No, no way in hell. Not again. It's only been four days since the last...
I put down my pen and reached for the bottle. Vodka, imported directly from Russia, one of the best Christmas presents I've ever gotten. My other hand inched sluggishly towards the phone. The officer wasn't going anywhere. I downed a mouthful and tapped the speakerphone button. "Zachary Xavier here."
"Hello Mr. Xavier, this is Officer Davidson." I recognized him. We met a few weeks ago, during a case. Out of all the officers there, he was the only one able to put it together, almost before I did. "Sorry to interrupt your Saturday, but we'll need you on 56th, sir."
I turned around and faced the window. The overwhelming amount of white in the streets below nearly gave me snow blindness. "Is the body still intact?"
There was a moment of silence. "Uh, yes, Mr. Xavier, it is."
"I'll be right down", I replied, "Thank you, Officer Davidson, see you in a few."
The one good thing about being Zachary Xavier: the pay. Brilliant detectives are renowned; brilliant supernatural detectives are practically idolized. This apartment room, the car, the phone in my pocket; all rewards for being the best.
It was actually much better outside than I'd initially suggested. Cold, yes, but not freezing. Another thing I liked about being Zachary Xavier was the style. The word detective puts a distinct, stereotyped appearance into your mind. The trench coat, the fedora, possibly even the magnifying glass. You know what I'm talking about. Well, you should be glad to hear that Zachary Xavier looks nothing like that, because I sure as hell am.
With my white hoodie on, I'm about as far away from looking like a detective as one could get. The car I earned isn't exactly luxurious, but it's not so bad, either. The azure blue 2010 coupe was good enough for Zachary Xavier, and that was good enough for me. I connected my smartphone to the car's audio system and started up the beginning of a long list of classic metal hits. There seemed to be a radio station in this city for every genre in musical existence except metal. This was my way of staying sane. At 2:21 in the afternoon I began my drive east, towards 56th avenue.
There were a few houses of interest in this suburban neighborhood, but my common sense suggested that it was the one with police tape on the front lawn. Not the cheap Halloween decorations either, the legitimate kind. Also the fact that a few police cars were parked in front of the house helped my judgment a little bit. I parked on the opposite side of the street (because I'm Zachary Xavier, that's why) and got out to greet Officer Davidson.
The officer looked to be in his mid-thirties. He was relatively new to this cop stuff, but learning quick as well. Unlike the two senior officers standing in front of the house, he still seemed to be in peak physical condition. Good for him. "Good to see you again, Mr. Xavier. I heard from Officer Church that you were just called up a few days ago. It must be hard for you, considering that you're not even a certified detective. It's not even your job to take on these tasks, but you do it so well. I really admire that about you, Mr. Xavier."
"Thanks, Officer Davidson. Yeah I don't have a license, but hey, the job gets done. Besides, touching a few dead bodies beats getting a part-time job, or going back to college." My attempt at corpse humor was not received with much praise. "So... let's get this party started, shall we?" I suggested.
We walked up to the house and I greeted the other two officers, Church and Stone. They seemed nice, I suppose. Without further ado, we stepped into the scene of the crime. Well, we stepped into the house, and then the scene of the crime. More specifically, the bedroom. A young man's body lay face down on the bed built for two. His head was no longer attached to the torso and the rest of him was underneath the bloodied blankets. "Wonderful," I muttered, "One of those."
Without even breathing on him, it was obvious that this was the result of a relationship issue. "So how'd you find him?" I asked, deciding that wasting time as alright as long as I solved the mystery later.
"Got a call from his neighbor. Apparently he gets up every morning at 8:30 to take out the dog. He didn't this morning, which alerted her that something was wrong. We'd probably bring that lady in for stalking, if she hadn't been so damn useful", the mustachioed Church explained.
Deciding that now was a good a time as ever to do what I was hired to in the first place, I touched the skin on the back of the corpse's neck.
I don't deserve Todd. He's far too good for me. He works hard every day for hours on end, all for me. Why did he choose me? There are so many girls out there who would be so much better for Todd, but he wanted me. How do I repay him for this amazing generosity? I cheat. I drink. I smoke. I lie. Todd says that he loves me. He says it every single day. I haven't returned the gesture since... since I met Pete. I can't say I love Todd, because of Pete. I haven't said it to Pete either, but its probably true. I love Pete; or at least I love him more than I could ever love Todd. But Todd says he can't live without me. He could never live without me. He says it every day. Every hour.
I need to be with Todd.
But I love Pete!
What is love, anyway? It's foolish, its pathetic... I'd have a much better life with Todd.
But I can't leave Pete. he says the same things Todd says. He loves me... he can't live without me either. He doesn't know about Todd...
He doesn't have to.
But if I choose Todd, I'll be rich.
If I choose Pete, I'll be happier.
