Author: Sophia Hawkins PM
The dead do not always rest in peace and homicides can't just be left at the job at the end of the workday.Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Supernatural - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,267 - Reviews: 4 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 07-11-10 - Published: 04-16-10 - id: 5902493
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Once Frank got into the precinct, he sat at his desk and tried to calm his nerves by lighting a cigarette. He still wasn't sure what the hell was going on but he didn't like it.
"I thought the great Frank Pembleton quit smoking 10 years ago," Maureen said as she came up behind him.
Frank let out a startled yelp as he fidgeted with his lighter and about bit his cigarette in half. He turned around and asked her, "What the hell are you doing here? You're supposed to be dead."
"I am dead you moron," the girl replied.
Frank looked at her and was waiting for the punch line, but he wasn't getting it. "How can you be dead?" he asked.
"You saw my body," she said as she took a step closer to him, "My corpse, you can't tell me a person could actually survive all that."
"You were at that diner last night," Frank told her, "I talked to you."
"You were about ready to kill me, homicide detective," Maureen defiantly replied, "All because I talked."
"You insulted me," Frank said.
"So that's reason to kill somebody," she said.
"But you were right at the borderline of committing the offense of assaulting a minor, because you didn't like what I had to say about you," Maureen told him.
Frank had no comeback for that and went back to his original point, "If you're dead, you can't be here."
"You never heard of ghosts?" Maureen asked.
"I…" Frank stopped what he was going to say.
"What was I thinking?" the girl asked as she got right in his face, "You don't even believe in God anymore, why would you believe in ghosts?"
"What did you say?" Frank asked.
"You heard me," Maureen replied, "You know, detective, ever since the night of my murder, I've been stuck watching over the people working in this place…I watch them at work, I watch them when they go home, and I listen to everything they say…and you…in the last week I've not heard you give so much as thought to one word addressed to God…except for when you found out once again that your lovely wife is not carrying another you into this world."
"I don't believe this," Frank grumbled to himself.
"Now, I know you're already delusional enough to believe that having a baby and bringing another life into this world isn't going to change anything, especially not your job," Maureen said as she leaned over and got right in his face.
"So Mary's going to raise the kid alone?" Maureen asked.
"Well the only other option is once she's born she's going to be dumped off on a nanny because every boob and his brother, including the 3 billion people in the world who don't have kids knows that when you have a baby, everything changes. You have to report in to work, but your kid has to go to the hospital for surgery, which do you choose?"
Frank was too rattled by the idea of having a conversation with a dead person to give an answer to that.
"The job of course, isn't that right?" Maureen asked as she headed over to the board, "Nothing can stand in the way of Frank Pembleton's almost perfect record. Nothing else is important."
"That's not true!"
"What's not true?" Munch asked.
Frank turned around and saw Munch standing behind him with a very confused look on his face.
"How long have you been here?" Frank asked.
"I just got in," he answered, "Stan and I are on a case, 89 year old grandmother got her head bashed in and her teeth were lying all around the floor of the house when we got there. So what's up with you?"
"Nothing," Frank insisted.
"Oh? You always talk to yourself?" Munch asked, "Gee wants to know why you took yourself off a case where Bayliss is the primary…primary and only detective on it."
"Well Gee can just give him another partner for this one," Frank said, trying to think of a good excuse for that, "I have three open homicides I have to close."
"Yeah, all of which Bayliss is your partner on," Munch said, "What's going on?"
"Why don't you tell him, Frank?" Maureen asked as she elbowed him, "Tell him you can't take it because you're talking to the murder victim."
"Shut up," Frank got out of the corner of his mouth. Then something hit him and he turned and looked at her, "He can't see you?" he asked quietly.
"Of course he can't, Frank," Maureen told him, "Nobody here can see me, or hear me, only you can…of course, they could if I wanted them to, but I don't want them to, so they won't. I like them, you I don't like, and I'm dead now so that means I don't have to be nice to anybody that I don't want to."
"Oh will you shut up!" Frank said.
"I didn't say anything," Munch told him.
"Not you!" Frank turned back to him.
Munch looked at him for a minute and finally said, "Whatever you say, Exidor."
Frank turned and saw Munch heading back to his own desk and said, "What did you call me?"
"Nothing, Sybil," Munch answered.
"I am not crazy!" Frank told him.
"Of course not," Maureen said, "You're standing here, arguing with somebody who's been dead for a whole week, perfectly normal stuff, happens every day."
