Friday, June 19, 2015


Bobby Derie

"You mean Pen Island." The lieutenant was not amused. She was holding the pen in front of her, and staring at Jack like she was considering which orifice to cram it in.

"No ma'am." Jack played with his tie. They never used to make him wear the damn things, but the department was trying to improve its image. He'd conceded to the single-father-makeover; six pairs of identical dress shirts and slacks, shoes that could pass as shiny leather on the first glance, until you noticed the matte black sneaker tread that gave him traction when it counted, and of course the ties, which his daughter picked out. He'd have been more comfortable with a noose. Only nobles were hung with silk, and Detective Bastard was the least noble person on the Force...and would proudly admit it.

Finally, she nodded, dropping the pen on the desk with a soft clatter.

"Fine, go. But this had better not be a waste of time."

Jack dipped his head. "Always have time to catch a killer, LT."


The parking lot was a double football field of cracked black asphalt, slowly being reclaimed by weeds, some as high as Jack's waist. Metal-pickers had already torn down the light posts, so the detective parked the Bastardmobile by one of the great outcroppings of concrete that used to hold them. The entrance to the park seemed far away, but Jack appreciated the time it took to walk up to it to get a feel for the place.

It was a smaller park, but built to last. High walls stretched out for maybe a quarter of a mile in any direction from the gates; pale pink stucco cracked and faded. The general motif was a kind of Pompeii bathhouse on a gigantic scale, ochre-painted cartoon titans grasping their massive phalluses, attended by winged cock-and-balls. Beyond the walls, he could make out a number of tall rounded domes and spires, including the impressive monolith at the center. High above the gate itself, twelve-foot letters festooned with broken bulbs gave the place its name.

Something squeaked under Jack's heel. He looked down amid the grass and found the sun-faded inflatable rubber dong, about the size and quality of a dog's chew toy. It was smiling at him. He almost broke a rule, but caught himself as the cigarette pack was halfway out of his pocket. The little Bastard would never let him hear the end of it if he came home smelling like smoke.

The gate itself looked intimidatingly chained and boarded up, but as his hand closed on the handle to give it a good rattle, it came away easily. The hairs on the back of Jack's neck rose as he opened the door just enough to slip through, closing it as quietly as possible behind him.

Inside, the place was a mess. Cocktail napkins and plastic drinking cups with squat, bulbous straws littered the streets. Ticket barriers stood empty, the carefully crafted phallic metalwork on the ticket cages and ornaments marked by flaking paint, and giving way to creeping rust. Every single tile and corner, every ornament, had a penis, in every stage from flaccid to erect to ejaculating. Many were defaced, broken or smashed, but Jack cared less for the petty vandalism than the path through the rubbish. The detective bent down, and examined the ligature marks. Somebody had dragged something through here...and not too long ago.

The Bastard followed the trail into the park proper. The phallic theme was still omnipresent, but now morphed into a cock-obsessed version of Disneyland. The opening plaza had a theme like an old European cottage, the crooked streets paved with cobbles (many of which was decidedly phallic); dangling wooden penises hung in front of empty shops with wooden shingle roofs with black iron chimneys whose rounded heads had once ejaculated smoke into the sky. The effect was more kitsch than erotic, and Jack barely acknowledged the old arcade - long looted, except for a variant of whack-a-mole that would cause any man with a soul to wince - or the candle-maker's, carpenter's, and baker's shops, all with their own phallic products. He paused for a moment at the opening to the old condom museum, but the trail didn't lead in to the darkened building, and the sun was already dying.

Jack turned a corner and found himself in an Asian temple, the kind of mock-Japanese fertility shrine that young women giggle over as they surf the internet, all shiny-smooth polished phalluses and linghams, bronze bells in suggestive shapes. Something rustled and Jack found his gun in his hand, thumb fingering the safety even as the slightest of breezes blew through the park, causing loose bits of buildings to creek, litter to rustle, bell-tips to jingle, and gates to squeak. Somewhere, it passed through a tight passage and elicited a whistling moan. The detective cursed and picked up the pace, not wanting to lose the trail to a bit of wind.

Asian linghams merged into a backlit of German alleys from the 1920s, still mannequins dressed in leather codpieces and goggle-eyed gas masks. The alleys were more cluttered and claustrophobic than the streets, the walls closing in overhead, and Jack found himself following a narrow trail through broken bodies all naked from the wastes down - rejects from some Madame Toussad's ripoff of the great dicks of history and mythology. Glass eyes cracked and skittered under his feet, pale wax crumbing from aluminum skeletons struck Jack right in the uncanny valley.

As he might have suspected, the alley opened up to a square at the base of the gigantic monolith - a round-headed tower stabbing upward like it would fuck the sky. Once, tourists would clamber into the tiny elevator at the base, and shoot up to the top, to look out through the windows at all the glories of the park. Perhaps five feet from the entrance, a crumpled form lay smashed into the pavement. Jack looked around, but couldn't make out the trail anymore. Not that it mattered. Slowly and carefully he tiptoed nearer to the immobile lump - just enough to make out the suggestion of clothing, hands, a shoe with a foot still in it, but not close enough to track any of the blood that had splattered around the body. One detail caught his eye: the hands were bound together with a length of chain.

The cellphone flicked to life. The little Bastard smiled at him, her one blue eye shining above a gap-toothed grin. He speed-dialed Dispatch. "This is Detective Jack Bastard at Penisland. We've got a body."


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