The Bloody Whorehouse
By Michael D. Davis
stick stabbed the soft part between his ribs for the third or fourth time Count
Whorton said in a voice as smooth as dry skin, “one more poke and it goes in
your eye socket.”
alive,” the poker yelled.
Whorton opened his eyes and waited to see if the poker was right. He was. The
Count was laying on something hard. What or where he wasn’t sure. He rolled
over and fell to the rock bottom; which was the cement base of the park bench.
The cold dirty cement’s slap cleared enough fog to remind Count Whorton where
he was. The night before he’d been walking home, more drunk than human, and got
the idea to take a shortcut through the Phillip M. Pennypacker memorial park.
This was an idea so awful that only a hungover Count that spent the night on a
bench could see the fault; he lived nowhere near the park.
the night is clouded and broken into crumb and bit memories that comes from a
night of cheap booze. Something told him that if he did remember everything
that happened last evening it wouldn’t be his most cherished memory. Then again
how would he know?
the cement like a dazed slug Count Whorton looked up at the two
twenty-something fools in running shorts that were one mistimed jostle away
from falling out onto the sex offender registry. Count took all the detective
skills, common sense, gumption, shrewd astuteness, and little gray cells he
could muster and deduced the one with the stick was the one that woke him. The
Count got up on his knees then leaned on the bench. For the first time, he
noticed the back of the bench which said: “In Memory of Cliff Skipper.” That is
nice, Count figured, if you have to spend the night on a bench why not Cliff
Whorton propelled himself off the ground the same way you propel a frisbee into
the air, although with less form and accuracy, because he saw no other way
around getting his ass off the ground. When he finally reached a standing
position, he heard something hit the cement. Count looked to see what he
dropped and saw a large hunting knife covered in dried blood. The two runners
stared at Count and the knife then one of them turned and looked behind him at
a body in the grass.
One of them
said into a phone he had to his ear, “you need to get here quick.”
Whorton sat in a cold stone-walled room filled intoxicatingly with his own
smell, a smell strong enough to wake a dead horse. His ass hurt from the metal
chair; his hunch hurt from sleeping on the bench; his head hurt from the booze
the night before, and his throat hurt from answering the same questions again
and again. On the last go around he’d asked for a nip of something just to keep
his strength up, but no one was amused or obliging. Not even when he showed his
crooked yellow teeth in a look of pitiful dehydration.
after God knows how long officer Klunkel came in and said he was free to go.
Whether they didn’t have enough to hold him or believed the fact he was too
drunk to kill anyone, Count Whorton didn’t care.
said as Count reached the door, “if you killed that girl we will find out. If
you didn’t… we will find out that as well. Just don’t do like the PI’s do in
the movies sticking your nose into where it doesn’t belong trying to prove your
innocence. This ain’t no movie.”
Klunkel,” Count Whorton said, “I thought we were friends. Plus, I thought this
was a movie, with my dashing good looks and your winning personality. Don’t I
look ready for my close up?”
gritted his teeth. “Anything that gets close to you needs shots afterwards.”
her before he even entered the room. She was sitting in a chair looking as
pissed as ever wearing a large purple fake fur coat and hat. It made her both
look like a hunter and fake fur trapper of children’s imaginary friends. Also
impossibly beautiful. As Count walked in, Irma Side stood up, she was more than
the average woman, she was taller, wider, curvier, older and she knew how to
use it all as a soldier with his gun. Many wouldn’t look her way if they didn’t
already have a few under their belt or were just desperate with a few bucks to
spend. But Count Whorton loved the light brown-skinned beauty and against every
force in nature, she seemed to love him too. When the Count came right up to
her in the middle of the police station Irma slapped him across the face.
said in a voice that broke
glass two towns away, “you got arrested without me.”
have a phone call or nothing. You didn’t even think of me.”
thinking of you Irmie. You were working last night.”
Irmie, love. And I didn’t even do anything today. I just woke up in Pennypacker
on a bench with a bloody knife and a dead woman ten feet away. They thought I
did it, I said I didn’t, now they don’t think I did.”
officer behind a desk mumbled, “alcoholic asshole,” loud enough for everyone to
Count said, “he thinks I did it, but who cares. Let’s go.”
Countey if that’s all it is. No hard feelings just remember to invite me next
were walking out an officer said to Irma, “don’t I know you? You look
arrested me last year for prostitution. Don’t worry no hard feelings, dearie.”
Whorton took a shower that was needed more than a cure for cancer and slipped
into some new crummy clothes that looked just like his old crummy clothes he
took a drink, a seat next to Irma and the remote.
through the channels Count felt a great disturbance and he knew exactly what it
was. He looked at Irma who had been staring at him since he sat down.
am I supposed to figure out what you’re pissed about?”
damn well what I’m pissed about.”