Frank let out a low sigh and pressed his hands against his forehead; he could tell this was going to be a very long day.
Frank spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon trying to get his work done but found that quite impossible to do with Maureen's ghost sitting on his desk hovering over him the whole time.
"Why are you here?" Frank asked her finally.
"Unfinished business, cardinal rule of ghosts don't you know?" Maureen said.
"What unfinished business?" he asked her.
"My killer hasn't been caught," she answered, "As soon as it's found out who killed me, and he's in jail, then I can go…maybe."
A light bulb went off in Frank's head and he closed the file he was reading and looked at her, "Do you know who killed you?"
"I know who killed me," Maureen said, "I know who he is, where he is, and what he is. I was conscious for most of the time he was beating and stabbing me, I can assure you, I did not go gently into the good night."
"Who killed you?" Frank asked.
"What do you care? You're off this case, remember?" Maureen reminded him.
Frank didn't care if she was dead, he could've just strangled her then and there. "If you know who killed you, why don't you tell Bayliss?"
"Because from what I've seen of Bayliss, I like him," Maureen insisted, "You however, I don't give a damn about. I can pester you all I want and you just have to deal with it. You I'll be only too happy to tell who killed me and how, because," she grinned, "There's not a damn thing you can do about it."
"I could tell Bayliss."
"Sure, you could tell him…but do you think he'll believe that you got all the facts of the case from a dead person?" Maureen asked him, "No, Frank, you'll just have to sit and squirm knowing what happened and not being able to do anything about it, unless you can convince the big cannoli upstairs to put you back on the case, which I don't think is too likely since you took yourself off of it from the word go."
Frank looked and saw Bayliss coming into the squad room, and he sincerely hoped Tim had found something.
"Well, how's it going?" he asked.
"I'm surprised you even care," Bayliss told him, "But to answer your question, I just got back from telling a little 40 year old woman that her 17 year old daughter is never coming home…I had to tell her that her 17 year old daughter, her only child, Frank, was found dumped with the garbage, stabbed and bruised and bloody. How do you think it's going?"
Frank evaded the question, "Talk to the medical examiner?"
"Yeah, I talked to those people too," Tim answered.
"They find out anything we don't already know?" Munch asked as he came up to them.
"Well…Maureen Marr was stabbed not once, twice or three times but 17 times," Tim answered, "Bruising indicates she was choked, beaten, knocked against a hard surface, probably a wall, and her fingernails were pretty much ripped off. On an upside, examination found no signs of sexual assault."
"There's a small comfort," Munch commented.
"And this girl must've had a very slow digestive system because she's been dead a week but she had food in her stomach that was still only partially digested…medical examiner was able to make out that her last meal was tuna, egg noodles and peas in a white sauce."
"I know," Frank said, not really thinking about what he was doing.
"You do?" Tim and John asked.
"I know," Frank amended his previous statement, "A diner that serves that dish, we might check there and see if they saw her."
"We?" John asked with a smirk.
"You," Frank corrected himself, "You, Tim…see if anybody at the diner remembers seeing her last…last week."
"Smooth, Columbo," Maureen told him, "Real smooth."
After Bayliss and Munch had left, Maureen walked around Frank and said to him, "So you're really serious about bringing a kid into the world?"
"That's none of your business," he answered.
"Frank…I've been watching all of you guys since the night I died, your business is my business," Maureen said, "And it's all ugly. Now tell me something…supposing you actually manage to conjure up any sperm to fertilize your wife's eggs…are you going to announce it from the rooftops or just…pretend the whole thing never happened until her water breaks?"
"What're you talking about?"
"Well I know you're a pretty stiff lipped person, and I'm using that term generously," Maureen told him.
"No, person," she replied, "If Mary gets knocked up are you going to be running around this joint passing out cigars?"
"Why?" Maureen asked, "You going to tell anybody? Giardello? Howard? Munch? Bayliss?"
Frank started laughing, "If Mary got pregnant, Bayliss would be the last person I'd tell."
"Why? Are you ashamed of your kid?" Maureen asked.
"Oh, but nobody can know about it, is that it?" Maureen asked, "Generally the things you don't talk about are the things you're ashamed of. So if you wouldn't tell anybody about your wife's pregnancy, it stands to reason it would only be because you're ashamed of the kid."
"If my wife and I have a child," Frank said, slowly, getting out every syllable of every word for her to hear clearly, "That's our business, nobody else's."
