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The Spirit Box

A.H. Mittelman

By Alex H Mittelman Published 24 days ago 29 min read
Fred Byrne, Jr

Chapter One: Spirit Boxing

I’m Detective Fred Byrne, Jr., and this is my story.

I’m a detective by trade, but boxing is my true passion. I was one of the better amateur boxers at the bar down the street from the station. I boxed during fight night at The Blue Mercury bar and grill. They hosted a ‘fight night,’ every night during the week, but ‘fight week’ doesn’t sound right for marketing.

I was a well-known detective. I solved a major murder case a decade ago. That was my claim to fame, but as of late it seemed my fifteen minutes was up. People had stopped asking me for autographs and selfies a few years back. That was ok with me though, I hated the attention. It distracted me from my job. I’d be in the middle of collecting clues or interrogating a suspect and some random reporter would start asking me questions. Sometimes a fan would approach me and ask for a selfie or to sign something. The worst people were the crime book writers who would only talk to me to gather information for their latest crime novel. They would recognize me and grill me with hundreds of dumb questions. They were more obnoxious than the paparazzi that used to hide in my bushes. I hope some douche-bag creep idiot writer never writes my story. Writers are the scum of the earth. If anyone’s going to write the next great crime novel, it should be me.

As of late, all the good cases were going to the newer, younger detectives. While that left me more time to train for boxing, the department cut my pay in half. I wish there was a way to box and still have the energy for the big stuff at work. The chief told me I was on training duty today, I hated it. I reviled all the stupid, abhorrent rookie questions they’d ask. I hated explaining procedure to them. I hated making sure the rookies always knew where they were in case they had to call for backup or an ambulance. I hated rookies. Whenever I would tell this to the chief, he’d remind me that I used to be a rookie too. It amused him to put me on rookie duty knowing how much it bothered me. The more I’d complain about it, the bigger his smile got.

I walked to the chief’s office and laid out my demands.

“I want to be on a case today. Any case, damn it,” I told the chief, loudly.

“You’re going to be a real pain in the ass today, Byrne. I can already tell what kind of mood you’re in. You’re letting the fame go to your head again. Everyone has training duty eventually. It’s like jury duty, you’ve got to do it. Now go find yourself a rookie and train the crap out of them,” The Chief yelled and smiled.

“What fame? I haven’t been famous in years, chief. You know that. And with jury duty, once you do it, you’re done for years. You’ve had me train dozens of rookies this year alone. You just enjoy torturing me. I’m not actively participating in my own torment. No more rookies, damn it,” I complained.

“Do it or you’re fired. You’ll never work another case again. And your pension plan disappears,” chief said.

“You can’t fire me, I’m famous, remember? I’ll tell the newspapers that an irresponsible and out of control chief fired a hero cop! And I’m god damn sick of rookies. Can I just get a case?” I begged.

“According to you, you haven’t been famous in years. That means I can fire you any time I want! And you’ve been coming in every day tired, barley clocking in on time. You’re always complaining about your back pain or your arms hurting or your ass is sore. Something is always hurting. On your last case, you missed several vital pieces of evidence. Most of the proof that entered the court your rookie partner noticed, and it was his first official day on the job. If you’re not embarrassed about that, then you’re a jackass. If you want back on a case, get some rest or drink some coffee in the morning instead of energy drinks at night before your boxing match. I know you’re a good detective, I’ve watched you work for years. But lately, you’re off your game. Until you start coming in with some vigor, its training duty. Sorry,” the chief said condescendingly and laughed.

“Thanks chief. You’ve always been so sweet,” I said with the same condescension in my voice and blew him a kiss.

I walked away and found my rookie. I would spend the day training him and couldn’t wait to clock out.

“Hey you,” I shouted and pointed to a guy who’d been an officer for a few weeks. He was still considered a rookie but at least it wasn’t his first day. I wouldn’t have to go over every single procedure.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

“Come with me. I’m taking you out for training,” I said.

“I thought I was done with training, sir,” He said.

“Well, today will be your official last day. I’m sure I’ll teach you something new,” I said.

“Thank you, sir. I’m taking my detectives exam today. Maybe you could share some insights?” he asked. I looked at his name tag.