“I am most
assured I don’t have the simplest of clues.” Count turned back to the TV and
kept turning over channels like dead leaves.
just gonna sit here?”
gonna look into this at all?”
woman in the park, fucks sake, you aren’t even gonna try to clear your name?”
was too dirty to be cleared before the woman in the park. Secondly, it’s a
police case. Thirdly, no one’s paying me for this. They are paying me to be a
night stocker at the store so that I’ll do. And six-hundredthly I just want to
stay home, Irmie I had a tough night.”
fault was that?” Irma stood up and went to the door. She put on her purple fur
hat and her purple fur coat then turned back to the Count who still sat in
front of the TV, not watching it. She walked over and stood between him and the
TV saying, “Countey, love.”
Countey, will you look into it for me?” Irma put extra syrup in her words.
said, trying but failing to ignore her.
and walked to the side of the couch. She bent down, kissing the Count on the
forehead and the cheek. Then she plunged his head into her voluminous chest and
writhed about letting him go only seconds before he died of oxygen deprivation.
up slightly angry and said, “fine, fine we’ll go. But don’t you know you could have
killed me there, don’t you listen to the narrator?”
ignored him, she was too delighted. “This is gonna be fun.”
gonna be a hoot,” Count said, “I was at Dynamite Dotty’s last night. Let’s
start there, I could use a drink.” The count downed the glass he had in his
hand and went for his coat.
Dotty’s is a place on the other end of town, it’s the only gay bar around.
There is one little thing and one big thing that keeps Count Whorton coming back.
The little thing is Dotty herself. She wears button up shirts, jeans, leather
jackets, and her phone on her belt like a six-shooter. Dotty has dynamite
hellfire red hair and if God fell from heaven, she’d wear heels, but she still
wouldn’t surpass five-two. She’s also a good friend. The big thing that keeps
him coming back is the thing that keeps him coming back to every bar in town
and that’s the booze.
hadn’t opened yet when they walked in and Dotty sat at a table eating take out
and listening to a drag queen with a wig higher than her, singing voice belt
out a tune on stage. Count took a seat and stole some fries. Irma pulled up a
chair saying hey.
hey back and added, “So, how many teddy bears did you have to murder to get
Irma made a
face and said, “None, they died naturally.”
some more of Dotty’s fries and watched the singer on stage. She was alright but
needed more work before she went on in front of paying people. Whether it was
the song she picked or the voice that she played it on it had a way of making a
dog feel like his cat just died. Count turned to Dotty, “I was here last night,
you know if I hung around anyone?”
you were here last night. Do you know who was here a few hours ago?”
you fucking moron,” said Dotty. “Plus what would he be doing in a gay bar in
the middle of Iowa you expired-milk-looking piece of shit.”
lovely friend, Dotty.”
I am. I was talkin’ about the cops. They came in askin’ about your drunk ass.”
The singer was done on stage and just standing around listening to Dotty curse
until she noticed. “Wasn’t half bad—go backstage and talk to Nicky two necks.”
The singer walked off and Dotty got back to cursing. “I didn’t tell them shit,
not that there’s shit to tell because you don’t seem to do any fucking thing
but drink anyways. Except the times you start a brawl or get on stage and sing
like sheet metal in a broken fucking dryer.”
remember that,” said Count.
wouldn’t,” she said having attitude that walks hand and hand with her voice.
leaned over the table still eating Dotty’s food. “Come on Polkadotty, the
police think I murdered a woman.”
not,” Irma said, then thought about her answer. “We don’t think so, anyway.”
a sigh like a balloon dying a miserable death then said, “fuck, I don’t know.
You were hanging around Sour Kraut. So, ask her.”
Count said, “I need a drink,” and got up out of his chair.
of that,” Dotty said, “your tabs due.”
“So, are my
it by the end of the week or you’re cut off, Count.”
that’s what the library said.” Count fished out a cigarette, slightly bent, put
it between two chapped lips and lit it as Dotty made a face that once caused a
grizzly bear to commit suicide.
Irma cut in
with, “He’s just joking, Dotty… everyone knows he can’t read.”
lightened Dotty’s eyes and gave Count a moment to strike. “I could pay you
Dotty, but you could also ease off… after all two years ago today,” Count
paused to look choked up. Irma rolled her eyes not so much at the acting, but
at the feeble attempt to it. “My dear mother died,” Count finished then with a
clincher, he crushed his hat to his chest and gave a pitiful hangdog look that
worked most times when his mother died.
Dotty said crossing her arms over her chest. “I saw your mother just the other
day at the store. I have to admit she looked pretty good for two years dead.”
face dropped a few inches. “That was my biological mother, I was talking about
you dumb fuck.”
