Detective Ferguson needs a hand
(originally posted 6/12/2020)
“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Detective Ferguson had a problem that made him want to throw his hands up in the air. All nine. His two and the seven other ones that sat on his desk.
Seven severed hands, the result of a serial killer that had been on the loose in his city for three months. He had no leads. He had no clues. His contacts at ViCAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) had nothing for him. He’d watched Silence of the Lambs twice but he couldn’t find anyone currently incarcerated that had dabbled in severed hands.
He would have settled for any severed limbs really, he was just out of luck in that department.
I’ll skip ahead to the part where he gets so desperate that he considers an even more extreme measure. Just know that he was not happy about it and didn’t share what he was about to do with anyone else at the station.
After the last officer had left the building for the night he loaded the seven hands into an Igloo cooler and left clandestinely out a back door where he knew there was no video surveillance.
Incidentally , the cooler was his ‘lucky’ cooler. Since his divorce four years ago his dating life was hit or miss, but whenever he suspected a ‘hit’ was on the horizon he would invite the girl on a picnic. That was where he did his best work. Put him on a blanket in the woods and he was going to close the deal. Wine, cheese, grapes, all carried inside the same container that now held seven severed hands.
He put the address into his GPS and headed out to meet the palm reader he’d found online. He arrived five minutes early for his appointment and sat in his car trying to figure out how he was going to approach the next few minutes. It was a wasted five minutes. The purple glow of neon coming from the Palm Readings sign in the window didn’t help.
“What the fuck am I doing here?” he asked himself as he got out of the car and headed to the door.
Moments later a woman opened the door. He was not disappointed by her appearance. It was right out of central casting. The flowing dress, the gypsy headdress. The whole shebang.
Madam Lauren led him inside to a small table. All around him hung beads, crystals and posters illustrating the human hand in all its glory. Incense hung in the air.
He put the cooler on the table with a thud.
“I need you to take a look at some hands” he began.
She smiled and said “That’s my job.”
“I don’t think you understand…” and with that he opened the cooler.
She peaked inside then took a step back, the color draining from her face. Before she started screaming and fleeing into the night he thought he’d better explain.
“I’m Detective Ferguson. These are the hands of the victims of a serial killer we’re trying to catch. We’re at a dead end and I need your help.” He gave her his most sincere look. An awkward silence fell over the room. Fearing he was losing her the detective continued.
“I can’t say I believe in all this stuff”, he gave a quick wave around the room, “But as I said… we’re stumped.”
Madam Lauren took her first breath since seeing the contents of the cooler. “I’ll have to charge you per hand you realize.”
“I thought this was more of an hourly rate thing” Detective Ferguson started but quickly realized that he did not have the upper hand in this negotiation. Haggling would not be appropriate. He smiled an uncomfortable smile and took out the first hand. “And don’t tell me that this man met a violent end. I got that much.”
“I’d like to start with yours, if you don’t mind” said ML.
“Listen, I didn’t do it so I don’t see the point” DF began, but she cut him off.
“If you want my help then you’ll do as I ask.”
The detective placed the hand back in the cooler. “I think this was a mistake” he said and put the lid back on a little too forcefully.
“It’s your call detective, but if you want to solve this case it’s not going to be a picnic.” She put a particular emphasis on the last word.
He sat down and extended his hand.