If you like Law and Order: SVU or CSI, then you can’t miss the hard-hitting Victim Squad!
Written by Gregory Patrick Travers
Listen to the Audiobook on YouTube
268 Glenn Street
May 4, 2022, 9 am
Detective Richards converged on the scene, parting his way through the crowd of concerned neighbors gathered on the usually quiet suburban street. He avoided the throng’s peering, suspicious eyes with the humble understanding that men of color, especially those with authority, were not something the simple people of Laketon were used to seeing. Glares of distrust were something the lead detective had gotten used to in his time at the academy. But that only made him work harder, to set himself above the stereotypes and prove himself a respectable man of the law.
Richards’ broad shoulders dipped beneath the long strip of yellow police tape, cordoning off the residents of Glenn Street from the active crime scene. He spotted the new kid on the squad, Detective Denslin, standing by the front walkway, talking to one of the blue uniforms.
Richards walked across the lawn to meet his partner. “What’d ya got for me, rook?”
The young detective brushed his highlighted bangs from his brow and looked down at the notepad in his hands. He took a moment to adjust the chain around his neck attached to his official police badge evincing his association with the widely revered and elite crime force known as the Victim Squad.
“The neighbor across the street called it in,” said Denslin. “She said she was out watering the grass around nine and heard screaming. Then she saw the unsub take off down the street on a red BMX. A few of the other neighbors reported seeing someone riding on a BMX as well.”
The new detective led his superior up the walkway and gripped the knob to the front door of the three-bedroom, semi-detached home. “I warn you…” he said with caution. “It’s not pretty.”
The two detectives stepped into the front hallway of the home to see a few more uniforms and the crime scene photographer huddled over the body of the victim. The corpse laid on the tile, bottom up, face down, wading in a pool of his own blood. His throat was slashed long and deep.
Detective Richards deduced that whoever had done this had been angry. Very angry.
The victim’s pants were pulled down around his knees and something had been jammed crudely into his rectum. Detective Richards knew right away what he was looking at…but he wished to God he hadn’t.
“The victim is Carl Maxwell,” briefed Detective Denslin. “The uniform that responded to the call found him in a pool of blood. His penis had been severed and inserted into the anus…Like I said, it isn’t pretty.”
Detective Richards shook his head. “No, rook. My ex-wife isn’t pretty. This is downright ugly.”
Victim Squad Headquarters
May 4, 2022, 11 am
“What’d you find?” asked Lieutenant Fox, coming out of her office to meet her lead detective. She addressed Detective Richards with the respect he deserved, but didn’t hesitate to assert herself. In her twenty years with the squad, Fox had learned that a female agent, especially one calling the plays, must be as soft as her silk blouse, yet as sharp as her heels.
Detective Richards rose from his desk, holding the attention of his team: Detective Denslin and Detective Mable. Along with their Lieutenant, ten-year-vet, Barbara Fox, the foursome made up the entirety of the most prestigious Special Case Unit in all of US law enforcement—the Victim Squad.
You would think by the bland fluorescent lights above the rows of accounting desks, and the bureaucratic file cabinets filled with past solved cases lining the walls, that the Victim Squad’s day to day operations hovered on the functionary and mundane, if not flat-out boring…but you would be greatly mistaken.
“We have an eye witness statement that puts our unsub fleeing the scene on a red BMX,” Richard disclosed to his superior. “No signs of forced entry, meaning the victim most likely knew the suspect.”
“We talked to the victim’s parents,” added the young Detective Denslin, brushing his highlighted bangs from his brow. “They insist that we follow up with a man by the name of Ted McNally. Apparently, Chad and Ted got into a heated argument at the gym they frequent. The victim told his parents about it, which they found odd. Chad liked to keep to himself. He read a lot of books.”
Detective Cheryl Mable, a transfer from the Texas office, let out a heavy, longing sigh. “I love me a book worm…”
Lieutenant Fox turned her gaze on the blushing detective. “Well, this book-worm just became worm-food. We need to find this killer before anyone else’s dicks end up in their asses…Detective Mable, rook: I want you to go back to the gym and find out what you can about this ‘Ted’ the victim was having problems with…”
58 Ninth Road
May 4, 2022, 1 pm
After a short visit to the local Fit Bodies, Detective Mable and Detective Denslin ascertained the address of Ted McNally and converged on the scene. After knocking on the front door and waiting without a response, they decided to check around the property. When they got to the side of the house, Detective Mable nudged her partner and pointed to a red BMX leaning against the brick.
