Gillis Takes Target Practice in a Goldfish Pond

Don’t miss the next installment on Monday of our bumbling detectives, Gillis and Pickle, as Gillis Accidently Takes Out a Rare Goldfish

8 ~ Gillis Teaches Senior Citizens About Road Rage


Five minutes later Gillis and Pickle were traveling down El Paso Ave in Gillis’s red pickup truck. Gillis always enjoyed being fashionably late. His personal motto was if you start showing up on time, people will expect you to show up on time. He kept a list of personal mottos in a file on his smart phone to keep him grounded. Following his motto of not showing up on time, Gillis Gillis took a left and turned into an adult only community. He pulled up to the guard house and flashed his badge. The guard waved them through.

“Why we going through the adult only community, Gills. You think the killer is one of these old timers? It’s a good theory. Maybe the monkey crapped on their lawn and Sampson didn’t pick it up. It’d be enough to drive them over the edge,” said Pickle.

“Good theory, Dill. There’s one problem with it.”

“What’s that, Gills? I can’t see any holes in my theory,” said Dill. 

“By the time, they get up from their perch on the window, grab hold of their walker, find their gun, and make it to the door, they forgot what they were angry about until they step in the crap,” said Gillis.

“You’re the man. You see things other detectives will never see, Gills. Thanks for being my mentor,” said an appreciative Pickle.

Gillis slowed the red pickup to the posted speed limit of 15 miles an hour. He lowered the windows, and turned on the radio to a country western station maximizing the volume.

Pickles hollered over a country western singer complaining about his girl leaving him and his wide trailer for a rodeo star, “Why are you blasting music, Gills?”

“Number one, Dills, it’s common knowledge anyone over 55 is deaf. So the only way they can hear music is if you turn the volume up to maximum. Number two, when you live in one of these adult communities, you don’t got anything to do except look out the window for people violating their HOA rules or see who the ambulance carts out. Most of them will turn us in the HOA. Not a problem, they’ll think we’re an ice cream truck. It will give them something to talk about when they eat dinner at 3:30,” said Gillis.

“Three-thirty is kind of early for dinner, isn’t it, Gills?” asked Pickle.

“Not if you’re a senior. They go for the early bird special. What’s today? Tuesday. It’s half price for the ladies. Since most seniors are women because there husbands die off early, the few men capable of sex will have their pick. It’s a known fact, the biggest black market drug in the senior communities is viagra for men and estrogen replacement for women.”

“How do you know all this stuff, Gills? I think you’re the smartest man alive,” said Pickle.

“That may be true about me being the smartest man alive. I don’t like to brag about it. But I will for a quick moment. At an early age my first teachers said things like, “You think you’re smart.” Or, “Don’t be a smart aleck.” Or, “There he goes again, Mr. Smarty pants.”

Gillis stopped bragging about his intelligence when his mind registered three senior men riding in a golf cart ahead of him and traveling at six miles an hour. He began riding the golf cart bumper. The old guy on the rear seat in golf cart picked up a two iron and waved it at Gillis. Gillis respond by pulling out his gun, putting it in his left hand and sticking it menacingly out the window toward the old man. Gillis laid on his horn with his right hand and bumped the rear end of the golf cart causing it to career off the road onto Gillian Bridges lawn. Gillis stopped to make sure the golf cart wasn’t damaged. The driver, the man next to the driver, and the guy in the back seat got out of the golf cart, got out, pulled drivers out of their golf bags and took a step toward Gillis and Pickle. Gillis fired a warning shot over their heads not thinking about where the bullet might eventually land. One guy grabbed his heart and collapsed to the ground. Another tried to remember if he took his cell phone and if did what pocket he put it in. The third man looked at his watch and said, “If we don’t hurry, we’ll miss our tee time.”

Gillis waved at the two standing men and Pickle tossed them a salute as they pulled away from the edge of the road.

“Why’d you fire your gun, Gills?” asked Pickle.