“You’re welcome, Officer Yi. First insight, don’t become famous. Fans are distracting,” I said and smiled.

“Noted,” He said. We walked to the squad car. I had him drive us around in circles until we spotted a speeder, then hand out speeding tickets. I even made him ticket an old lady for jay walking. I felt bad for her, but the fact that he also felt bad made me laugh.

Several hours had passed and we drove back to the station. The day was finally up.

“Nice work today, Officer Yi. Thanks for not asking a million annoying rookie questions. Good luck on your exam,” I said and patted him on the back. He smiled.

We clocked out, changed into our civilian clothes, and left the station. Yi was a good cop. He wasn’t nearly as incoherent as I expected him to be. Most rookies were babbling idiots. I chose my rookie wisely, I could get used to working with Office Yi. If he passes his exam, I might just ask the chief to assign him as my partner. If he’s going to force me to train somebody, it might as well be somebody coherent.

I couldn’t wait to get to The Blue Mercury bar and grill. It was going to be a nice end to my day. All I wanted to do since childhood was solve crimes, until late. Now all I wanted to do was punch the crap out of people. I spent too many years on the job, devoted too much time solving the crimes committed by the most disgusting, vile low life humans that exist. The scum I put away oozed toxicity. You could smell their wretched stench from a mile away, and it seeped into my soul like soy sauce on sushi. I’ve spent too much time looking into the eyes of the victim’s friends and family members, trying to explain that there loved one’s were in the hospital, or worse, dead, and watching the tears well up in their eyes. To make matters worse, I didn’t have an answer for them when they’d inevitably ask ‘why.’

Spending too much time doing this would make anybody angry and resentful. I was suffering from such a severe case of burnout that it would cause the best therapist in the world to have a nervous breakdown if they tried to fix me. If the therapist could also read my mind, see the things I’ve seen, their heads would explode. I honestly don’t know how mine hasn’t.

That’s why I started boxing at fight night. Win or lose, I always got my share of punches in. Lately I was all fire and lightning, throwing punches at speeds that could knock out a heavyweight. I’d won my last three matches.

Tonight was a big match. If I won, the prize was ten grand and a shot at bigger matches. This would certainly make up for my pay cut. I’d been training for weeks, but I still didn’t feel ready.

“A Purple Cow please,” I said to the bartender and rapped on the marble with my knuckles. I needed an energy drink if I was going to win. He sent the shiny metal can surfing down the marble slab the way all cool bartenders did. I caught the can, guzzled it down and upon emptying it, crushed it on my forehead and yelled “Yyyyaaahhhhh. Who’s the man? I’m the man.”

“How much?” I asked.

“On the house,” he said. I smiled.

“Thanks, Joe. You’re too kind,” I said.

“Hey, you bring in the crowds. You’re a draw, dude. I’ve made a lot of extra money cause of you. The least I can do is give you a free Purple Cow,” He said. I smiled.

I headed to the locker room to change.

I walked out of the locker room in my shorts and a sleeveless white shirt and headed to the ring.

“Byrne, you’re up,” Ted said. Ted worked at the bar and the ring. He was the fight manager and occasional announcer when they needed one to rile the crowd. Tonight, the crowd was already drunk and rowdy.

Win or lose, I needed to box today. Despite having a more competent rookie than usual, I still hated training. So after training the rookie and stressing about all the ways life has let me down, there was going to be no better feeling then punching the crap out of my opponent to blow off steam.

I got in the ring and the bell rang. I started throwing punches and so did he. Crosses, hooks, uppercuts, I put everything I had in the fight.

Then my body started to slow down. It was his turn to return fire. I tried blocking his punches, but he was too fast. Was it possible he was better than me?

The guy I was fighting was just as good as me at the very least. His last name was Monroe, and he put all he had into fighting back. After eight rounds, Ted called the fight. Ted usually let us box for ten rounds, but Monroe’s face was severely bruised and my nose was bleeding. Both our lips were swollen. I suppose he felt obligated to call the fight early.

“Tonight’s winner… Jeffery Jones Monroe,” Ted said and held up Jeffery’s hand.

He looked at me and said, “Sorry, he got in a few more punches then you. Good fight though.”

“Who’s counting?” I asked.

“I’m counting. I got a camera recording everything if you want to re-watch the fight,” He said.

