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This Isn't an Average Day

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It was a clammy, wet afternoon in the middle of September when I went for a walk around town. I had noticed a different ambiance in the way people acted. Nobody looked up when I had passed them and said hello. Nobody ever piped a word besides me or the occasional, very quiet ‘excuse me’ when someone bumped into another fellow pedestrian walking the opposite way. This wasn’t the same Herbville as I had known it to be. Something had happened and I couldn’t detect what it was.
The sun hadn’t shown at all and I was beginning to fear that the moon would not appear tonight. For the clouds were hanging around and not seeming to move. It was like they were glued to the sky and they were going to be there for a very long time.
I was just about to turn walk into a little town store when my mobile rang. I looked at the caller ID and it wasn’t a number I’ve ever seen before. Hesitant, I answered with a shy hello.
“Is this Chauncey?” the other voice asked.
“Suppose it could be.”
“My name is Chuckles. I work at the hospital as a mortician.”
Why would a mortician be calling me? I think to myself.
“I have a patient here--,” Chuckles started, but he was howling to himself about what he had said. “Sorry,” he says between short burst of chuckling. “I have just done an autopsy on a person named Harry Henry.”
Harry Henry? I’ve never heard of him before. Who was he?
“What about him?”
“His death is unknown. I can’t find a single thing on him that could have killed him.”
“So?”
“So?” Chuckles shrieks. “So, a little bird tells me that you were an ex-detective.”
“Suppose I could have been.”
“Well, I need you to team up with Fred.”
“Who’s Fred?”
“You’re looking at him.”
I look straight ahead and to my astonishment, I see a grubby old man, about the age of fifty-three. He has greasy, grimy dreadlocks that stick to his shoulders, neck, and face. He has green eyes that are covered by his Harry Potter glasses. Great, I have to work with a hippie…
“What do you think?”
“Of what?”
“Fred, of course. Do you think he can be someone who would be easy to work with?”
I look at Fred again. He seemed to be getting dirtier the closer I got to him.
“Yeah, I think.” I hope would seem right.
“Great, you and Fred will be joined by another detective and a lawyer.”
“When do we start?”
“Right now. Good luck to you, Chauncey.” With that, there was a click and Chuckles had hung up.
I was confused, bewildered, puzzled. I was mad, angry, upset. I had to take time of my recording time to be with this gross looking hippie just to solve a mystery. Who did Chuckles think I was? A reject of the Mystery Inc.?
Fred walked up the rest of the way and greeted me. He held out his hand which was covered in filth. I thought to myself when the last time he took a shower was.
I did not take his to shake. I just crossed my arms and hoped he would put it down. He did, but his eyes teared up and he began to cry. This was a bonus I was not happy with. Not only was Fred a filthy, grubby, grimy hippie, he was an emotional filthy, grubby, grimy hippie.
“Sorry, but your hand is disgusting. I’d rather not touch it.”
“Very well,” Fred said through sniffles. “My name is Fred. I used to be a forensic scientist. I to quit my job so I could petition everything that I am against. But all of this is very sad, and it may bring tears to my eyes.”
Chuckles had never mentioned anything about him. I was starting to get very upset with the mortician.
“I’m Chauncey. I used to be a detective down in Johnston Town. When my best friend, who was also a detective, died, I decided to move to a bigger town to pursue my dream of becoming a musician.”
“Did you make it?”
“I am currently in the middle of it.”
“Whattya mean?”
“I am supposed to be in the studio as of right now, but is that gunna happen? Probably not,” I say annoyed.
Fred gets a sad look over his face, tears well up in his eyes, and a few spring from his tear ducts. “It’s my fault isn’t it?” he says.
I couldn’t stand being around him like this anymore. “No,” I lied.
“Well, I think we better get started,” Fred says happy as a puppy playing with a new toy.
“I agree. Let’s go to my place. I have all my stuff from my detective days.”

We start walking through the busy downtown. The sun started to peak through the dark grey clouds, and I could see that everyone was a little more chipper than they were earlier. But there was still something strange about the ambiance throughout the streets. Something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
As we rounded a corner, I spotted a broken picture frame laying in the dark green hedges to our right. I pointed this out to Fred, and we investigated what we had found. The picture frame looked like it was broken on purpose. On one of the pieces, I found dried blood. Either this was a clue or a trick.
I examine the rest of the frame and notice more and more blood.
“Fred, I think we found our first clue.”

