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.


***
Note: 
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.


***
References

The Knife  - Wiki
http://www.protechknives.com/knives/switchblades/custom-godfather-knives.asp

***

44 comments:

  1. Hi DG - sounds a fascinating story ... I'll be back to comment properly - I'm out and got interrupted! See you soon - cheers Hilary

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    1. Well, thanks for visiting twice, Hilary, hope you got my long email. . .always love your comments.

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  2. Nice. I have two sons that are fascinated with specialty knives. I have yet to figure out why. I guess everyone needs an obsession.

    This was intriguing. Lots of names but good flow. Already the mystery is unfolding.

    Well done.

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    1. Hubs used to have that fascination for knives and we visited a Daytona Beach vendor in the marketplace there. The vendor had knives from all over the world. . . knives make a guy feel 'dangerous'. Maybe women too.

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  3. Hi DG - fascinating excerpt - lots of dirty tricks here with a few scoundrels to match ... each hiding something. Meanly killed too - an accurate drive up through the ribs into the heart - a busy neighbourhood by the sound of it ... loved the story telling - look forward to more. Cheers Hilary

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    1. Well, there's a hidden agenda by the perpetrator in this story. . .glad you enjoyed it, Hilary!

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  4. LOL, yes, I do have a weapon. A hunting knife that I bought when writing my first novel. It's soon to be featured on the cover of a new novelette, The Snowman. :)
    For the launch of the book I created a table that held all the evidence discussed in the novel, in real evidence bags. :) Such fun.

    Loved this D G, and can't wait to read the rest! Your descriptive work is something to be studied, your technique learned. Wonderful!

    Thank you, for posting for the WEP Challenge!

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    1. How did you get the evidence bags to put the items in? I'd like that - it adds to the story. I bet The Snowman will be something I'd like to read. Glad you liked the start of this short story.

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  5. Interesting storyline. I'm wondering is the knife the MC? I suppose I'll need 'the rest of the story' to know for sure.

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    1. No, but it's definitely acting as one of the characters. There's also a secret that the killer is hiding.

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  6. Hi DG,

    This is a very interesting story and one I'd love to read more of! I've never heard of the Godfather Knife but now I'm hooked!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Jen

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    1. Check it out online, there are many variations, but a knife dealer told us about it.

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  7. Hi D.G. You have a talent for the whodunnit. I'm going to love reading more about Automatic Slim and your character Sam Jarvis. I hope you find the time to continue this as you have me, and your other readers, intrigued.

    Thanks for making time to post for WEP.

    Denise :-)

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    1. When the prompt fits, I'll post more of the story. I wrote it right after the knife we had was stolen. . .so glad you like it. I was hesitant to use an old story which actually was in the back of my drawer file. .

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  8. Sounds intriguing. Knives can be interesting items to collect I suppose, but not something I myself would probably have. I do have my childhood chest of drawers stored out in my garage. I don't remember all of what is in there, but I sure if someone were to rummage through it they'd find some items that might puzzle them. Someday I need to go through that stuff. There are probably some stories to write based on its contents.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. As a kid, my brother and I were allowed little pocket knives. I do like swords and other cutlery but haven't a clue how to use most of them in a defense situation.

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    2. And yes, check out that drawer, but read Pat Hatt's entry first!

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  9. An intriguing beginning to a murder mystery. I want to know more.

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    1. As soon as an appropriate prompt comes along, I will feature more. I've really had this one at the back of the drawer. An excellent prompt judging from all the variations I'm seeing!

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  10. Ooh I wonder who did it! Can't wait to read more.

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    1. Not all is as straight forward as it seems.

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  11. Hi DG, this was gripping! Very polished and smooth, and loved that you took the crime route for the prompt, haven't read any other murders so far, so a real stand out. Kudos, and thanks for a great treat.

    I do hope we will get to read the full story sometime. Definitely want to know the ending.

