This week we move on as the murder mystery deepens as body number two is found. And we meet Tizzabutte Flatliner our heroine who is leaving her job in white crimes unit to join Milwacky homicide just in time for the biggest murder caper to hit Milwacky County since the Johannssen incident back dare in the thirties. And of course we meet Linus Dumfisck, current lover of Tizzabutte’s and ace journalist for The Loon, the weekly paper of Milwacky County. Its going to start get fast and furious real soon, okay. I got to go, “yes… I am coming Missus Ahwiggins. ”
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 Two: Call of the Loon
It was coming on four o’clock and the weekly editorial meeting of the Loon, ‘Central Minnesota’s news call of the wild’, was about to start. Linus Dumfisck, lead journalist was impatient to get going. His girl friend had called him from work to say she had a big announcement and wanted to celebrate. God he hoped it wasn’t news she was preggers, Linus wasn’t quite ready for that. She was so young and he, even in his later thirties, was not at all ready to be tied down. He didn’t think she was ready for that either but you never know about women.
He had met her on a internet chat site of adult frisky singles and learned as they shared some details of their lives about a case she had been working on, that ended up being the biggest break in Linus’ career. At first they kept things platonic and saw their arrangement as mutually career enhancing, but after a long evening where she kept giving Linus so much good information on the financial misdealings of one of Minnesota’s biggest businessmen, he couldn’t keep up with the volume of quality material. He knew they had hit a gusher of a story and his days being stuck in a pohdunk weekly rag like “The Loon” would be coming to an end. He wanted to take a break and he broke out some champagne to celebrate. After he carded his girl friend to make sure she was legal, kinda as a joke, they shared a bottle and began to kiss and then pet and it seemed like the next thing he knew he was doing the missionary position with the zeal of a Baptist preacher. He looked down during the passionate love making and was taken aback by the large walleye and state of Minnesota tattoo on his lover’s back. He almost began to laugh hysterically upon seeing such a bizarre design, but tried to hold it back, which ended up leading to a climax of epic proportions. After that night they made love for many days in a row…. Ah time moves on and it had been a while since they exchanged bodily fluids, but he was sure tonight would be a return to their adventure in ectascy.
The voice of Chelsea Burger broke Linus’ daydream bubble and killing yet another strong afternoon delight boner. “Okay I don’t where Joel is but I want to get going and get out the F outta here, its been a long day. So Linus how are you coming on the next installment of our favorite cash cow Mr. Decker”? Chelsea said with her usual command and no nonsense style, as she stood at the head of the staff conference table.
“I should have the last paragraphs completed and the full story to you before I go tonight. It’s going to focus on his early days when he opened up his first snowmobile retail business just as the sport started to take off. It will show how different he was when he was still flying straight and hungry. That will lead to next week when I show how in order to grow his business he started to cut corners during the start of his rise to riches built on raw greed. I will have 75 column inches of copy for you for this issue.”
“Well darling you better get your scissors out and do some editing, cuz I can only give you about 50 inches” Chelsea demanded.
“What? Come on Chelse, you said yourself this is our cash cow” pleaded Linus.
“We have been playing it on the front page for weeks, its getting kinda stale. He’s in jail now awaiting sentencing and there isn’t as much drama as before. Besides…” , she said turning towards the ad department raising her voice so anyone there could hear her, “if those lazy shits in sales sold some more space, I have no trouble giving you the inches,” turning her head back to address Linus in her best Betty Bop voice , “but it ain’t there Linus poopsie.”
“I can see what I can do, it is a killer piece, really”, said a deflated Linus. He looked at Chelsea as she started to quiz another reporter. She was still well put together and Linus had enjoyed being one in a long line of lovers who had entered the den of Cougar Chelsea. Mid-fourties, blond, fair skinned and nary a wrinkle, high cheekbones, penetrating blue eyes and she filled out a knit sweater like few others could, she also seduced and conquered like few woman could or dared to. She was married but claimed she and her husband, Bradley, had worked out an arrangement. But Linus thought it was a unilateral agreement that Bradley was in perfect ignorance of. Bradley was a nice guy, if sorta clueless and into his passions: construction and airplanes, Linus had met him at holiday parties and other Loon social events in the past, but he was a general contractor who loved Bobcats more than cougars apparently. He travelled out of state often and, probably unwittingly, gave Chelsea time to play. She was discreet and thoughtful and brought passion to her lovemaking, but she kept a wall of emotional concrete between her and her boy toys. When she decided to move on it that was it, no long goodbyes, just ‘it was fun and if you ever mention we had an affair I will cut off your nuts.’ For Linus that was fair enough and he was rather attached to his testicles.