“What should we do with it?”
“What should we do? Fred, you were a detective before! You know what we should do.”
“Sorry, I kind of forgot the fundamentals of what a detective is supposed to do. With all the petitioning I have been doing, my mind has been set to other things.”

“Right. Well, the first thing we need to do is located the police department and get a test to figure out whose blood this is.”

“Oh, so we have to ID the person who got hit with this?”

“I’m not quite sure if the person got hit or not, and I’m not even sure if this is the same person the mortician called me about.”
As the day wore on, we tested the blood, and were waiting for the results to come back. My mobile rang again, and it was the same number Chuckles had called from earlier. I answer.
“Why, hello there, Chauncey. How is this investigation going?”

“So far nothing has sprang up interest besides this broken picture frame that Fred and I found walking towards my apartment. It had blood on it and we just tested it for its DNA.
“Good to hear! I’m glad things are coming along together. But anyways, the reason I called you again was to tell that the detective and the lawyer that you are going to be teaming up with is Harvey James and Roselle Bird. They should be at the police department already, and I assume that’s where you are now.”
“Yes, I am in the police department. And, I do believe I saw Harvey and Roselle a little while ago. I’ll have to double check.”
“Good, good. Well, I must get back to my work. Good luck to you again, Chauncey.” There was a click and once again, Chuckles had hung up.
“Mr. Green?” A person called me from the side of the room.
I look over to see that it was a guy in a suit. I get up to go talk to him.
“Call me Chauncey,” I say.
“Alright, Chauncey,” he says. “My name is Harvey James. I am a lawyer here and I was told that I need to get with you and Fred to bust a death. Is that right?”
“Yes, it is. Have you heard anything yet?”
Harvey gives me a very thoughtful look. “Actually, yes, I have. Yesterday, I heard that someone had gone missing and hasn’t been seen since.”
“Fantastic. What was this person’s name?”
“His wife had called down here. His name is Wacey Newman.”
“Is that the same guy that the mortician did his autopsy on?”
“I never asked. I suppose we should head over there to figure it out.”
Just then a fairly younger woman walked in the room, her name Roselle, the detective we were supposed to work with. “Good news, the DNA test came back. The blood belongs to a gentleman named Wacey Newman.”

I’m shocked. Usually things don’t quite add up together this fast. It usually takes days, but I had a feeling that this case is only going to get weirder.
“He’s the guy that went missing yesterday,” Harvey said.
“We need to go to the hospital and ask this mortician, Chuckles, if he’s found anything new about his autopsy.”
We all leave the police station and go to the hospital. When we get there, we ask the receptionist if the Chuckles were in. She said there was no one named Chuckles that worked here. That sneaky, humorous mortician, I think to myself. There’s something up with him and I need to get to the bottom of it.
“What mortician is on duty today?” I asked, my tone rising because I was getting really upset.
The receptionist checks the schedule. “Ian Grass is in today, but I cannot let you go see him right now. He is in the middle of an autopsy.”
Roselle shows the receptionist her badge.
“Of course, sorry about that, Mrs. Bird. You may go on up to Level 9. He should be in Room 5.”
“Thanks,” Roselle said.
Piling into the elevator, I hear Fred quietly sobbing to himself. I asked him what was wrong.
“All this death and stuff is just making me sad. I hate death, I really hate it,” Fred cries. You can really see his grimy and grubbiness as his tears slide down his cheeks. It disgusts me, honestly.
After that, the ambiance of the small elevator got really awkward and I couldn’t stand it. Thankfully, after two minutes, the elevator stopped on the ninth floor. We all file out and start to look for Room 5.
“Down here,” Harvey said.
I run towards Harvey and everyone else follows suit. I spot Room 5 and open the door. Empty. Not a single body in there.
“I have a feeling we’re being played with, Chauncey,” Fred said.
“I do too,” I said. “Nothing is right. But the clues add up together.”
Just then I notice something sticking out of the wall in the room. I search for a light switch and I turn the lights on. I walk over to the thing that caught my attention and I pull it out of the wall. A Benjamin stares back at me.
“What is it?” Roselle asked.
“A hundred dollar bill,” I replied.
I then realized that Chuckles would have probably used this to rent the room so he could do whatever he needed to Wacey. The room smelled faintly of death and a window was cracked open.

