Truly Defective
May 14, 2014

Central Florida CID

Koweski: “We got the call... let’s see... it was about 4:30 in the afternoon.  I guess that made it around mid-morning out there on Pentecost Island, out there in the Pacific Islands.”

Special Agent Podmore: “Was Gregorits with you at the time the call came through?”

Koweski: “Yeah, we were chasing leads on the recent rash of face-eating incidents.  I had some intel on bath salt manufacturers at the Miskatonic strip joint out there on route 40.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “And Gregorits was on board with this?”

Koweski: “No, in his mind it was an open and shut case.  Pitbulls.  A breed of sentient, self-aware, murderous pitbulls.”

Special Agent Podmore: “You seem skeptical.”

Koweski: “He seemed to have a vendetta against the species, tell you the truth.  Is that what this is about?  I thought you called me in here to talk about the Vera Lynn case.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “We’ll get to that.  What can you tell us about what Gregorits was like?”

Koweski: “We’d only been working together a short time, you understand.  He came out of Baltimore and no one knew him.  We called him “The Bookman” on account that he’d written a few books and was very insistent we buy a copy.  Cops, witnesses, perps, strippers.  It was always the same, buy this book or you’re going to be at a disadvantage when dealing with the innate complexities of a godless universe losing cohesion until the stars aligned just right, ushering an age of absolute psychic horror.  Or something like that.  I remember he really hated the Kardashians and the Duck Dynasty boys.

Regular Agent Hoffman: “What was your partnership like?”

Koweski: “What’s all the questions about Gregorits?  Did he block you from his Facebook page?  It’s all there.  He’s a hard fella to get to know.  Confusing.  Like trying to learn Latin and Japanese at the same time.”

May 16, 2014

Central Florida CID

Gregorits: “Monastrell Publishing...  Twenty dollars postpaid.  You’ll find it far more difficult to embrace mediocrity, the vapidity of humanity, with one of these bad boys sunk in your brain pan.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “As soon as I get some money in my Paypal account, I’ll wire it to you.  It may take a couple weeks.  But I’ll be able to get it to you eventually.  I’m really looking forward to reading it.”

Special Agent Podmore: “You remember when you took the call?”

Gregorits: (Taking a gulp of wine from the coffee mug with I EAT MORE PUSSY THAN CERVICAL CANCER stenciled in red) “You understand my memory ain’t what it use to be with all the crack cocaine, and the wine, ass-funnelling Michelob, smoking the crystal meth, Irish whiskey, jazz cigarettes, weekends in the sensory deprivation chamber, carrot juice enemas, and gas station coffee.  But I believe we got the call October 29, 2012.  Bout 4:30 in the pm.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “Where were you at?”

Gregorits: “Miskatonic Strip Joint.  Wait a second, you boys didn’t call me here on account of the Pitbull Lovers Association of Florida?  I didn’t kill those beasts and none of you can prove it.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “We’re not looking into those allegations as of yet.  We’re interested in your memory of the case files.”

Gregorits: “You’re wanting to know how we solved the Vera Lynn case?”

Special Agent Podmore: “Yes, but we want you to start at the beginning with maybe some vague foreshadowing of things to come, but mostly in a linear fashion.”

Gregorits: “I’d come to Florida and been working homicide for only a few months.  Didn’t think much of the place.  Still don’t.  Florida is a twisting loop of razor wire staked to an alligator’s tail.  And that glint in the alligator’s eyes holds all the cognitive dissonance in the universe.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “I find Florida to be an entirely different trip.

Special Agent Podmore: “How can you discount Disneyworld?  To say nothing of Destin.  Or Panama City Beach.  I’d say Florida is an elastic thong clenched in the ass of a gorgeous brunette who’s green eyes hold all the promise in the world.”

Gregorits: “Just because you admire the sheen of a knife’s edge doesn’t mean it won’t gut you.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “What does that even mean?”

