Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chapter 67

Detective Dina: Episode #1
First Day on the Force, Part IV
(Episode Index)

"I'll just wait out here and keep an eye out for Detective Carlo," Officer Myron Coronado said.

Uh, huh.  Dina saw that coming.

As the doors swung open, Dina realized she hadn't been to the Blue Velvet nightclub since date night.

Dina and her husband liked taking turns picking out where to go.  Ever since the girls aged up to Teen, they'd been trying to get out of the house more often, just the two of them.

Even if that usually meant their backyard, gazing out over the lake.

Her husband Efrain was her best friend and soulmate.  She didn't care where they went for date night, as long as they went together.

When Efrain picked the Blue Velvet nightclub, she'd been a little surprised.  Her husband was an outdoorsy type.  He loved to fish and garden, two labors of love that started in his younger days when his hair was still red.

Now her husband was gray-haired and full of surprises.  She never thought he'd go for something so late-night jazzy.

But Dina had quickly discovered why her husband had picked the Blue Velvet night club.  Her mother was jazzing up the place that night!

Katrina's fingers would dance over the piano keys like magic.  She called it "tickling the ivories."

Dina loved watching her mother play the piano, and Efrain loved watching Dina's heart swell with joy.

Which was why Dina barely kept a handle on her emotions as she entered her very first crime scene, drawn by the sound of music emanating from the Blue Velvet nightclub. 

Great, now my most cherished memories of date night are going to be forever overshadowed by whatever criminal monstrosities I find inside! Dina scowled to herself.

"Which I have to face alone," she grumbled under her breath.  Officer Myron and Officer Sylvia were both too afraid to come inside with her for fear of getting mauled by a bear or eaten by a cowplant.

But Dina's scowl disappeared as she beheld the crime scene before her.

Is this real?  She couldn't believe her eyes.

Or her ears.

The nightclub was filled with soft, sweet sounds; not just the piano playing, but the whisper of leaves dancing in the wind, born on the notes of the saddest song Dina had ever heard.

No, it's not wind, Dina thought.  It was only the cowplant dancing to the music, its leafy green tendrils swaying back and forth as the bear sat at the piano and played.

Dina fell into a seat, quite forgetting herself.  In the back of her mind, she knew she had to stop it all, arrest whoever was inside the bear costume, but it seemed a far worse crime to interrupt the music.

The sad melody carried notes of unspeakable grief and the sorrow of loss, both of which were foreign sensations to Dina Hildebrand.

No one had ever died in her world.

Until now, she thought, glancing at the cowplant.

That it could swallow a Sim whole was a terrifying thought, but even more so, the thought that someone had actually used the cowplant to commit murder!

And what's with the piece of cake? Dina wondered.

She remembered Detective Carlo Tapia saying something about taking a bite out of crime.  Hopefully, that didn't mean she had to ... to ... Eww, I am not biting that cake.

But it does look tempting, Dina thought, watching as the cowplant slowly rocked its enormous head up and down.  At first it was an unhurried motion, wed to the sadness of the piano song, but then the rocking turned violent!

The cake slid back into its mouth and green goo came oozing out of its clenched jaws.

The cowplant heaved its head side to side, forward and back, and suddenly its huge jaws flung open.

Alarmed, Dina jumped to her feet.  "What the - !?" she shrieked.

"Plumbob on a stick!" Dina shrieked.

The cowplant just vomited a Sim!

"It worked!" the bear cried out in a decidedly male voice, his voice thick with joy and relief.

At the cowplant's feet (roots, rather) was a sorry-looking Sim, all covered in green slime, but obviously alive.  He wriggled on the floor, groaning.

A regurgitated hot dog, Dina thought.

The cowplant victim struggled to his feet.

He didn't look happy.  "Ow," he said, rubbing his head (made awkward by the hotdog costume).

Dina gasped, realizing the bear was coming towards them.  The cowplant was shaking, its leaves all aflutter in fright, but at the sight of the bear it seemed to calm down a little.

Dina felt her heart pounding at the back of her head.  What do I do?

"You're under arrest for attempted murder!" Dina blurted.  "This is obviously your cowplant!"

The bear didn't seem to hear her.  He was affectionately patting the cowplant's large muzzle with its fur-lined bear paws and cooing, "Good girl!  Good girl!"

Frustrated, Dina glanced at the front door.  "Officer Myron!?" she shouted through the door.  "Hey, I need backup!"

