18 ~ Gillis Tells Wendy He’s There For Her


Gillis turned toward Wendy Flox, “Hey, Babe. Glad it’s you picked up the assignment. We’ll leave as soon as you’re through here. Dill will take your car  and you ride with me. We’ll pick up some Chinese takeout and go to my place where I’ll teach you the finer points of love.” 

Wendy ignored Gillis and walked past him to the corpse, “Who found him?”

I did,” Fluke and Fluck answered together.

“You two in a barbershop quartet seeing you answered in harmony?” said a straight faced Wendy.

Fluke looked at Fluck. Fluck looked back at Fluke. They said in perfect harmony, “No, but we’re trying out for America’s Got Talent. We’re going to bill ourselves as “The Singing Cops.”

Pickle said, “It’ll be a fluke if you win. I think most voters will say, ‘Fluck it.” 

Gillis burst out laughing, “Oh that’s rich. That is really, really good. Can I use it at the coffee shop tomorrow morning, Dill?”

“It’s yours partner. I think you might be a little late coming in tomorrow by the look of lust in the lady’s eyes,” said Pickle staring at Wendy Flox.

“Will you two stop it. It is not a question, it is a statement. I’ve had a rough day. Pat left me for another woman. So lay off the crap today,” said Wendy fighting back tears.

Gillis rushed to her side, “I’m here for you, Babe. I promise no more of the sexual banter that we’re famous for.” He winked at Pickle.

“Thanks, Gillis. Anyone see or find anything unusual?” said Wendy.

“I told detectives Gillis and Pickle about something strange I saw in the victim’s stomach cavity. I thought it was coin. Detective Gillis thinks it’s a piece of bone,” said Fluke.

Flox slipped on latex gloves, turned on her high-powered penlight, and used a pencil to lift part of the skin flap covering the victim’s cavity. She moved the penlight around and poked with with the pencil. She stopped in the upper left of the cavity and reached in with her gloved hand and pulled something out, “You’re both wrong. It’s a gold cufflink. Get me an evidence bag.”

Gillis turned to Pickle, “We find out who’s wearing the match to the cufflink we got our murderer, Dill. Did you happen to catch if the Cap was missing a cuff link?”

“He was missing his left cuff link, Gills. I assumed Clara pulled it off during a fit of passion. I love it when you pull it together Gills.”

Wendy looked up, “Are you talking about Clara Dunn?”

“I don’t know what she’s done, but I know what she’s doing and it has two names, Santiago and Courageous,” said Gillis.

“Add a third to the list,” said Wendy.

“Clara is getting around and building up a fine resume for being sexually active. What name do you have in mind?” asked Gillis.

“Flox!” said Wendy bursting into tears.

Gillis grabbed hold of Wendy’s two shoulders and shook her, “Get a grip, girl. We’ve got a case to solve and Pickle and I need you. I’m willing to put our relationship on the back burner until we clear the case. Once we clear it, I’m going to personally beat the crap of your cheating, lying, philandering skunk of husband. Who, by the way, you should throw under the bus. If you move in with me, we can share expenses. Are you on the pill? I don’t like to use condoms. We’ll talk about having my babies when things settle down.”

“You know how to cut to the chase, Gills,” quipped Pickle. 

Flox pushed aways from Gillis. Flox, Fluke, and Fluck stared at Gillis and Pickle.

“Listen up, Babe. You got to do something with your hair,” said Gillis.

“I’m not your babe. Don’t speak to me. Don’t touch me. Don’t come around my office unless it’s official business. I thought Pat was the lowest form of human being and now I know someone lower. It’s disgusting.”

Gillis glared at Fluke, “Sorry she feels this way about you, Fluke. I don’t know what you did to upset her, but it’s best if you and your singing partner move away from here.”

Gillis turned back to Wendy, “I love it when you’re angry, Babe. The way I see it, your projecting a lot of your inner anger onto Fluke. He’s a couple of cookies short of a dozen. He’s not the brightest light bulb in the room. Fluke has a tough time finding a parking space in an empty parking lot. I can guarantee he’s a safe distance from being called a genius.”

Wendy lifted her eyes to the dark night, “Why? Why me? What are you trying to teach me surrounding me with men who don’t have a clue.”

Gillis broke into Wendy’s prayer, “That’s just it, Babe. I’m out there looking for a clue. Let’s go, Dill. We got a big break in the case with the cuff link.”

