Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Twist Of Noir 015 - Albert Tucher


Originally published at DZ Allen's Muzzle Flash Fiction

“I can’t go out there. They’ll see me.”

“Who?” said Diana.


He closed the door. Diana turned the bathroom light off and went across the room to the window. She pushed the heavy drape aside.

Five patrol cars had crowded into the motel’s parking lot. She counted five uniformed officers and two men in suits. One of the two was not exactly a friend, but she got along with him.

“Bill,“ she said, “that’s a lot of cops. Whatever happened must be pretty heavy. I doubt they’ll care what we’re doing.”

“I can‘t get caught here.”

It was already too late for him to go. The cops were knocking on doors and looking for witnesses.

“I’ll see what I can find out,” she said.

She dressed quickly and headed out into the courtyard parking lot. The door closed behind her. Detective Tillotson didn’t turn his head, but she knew he had seen her. He nodded at the officer guarding the scene, who shrugged and lifted the yellow tape for her.

“Know him?” said Tillotson. He pointed at a motionless form lying in a parking space between a pickup and an aging Buick.

“Yeah,” she said after a moment. “I saw him two hours ago.”



“So he’s a client?”

“His name is Bruce Fenchok.”

The man in the other suit crouched over the body. He looked up. “The bruise on his jaw is from a fist, would be my guess. But what killed him was probably the back of his head hitting the blacktop. Just don’t tell the M.E. I was stepping on his toes.”

“Would I do you like that?” said Tillotson.

The man stood up and went to speak to a couple of uniforms. Tillotson and Diana looked down at the body.

“Jesus,” said Tillotson.

“Ten inches.”

“You measured?”

“Didn’t have to. He told me often enough.”

“Is something like that a…challenge?”

“Not really.”

“Never mind. I can’t believe I said that. So why was he waving it around in the parking lot?”

Bruce’s jeans and jockey shorts were halfway down his thighs.

“Either he pulled his pants down,” said Tillotson, “or somebody did it for him, or somebody made him do it. But that doesn’t tell us why.”

“He was very proud of himself. I doubt I’m the only one he ever bragged to about it.”

“You think this was some kind of show and tell? Out here?”

“I can think of one way it could happen.”

“I gotta hear this.”

“You can’t see into this lot from the highway. Some people treat it like their living room. Or locker room, or whatever.”


“So there’s another guy around. Calls himself Duke.”

“Another client?”

“No, which is why I don’t mind giving him up. But I’ve heard other girls talk about him. They usually see him here.”

Tillotson shook his head.

“This is too weird. If it came from anybody but you, I’d say bullshit.”

“Thanks, I think.”

“When I write my book, …”


He gave her a look.

“Sorry,” she said. “You know, I could score some major points with my client if you let me sneak him out of here.”

Tillotson looked unhappy.

“Come on. We didn’t see anything. We were busy.”

“What the hell. Go.”

Tillotson called her at home just short of midnight.

“You know, this is some kind of first. Reporting to a civilian, I mean.”

“I guess this isn’t your average case.”

“Understatement of the year. Anyway, Douglas Strzelbicki, AKA Duke. Nine and a half inches. He and Fenchok got into a measuring contest in the parking lot. Mr. Fenchok was not a gracious winner, and Mr. Strzelbicki was a very sore loser. No witnesses that we can find. Without your input we wouldn’t have had a clue.”

“So what did he do, just up and confess?”

“We found a tape measure in the victim‘s truck. Prints from two people on it--the victim, and Duke. We told him, and he caved.”

Tillotson paused.

“This makes me glad to be an average sort of guy. If you know what I mean.”

“Detective,” she said, “if you’re glad, I’m glad.”

BIO: Albert Tucher is the author of eighteen published stories and four unpublished novels about prostitute Diana Andrews. Like most authors of hardboiled crime fiction, he is a librarian in his day job.


David Cranmer said...

Al, this story really measures up! It’s the first I’ve read of your Diana Andrews stories. She’s the cool as a cucumber type… I’ll be looking out for more.

Paul D Brazill said...

A gem. Diana Andrews is splendid!