by Lee Hammerschmidt
“I see you lost another one, Quill,” Dr. Humphrey Dowdy, Medical Examiner exemplar said, leaning over the crispy-critter corpse of not-so-protected Federal Witness Arlo Brisket.
“Shit!” U.S. Deputy Marshal Quill McGill said. This was the second one this month. Not good for career advancement.
Quill had been assigned to protecting Arlo, a former button man for the Soppressata Crime Syndicate, prior to the trail of several Syndicate lieutenants. Arlo had reluctantly agreed to testify in exchange for immunity and protection.
During lunch at the Scarf City Café, Arlo had slipped knockout drops into Quill’s Fresca. When Quill came to in his booth, Arlo had split the scene in Quill’s Plymouth Duster. Quill called in an APB, and four hours later his ride was spotted outside of a burning, abandoned plastics factory, where firemen were able to retrieve Arlo’s smoldering carcass.
“So, what was the cause of death, Doc” Quill asked. “Smoke? Flames?”
“According to the toxicology report,” Dowdy said. “It was an interesting combination. It seems he was sprayed with an old-school pepper spray, one that was discontinued because of it’s lethal tendencies. Then he was placed in the building which was then set ablaze. The toxins from the plastic residue created a nauseous smoke, causing regurgitation. Mixed with the spray, it proved deadly.”
“In layman’s terms?”
“He died from arson sick and old mace.”
Lee Hammerschmidt is a Visual Artist/Writer/Troubadour. He is the author of six collections of short stories and illustrations. Check out his hit parade on YouTube!