Happy, but poor.
Pete understands me. Wealth doesn't matter, as long as he understands me. Todd could never understand. He never went through the things I did. I can't live with Todd.
From the washroom door, I can see Todd. He's asleep in our bedroom. I begin to hate him. He's the reason I can't be with Pete, the one I really love. I need to break up with him. I need to break up with Todd.
He can't live without me. He defied his parents just to be with me. They've practically disowned him, their only son. I once loved him, after all... a long time ago. I wanted to be with him. But now... I love Pete. But if I end it with Todd, he'll be left with nothing. He will be rich, but he will be alone. I can't put him through that.
What am I doing?
I'm standing by our bed. I'm holding a butcher knife - no... I'm holding my salvation. Todd has basically nothing without me. Todd has no one without me. He won't be missed. I need to be with Pete.
Wait, there has to be another way.
I take a powerful downwards swing, onto Todd's neck. The head separates quicker than I'd thought it would. Instantaneous death. The blood is everywhere. It symbolizes the end of my relationship with Todd. I start up the fireplace and throw the butcher knife into the flames. With the wooden handle gone, there will be no evidence of my crime. I will be free to live as I please.
Now... I need to go see Pete. I need to tell him we will be together at last.
Is that a car up ahead? I can't tell... The headlights are getting brighter. Am I on the wrong side of the road? No. I couldn't be. I'm driving on the left side, after all.
I'm supposed to be driving on the right side.
Is that right? There must be some mistake. I've always thought it was the left side -
"You know," I whispered, my hands trembling, "That was the weirdest thing I've experienced in a really, really long time."
"Do you know who it is?" Officer Davidson excitedly anticipated.
"Yes. But you can give up the investigation, she's dead. There are more important people to go after", I answered.
"This is absurd," Stone sneered, "How can you expect us to trust you? All you did was touch his neck for a second."
Right, I almost forgot step 2 in Zachary Xavier's guide to murder investigation: evidence. Because 99% of the time, the cops aren't simply going to accept your theory and arrest (or not arrest) someone.
"The weapon is in the fireplace", I began. I directed my attention towards Stone, the skeptic. "Did you have any traffic accidents near here last night?"
"Yes, just one," he answered, "A few blocks away around 2 in the morning, why?"
"It was a blue truck and a pink convertible, right? The killer was the one in the pink convertible. She was the one who died in that accident."
"It's amazing how you know all this, but it's still impossible to link her to this case, her name was Emily Homes. She lived in the next town over, 20 miles east. Not linked to our victim, Todd Nelson here, in any way."
"Oh, it's definitely her. She was Todd's girlfriend. Well, not exactly."
"Well," I explained smugly, "Todd's girlfriend Amy is dead. She died three years ago, during a particularly violent bank robbery. They came in and began shooting, and she died, just like that.
Todd was devastated. He began losing it. That's when Emily came in. She looks just like Amy, and she knows about Amy because they were friends in high school.
Todd comes from a wealthy family.
She took advantage of his state and told him that she was his Amy. His family stepped in, but she managed to convince them that it was for Todd's mental health. She convinced them that this would keep Todd stable. So they let her pretend... for a while.
Soon enough, she began to take advantage of the money as well. Todd was willing to give his beloved 'Amy' whatever she wanted, and she wanted a lot. His family was done pretending. They told her to get out. When she refused and Todd backed her up, they decided to just get rid of her. They were rich enough, after all. One failed hit later, Emily was left almost as mentally unstable as Todd, but with a bit more common sense.
Fearing prosecution, the family paid someone to cut all ties with both Todd and Emily. They basically erased him from the family tree. Meanwhile, Emily began to actually think that she was Amy. She loved Todd. She cared for him. She went out and got a job to take care of him.
Then she met Pete. 'Amy' decided that she loved Pete more than Todd. Her vision of reality was pretty skewered, here. I suppose a bullet to the brain can do that to you. Even though she was the one working to take care of Todd, she imagined that he was the one working hard, while she spent all her days drinking and cheating. I don't know how she managed to be employee of the month at that factory two times in a row. I don't even know how she managed to even get the job at the factory.
But she did... and she met Pete. She thought she loved Pete, so she killed Todd so that she could be with him. But Pete honestly didn't even know her. They worked together, but barely. Only had a few conversations. But man, I'm not the crazy one here, I can't tell you why she thought that way. I can only tell you that she did think that way, and that's why we're all here today."
Officer Davidson clapped rather unprofessionally, but the other two were too stunned to scold him.
"And how are you going to provide evidence of these insane claims?" the skeptic inquired.
I borrowed a notepad from Davidson and jotted down a few details. "Contact info. I have addresses and numbers for Pete, Todd's family, even Emily's family. My area of expertise stops here. Have fun investigating, I'll take my $250.00 in cash, please."