Chapter 1: Jim Still Has That New Cop Smell
Chapter 2: Jim Follows Up On A Hunch
Chapter 3: Jim Makes Strudel at the Denzels' Place
Chapter 4: The Denzels Get Wet... With Laughter, That Is!
Chapter 5: Jim Finishes The Job
Programming Note: I would strongly advise you to read previous chapters before continuing.
Chapter 2: Jim Follows Up On A Hunch
"Jim, do you have a minute? I have those results for you." The forensic analyst in my department is named Dave. Dave's a good guy. Dave holds the door open for me, looks around outside the office, and shuts and locks the door. Then Dave turns on a white noise generator. It's pretty pleasant. I make a joke.
"Hey Dave. Heh. That's some quality music. You operating an elevator out of your office? Heh." I've heard that sarcasm is the most endearing quality someone can have so I've incorporated it into my routine.
I smile broadly and talk a little louder. "Elevator music! You're running an elevator out-"
"Look, Jim, could you please shut up for a minute, like, could you talk in a quieter voice or something? What I have to tell you is utterly in confidence, just as you requested. But it's not a magic generator, Jim. We have to respect it with inside voices."
"Geez, sorry. I didn't know. I kinda thought it was magic, to be honest!" I zip my lips shut horizontally, so that Dave would know I meant business. I smirk. "Did you get a date with Maria, Dave? I know you've been eyein' her! Haha!"
"No, Jim, this is about the sample you brought to me. Wherever you found that... it almost certainly has to do with the serial killer we've been chasing in this department. I found DNA matches for at least six of the victims, all of them killed in the last two months. There was evidence of tissue damage, perhaps from improper storage, like from overfreezing. There was also a lot of unrelated DNA. Plant tissue, non-human animal fat cells, all of that. It's a promising lead, for sure."
"Jim, first of all, this is fabulous work, and I want you to get all the credit for finding it."
"Gee, I don't really need any credit. I'm just lookin' to do my job, Dave. You know how it goes! Que sera, sera. Heh."
"What will be, will be. That's about right. But here's my concern: you told me it was a secret where you got that sample. Is that right?"
"Aww, jeez, you didn't find out and tell everyone, did ya, Dave?"
"No, of course not, Jim."
"I knew I could trust you! It's, uh, a raw fuckin' world out there and I wouldn't have blamed you if you had to tell. Heh. But... you need to know where that, uh, where that shit came from, isn't that right?" I curse with the best of them now. I need to learn to be more, uh, fucking fluid though, since it doesn't come, uh, fucking naturally to me. But I'm getting better!
"Yes, of course. What is the sample from, Jim?"
"Okay, so you know Officer Denzel?"
"Of course, Jim. Does this have something to do with him? Did he help you find the sample?"
"Aw, geez, now you're really putting me on the spot, Dave."
"Jim, I have to know where you got that sample. I won't judge you, whatever you guys had to do to get that evidence."
"It was filling from the Denzels' famous strudel, Dave."
I can see Dave's eyes turning sad and pale hearing this. He can't continue. So I ask him what's wrong? Dave tells me he has to stop over at the pharmacy a few minutes away for a health inspection so that he can calm down. We go together but Dave tells me I should cover for him and wait in the car. Dave always says health inspections calm him down. He says it's the look in their eyes when they know they've cleaned the place properly. I know that feeling, Dave. His eyes look really shiny and happy as he makes his way out of the pharmacy, relishing every slow step. I guess the pharmacy was extra clean! Now Dave gets in the car, puts down a white plastic bag, and we go back to the station.
When we get back, Dave turns on the white noise generator and locks the door, and we sit down again.
"Sorry about that. Now, this is something, Jim. This is really something. Denzel has to pay for what he did."
"And his wife, too! Who knew such a sweet lady could be involved in something so unclean? It doesn't fit her. How unseemly."
"No way around it. Denzel abused his power and did something unspeakable. I just don't know how I'm going to face him."
"I don't know about that. Unspeakable, Dave?"
"Just unspeakable. Look, I always know Denzel was a scumbag with his PCP ring, Jim. I just didn't have him fitted as a killer."
"A killer? No, no. Dave, you've got it all wrong! Heh."
"You think the Denzels are killers? Haha, come on Dave."
"Jim, you found blood from the victims of a serial killer in his house, in his cooking, probably in his freezer! He's had you eating that stuff every time you go over there, I bet. It's disgusting, it's vile."
"Heh. Not as clean as that pharmacy for sure. But just the same, Denzel is a kind-hearted man. Denzel sent me thank-you notes for my birthday gifts. He walked you through training, when you were younger."
"Dave, he forced me to smoke PCP at gunpoint my first day as a cop."