Gillis and Pickle sat on a red faux leather stool at the burrito bar. The only known burrito bar in the country, a Bazooka Burrito trademark. The bartender is a certified burrito-esta. An empty stool was between Gillis and Pickle. 

“Looking at the deceased made me realize how hungry I was. I hate it when my blood sugar gets low,” said Gillis.

“Got to hand it you, Gills. You had Wendy eating out of your hand. You have a gift of talking. I think you ought to be a politician. You could talk circles around the group that’s out there. The country needs leaders like you. Women love you. Men respect you. I can’t see anyone of sound mind voting against you,” said Pickle.

“Oh, I’ve thought of it, Dill. I tossed it off the plate, there’s too much to do in the city. I see it as my job to make the city safe from pizza delivery cars, robo calls, and old people trying to use walkers to cross crosswalks. If I can clear those problems in my lifetime, it will be all worth it,” said Gillis. “Besides, I don’t think Wendy wants to be First Lady. She’d rather play second fiddle to me. I’m going to discourage that. I’m all in favor of women taking an equal place with men. That’s why I’m tossing her so much respect.”

“Gills you need to lead the next workshop on learning to think like a woman,” said Pickle.




© Ray Calabrese 2018

17 ~ Gillis Plans to Chronicle Messages Left on Bathroom Stall Doors


Gillis pulled into Green Tree Park, turned off the road and pulled onto the grass. He gunned the motor causing the tires to spin making large ruts in the well kept picnic area. He drove his pickup around the picnic area practicing spinouts. When he was satisfied he mastered the spinout, he cut over to the bike and running trail and took a left to head toward the park pavilion. 

“Dill, here’s a tip. When you have a crime scene in the park, you have to get off the road, and take the bike trail. It’s quicker and the bikers usually will get out of your way. If they’re wearing headphones you get up close and blast the siren, scares the hell out of them and teaches them a good lesson.”

“I learn something new everyday from you, Gills. Thanks for being my mentor. BTW, the young kids will love playing with all the dirt you kicked up in the picnic area,” said an appreciative Pickle. 

Two blasts of the siren later, Gillis reached the park pavilion. He drove across the grass, and cut over to the parking lot and pulled into a handicap parking space. Pickle reached into the glove compartment, pulled out an oily rag, got out of the pickup, and draped the rag over the handicap sign. A moment later, Gillis joined him.

Pickle said, “The handicap folks have a great lobby, Gills. They get all the best parking spaces. Never seen anything like it.”

 “No kidding, Dill. There’s even a three hundred dollar fine for parking in these spaces if you don’t have a valid sticker.”

“What handicap space Gills? I don’t see any,” laughed Pickle.

The detectives fist bumped. They turned and walk over to the crime scene. Gillis spotted two patrolmen on the scene. He said, “Looks like Fluke and Fluck. Don’t know why they don’t  change their names, Dill. Somebody’s always writing about them on the commode stall walls. A lot of what is written is pretty creative. I’ve been thinking of using my vacation to travel across country and chronicle the writing on bathroom walls and I’ll take plenty of photos. My goal is to put together a coffee table book of women and men who will perform all kinds of weird sex acts along with their phone numbers.”

“Brilliant, Gills. Brilliant. Can I go with you?” asked Pickle.

Gillis had different plans. He said, “I got a hunch Wendy will be riding with me. She’ll get the lady’s stalls and I’ll get the men stalls. It will be a big seller.”

“Did you read her text, Gills? Did she sext you? Can I see the photo?” begged Pickle.

“Haven’t had a second to check it out. I sent her a quick text, telling her I’d be a bit late. I told her there is a key under the mat. Told her to go in and make herself at home, take a bath and lounge around in one of my tee shirts until I arrive.”

“You got all the moves, Gills. Jagger could have learned from you,” said Pickle.

I know what you mean, Dill.” 

Pickle waved to the officers, “Hey Flicker, how they hanging?”

Fluke adjusted his belt, folded his arms across his chest, and said, “Up yours Pickle.”

“Hey Fluke, fluck you,” saidPickle

“I’m senior here, guys, leave Fluke alone. He took a lot of ribbing at the briefing at the start of the shift. I keep telling him to change his name,” said Fluck.

“No offense Fluke and Fluck,” said Pickle.

“None taken, Pickle,” said Fluke and Fluck.

