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Rated: E · Short Story · Mystery · #2095506
Bo dug up a gun, a metal box with cash. Where will he dig next?
It's Bardstown's 16th-decade, birthday celebration! The whole town is invited to the events. Detective Hall was just about to "close shop" for the day and leave a skeleton crew on to answer phones and 911 him if an emergency arrives, then, suddenly his phone rang...

"Yes, this is Detective Hall, speaking. What! You found a gun buried under Elmer's sycamore tree? How did you think to look there? Oh, his neighbor's dog dug it up. Yes, we've had complaints of that dog digging in yards all over Bardstown. Wait, what's that you say? There was a metal box with lots of cash buried with the gun?"


Detective Hall drove over to Elmer Jones’s place to find out why Elmer’s neighbor, Joyce Root, became excited about what Bo dug up. On arrival, he spotted her sitting at a picnic table. She stood to shake hands and asked, "Who would bury money along with a gun? Does that make any sense to you?"

Detective Hall examined the contents. "You said on the phone that a dog dug this up?"

"Yes, Todd Munson’s dog, Bo, who's been digging in everyone's yard. We can't figure out what's got into him. Oh, here’s Todd now.” A man walked over and hugged his dog while Bo licked his face in greeting.

"I'm Detective Hall, do you know anything about this box, and why it's buried under Elmer's sycamore tree?"

Todd laughed, “I buried that box myself. Let's call it my method to keep from spending money. That gun isn’t mine, it belongs to Marty Wilkes, the bartender over at Casey's Bar and Grill. A couple of weeks ago, I got him out of a sticky situation with some loan sharks."

“Ah, that explains the money, but why bury Marty's gun, too?” Detective Hall scratched his head.

Todd stuttered out an explanation. Detective Hall stared at him suspiciously, "You better accompany me to police headquarters."

At police headquarters, Detective Hall ushered Todd to the holding cell, “Here’s your home until we get things straightened out.”

He proceeded to his office where he jotted down the serial number on the gun before sending it to forensics. He then counted the money and recorded the sum before packaging it to take over to The Crime Lab & Evidence Division. After everything was taken care of, Detective Hall drove over to Casey’s Bar and Grill to question the bartender on duty if they’d seen Marty.

"Nope, I haven't seen Marty in four days," The bartender answered while filling up glasses for the other patrons.

Detective Hall turned to question a couple lounging at the tables nearby. "Has anyone seen Marty Wilkes lately?"

"No, haven't seen him."

The other patrons shook their heads 'no' when Detective Hall looked at them. Well, this is getting nowhere fast!” He drove back to his office to write his report before going home.

The next morning, Joyce brought the Detective another bone Bo dug up in her garden. "I know it wasn't there when I planted the seeds. "They look human, so I thought you better check them out."

Detective Hall held open an evidence bag and Joyce put the bone inside. He thanked her for being such a considerate citizen of Bardstown and sent the bone to a forensic anthropologist in Painesville, hoping their report will help his case. Later in the day, he got word that the bone is human with traces of lye, and sulfuric acid on them.

Elmer called in to report Bo dug up a skull buried under his porch. When word got out about that gruesome fact, others around the town reported bones Bo had dug up in their yard. Everyone thought they were just animals, but now they found out that may not be the case.

In Plainville, Forensics Pathologist, Andy Hensley, checked the head for any evidence of how the victim died. Why did the murderer leave the skull intact was still a mystery, but now they knew for sure Marty was shot twice to the back of his head with one bullet still embedded in the skull. Either the murderer was sloppy, or he wanted to be found. "Maybe we can get some fingerprints off of that bullet, if not, we have the gun that'll show this bullet came from there."

Detective Hall walked back to the holding cell and stared Todd directly in the eye to ask, “Your dog has been busy gathering evidence, digging up bones all over Bardstown. Now, he's dug up Marty's skull which makes me wonder what you know about this. We're also tracing the fingerprints found on the bullet embedded in his skull. What do you know about all of this?”

"I know it was a sloppy job but I still hoped to get away with it," Todd sighed. "Then my own dog, with all his digging, gets me arrested and convicted!"

798 words

Written for "The Bard's Hall Contest
Featured In Short Stories: Itch, Scratch, Itch, Sept. 13, 2022, Editors Pick
Featured in Mystery Newsletter: A Holiday Mystery, December 20, 2022
Featured in February Mystery Newsletter, January 31, 2023

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