    Best,
    Nila

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    1. The ending will surprise. I hope to feature the rest of it sometimes, when the timing is right. I felt kind of murder-ish for this prompt, as this year hasn't started well for me. . .

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  12. A great murder mystery with hidden depths. Great stuff.

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    1. You are right, Sally, there are many hidden depths to this crime.

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  13. Hello,
    I love a good mystery and this one reads fantastically. I wanted to read more. Excellent job. You drew me in quickly.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

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    1. Glad you liked it, there's something about mysteries that make us want to solve them. Curiosity?

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  14. I know some who collect and one who makes them, good money in it for those that can really do it well. But when such knives come to light and a murder grabs hold, to Timmy's one may want to go lol

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    1. Coffee is the best thing for getting those little grey cells activated in the brain, and they do serve more than donuts now.

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  15. I don't know much about knives, but I know they all have names. Never heard of a Godfather knife... Did I get that right? In any case, sounds like a cool mystery. I don't read a lot of whodunits, but I really liked this.

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    1. That's the correct name, so they must have used a similar knife in the Godfather film, or perhaps it's because it's a mafia style weapon. There are many photos of its variations on Google images.

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  16. The Godfather Knife. What a great story this will turn out to be!

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    1. I hope to present the remainder in the future. It's written in full, but I had to leave out some of the narrative to fit the 1000 WC. Thanks for reading, Roland!

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  17. So, who stole the knife? Was it the murdered man? Interesting.
    Nancy

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    1. Nope. But he did get his 'just' reward. . .and he's only the first appearance of the knife.

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  18. Ahh, I was thinking this might be a short little murder mystery, but it seems this was just the beginning!\

    I love mysteries that have some sort of unusual object at the center. It adds an extra aura of intrigue as you try to piece together how that object connects everyone in the story together.

    I'm eager to see how this unfolds!

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    1. I hope to satisfy those who want to know more, but couldn't condense it to the WC limit. There are a few surprises before the perpetrator is revealed.

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  19. "Godfather" knife. Sounds deadly! ☺ I did google it and it looks deadly, too. This is an interesting story and I hope you do get the chance to share the rest of it. Lots of intrigue. Many years ago, I bought my husband a fancy spring knife in Tijuana and smuggled it home to Toronto. Couldn't get away with something like that now! BTW, love the Canadian references.

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    1. Hubs was able to bring this in as a collector knife and had to store it in the checked luggage. We didn't have a problem in 2006, as they asked everyone if they have any weapons and we didn't try to 'smuggle' it. Yes it might be a problem bringing anything from Mexico now, but this one (that was stolen) came from Florida, a huge marketplace event. I have a few Vancouver stories on the back burner.

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  20. You know you have to let us know the rest of the story. Re. your comment, I read the Wash. Post on my Kindle, so I know about the treks across the Canadian border in the cold. It's terrible. I hope the measures put in place in the Constitution will work to keep this country and the world safe.

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    1. I will do my best to bring the rest of the story to the blog in the near future. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are all sanctuary cities, with more to follow. There are naysayers popping up in Canada too, as those opposed to immigration can be anywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if the US isn't 'letting' those refugees trek across to Canada on purpose to serve the directives that have recently been put in place by the White House.

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  21. Damn, and I really liked where this was going! And then you did just the worst thing possible and ended it. I would love to know who did this, though. I'm especially fascinated by the fact that Rico was sedated before he was stabbed. For presentation's sake, perhaps?

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    1. I will be bringing in more of the story as soon as I can. It's the 1000 WC that prohibited showing all of it (total about 5000 WC) Most people don't want to read that much on one story when there are 20+ other stories to read in the WEP list. You would like the last part, I think. The sedation was because the killer did his sedating from behind, he didn't want to be seen. . .and it gave him time to be precise about the killing while his subject was 'out'. That should give you some hint about the perp. So maybe presentation was part of it. . .

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    2. To clarify - the victim knew the killer, so the killer had to be circumspect, aka sneaky.

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