Count said, putting back on his hat.
believe you thought that was gonna work, fuckin’ moron.”
“He does it
all the time,” Irma threw out.
“I bet he
fuckin’ does, Jesus Christ. Also, Count, you should visit your mother more
often. I mean how old is she?”
know, but I’ve heard rumors that she killed Abel and blamed Cain for it. And
for Christ in a cave, I visit the old bat every few days… when I remember. We
just had dinner there on Monday for fuck’s sake.”
invited me to dinner when I saw her.”
the wheel on the conversation from here. “How about Friday? We’ll come along
fine. Maybe you’ll have my money by then Count? I’ll bring a bottle of wine.”
started towards the bar saying, “Don’t bother, mom likes brandy.”
the bar on a stool like a priestess on her throne was Sour Kraut. She was well
over six feet tall heels or no heels and wore a dress that was snugger to her
body than a key is to its lock—pinker too.
Whorton slipped into the chair next to her like an elephant into a tunic. “How
you doin’ Sour?”
should know,” Sour said giving Count a look. “Saying just another, just another
last night. I ended up puking everything up in my closet.”
of drinking where’s the bartender?”
Count Whorton slipped out of his chair like an elephant out of a tunic and gave
it to Irma who managed it better. In his element among the bottles behind the
bar, Count found some bourbon and three glasses.
Sour said, “I heard Count had a murderous hangover.”
up in the Pennypacker park on a bench next to a dead woman.”
me out of the water.”
hear?” Count asked pouring drinks.
were in earlier, pissing off Dotty.”
drained his glass while everyone else sipped then poured himself another. “Not
much for hair of the dog?”
“I was just
looking at your glass.”
She gave a
slight smile then said, “I often catch men looking at my glass.” That made
seriously,” said Count.
Seriously, I feel like shit and think if I drink too much I’ll be running right
back to the closet.”
are you here?”
where else am I supposed to be? Home with the closet? I work here.”
Count said moving his glass around. “So, you remember what happened last
about you? Like how you made two women hold out your scarf so you could play
limbo or when you sat on that poor man in the wheelchair’s lap and told him
what you wanted for Christmas or when you got up on stage and sang the best of
remember that,” Count said.
giggled, “Sounds like a fun night.”
was, Sour, was there like anything or anybody weird around last night? Anything
that girl that followed you in.”
girl?” Irma said.
something, long hair, I don’t know. She followed you in trying to talk your ear
off then that big guy who works over at that fast food place next to that auto
shop dragged her out. He was wearing the uniform.”
don’t remember this at all?” Irma asked the Count.
doing some errands and getting a little thirsty. So, I went to a bar then I did
a few more things then there was this other place then I remember vaguely here.
Then of course Pennypacker Park.”
were had there, baby,” Sour said. “Pennypacker park’s where I lost my
true you’re the one that should get their name on a bench.”
Sour said standing up. “I don’t need a monument tying me to this town. Bitch,
where do you see me in five years? I will tell you where… headlining a place a
lot bigger than this in a town a lot better. Now I gotta do some work, see you
all later.” Sour walked away in only a way she could.
Whorton grabbed Sour’s partial glass and downed it saving the rest of the
bottle like an orphan from a fire by putting it quickly under his coat. “Ready,
off to?” Irma said finishing her drink.
so why don’t we see a big guy about a burger?”
good to me, but Countey I want to ask you something first. Where do you see
yourself in five years?”
it some thought and said, “Dead in an Iowa whorehouse, and you?”
girl. What do they say, together to the end?”
smiled. “Yeah, the bloody whorehouse end.” Then they sent the little hairs on
the back of necks standing up with a kiss only they could achieve.
at the burger joint was like most fast food place uniforms a shirt, a hat, and
a collection of stains. Count Whorton and Irma recognized their guy two ways;
one was that he had to duck at every door he came to so he didn’t hit the frame
with his cement block head and cause the whole place to crumble. The second way
was he was the only man in a uniform.
walked up to him and said, “Buddy, can I ask you a few questions?”
in cotton turned to look at Count. “You?” was all he said.
Countered the Count leaning on the counter.
you doing here?”
because you’re not a cop.”
right, I work at a grocery store. I still want to ask you some questions.”
“Is she a
cop?” The big guy pointed at Irma.
said, “she’s a prostitute. Can I ask you those questions now?”
because you’re an ugly drunk grocery man and she’s an ugly whore.”