October 29, 2012

the ritual murder of Vera Lynn

            Five miles outside Dunwich, we could see the platform from the service road.  It was a wooden structure strapped together with vines, a good fifty feet high.  Constructed beneath the shadow of a massive metal pylons, the platform resembled the crumbling child-like structures the Egyptians erected in imitation of the mathematically perfect great pyramids the Venusians zapped into existence.

            “The air tastes like sudafed and cat’s ass,” Gregorits said.  He sat in the passenger seat with his high cheek bones and perfect hair offset by his facial laceration scars.  I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or not.  He seemed to be updating his Facebook status on his smart phone.

            The uniforms cleared the way, Gregorits and I approached the platform.  The dead naked woman was suspended from the topmost shelf of the structure by a vine tethered to her ankle.  Her hands were bound across her ample chest with similar vines.  Her tangled brown hair touched the dirt ground.  There was a large hemotoa discoloring her forehead.  I figured cause of death to be massive head injury, waiting coroner evaluation.

            “You smell that?” Gregorits asked.

            “Sudafed and cat’s ass?” I offered.

            “No, coconut oil.  Somebody massaged coconut oil into the victim before she jumped.”

            “Easy, Gregorits, what’d I tell you about jumping to conclusions.  Though you get points for not immediately calling for pitbull eugenics.”

            “Nah, this goes beyond that breed of monster.  Look...”

            Gregorits reached over and spread her ass cheeks.

            “Christ, Gregorits.”

            “Just as I suspected.  Somebody jammed a yam up her ass before her leap.”

            Sure enough, the back portion of the vegetable hemorrhaged from her anus.  “What does this mean?”

            “It looked like a Vanuatu land diving platform from the county road but I wasn’t sure until I saw the yam coupled with the coconut oil.  The elasticity of the vine tied to her ankle tells me it’s liana.  I never thought I’d see this again.”

            “Vanuatu land diving as in the Nanggol?”

            “The very same,” Gregorits said.  “It stinks of ritual.”

            I agreed.  “Either a ritualistic murder based on a male rite of passage among a certain sect of Pacific Islanders or a clear cut case of stand-your-ground defense.”

            “This is definitely the work of a crazed, insane cult,” Gregorits said.  “Look at the tattoo on her back.”

            I would have missed it had Gregorits not pointed it out to me.  “The Tasmanian Devil,” I spoke the obvious.  The cartoon dervish appeared diabolical, with those malicious eyes, inarticulate tongue slathering spittle in every direction, whirlwind legs forming a chaotic tornado funnel.  More than anything, this animated creature represented the America I had come to know.

            “You know where he comes from don’t you?”

            It took me a moment.  We answered his question simultaneously.  “Looney Tunes...”

            Then we played Nick Cave and The Bad Seed’s song “Idiot Prayer” on Gregorits Itunes and it was very atmospheric.

May 14, 2014

Central Florida CID

Koweski: “The first thing we did was hit all the strip joints, honky tonks and whorehouses within a hundred mile radius, hoping to find an ID for the victim, KAs, anything that could help us get a jump on the case.  We interrogated yam fetishists and Pacific Islanders, first-of-all, without results.  The thing with people is, sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate the truly crazy from the mostly crazy.”

Special Agent Podmore: “And how was Gregorits behaving during this time?”

Koweski: “How do I even answer that.  He was spraying blood from a series of self-mutilations, if that’s what you’re asking?  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to jam him up for last week’s murder that was in the news.  Another victim hanging from a Vanuatuan landing platform.  Am I right?”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “It does bear many of the same hallmarks of the Vera Lynn case.  The fifty foot tall Vanuatu platform for instance.  The liana vines tied to the ankle.  Rectum yam insertion.  Even the Tasmanian Devil tattoo was present.”

Koweski: “Well, Gregorits and I cleared the case.  We got our guy.  The only thing we were unsure of were the area reports of a linguini creature which we attributed to the local gentries hatred for the swarthy foreigners.  Or Italians as we came to know them by.”