“This how you guys found the corpse? Where’s the head? Gutted right? What’s that over there?” said Gillis.

“That’s where Fluke puked. First time he’s seen a gutted corpse. It’s to be expected. The head’s over there. No witnesses. We come through this time of night to chase out teenagers drinking or having sex, that kind of thing. Slow night, usually we can confiscate four or five six packs of beer. I haven’t bought beer in ages. We confiscate it, tell the kids we’re letting them off easy and to drive safely even if they’re stoned. Between us it’s the paperwork connected with a DUI, it’s not worth it,” said Fluck.

“I hear yah. Did the same thing before I made detective,” said Gillis. 

“I think the ME might have something for you when the body’s examined,” said Fluck.

“Wendy’s here? Where is she?” said Gillis looking all around.

“Be gentle with her, Gillis. I hear she’s going through a bad breakup. Don’t know whose fault it is. Usually in these cases there’s always a third party interfering in what seemed like a perfect relationship,” said Fluck.

“I’d like to get my hands on the bastard. Wendy’s naïve and innocent. She was telling me she believes in one great love. Well, it looks the piece of crap she married proved that wrong,” said Gillis.

Fluck walked over to the deceased, shined his tactical flashlight on the victim’s cavity. “If I’m not mistaken, it looks like a coin in the cavity, right there.”

Gillis and Pickle bent over and stared on the spot where Loomis flashed his light. Gillis nudged Pickle, He said, “That’s a piece of bone. How do you figure it’s a coin Fluck, “What’s wrong with Fluke? Where’s he going. Oh, he’s puking again. He might need counseling to get that under control. Here comes Wendy. I’ll remember what you said when I hit on her.”

Fluck looked over to the ME wagon, “You and Wendy Flox? She broke up with Courageous’ son Pat, yesterday. You’re almost twice her age.”

“Hey, what can I say. I’m better looking than Pat. I got seniority over him. I’m further up the pay scale than him. And, I please the ladies, it’s a well known fact. Plus, a twenty-four hour waiting period on a breakup is all that’s expected. I think the twenty-four hour limit has been reached.”

Pickle chimed in, “Gills is right. You can go in any of the women’s room at headquarters. Check out the inside of the stall doors. You’ll find the women writing, If you want a good time call Gillis 555-2222.”

“How do you know what’s inside the stall doors?” asks Fluke, his face a combination of purple, yellow, and orange.

“Common knowledge, Fluke.”

16 ~ Pickle Gives Captain Courages Marital Advice


Courageous sat at his desk, his head bent low, his two hands pressed against the sides of his head. Not Margaret, my faithful wife and companion, is she really having an affair with the mayor? Courageous was having a hard time wrapping his head around. Sure he and his secretary, Clara, were banging each other’s bones. That was different. He was a man and he reasoned it was a well known fact men are the weaker of the two species and easily succumb to temptation. Hell, he thought, just ask Adam. What if Gillis was right? No, he couldn’t be. Margaret, his wife of thirty-seven years, was faithful, church going, Bible studying, compassionate woman who believed in the mayor and served as his confidant. What’s wrong with that? And, so it it went in his mind until Pickle butted in.

“I know what you’re thinking, Cap. We’re one step ahead of you,” said Pickle. “If you was looking more streamlined as opposed to looking like the Goodyear blimp, the Mrs might want you to have some horizontal refreshment instead of the mayor. You can’t blame her, she’s given you the best years of her life and all she gets is a guy with erectile dysfunction. Here’s my suggestion, have your stomach stapled, get a coffee enema. Starbucks may give you a discount if they’re introducing it. And, the big one, take three months off and go to a Tibetan monastery to master the karma sutra.”

“Are you insane?” Courageous said staring at Pickle.

“Cap, I can’t comment since I’m not a psychologist. Gills took a course in psychology. Gills am I insane?” asked Pickles sincerely.

Gills looked at him. Thought it over. Then said, “This is the way I see it. The most brilliant who walk among us are often criticized because their thoughts are so advanced. I see you so far out in front of the human race, Dill, not everyone understands you. Only, the most brilliant and sensitive people, like me, will get an inkling.”

Courageous watched the repartee between Gillis and Pickle and pondered what kind of hell he was living in. 

Adding to Courageous despair, Pickle said, “No need to worry, Cap. I have it on good authority the mayor doesn’t have gonorrhea.”

