Note:

Some character's names are changing from their original denotation.
Crag = Krag
Teej = Tej
This note will be removed when the changes are applied to all entries on this blog.
text marked with italic tags are meant to be in italics and will be so in the final, publishable draft.

Chapter 5

    Arnie grumbled as he double bagged the two halves of Toby’s body.  A separate double bagging was needed for the man-beast’s axe, actually two double bagging.  The axe weighed as much as half of Toby’s body with sharp angles and a wide blade.  He needed to be fast.  The day approached fast.  Blood drenched the pavement, but he didn’t have time to do anything about that.
    Arnie hoisted the bags into the back of his, thankfully, lined pick up truck.  He removed his gloves, cinched the tonneau cover over the bags and closed the tail gate.  Arnie continued to grumble as he opened the driver’s side door.

    “Damn that woman, damn those orcs,” Arnie said.  It was Arnie’s job to keep the heat off of Louie’s Booty Palace.  There was too much going on against the law that he was used to cleaning up messes quickly, but he also did this for Dionne.  From his first day at the Palace he felt an attraction to her and assigned himself personally to her care when it came to drunk, grabby assholes in the back room.  He probably loved her, but he’d never admit it, at least not to her.  Helping her carry the man-beast into her car was about as helpful as he could get, except for disposing of this body that is.
    Arnie drove thirty or so miles south, at the speed limit so as not to draw attention.  He turned off the highway at an exit you only get off of if you know the area.  Few lights greeted him as he slowed to a stop to look both ways.  He saw no one on the cross road and continued.  A mile down the road he made an arbitrary left off of the road down an unbeaten path that the average person wouldn’t know about.
    He reached a gravel path and continued down a semi steep grade.  If it had been winter his four wheel drive truck wouldn’t be able to make it up without a load in the back.  Grass bordered ruts took the place of gravel.  The potholes bounced Arnie around in the cab of the truck.  One last, huge, bump and Arnie saw his headlights shine off of water in the distance.  He slowly pushed the brakes and the pick up slid a little in mud before stopping.
    “Shit, it’s rained,” Arnie said.  He exited the truck and squished around the truck.  He opened the tail gate and the tonneau cover, slipped on a pair of plastic gloves to grab the bags one by one.  He carried the bags to the shore of the fast moving river.  He threw each bag as hard as he could.  Thankfully he was a shot putter in high school and kept up with his muscles since then.  Three bags into the river, Arnie removed his gloves and set them on fire with his lighter.  He held the gloves by a twig as they burned completely.  He tossed the twig into the water and watched it as long as he could.
    Arnie squished back to his truck, opened the door and got back in.  Carefully he put the truck in reverse, cut the wheel to the right, then back to the left and took the rutted path back to the gravel.  He didn’t cut off to his arbitrary path, rather he took the gravel path back to the next paved road and took an entirely different way home.
    Once home, he sprayed out his truck, bleached the truck, then sprayed it out again.  He made plans to get a load of dirt in the back of his truck.
    He pulled out his cell phone, dialed Dionne’s number.  The phone rang until she picked up.  Her “hello” sounded like she was crying. 
“It’s done,” Arnie said. 
“Thank you,” she sniffled.

~ * ~

    The news story broke two days later:
HALF A BODY FOUND IN THE RIVER!
    Dionne called Arnie when she read this.  “I thought you took care of things?”
    Arnie replied groggily.  “What are you talking about?”
    “Turn on the news!” Dionne insisted.
    Arnie turned over in bed and hit the remote.
    The newscaster said, “A fisherman reported catching his line on the body of a missing local man Tobias Smith.  Police sent divers into the water, but haven’t found any other details as of this newscast.”
    “Shit,” Arnie said.  “Can’t do anything about it now.  I dumped him.  We just have to hope we did a good enough job cleaning out the parking lot yesterday.”
    “Did you dump all of him?” Dionne asked.
    “Of course, the axe too.”
    “Shit,” Dionne said under her breath.  “Okay, we just need to play things cool then.”
    “Yeah, we do,” Arnie agreed.  “Anything else?”
    “No, I guess not,” Dionne said.  “Goodbye.”
    They hung up.
    Arnie sighed, switched off the television and closed his eyes.  In the past he might have greased some palms to get the cops to look the other way, but he’d never had to cover up a murder before.
    His doorbell rang.
    “Gods dammit,” Arnie said.  He swung his legs off of his bed and sat up.  He slipped on flannel pajamas and trudged to his front door.  He opened the door to a badge.
    “Good morning sir,” the female detective said.  “My name is Jane Hunter.  Are you Arnold Park?”
    Arnie caught himself looking over Detective Hunter’s red half buttoned up shirt and black jacket atop blue jeans.  “Uh-yes.  I’m Arnie.  What can I do for you officer?”
    “Detective,” Hunter said.  “I’m following leads about the disappearance of a client of Louie’s… Booty Palace.  Tobias Smith.  Did you have any interaction with Mister Smith?”
    Arnie leaned against the door arch, purposely showing off his chiseled pectorals and abs.  He touched his lips and said, “Hrm… Tobias Smith… OH!”  Arnie turned with a finger in the air and said, “Do you mean Creepy Toby?”
    Detective Hunter said, “I don’t have any aliases of ‘Creepy’ for Mister Smith.  His description is white, 5’6” about 200 pounds, brown hair around chin length.  Does that ring any bells?”
    Arnie nodded.  “Yeah, that sounds about right.  He comes in about three times a week.  Is something wrong?”
    Detective Hunter said, “He was found dead this morning, last seen in Louie’s parking lot following the dancer Dionne Jenkins, Brown Sugar as she left for the night.”
    “Sugah,” Arnie corrected.
    “Excuse me?”
    “Her name is Brown Sugah, you gotta say it right if ya gonna say it,” Arnie said.
    Detective Hunter scoffed.  “Fine, Brown Sugah.  Do you know anything about him?”
    “Nah,” Arnie said.  “He came at her.  She called me, I said, ‘get the hell out of here creep’ and the creep got the hell out of there.  Haven’t seen him since, but that ain’t unusual.”
    Hunter penciled in her notepad.  “You’ll let me know if you hear anything right?”
    “Certainly, Detective,” Arnie said with his patented sideways smile.  “Can I get your number?  I mean to call you to let you know, that is?” 
    “Sure,” Hunter reached in her jacket pocket and pulled a card.  “Call me if you need anything.”
    Arnie took the card and winked.  He closed the door behind him.  “Dirty chump cop.”
    Detective Hunter penciled into her book: A. Park knows more than he’s letting on, must examine again.
    Detective Hunter, in her car, looked at the blurry cell phone video of an isolated lightning storm taking down a light pole on Dionne Jenkins’ small car.  Out of the lightning storm came rumbling a large brown man wielding what looked like an axe, cutting what looked like Tobias Smith in half.  Proper identification couldn’t be made.  Even the best techs in the station couldn’t decipher exactly what was happening.  The video cut off just as the large brown man raised his axe toward what could possibly be Arnie Park and Dionne Jenkins kicked off her shoes, for what purpose, Hunter couldn’t tell.

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