Sunday, May 9, 2010

F-F-F #31 - Killer Scent

This is my contribution to F-F-F #31, and an interesting challenge it was. No starter sentences this time around. Instead there were five words to be used in the story. They are: batch, catch, latch, patch, and coriander. Well, here goes. Hope you enjoy!


Patch,” tell me the truth. You own stock in all the evil-smelling cologne companies on the planet, don’t ya?”

“I can’t help it if you can smell mosquito sweat from a mile away, Rich. Marie likes to buy me cologne, and even if it smells funky, I still have to wear it, you know?”

Yeah. I know. My old man had the same problem. My ma, God love her, was color-blind as all hell, but Pop wore every butt-ugly tie she ever bought. I’m so glad I’m a prick that ladies date only once.

I’m also a cop--a homicide detective if you want to get technical about it. Name’s Richard Demar--Rich, to those close. My partner’s Patch--well, Julius, really. Julius Swathby. Yeah. I know. I call him Patch cause he always wears jackets with patches sewn around the elbows. Believes it makes him look like a sophisticate.

It doesn’t.

One last bit about me. I was blessed/cursed with the sense of smell from Hell. Not bad enough to cripple me and like, force me to live in a bubble, but there are certain places I will not go. Some smells would just send me fucking screaming into the night. Why don’t I just leave what those are to your imagination.

Anywho, we’ve just caught a case; young woman butchered in her apartment. Butchered? That’s candy-coating it. Place settings for a cozy dinner for two (eaten), a batch of freshly baked cookies on a silver platter (untouched), and wall-to-wall blood spatter.

Leftovers and dessert were still warm when we arrived. Neighbor heard a man shouting, a woman screaming, and dialed 911. Guy did a runner out her patio. Broke the latch off her glass door and went where? Had to be drenched in her blood. So. To the highway in front or to the field in back? Either way, he was a ghost. But, I’m gonna catch this spook cause I know who he is.

Nobody but Patch would understand, so he’s the only one I tell. My proof is bizarre at best, so we take the roundabout. We fill every street snitch with our killer’s name, plans to collar him, and that we just need a little more to nail him. Big man’s in too deep financially with his business ventures to risk even the hint of arrest. Wouldn’t hesitate to take out a couple of dicks either, so we set ourselves up as targets and wait for the hit. Patch isn’t sure this is the way to go, but I tell him to trust me. He does.

Late last night, Patch and me are clanging around in the alley behind one of the man’s strip joints. Noisy, so he’d know just where to find us. Nothing going down, so we decided to lay low for awhile. We passed a stack of crates, and I immediately pulled my pistol, turned and fired into the stack. What should tumble out but our killer, gun in hand, ready to deliver a couple of headshots to me and the Patchmaster. I thought my partner was going to pee himself then and there.

“I know how you knew he killed our vic, but how did you know he was back there?”

“The smell, my friend,” I explained, “the coriander.”

It’s a well-known fact that this piece of garbage topped off everything he ate with coriander leaves. Just to make sure they were always handy, he carried a baggie full of them in his pocket. I had seen some of those leaves in one of the bowls at the murder scene and that’s when I knew. I registered the smell, and in the alley, I picked it up right after I passed the stack of boxes. It was way too close for comfort, so I turned and fired. Righteous kill, by the way. Total self-defense.

Notes were found later in one of his offices documenting that our vic wanted to be more than a good time and was going to make trouble if he refused. Not smart to try to blackmail the Devil himself. But still. She deserved better than what she got. Maybe now, the kid can rest in peace.

And me? Patch’s wife just bought him a new bottle of cologne. Maybe I should just start taking the bus to work. Well, maybe not the bus…


  1. A very well written story. Totally kept my attention from start to finish and a really great character you have created. Top work, Joyce.

  2. Very slick, Joyce! Loved it!!

  3. Thanks much, David. I like my character too. May end up trying to do more with him. Who knows? Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Sue, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked it! Had a lot of fun with this one.

  5. That was fun, Joyce! What an interesting team!

  6. Fantastic! My wife has one of those noses hehehe --- I can't smell anything. Drink bad milk if I didn't hand it to her first for a whiff. Anyway, loved the tale.

  7. Thanks, Flannery, I may do more with these guys. They were fun to write!

  8. Thanks, Chad, I'm kind of like that--not to this extreme though. I'm at times aware of scents long before those around me. Not always a good thing either, especially if a friend across the room wears barbaric perfume! Glad you liked the story though. It was fun to write these characters.

  9. Scents can be a great thing, bringing back rich memories, but having this ability, though potent when crimefighting, might be a bit too much. Almost feel bad for the guy. Especially the whole bus riding gig. :)

  10. Thanks, Randal, for your time and comments. That's so true. In my character's situation, it came in handy. But, to have to take a bus around town? Growing up in Chicago, we took buses everywhere. Most times, being able to see what's going on can be traumatic, but having an amplified sense of smell? That could be terrifying!