“How do you know all this? Never mind. Don’t tell me. What about Sampson’s book?” Courageous muttered indistinctly.

“What book, Cap? I use an iPad to read my books. Books are old school. You’re better off donating your books so you can get a tax write off  before they completely lose value. Sampson would be smart if he did the same thing. He’s got all these old books sitting collecting dusk in a book case. I’d gladly toss them in the trash for him,” said Gillis.

“If the police union wasn’t so strong, I’d fire you both. That’s what I’d do. I’d fire you both,” shouted Courageous

“Awe, you don’t mean that, Cap. That’s the stress your under talking. Pickle and me understand you have to satisfy two woman, your wife and Clara. That kind of stress can drive a man over the edge. Care to tell us how close you are to the edge? I’m trained to talk jumpers back to safety. I learned to do this when you assigned Pickle and me to psychological counseling. Changed my life. Changed Pickle’s too,” said Gillis

Courageous desk phone rang. Courageous held up his hand palm facing Gillis and Pickle, and put the phone receiver to his ear, “Yes. When? Keep it quiet. Don’t use police frequencies. I’ll send Gillis and Pickle over. It’s their case.” 

“There’s been another killing, decapitation, and gutting. On the way out, stop by burglary and see if Clara is helping Santiago. Tell her I need to talk to her.”

“Give my best to Mrs. Courageous, Cap. Do you want Dill and me to get some photos of the Mrs and the Mayor? It’ll be helpful in your divorce. We’ll do it on our off time for free.”

“Get out. Get out. Get out,” screamed Courageous.

Gillis and Pickle left Courageous’s office. 

“What was that, Gills?” asked Pickle looking back at the closed door.

“It sounds like he threw his revolver at the door. It’s a good thing he has us, Dill. We knock his stress down to a manageable level. Throwing things at the door is something I suggested to Cap when he felt overwhelmed. He must have had a stressful phone call right after we left.”

Gillis pulled his pickup truck out of a handicap zone knocking the rear bumper off of the handicap van in front of him. 

“You gonna leave a note saying you hit him?” asked Pickle.

“Why?” asked Gillis. “If anything, whoever it was who parked there can go get three estimates and overcharge their insurance. They’ll get the bumper fixed and have a few bucks on the side.”

“Gills, you always think of the little guy,” said Pickle.

“It was the way I was raised,” said Gillis.

“Gills, we got to solve the case. The pressure’s getting to Cap. I’d hate to see him have a nervous breakdown. Deep down he loves us. He’s like a father to me. How about you?”

“I know what you mean, Dill. Cap’s coming apart right in front of us. The cookie’s crumbling. Humpty Dumpty’s falling off the wall. The egg yolk broke. He’s driving a six cylinder car and only two cylinder’s are firing.”

15 ~ Gillis & Pickle Want to Help the Captain Fight His Demons


Courageous self consciously adjusted his tie. He walked to front of his desk and bent over,  resting his belly on his thighs, and stretched to reach his family photo. 

“Yeow!” Courageous yelped after nicking his right forefinger on a glass shred. He stuck his finger into his mouth. Showing off his dexterity, he reached for his handkerchief with his left hand. He took his finger out of his mouth and wrapped his handkerchief around his forefinger. 

“If I may, Cap,” said Gillis. “You stuck a germ ladened finger in your mouth. That’s like chewing on a stick of lit dynamite. Whatever you’re carrying, you’ll spread it the secretary when you French kiss. I’d cancel our meeting and go to a clinic and get a tetanus shot.” 

“Gills is right, Cap. Think of your dirty finger as a terrorist’s weapon. What’s the department going to do if you drop dead right now? You’re our leader. Who will take care of Clara’s sexual needs? What’s your blood type in case you need a transfusion? Me and Gills will be first and second in line to give blood,” Pickle’s voice rose two octaves.

Courageous stared at his handkerchief wrapped finger. He reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a small bottle of mouthwash. He took the cap off, and took a swig and swirled the mouthwash around. Courages’s eyes grew large, he looked around for a place to spit out the mouthwash. 

Gillis, ever quick on human observation, said, “Spit it into your handkerchief, Cap. You’ll do double duty with it. It will also kill germs on your severed finger.”

Courageous took Gillis’s advice and watched the excess drain down on his shirt’s cuff. He said, “My finger is not severed. It’s only a tiny scratch.”

