Catharsis of the Bogue

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Fiction Saturday 2! Jackson Malone Part 4

If you haven’t read part 1 yet,

Or even Part 2,

Or even Part 3,  this will make next to no sense.

When we left our Story last time:

I turned left and entered a small living room that was dominated by a huge bay window.  This window took up most of the north wall.  I walked over to the window and looked out.  This was a perfect view of the warehouse across the street.  An arsonist may have liked this view as his handiwork burned.  But I was not on that case.  This room had been lived in, the carpet worn thin in several spots, but it was relatively clean.  Not exactly brimming over with clues.

And now for Part 4:

I walked towards a doorway in the east wall to find a small kitchen that smelled of rancid bacon.  This room had a small table with 2 chairs and the portable TV that the officer had been watching.  This room had also been cleaned up to sell the house.

The only signs of life were the sandwich wrappers and the TV that obviously belonged to the cop.  There was one window in the kitchen that had been broken out and repaired with cardboard and duct tape.  The linoleum was the same worn color of orange that lined the hall.  Still, it had been swept.  I shook my head because I still had no clues as I went back out the door to the kitchen and to a door on the south wall of the living room.

“This is the murder scene.” The cop murmured.  I didn’t reply.  The small window in this room was covered with a dirty green velvet curtain only allowing a trickle of light through.  I flipped the switch on the wall and was not prepared for the sight that assailed me.

This was the bedroom, complete with a sagging twin bed that looked as if it had been dyed a dark brown.  There were splatters on the wall, the ceiling, the floor and all of the furnishings in the room.  The acrid metallic smell of blood permeated everything.  “Damn.” I said looking at the carnage.  “None of this was in the newspapers.”

“No.” the cop replied.  “We have kept a lid on it.  No one would want to buy this place otherwise.  What it looks like is one homeless guy kills another over a place to sleep.  We do suspect that the arsonist from the warehouse across the street is either involved or is Moran himself.”  I placed my hands in the pockets of my trenchcoat and squatted near the ground.

“Did you find a weapon?” I asked.  “Yea.  There was a piece of pipe in the backyard with blood all over it.  No fingerprints though.  That is what broke that window in the kitchen.  The guy who did this would have been covered in blood too, but with homeless guys who ever pays attention to what they are wearing.”  “Hmmm…” I mumbled as I entered the room.

I could tell that the cops had done a good job going over this bloodbath and didn’t disturb the blood soaked contents of the room.  I didn’t see anything offhand that they may have missed.  I stood, turned and left the room.

“You guys got anything else in this case?” I asked as I was going towards the front door.  “Just the dead guy, this house and that pipe.  Seems pretty open and shut.  Homeless guy kills other homeless guy over the big prize and a bed to sleep in.”  The cop replied.  “What big prize?”  I asked.  “Oh yea this may help.  This house is the prize.  Every night hundreds of those homeless guys fight for the right to sleep here.  I’m not sure how they do it but it seems your boy Moran was king of the hill that night and someone didn’t like it.”

We reached the doorway and I opened the door while taking all of this in.  “That’s the way we are taking it.  This case will be in the unsolved pile and I will be gone as soon as the insurance guys finish their investigation.  No one will give a crap in a week.”  He was probably right but I didn’t give him the satisfaction of a reply.  I stuffed my hands back into my coat pockets and walked out the door.

I spent the next day in my office trying to figure out a motive or angle.  Something the cop at the house said to me kept sticking.  The fact that the homeless in the area compete for the right to sleep in that house was strange.  Why not several of them in the house at once?  There were several rooms that could hold several people.  They could compete over one room but the whole house?  Maybe that was their way of just having some privacy, and some unwritten street code kept everyone honest about it.  Well almost honest anyway.  Nelson Moran was still dead.

The next day came too quickly.  I was back in my office when I called one of my old friends in the police department.  It seemed that the insurance people had finished with that they needed and the crime scene cleaners were there now.  The police presence was finished.  The house was back on the market.   The competition should be underway tonight.  I was going down there to find out the truth.  Or die trying.

Join us again next week for Part 5 of Jackson Malone!

And if you liked this story you may enjoy Death With A Vengeance, my previous Fiction Saturday story, available here as an e-book!Thanks for reading, see you next week



  1. Nate Chastain

    April 17, 2010 at 12:52

    Some of your descriptions in here and the other three pieces, especially of odors, are excellent. (ex. rancid bacon.) I read this like an old detective piece, for that reason. Stephen King famously said that detective stories have some of his favorite descriptions ever recorded. The ones I remember him talking about is “The night was as dark as a carload of assholes” and “I lit a cigarette that tasted like a plumber's handkerchief.” I love those lines.

    If you haven't seen Chinatown yet, I would strongly recommend that/

    • Hey thanks, I love the noir genre and the old detective stories. I am glad someone recognizes those for what they are! The dark night quote is one of my favorites. Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more!

  2. This house is definitely a hot property. People must be lining up to buy a house where the homeless fight to spend the night. And with a crime scene view and rancid bacon odors in the kitchen. Out hero needs to spend the night just to get the full flavor. Maybe he will want to buy it.

  3. I like noir myself.

    Check out Keith Laumer if you haven't already read him.

    And Butcher's Harry Dresden series is pretty good too.

    • I will have to look up Keith Laumer havent heard of him. I like harry Dresden. I have been big into Daishell Hammet and the stuff he did for old radio. Those are huge inspiration for me.

    • I dig Dresden as well. I am finishing the last book in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and then going back to Dresden. I left off on book 5 I think.

      Justin, my curiosity is piqued about this “fight for the house” development. Sounds promising. Do police really guard crime scenes for insurance companies? It sounds weird, but I know nothing about it.

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