“I like the high quality of your questions, Dill. It shows me you got a lot of potential. And, I mean Potential spelled with a capital P. To answer your question, these seniors probably never had experience with road rage. Normally, being taught about road rage is going to cost you around a hundred bucks. I just gave them a free lesson. More Importantly, I gave them something to talk about.”

“That’s what I like about you, Gills. You always thinking of the other person. Maybe I’ll write this up and give it to Cap. He’ll get you a citation and an award for community service.”

Gillis shook his head, “Thanks, but no thanks, Dill. If I get the award it will cause too much envy from the rest of the department. I prefer to keep my community service low key. On a whole high note, Wendy wants me to think she’s playing hard to get. I like that in my women.”

“What are you going to do, Gills? She’s laying the marriage trap for you. You need your freedom, man,” replied Pickle. 

Gillis and Pickles fist bumped. They cleared the senior settlement. Gillis turned off the radio. 

Pickles said, “Got any ideas where we start looking for the killer, Gills?”

“The only place we can start, Dill. We start with the last person to see the deceased alive.”

“Who’s that Gills?”

“I figure it’s the monkey’s owner. We was on his property when we examined the crime scene. If he’s messing with the crime scene, he’s messing with me. If he’s messing with me, he’s messing with the wrong dude. Captain Courageous told Sampson we’d be by to interview him a 10 a.m. That’s where we’re headed.

Pickle looked at his smart phone, “It’s 11:15, Gills. We’re over an hour late.”

“There’s where you are wrong, Dill. We’re right on time. I want him to squirm. I want him to fidget. I want him to know we’re on to him and we’re going to stick his head up his rectum and roll him like a ball.”

“You figure he’s the killer? How so?” asked Pickle. 

“It’s his name that tipped the scales, Dill. Folsom Sampson the Third. I call him Folsom Sampson the turd. We might wrap this case up in the half hour. Think about it. Can you imagine a better suspect than someone who owned the monkey and who reported the murder? Don’t answer. I already know what you are going to say. Here’s another thing. I listened to the recording of the 911 call and the monkey’s name is Till. This is a name nobody wants. I think the monkey went to court and was trying to get his name changed. Sampson found out about it and demanded the monkey stop. Till refused, and Sampson killed him. I got the motive down. Now all I got to figure out if Sampson owns a cleaving knife and when he had the opportunity to do the deed.”

“Everything you say makes perfect sense, Gills. I’ll pile on to your theory. I don’t trust no one with two last names. You remember Crater Doolittle, the serial killer? How about, Jones Smith, head of the symphony mafia? You ever hear of a person named Folsom being an upright, honest, God fearing man?”

“You made your point, Dills,” said Gillis beginning to get drowsy listening to Pickle. He didn’t want to nod off, especially while he was driving. He still had sixteen months of payments left on his truck. 

Pickle looks out the window, deep in thought. After a long three seconds, he turned back to Gillis, “I gave it a lot of thought, Gills. You’re bulls eye perfect about Folsom Sampson. When we interview the son of bitch, you want to be the good cop or the bad cop?”

“Let’s flip for it when we get there, Dill.”

Gillis pulled his Ford pickup up to the curb, next to fire hydrant, across from the Sonrisa guarded, gated community. 

“You know you pulled up into a no parking zone, right Gills?” asked Pickle.

Gillis twisted a bit in his seat and faced Pickle, “I’ve been on the force ten years longer than you, Dill. I’m going to let you in on a secret that only a few senior detectives know. If you’re a cop, you can park anywhere you want. You can park your car on the sidewalk. You can double park it. You can triple park it. You can park in on top of a slow walking pedestrian who is using a walker. I got a pet peeve about walkers. I seen senior citizens use them as weapons. I think they should be banned.”

“I promise I won’t tell anyone the secret, Gills. I can’t wait to park my car on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. It’ll be safer that way.”

