the Table and made sure he ended his call on his phone when he saw the time. “Holy mother of Harmon Killebrew, its 3:10 pm.” He dropped Annika in his shock. Then the phone began that awful ringtone again and he saw Belinda’s ID come up. “Oh bite me. ‘ Hey Bee, I just saw the time. Sorry I just got two possible murders that sprung up. But I’ll get there as fast as I can.” Hertz didn’t let Belinda say much except he heard her and his father in the background cursing loudly as he ended the call. “Thanks for your time Elmer and call if anything comes to mind that may relate to the body.” Hertz said as he started for the front door.
Elmer sat there with his yapper open, and finally said “What… what did you do with Annika?”
Hertz felt his heart stop, and he looked down at the floor and Annika was lying on her side with her tongue sticking our and black all around her mouth. “Oh shit I think I killed her” Hertz shouted.
Elmer got up and leaped onto the table top and slid over the table top to Hertz’s side and looked down in horror. “ Oh just fuck me dead, you killed her, you bastard! Greta will have my balls on a spit, or she’ll spit out my balls when she gets home!”
Hertz bent down to do some doggie CPR when he heard Annika breathing hard and actually starting to snore, and he smelled chocolate and a THC mix on her doggie breath. “She ate the brownie when I took the phone call, she is just passed out”, sighed the very relieved detective.
Elmer was struggling to get off the table and rush at Hertz in act of madness when he looked at the table and saw some brownie crumbs and realized he was hearing the same snores as Hertz. “Oh poop bags, dogs shouldn’t have chocolate should they?”
“Call the vet, they’ll know, but I suspect she’ll be fine, maybe just a little hung over that’s all. Sorry to drop her like that Elmer. Hey, I gotta go or there’ll be a third murder to add to the list. Byeeeeeee” , Hertz said as he accelerated to the door.
He ran to his car, started it in third gear and popped the clutch, and at the same time put on the dash the in-car red strobe he used for emergencies. He tore out of the neighborhood going about seventy as he come to the first main trunk road. Racing over the country side he got to his dad’s lakeside home in about 5 minutes which normally would have taken 15 at normal speeds. He took the direct route over the ice of Lake Crappie , hoping it was still thick enough to handle car traffic. He went up the local public boat launch and turned down the street towards his dad’s place. He skidded about 100 feet, jamming the brakes hard, coming in sideways up to front of Bjork’s driveway, coming within just a few feet from the horrified and angry faces of Belinda and Bjork. “Come on guys, get in what you waiting for?!, cried Hertz.
Belinda helped Bjork into the second row of seats of Hertz’s Volvo Turbo Wagon and then sat shotgun in the front next to Hertz. “Jesus Dad, you damn near killed us. So you’re all Steve McQueen now, huh!”
“Just get your seatbelts on and let’s go!” Hertz slammed the car into gear and punched the accelerator, lurching forward and sending Bjork tumbling into the rear seats of the Wagon. “What the fuck junior, just let me out and you can run me over if you want to kill me so bad”, yelled the very unhappy Bjork.
Hertz turned up the car stereo to drown out his Dad’s complaining. “Hey honey, I know you hate when I have to leave a family deal due to work but we got two murders busting and I suspect they’re related.”
“So you sticking me with the paperwork and getting Grandpa settled, … you’re unbelievable you know that”
“Wow thanks sweetie, I think your pretty special too…” Hertz said trying to reach over and pat his daughter’s hand, but she moved away from his physical touch, squeezing herself against the door.
It was silent the rest of the short trip, except for the music and muffled curses coming from the backseat.
“Well here we are Suay Bui Bui, Senior Living Center. I promise I will visit soon and here’s a twenty for a taxi home Bee. Bee can you pick it up a little sweetie, and get Bjork out the back area, I got a murder to solve.”
After assisting Bjork out of the car; where he had been riding with his head jammed down between the back seat and the floor of the car, Belinda and Bjork stood side by side with Belinda’s arm around Bjork for moral and physical support as the Volvo left the curb. They felt the spray of street slush and loose gravel hit them as Hertz tore off doing a tight 180 and headed back out of the complex parking lot.
“Lindy honey, how much would I have to pay you to kill the fucking asshole?”
“Oppah don’t worry, it be pro bono and all my pleasure. In fact, I’d pay you for the pleasure of doing it.”, she turned and smiled at her grandfather who beamed back a grin. “Shall we find you a room and a date tonight Oppah?” Belinda asked and held out her arm for Bjork to hold onto as she turned towards the Suay Bui Bui Center entrance.
“You know you’re all right, considering you came out of our gene pool. Let’s go in.”