“I reckon this Ted fella is going to have some explaining to do,” she noted.
The rookie stopped and brushed away his low-hanging bangs. “Seems kind of odd, doesn’t it?” he said. “If this was your getaway ride in a vicious murder, would you just leave it at the side of your house for everyone to see?”
Mable’s eyes darted to the front of the house and she elbowed her partner another nudge. “Why don’t we ask him?”
Detective Denslin followed her line of sight to the front of the house, where a man dressed in a red windbreaker suit, who fit the tall, dark, and handsome description of Ted McNally was walking up the driveway towards the home.
The man glanced up from his clean white sneakers and noticed the two detectives standing in the alleyway. He froze and stole a desperate peer down the length of his street before he dashed off in a hard sprint, running as fast as his gazelle-like legs could carry him.
The two detectives looked at each other with incredulous expressions.
Detective Mable sighed. “I really didn’t want to run today.”
Detective Denslin flashed a devilish grin. “Come on. I’ll race ya.”
She smiled back at her partner. “I never could turn down a challenge…”
And with that, the two officers took off on foot after the suspect.
He was fast, almost too fast, even. But thankfully for Detective Mable and Detective Denslin, the suspect turned into an alleyway between two houses in an attempt to jump the fence into a backyard and was faced with an obstacle to which he could not overcome–an unexpected K-9 enforcer.
As fit as the suspect was, he was not expecting a lean, snarling pit bull to be patrolling the grounds of that particular property. And when the vicious beast came barreling towards the fence upon his arrival, snarling and barking a blue streak, Ted had no choice but to abandon his attempted escape.
By the time he hopped down from the fence, the Victim Squad had already converged on the scene.
The detectives drew their government-issued firearms, while Detective Denslin flashed his badge hanging from the chain around his neck. “Victim Squad!” he yelled. “Freeze!”
The suspect, breathing heavily, put his hands up in forfeit. “Don’t shoot me, please!” he huffed.
Detective Mable unlatched her handcuffs from her belt and apprehended the suspect. She gave the collar an especially hard tightening. “Yeah, well, for making us run after you, I shoulda…”
As she escorted the suspect towards the unmarked car up the street, she turned to the rookie and said, “By the way, lil’ buck. We don’t say freeze anymore…”
As if he was part of the squad himself, Ted McNally added, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but it sounded kind of forced. Y’know…unnatural.”
“You know what else is forced and unnatural?” Denslin quizzed his suspect.
“A severed dick being shoved up your ass.”
Victim Squad Headquarters
Interrogation Room #4
May 4, 2022, 3:30 pm
“Whatever you guys think I did, you got the wrong guy!” appealed Ted McNally as he squirmed in a chair across the table from Detective Denslin and Detective Mable.
Detective Denslin leaned back in his seat and folded his arms over his brawny chest. “So, why did you run then? And don’t tell me it was cardio day.”
“I didn’t know you guys were cops,” answered the suspect. “All I saw were two people creeping around my house and I bolted.”
Detective Mable took a sip of coffee from her Styrofoam cup. “You must have a lot of enemies if seeing two people by your house made you that paranoid…What about Carl Maxwell? Was he an enemy of yours?”
Ted McNally’s eyes opened wide. “That’s why I was nervous!” he explained. “We got into an argument at the gym the other day and he threatened me. That guy is a real weirdo, you know that? He sits at the leg machine and reads horror novels! Who knows what’s going on in that creep’s mind…”
He paused, calculating. “Wait…Is that what this is about? Creepy Carl?”
Detective Denslin opened up the manila file folder on the table in front of him and took out one of the crime scene photos. He slid it across the table to McNally. “It seemed Carl’s life turned into its own horror movie.”
Ted McNally peered at the photo and cringed, covering his mouth as if he were about to be sick. “Ugh…god…What’s…what’s that thing coming out his butt?”
“His penis,” answered Detective Mable. “So maybe you should tell us what it is you two were arguing about.”
Ted McNally slid the picture back over to the detectives, unable to look at it any longer. “Over some girl he was crushing on at our gym. He thought I was trying to make a move on her…which I wasn’t. She was way old. But every time she came to talk to me, Carl would lose it. So I told him to get lost. But I didn’t kill the guy!”