Gillis and Pickle, The Bumbling Detectives, Return on Monday 

© Ray Calabrese 2018

7 ~ Gillis Suggests Two Nicknames To Wendy


Pickle opened the ME’s door and stood aside and said, “Please rise, the man who desire more than any other is about to enter.” Pickle paused for a poignant moment and spoke as if he was announcing a late night TV talk show host, here’s Detective Gills.”  Pickle made a sweeping gesture with his right arm  and Gillis soon followed. 

Gillis paused at the door, waved to the twenty-three people in the room as if he were the Queen of England or the Pope. Unfortunately not counting Pickle and himself, and only one was alive. The other twenty-two were deceased and waiting to be autopsied. The living human being, Doctor Wendy Flox, dressed in blue scrubs and matching latex free gloves stood over the Monkey holding a scalpel in her left hand. She had her dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, the ponytail stuck out from behind her skull cap. Wendy glanced up from the deceased toward Gillis and Pickle.

She pulled the mask off her face, lifted it over her forehead and let it rest on the blue skull cap. She grumbled, “I’m busy. What do you two fools want?”

Gillis walked confidently toward Wendy. He said, “Is that anyway to greet the president and vice president of your fan club?” He fist bumped Pickle and then did a pirouette ending with his right arm extending toward Wendy. 

“If you’re looking for applause, it’s not going to happen, tomorrow, or any other time you are within five miles of me. Make it quick. I’ve got two more stiffs to examine.”

Gillis smiled and said, “If I was you, I’d find a different outfit for work. You know one that’s a lot sexier than scrubs. I can help you pick out something more comfortable at Victoria Secrets. Am I right?”

“You’re a jackass. Tell me what you want before I lose whatever is left of my composure,” grumbled Flox.

Gillis mistook Flox’s comment about him being a Jackass as her way of flirting with him, said, “First things first, how are you and your husband getting along? I hear rumors a split is inevitable. The breakup will be tough, but I’m here for you. Let’s have drinks after work and you can tell me what a louse he is. I’ll be understanding and agree to whatever you have to tell me about him. I won’t even make a comment when you tell me you’re faking it with him. After drinks, we can go to my place do our love dance.”

Wendy Flox jammed the scalpel into the deceased’s armpit and placed her latex free gloved hands on her hips. She glared at Gillis, “My personal life is none of your business. For the record, Richard and I are happily married.”

“Stage one, denial. Please make a mental note of my empathy. Are those latex free gloves?” asked Gillis.

“Yes, why?”

“I’ll make sure we stop and pick up latex free condoms on the way to my apartment,” said Gillis feeling proud of his sensitivity in picking up the latex free cue from Flox.

Flox pulled the scalpel out of the monkey and made a threatening gesture toward Gillis.

Pickle came riding in on cue rescuing his partner, “Hey, Wendy. Lighten up. Gills is being friendly. No need for an attitude. Gills is concerned about your marital stress and wants to take you out for drinks when you finish carving up the monkey. Don’t worry, we won’t tell animal rights groups what you’re doing. We’re both here for you when the crap hits the fan. Besides, Gills is worried about your biological clock running out. It’d be a shame if you didn’t have his babies since Richard is apparently infertil.”

Wendy looked at the scalpel in her hand. The possibilities it offered were endless. She was satisfied the scalpel was sharp enough to slit Gillis from his throat to his pelvis. She could do the same job on Gillis the killer did on the monkey. She glanced at the tool tray and eyeballed another scalpel that would easily take off both of Pickle’s ears. Flox had only one decision. She had was to decide if she could kill the two detectives that no one likes, and get away with murder. She could claim justifiable homicide. Not a jury in the world would convict her. Flox decided against it. She’d have to do two more autopsies. 

Flox said, “You got two minutes, Gillis.”

“Before we start the clock, I got an easy one, not related to the deceased or us having sex tonight.”

Wendy rolled her eyes, “Okay, what is it and it better not be stupid.”

