Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Friday Fiction...EARLY!!!

So this week the challenge over at Terribleminds was to write a short story in 10 chapters.  The catch?  Keep the normal 1,000 word limit.  I actually didn't have much of a plan, but Don and John came back to mind.  Maybe because I had just written them, maybe because they write themselves so easily and naturally.

So I pretty much just picked up where their last story left off.  I might keep these guys around, make them a regular thing.

Baugmann & Baugmann - The Skinner

            Don took a long drag of his cigarette, “So,” he said, blowing smoke across the table.  “What do we know?”
            “We know that we don’t know much.”  John said, ignoring the smoke.  The bar had an almost permanent haze, giving it a quality that bordered on the mystical.
            “…Helpful, thank you.”  Don snapped off.
            John shrugged, completely nonplussed by his partner’s moods.

            “Look Sarah,” Don’s fingers twitched longingly for his lighter, “We need something here.  Don’t make me make John beg.”
            From across the room John paused in his examination of the body to hold up one of the victims hands, one finger aimed in Don’s direction.
            Sarah handed Don a thin folder, the Chief Coroner sighed, “This is all we have at the moment.  There were some strange trace elements all over the victim, and your office, but we’ll have to wait for the lab.”
            Don grinned, “I knew I liked you more than Michaels.  I could kiss you.”
            “No one likes Michaels, why don’t you go kiss him.” she smirked.
            “John, go kiss Michaels!”
            John held up the victim’s hand again, this time holding Don’s confiscated cigarettes.
            “Now you’re just being childish.” Don said.

            “Hey Boss,” Jessie’s eyes were more bloodshot than normal.  “I’m-uh…I’m thinking I maybe should lay low for a bit?”
            “Why,” John asked.  “What have you heard?”
            “Nothing.”  Jessie hissed.
            “So why are you worried?”  Don asked.
            “Because it’s not ‘Nothing is happening.’ nothing.  It’s ‘No one is still around to talk.’ nothing.”
            “Let’s get you some food.”  Don suggested.
            “I know a nice diner,” John said.  “It’s right outside of town.”

            DeSarno, flanked by two of his goons, waltzed into the office not as if he owned it, but more like he was deciding whether or not to bother.
            “Well boys, I like what you've done.  Very homey.”
            Don snorted, “You should’ve seen it before, John’s the one with the domestic touch.”
            John tsked at him.  “Just because you don’t appreciate the difference between beige and burgundy doesn't mean other people don’t.”
            “It’s tan, John.”  Don said, “It’s all just tan.”
            “And now it’s ‘tan’ with a stain.”  John gestured at the carpet.
            “So we’ll bill the Skinner for the cleaning.”
            “I was referring to our guests.”
            DeSarno cut in, “If you boys don’t want help with your case perhaps I should leave?”

            “Hey Boss?”  Jessie kept looking out the window.
            “I already gave you all my smokes Jessie.”  Don said.
            “No it’s not that.” Jessie shook his head.  “I mean, thanks for that but…”
            “What is it?”
            “…Be careful.”
            “We’ll be fine Jessie, just get yourself healthy.  For real this time, I’m sick of hearing John bitch about you.”

            The last thing Don saw was the headlights of the truck.

Beep-beep.  Beep-beep.  Beep-beep.
Half-asleep, Don reached for his alarm clock.
The jolt of pain that came with the motion stopped him, jerking him fully awake.
He saw John sitting next to his bed, calmly leafing through the case files.
"...How bad is it?" Don croaked out.
John handed him a glass of water, "Mostly just bruised ribs and a slight concussion, you've had worse."
"The truck was reported stolen, no prints.  I'm going to see what I can get from Michaels."
"Better you than me."
"Shut up," John smiled.  "Get some rest."
"Oh yeah, it'll be a vacation."
"You hate vacations."

'I really hate vacations.'
When Don had fallen asleep he was expecting to wake up still in the hospital.  Maybe with John there letting him know the case was nicely wrapped up.
What he didn't expect was to wake up in an abandoned warehouse, 'Respecting the classics at least.'  Strapped to an operating table, 'Creepy.'  And about to have his face removed, 'Really creepy.'
The Skinner was looming over him, ignoring Don's cutting wit, 'And John says puns are stupid, ha!'
Poised with a scalpel at the ready the Skinner stopped when a rattling clang came from the other end of the building.
Skinner left to investigate, leaving Don alone.

Don leaned against a stack of molding pallets, and followed the voices.
"Who hired you?"  John asked.
"You won't be around long enough to care."
'Oh sure, now he talks.'
Don peeked through some old shelving, he could see John facing someone, gun held in his off hand, right arm hanging limply.  Blood flowing freely from the scalpel stuck in his shoulder.
"I heard talk of a newcomer to the underground, I suppose he hired you to clear us out of his way?"
Don made his way along the shelving, picking up a rusted bar from the floor. 
"I told you it doesn't matter."
"No.  I suppose it wouldn't matter to you.  You just like having an excuse to find more victims."
Ignoring the protests from his aching ribs he got ready to swing.
Rounding the corner he saw Skinner, facing John with another scalpel ready to throw.
Don brought the bar down with as much force as he could.  The dull crack it made against Skinner's skull was more than satisfying as the man collapsed.
John kept his gun trained on Skinner, "Enjoy that?"
Don fought the urge to pass out. "...I'd like to go back to the hospital now."

Coming to Don recognized the hospital ceiling.  John was sitting next to him, reading the paper as if they were simply in the office waiting for a case.
"How's your arm?"
"Fine, just some stitches."  He turned the page.
"I'm fine too, thanks for asking."
"I didn't ask."  John smirked.
"Skinner is in custody, they're confirming the evidence matches.  Shouldn't be too difficult, he's wanted in several states."
"So we're done?"
"Not quite, Michaels is on his way to 'get your testimony.'"
Don struggled upright, "I'm ready to be discharged."
"No you aren't,” John pushed him gently back down.  “Your field trip aggravated your ribs.  You're here for at least a week."
"God dammit I hate Mondays."
John chuckled.
"It actually is Monday."

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