The call came through at 5:50 pm., Detective Harold MacCormick had just settled into the leather chair in his den to watch the news and catch the football highlights. He lifted a large bag of chips off his lap and set them, along with the beer he was holding, on the small table next to the chair.
“Hello?” he said, trying hard to mask the frustration in his voice.
“Harry, it’s Joe. Sorry to cut in on your evening, but we have a stiff in an apartment on East 5th Street,” said Joe Devlin, Harry’s desk sergeant, with genuine regret in his voice. “You need to come in right away. We are pretty sure that it’s murder.”
“Okay, Joe, I’ll head on over to the scene now,” Harry said, with quiet resignation.
“Dammit.” Harry sighed as he placed the phone back on the table. One last chip and a quick swig of beer were poor consolation prizes. He sat back in his seat for a moment, gazing longingly at the blank television screen as he ran a hand through his short, brown hair. Apart from the occasional spree of break-ins or car thefts, nothing that exciting ever happened in Harton. There was a case a couple of years ago that had made all the local papers. A bunch of teenagers had beaten a Mexican immigrant to death. But aside from that, small town boredom was the biggest risk to life here. That made it all the more frustrating that on the one evening in a long time that Harry had set aside some quiet time for himself, someone had to go and get themselves killed.
Harry brushed chip crumbs off his belly, leaving streaks of salsa across his sweat top, and pushed himself up out of the La-Z-Boy. The foot rest snapped back and he dumped beer in his lap. No time to shave or get into uniform.
Twenty minutes later, Harry's beat up Pontiac groaned to a stop outside the crime scene. He noticed the press photographers and brushed the Playboy magazine off the dash before hauling himself out of the car. His first step landed right in a moist dog turd. "Shit," Harry confirmed.
As he ambled to the building entrance, his foot scraping on the ground to try and remove the foul-smelling crap, he noticed Chet Kittern, the editor of the local rag, grinning at him. "Well, look who's here at last," Kittern mocked. "It's . . . "
Here we go, the detective thought, pulling his sweat pants up over his belly. Moved all the way from San Francisco to bumfuck nowhere for the quiet life, changed my surname, but for some reason still can't shake the handle Dirty Harry.
Opening Toneman.2.....Continuation: anon.