"Oh. But he never once would have pulled the trigger, I bet. Heh."
"Okay, so he's got the blood of a serial killer in his home. How do you explain that?"
"Well, I know he did something wrong. But come on, I've personally gone with Denzel to at least 10 crime scenes by this serial killer. Denzel lets me back him up whenever this serial killer strikes. Denzel tells me that I'm the best back-up cop in the world, because I let him ask all the questions."
"So..- Jim, can we just unpack all of that logically-"
"-My point is that Denzel easily could have forgot to change his work clothes, or forgot some evidence in his pockets! Heh. It's gross that that got into the strudel, but you know how they make that stuff! In huge ol' batches every month or so! Maybe he just had to go to the store and had the evidence in another bag and it just slipped his mind! Maybe his wife thought it was just another cherry filling! And she never would have noticed! Aw, darn!"
"Then if you didn't have any suspicions, why did you bring me the damn strudel in the first place, Jim?"
"Well, I mean, I wanted you to check it for iron! I thought they might have some serious problems with their tap water, Dave! Heh."
"Because it tasted like iron!"
"That was the blood, Jim. That's what it tastes like. You ever bite your own tongue on accident?"
"One time I did, just to see how much blood my tongue has. Hmm, I guess you're right, that is what it tastes like."
"You bit your own tongue to... What?"
"Well, I guess I did, somewhat. Heh. I was only 15. You know how young people are!"
Dave shakes his head and continues. "... uh, look, Jim. It's alright to feel betrayed. The Denzels have clearly been manipulating you for weeks. Their strudel-"
"Whose taste is not in doubt. Missus Denzel sure makes a mean strudel!"
"-Right... but try to pay attention here, Jim. They have at the very least - deliberately or not - tampered with evidence at a crime scene and committed a public health violation. We all could have gotten communicable diseases of those folks if the Denzels weren't careful. For all we know, everyone here needs to be treated for all sorts of diseases. They brought their strudel to the picnic! I'm not saying they meant to hurt you, but they did something wrong at least and they need to pay for it. Do you agree?"
"Hmm, fair. Heh. I guess no good strudel goes unpunished!"
"Well, whatever the case, it's evidence of a possible crime, and you're a cop. I can easily get warrants, but I'm going to need your help if we're to find out what's really the matter."
"Here's my plan, Jim. Pay close attention."
"Okay." I listen as hard as I could, taking studious notes. Over the next two hours, Dave details an intricate plan. At the end, I find myself a bit skeptical of the plan. "So you're saying we're trying to prove if they're using fresh blood in the newest batch?"
I laugh at Dave. "Heh. But that wouldn't prove they're serial killers, would it?"
"It'd be pretty convincing evidence to me, Jim."
"But Dave... what if they just forgot the blood again this time?"
"Look, Jim, the odds of that happening are-"
"Then they might only be serial forgetters. Heh."
"Just... just get the plan started. Good lord."
Five Minutes Later
"Hey, Jim. You be hustlin' and grindin'?"
"Before the other'n be findin' me! Haha!" This is a "thing" Officer Denzel and I had developed.
"Hey, Officer Denzel. I have a question for you."
"Shoot, kid. What the fuck is up?"
"Haha. So you and Missus Denzel have been so good to me the last couple months, and my birthday is, uh, coming up."
"The, uh, 17th."
"What month? This month? That would be tomorrow."
"No, uh, next month."
"So October 17th, then?"
"It's November, kid. Is this some sort of fucking joke to you?"
"Sorry, I meant December, Officer. I live week to week, shift to shift, case to case, and barely ever check my calendar past the end of the week. Heh. You know, when you start thinking about next month and next year and suddenly you're taking other people for granted! I never want to let that happen."
"I... I have no fucking idea what you're talking about, kid. Whatever, what did you want to ask?"
"But yeah, it's December 17th. And I wanted to, uh, ask you, could I help you guys cook strudel?"
"Uh... I'd have to ask Missus Denzel, kid. You know how fuckin' guarded she is about that recipe. She goes to stores in the middle of the night because apparently that's the only fucking time they're open. The only stores in this whole fucking city that have the right ingredients. One time I had to go out of state to get just the right kind of fucking, like, cherries. It's a fucking grind, Jim."
"Gee. She's hustling and grinding more than me! Heh."
Officer Denzel takes on a sinister affect that I'd never seen before. "Just make sure it's before the other'n be findin' you." After a few seconds he's smilin' again. "I'm just kidding, kid."
"Heh. I get it! It's our thing."
A few days pass and Mrs. Denzel has agreed to my request and the arrangements have been made. So I'll have three weeks to prepare for my first sting operation, on the Denzels. I hope Dave knows what he's doing!