by Alexis Kypridemos
Detective Richard "Dick" Tuggs stopped by his partner's Detective David "Davie" Croquet's house, to pick him up to go to work. Tuggs walked up the front steps of the shabby bungalow and knocked on the door. No reaction. He knocked again, louder.
"Hey, Davie! You in there?" he called.
The door flew open. A woman carrying a baby stormed past Tuggs.
"I’m leaving, Davie! I can’t stand it anymore!" she yelled over her shoulder as she climbed down the steps. Tuggs stared at her as she walked away.
Croquet staggered barefoot out onto the landing, his shirtfront hanging over his trousers. His hair stood on end. Tuggs had never seen him like this. Croquet squinted and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the bright sun.
"Jeez, Davie, I’m so sorry," Tuggs said. "I didn’t knowyou were married."
"I’m not. That was Janine, the cleaning lady," Croquet said. He beckoned to Tuggs, "Come inside."
Tuggs followed Croquet into the house.
In the living room, Croquet plopped on the sunken couch to put on his socks and shoes. Tuggs noticed a shot glass and an open bottle of orange liquid on the coffee table. The bottle was almost empty. The label read, "Granny O’ Riley’s Homemade Apple Juice".
"Been drinking?" Tuggs asked.
"Yeah," Croquet said in a hoarse voice. He ran a hand over his face. "Sometimes... sometimes I feel like eating my gun."
Croquet’s gun lay on the table, next to the bottle.
Tuggs picked up the gun from the table. He held it in his hand and studied it for a moment. Then he took a bite out of it.
"This isn’t bad, you know," Tuggs said, pointing to the half-eaten gun. "Mind if I have the rest of this?"
"Nah, go ahead," Croquet said, and put on his other shoe. As Tuggs ate the rest of the gun, Croquet stuffed his shirt into his pants, threw on a blazer, and combed his hair down with his hand. He took a new gun from his small refrigerator, tore off the cellophane wrapper, and put it in his holster.
Author Notes: "Occupational Hazard" 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.