Gillis flashed what he thought was a smile that melted a frigid woman’s heart. He said, “Everyone on the force has a nickname but you. This creates problems because everyone but Pickle and me thinks you’re stuck up. Since I always have your best interests in mind, I came up with two choices that will catch on like the common cold in January.”

Wendy took her hands off her hips and folded them across her chest. She looked like a diamondback rattlesnake coiled to strike. She snarled, “What?”

Gillis said, “I put together all of your excellent qualities, brains, looks, sex appeal, temper, ran it through my brain, which is faster than IBM’s Watson and came up with the two perfect nicknames. You choose, me and Pickle will accept either one and make sure it gets around.”


“The first nickname comes from the fact that I believe your biological clock is about to run out. What do you think of Hot Flashes?” asked Gillis.

“I like the second one, Gills. You know the one that describes a young cat,” said Pickle.

“You say it and I will march right up to Courageous’s office and put you both on report for sexual harrassment. Your two minutes starts now.”

“Let me time this.” Gillis pulled out his iPhone. He popped in his passcode. “I’m not one to give out my passcode. I set it to the first name of hottest woman in the department. Oh hell, I just gave it it away.”

Pickle said, “Tonya? You were just saying you’d like to spend a night with her.”

Gillis didn’t blink, “You’re mistaken, Dill. That was Cap. I told Cap he better watch it, he could be brought up on sexual harassment charges.”

“Gotcha. Yah, we got to keep an eye on Cap.”

“Fool. You’ve used thirty seconds,” said Wendy, bending over the Monkey. 

“I’ll make it quick, what was the cause of death”

Wendy stared at the scalpel. Instead of killing Gillis and Pickle, she could stab herself in the heart or slice her aorta. She’d die a quick death and except for the initial incision, there wouldn’t be a lot of pain. She shook the thought out of her head and said, “Loss of blood.”

“You are busting my balls, Wendy. Give me a break. Pickle and me got a job to do. We head up the Bizarre Crimes Unit. What caused the loss of blood?” said Gillis.

Wendy straightened up, “You look as stupid as you talk. Anybody ever tell you that? Did you know you have mustard in the dishrag you try to pass off as a hair piece? I’ve seen better hair on roadkill. Here’s your answer, it was decapitation or the gutting of his sternum that caused the loss of blood.”

Gillis worked with his piece trying to adjust it. He said, “I wanted to see if you’d notice. Only a woman who is sexually attracted to me, would notice and tell me. Will you marry me?”

Flox started coming around the slab after Gillis when Pickles said, “How do you figure decapitation was the cause of death?”

Flox regained control and returned to her original position keeping the dead monkey between her and Gillis and Pickle. She said, “The head was three feet away from the body. Anyone with a half brain could see that. And, he was opened up as if he were a zipper.”

Gillis put his iPhone in his pant’s pocket, “A couple more questions, that’s all. Then we can talk about where we will dine and drink tonight. Did the monkey suffer?”

Flox wondered if she got caught in a reality TV show. Or, if she was in one of those reoccurring nightmares. She said, “Gillis, how would you feel if someone cut your guts out?”

Pickle butted in, “Is that anyway to talk to man who is going to father your babies?”

Flox swished the scalpel at Pickle. Pickle jumped back even though he wasn’t close enough to get hurt. “Ha, you missed,” he said.

“It was practice. I’m getting the range,” snapped Flox.

Gillis said, “Any fingerprints on the guts?”

Flox responded, “Where did you get these questions? “The killers took the guts.”

Gillis raised his hands, “Hold on. Your bias is coming out. These questions were compiled by the greatest minds in criminology. We’re the messengers. We got to ask what we got to ask.”

Flox reached for a second scalpel, “Leave before I lose it.”

Thanks for the cooperation, Wendy. I know a nice place, Bennie’s Ice House. We can have a few brewski’s, a burger, and play a game of pool to determine where we spend the night.”

Wendy flipped the middle finger of her right hand to Gillis.