“What’s this woman’s name?” asked Detective Denslin.
Ted McNally let out a soft, assured chuckle. “I don’t know the name of every girl who flirts with me. Now am I under arrest, or can I go home?”
“Cool your jets, sparky,” said Detective Mable. “So then, where were you last night?”
“I was sleeping,” he replied, coldly.
“That’s a pretty weak alibi,” returned the detective from the south. “You’re telling me that a young guy like you, handsome and fit, probably a hit with the ladies, probably a nice throbbing trouser-snake in those track pants, was in bed sleeping by nine pm on a Sunday? You think a jury will believe that?”
“It’s no secret that Sunday is Funday,” added Detective Denslin. “Everybody knows that.”
“Yes. I’m sure…” By now, the young man was void of any and all courtesy. “I go for a four in the morning run every Monday. The whole street knows that. Go ahead and ask them.”
“Oh, don’t you worry, playboy,” said Detective Mable. “We will.”
“Tell us about the red BMX bike we found at the side of your house,” said Detective Denslin, throwing the lack of courtesy right back in the suspect’s face. “Multiple witnesses said they saw the killer flee the scene on a bike just like it.”
Ted McNally didn’t flinch. “So what? The bike’s been sitting at the side of my house for years. I don’t lock it. The neighborhood kids use it sometimes. You think I ride a bike at my age? What am I? A loser?”
Meanwhile, in the next room over, Detective Richards and the Lieutenant stood watching the interview take place through the one-way mirror.
“What’d you think?” Lieutenant Fox asked her lead detective.
“As a black man, I’ve seen a lot of things,” said Detective Richards. “From growing up in the projects, trying not to get caught up in drugs and gangs, to fighting to gain respect from my unit despite my color…I’ve learned to trust my gut. And my gut tells me that this isn’t the guy we’re looking for. I think we should visit this girl the two men were fighting over. It might open things up.”
“Couldn’t hurt,” said the Lieutenant. “Get the rook back to re-interview the eye witness that saw the perp take off on the bike. See if she can narrow down the description. If the neighborhood kids have been using that red BMX, our list of suspects has just increased immensely. Let’s trim it down…before the killer trims another penis.”
266 Glenn Street
May 4, 2022, 8:45 pm
Detective Denslin knocked on the front door to the Davis house and stepped back onto the paved walkway. The solar lanterns flanking the pathway up to the impressive suburban home had started to flicker now that the sun was all but beneath the horizon. Denslin was entranced at the size of the property and the full, luscious grass that occupied the front yard. His one bedroom condo in the city offered much less aesthetically pleasing surroundings. But in his line of work, there was no time for tending to lawns and gardens. The only thing Denslin was looking to nip in the bud was crime.
Dusk was a peaceful time on suburban streets like Glenn Street. The lights were on inside all the homes, the SUV’s were rested in the front drives for the night, and families could be seen in their front windows, gathered around dinner tables and television sets, enjoying the warm comforts of their cozy, upper-middle-class habitats.
Must be nice, thought Detective Denslin, as he buried his face into the collar of his leather jacket in an attempt to block the chilly breeze suddenly sweeping through the neighborhood.
The front light switched on. A moment later, the door opened, answered by a slender man with poor posture. Despite it being on in the evening, he was still dressed in formal office attire: gray slacks pressed to a crease and a mustard collared button-up. His hairline had started to thin, retreating to higher ground. His eyes were heavy and dreary.
“May I help you?” he asked with some confusion as to why the young man was standing at his door.
Detective Denslin unzipped his leather jacket and flashed the Victim Squad badge hanging around his neck.
“Detective Pat Denslin of the Victim Squad,” he announced. “Sorry to be bothering you so late, but I took a statement from your wife earlier today about the murder that took place across the street. I was hoping to get a few more words with her, if I could.”
The man, a Mr. Davis it appeared, nodded in an attempt to convey empathy and respect for the seriousness of the situation. He motioned the detective inside the front hallway.
“My wife told me what happened,” he said, closing the door behind Denslin.
Denslin swept the interior with a quick glance. The foyer was just as impressive as the front lawn; extravagant crown molding, heated tiling, custom crafted wood tables, and a slew of Mediterranean arts and crafts had been strategically placed throughout the space to stand out and be noticed.
“How horrible it all is…I’ve been at my office late all week. Tax season is killing me. But this whole ordeal has me concerned for the safety of my wife when I’m at the office late. It’s a shame about that young man…He was quiet and kept to himself…but always very polite to me.”
