His voice streamed in a haunting chant, serene, monotone. All the while his eyes darted back and forth. The face was bread dough, dull and inexpressive folds, while he recited mundane details; but his eyes, when he stopped talking, popped alive like sirens, excited, ready for the challenge.
He was a cop, through and through. And they had found a body, wrapped in a plastic bag and dumped in a bin behind Donatelli's restaurant. The assembled collection of reporters and onlookers hung on his every word. But, really, he wanted to trample them all on his way out.
"Sir, do you have any suspects?"
"Will you be making any arrests?"
He ignored them, pushing through their clamors and dangling microphones, pausing only to survey a crew of street people who had clustered near to listen. One of those stepped forward as if to speak. But Detective Cyrus Clone didn’t give him a chance.
“Get outta here, you bums! Whaddaya looking at?” Cy wished he could throw the whole bunch in jail, but that wouldn’t do, not in this day and age.
“Officer Cy, I saw something!” It was the one known as “Hobo". His real name was Hobbes, but the more apropos “Hobo” was his preferred nomenclature.
Cy looked him over, scanning the fellow from head to toe. With a sigh, he tugged his notebook out of a busy pocket, sending miscellany flying out of its threadbare confines. He stuffed most of it back in as he spoke. “What did you see?”
“I saw a guy in a blue suit running from here. Really running, like a bat outta hell.”
“More than likely he was running to get away from you! Did you ever think of that?”
Hobo stepped back. “There’s no need to talk down to me!”
“Ah, get outta here before I arrest you!” That said, Officer Cyrus Clone huffed away and didn’t look back.
Later, at the station, no clues turned up. No DNA, no prints. They had a body with no name, no idea as to who the murderer was. All they did know was that the victim was a woman, young, between 18 and 25 years old, blond, blue eyes, nice figure. No tattoos or other identifying markings. She’d been stabbed repeatedly.
Cy and his partner, Stan Holler, a tall, dome-headed fellow, went to the morgue to view the body. Such a beautiful young girl! Cy’s eyes ignited with the glean of adventure...the hunt to find justice for the pretty woman was on.
“I bet it was those street bums,” he murmured.
“Cy, you have no proof of that. And Hobo said he saw someone.”
“You can’t trust bums living on the street. When are you going to learn that? You’re always so full of trust, compassion and crap!” Cy reached for his address book to check a list of phone numbers he kept, “snitches” who might be able to help. But it wasn’t in his pocket.
“Damn! My address book’s missing!”
“Where did you lose it?”
“If I knew where I lost it, it wouldn't be lost, now would it?"
“Sorry, Cy! Just trying to be helpful.”
“Let’s go. I’ve been thinking about it, and I bet that Hobo picked my pocket. He leaned kind of close when we were talking.”
The other cop grinned. “Well, why you’re asking about that, I’m going to quiz him about the guy he saw at the scene.”
They found Hobo behind the bakery stuffing a donut in his mouth. Powdered sugar sprinkled white on his gray beard while he smacked his lips in enjoyment.
“Stop right there, Hobo!” Officer Cy barked.
The bum stared back in alarm. "I didn't steal this. It's a day-old donut! They give 'em away!"
"I'm not here about the donut! I'm here about my address book, you filthy thief!"
Stan stepped forward, pushing Cy aside. "Hobo, did you see someone yesterday by those dumpsters where the body was found?"
"That's what I was trying to tell you! I saw a guy in a suit, a brown suit, shiny shoes, nice tie, the whole bit! I saw him dump the body in that bin and run away. I didn't know at the time it was a body though. I just thought he was an odd person to be dumping garbage, being all dressed up and all."
"Have you ever seen him before? Do you know who he is?
The bum glanced around and leaned toward the other two. "That's just it! I think it was the president of the bank," he murmured, nodding toward First National across the street.
"What?" Cy spun around in surprise. "Are you lying?"
"No, Officer Cy! I wouldn't fib to you."
"A likely story! Which reminds me, did you steal my address book, punk?"
"No, sir! But I did find one, at the spot where we were talking earlier. I gave it to the bakery people to keep in case someone came looking for it, just a little while ago."
Stan was already on the phone sending some uniforms to pick up the bank president for questioning. He grinned at Cy. "You should stop by the bakery and pick it up," he said.
"Yeah, I will," Cy barked.
"Oh, by the way, you really should have more trust and 'crap' in people."
"Yeah, I will," Cy said again. He did, and you know, it made him a better cop. But don't tell him that. He'd never admit it.
Copyright 2010 JO Janoski