Joel came in as Linus was just beginning to wonder if Tiz might be up for some teabagging tonight. He was short of breathe and seemed very excited. “Sorry guys and Ms. Burger, I meant to be here on time but I picked up on the police scanner aboot an hour ago that they have found two separate female corpses. And get this, both were discovered on area golf courses, ain’t that some crazy shit?”
“What courses, Joel?” asked a concerned Chelsea.
“ Ah the muni course, Viking Village and the other, let me see my notes, he opened his notebook, oh yeah, Walleye Wacker National, which I guess is over in the exclusive subdivision where all the big shots live.”
Chelsea drop her coffee mug on the floor, which exploded upon impact. “Oh.” Is all she uttered.
Linus knew Walleye Wacker was the neighborhood Chelsea lived and said, “Sorry Chelsea, for sure, it’s just a fluke that it was found by your home.” The rest of staff inhaled or gasped with surprise, and expressed their concern and shared Chelsea’s shock.
“Oh, I didn’t know you lived over there Ms. Burger, but I guess that makes you a big shot, huh,…ahem … I always knew you were. Anyway I like to ask your permission to skip the meeting to keep on the story and open space on the front page for it. I think this could be big. You know what creeps me out is these are both places where Lyon Forrestts has been doing some of the local charity stuff I have been covering. For some reason I sense there is a connection.”
Chelsea turned to him, leaned forward with her fists on the table supporting her. “Listen Joel, how dare you mention Lyon Forrestts being even remotely connected with a couple of dead bodies. How can you make a leap like that, when you don’t know jack about what has happened.” She paused to decide what how to answer his original question. “Go ahead and find out more, but for now your main priority is to do the feature on Lyon’s fundraising, his charities and his idyllic marriage with Olay, you know play up the super special Swedish supermodel and wife thing, our female demographic will eat it up like it was chocolate filled popovers and if we get some Olay swimsuit art to insert with your story, we’ll grab the male audience for a few seconds at least. Okay?”
“Ja sure, I will let you know what I find out. But Ms. Burger getting anything quotable out of Lyon or his publicity staff is like pulling teeth. He is in image control at all times. All I can give you at this point is the typical puff piece.”
“Did it ever occur to you Joel, that Lyon is one of those rare exceptions to the rule, a superstar who is a normal, decent person. Now that is a story! So go and try to get me something people will want to read and not some cockamamie theory that your young bowl full of mush thinks up”, scolded Chelsea with an ice cold blast.
The office was silent as Joel left the office. Linus broke the ice, “You know Chels, nobody’s as perfect as Lyon Forrestts seems to want us to believe. It’s just he’s the biggest thing to hit pro golf and everyone will protect him from any hint of trouble. You know, he was doing stuff with Henny Decker and some of his so-called ’foundations’, but with some quick slight of hand the foundations are under different oversight now and I think he is up here doing some damage control. I bet if Tiz had some more time she could dig up some interesting connections…”
“Listen Dumfiscks, and listen good, one, I never want the name Tizzabutte Flatliner mentioned in this office, again; she is trouble with a capital T and I just hope to God the information she got you was obtained legally, because I don’t have unlimited bank accounts even if I’m a bigshot, ja? Two, anything you have on Lyon you better have it destroyed before the day is done, because I spent too many years making the Loon what it is to have it destroyed by careless gossip and innuendo.”
Linus was beginning to get real pissed off. He knew Chelsea hadn’t like his involvement with Tizzabutte, but to insult him by telling him to kill a potential big story in front of the reporting staff was crossing the line. He stood up, and looked Chelsea straight in her baby blue eyes and tried not to begin to melt. “You know Mrs. Burger if I didn’t know any better I almost think you had a thing for Lyon. As if you had something to … let’s say protect?”
Chelsea started to tremble with anger and her usual pale face turned a warm pink. She slowly started to bring her breathing under control and her blushing subsided. “I‘ll forget you said anything this time Dumfisck, but be careful; very careful; I mean really, really, extra special careful. I can have you doing garage sale announcements the next time you feel the need to accuse your editor-in-chief of improprieties.”
“Yes mame,” said Linus meekly, and he sat down feeling humiliated, slumped in his chair, folded his arms and sat silent brooding through the rest of the meeting. But his thoughts were plenty active on all the different forms of mayhem he’d like to perform on this cougar from hell.
Hertz pulled in the parking lot of Viking Village and was met by Mucus in a golf cart. “She’s out a ways, so this is the best way to get there, but better bundle up its cold with the added wind chill”, said Mucus.
“Well tell me what we have here.”, asked Hertz as Mucus hit the accelerator of the cart and surged to 10mph about 8 seconds later.
