Monday, August 07, 2006

City Of Killers

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Cutlery murders were true crimes of passion because you had to really want to do it. They were often some of the messiest killings as well. Being a homicide detective was real job security, but nothing had prepared Jones for the Spoon Killer.

When he'd first gotten word of the Spoon Killer, he assumed, like a lot of other people, that the guy killed spoons. If only that had been true. Jones knew of a few spoons this city could do without. No, this guy killed people. Using spoons to do it. And nothing as humane as a melon-baller either. Jones had heard of victims done in with teaspoons, tablespoons, ladles, and measuring cups. This one on the slab though a full set of wooden spoons. Betty Binkus, the coroner, had removed over twenty-seven hundred splinters from the body.

Nothing worse than inheriting a case. Especially from Wilson. Now there was a guy who needed a good spooning. But it was the Fresh Raspberry Killer who did him in. Jones would have gotten that case too if that guy hadn't gotten into a lethal spat with his lover, the Custard Sprinkled With Chocolate Shavings Killer.

"Been a lot of killers running around here lately, huh, Betty?" Jones said. Betty pulled off her gloves and dropped onto her task chair. They'd been keeping her pretty busy lately. She had job security.

"Yeah, well, remember the Serial Killer?" she asked.

"The guy who killed people with Rice Krispies?"

"No, Serial with an S', silly!" They both laughed at his mistake.

"The guy who used to kill people with soap operas," Jones said.

"Exactly. He said something to me on his last day in court that might explain things. He said, 'I'm talking a kite saute a canteen.'"

"What the hell is that?" Jones asked. "That's nonsense! What does that explain?"

"That he's a crazy bastard," Betty said. "We've got a bunch of killers because we've got a bunch of crazy bastards running around this town."

"Betty! That's brilliant! I know how we can catch this guy!"

That night, Jones prowled the street dressed as a giant spoon. He felt ridiculous but this killer was, as Betty said, a crazy bastard. As his killings progressed, his choice of spoons became more esoteric. How in the hell could he ever pass up a weapon as bizarre as a man dressed as a spoon? He just plain couldn't, that's all, Jones concluded.

The chief, as always, wanted a backup plan. Jones suggested they run a classified ad for a Spoon Killer killer. He of course had to specify that what he was after was a guy that killed Spoon Killers, not a guy that used Spoon Killers as a weapon with which to kill. This came to so many words that the chief put the kibosh on the whole backup plan because of budget restrictions. He always did know how to play the chief. Jones had faith in Plan A.

Beneath the streetlight in front of the restaurant supply store, a big creepy looking guy eyed Jones while bouncing nervously. He made his way over slowly, and Jones watched his backup close in on the creep. This was going to be fun.

In the seconds before they pounced on the Spoon Killer, Jones saw an open career highway before him, leading straight to the Commissioner's office. It was all so easy. Tomorrow night they'd corner the Petroleum Jelly Killer, and then the $19.99 Green Plastic Mailbox Killer or the Jai Alai Fronton Killer. That guy had to be huge. They'd need a lot more backup for that one. And Jones would need a lot more costumes.

Costume maker. Now that was job security.

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