Edmond Caldwell


Clue (August 20, 2009. Issue 8.)

The forensics team gets here at 7:00 sharp but then we have to wait for the body and the blood and the glass-topped coffee table in shards and splinters (“signs of a struggle”) and the blunt instrument, and all the other incriminating evidence, you know, a short-n-curly in the bean dip or whatever, until which time we have nothing to do but stand around with our coffee and donuts like a bunch of assholes, stretching police tape over everything and jumping whenever our radios crackle.

This is no way to live, I think. This is so completely bogus. I can read the same thought on everybody else’s face, too, which must really scare the shit out of us because suddenly it’s time for the Fatalistic Shrug drill: Whaddaya gonna do about it, eh? I do it like everybody else – they must pass them out with the uniforms – though it makes me want to puke.

Finally vans from the TV networks show up with their big antennae thrust into the sky and the film crews and reporters pour out, and we all feel reprieved for a while because we can hold them back and stonewall their questions even though we really know fuck-all besides that nothing has even happened yet. But after a few minutes they’re all just standing around too, the reporters and camera crews with their coffee and donuts like a bunch of assholes, and still there’s no body.

I go back inside. Some chick from the forensics team – you know, the one who’s hot in that sort of hard, tired way, with minimal cosmetics and hair pulled severely back except for one stray strand falling over her forehead as a sort of wispy hint that if you could just unwind her a little she might really be something in the sack, that one – has just started freelancing or whatever, like completely going off with her tagging and bagging routine, except since there’s nothing here yet to tag and bag it’s more just this weird miming shit. Which must really unnerve the rest of us because suddenly it’s time for the Eye- Roll drill: Like, please, what is her gig? Everyone does it and I do it too, though it makes me want to puke.

So I think, well, this time why I don’t I try talking to her for a change, instead of just standing there with my coffee and donut like an asshole I should go up and say something to her, shoot the shit a little, what they used to call making time. I tap her shoulder while she’s swabbing an imaginary light fixture and she jumps like it’s given her an electric shock and scowls at me, so I offer her the donut I’m holding which unfortunately I’d already taken a bite of. She fixes me with this weird intent sort of look like she recognizes me from somewhere and suddenly everything goes dark except for the two of us in a blinding cone of light. She whips a clip off the back of her head and shakes her hair over her shoulders like a basket of snakes, and with one tug and two shimmies she’s out of her pants-suit and down to this dominatrix-looking under-gear. She hikes one knee around my waist and digs a stiletto heel into my calf, and from out of the tight line of her mouth bloom these two big red gorgeous lips, with a fuzzy little microphone hovering in front of them like a bumblebee. The lips start moving and I hear this husky turned-on whisper, but not quite in synch with the lips and magnified so it’s blasting from everywhere:

Get your body on the floor
Doncha know, can’t wait no more
Let me break it down for you
I’m gonna go to town on you!

And then she starts, like, pole dancing on me. A throbbing dance-beat quakes everything while she sings and outside the cone of white light these pink and purple circles go spiraling around, and now I see all the guys from my squad in a chorus line, stripped down to well-packed leather jockstraps which they jut to the throbs of the music – throb throb, jut jut.

Don't waste my time boy
(Put up or shut up)
You're on my mind boy

(Put up or shut up)
It ain’t no crime boy
(Put up or shut up)
You just got to rhyme boy—

The music and the dancing stop dead. The camera crews and reporters are inside now and one of them raises a large microphone to my chin. He’s wearing latex gloves. In the silence everyone looks at me and waits. Suddenly it all falls into place: The microphone is the blunt instrument.