“A groundskeeper who was making his rounds aboot the course checking for winter damage, or any vandalism and some upkeep items, when he found the body in the rain shelter on the fourteenth hole. The victim was tied up with personalized Lyon Forrest golf towels, and Nike TF logo golf balls were placed in some, let’s say body cavity areas and big long gash like a … a debit I think they call ‘em, was taken out of her head by I would guess, a scooper or something.” Mucus told Hertz. “Whoa look out dare.” Hertz had to duck from an oncoming evergreen branch that hung over the cart path. “Sorry I was paying too much attention to talking and I got no where to maneuver with all the snow piles along the course.”
“Just try not to take off my head Mucus. I think you mean divot and probably a golf club was the murder weapon, to keep with the golf theme. Boy this makes me all the more anxious to see what happened with our first corpse.”
“You have a body but you don’t know anything about her death?” Mucus puzzled.
“No, she was encased in snow and ice and she is in the morgue being deforsted, probably in that new microwave they got last year.”
“No shit, does it do really big bags of popcorn too?” asked the earnest Mucus.
“No Mucus, I was just messing with ja, of course not. Probably using a really big heat gun instead.” Hertz replied shaking his head in disbelief.
There was another group of police and related personnel when they pulled up by the shelter.
“Hey Hertz, good to see you, its been a while. But no murders is a better thing even if it keeps us apart.” It was Oskar Jorgenssen, Milackey County Medical Examiner, who was checking out the victim initially before they took her back to the morgue.
“Looks like we might be seeing a lot of each other and your going to have a long night and day tomorrow. You heard about the other body that was discovered over at Walleye Wacker?”
Oskar signed, “Yeah, you got to think their related even at this point in the investigation.”
“Any ID on her or anything else you can tell me, Mucus gave me the basics?” Hertz inquired as they started to walk over to the body.
“No wallet or cash, she looks to be early twenties and head trauma appears to be the initial cause of death of course pending a thorough examination. This guy, assuming it’s a guy or a single murderer, seems to be almost creating a sick version of performance art. I would say a lot of thought went into how she was staged. Guy must like Lyon Forrestts a hellva lot, used his brand of golf towels and golf balls as part of the “presentation” for lack of a better word.”
Stanley Snapplepuss, or better know as Snaps was taking forensic photos when they came up. “Hey Snaps, can you give us a few minutes to check things out?” Oskar asked.
“Your wish is my command, Master Oskar, … heya Hertz. What a pity about this one, huh? I bet she could get your blood pumping in a more comfortable pose and setting. Well I let you two do yore thang. Peace out.”
“Right on Snaps”, goofed Hertz who thought Snaps had been in a time warp of the Seventies permanently. He was late in his late fifties but still liked bell bottom jeans and jeans jacket and polyester shirts he must have picked up at estate sales or Goodwill. He was a living relic of the age of Disco.
Hertz slowly looked over the victim, and put on a pair of disposable latex gloves. He took out his pen light too as the light in the shelter was very dim with late afternoon coming on. Lastly he turned on his digital recorder and started to dictate notes to himself. “A natural blond with a cheap haircut, nothing fancy with makeup or jewelry, golf ball in left ear and also two, no three in her mouth.” Hertz saw some markings on her neck, so maybe strangulation was cause of death. “Most of torso wrapped in the golf towels which were either hooked together with those metal rings or tied with the use of a stylized knots. Can see she was busty and classic bombshell body, but until they got her to morgue they couldn’t exam her body of other injuries or trauma”, Hertz clicked off the recorder. “I agree Oskar, this kook isn’t your run of the mill killer, he’s got some kind of ritual or project going here. No blood to speak of on the towel or her person, so murder is done elsewhere, probably cleaned up even and then ‘prepared’ for disposal. How long you thing she’s been dead.”
“Maybe 48 or at most 72 hours, course the cold temperatures delayed much decay. Well I will know more tomorrow, I better not eat much breakfast, I can feel it queasing up on me already. Oh hey Hertz, looks as if the media has caught wind of the story,” Oskar said pointing to a news chopper coming in and circling getting some overhead shots for the evening news. Also looks like a satellite truck or two in the parking lot back by the clubhouse.
“ Oh fudge-cicle”, Hertz moaned. “Where’s Krumbkakken when I need her? Ok I will handle the press, we better get her outta her. Hey Snaps get your last shots pronto.”
“Hey Staying Alive, man, Staying Alive”, Snaps snapped back, jack.
Tizzabutte closed down her computer and looked at her reflection in the computer screen as the screen went black. She was vaguely sad, but not sure why. Change, even when you want it, is always hard. She had all of her personal items in a shoebox and thought how everything in life seemed to be so temporary. She looked over her computer screen and office partition to see some her office mates and realized it would be good never to have to see these pricks again. These guys had tried to make her life miserable and even more so when she got into the Henny Decker project and blew open the biggest white collar crime case the division ever had. These men, boys really, couldn’t believe a two year technical school grad; OK so maybe Tizzabutte had doctored her grades electronically to pass that last final… ahem , let alone a girl (more likely she was deemed a fucking whore knowing these pussies Tiz thought) could do such a major sting getting into the financials records of Mr. Hecker.
