Tag Archives: J. Bradley

Jesus Christ, Boy Detective and The Freshly Squeezed Slugger by J. Bradley

“This…how…” Officer Jones looked around the kitchen, the wallpaper and tile stained with chunks of Little League uniform, blood. His latex glove covered right hand dammed the vomit from coming up.

“Awwww, what’s wrong rookie?” Chief Donaldson walked into the crime scene, pipe lit. “Can’t handle a little…” The pipe fell into an isolated puddle of blood. “Holy…Hell. What the Hell happened here?”

“I dunno, sir. I was hoping you could…” Officer Jones gagged, holding back another wave. “I was hoping you could figure that out.”

“I don’t think…I’m the right person to do that, Officer Jones. I keep the lights on, keep the public off your backs when one of you mess up. I think it’s time to call for some outside assistance on this one.”

“Couldn’t…our detectives handle this?”

“One’s on vacation, the other’s out on maternity leave. We’re short staffed and I believe this was your career path, wasn’t it Officer Jones?”

“Yeah, it is, but not…not like this.”

“Then make the call, Jones.”

***

“What do we have here?” Timmy Hightower stood in the door of the police station, his New York Mets cap backwards to better look around. Officer Jones stood up from behind his desk.

“Hi, you must be Timothy Hightower.”

“Please, call me Timmy.” Timmy walked over to Officer Jones’ desk and shook his hand. “I understand you’ve got a case for me.”

“Yes.” Officer Jones handed a manila folder to Timmy. “Do you know Sergio Connor?”

“He was the star third baseman of the Taco Dog Devils, the national Little League champions. Saw him around in school here and there but never talked. We didn’t run in the same circles. Why?”

“We found him yesterday…juiced.”

Timmy opened the file and looked at the photos and the police report. “Juiced?”

“Juiced.”

“And you’re asking me…to figure this out? Don’t you have detectives better equipped to deal with this kind of case?”

“One’s on vacation, the other is out on maternity leave. The Chief recommended we bring you in on this.”

“Have you tried figuring it out, Officer Jones?”

“I’m…I’m not ready for this kind of case.”

“And you think I am?”

“Not me. The Chief.”

“I guess I have no choice if Sergio has a shot at seeing any kind of justice.”

***

“Have you…thought of asking him for help, of talking…to the boy?” Leopold Franz, knife thrower extraordinaire, asked Timmy.

“I can’t. I’m still locked out up there. I’m lucky that I figured out how to access Timmy’s skills again after that stroke. I don’t think my father realizes that yet.”

“Your father…”

“Don’t say it, Leopold. He might be listening.”

“What’s…his plan?”

“To see if I stop believing in the good of humanity, that they weren’t really worth dying for after all. He’ll keep throwing these kinds of cases at me until I stop believing or until I find a way back home.” Timmy opened the file. “This boy was…juiced…for some reason. I have to find out why, Leopold. I haven’t regained access to Timmy’s memories though so I need your help. Who would have the biggest motivation to kill Sergio?”

“Hmmmm…” Leopold twiddled his handlebar mustache. “I have an idea, Timmy, that might give us a list of suspects.”

***

Timmy looked through the binoculars at the people sitting around closed casket burial of Sergio Connor. Leopold held a listening device. Both had a set of ear buds to listen.

“The person…who looks the least sad Sergio is dead…is our prime suspect.” Leopold said over Timmy’s shoulder.

Timmy watched Cara Connor, Sergio’s mom. Her over sized black sunglasses muffled any signs of grief she had, her dress equally black, not muffling her figure. Theo Connor, Sergio’s older brother, clutched at his mother, soaking her forearm with his tears. Timmy looked around the crowd, all of them grieving at various volumes until he noticed a boy Sergio’s age trying to grieve but slightly giggling beneath his hand.

“Leo, is that boy…laughing?” Timmy handed Leopold his binoculars.

“Yes…yes he is.”

“Who is he?”

“That’s…Travis…Travis Evans. He was the star third baseman for the Taco Dog Devils…before Sergio came along.”

“He might be our guy then. I’ll have to have a talk with him.”

***

“Hello, Travis.”

Travis turned around from his open locker and saw Timmy Hightower standing in front of him.

“I heard what happened, Timmy, and I understand why you would suspect I did it. Yeah, I hated Sergio, a lot. I spent years, years working my way up the food chain. Sergio just walked in and…just had everything I spent so long trying to have a tenth of. He was too good.”

“Do you have an alibi, Travis?”

“Yeah. I was home playing Dungeon Crawlers with my younger brother when that happened.”

“Got a problem if I check that?”

“Nope, no problem. I wanted to beat Sergio fair and square.”

“Why were you laughing then at the funeral?”

“Come on, he got juiced. Don’t you see the irony in that?”

***

“Travis’ alibi checked out, Uncle Leo. What now?” Timmy chomped down on a Five Alarm Taco Dog, the chili cheese sauce escaping the hard corn tortilla shell.

“You’ve got…the mother…and the younger brother to talk to.”

“I think I need to look at the crime scene up close. I have a feeling Officer Jones missed something.”

“Are you…sure?”

“I’m not twelve, Leopold, remember?”

***

Timmy looked around the kitchen, the ghost of the blood and chunks in the blender. He looked in the manila folder. “Really…no fingerprints? How are these people allowed to be police officers?” Timmy closed the manila folder and walked upstairs to look around the bedrooms. Before walking into Sergio’s room, he noticed a bloodied aluminum baseball bat sitting outside of the master bedroom. “How did Officer Jones miss this?”

***

“Hello, Ms. Connor.” Timmy sat on the hood of Ms. Connor’s white Volkswagen Golf.

“Timmy…what brings you here?”

“Chief Donaldson asked me to work on finding out who killed your son and I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.” Timmy held up the bloodied baseball bat encased in a plastic bag.

“Would you like to tell me how this was sitting outside of your room?”

“What…what are you talking about?” A police siren blared closer and closer.

“Don’t bother trying to run, Ms. Connor.” The police car pulled up and Officer Jones stepped out, gun drawn and aimed at Timmy. “Why did you do it, Officer Jones?”

“That kid was stopping us from being happy, Timmy. His obsession with baseball, the constant training, the money she had keep spending. He had to be stopped. We were going to ship Theo off to his father due to him being so traumatized over Sergio’s death and then live happily ever after.”

“So you would blend him to death instead of being supportive of Sergio’s dreams? What is wrong with you two?”

“You’ll never find out.” A knife flew out of the bushes and into Officer Jones’ hand. Leopold leaped out of the bushes, holding one of his throwing knives to Officer Jones’ throat.

“You…you dare not…”

“No, Uncle Leo, don’t do it. You will become him if you do it.”

“I’ve…killed before.”

“But you haven’t since. Don’t do this. We got them.”

Leopold put the throwing knife back with the other knives on his leather vest as additional police sirens wailed. He walked over to Timmy.

“How do you…how can you keep turning the other cheek despite this madness?”

“I have to believe, Leo, I have to keep believing in them or all hope is lost.”

 —
J. Bradley is the Falconer of Fiction at NAP, the Interviews Editor of PANK, and a contributor to the Specter Collective. He lives at iheartfailure.net.