“Naw, don’t worry about it. I’m disappointed, but I trust you,” I said.

Damn. No prize money. I could have used it too. My account had bottomed out, and I hated having no money.

“You’ll get ‘em next time, man,” Ted said, seeing the disappointment on my face. I tried to smile but barely managed to lift the left side of my cheek.

I jumped out of the ring and went back to the locker room, grabbed my stuff from my locker and changed back into my street clothes. I wasn’t so much angry as much as I was stressed and disappointed, but the more I thought about it the angrier I got. This was my first loss. I should have been better, I thought, and slammed my fist into the locker so hard it left a dent on the metal. My knuckles were now sore and bleeding. I walked out of the locker room and left the bar.

I noticed a white van parked outside the bar. Giving them a hard time for loitering would make me feel better. I needed to act tough to feel tough, because Monroe had punched the manhood out of me, and I needed to hassle someone to get it back.

I walked up to the van and knocked on the window.

“Excuse me sir, no loitering. Move along,” I said, snarling my face to look as scary as possible.

The driver rolled down his window and the distinctive smell of marijuana and body odor wafted out of the van.

“And who exactly are you?” The obese, oily skinned, bearded, messy haired and dirty looking driver with a small round bald spot on the back of his head asked in a thick Eastern European accent. His shirt was old, red, wrinkled, ragged and covered in pizza stains and old sweat.

I flashed my badge and said, “I’m Detective Byrnes. Is that marijuana I smell? Have you been driving high?” I asked.

“No, of course not. I would never drive high. I’ve been parked here all night. And before you ask, I have a prescription,” he said and smiled. Despite his messy appearance, his teeth were perfectly white. At least he brushed his teeth.

“So you admit to loitering?” I asked.

“No, I’m not loitering. I’m a traveling businessman in a van. Here’s my business license,” the man said and reached for something. I put my hand on my gun, I was ready for trouble. He took out a framed certificate and handed it to me. I grabbed it and read it.

“Wow. It seems like a legitimate business license. What are you selling, exactly? It’s not drugs, is it?” I asked.

“No, sir. I’m still working on my pharmacy license. I mostly sell herbal remedies and mysterious magical items,” He said.

“I’ll need to check these items out. Would you mind if I inspected your van?” I asked.

“Sure. And you’re that boxer from the Blue Mercury, right?” He asked me.

“Y…y... Yes? How the hell did you know that? Magic?” I asked and nervously chuckled.

“No. I might have seen a few of your fights. You’re good,” he said. I took a breath and decided to play nice. I didn’t realize he was a fan. I hated attention, but I also hated disappointing fans.

“Well I’m glad you enjoy my fights. Sorry for giving you a hard time. I’m a little disappointed, I lost the big fight tonight. No cash prize for me,” I said.

“You… lost? But you’re an amazing fighter,” He stammered.

“Thank you, and imagine my disappointment. That’s what I thought too. He was more amazing, I guess,” I said lugubriously.

“What if I told you I had something in back that would almost guarantee you’d never lose again,” The man said.

“It’s not drugs, is it? I’m a detective, so I can’t buy illegal drugs,” I said.

“No, of course not. Like I said, I only have herbs and magical items. Even if I had drugs, which I don’t, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to sell them to you after you flashed your badge,” he said and smiled. This made me laugh.

“Alright, I’ll check it out,” I said and smiled.

He got out of his van, then opened the back doors.

“Wow, you got hundreds of items in here. Your van looks bigger from the inside,” I said.

“Yes, it might be a magic van. I might know an African shaman who blessed my van to make it roomier. He also gave me a special item that I think will help you,” He said.

“I don’t believe in magic, but your van does seem bigger on the inside. Maybe magic is real, what is it you want to sell me?” I asked.

“Sell, no. I will gift it to you. An item like this can only be gifted, or the magic will be broken or weakened. It’s a spirit box,” He said.

“A spirit box. What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s a box that can trap spirits. The person with the box can inhale whatever spirit is trapped inside, and the spirits wisdom or strengths will be shared with the spirit box owner. The box I’m going to give you is very special. The shaman that made it went to the grave of John L. Sullivan when he first came to America. He put his spirit in this box here,” he said and searched for the box. He found it and handed me the spirit box.

