Fiction LNE
Fiction Friday

Bruce Hellmont, Girl Detective

by Laura and Paul and Caolan and Jen

Bruce Hellmont was picking flowers in the meadow, which was his office, when a leggy blonde walked in. She had legs that extended infinitely in every direction.

"My mother-in-law is a devil," she said. She pouted and sank into an overstuffed chair.

"There, there," comforted Bruce. "Tell Bruce all about it."

"Never mind that now," said the blonde. "Let's go shopping!"

Just as they were leaving, they stumbled over a dead body.

"Well," said the blonde. She shuffled her feet.

"This is......... awkward."

"Can we still go shopping?"

"Well, if I really want to be a detective, I should solve this crime. But on the other hand, I really want to go shopping. I saw this GLORIOUS kilt at Li'l Shavers!"

"What it comes down to," said the blonde, "is a basic conflict between duty and self-actualization. Maslow's heirarchy of needs--"

"Look!" exclaimed Bruce, pointing. "Fingerprints!"

The blonde knelt down and examined the fingerprints. They were on her butt, so it was difficult to do. She had to use a special angled magnifying glass with a built-in mirror, which happened to be resting on a nearby poppy. "Where did you get this fabulous magnifying glass?" she said, as she scrutinized the dark markings that spotted her gorgeous can. Well, they weren't directly on her can. They were on the pale ivory fabric that stretched precariously across it, like the cellophane over the mouth of a can of olives on a hot terrible day.

"These are my husband's fingerprints!" she cried. "He must have killed this dead person!"

Bruce considered the facts. And by considered, I mean CONSIDERED. Which means that he touched her butt.

"You're right!" he agreed. When he was finished touching the blonde's butt, he used his carefully pedicured foot to turn the body face-up. There was jam all over the corpse's face. "He must have done it with jam," said Bruce.

The blonde swooned. "He and my mother-in-law were making jam the other night." Then she sat bolt upright. Her gorgeous mane was starred with little cornflowers. She gripped Bruce's extended wrists, which he had extended in order to help her stand up. "Bruce," she intoned in a monotone. "Do you know what this means."

Bruce responded by arching his eyebrow. He also tilted and beveled.

"This means . . . that . . . I . . . could . . . be . . . NEXT."

Bruce looked at the blonde under lazy eyelids. "Listen, doll," he said. "What makes you think you'll be next ... When we don't even know WHO WAS FIRST?"

The blonde raised her dainty little fist to her mouth and made a look of perfect perplexion. "Why, whatever do you mean?" she cried.

"Simple, sweetheart," Bruce drawled. "Under all that jam, who can tell who this murdered mope really is? And if we don't know the identity of the stiff, how can we know who wanted him dead?"

The blonde looked at Bruce, and I mean looked at Bruce--the kind of look that sends shivers all the way down a man's back and turns his spinal column to tapioca. "Bruce," she said in a husky whisper, "are you sure that that mope is a man?"

Bruce looked back. Damn. It was true. Through all the jam and the hair of an indeterminate length, he couldn't tell whether it was a guy or a dame lying in the sticky heat.

"You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a gender-uncertain type in this meadow," he said. "Doesn't anyone uphold the master narrative these days?"

The blonde covered her face in her hands. "How can you talk deconstructionist theory at a time like this? Can't you see that I'm in danger?"

Bruce looked at her, then roughly pulled her to her feet.

"All right, legs, come clean, and I don't mean just washing the jam off your caboose."

The blonde trembled, and her sharp white teeth glinted from behind her lips.

"Bruce, what on earth are you saying?"

"You're cute, very cute," Bruce said to the blonde, still holding her wrists roughly in front of her. "But you weren't cute enough. You knew that the blood of diabetics is virtually indistinguishable from common preserves, and that the mess all over your lovely posterior and the face of Mr. or Mrs. X here would be chalked up to the jam-making antics of your pretty-boy husband and his Mommy dearest. But what you didn't know, dollface, was that I happen to know that you can tell the difference between the two by its reaction to pale ivory fabric. If it's blood, it'll stain. But if it's jam..." Bruce paused and slowly considered her butt again. "it'll come right off."

The blonde collapsed against him, sobs wracking her frame. Bruce had to admit, he wanted her even after all she had done, in the face of everything he held dear, and even in spite of the jam fingerprints all over her butt, which offended his sense of cleanliness.

She turned her tear-streaked face to his.

"Oh Bruce," she said. "You know, you know it all. It is blood on my skirt. I had hoped to pass it off as jam to indict my mother-in-law and husband so I could be free of their domestic hellhole at last. But it was me, me who killed X, not with jam but by bludgeoning him with this magnifying glass. And I needed to buy a new skirt before you noticed this one was stained. I hoped you would come with me. We could have bought some skirts and a house with a white picket fence and lived happily ever after. But I was a fool to think I could get anything by you, and I've ruined my only chance. What is going to happen to me now?"

Bruce let go of the blonde. She crumpled onto the meadow, perfect bosom heaving.

"It was a good try, kiddo, but not good enough. When you came into my meadow with your sob story about skirts and shopping and your legs up to here, what you didn't count on was that I am an expert in both forensic science AND fabric maintenance."

Bruce turned to go, turning his collar up against the gray drizzle that collected in the gutters and reflected the car lights up off the meadow. "Now if you'll excuse me, " he said, "I have a skirt sale to go to."