by Alexis Kypridemos
Before Detective Richard "Dick" Tuggs was paired with Detective David "Davie" Croquet, his partner was Antonio "Tony" Muerte. On their last assignment together, Tuggs and Muerte sat in an unmarked car parked across the street from a bank. Tuggs, in the driver's seat took a bite out of an enormous doughnut, squirting jelly all over the dash. Beside him, Muerte munched stoically on a corndog.
"Think he’s gonna show?" Muerte asked, referring to the bank robber they hoped to apprehend.
"Guy’s hit every other bank this side of town over the last month," Tuggs said through a mouthful of doughnut.
The bank’s alarm went off and the robber burst out of the bank’s entrance, a sawed-off shotgun in one hand, a bag of cash in the other. His ski mask was rolled up over his forehead.
"That’s him!" Tuggs yelled, and he and Muerte squeezed out of the car to pursue the robber on foot.
The robber ran through traffic, causing cars to swerve and crash. Tuggs and Muerte, still in possession of the corndog, coughed and wheezed their way down the pavement of the coastal road that ran high above the sea below.
Tuggs drew his gun and acrobatically jumped over the hoods of the cars that had collided. He slid off one car’s hood and landed on the pavement to continue his pursuit of the robber.
Muerte attempted the same maneuver, his execution somewhat clumsier. He slid off the car’s bonnet, but instead of landing upright on the sidewalk, he continued his flight over the railing and fell to the crashing waves below.
"Aaaaarghh!" Muerte screamed as he fell.
Tuggs and the robber stopped running and peered over the railing. In the water, Muerte flapped his arms helplessly.
"Help! I can’t swim!" he called up.
"Bummer," the robber said.
"Hang in there, Tony!" Tuggs called back. "I’m coming to get you, buddy!" Tuggs abandoned his pursuit of the robber and ran down the steps to the beach. He ran up to a lifeguard’s hut, just as a tan, muscular surfer dude with a waxed chest walked out. The surfer stopped and turned back to blow a kiss to the lifeguard, who exited the hut, straightening the waistband of his swim-shorts.
"Quick! My partner’s drowning!" Tuggs said to the lifeguard.
Tuggs lead the way to the pier, his pace fast. Behind him, the Norse god of a lifeguard glided gracefully on the sand in slow motion, his long, golden hair bouncing beautifully with every stride, the sun glinting off his muscular chest.
Tuggs ran out onto the pier first. Behind him, the lifeguard still moved in slow motion, his bronze skin gleaming in the sunlight. Tuggs looked on anxiously. Muerte was breathing in water.
"Help! Help!" Muerte cried.
The lifeguard finally arrived on the pier and straightened his hair.
"Don’t worry, Tony, we got you!" Tuggs called out to Muerte.
The lifeguard threw one of those inflatable things everyone on Baywatch carried around with them and hit Muerte in the face. Muerte gulped more water. A wave washed over him. Tuggs and the lifeguard waited in agony. Muerte did not resurface. Instead a hand emerged holding up three fingers. Then two. Then one. And then bubbles. The hand sank slowly into the water.
Later the beach was flooded with uniformed policemen, reporters, and the ambulance crew, who carted off the dead Muerte, his hand erect above the stretcher in rigor mortis, middle finger prodding the air.
The part of the ocean where Muerte had drowned was sealed off with crime scene tape, a chalked outline floating on the water. The Chief was at the scene, munching away at the end of his cigar. Tuggs walked beside him.
"I want you to find me a suspect, and I want you to find one quick," the Chief ordered.
"But, sir, Muerte drowned. There isn’t really anyone to blame," Tuggs said.
"This is a cop killing understand? Justice must be served!" the Chief snapped and punched his fist with the hand holding the lit cigar. His face contorted in pain as the lit tip burned his palm.
"Water... water..." he gasped.
"The water?" Tuggs asked.
The Chief nodded vigorously, unable to speak. Tuggs shrugged and walked over to where the tide licked the sand. He scooped up some of the water with a Styrofoam cup. He looked at it and sighed.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."
The Chief dove onto the ground and stuck his hand into the sand to relieve the pain.
"...If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."
Tuggs passed one handcuff around the cup only to discover that it slipped off. He shrugged his shoulders and walked over to the Chief, sprawled on the sand.
"We got, um, him, sir."
The Chief looked up at him, confused. "What? Oh, good." He took the cup from Tuggs’ hands and sipped the water. He grimaced.
"My God, that was salty. What did you put in there?"
He handed the cup back to Tuggs. Tuggs walked towards a police car parked near the scene of the "crime." He passed another detective, Harry, holding a cup of coffee, walking the opposite way.
"Hey, Tuggs, what’s happening?" Harry asked.
"I’m escorting a suspect."
Tuggs walked on. Harry looked into his own cup, mystified. Tuggs reached a patrol car which Clarence, a uniformed cop, was leaning against.
"I need to take this suspect downtown for booking," Tuggs told him.
"I can’t take him like that," Clarence said.
"He needs a specially equipped vehicle."
"Well what are we going to do now?"
"Hang on," Clarence said and whistled to another cop. "Hey, Jimmy! Mind if I take your car?"
The other cop threw Clarence the keys.
Clarence led the way to another cruiser. He opened the back door, took the cup of water from Tuggs’ hands and placed it carefully in a gyroscopic cup-holder on the dash.
"I’ll make sure he’s booked, Detective."
Tuggs walked back to his own car.
Author Notes: "Cop Killer" is part of "Fiction Fix," a collection of 46 short, funny stories, plus 196 bonus micro fiction budget stories, available at http://www.fiction-fix.com.