“Wow. This box is awesome. I like all the symbols on it. How exactly is this ‘magic’ box supposed to work, though?” I asked.

“It’s simple. Open up the box and inhale. The spirit will enter your body. To make the spirit exit your body, just open the box back up and sneeze inside of it. And whatever you do, don’t keep the spirit inside of you for more than an hour at a time. The longer you keep the spirit inside of you, the more it becomes attached to you. If it gets too attached, it might not leave,” he said.

“Let’s see if this works,” I said. I opened up the box and inhaled. I felt a hot sensation going up my noise. My head started spinning. After a minute, my head felt normal again, but I felt stronger. I looked at my arms and my muscles started growing.

No way,” I said.

“Don’t worry, your arms won’t stay like that. Those are John’s muscles,” he said.

“Wow, this is amazing. I can’t believe this works,” I said.

“I’m glad you like your gift. I must be going now, though. I have some other business to attend to,” he said.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Mysterious Joe,” he said.

“Thank you, Mysterious Joe. I’ll see you later,” I said.

“Perhaps,” he said and waved goodbye. He got in his van and drove away. I had to test out my new strength. Sorry, John’s strength.

I walked around, looking for someone causing trouble, hoping to start a fight.

“Don’t hit them to hard, you’d be surprised how strong I am,” I heard a voice in my head say.

“What? Who’s there?” I asked.

“It’s John. Who else would it be?” the voice said.

“Whoa, you can talk to me,” I said loudly as someone was passing by. They gave me a strange look and started walking faster. I just looked at them, smiled and waved.

“Of course. I’m a spirit, not a mute,” The voice said. I laughed.

“And you know what I’m thinking?” I asked.

“Yes, most of the time. Which means you don’t have to talk. Unless you want to. You can think, so you don’t look crazy. Let me do the talking,” John’s voice said.

“Alright,” I thought and smiled deviously. I walked passed a few alleyways and checked them for vagrants or muggers or whatever trouble maker might be in there.

I finally saw some young kids tagging a wall. I normally would ignore them, taggers created something for people doing community service to clean up, but today was special. I needed to test my new abilities. Maybe one, or all of them, would be willing to fight.

“Hey, you!” I shouted. They stopped and looked at me.

“Graffiti’s a crime in my city,” I said.

“What are you going to do about it, old man?” One of them said. Perfect, a fight.

“You and me, right now. Let’s go,” I said and put up my arms. The biggest guy came charging at me. I grabbed him and threw him against the wall and he grunted as the bricks behind him shattered and the pieces flew in all directions.

“Get him,” another one said. The other three surrounded me. I picked one guy up and threw him to the other end of the ally. His body smashed against the wall, his bones cracking before he dropped to the ground. I punched the second one, knocking most of his teeth out. The third guy grabbed my neck from behind and I grabbed his arm and ripped it out of its socket. He started to scream and I turned around.

“Whoa. Sorry about your arm buddy. You must have some weak sockets,” I said and awkwardly smiled. His eyes rolled in back of his head and he fainted. I put his arm on top of his chest.

“There yah go, buddy. I’m sure the hospital can reattach it,” I said. I then called for an ambulance and walked away. I didn’t want word getting back to the chief about me beating the crap out of some teens for graffiti while off duty. He was already on my ass for coming in tired all the time, this just wouldn’t look good.

“I told you I was strong,” John said.

“Well, you were right. Now back in the box,” I said and took out the spirit box.

“Awe, can’t I stay a little longer. I’m enjoying being inside you so much. We can spoon,” John said.

“Gross. Your hour’s definitely up,” I said and sneezed. He screamed as his soul stretched out of my nose and was sucked back into the box.

I started walking back to my car. I felt so tired and weak. It was amazing how quickly I became dependent on John’s incredible strength. Another reason to get him back in the box before the hour was up.

I got into my car started driving home and briefly nodded off. I woke up to the sound of a horn blaring and was on the wrong side of the road with truck lights heading right at me. I quickly swerved out of the way and crashed into a fire hydrant. Crap. I was going to hear about this tomorrow. The water started spewing out of the hydrant and all over my car.

I knew someone in the fire department that could fix this and might not say anything. I called Bobby.

