Precinct: Issue Eleven
night was clear. The stars sharp blinking crystals
that shone far brighter than Id ever seen,
as if theyd decided to once and for all
reclaim the Manhattan skies from the skyscrapers
that polluted the darkness with their unnatural
light. What had been a crazy day had turned into
an insane evening and for once even Flo seemed
on the verge of losing her cool.
"You told us that this Archer of yours was
still trapped, or whatever, so what changed since
just this morning?" She whispered.
"I was wrong."
Five or six hours ago I would have done a double
take at Vics response, but was just too
numb now. The thing on the roof, the chase through
the Chinese restaurant, and oh yeah, lets
not forget the autopsy.
"This man has no kidneys." Dr. Sunanroja
Thupon said as Flo and I came through the door
to what the guys at the house liked to call the
"Are you trying to say someone here lost
his kidneys?" Flo asked, her eyes trying
not to dart here and there over the small, medium,
and large forms hidden under the old linens that
had been washed countless times and would never
see white again.
"No one here lost anything from this man."
The Doc replied. "I opened him and no kidneys."
Now, Im no MD but it seems Id heard
that at least one kidney was crucial to a fella
being up and about, so there really wasnt
much to say to the pretty lady with the spiked
red hair. After all, she was her countrys
number one pathologist and getting just as famous
here in the Apple ever since being sent to us
on that chop-doc exchange program, and if anyone
should know about peoples innards it should
"No kidneys." She continued. "Not
taken from him, at least not recently. There are
no scars to indicate an invasive procedure, and
no internal damage to tell us how they were removed."
Bangkok. Id never visited the place myself,
but Boyd had done an R&R there back in the
late 60s and told some wild stories about
"You bring me an impossible task."
She continued. "No obvious signs of life-threatening
trauma, and while the blood work will tell us
more I will say right now that there are only
two answers. Number one, he was kept alive for
many years by dialysis, a long enough time during
which a remarkable person with amazing recuperative
powers could heal from the physical indications
"Sorry, Doc, but thats not the case."
I told her. "The old guy was a fixture in
his neighborhood and probably hundreds of people
saw him from week to week right up until this
morning when he was murdered. And while its
still to early to get the full picture, the landlady
says shes known him over 20 years and hed
never been sick a day in his life."
"You said there were two possibilities?"
"Oh yes." Doc answered as she went
back to digging inside the body cavity of Ozmand
the pigeon-guy. "The only other reason for
such an anomaly would be the fact that he is not
human. Nor mammalian, nor any other variation
that could describe a relatively large, seemingly
warm blooded biped from this earth."
* * *
"Nice of you to admit it, Mr. Tepecio, but
that sort of puts a crimp in your idea to jump
in and put out his lights while hes asleep,
so whats the fallback plan?"
"For now, we punt." Vic said to Flo
as he fieldstripped his cigarette in a motion
too fast for the eye to follow. "I dont
know where he is or what his next move will be.
Im not even certain that hes awakened,
just that he isnt where he once was, so
the only thing we can do is to seize one of his
thralls and take it from there."
"Or we can tell our Lieutenant the whole
story, and even if they fit us for straightjackets
theyll still send a SWAT team down that
hole if theres half a chance of finding
the Slasher." I chimed in.
"I can assure you he is no longer safely
asleep under City Hall, John. All your police
commandos would find is a very deep, very empty
cavern. A cavern from which most of them would
never return, not alive."
"Back up some, Mr. T, if he isnt there
then what could possibly harm
Have I mentioned how fast this guy could be?
One second Flo was in mid-sentence and the next
his hand was covering her mouth. Gently, or so
it seemed, but covering it nonetheless. Quick
hands or not, I was about to yank his arm away
when a reddish-green glow caught the corner of
my eye. We were camped out on the same section
of the roof that the kidneyless Mr. Ozmand had
called home; three tired people amidst the jumble
of coops, antennas, and satellite dishes but suddenly
I had the feeling we were not alone. Careful to
not totally ruin my night vision, I turned to
face the light but I didnt see it coming,
not like in the movies where people shoot arrows
that lazily plunk down into their targets. Didnt
see a thing, not even a blur right until a quivering
shaft was sticking out of my chest, dead center.
I was squatting down on my heels so I didnt
have that far to fall to the cool tarred roof
and for the second time that night I had the chance
to wonder at how bright the stars were.
[ END ]
©2002 Bob Yosco