Mr. Davis walked to the foot of a winding staircase and called up to his wife, Judy.
In a moment, Judy peeked over the railing. She met eyes with Detective Denslin and smiled, starting down the stairs whilst petting the jet black bob on her head with care. Her bangs came down low over her brow, just above her eyes. She brushed them from her face to greet the detective with kind eyes and a handshake. “Hello, again, detective…Denslin, was it? I was just about to hop in the shower. Is everything alright?”
Denslin brushed his blond bangs aside. “Sorry to bother you at such a late hour, Mrs. Davis. There’s been some new advances in the case and I was hoping that maybe you could help us a bit more with the description of the unsub that rode off on the BMX.”
She nodded, understandingly, brushing her bangs aside. “I’m not too sure what else I can tell you,” she said. “He was wearing track pants and a hoodie and rode a red BMX bike.”
“What about his face?” asked Denslin, brushing his bangs aside. “Is there any features you remember? Could it be possible that this was a kid? A minor?”
She shook her head vigorously, bangs sweeping from side to side. “No, definitely not. He was a man, in his thirties, I would say. He was a real pretty boy, if you know the type.”
Detective Denslin reached into the breast pocket of his leather jacket and pulled out one of his cards.
He handed it to Mrs. Davis. “Okay, thank you for your time. If you remember anything else, please don’t hesitate to give me a call…”
Stepping forward, Mr. Davis put a gentle hand on Detective Denslin’s shoulder and motioned him to the door.
“I’ll walk you out,” he said kindly.
As the two men ambled down the paved walkway of the front yard, Detective Denslin’s phone began to vibrate in his pocket. He took it out and checked the screen.
Denslin turned to Mr. Davis and smiled politely. “I have to take this,” he said, stepping off the pathway, onto the manicured lawn.
From the corner of his eye Detective Denslin saw Mr. Davis scowl in his direction, as if somehow the man had been highly offended. Denslin found this to be suspicious.
Maybe Mr. Davis wasn’t the harmless husband he appeared to be.
Denslin answered the call and put the phone to his ear. “What’s up?”
“Just got some new info, rook,” said Detective Richards on the other end. “We just came from the gym and found out that the girl these two guys were fighting over was Judy Davis. The same Judy Davis that lives across the street from the victim. The same one you interviewed this morning.”
Suddenly there was a loud, crisp spurting noise that went off behind the detective, and in just a moment Denslin was struck in the back of the neck with a quick, high-pressure stream of water. Before he knew it, he was struck with another stream, and then another. The water was coming from all around him.
“I’ll call you back!” he yelled into the phone, shoving the device back into his jacket pocket and raising his arm to block the aquatic offensive that had him outnumbered and besieged.
Throughout the yard, thin black cylinders protruded between blades of grass and ejaculated a high pressured mist that rained down upon the luscious, well-groomed lawn.
Quickly, Denslin ran back to Mr. Davis, who stood bone dry on the walkway, looking very amused at the soaking wet detective.
“Those come on every night?” asked Denslin, wiping his face dry with his palm.
Mr. Davis grinned with vindication. “Like clockwork.”
Reacting, Detective Denslin withdrew his firearm and started back up the pathway towards the house.
Mr. Davis hurried after him. “Where are you going?” he asked.
“Mr. Davis, I’m afraid I’m going to have to take your wife in for questioning!” the detective yelled back.
“For what?” asked Mr. Davis.
Victim Squad Headquarters
Interview Room #4
May 5, 2022, 9 am
“Why didn’t you tell us that you knew the victim?” asked Detective Richards, leaning on the desk over Judy Davis, whom at the moment was looking much less presentable than she had the night before when she had been brought in by Detective Denslin; her neatly-trimmed bob was in a tangled mess, renegade strands of black hair sticking out every which way; her maroon sweater was creased and wrinkled from being used as a makeshift pillow; bags of exhaustion hung low under her eyes as she turned to her public defender for council.
Her lawyer: a husky, sweaty-browed bald man that looked like a giant bumblebee in his thrifty yellow suit jacket, black tie and black slacks, gave her a nod, encouraging her to answer the question.
She turned back to the detectives saying, “Yes. I know him. He’s my neighbor. Of course, we know each other.”
Her tone was tired and impatient.