“Bobby, got a favor to ask. I didn’t realize how tired I was and I might have hit a hydrant. You think you could fix this for me?” I asked.

“What street are you on?” Bobby asked.

“I’m on East Grand Ave, a few minutes past the Blue Mercury bar,” he said.

“I’m on my way. This will make us even for your help proving the driver hit me,” Bobby said.

“For sure,” I agreed.

It took him twenty minutes but he got there, fire truck and all.

“Hey Fred. Hope you don’t mind, I brought a friend,” Bobby said.

“As long as he keeps his mouth shut,” I said.

“He definitely will. He can’t talk,” He said and took a brand new hydrant out of the truck.

“Bobby saves the day,” I said and smiled.

He put the new hydrant next to the old one. He shut off the water, took out the old hydrant and put the new one in its place.

“What are you going to tell the insurance company about the damage to your car?” Bobby asked.

“Hit and run, I guess,” I said and shrugged.

“I hope they believe you. It definitely looks like something went down the middle of your car,” Bobby said.

“Thanks, Buddy,” I said and held out my hand. He grabbed my shoulder and pulled me in for a hug.

“Of course, Fred. Happy to help. You’ve been a good friend for years,” Bobby said.

Bobby helped me push my car off the sidewalk and on to the side of the road. He left and I took pictures for the insurance company and called a tow truck. I was close to home and walked the rest of the way back.

If I wasn’t so tired, I would have noticed my apartment door was already slightly ajar. I put my keys in the door and pushed the door open. I walked in and was heading to my bed when someone turned on the lights. I covered my eyes and squinted, trying to see the person.

“Who the hell are you? How’d you get in?” I asked.

“It’s me, Fred,” A woman’s voice said.

“Emily? What are you doing here?” I asked. Emily was my second ex-wife. I wish my first one hadn’t passed away, I never would have met this psycho.

“I still have a spare key. I need help, Fred. I need to ask you for a favor. I need money,” Emily said.

“I need to get my locks changed. Look, you cheated on me with several men, you became a prostitute after you said the money I was giving you monthly wasn’t enough, then you divorced me for another guy who won’t even let you stay at his place, and all because you like the free meth he gives you. That’s why you ended up at the shelter. You could have had a place to stay. I loved you and would have given you the world. You have to own your bad decisions Emily, they’re no longer my problem. Now you’re asking me for more money, I don’t think so. Get the hell out,” I said.

“That’s cold, Fred. I’m begging you for help,” Emily said.

“Did you not read the restraining order I got against you? It says stay five hundred feet away from me. This isn’t five hundred feet. Please leave,” I said.

“I’ll sleep with you for five hundred dollars,” Emily said.

“Wait, are you seriously trying to sell yourself to me right now. I’m not paying my ex-wife for sex. I’m already tired and angry. Now I’m annoyed. I could have you arrested for propositioning an officer. And for trespassing, and for violating the restraining order, and for breaking and entering. And don’t think I won’t sue you for causing me emotional distress, I don’t care if you’re broke. Please, for the sake of my sanity, I’m begging you to get the hell out, or I’ll do exactly that,” I said.

“But you won’t have me arrested, Fred. That’s not in your nature. You’re a good soul, I know you are. I know you hate me, but you don’t want me dead, do you? I hope you don’t hate me that much. At least let me stay tonight. Please. I still haven’t paid my dealer, he might be after me. It’s not safe,” Emily said.

“Now you’re on drugs again? And what happened to your boyfriend who was giving you free meth? Did he leave you?” I asked.

“He caught me sending nude photos to other guys. I was only doing it for the money,” Emily said.

“And you were only dating your new boyfriend for the meth. Man, you really did me a huge favor by leaving. Why don’t you apologize to your new boyfriend for what you did and beg him for a places to stay,” I said.

“I already tried that. He said he could only forgive me if he was really high. He smiled, smoked some meth, then smoked a lot more meth. Then he overdosed. He dropped dead, Fred. Right in front of me. Do you know what it’s like to watch somebody die in front of you? Please, please let me stay,” She begged and a tear dripped down her face.

“I know those are crocodile tears, but I’m too tired to argue. You can get the couch. But you better be gone by the morning,” I said.