Count yelled, his eyes wide yellow pus balls of craziness. “Listen here you
fucking fucktard of a fuck, don’t you ever say that kind of shit to my
girlfriend again or I’ll shove so many of these little salt packets up your ass
anything you crap out will be pre-salted, you endangered ape-looking fuck.”
his name tag read, looked a little stunned and then threw a fist the size of
three green bean cans. Count moved, but it still clipped his cheekbone, he fell
back and Kenny came over the counter. Count gave a kick at Kenny’s crotch but
missed with the aim of a man who loved his booze. Kenny grabbed Count by his
pants and lapels and threw him across the room. Landing on a garbage can, Count
tried to get his wits about him before Kenny was on him again. He failed. Kenny
gave him two rights on the floor before Count grabbed a sticky plastic fork and
stabbed it into Kenny’s shoulder or tried to as most of the tongs broke against
his muscle. But it slowed him up a second or two giving Count the opportunity
to hit him a few dozen times in the head with a plastic tray.
Whorton was off the floor and Kenny started to lunge when Irma pulled out her
gun. “I wouldn’t,” she said, “or the ugly whore’s gonna shoot ya.”
Count said, “my bottle of bourbon broke.” He pointed to the remnants on the
preceded, “you gonna answer our questions?”
now, Irma,” Count said pointing to a teenager on her cellphone. “Bulls are
comin’, we gots to scram.”
Irma said, putting her gun away and making her way to the door.
Kenny on the floor Count said, “Ma and Pa will be back, sonny.”
blocks away as they slowed at a stop sign Irma said, “That work as planned?”
plan to lose my bourbon.”
“What do we
nourishment… lay on the couch like a lemon peel in the landfill.”
will stop off at the cop shop, see if they identified my murder victim yet. I
don’t think I pissed off every cop I know, we’ll find out anyways. But, I wanna
drive thru someplace on the way.”
grew up when moats were dug around residences and three out of four children
died of weakness or consumption. Miss Pinky wasn’t her name nor was she a cop,
she worked the front desk and no one knew her by any other name. She was a short,
stout woman with the unbreakable belief that her poodle cut hairstyle never
went out of fashion.
Whorton sidled up to her desk, a honey-sweet dead tooth smile on his face.
“Grand tidings, Miss Pinky…looking like a fresh picked flower as usual.”
please,” Miss Pinky said with a snort. “Cut the crap, what are you doing back
here after this morning?”
your mother wouldn’t stand for such a foolish thing.”
that,” said Irma leaning on the large desk.
“Told ya, dummy.
Now, tell me the truth.”
lookin’ for an update on my victim.”
looked around her and over into the back rooms which were all buzzing like a
stone-knocked hive then got up saying words that caused Count and Irma to
question the trustworthiness of their ears.
painted old lips she said, “Meet me in the crapper, on the double.”
Whorton and Irma shared a look that showed each other’s worry for the tapestry
of life and all the decisions that led up to them following Miss Pinky into the
can. Then Count shrugged lazily and said, “It’s a dirty business.”
of them packed into the woman’s bathroom like three rotten peas into a pod.
girl’s name is Ginny Hollis, twenty-eight, I believe. She was stabbed multiple
you want the killer’s name and address? How about his unlisted phone number?”
“I can’t do
everything for ya, honey. Maybe you could surprise us all and use that head of
yours for something other than just growing out your bald spot.”
you’re mean today.”
telling the truth, honey.”
Pinky,” Irma said, “did Ginny have long hair?”
have a lot of photos of her just yet, but I’d say that’s a safe bet. Most of
the pictures now have been from the scene. They’re still there. Hell, he woke
up there, shouldn’t he know about the length of her hair?”
should already be on their way. Some don’t like it, but Quartertown ain’t
Chicago. When something like this goes down you need the big Iowa Department of
Criminal Investigation boys.”
with iron jockey shorts,” Count Whorton said, “I’d want my case put in their
hands more than I would the Quartertown bunch.”
work with these guys daily, not all of them are bad… but I agree.”
guess that’s it. Thanks for the help.”
problem. Hey, how’s your mom doin’ I haven’t seen her in a while?”
Whorton said, moving towards the door.
having dinner with her on Friday,” Irma said, “if you wanna come. Dotty of
Dynamite Dotty’s is coming as well.”
just be delighted, I will make a pie if no one objects.”
fabulous,” Irma said.
Whorton was nearing the urge to slam his forehead against a stall door when
Irma turned ready to go.
Out in the
car, Irma drove away from the cop shop. “Where are we going now?”
some sleep and a drink and a vacation house and a colonoscopy probably, but
let’s focus on a nap right now.”
think the dead girl is the same girl that followed you into Dotty’s?”
see why not.”
you think killed her?”
“Top of my
head, I’d guess it was that fee fo giant at the burger joint.”
large bruise had started to form on the side of Count Whortons already mangled-looking
Back at the
apartment, Count Whorton stripped off his coat and pulled down the murphy bed.
are you gonna sleep?” Said Irma helping him off with his clothes.
I’ll go to work for a while then, see if I can turn any tricks.”
store, yes, but I think I’ll call in. You know, may have murdered a woman and
“I guess I
better let you sleep. Unless you wanna screw around some.”