"Nobody's business?" Maureen repeated, "Frank…right now there's a little old man in a white coat rigging my corpse up on a scale to figure out my weight down to the last ounce. That is nobody's business. The medical examiner is finding out what my bra size is, that is nobody's business. He's finding out that at the time of my death, I was suffering from internal hemorrhoids, that is nobody's business. He's finding out that I had dandruff, discolored skin on my armpits and cracked calluses on my feet, that is nobody's business. All the little gory details that nobody is ever supposed to know about another person because it's none of their business, all of that is coming out for me now and the whole damn world's going to know about it, even though they got no right to. But you decide to reproduce a miniature you to unleash onto the world, that is everybody's business. Frank Pembleton's kid…it should be a national warning, 'disaster impending, take shelter immediately'."
"Well Frank," Giardello said as he came out of his office to see Pembleton. Frank turned around and Gee saw he wasn't wearing a tie today, "Well, I see you decided to take my advice and lose the tie."
"Uh…" how could Frank explain all of his ties had been cut up by a ghost? "Yeah…something like that."
"Frank, I'm going to ask you a question and I want an honest answer," Gee said as he sat down across from Frank, "Did you know Maureen Marr?"
"Did you know her family?"
"No," Frank shook his head, "I never met her."
"Why did you take yourself off this case then? You were the first one at the scene," Gee reminded him.
"I…" Frank tried to think fast on that one, "I thought if Bayliss had a separate case to work on, I could get my current cases closed."
"Bull," Gee replied, "You've been closing them faster since Bayliss came on."
"So much for your snail argument," Maureen told Frank as she hovered over him.
Frank wanted nothing more than to scream at her at that time, but he knew that was not a possibility with Giardello three feet away from him, so he tried to ignore her.
"Are you really so desperate to work solo again, Frank?" Gee asked.
"You want me to explain it to him, Frank?" Maureen asked sarcastically.
That was the last thing he needed.
"If you didn't know this girl and you didn't know her family, why did you take yourself off the case?" Giardello asked him again.
"Look, Gee…I've got a lot to work on right now, I'm having Martin Hayes brought in this afternoon to go in the box, I know he murdered Shirley Dean, I just need to get him to confess because there's no murder weapon, there's no forensics on the case…"
"It sounds to me like I need to hand your cases over to Bayliss and let you cash in your sick days," Gee told him.
"Frank, if you can't do the work, I'm going to have to find somebody else who can."
"That's not it at all!" Frank told him.
"Maybe not, but that's certainly what it's looking like," Giardello replied.
Frank was left sputtering to himself as Giardello went back to his office. Finally, never having been able to actually form any words, Frank just gave up on the effort.
"You think you've got problems?" Maureen asked him, "You should try being dead. Every so often I have to hop back over to the morgue to make sure none of the attendants are trying to have sex with my body. Do you have any idea what that's like, Frank?" Maureen laughed, "What am I saying? Necrophilia's about the only way you can have sex."
Frank shot a deadly glare at her, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means you're half dead already, you just don't know it," Maureen told him, "You remember nothing, you feel nothing, your senses sure as hell ain't what they used to be. You can't even smell, can you? It's not that you don't allow odors to bother you, the only way a person could stay in the same room with a burning roast for hours and not know would be if you couldn't smell it. Same way you can't smell the decay and rot of a corpse in a hot room. You're only aware of the things you can hear and see, and even then you're only half aware. You're not a whole anything, except for a son of a bitch," Maureen lunged at Frank and stared down at him as she added, "Who when your time comes and you're shoveled into your grave, I doubt a single tear will be shed for you…the world and your co-workers especially will cry good riddance. And when that day comes, Frank Pembleton, I'll be right there with a nicely sharpened witch's collar to snag around your neck and drag you down to hell."
This couldn't be real. That was the only thing going through Frank's mind as he looked at Maureen through tired, half open eyes. He didn't sleep well or much last night, and it was clearly showing in these delusions he was suffering from. There were no such things as ghosts, the dead did not come back, and he was not having conversations with the spirit of a homicide victim.
"I suppose you didn't try to kill me in the diner last night either, did you?" Maureen asked him.
Now he knew he was having delusions because even if ghosts were real, which they weren't, they couldn't read minds.
"You still don't get it, do you, Frank?" she asked him, "I'm everywhere, I see everything you do, I hear everything you say, and I know everything you think, and that's not going to change until I go away, and that won't be until the guy who killed me is locked up."
"Then tell me who he is, dammit!" Frank screamed at her.
"It doesn't matter, Frank, you don't have time for that," Maureen said, "You said so yourself, you have to get ready for putting Martin Hayes in the box."