"Is it safe to come in?" came a muffled response.

"Will Plumbob Wright!" Dina swore, aggravated.  Useless backup!

Dina didn't even try to get Officer Sylvia to come inside from the back door.  She was deathly afraid of bears and would probably faint on sight.

Panic coiled her stomach as Dina glanced back at the bear, still playing with the cowplant as if they were best friends.

Should I wrestle it to the ground?  Dina's muscles were tense, ready to spring into action if the bear bolted for the back door.  And hopefully tripping over Officer Sylvia in the process, Dina thought.  At least then she'd been good for something.

The front door suddenly swung open with a big whoosh!  Detective Carlo Tapia pushed inside the Blue Velvet nightclub with Officer Myron at his heels.

He surveyed the crime scene with one casual sweep of the eye, taking it all in as if he saw cowplants and bears and slimy hot dogs every day.  Cool as a cucumber.

He calmly glanced at Dina.  "Report, Cadet."

Dina sighed in relief.  Finally, some real help.  "Detective Carlo," she said, "I think we have the murder suspect, the weapon, and the victim all in one room."

The detective looked impressed.

"Cadet, if that's true, looks like you're ready for your first promotion.  I'll make sure Chief Winston knows how well you've handled yourself."

Compared to others, Dina finished the unspoken compliment, thinking of Officers Myron & Sylvia.

And she thought about the lab tech, Reagan Alvarez.  She'll want to learn my name now.  A smile overcame her, despite the tense situation.

Dina stammered, "Thank you, I ..."  Distracted, Dina stared at the hot dog.  He was trying to wipe off the disgusting green slime from his face.  Was that ...?

"Looks like you caught one of the vandals, too," Detective Carlo smirked.  "He matches the description from one of our witnesses.  A teenaged male in a hot dog suit with red hair."

"Red hair, yes," Dina mumbled, suddenly frozen in horror.  Oh, no!  She blurted, "Zachary?!"

Dina lashed out, "Zachary Fogel!  How in the world did you get eaten by a cowplant?!"

Detective Carlo asked, "You know this Sim, Cadet?"

"He's my nephew," Dina said.  She didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but sure enough those were Zachary's green eyes under all that cowplant slime.  He almost died!  How the hell am I going to explain this to my sister Nina?

"I'm sorry, Aunt Dina," Zachary said, "Please don't tell Mom."

Detective Carlo crossed his arms.  "Can you tell us what happened, Zachary?"

"Did you vandalize the nightclub, young man?" Dina shouted, angry as heck.

"The teenagers are the real criminals!" the bear suddenly spoke up.  "They were taunting Missy Bluebell!  She only swallowed the hot dog out of self defense!"

Who is this guy?  Dina wanted to rip off his bear costume, but she wasn't sure if that would help or hurt the situation.

Detective Carlo ignored the bear and instead motioned to Officer Myron at the door.  "Please escort the murder suspect to the back.  Sit him down by the fireplace."

The bear went calmly enough, but he looked so anxious, rambling on and on ... "Don't hurt Missy Bluebell, please.  She didn't mean to hurt anyone.  I played her a song.  I played her a sad song and she brought him back up, she brought him back ..."

"I ... I don't feel too good," Zachary said.  "Can I go home?  Please, Aunt Dina?"

The detective shook his head. "Sorry, son.  We're going to have to arrest you, too.  Take you back to the station for questioning."

"No, you can't do that!" Dina said, her hackles rising.  "He needs to see a doctor first."

"Zachary, sit down," Dina ordered.  The poor boy!  She suddenly didn't care what he'd done.  His mother would sort him out later, that's for sure.  For now, all that mattered was that he needed medical care.  Who knows how long he's been inside that cowplant!? 

"He's going to the hospital first and that's the end of it!"

"Dina, please calm down," Detective Carlo said.  "I know you're upset.  He's your nephew, I get that."

"But he's also part of a criminal investigation now, and I can't have you near him.  You're too close, okay?  I'll have Officer Sylvia escort Zachary to the hospital," the detective said.  "Meanwhile, I'd like for you to stay here and help with the crime scene.  We have a case to solve."

"Okay, okay," Dina agreed, putting her hands up.  I'm freaking out!  Can I really handle being a detective if this is what my typical day will be like?

Read Chapter 68 (normal blog post)
Read Part V of Episode 1 (coming soon!)

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