Whorton fell back onto the bed in an unbuttoned shirt and pants. “I’m way too
tired for anything like that.”
just defile you in your sleep.”
like that a lot, Irmie.”
said, “I’ll go get the naughty toys,” before patting his leg and heading
towards the door.
whip Irmie, I’m really tired,” Count Whorton said already asleep.
A few hours
later Count woke up to the sound of the doorbell hitting his eardrums like a three-car
collision. He stumbled across the room swearing as he went and descended the
stairs to the outer door.
his head out half asleep, holding his shirt together like a woman with her robe
caught coming out of the shower. A short, long-haired girl barely out of her
teens stood on the sidewalk.
you were looking for me,” said the girl. It had become dark since Count Whorton
got home, but he could see her clearly painted in colors from the neon sign and
other lights the bar he lived above had to offer.
hell are you?”
Coatwell, we, well, I tried to talk to you last night.”
girl from Dotty’s.”
followed you in there because I was trying to speak to you. You see-”
Count Whorton said holding up a hand. “You go up inside, turn on the light. I
gotta get my… partner.”
out the door and held it for her as she went in and up the stairs.
“I won’t be
shut the door quickly and crossed the alley to the next building. A few steps
in he realized he was shoeless. Good thing he didn’t have far to go. He still
had the fortune to step on several pebbles, something too sharp to be a rock
and something he didn’t look down to see but made a squishing noise. At the
other building, Count tapped furiously on a first-floor window. There were a
few swears, the sound of a bed creaking, then the window was opened by a
“Girl just showed up at my door, says
she’s the one from Dotty’s
“Yeah, she’s at my place, can you
get out of here?”
“No problem, it’s a regular, and
we were just finishing up.”
Irma shut the window. Count waited on the sidewalk.
minutes later a man came out buckling his pants, a look of regret on his face.
Then Irma came out in a black t-shirt and jeans.
The bare yellow bulb hanging from the ceiling
at Count’s place
flickered in and out as if battling to cling to life. Rea sat on the very edge
of the couch, trying to sit without touching anything. When Count and Irma came
in Irma switched on a lamp and joined Rea on the couch, Count put up the bed
and found his way to the chair.
“You obviously know me,” Count said,
“but this is Irma, my
partner. Now, I had some to drink last night, so maybe you could start with
“First, of all, I’d just like to
apologize about Kenny. I know
you all had a… scuffle as it were. And I just think that’s awful.”
Count caressed his bruised cheek because caressing
his bruised ribs
in front of company is strange.
“You were pointed out to me last night
by a friend, during
“Bingo?” Irma said.
“Yes, Count Whorton was at my church’s
weekly bible bingo game,
I help out. He didn’t have any cards, but he still yelled out bingo several
times causing a ruckus.”
“I don’t remember that,” Count
“Well, Pastor Dave walked him out and
one of the older ladies
said who you are and what you do so, I caught up with you and tried to tell you
about my sister. Kenny came along as well. We followed you into Dynamite
Dotty’s and finally, Kenny dragged me away saying you were a…”
“Useless drunk or something?” Count
“What’s wrong with your sister?”
“She’s missing, has been gone for
three days now.”
“Why don’t you go to the police?”
“My parents say not to. It’s not
the first time she’s gone
missing, you see. She has run away before, but never for this long. The first
few times we did go to the police, but then she’d just show up like it was
“She usually just at a friend’s?”
“Or her boyfriend’s and this last
one, he’s just bad. I’m always
at work or helping at the church and can’t look after her a hundred percent of
the time and neither can my parents. So, they got her a babysitter. It’s not a
regular babysitter because Tara is nearly fifteen, but since they don’t trust
her, the neighbor girl comes over and watches her. Which she was our babysitter
when we were smaller.”
“How old is she?”
“Twenty-seven or twenty-eight, I think.
And she said this latest
boyfriend of Tara’s is into drugs and might even be a dealer or something.
That’s what got me so scared, what Ginny said.”
“Ginny?” Count said.
“Yeah, Ginny Hollis.”
Irma looked at Count, he glanced back, his yellow
eyes big like
that of an old man finding a penny on the ground.
“So,” Count continued, “how
do you think she knew this about
your sister’s boyfriend?”
“I don’t know, maybe she saw him
somewhere, doing something. She
didn’t tell me how she knew.”
“Do you think your sister’s doing
“I hope not.”
“Do you have a picture of your sister?”
“Yeah,” Rea said taking out her
phone and showing Count a
picture of a bright shiny teenager.
“Do you have any paper photos?”