Pickle jumped in, “Gills you should have mentioned the possibility of the mouthwash once it was spit out being contaminated with more germs than was on the finger.”

Gillis looked at Pickle, “Good point. I hadn’t considered that angle.”

Courageous made a mental note to ask the chief to transfer the two morons. The only thing stopping him from doing it now was he and his secretary, Clara, were going to have dinner together. He already took Viagra so he’d be ready when the moment arrived. 

Courageous needed to get them out of his office. They were making his stomach hurt, his heart race, and his anus twitch. He said,  “Listen up Gillis and Pickle. The Mayor called because Sampson is the Mayor’s best friend. Sampson called the Mayor after you two left his home. You see where I’m going?”

Gillis raised his hand, “If I may sir. I’m not following. You lost me when you said the Mayor and Sampson are BFFs. You think the Mayor’s an accomplice?”

Courageous reached into his top left drawer. He considered his choices, a Smith and Wesson to kill both or commit suicide. Or, to overindulge in a large box of Tums. He grabbed the Tums, popped the top and shook a handful of Tums into his palm. He put the handful into mouth and began chewing. The Tums slowly turned into dry powered mush inside his mouth. He couldn’t swallow the powdered mush without liquid. 

“Pardon me, Cap,” said Pickle. “I’m certified with the Heimlich maneuver. Raise your hand if you’re choking. No, forget it, I let that certification lapse. I won’t be able to legally help you. Are you certified, Gills?”

Gillis turned his head toward Pickle, “I’m certified on the gun range. I’m certified to donate blood. I’m certified as being free from any sexually transmitted disease, but I’m not certified to do the Heimlich. Sorry, Cap,” said Gillis.

Courageous rushed out of the office. Gillis and Pickle could hear him coughing from the adjoining room. Gillis tapped Pickle, “If we hear a loud thump, we can assume Cap died of a heart attack and our meeting is cancelled. It’d be best to leave the back way.”

“He’s so close to retirement, Gills. I hope he makes it. I believe you and me are the only two detectives who have his back,” said Pickle.

“And, don’t think he doesn’t appreciate it,” said Gillis. Then he added, “If he does croak, I won’t be surprised if he gives everything to us in his will and leaves his wife and children and of course his mistress Clara out of it.” 

Courageous interrupted the conversation walking back into the room with multi chalk colored lips and cheeks. He returned to his place behind his desk and folded his arms across his chest. His right forefinger was still wrapped in his handkerchief. 

Courageous said, “The Mayor is not an accomplice. Sampson is not a suspect. He considered Till his best friend. Which one of you destroyed Mr. Sampson’s aquarium? Well?”

“Neither one of us, Cap,” said Pickle.” I saw the whole thing. It was Sampson who broke the aquarium. Gillis wasn’t even close to it. I’d take a lie detecter test on this one, Cap.”

“Well, you might have to take a lie detecter test, Pickle. His rare fish collection was worth millions.”

“You got to be kidding me, Cap. He had a dozen tiny fish, if you could call them fish and together they’d all fit in my hand. Sampson, is a lying, no good, lower than worm poop, butt kissing, nose picking …”

“Stop!” hollered Courageous.

“Excuse me, Cap. I was saving my best descriptions for the end. Like you always say, end on a high note,” said Pickle.

Before Courageous could speak, Gillis said, “That’s true, Cap. If Sampson denies breaking his own aquarium, he’s a lying, mealy mouthed, trash talking, mother fu …”

“Don’t you dare use that word on Mister Sampson, Gillis,” barked Courageous. 

“What word, Cap? Mother or fuc…..”

“Both words together or I will personally suspend you without a hearing,” stammered Courageous.

“No need to get so hot, Cap. Me and Pickle will take a lie detector. I’ve been wanting to tell you this for a long time and this is the best time,” said Gillis.

“You’re going to ask for a transfer?” Courageous asked hopefully.

“No way, Cap. We’ll never leave you alone to fight your demons. It’s got to be hell knowing your wife is doing the mayor, the mayor’s wife is doing Sampson, your mistress is doing Santiago over in robbery, and you’re stuck with a bottle of Viagra and no place to go,” said Gillis.

“My wife? The Mayor? Sampson? Clara? Santiago?”

“That sums up this case, Cap. Excellent the way you pieced it together.”


© Ray Calabrese 2018