Special Agent Podmore: (handing Koweski a case file with glossy crime scene photos of a woman dangling from one leg from a fifty foot wooden platform) “You got a guy, there’s no arguing that.  You may have even got thee guy.  Yet here we are.  Another dead woman with a yam up her ass, which I might add was a fact withheld from newspapers as I’m sure you are aware.  The only people in the know about that tuber is the people in this room, Gregorits, the killer, and the police chief.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “That sweet potato just became this case’s hot potato.”

October 31, 2012

the investigation

            “You see that fella with the mustache?” Gregorits asked.

            We were at the Eibon Bar and Grille on the fringes of Eibon city proper.  It was a bar typical of the area, half regulars, half college students from Miskatonic University from a couple towns over.  Gregorits and I stood at the bar, drinking Budweisers and discussing strategy when he suddenly became very agitated.

            “The guy in the cool guy jacket?” I asked.

            “Not that putz.  The guy with the mustache jutting off his face like fucking airplane wings and the chin beard tickling his sternum, and the derby hat and black spectacles.  The one wearing the woolen vest over his Uncle Tupelo T-shirt.”

            “Next to the guy with the corncob pipe and saddle shoes?”

            “Yeah, his name is Buford Dushane.  Four years ago when I worked Vice I went deep undercover, infiltrating a notorious gang of hipsters out on the west coast.  Two years of Morrissey concerts and arguing over the merits of Tao Lin and David Sedaris, while trying to figure out their supply line for heroin.  I finally discovered they were shipping the smack, sewn in the lining of corduroy jackets, being delivered to area thrift stores, but not before I myself became addicted to clove cigarettes and penny loafers.”

            “Sounds like hell.”

            “You have no idea.  If anyone would know how to score liana vines in Florida, it would be Buford Dushane.  They never made me for a cop.  I’m gonna talk to him, see what I can get out of him.  You stay here.”

            “Fuck that, we’re partners.”

            “You ain’t hip enough, Koweski.”

            “I’m totally hip.  You ever see my Nick Cave record collection?”

            “What was the last good book Dave Eggers wrote?”

            “That’s a trick question.  He’s never written a good book.”

            “See, I know that.  You know that.  These hipsters think he’s fucking Hemingway.  You gotta think like them, that’s what undercover work is all about.”

            “So then what’s the correct answer?”

            “You ignore the question, then talk about how What Is The What gave Eggers all kinds of street cred among African American readers...”

            So I hung back while Gregorits quickly downed his Budweiser and asked the bartender for a honey flavored microbrew.  From there, Gregorits approached Dushane and engaged in their secret hipster greeting which seemed to consist of chin beard stroking, clove cigarette lighting, and the reaffirmation that The Smiths was the greatest band ever.

May 16, 2014

Central Florida CID

Gregorits: “Monastrell Publishing...  Plenty of books to chose from.  I can guarantee you’ve never read anything like these books.  They’ve got balls.  Not since Bukowski, Ligotti, Clark Ashton Smith, even, has a book come with balls this big attached to the spine.”

Special Agent Podmore: “I promise you, as soon as I get paid, I will, we both will order a book or two.  What we’re wanting to know is how you figured Dorsey Van Zann was responsible for Vera Lynn’s murder.”

Gregorits: “You better, motherfucker.”

Special Agent Podmore: “Now you made contact with Dushane at the Eibon Bar and Grille?”

Gregorits: “Yeah, I knew him from my time infiltrating the west coast hipsters.  We quickly reconnected over the local microbrew and I began grilling him on liana vines.  Come to find out, he knows a guy, Van Zann, who was the Miskatonic University expert on Vanuatu culture and had a large collection of liana vines and an irrational hatred of cartoon tattoos.  He offered tell me where he lived if I agreed to come over to his apartment and help him move his immense record collection to his girlfriend’s place which we accomplished during a six minute tracking shot.”

Special Agent Podmore: “According to the report, you and Koweski approached his workshop at the Sarnath Arts Colony where he opened fire on you with a blow gun.”

Gregorits: “That’s right and he also sicced a pitbull on me.”

Regular Agent Hoffman: “The file states you were bit on the ankle by a terrier.”

