(A writing workshop assignment I tried
using a deserted car, a waterfall, and CSI)
A deserted white car, water gushing over a ragged cliff in a silvery waterfall, a missing accountant from back in town–another day, another mysterious disappearance. Inspector Bill Blake let a whispery sigh escape as he opened his notebook and clicked his favorite pen.
"Yep, this is the missing guy's license plate," he murmured while scribbling copious notes in his book. Looking inside, he spied three crumpled beer cans scattered on the floor. Lighting up a cigar, he nodded to a technician as that fellow took samples of red residue splattered in a Rorschach pattern on the driver's seat, probably dried blood.
"Looks like foul play," the inspector continued.
"But there's no body," a new voice behind him stated.
He turned on his heel to spy a woman. A blasted woman standing there with a clipboard. She raised her hand to shake his. "Pleased to meet you! I'm Inspector Jonie Hawk," she said.
"Hmmph!" was the only response Bill could offer. Not another dame on his case!
"They sent me because I have some experience in this area…tracking down missing murder victim's bodies in remote areas."
"What?" What the Hades was she talking about?
"I actually tracked down a cadaver once in a cornfield. Do you realize how huge a cornfield is? I'm really very talented."
"That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard."
"No, really, it isn't. I'm part Native American. I think it must run in my blood, deciphering trails and such. It was easy to follow the tracks to where the body was dragged."
"Humph! And is that your only qualification, honey? You can sniff out a corpse?"
"My name is Inspector Hawk, not "honey."
Suit yourself, "Inspector Hawk," Bill quipped.
Jonie shrugged her shoulders in disgust. "So what do you have? Only that blood for analysis. It hardly proves he is dead. I'm presuming you did check the license plate, right?"
"Yes, I did check the license plate," Bill rattled back, cursing under his breath.
"Inspector Blake–that is your name, isn't it? Not "Imbecile Blake" or something. I'd appreciate a little respect." Jonie's eyes clouded over and her cheeks flushed.
"I'd appreciate a little respect," he mimicked back at her. "Sure, sweetie!"
"Are you for real?"
"Yes, I am, and I'm about to prove it to you by solving this case, regardless of the incompetent help they send me, meaning you, by the way."
"Oooh! I CAN'T WORK WITH THIS MAN!" Jonie squealed, walking away with a hand to her head like the worst headache ever loomed.
Returning shortly, she stood by in silence, watching Bill work.
"I think we're going to have to dredge this lake," Bill announced. "The body must be in there."
"You don't know that there has been a murder!" Jonie said.
"WELL, WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE?" Bill yelled back.
"I'm just saying. I see no signs of a struggle. There's some blood, but not a lot of it, indicating there wasn't profuse bleeding. How can you be sure the guy is dead or worse yet, murdered."
Bill glared at her. "He was a happily married man. I doubt that he jumped in the lake on his own; therefore he must have been thrown in…after being murdered. We didn't find a wallet or any personal effects, by the way."
"So you're saying if there's no wallet or money, the motive must have been robbery."
"That's right, sweetcakes!"
Jonie looked away, then turned back again and stepped closer to Bill.
"Look, I see evidence here that the man walked away from the car. He wasn't murdered."
"You've got to be wrong!"
"Because I'm a woman and what does a woman know?"
"Something like that…" Bill chewed on his cigar and turned away from her. Flipping out his cell phone, he called for the dredging crew to head out to the lake. When he finished the call, Jonie was gone.
"Still no luck, Inspector Blake," the officer stated.
"Tell 'em to keep trying," Bill replied. They'd been dredging the lake for two hours, and nothing! It wasn't making any sense. The body had to be in there. Taking a drag off his cigar, he blew out again in a stream of frustration. And where had that woman gone? She left before he even had sent for the dredging crew and never did come back.
"Probably went to go powder her nose and got distracted by a fashion show," he murmured. An uneasy thought tugged at the back of his brain. What if she was right? What if the guy wasn't dead, just out there in the woods someplace?
He spied the thicket of green and brown. A person could get lost in there, although why would you go into the woods in the first place? If she was right, then he had judged her too quickly, assuming she was another airhead dame. "Nah, not possible! She couldn't be right," he mumbled, taking another drag from his stogie.
But what if she was? Well, if she was, then I want a date with her, he considered. I'd want to know a woman who could out-think me. Yes, indeed, I'd really want to know her better.
His eyes rested on the boat with nets dragging in the water, searching for the man's body. He could still be dead, just not in the lake, Bill reasoned. Then he'd be half-right, sort of. Wouldn't he? Damn! He hated the thought of that dame outwitting him.
"Inspector!" A voice cut into his thoughts. It was her voice, that low sexy hum of a voice…
He looked up to spy her approaching from the forest, a man by her side.
"I found your 'body', Inspector! Here it is…walking next to me!"
"I see you, Inspector Hawk!" he replied. Oh, crap! She was right! The guy was alive. A deep moan reverberated through his head.
"He went into the woods to…ah, 'relieve himself,' and he got lost," Jonie said. "Oh, and he cut his finger in the car popping open a beer can. Thus, the blood. If he hadn't been having a beer party, he might have had the sense not to lose his way when he went wandering," she added.
Bill saw the sunlight trickling through her auburn hair. You know, she was a beautiful woman, really. And smart enough to outsmart him…so attractive.
"Inspector Hawk, would you like to have dinner with me?" he asked.
"NO, never!" she replied. "You've got to be kidding!"
Well, maybe she wasn't so smart after all.
Copyright 2005 JO Janoski
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