Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WEP Back of the Drawer - Automatic Slim

At the back of my desk drawer, I found this story based on the very real theft of a collector blade, The Godfather knife. It's a weapon that keeps making an appearance in one dead body after another. . .

So, who is the thief?

Promotional photo of The Godfather Knife - Google Images

Automatic Slim . . . 
A short story excerpt

Yellow police tape cordoned off a small rancher a few blocks off Commercial Drive, in Vancouver’s east end, while lights flashing from several police car beacons created a strobe effect. A few blocks away, the emergency sirens blared a warning to pedestrians and traffic on Broadway. The noise grew louder as the ambulance and coroner’s van arrived one after the other at the scene of the homicide. 

Vancouver Police officers were directing pedestrians to move back from the barriers while forensics specialists and the coroner collected and tagged their evidence.  Bystanders, including a few dog walkers and a couple of joggers, stood nearby talking to their neighbours trying to determine what had happened.
“Keep back from the barricades, everyone, or I’ll have to clear the area.  No statements will be issued at this time.”  

Constable Sean McNulty glowered at the crowd and the reporters standing by the barriers, using his imposing size and bushy eyebrows as reinforcement. It didn’t stop reporters or the gawkers with their camera phones from taking photos of the house.  No one argued -- but they didn’t move either.  Any one of them could have phoned in the anonymous tip the precinct had received that morning.

“Constable, don’t we have a right to know what’s happening in our own neighbourhood?” asked the white-haired lady from the house two doors down.  “I live by myself and this violence frightens me. I need to know what to watch for.”
“Yes lady, you do.  But first, we need to do our preliminary investigation.  Now, if any of you have any information about the deceased Mr. Divenuto, please let Constable Johnson take your statement.  If anyone witnessed anything, we need to know.  Johnson’s the one standing over there by the patrol car.”

Only a couple of those hanging around went over to talk to the officer, offering what they knew of the young victim. No one seemed to like him much, judging by the comments.
“He wasn’t a friendly guy, if you know what I mean,” said one of the men.  “Kept to himself, and didn’t have many visitors.  Didn’t even cut his own lawn.  Paid some gardening service to do that.”

“Did you hear anything late last night or early this morning?  A struggle or yell, anything unusual?”  Constable Johnson said as he made eye contact with the crowd.

“Not at the time he comes home. That’s usually in the wee hours. He can walk home from Grey’s Tavern, a bar on Commercial Drive.”

Constable Johnson and the local police unit knew the exact location of Grey’s Tavern, having been called there on several occasions to settle disturbances.

Rico, born Ricardo Divenuto, had been found dead in his home with the murder weapon buried in his flesh. Between the second and third ribs, the officers had found a knife thrust through to the heart. Not just any knife, but an elegant one with a white ivory handle encasing six inches of black satin steel. 

According to the coroner, the weapon had been placed with surgical precision and the intent to kill. Judging from the lack of visible evidence and the sweet smell of chloroform, the coroner reported that the victim had been under forced sedation prior to death.

Constable McNulty pulled up a background check on the laptop in the squad car. Rico’s police profile showed minor offences, and suspected complicity in a few felonies. Lack of evidence had prevented any serious charges being laid against him.  He was thirty-one years old, but had spent time in juvenile detention as a minor.

After Rico’s body was zipped in a body bag for delivery to the morgue, Forensics packed their specimen evidence and equipment into cases for the lab. Constables McNulty and Johnson were the last to leave and locked the house. The yellow tape remained, edging the property like an ugly fence.

“What do you think happened, McNulty?  That fancy knife seems out of place, don’t you think?”
“Looks like a vengeance killing to me. And Johnson, this is off the record and goes no further than the two of us -- understand?  We’re not paid to give our opinions, nor to do any talking about it.  Let’s go get a coffee at Timmy’s before we head to the precinct, I could use a strong one.”

“I’m aware of the consequences McNulty, and I don’t talk about my job. Coffee sounds good. I’ll pay. You drive.”

“You got a deal.”

“Knives have a certain beauty to them, an aesthetic value above the actual utilitarian purpose for which they were designed,” said Jonathan Ashworth. “Especially this one,” he said pointing to a switchblade in his collection. “It’s the Protec Godfather Tuxedo Model.”

“Yes, it’s a fine piece, that one,” said Dr. Samuel Jarvis.  “Looks brand new and deadly, is it a recent acquisition?”
Sam, an authority on unusual methods of killing, had written several books on hand weapons and lectured on historical and current models. He worked with the Street Crime Investigation Unit when his expertise was needed. As an old friend of Jonathan’s, Sam came once a week for breakfast and companionship.

“As a matter of fact, yes, it is. A replacement, actually, since the original that I purchased on a trip to Florida was stolen a couple of days ago. I was showing it to a small group of guests at my annual open house, when I was asked to meet someone at the front door. When I returned, it was gone.”


He pushed the cabinet back into the hidden wall enclosure, and locked the steel door. As Sam walked back to the dining room, he noticed a stack of small rectangular boxes with elegant black and white packaging in the corner. Neither Jonathan nor Sam mentioned the police incident from the rental house three doors over. Each kept that information close to their heart

Inspector Mike Patterson had pulled Sam into the murder case at the local tavern, when Forensics saw the special knife.  Rico Divenuto, when he was among the living, had been employed at the local motorcycle dealership, and rode his bike in his off hours with the gang that hung around Grey’s Tavern. 

Inspector Patterson approved Sam's request to interview some of the people on Jonathan's guest list. They were investigating other leads from their undercover operations at the tavern.  There was no reason - yet - to advise the inspector of his friendship with Jonathan.

WC= 1071 (for story only) not including lead-in and notes.

To Be Continued. . .at a later date.

Two more bodies will be found stabbed with the same knife. This whodunit in full is about 5000 WC so can't post the whole story. Automatic Slim is a lead-in story to introduce the character Sam Jarvis who also appears in a novella/novelette based on a border story incident.

What was in the back of your drawer? A mystery object? A forgotten story? A box with someone's history in it? Do you have any special weapon, either purchased or inherited?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!


WEP -Write, Edit, and Publish

The prompt: Create an artistic interpretation: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 wc or less, a personal experience, a dream or a photographic essay. The genre and style are up to you. You could find a note about a scandal, a love lost, a deed, a lottery ticket or a will naming you the beneficiary. Have fun with it!

Thanks Yolanda and Denise for hosting this challenge and thanks to those behind the scenes as well!

What will you find at the Back of the Drawer? Check the main list here.


The Knife  - Wiki