Count sighed then got out of his chair and went
over to the far
wall. He flicked up some wood paneling revealing a hidden area stuffed with
odds and ends. Count found a flask, tried it, then swore at its emptiness and
threw it behind him like a dead bird he thought would take flight. When he
found what he was looking for, he replaced the panel and sat back down.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” Count
said, “I don’t use it that much.” He
flipped open an old phone and turned it on. “Could you text that picture to
“Sure,” Rea said. She got the number,
sent the picture, then
listened to the 1960’s rock smash hit that was Count’s ring tone.
“Do you know Tara’s boyfriend’s
name?” Irma said.
“I only know him as Blippy.”
“Yeah… I doubt it, but it may say
on his Facebook page if I can
Rea kept her face on her phone for several minutes
wished there’d been something in that flask.
“Here we are… um, Tyler Liptone.”
“There pictures of him on there?”
“Can I see?”
“Sure,” Rea handed Count the phone
and he swiped through the
“Irma,” Count said.
“Look at that.” Count showed her
the phone, a picture of Blippy
“Who’s that in the background?”
“That big guy? He looks a little familiar.”
“Yup.” Count swiped through a few
more pictures then handed the
phone back. Grabbing the landline, Whorton dragged it over to the TV tray next
to his chair, the cord just reaching. He lit a bent cigarette and dialed.
“Who ya callin’?” Irma said.
“Police,” the other line picked
up and Count said, “Miss Pinky,
glad to know you’re still there.”
“Murder, Count, that means all hands on
deck including front
“Could you do me a favor?”
“Get me an address.”
“Not even if I wanted to.”
“Please, we both know you got a finger
in every bowl of soup
down there. An address would be nothing.”
“Thanks, Miss Pinky, the name is Tyler
“Alright, give me a minute.” She
paused then gave the address
when she got it.
“Thanks, Miss Pinky, hey another thing
how old is he?”
“That’s what I thought, thanks Miss
Pinky, you’re a lovely and
“Shit, detective Klunkel’s coming
“Give him my love.”
“Yup,” Miss Pinky said before slamming
the phone down.
“Who was that?” Klunkel said, now
up at the desk.
“Des Moines reporter, he tried to sweet
talk me. Asked me if I
look as good as I sound. I said depends, how bad do I sound over the phone.”
Klunkel frowned, “Don’t tell them
anything.” He then walked away
as happy-go-lucky as a diseased puppy stuck in the sewer, but that was normal.
“Alright,” Count said leaning back
in his chair, “I think I can
get your sister.”
Rea’s smile took over her face like a
planned attack. “Really?
That’s great, what will I owe you?”
“Um…” Count thought about
it for the first time. “Fifty bucks
and a phone call.”
She paid up front.
Kenny looked about as comfortable in his car
as a mouse in a
cat’s digestive system. The car squished him in two, leaving him little room to
breathe or turn the steering wheel. Then again, a school bus would do the same
thing for Kenny.
After he parked, Kenny sauntered over to Count
and Irma’s rust
bucket. He was either going to talk or throw the car to Pluto with little
“I’m here. How’s the face?”
he said through the window to Count.
“What face?” Count said.
“So, what am I doing here?”
Count left Irma in the car saying to Kenny,
“Rea’s sister Tara
is, we’re figuring, in that house with her ne’er-do-well boyfriend Blippy. And
I need you to act as my heavy.”
“No, um, I’ll be like the good cop
and you’ll be the bad cop. I
say things like we’re on your side and we know you’re the brains. And you say
things like this fool don’t know shit and I’ve seen more useful shit on my
shoe. All while you beat the crap out of him.”
“First we go in there and I get out Tara.
Then we talk to
Blippy. You gonna have my ass.”
“If I have to.”
Count Whorton walked up to the door wishing
he had a nip of
something, then knocked. There was no answer, so Kenny knocked harder. When the
door swung open a half-naked, twig-skinny man stood there with a giant wolf’s
head tattooed on his chest.
“What the fuck do you want?” Blippy
Kenny punched the wolf between the eyes making
a few of Blippy’s
ribs crack. Blippy collapsed on the floor in a heap that looked like last week’s
trash. Count stepped over him and said to Kenny, “Watch him, I’ll find Tara.”
A shooting star must have been flying overhead
as Count was
talking because just like that Tara came around the corner.
“What the fuck’s going on?”
she muttered. She had mussed hair
like she just woke up and wore only a large shirt. Count knew her age but
thought she looked about ten years old.
“Get some clothes on.”
“What? Who are you?”
“Doesn’t matter, get dressed.”
“No,” Tara said not moving defiantly.
“Listen, girl, I’m detective Klunkel
of the Quartertown police
department and your sister Rea Coatwell was found dead earlier tonight.”
“What?” Tara screeched.