Tizzabutte looked at the gift card she had gotten from Chuck, Chip and Matt and was initially pissed at it being a five dollar one for McDickells and then noticed it had already expired. She held up the card to acknowledge the gift and dropped it in her garbage and flipped the guys the bird. Assholes.
Mr. Ahwiggins, her kindly mentor and only real friend in the unit, stopped by to say goodbye. Mr. Ahwiggins was in his late sixties and had wild white hair, walked very slowly, wore suspenders and had the thick “coke bottle” bifocal lenses. He was a lifer in the unit and had worked on the first big computers and bulky equipment from back in the seventies and eighties, well before the PC became ubiquitous. He loved to tell Tizzabutte stories of the those early days with a room full of equipment to do the computing that was now done by her smartphone. He regaled her with stories of the “old days” when he used a slide rule and had to put computer code on punch cards.
He also had introduced her, electronically, to his grandson, Brandon, who lived with him in the basement. Brandon was a computer geek in every sense of the word and his favorite screen name was Rapotorsoreass. He communicated mostly non-verbally via email with Tizzabutte and he helped her on some vexing “research” issues. He knew his grandfather Cummin spoke highly of Tizzabutte and how she expressed the desire to learn more how to “navigate” computer systems better. Brandon was in his early twenties and got kicked out of his parent’s house before graduating high school, after being caught several times doing some illegal hacking. He hated school and society and its norms in general. But Brandon had fallen for Tizzabutte and enjoyed that someone, anyone took interesting his lonely existence. Though the relationship was totally virtual at this point, he reasoned she may be his best short term bet to getting laid this decade. He didn’t want to become the real, breathing personification of the forty year old virgin.
“Well Tizzy don’t let those fellas get under your skin dare. Dar just a bunch of bozos on the bus of life and you were smart ahnuf to get off the bus before most of us ever will.”
“Gee, Mr. AhWiggins you gonna make me blush. But thank you, you’re the only friend I had in the department. I will miss you, really and truly I will.”
“Now Tizzy don’t get all mushy on me, I think the world needs more young people like you, who doos tings outta the box dare. By the way here’s a little something Brandon made for you when I told him were leaving.” He handed her a small box like a necklace or tie would come in. “Ja sure, you go ahead and open it dare, now.”
Tizzabutte undid the ribbon and opened the box and there was a knitted pink Hello Kitty bikini top and bottom with the face of the Hello Kitty strategically placed on both garments.
“Oh my, where did you and Brandon get this? I must have let you known how much I like to collect Hello Kitty stuff, its kinda embarrassing.” Tizz actually began to blush and tear up ever so slightly. Besides her old friend Wanda and on occasion Linus, she didn’t get many gifts.
“Brandon, he done knitted this by himself. He is a strange one but not bad for being a self-taught crocheter, huh? He said the only condition to the gift was that you have to model it for him sometime. But he probably be too bashful to have you do that. You know, I would like you to come over sometime and have dinner with us. I make an ass kicking or maybe I should say finger licking, Swedish Meatball casserole.”
“I’d love that, Mr. AhWiggins.” She bent down and gave him a kiss on his cheek and it was his turn to blush and his glasses started to fog up some.
“Oh boy I think you just jump started my ticker dare Miss Flatliner. I’ll never wash this cheek again. And please Tizzabutte you can call me Cummin. Ya know, like the old Carol Burnett show dare with Tim Conway, “Come in dare Mrs. Ah Wiggins.” Day don’t write ‘em like that any more. I had my middle name changed from Sidney to Missus just so I could be Cummin Missus AhWiggins.”
“I know, I know you have told me a hundred times before, I just like the sound of Mr. Ahwiggins I guess. Well take care. I will let you know how things go in Homicide.”
“Homocide, well I didn’t think we had enough gays in Milacky County to have our own Homocide group”, teased Cummin.
“What did you say Mr. Ahwiggins” said Tiz with no hint of humor, as she gave a chilling laser beam look to Cummin.”
“Oh just a yoke dare…er… No harm no foul, or maybe don’t tell, don’t ask or maybe I yost better quit while I still have a head.”
Tizzabutte’s face lighten and she grinned. “Its OK, I’m just a little sensitive about the new job huh. Again thanks for the gift and being a friend. I hate goodbyes so I will see later OK?”
“See me anytime you like, sweetheart. And Best Wishes in that new job, you’ll knock ‘em dead I’m sure.”