"Why did you murder Shirley Dean?" Frank asked the 25-year-old man seated at the table in the interrogation room.
This was a dance Frank knew quite well, and not just in general…he'd been pacing around this table asking the same questions to Hayes for the last half hour and the man hadn't cracked yet.
"I told you before, I don't know who that is," Martin Hayes replied.
"Don't you?" Frank said, "Well I find that hard to believe, since you lived on the floor above her at the West Side Apartment house for the past six months."
"20 other people lived in that same house," Martin said, "Any one of them could've killed her."
"20 other people all had alibis that checked out," Frank told him, "You were the only one we couldn't verify for the night of the murder."
"So I told keep time stamps of where I go, sue me," Martin said.
"I'd like more than that, I'd like to personally strap you in the electric chair for what you did to that woman," Frank said.
"You're not getting anywhere with him this way," Frank heard, and he knew the voice.
He looked over his shoulder and saw Maureen appear out of thin air. She took a step forward and said to him, "Now over in New York, their homicide cops take a bit more…drastic measure to get somebody to talk. They bring in large cups of water and force them down the guy's throat and tell him the men's room is out of order, and just before his bladder explodes he confesses whether he did it or not."
"What are you doing here?" Frank asked her, quietly, but not too quietly so Martin Hayes didn't hear.
"Who's here?" he asked as he started to turn around, "Somebody come in?"
Frank looked Maureen dead in the eyes and answered, "Nah. It's just the two of us here, Marty…you and me."
"And me," Maureen added as she slowly started to circle around Frank, "Hey Frank, you wanna get him to confess? Why don't you tell him that I'm this Shirley Dean's ghost? I can raise all sort of hellish theatrics, levitate the chair, throw things, moan and scream, the works."
Frank ignored her and leaned over Martin's shoulder, "What did you do with the knife?"
"What knife?" Martin asked.
"The one you used to try saw through the bones in her legs after you cut her up!" Frank said as he threw the crime scene photos on the table, "Now there was no noise and little blood which means you started cutting into her after you killed her. Now I can understand killing her…maybe you asked her out and she wasn't interested in you…but why did you cut her up?"
"I don't know what you're talking about!" the man replied.
Maureen planted her fingertips against one of the pictures and looked at it, "Is this what you're talking about, Frank? This the girl?"
"Yes," Frank said, before he realized what he'd done.
"Yes what?" Martin Hayes asked.
"Yes," Frank quickly covered his tracks, "You do know what I'm talking about."
"Hey Frank," Maureen said, "I think he's telling the truth."
"Shut up," Frank told her.
"I didn't say anything," Martin said.
"Frank…it's not him," Maureen told him as she put the picture down, "Or if it is…he didn't do that with a knife, you're chasing your tail."
"How do you know!" Frank yelled at her.
"How do I know what?" Martin asked, very confused about what was going on.
"Frank, did you even look at the damn pictures?" Maureen asked, and picked up one, "The blade cut clear into the bones in that woman's leg…see? Clear W marks, not Vs."
"What in the hell are you babbling about?" Frank demanded to know.
"Frank, knives make Vs when they cut into bone, serrated ones certainly…but saws make Ws," Maureen told him calmly and simply, as if she were explaining an obvious fact to a child that hadn't learned yet.
"What?" Frank asked, "How do you know that?"
"I keep telling you, I don't know anything!" Hayes told Frank.
"He's not your guy, Frank, call it off," Maureen said, "Call it off, Frank."
"No? Then I will," Maureen turned to the two-way mirror that rested in the middle of the wall, "You better tell your buddies on the other side to back away or they'll be picking glass out of their heads for weeks."
"What are you talking abou-"
Frank didn't get a chance to finish his question because at that second, Maureen drove her fist into the mirror and smashed it into a million pieces, revealing a stunned Giardello, Kaye and Munch on the other side of the broken looking glass. Clearly, none of the other detectives knew what to make of this because the glass had fallen through on their side meaning something happened to it from within the box, and the only people in there were Frank and the suspect, both of whom were five feet away from the mirror when it shattered; and both of whom looked as equally puzzled and clueless as the rest did.
"It's all done with mirrors, Frank," Maureen told him as she slowly dematerialized in front of him.
"Well, Frank?" Giardello said, "Would you care to explain this one?"
Frank looked at Gee and the others just dumbfounded, and not able to even think of a way to explain this one, helplessly shrugged his shoulders.