“She was reportedly out looking for you,
little girl. When she
was killed. We’ve only found the head thus far, but I think it’s safe to say
Tara fell in a heap screaming and crying. Count
shoulders and pulled her up. “Get your clothes, now!”
She disappeared into the house.
“What the fuck was that?” said Kenny.
“Tellin’ her Rea’s dead.”
“Maybe she’ll think next time she
runs away. Either way, it was
a little fun; this must have been how Bela Lugosi felt all the time.”
“You’re kinda fucked up.”
“Eh… little bit.”
Tara came back her eyes dark clouds ready to
break any moment
with another storm. Count shuffled her out to the back seat of the car. She
shrunk on the cracked and torn upholstery looking like a kitten in a shoe box.
Count put a finger under her chin and said,
“Now, there, there.
Don’t worry. Your sisters alive and well.”
“What?” Tara sniffled.
“We were hired by Rea to retrieve you,
girlie. If you’re
thinking of running I wouldn’t, the driver’s got a gun.” Irma smiled from the
front seat then Count said, “Toodle-oo.”
Count shut the door as Tara started a screaming
of a different
Back inside, Blippy was put in a chair and Kenny
stood over him
like a hammer waiting to be dropped.
“Blippy, you with me pal?” Count
said shaking him.
“Fuck you,” was the response.
“Good, now do you know Ginny Hollis?”
Kenny twisted Blippys nose till it nearly came
off making him
yelp in pain. Kenny let go and blood dripped from the nostrils.
“Now, do you know Ginny Hollis?”
“Where do you get your drugs?”
“Blippy, who’s your supplier?”
“Why should I tell you?”
Kenny rabbit punched Blippy in the side of the
“Fuck, fuck fine it’s that son-of-a-bitch
“When’s the last time you saw him?”
“I don’t know, night ago or two.”
“Where do you meet?”
“Club across town…Dynamite Dotty’s”
“I’m done here…he’s
Kenny worked him over for a few minutes breaking
one of Blippy’s
arms and knocking him unconscious. Hopefully, infusing in him the knowledge
that if he meets anyone with the name Coatwell again he should commit suicide
instead of mingling.
Count found a piece of paper and a pen, he wrote
on it, then set
it on Blippy’s lap. Kenny smiled and started out. Count called 911, gave them
the address then hung up and followed him, but not before taking Blippy’s money
The paper on Blippy’s lap read: Hello
I am Blippy, a drug addict
and pedophile. I am badly injured, please help.
Hours later in the Phillip M. Pennypacker memorial
park on the
Cliff Skipper bench Count Whorton and Irma laid on top of each other in a lewd
display of affection as the sun rose over the treetops.
Count Whorton pulled his eyes from Irma to see
over them, a twisted look like he just licked a bulldog’s ass painted on his
“Detective,” Count said as him and
Irma sat up and straightened.
“Good, you got my call.”
“Hell of a call, sneaking up on a rookie
officer telling him to
tell me to come out here alone so we could talk. Fuck, if you want to confess
come to the office, you know where it is. That kid is now thinking of quitting
“That’s a shame, but it’s
more dramatic this way. And I said
talk, not confess.”
Klunkel didn’t say anything, just stood
unmoving in the morning
“Well,” Irma said, “first
of all he didn’t do it.”
“Yeah,” Count agreed.
“But we know who did.”
Klunkel remained as silent as a gravestone in
“You see,” Count said, “we
started by goin’ over and retracin’
my steps because I didn’t remember nothin’. I was drinkin’ you know. That
didn’t get us too far. We did learn a girl was tryin’ to talk to me and I
“Fast forward a little,” Irma said,
“we get word to this mystery
girl who we first assumed was the dead girl, but she’s not.”
“Because she’s not dead.”
“I think he’s got that, Countey.”
“Anyway, girl’s got a missing sister
with an asshole pedophile
boyfriend and a babysitter that was none other than dot, dot, dot Ginny
Klunkel crossed his arms.
“So, we get the runaway sister and have
a convo with this creep.
You see, we found a picture of him on the Facebook with someone in the
background we recognized. I asked him where he got his drugs and you know what
he says, but Darren Hollis. I know what you are thinking, pretty coincidental,
the name Hollis.”
“We,” Irma said, “know Darren
by the name Sour Kraut, leading drag
queen act at a place called Dynamite Dotty’s.”
“We went down there and asked around after
talkin’ to the
pedophile and I did have a few.”
“Night of the murder, Sour left early,”
Irma said. “Also didn’t
drink as much as usual.”
“That’s nothing,” Klunkel
said, “no proof in that.”
“We talked around to some of the other
girls there,” Count said.
“A few know Sour was dealing and all of them saw an incident in which Sour
fought and hit a woman matching Ginny’s description. Plus, Irma thought of
“Well, considering Darren probably got
rid of the clothes he was
wearing I figured that would suck, him being of a larger size, well, mostly I’m
talking about his shoes. Sour has some big feet and I mean big feet.”