“Hey, everyone, I think we better go pay Wacey’s wife a visit. I have a feeling she knows more that what she told you, Harvey,” I said.

“Good idea, let’s go.”

The hospital gave us a bigger idea of what is really happening. The bloody, broken picture frame and the lonely one hundred dollar bill were the clues that we had so far, and I think things are really coming along well. I had a hypothesis of what really happen, but I couldn’t make a big deal out of it yet because I had yet to figure a lot of other things out.
•••

At Wacey’s wife’s house, we find that nobody is home. Another clue that something is not right. Roselle called the police department for someone to fill out a warrant so a judge can approve that we could search the house. A few minutes later, we get the approved call.

We break down the door and split up, Roselle and Fred on the ground floor, Harvey and I on the second floor. I go straight to the bathroom and open the door. It smelled strangely familiar of death. In front of the bathtub is a bloody sock. I pick it up. It’s soaked with blood and it’s recent too.

“Chauncey! Come here!” Fred yelled from the bottom of the stairs.

I sprinted downstairs to be greeted by Fred and Roselle. “You have got to see this,” Roselle said.

I follow them to a storage closet right next to the stair case. They opened the door and we find Wacey, unconscious, bloody, beaten, and bruised. Whoever did this was either looking to do some serious damage.

“Any idea of the cause of death?” I asked.

“Look at this,” Fred said pointing to a cell phone in Wacey’s hand.

“I’m going to try to call the number that Chuckles called from,” I said.

I grab my mobile from my pocket and go to my recent calls; I find the unknown number and hit SEND. Instantly, the phone in Wacey’s hand starts to ring.

“I’m starting to figure things out,” I said.

“What do you mean?” Harvey asked.

“Things are starting to line up and the code is getting closer to being cracked.”

“How?” Fred asked.

“Do you not see it? The picture frame, the dollar bill, the body, the phone, they are all clues that someone did this on purpose just to get attention. And I have a pretty good idea who it might be.”

I heard a noise by the door. I swung myself towards the door and I saw a strange looking man trying to escape.

“Freeze!” Roselle commanded.

The guy stopped what he was doing and he put his hands up in the air. Roselle arrested him and told him his Miranda rights. She then proceeded to take him into the police department for an interrogation.

“Did you kill Wacey Newman?” Roselle asked, walking around her arms crossed, face serious.

“Yes, I did.”

“Why?”

“Because he got me fired and--,”

“And you had to get back by killing him so he would lose his job too?”

“I really didn’t mean to kill him.”

“What are you saying, Chuckles? Is that even your real name? You gave us a fake name so that nobody would know who you were and so that they wouldn’t expect anything? You killed Wacey just because he got you fired. Why did you get fired?”

“I wrote the wrong dosages for a patient with a severe case of pneumonia and it killed him.”

“So let me guess, your friend, Wacey, saw this mistake and turned you in for it? Then you had the power in yourself to go out and kill him? You are not making any sense here. For all I know you could be lying. And we still haven’t got back your DNA test so we can determine who you are. You are looking at a life sentence in jail. Impersonating someone and murder. The hole is getting deeper and deeper. It’s time to confess or it’ll be too late.”

“Alright, my name is Jesse Ambridge. I was Wacey’s nurse and I misunderstood what he had said to me when dealing with the patient with pneumonia. He got me fired and I needed to make myself feel better. I decided to kill him; he made me lose my job that I worked forever to receive. What a better way to make him suffer by making him lose his job too.”

“Mr. Ambridge, how did you kill Mr. Newman?”

“I kidnapped him, gave his some laughing gas to knock him out, I beat him, I did everything I could to make him feel the pain I was feeling.”

“Mr. Ambridge, I’m placing you under arrest for murder in the first degree.”

“Please, it was just a misunderstanding.”

“You have the right to remain silent. Whatever you say can be used against you in court...”

With that, Jesse had been towed away to the prescient where he would be held until a court day would be finalized and a conviction would be made.

After that, I had lost contact with Fred, Harvey, and Roselle, but I did read that Jesse had been given a life sentence in Herbville County Jail. I just released me demo for a big recording studio outside of Fort Bear. I realized something while dealing with this case: I miss being a detective. I made a poor decision quitting and moving away from my problem. But my new life has its perks. Hopefully, I’ll be at the top soon. Right now, I’m just sitting on my couch watching cartoons.



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