“Thank you Fred,” She said.

“And maybe I do want you dead,” I mumbled.

“What?” She asked.

“Nothing. Get some rest. Then leave,” I said and walked to my room and slammed the door.

“Thank you, Fred. You’re amazing,” She shouted.

“Shut up and go the hell to sleep,” I snapped.

I woke up in the morning feeling refreshed. I got a glass of water and was about to get in the shower, then heard the water running. Crap, Emily was still here. I was hoping that was a dream.

I knocked on the bathroom door and shouted, “You almost done? You’re going to make me late for work. I thought you’d be gone already.”

“Help,” I heard her say.

“What’s the matter? Did you fall or something?” I said and opened the door. There was a huge intimidating man towering over her. His muscles were bulging and his eyes were bloodshot. He had a gun to her head.

“You must be the drug dealer?” I said.

“Wow, you figured that out fast. Like she said, you really are a great detective,” The dealer said sarcastically.

“Thanks. And you should know, too, cause I’m pretty sure I’ve arrested you a few times. Can you tell me why you have a gun to Emily’s head?” I asked.

“I don’t know you, man. I’ve been arrested so many times by so many cops, I don’t remember half of them. This bitch owes me money. I was about to put her down, but she said you could pay me,” He said.

“If we don’t know each other, how do I know your parole officer is Stevie Walsh? And what makes you think I care enough to pay? She’s my ex,” I asked.

“Fred, please,” Emily shouted.

“I don’t care if you think you know me, I’ll paint the walls red with her blood, man. I swear to god,” He said.

“Alright, alright. As much as I hate her, I guess I don’t want her brains splattered all over everything. I don’t want to spend the time cleaning it up,” I said.

“Then give me the money, dude,” the dealer said.

“Alright, let me get the cash out of my box. She owes you five hundred, right?” I asked.

“Plus interest. It’s a thousand now,” he said.

“Alright, whatever you think is fair,” I said and walked towards the spirit box.

“No funny business,” he said. He pushed Emily forward and followed me to my room. I bent down so I could reach my pants on the floor. I dug around in my pocket. I could tell this was making the dealer nervous.

“I’m just getting my money,” I said. I took out John, opened the box and inhaled.

“Are you snorting cocaine? Seriously? Get my money, dude. You can party later,” The dealer said. I stood up, my muscles grew and my facial expression changed from mildly annoyed to scary and tough.

“Your luck just ran out,” I said.

“What the hell is this? I’ll blow her brains out, man,” the dealer said. I walked closer to him and he backed up into the wall. I grabbed his wrist and crushed his entire hand and he dropped the gun and screamed.

“Nobody threatens my ex-wife but me,” I said. I pulled him away from Emily and swung him against the drawer. He tried to stand up but tripped over himself. I grabbed his head and smashed it into my wall. His skull crushed in my hands.

“Crap, John. Still not used to your strength,” I mumbled. Emily was breathing heavy.

“I guess he was serious about painting your walls red,” John said. I laughed.

“Is that his brain on your wall?” Emily asked.

“See what I do for you,” I said. She took a deep breath.

“I knew you still cared about me,” Emily said and smiled.

“I think you’re misreading my signals. Also, I got to report this to the department. What are you going to tell the cops when they get here?” I asked, making sure Emily was on the same page I was.

“It was self-defense. I saw the whole thing. He threatened to kill both of us. I’ll tell them it was self-defense if you let me stay here for a little while longer,” Emily pleaded.

“But it was self-defense. And he did threaten both of us. And I’d really rather you didn’t stay,” I said.

“I could tell the police he was my new boyfriend and you killed him in a jealous rage,” Emily said.

“Really, you’re resorting to blackmail? They’ll never believe you. You’re a homeless prostitute who broke into my house looking for money and a place to stay, a drug addict, and my spiteful, bitter ex-wife. I’m a respected, beloved hero detective,” I said.

“They might believe me. I can be pretty convincing?” Emily said and smashed her face against the wall, making her nose bleed.

“Thank god you’re here officer. Fred hit me and killed my new boyfriend in a jealous rage,” Emily said as she was sobbing.

“God damn it. I forgot what a manipulative, twisted little bitch you can be. Fine, you can stay for as long as you want,” I said.

