Winner of the SCREAMS! Contest. There's something odd about Bob's new partner.
|I’ve always hated the smell of roast beef. Never much cared for the taste of it either, as a matter of fact. So when the police chief stuck me with George as a new partner, I was pretty peeved. The guy showed up to work every day, on time, with a carefully pressed uniform, but he reeked of roast beef.
I always figured his old lady cooked it a lot. Maybe it was his favorite so she overindulged him. I didn’t care. I just knew that the chief had a lot of nerve sticking him with me. He knew how much I hated that foul smell. Come to think of it. I didn’t really like beef at all, roasted or not.
As my luck would have it, I found myself stuck in a rundown police cruiser with good old George on the hottest day of the year, with no air conditioning. Our suspect, a middle-aged janitor at the high school was lazing away the day in his home in the trailer park. The chief had reason to believe that he would be striking again soon, so we waited.
“What was it they say he did again?” George flipped a page in his “Grill Masters” magazine and studied an ad for a fancy meat smoker.
“Haven’t you been paying attention? We think he’s the guy that’s been abducting all those tourists. Not that I blame him, exactly, you know how I feel about those damn hipster tourists.”
“Hell, Bob, maybe you’re the guy we’re looking for,” George threw his head back and laughed a lot more than the joke warranted.
“Shut up. If I was the one that was doing God knows what with those people, I for sure wouldn’t shut myself in a stuffy car on a Saturday with you, even to make myself look innocent. I’d rather be locked up.” I really needed to have a chat with the chief about this situation. My new partner just wasn’t working out.
“Relax, Partner. I’m just joking around. You need to lighten up. I’ll bring you some of the magnificent Filet Mignon I cooked up last night. Best thing I ever ate.”
“Now that you mention it, Partner, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about the way you smell. It’s the damn beef, you reek of it. I didn’t want to say nothin’, but I’m stuck in this rotisserie oven with ya, and I’m about to ask the chief to arrange another transfer.”
George smiled. I found that odd because I had just insulted him. He licked his lips and flipped to a page in his magazine.
“You like a rotisserie, Bob? Come over tomorrow night. It’ll be a rare treat. I’m thinking, some Swedish meatballs, maybe a little Canadian bacon.” George’s eyes rolled back into his head, his face a mask of pleasure and delight. I was beginning to think this George guy wasn’t okay at all.
“Hey, Bob?” George recovered, and stared right at me. “Where are you from, Bob? Your family, I mean. Originally?”
I figured this was a strange time for those icebreaker getting-to-know-each-other things, but I guess I might as well try to get along. Mostly because the chief wasn’t likely to give me a new partner over a little meaty body odor.
“Germany, I think.”
“Ahh, splendid! A little German sausage, it is then!” He flipped to a recipe in his magazine and slapped the page enthusiastically. “So, you’ll come? Tomorrow afternoon. Be there.”
Hell, I couldn’t think of any reason not to humor the guy. He did seem to be talented with a barbecue grill.
“No beef, and it’s a deal.”
George clapped his hands like a giddy schoolgirl. “No beef. I promise. It’ll be a surprise. A BIG surprise.”
“Settle down, weirdo, it’s not that big of a deal. Just dinner.” It started to get late, and our suspect hadn’t budged. Maybe we’d never solve this whole missing tourists case.
I pulled the cruiser away from the trailer park and dropped George off at his house. I noticed a car in his driveway with Canadian plates. “You got company, Partner?”
“Not exactly. “ George stepped out of the car and turned back. “Oh hey, if you happen to have a bit of cumin, sage, and carraway at home--”
“You want me to bring them along?”
“No. Eat them. Before you come over.” He flashed me a grin that was almost…
Sexy? I shook my head at my weird new friend. “Sure, okay. Will that make my meal better or something?”
George laughed a shrill, haunting laugh as he disappeared inside his house.
What a strange, strange man.
Oh well. I drove off to heat up a tv dinner, fill out the paperwork for the day’s failed stakeout, wonder where those darn tourists were disappearing to, and look forward to George’s delicious cooking.
Written for the SCREAMS! contest.
Prompt: The source of that awful smell