Pickle tossed a shrug of his shoulders, “Nothing offends me. It’s my way of driving people who don’t like me nuts.”
Every once in a blue moon, make three blue moons, Pickle talked like a Zen master. Gillis couldn’t figure it out. Gillis said, “Where’d you get that bit wisdom? I’d like to practice it.”
Pickle was still taking iPhoto’s of the dead and decaying monkey. He said, “I got it from my mom’s fifth or eighth boyfriend. I couldn’t keep track she had so many. No guy lasted more than eight months with her. I learned to see it coming before the boyfriend did. This one boyfriend, Alvin, he was always high on pot or peyote. I think Mom liked him because I could always hear her saying, yes, yes, and more frequently at night. Mom, generally was very agreeable.
One day, Alvin was rolling a joint and I was in the room watching him. Mom came into the living room and called him a dirtbag and told him to get out of the house and to take his dope with him. I’m not sure where she got the attitude, but that was mom. Living with her was like riding a rollercoaster. Alvin smiled at her. She tossed a major insult at him when she told him his wiener was smaller than her thumb. He kept smiling. She cussed out his mother. She cussed out his grandmother. Mom was a professional when it came to cussing. Man, she was good. Alvin kept on smiling.”
“Nothing made him mad?” asked Gillis.
“I don’t know if nothing made him made. I know what scared the hell out of him and he ran out of the house with only his boxers on.”
“What happened?” asked Gillis.
Mom left the living room. She hollered from the kitchen. “Alvin, I apologize. The way you zoned out is a major turn on. I am so damn hot, I can’t stand myself. you are the best. Take off your pants and let’s get it on.”
“You heard all this? Did it bother you?”
“Why would it bother me, Gills? Mom was being mom. She never hit me. She was always nice to me. The rest of the stuff that surrounded me I like to think of as my education. That’s what I love about mom. She treated me like an adult. Alvin practically ripped off his shirt and pants and shoes and socks. He’s standing up with only his polkadot boxers on looking like he had three legs. He hollered out, “I’m ready for you, kitten.’ Kitten was his nickname for her. Mom hated cats and the poor fool couldn’t figure it out. Next thing, Mom comes into the living room with a carving knife in one hand and a butcher knife it the other and she said, ‘I am going to castrate you.’ That was the last I ever saw of Alvin.”
“Your mom was very persuasive,” said Gillis.
“True. I’m not sure Alvin taught me anything. But I learned to float about the craziness that filled my life. It’s why in critical situations I’m as calm and as lobster in a boiling pot of water. Ask me whatever you want to ask me, Gills. First, I’m making you the odds on favorite to go to bed with Wendy tonight even if she is still married, which I don’t know. I hear rumors.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” said Gillis scratching his groin and thinking maybe a mosquito got him while he showered with the window open.
Pickle stared at Gillis, bent toward him squinting his eyes. He straightened up and said, “Your piece is off center. It resembles road kill. You ever see a squirrel been run over by twenty zillion cars? That’s what it looks like laying that way on your head. Not a good look.”
“Thanks for the honesty, Dill.” Gillis adjusted his hair piece with a can of soda in one hand and Philly Cheesesteak sub in the other. “How’s it look now?”
“Not bad, but you dribbled mustard on it from your sub. Not to worry. The mustard put a natural blonde streak in your brown hair. It’s a good look. Now you got movie star looks. Don’t be surprised you get a screen test sometime.”
“Thanks, Dill. When I get to a mirror I’ll make a decision to see if I want to have the streak made permanent. Here’s my question. I can’t tell if you are classified as white, black, brown, Asian, or another category I missed. Not that it makes any difference to me. I’m curious, is all. What do you put down for race when you have to fill out a form? I’ve always wanted to ask you this question but couldn’t find the right time. The timing now is perfect.”
Dill was sticking a forefinger in one of the monkey’s empty eye sockets. He placed his middle finger in the other eye socket. He stuck his thumb in the monkey’s mouth. Dill stood up with the deceased’s head dangling from his right hand like it was a bowling ball. Dill said, “I ask if I can write in ‘all the above.’ It’s only fair. Mom told me during the time of her ovulation when I was conceived she had sex with four different guys. She said there was a white guy, a black guy, a Mexican, and a guy from Singapore. Then she said, there may have been a fifth or sixth, she couldn’t remember she was so wasted.”
“I got it. Thanks for sharing, Dill,” said Gills thinking this was too much information. It made him admire Pickle more than he did before, because Pickle always spoke well of his mother. Pickle had a gift of going with the flow wherever the flow was going.
Pickle was swinging the monkey’s head back and forth in a wider and wider arc. He said, “I ever tell you my Mom got an award …”
Gillis interrupted Dill. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear about the award. He said, “Must have been for Mother of the Year.” He quickly segued into a new thought, “Be careful with the head, the ME hasn’t examined it yet. Nice of Captain Courageous to set up a special unit and put us in charge. This case fits perfect into the Bizarre Crimes Unit.”
“I think you misheard the Cap, Gils. I think he said, the Brassiere Crimes Unit. No offense intended, but have your hearing checked. Can you give me a hand with the deceased’s head? It’s stuck. I was trying it on to see if I should buy a bowling ball this size. It’s a perfect fit.”
A couple of tugs and the monkey’s head popped free from Dill’s hand. Gillis had the monkey’s head in his two hands and stumbled backward, flipping the monkey’s head into the air as he fell onto his butt. The head pitched high in the air, did a few forward rolls, landed and rolled over dog poop left by one of the police dogs from the team that first responded. The monkey’s head came to rest next to Gillis empty can of Dr. Pepper, which laid between the monkey’s legs.
Dill stared at the monkey, walked around it clockwise, then walked counter clockwise back to his original starting point. He put his hand on his chin, pursed his lips and closed his eyes. A long second later he opened his eyes and said, “There’s no excuse for gutting a deceased and not cleaning up when you’re through. Look at the blood splatter. The killer broke all killing and gutting protocols. There’s no excuse for that. It won’t go well in prison. The majority of convicted murderers are sticklers for following killing and gutting protocols.”
Gillis said, “Killing and gutting protocol? Where’d you hear that? I think it was a crime of passion,” said Gillis knowing Pickle often said what popped in his mind without considering if it made sense or not.
“I thinks you’re mistaken. It’s a common mistake,” Dill.
“How so?” asked Gillis wondering why he wanted further clarification from Pickle.
“The correct word is compassion. It was a crime of compassion. Whereas and heretofore, and the aforesaid word passion means like you’re helping somebody out of a jam. Don’t get me wrong, I like jam, but I prefer jelly,” said Dill.
Gillis stared at his partner and considered Dill might be living in an imaginary world, sniffing a little of stuff in the evidence room, or maybe he needed immediate referral for professional help. He wasn’t quite sure. He never said anything because Dill had the build of a heavyweight boxer, a kind heart, and he didn’t mind picking up tab whenever they went out to eat.