Gillis raised his eyebrows, “Thanks for letting me know you didn’t like pool. How about going straight to my place we’ll have take out Chinese, and play strip poker. Pickle will call your husband and tell him you’re on a special assignment.”

“I’m available for a candlelight dinner, if your schedule is too crowded for Gillis,” said Pickle.

Wendy grabbed the other scalpel and started around the slab. Gillis and Pickle headed for the door. Pickle stood aside and let Gillis escape first, then he followed Gillis, slamming the door behind him. A thump was heard on the door.

Gillis turned around and stared at the door, “We’ve got to be a bit more careful. Wendy’s becoming more accurate throwing the scalpel. That’s what attracts me to her. Imagine all that passion focused on me for a night. I tell yah, Pickle, Wendy knows she’s in love with me and this is her way of showing how much she loves me.”

“Want me to talk to Richard and tell him it’s time to move on and tell him Wendy is in love with you?” asked Pickle.

“I want to be more subtle, Dill. When we finish the case, I’ll invite her to go to Vegas with me to get married.”

Pickle pushed the button for the elevator. He said, “You’re always thinking of the other person, Gills. One day, I want to be just like you.

© Ray Calabrese 2018

6 ~ Pickle Believes Gillis Understands Women Better Than Women Do


Courageous twisted his head slightly toward the window. He was reconsidering his decision not to throw himself in a full body slam at the window. If he was sure he’d break the glass and soar into space, he’d do it. Hell couldn’t be worse than what he was experiencing with Gillis and Pickle. Sigmund Freud couldn’t figure these two out if he had three lifetimes, thought Courageous. Then he remembered his good friend, Pete Thissel, who headed the Unsolved Crimes Unit. Six months ago, Pete Thissel, tried leaping through the window from the 45th floor after working with Gillis and Pickle for two weeks. Pete ended up with a fractured skull. He was never the same after that, he’s in an assistant care facility. Gillis and Pickle got a citation for solving the case.

Courageous closed his eyes visualizing how much longer until retirement. Eighteen months, that’s all I have to make before I can retire on a full pension. That’s less than two years. I can do it. I can do it, he repeated to himself. A brief moment later, he opened his eyes and smiled like someone who’d taken one two many anxiety pills. It was a smile of someone who was thinking of dinner at Flipetti’s Trattoria instead of the two lunatics in front of him. He’d have to eat alone, his wife called and said she’d be late, she had a late meeting with the mayor this afternoon she couldn’t break. 

Courageous took a deep breath and said “Listen up Gillis and Pickle, the press is going to be all over this case once they hear about it. I’m keeping a lid on it. No leaks. Keep it quiet. I want it solved by the end of the week.”

“Too late for that, Cap,” said Gillis.

“What!” screamed Courageous, his calm demeanor left him faster than a rocket leaving Cape Kennedy for outer space.

Gillis said, “Thought you’d be happy. I took the liberty of calling Elaine Hazel at the Daily News. I owed her one for the great sex we had after I leaked the story about the unsolved case that is no longer unsolved. Don’t tell anyone, I not one to kiss and tell if you know what I mean.

Courageous’s heart momentarily flatlined, then went into Afib before backing off into A flutter turning his face redder than a ripe tomato and his balding head into a Vegas neon sign.

Pickle, ever helpful, offered Courageous his take, “I saw an ad on cable for high blood pressure, Cap. It’s from one of the endangered species that will be extinct in six months. That’s why the company is hunting all of them before hunting them is banned. Question for you, Cap. Is it banned or band? The two words can be easily confused. The ad said you can get your first order free if you subscribe to receive a supplementary order every week for two years. If you order now, they’ll send a bonus gift card good for …” 

“Please leave before I throw the two of you at the window.”

“Caio,” said Gillis as he stood and turned toward the door.

Pickle followed Gillis and said, “I think you meant, chow, the two words are easy mistaken and misused.

Gillis and Pickle left Courageous’s office and entered the elevator. Pickle pushed the B button and the elevator began its slow descent toward the basement. He stepped back, “You’d think they’d put the morgue up here with the Cap since he’s in charge of the hormone unit.”