“Thanks Fred. I’ll let you touch my boobs to repay you,” She said, grabbed my hand and put them on her breasts. After a minute, I took a deep breath and pulled my hands away.

“No, this is wrong. And really screwed up. What the hell is wrong with you? And what the hell is wrong with me for enjoying that? I’m going to shower then call the police to explain what happened. You better be a good witness or I’m kicking you out. Then I’m going to go to work. You better not touch anything while I’m gone. I don’t want your filth contaminating my apartment. And I know where everything is, and I’ll know if you steal anything,” I said.

“Thanks Fred. You’re too kind for letting me stay. I love you,” Emily said.

“Shut up, you maniac. You don’t love anybody but yourself. I’m not letting you stay, you’re forcing me to let you stay. There’s a difference,” I said and walked to the shower.

“Hey Fred,” She said and I turned around. She blew me a kiss, and I pretended to vomit. I got in the shower.

“Your wife seems nice. What a peach,” John said.

“Oh, John. I forgot you were still there. Yah she’s a doll,” I said. John started laughing. I rolled my eyes.

I got out of the shower then sneezed John back into the box. Then I got dressed, called the chief and after explaining what happened, told him to send over a team.

Officer Yi was the lead detective. I’m pretty sure the chief put someone I trained in charge just to piss me off. It wasn’t going to work today, though. I liked detective Yi, and I was determined to relax and stay calm.

“Didn’t you just pass the detective exam yesterday? You’re still green as hell,” I said to Yi.

“Last night, actually. Today is my first official day as a detective. But relax, Fred. I got you, I know you’re a good guy. Your ex even has your back, this was definitely a case of self-defense. And once we confirm this guy’s identity, he’ll probably have a record a mile long,” Yi said.

“Oh I know for a fact he will. I’ve arrested this guy myself several times. He didn’t recognize me though, he was high out of his mind. He had those crazy eyes you only get from smoking meth. On a side note, it’s Detective Byrne,” I said.

“Not until you clock in, buddy. And as of yesterday, I’m Detective Yi. How cool is that,” Yi said.

“You got balls cracking jokes with me, kid. I’ve been on the force a lot longer, and detective or not, I outrank you,” I said.

“Sorry, sir,” Detective Yi said and saluted.

“It’s fine. I’m messing with you, now. I respect your nerve, kid. Don’t worry about it. Keep it up, you’ll go far,” I said and put my hand on his shoulder. Yi smiled, I nodded.

“I’ll get out of your way now. I’ll be right outside. When you wrap this thing up, let me know. I’ll lock up and head to work,” I said.

“Can I wait here until you get back from work, baby?” Emily said.

Don’t call me baby. And don’t steal anything. I swear to god, if one thing is missing Emily, one damn thing, I’ll send the whole force after you. I don’t care if it’s a crumb of food, everything better be here when I get back,” I said.

“Ok, I won’t call you baby. Thanks, Fred,” Emily said.

“Why are you letting her stay with you? Is she your girlfriend again or something?” Detective Yi asked.

“Hell no. She’s still my ex-wife. I’m doing her a favor,” I said and my face soured.

“You’re letting your ex stay with you? You’re a bigger man then me. I’d never do that,” Detective Yi said.

“I wouldn’t either. She’s twisted, didn’t give me much of a choice,” I said.

“Care to elaborate,” Detective Yi said.

“No. Just wrap it up here. Call the coroner when you’re done. Have them clean up and remove the human garbage from the bedroom,” I said and walked outside.

“Sure thing, boss,” Detective Yi said.

“You hear that Emily. I’m the boss. That’s what you should call me, boss. Not baby, not sugar, not darling, not love bear. None of your stupid nicknames. Boss,” I said and slammed the door shut.

I walked over to the railing and exhaled. Somebody walked up next to me and also leaned over the railing. They lit up what I thought was a cigarette and started smoking.

“No smoking outside of the… wait is that weed? You’re seriously smoking weed in front of a detective? You see my badge, right?”

“Relax, man, its legal. Its medical, dude. It helps me relax,” he said.

“It’s only legal in the smoking section. That’s about fifty feet away from my apartment, right over there. Otherwise it’s a five hundred dollar fine,” I said.