“They’re allowed to keep things
at Dotty’s. We checked, there’s
a pair of size 14 men’s sneakers in Sour’s stuff among the wedges and pumps.
They had a few bits of blood on them. I think Darren started selling drugs for
the money, he wants to be the biggest drag queen out there, but he can’t do it
in a town like this. His sister Ginny didn’t agree with it. Ginny warned the
not dead girl that her little sister is messing around a druggy, because she
saw him around Darren. She confronts him and he kills her. Not just for
confronting him, but because she’s bugging in his client’s lives and that’s not
good for business.”
“Fine,” Klunkel said, “I will
look into it.”
“What can I say?”
“Well, here, I will absolutely prove it
to you. I stole the
druggy pedophile’s phone and texted Darren. My text reads: was in the park last
night, saw you and that girl. Then Darren wrote back: what you talking about Blippy.
And I said: you know…let’s meet there to talk. Then he said: when, and I said,
well just about now.”
Klunkel went from annoyed to infuriated as Count
talked and was
about to release his fury like air from a pin-pricked balloon when like on cue,
footsteps started up the nearby gravel path. Klunkel drew his gun and Count
drew a partial bottle he had hidden.
Darren came up the path and stopped suddenly
like he hit a wall.
He didn’t try to run or fight, he just let Klunkel put the handcuffs on him,
looking like he expected this or like there was too much sand in his eyes.
Irma and Count sat on, watching and drinking
as Klunkel pulled
“Shit,” Irma said looking down,
“he’s got the sneakers on.”
Klunkel and Count looked at Darren’s feet
and count said, “just
gotta find the blood on ‘em.”
Count looked at Darren, one of the few times
he wasn’t in a
dress, heels, or wig. Just some light makeup and small earrings. “Darren, two
things. First is, I was curious since earlier, when we had that drink because
you didn’t look as hungover as you were puttin’ on and I’ve seen my share of
hangovers. The second is you put on one hell of a show at Dotty’s. I’m gonna
“Me too,” said Irma.
“I still don’t get,” Klunkel
said, “how you got the knife and
found the body.”
“The old drunken fuck stumbled over her,”
Darren said with a
“When it happened, I knew it was gonna
be trouble. He came along
up the path like he followed me, but he was too drunk to follow anything but
the smell of more booze. He tripped over her arm, saw her, said he’d help and
pulled the knife out of her chest. He then started yelling about murder and
police, but he finally found the bench and went to sleep.”
“I don’t remember that,” Count
Whorton said, taking another swig
from the bottle.
On Friday night everybody swarmed around mother
Miss Pinky showed up first, pie in hand. Then Dotty came in her best leather
jacket with some brandy and fifteen minutes after everyone else, Irma and Count
came through the door.
“You’re late, Whorely,” said
mother Whorton. She was an old
woman with a bad smoking habit, an oxygen tank always on her heels and a chubby
little dog that liked chewing the cord.
“I know, ma,” said Count, “take
the belt to me later will ya?”
“I’ll pencil it in,” she said
with a smile.
They all sat around the table eating mother
cooking, drinking and talking like it was a holiday.
“God-damn you two,” Dotty said to
Irma, “that was the best
singer I had.”
“Rather I went down for it?” Count
“If it’s gonna lose me money and
you owe me money, so fuck
“Well,” Irma said, “until
you find someone, why don’t you have Count
fill in with his lovely voice.”
“Fuckin’ hell, I hope you’re
kiddin’ Irma. I’d rather shove
toothpicks into my eardrums than have that.”
They all laughed, having a good night.
Back in the apartment after dinner, Count went
up to the east
wall and put his hand on the wood.
“I think it’s time, Irma,”
“For what,” she said then saw him
at the wall. “You serious?”
“I am, but just one thing.”
“We do all of this together?”
“Till the bloody whorehouse end, Countey.”
“Love you, Irmie.”
“Love you too, Countey.”
Count Whorley Whorton opened the pocket doors
that separated his
apartment from his office. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust.
On a far window was painted the words Count Whorton Investigations and Security.
“We’ll fix that,” Count said,
“I wanna make it Count Whorton and
Irma Side Investigations and Security. Ain’t that nice?”
“Fuck, no, that name sounds horrible.”
Count smiled. “Alright, you pick the name.”
Irma walked into the office that no one’s
been in for years and
smiled. She turned to Count and said, “The Bloody Whorehouse Detective Agency.”
Michael D. Davis was born and
raised in a small town in the heart of Iowa. Having written over thirty short
stories, ranging in genre from comedy to horror from flash fiction to novella
he continues in his accursed pursuit of a career in the written word.