Monday, May 23, 2011

Flash Fiction: The Crystal Newt

"Another crystal lizard, another crime about to happen."
"That's a newt."
"That's not a lizard, it's a newt."
"How do you know?"
"Look at the size, the shape of the head, and the tail." Hudson looked at her incredulously for a moment. "What? My kid had to do a science report on the damn things so I know more than I ever wanted to about our amphibian friends."

Hudson smiled, Vasquez never talked about her personal life much and it pleased him somehow to have her mention her son to him. His thoughts quickly drifting away from the case he focused back on the little crystal animal in front of him. It rested on a pink silk pillow, next to it was the cardboard box and wrapping it'd come in.

Hudson picked up the newt with a gloved hand, turning it toward the light. It was a fine piece of workmanship and glittered prisms over his hand and on to the desk. The recipient of it stood nearby anxiously watching him. Hudson knew what he would say, that they would send it to the lab for tests, that they would place an unmarked police detail on watch, and that if he had any idea what might be taken or why that would be quite helpful. And it he knew it wouldn't matter a damn bit. The lab had found no prints or anything unusual on the newts or the boxes, the thief would strike without the cops realizing anything amiss. And if, like the others, he knew anything, which Hudson was starting to suspect he did, he sure as Hell wasn't talking.

The last part interested Hudson the most, he seen big ticket thieves before, even serial ones, but whoever was doing this had really gotten under the skin of the city's well to do. The items taken weren't anything unusual for such jobs, fine paintings, rare books, silver and jewelry. And yet Hudson saw a tighter circling of the wagons among the wealthy after each crime. They had none of the imperious attitude he was used to in dealing with them. They were scared, and he wanted to know why. Why they seemed to flinch away from the newt, the man in the room with him, the owner of the house, was keeping a safe distance from it.

Vasquez carefully bagged the newt and box and gave Hudson a meaningful look, she was on to something. Hudson knew the owner would be of no further help and left the man his card, saying they'd be in touch. As they walked out the door of the mansion he asked her if she'd found anything.

Vasquez smiled, "I think we might be needing to find an expert in Ancient Egyptian death rites."
"Oh Christ."
"O Osiris more like it."
"What the Hell do we need that for?"
"The thief is sending more than a crystal newt."
"How do you know?"
"The pillow it comes on, we've just been looking at the newt, trying to find a jeweler or someone capable of making something like that, well I asked the lab to run tests on the pillow, not just dust for prints and they came back with something rather interesting."
"Which is?"
"It's not pink silk, it's linen, Egyptian linen, hand woven, the kind used for burial shrouds."
"You're kidding."
"Which means our thief might not be stopping at just taking inanimate objects."
"Well you call the expert, I'll get the coffee, Christ, and I thought summer was going to be boring since we wrapped up the DeMarco case."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"On Looking up by Chance at the Constellations" by Robert Frost

You'll wait a long, long time for anything much
To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud
And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.
The sun and moon get crossed, but they never touch,
Nor strike out fire from each other nor crash out loud.
The planets seem to interfere in their curves
But nothing ever happens, no harm is done.
We may as well go patiently on with our life,
And look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun
For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane.
It is true the longest drouth will end in rain,
The longest peace in China will end in strife.
Still it wouldn't reward the watcher to stay awake
In hopes of seeing the calm of heaven break
On his particular time and personal sight.
That calm seems certainly safe to last to-night.