Gregorits: “You ever been in a firefight, Hoffman?  You know what it is to stare down annihilation in the form of a bamboo reed launching spines of devastation at your soul?  No?  Then shut the fuck up.”

Special Agent Podmore: “At which point, you and Koweski opened fire hitting Van Zann with forty-six bullets.”

Gregorits: “And twelve bullets for the pitbull.”

Special Agent Podmore: “Yes, the terrier was blown to smithereens.”

Gregorits: “It’s all in the report.  All legal.  We were quickly cleared of any wrong-doing.”

Special Agent Podmore: “Are you aware there’s been another murder with the same modus operandi.  Same vines.  Same sort of landing platform?”

Gregorits: “I was not aware.”

Special Agent Podmore: “There’s photos of you at the crime scene on your Facebook page.”

Gregorits: “Fuck you.  This interview is over, boys.”

May 18, 2014

One more time...

            Gregorits and I met at the Miskatonic Strip.  I hadn’t seen him in a while and the first thing I noticed is he had an earlobe missing.  I thought it best not to mention this.  He seemed agitated and I wondered if he’d forgiven me for the time I tried to sex talk one of his Facebook friends.

            We buried the hatchet quickly when talk turned to the new murder investigation.

            “I seem to remember Vera Lynn having a brother,” I said, taking a cringing gulp of the honey-flavored microbrew I’d been trying out.

            Gregorits scanned his notes.  “Eldritch Lynn.  Seemed like we ruled him out rather quickly.  I thought the whole ritual murder had the stench of incest about it.”

            “He had a swarthy look to him, didn’t he?  Like he was Italian.”

            “The Linguini Creature?”

            “Shit!  How did we miss it.  It’s definitely worth checking into.”

            We took my mini-van to the last known address we had for Eldritch Lynn.  Pulling up to the dilapidated shack on the edge of a vast expanse of marsh and swamp.  In the backyard we could see the first thirty feet of a wooden platform, half built, vines curling away in every direction like a pit of dead vipers.

            Gregorits sucked from his chrome whiskey flask.  “I think this is it.  You go to the front door, I’ll circle around back.”

            I gave my partner a ten second head start before I shouldered my way into the shack.  Right away, the whole place seemed off, as if the house had settled an inch further down on the west side of the house, giving every edge a canted perspective.  My perception was further distorted by the utter lack of electronics in the house.  The walls were adorned with pornography, pages ripped from decades old issues of Swank and Oui and High Society.

            I was studying a pictorial of a nude blonde, brunette and redhead posing like Charlie’s Angels when Gregorits cries for assistance snapped me back to attention.   I charged out the backdoor and found Gregorits wrestling the Linguini Creature himself under the half-constructed Vanuatu land diving platform.  Eldritch Lynn grasped Gregorits by the throat, pining him against the rough hewn structure.

            “Take your mask off, little novelist,” Eldritch hissed.

            “I’m not wearing a mask,” Gregorits seethed.

            “Take off your mask...”

            “This is my face, motherfucker.”

            Eldritch punched Gregorits three times in the ribs before I reached him, slamming him in the back of the neck with my elbow.  Eldritch turned toward me just long enough to kick me in the balls.  I dropped.

            When Eldritch turned back around, Gregorits had his gun drawn.

            “I give up,” Eldritch Lynn said.

            Gregorits unloaded the gun into the Linguini Creature’s torso.  I drew my weapon as well and discharged the full clip into the prone man as I was taught to do in the Florida police academy.

            Gregorits leaned back against the land diving platform.  He gripped his ribs, inhaling and exhaling in gasping wheezes.  Then he finally began to cry.  “Life is beautiful,” he wept.  “And people are basically good.”

            “Yeah, well... hmm, I guess you earned that denouement.  Yeah.  Eldritch Lynn.  Who’d have thought, huh?”
© 2014 zygoteinmycoffee
KARL KOWESKI is the 320th resident of Alabama to read a book and he has accomplished this feat 40 times.  An enemy of the Amish everywhere, Karl has death warrants out for him in eight Mennonite communities.