“I may need to retain you for questioning,” Detective Talbert said. “What’s your name?”

“Vick Beaty.”

“Well Vick—don’t leave town. Gregson—why are you here?”

“I’m house-sitting for my friend Murphy and trying to write my memoires.”

“You don’t seem like you’re past it.”

“Thanks.”

“Well—I’ll take this case from here.”

“What are you going to do about the murder?” Vick asked.

“Cross-reference the usual suspects—if that doesn’t work—wait for the next body to surface.”

Gregson walked across the street to his friend’s house. He poured himself a cup of coffee, and dabbed it with a drip of whiskey. Two weeks ago, he got into a conversation with a coffee barista. She had tattooed feathers up her arms and a perfect figure. He felt his enthusiasm for her, before he consciously realized what was happening. Usually, it’s best to think with your big head, but sometimes, instinct takes over. He had a date at 7 PM. That gave him almost 9 hours to write.

Understanding his relationship to the female, was like solving a puzzle with missing pieces. Gregson enjoyed their attention, energy, and sex, but, in no time, he was bored. Living with one, was beyond him. Not just because the most adventurous, were always trying to make it back to the nest, but because a man eventually ended-up a tool. Gregson had no intention of being a handyman or trying to fix a relationship.

After several pages and several beers, Gregson lost track of time. The evening fell, like a blanket on the neighborhood, like an egg, cracked into a frying pan.

KNOCKING.

“But it’s before 7,” Gregson protested. “A chick that’s early—is that a good thing? Or is it too much enthusiasm?” He went to the door, and opened it.

Four girls in pajamas were jumping up and down on the porch, trying to keep warm.

“Hey mister, can we come inside?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“We are rehearsing cheer practice for the University Football Team. Billy invited us over—he’s the captain. We are worried about him. He left to get some Vodka, and didn’t come back—then Kristina spotted blood by the barbecue—lots of it. Should we call the police?”

“I’ll dial. In the meantime, make yourselves comfortable.”

They began stretching on the living room rug. “I’m Jenny,” the blonde said. “I’m Sarah,” said the brunette with knockers, too big for a mansion. “I’m Kara.”

“Kara is studying to be a nurse. Maybe she can take your blood pressure,” Kristina suggested.

“It’s high,” Gregson admitted.

Kristina walked to the thermostat and turned up the heat. Then the cheerleaders began taking their clothes off. They were so comfortable doing it, Gregson thought—He was flabbergasted. Maybe it’s a millennial thing.

Then the doorbell rang. It was 7 o’clock.

“Oh, that’s Annie.”

“Annie? The girls asked.

“My date.” Gregson opened the door.

Annie was wearing a Native American dress with crimson lipstick. She looked like Pocahontas. Gregson wanted to explore her.

“Can I come in?” She asked.

He was staring at her. “Of course, come in.” Gregson wasn’t thinking.

“What’s going on, in here?”

“Oh, don’t mind them—we’ve called the police.”

“I should say so. They’re underage, Gregson—and you’re a pervert.”

“Well—I am a PI, but you have the wrong idea. Their male stud might be wounded.”

“What?”

“Don’t worry—Detective Talbert will explain everything when he gets here.”

When his police cruiser pulled up, Detective Talbert wore a somber smile. “There’s a body in the street. Looks like a physically fit male—missing his genitalia, with several stab wounds in his chest.”

“The work of our serial killer?” Gregson asked.

“What else?”

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