“But he was more than that, wasn’t he?” Detective Denslin proposed. He leaned back in his seat and folded his arms. “You guys were gym buddies. The clerk at the counter said he would see you two leaving together on several occasions.”
“How about it?” said Detective Richards, looking her deep in her eyes. “Were you two having an affair?”
She cringed. “Ew! No! Never!”
“What about Ted McNally?” asked Denslin. “The camera footage shows you two getting pretty close by the water fountain.”
She scowled. “Ted is a jerk. Just like the rest of those pretty boys. Those two were always fighting over me. If you should be questioning anyone, you should question Ted. Him and Chad didn’t get along at all.”
“We tried that theory,” said Detective Richards. “But we came up with another one. In your statement, you said you came outside at around nine to water the front lawn when you heard screaming.”
Detective Denslin leaned in closer to Mrs. Davis. “But you have automatic sprinklers.”
“So here’s what we think happened,” continued Detective Richards. “You and the victim were having an affair. When you started to flirt with Ted McNally, the victim became jealous and threatened to tell your husband about your extra-marital activities. You couldn’t bear to be outed by such a horror-novel-reading geek and so on the evening of May 3rd, while your husband was working late at the office, you dressed up in track pants and a hoodie and paid Chad Maxwell a visit.”
Her hair fell over her face as she looked down to her lap and whispered in a trembling voice, “No…”
Detective Denslin continued, “He let you in. That is why there was no sign of forced entry. You entered the house and slit his throat right there in the front hallway. Then, you pulled down his pants and severed his penis, inserting it into the victim’s rectum. Then, you took off on the red BMX you had stolen from the side of Ted McNally’s house so you could pin the crime on him. Isn’t that right?”
Mrs. Davis continued to look down at her lap. The public defender spoke for her. “This is ridiculous!” he exclaimed. “These are just wild accusations with no evidence!”
Detective Denslin looked to Mrs. Davis, whose face had drained of color, and said, “We took the bike to the crime lab and they found a jet black hair on the handlebars. If you’re innocent, then you’ll have no qualms with providing us with a DNA swab to prove the hair didn’t belong to you.”
Suddenly, Mrs. Davis doubled-over started to sob uncontrollably. Seconds passed with her crying and when it was over she lifted up her head and looked up to the rookie detective. “I couldn’t let that dweeb ruin my marriage…” she uttered.
The public defender snapped an incredulous look at his client, sighed and sunk in his seat.
Mrs. Davis went on, “We had sex once and he became obsessed with me. I tried to flirt with Ted to show Chad I wasn’t into him, but that just made him angry. He threatened to tell my husband. I couldn’t let twenty years of marriage come to an end because of a stupid, childish mistake…I had to do something.”
She buried her face in her hands and cried until the cold steel handcuffs clamped tightly around her wrists.
“Judy Davis,” started Detective Richards. “You are under arrest for the murder of Carl Maxwell. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can and will be used against you in the court of law…”
May 5, 2022, 8 pm
The Victim Squad converged on their regular booth in the back of the dimly lit Irish pub, unwinding from the successful conclusion of another case.
Lieutenant Fox raised her wine goblet to toast her team, “To another case in the books, and a job well done.”
The team raised their respective glasses and took a drink.
“It’s tough, you know,” said Detective Mable, running her thumb back and forth slowly on the neck of her bottle of Budweiser while she thought out loud. “Women have made so many strides on becoming strong as a unit. We’ve worked so hard to set ourselves apart from the cruel nature of men. Then, a girl like this comes along and starts chopping off penises and shoving them in behinds. It kind of makes me think that maybe men and women aren’t so different after all.”
Detective Richards took a sip from his pint of stout and rested his glass on the coaster in front of him. “There’s going to be some bad apples in every demographic. The important thing is to not let those bad apples spoil your view on the whole bunch.”
“Yeah,” the Lieutenant agreed. “The fact is, there are bad people everywhere. It’s our job to sort out the bad ones from the good.”
“Yeah,” added Detective Denslin. “And we didn’t even find a hair on that bike. I just lied about it.”
The team all shared a hearty laugh.
“Lying about evidence to force a confession,” chuckled Lieutenant Fox. “Classic…”
“Sounds like my ex-wife…” joked Detective Richards.
“I reckon you’re going to fit right in, rook,” said Detective Mable.
The four law officers sat in the booth and drank until they were feeling good, and then drove home.