“You mean homicide unit, right?” asked Gillis, then realized his error. He quickly added, “Don’t say it, the two words are easily confused.”

“You are the best, Gills. You can read my mind before the thought hits my lips. How do you do that?” asked Pickle.

“Just a gift I was born with, Dill. You ought to put your idea about moving the morgue in the suggestion box. You might win the weekly prize.” 

“Thanks for encouraging me, Gills. I’ve always been creative. I remember when I was in fourth grade, I turned my math test upside down and did the test.”

Gillis turned his toward Pickle, “How’d that work out for you?”

“See, that’s the problem with schools, Gills. They penalize creative kids. They reward the ass kissers who play by the rules. That’s why we’re such a good team. Following the law and the rules are for the other cops. We make it up as we go along.”

“Good point, Dill,” Gills said. Then he added, “Cap’s pretty emotional about this case. I got a feeling he and the deceased were close friends.”

“I noticed that. You see the vein in his right temple doing the Paso Doble? I thought Cap was going to have an anus and it was going to pop any second.”

Gillis wasn’t quite sure where to begin. He couldn’t let it pass. He said, “You mean aneurysm, right? Only helping out in case you ever have to interview a dietician, Dill,” said Gillis.

The elevator sped past the second floor on its descent. Pickles said, “Two easily confused words, Gills. They had this PBS special on television about confusing words. I watched it while Karen and I were having sex.”

“You watched a TV show about confusing words while you were having sex?” Gillis said as the elevator came to a stop at the basement level.

“I call it word porn. It’s a turn on for me.”

“What about Karen?”

“She left me in the morning. I can’t figure out why. I’m sure she liked it, she didn’t say a word during or after sex. I always take that as a good sign.”

“Women are hard to figure, Dill. Speaking of such, back me up with Wendy. No question she’s got the hots for me. I’ve been playing hard to get and it’s driving her nuts. I’m going to torment her until her libido explodes and she can’t control her sexual aggression for me.”

“You understand the female species better than women understand their own species. That’s where you have the edge, Gills. I wish I had your gift for the ladies. Me? Right now I’m on the new dating site, desperate dot com.” 

Gillis and Pickle walked down the dimly lit bowels of police headquarters. Steam pipes, covered with dust and cobwebs lined the ceiling, the light barely strong enough to keep them from tripping on a rat scurrying across the floor.

“This place gives me the creeps. You think the city would send an inspector and shut it down. No self respecting corpse wants to be found dead here, said Gillis.

“Rumor has it the Chief has pull with the mayor’s office. He’s pulling strings to keep the food inspectors away,” said Pickle. 

Gillis wasn’t sure where to take the food inspector comment. He let it slide and pointed ahead, “There’s the morgue. Wendy was experiencing PMS earlier. It proved one thing to me.”

“What’s that, Gills?” asked Pickle.

“Wendy’s still capable of having my babies. Maybe I need to talk to her about her biological clock.”

“You is always one step ahead of the ladies, Gills. My aunt Louise would say you got chick dust sprinkled on you when you was born. The ladies cannot resist you.”

“I thought that was dandruff,” laughed Gills. “Heads up, Dill. Like Cap always says, we got to show our sensitive side.”

Dill fist bumped Gills and said, “Like my Grams always said, ‘You catch more frogs with bacon.’”

“Got to remember that one. Okay if I use it now and then?” said Gillis.


© Ray Calabrese 2018

The Bumbling Detectives, Gillis & Pickle Return Tomorrow

Tomorrow’s Fun Read on the Bumbling Detectives – Pickle suggests Ferris Bueller is a suspect in the killing.

The Bumbling Detectives: Gillis & Pickle Return Monday

Monday’s Fun Read on the Bumbling Detectives –

Captain Courageous asks Gillis and Pickle if they know how to stop the city from becoming a giant landfill of crime and corruption. Gillis has the answer.