Detective Jack Bastard rubbed the gritty residue into his gums, and pulled away a finger stained with blood.
The body was ensconced in a man-high pile of porn, the corpse curled up like a fetus, blood soaked into glossy breasts and vaginas, his rigid tumescence pointing proudly ahead.
All this Jack could understand and accept. Only a couple things bothered him.
"Where the fuck are his hands?" The pale brown arms on the body ended in curved, blunted metal hooks on plastic sleaves.
"Diabetes." One of the black-and-whites answered from the bathroom, and came out holding a tester and packet of lancets.
Crime scene photos snapped, the forensic guys waited taut and expectant, hounds waiting to pounce on the fox.
"Does anybody else see the problem with a guy with no hands trying to jerk off?" Jack asked aloud. When no one answered, he waved the crime scene techs forward.
Jack stalked the small house. Separated from the one next door by a wall of tissue paper and asbestos, but the skanky teenagers next door selling their asses for rent money hadn't heard anything.
The detective rumbled the book shelves, opened the boxes in the closets, rooted through the sock drawer and under the sink. He finally found what he was looking for when he tossed the mattress.
The dominant themes were smooth-skinned stumps and gaping assholes. Boys in wheelchairs. Homosexual amputee porn.
"Detective, the forensic guys think-"
"The body was moved." Jack said.
The crime scene was too pretty, too staged. A mountain of porn, yes - but straight porn, regular porn.
"Is like with dog, yes?" the whore told him, sucking on a hand-rolled cigarette that reminded Jack of a pale, syphilitic dick.
"What, with peanut butter?" Jack asked. "Nah, that doesn't fit. He didn't have a dog."
"Nyet. Like...dog with leg, or pillow, yes? Grab on, rub against. Is how double amputees do it. Yvanna watch. Yvanna like to watch."
Jack was itching in all the wrong places, but now was not the time or the place. He tapped the photo again.
"You've seen him, yes or no?"
"Da. Particular kink. Some things, not on internet. You go talk to Mr. Six."
Jack had the garden hose pissing on Six for about ten minutes before he sputtered to some semblance of life.
"Bastard!" The old whoremonger said, climbing back to consciousness from whiskey dreams.
"I come from a long line of bastards." Jack said. "Tell me a story, Six. This guy."
"Aw, fuck. Look Jack, all I did was make the introductions, nothing illegal or anything. Like craigslist for chrissake."
"What, who, when, and how. Don't tell me the why, I don't think I could stand it."
"Jesus had diabetes, Mr. Bastard." Dr. Patel told him. The office felt warm, but Jack shivered and sweated. "His occasional periods of rage, irritability, and belligerence were hypoglycemic episodes."
"That is fascinating." Jack said. "Really. But I'm more interested in why you were amputating limbs off perfectly healthy people."
"Because they asked me to, Mr. Bastard." Her eyes were wide and bright, like a fanatic, staring straight through him. "They felt incomplete. Their bodies did not match their image of themselves. They looked with envy at those who had lost limbs to diabetes, to industrial accidents, and wished to be the same - creatures beautiful for their flaws."
"And the sex angle?"
Her mouth drew into a line, skin around the knuckles whitened. "I am given to understand that Mr. Six arranged matters with those interested. I had nothing to do with that, I merely provided medical services. There are expenses to the disabled life, Mr. Bastard."
She rolled her skirt up to mid calf, and removed her lower right leg. The nylon hung off the stump like the half-shed skin of some ancient reptile.
Later, at the bar.
"It would be nice if it was all an insurance scam. People getting limbs lopped off to get their policies paid. There was a whole town full of them down in Florida at one point. The amputee porn could just have been a sideline."
The bar tender topped Jack up, and the detective stared into liquid that smelled like peat and gasoline, but the reflection caught the bartender's smile.
"So why did they kill him?" she asked.
"They didn't." He washed his teeth in whisky and set it back down, wishing for some ice to crunch. "Kids next door, thought he had a stash of money or drugs, spiked his insulin. They'd seen three seasons too many of CSI: Special Victims unit. Knew that corpse pricks got hard after a while - so they pooled their porn to make his little nest, let people think he'd done himself grievous self-harm while masturbating."
Jack laid his head on the bar, enjoying the feel of the cool wood mash into his cheek.
"One of them discovered he was diabetic, found Jesus, confessed to the whole thing. Probably have a book deal by Monday. Same again, please."