“Dude, you need to seriously chill, man. Be cool,” he said and held up his doobie.

“Ah, hell. Today’s been screwed up,” I said, grabbed his doobie and took a puff. I haven’t smoked since I became an officer. Today I’d made an exception.

“Thanks, dude,” I said and handed him back his joint.

“You’re welcome, ‘detective,’” he said and giggled.

“Oh, hey, aren’t you the Chief’s son?” I asked.

“Um, that depends. Who’s asking?” He said.

“You are, aren’t you? You’re Little Chief. I’ve seen pictures of you on your dad’s desk. Nice to finally meet you,” I said and held out my hand for a shake.

“Please don’t tell my dad I’m smoking weed. He’d kill me,” Little Chief said.

“I won’t tell him you smoked if you don’t tell him I smoked. We’d both get in trouble,” I said and smiled.

“Deal,” he said and shook my hand with both of his hands.

Detective Yi and the team walked outside. I looked to my left and saw the coroner walking towards my apartment.

“After the coroner cleans up, I’ll take you to work, boss. You’ve had a rough day,” Detective Yi said and smiled. Then he sniffed the air.

“Do I smell weed?” Officer Yi asked.

“No,” I said defensively.

“Sorry, dudes. That was me,” Little Chief said, then winked at me.

“Oh, I see. Next time you smoke, would you mind doing it in the smoking section,” Detective Yi said.

“Don’t worry Yi, I already chewed him out,” I said. Detective Yi smiled.

“See you at the car,” Detective Yi said and started walking towards the parking lot.

“I’ll catch up with you in a second. I just want to lock up after the coroner leaves,” I said.

“Sure thing,” Yi said.

Then he walked off and I walked inside after the coroner did.

I walked up to Emily and discreetly said, “Hey, Em. Do you have any perfume I can borrow?”

“Why, cause you smell like weed? And I thought you said no nicknames,” She said.

“Fine, no nicknames. Do you have perfume or not, Emily?” I asked.

“Yes. Three dollars a spritz though,” Emily said.

“Two dollars. Total,” I said.

“Deal,” She said. She took out her perfume and I sprayed myself with it a few times.

“Thanks, Emily,” I said and handed her back the perfume.

I started to leave and Emily shouted, “Hey, where’s my three dollars?”

“Oh yah, the money. And it was two,” I said. I took out my wallet.

“Sorry Emily, all I have is a dollar in cash at the moment. I’ll give you the rest when I get back,” I said.

She ripped the dollar out of my hand, crossed her arms, and made a ‘hmph’ noise.

The coroners left with the body. I locked up then I left for work, praying Emily didn’t leave me with an empty house.

Copyright © 10/12/2023 by A.H. Mittelman. All rights reserved

PsychologicalShort StorySeriesMysteryHorrorthrillerHumorFantasyCONTENT WARNINGAdventure

About the Creator

Alex H Mittelman

I love writing and just finished my first novel. Writing since I was nine. I’m on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop me! If you like my stories, click the heart, leave a comment. Link to book:

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (10)

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  • L.C. Schäfer9 days ago

    Wow, I am so glad I invested the time to read this one! Such a good idea, and I love where you went with it 😁

  • Ameer Bibi14 days ago

    Your story is very creative, glad to know about Fred's look amazing

  • This is a truly creative and new narrative. I def can see it being adapted into a screenplay or series. Excellent dialogue and great characters

  • AliMart24 days ago

    Like it

  • Well Fred’s not a fan of writers or training duty for that matter hahaha. I don’t like Emily at all, which is good. There needs to be a character your readers can hate lol. I think publishing this story will go down well Alex. I do hope you decide to do it 😊

  • Oooo, so happy to know how Fred looks like!

  • Kendall Defoe 27 days ago

    It is going to take me some time to get through both parts, but I like what you have here. I read part one, but never left a comment. You have a real story here and should consider publishing it.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Gosh I hate Emily so much! That woman has no shame whatsoever! And so manipulative! Would you be continuing this story? I would love to know if Emily is gone by the time Fred gets back from work. I also would love to know if Fred would have trouble with John if he accidentally lets John be in his body for more than an hour. Loved your story so much!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Geez these conversations you write are hilarious! Loved the entire story and the premise. Funny!

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