Cold-Cocked…an Abe Spiers and Buster ‘Tiny’ Williams mystery…unedited…

I sat on my porch sipping my coffee and listened to the coyotes’ howl at the full moon that hung low in its silverly glow. My phone rang, and I glanced over at it. I went back to listening to the symphony of coyote calls, but the phone kept ringing.
“Yeah,” I answered. “This is Abe Spiers.”
“I assume you know as to why I’m calling you, detective.”
“Well, come on down past Willy Wilkes place and find out. You’ll see the lights. We’re off down in the swamp, down here on the right.”
“Call someone else, Traylor. I’m on suspension.”
“Your suspension has been lifted, for now. This case is ugly, about as ugly as your methods, Spiers. Me and the chief figured you are used to playing in the sewers, so you should feel right at home.”
“Thanks, Traylor.”
“That’s Lieutenant Traylor to you scumbag.”
I hung up the phone and walked inside my cabin. That raw feeling that gnaws at your guts when you know something is wrong was back. I made another cup of coffee, shoved my subcompact sidearm into my holster, and walked out to my truck. The old diesel fired up right away, and I drove down to the location given to me by Traylor. He stood out by the cars, smoking an old pipe and shouting out orders at people.
Most ignored him, for he felt the need to overcompensate his shortcomings with an abrasive personality. I pulled off the side of the road, killed my truck, and scooped up my coffee cup.
“What took you so long, Spiers? Your partner is here already, and he lives on the other side of town.”
I looked down at Lt. Traylor and forced a smile. Traylor stood maybe an inch over four feet, his dark eyes bored into mine, and I took a sip of my coffee.
“Sorry, Lt. I had to make another cup of coffee, and I just wasn’t in a rush to come off suspension.”
“Get in there,” Traylor hissed at me.
Some patrol officers stood next to their patrol cars, they nodded when I walked up. One of them smirked and said, “been back two minutes and already made Traylor mad, eh Spiers?”
“He’s always mad,” I answered back, as I walked down to the edge of the black water. Barrels floated in the water, and my partner, Buster ‘Tiny’ Williams stood on the shoreline crossing himself, his lips moved as he prayed silently.
At 6’6, my partner was easily the tallest person on the force, and given his preference for fried food, and his oily skin, he was also the heaviest. Morbidly obese, I believe was the term the doctors used to describe him. Tiny was an affable human being, polite, and filled with holy vigor, although he was the only one to use the words holy vigor to describe him. He was a devout Catholic, his mom was a voodoo priestess.
“So, why am I here, Tiny?”
“Jesus, Abe. Don’t do that! You scared the crap out of me, boy.”
“Then, it’s a good thing you got right with your savior, Tiny.”
“Don’t mock my faith, Abe.”
“I’m not, I just saw you cross yourself.”
“Look over there. You see that pile of mix-matched pale and dark next to that barrel?”
“Un-huh,” I said, taking a sip of coffee. “I see it. What about it?”
“That’s decomposed bodies.”
“Well, we better get over there and have a look.”
“Un-uh. You go ahead.”
“Say again?”
“Momma always told me to stay away from black water. Said it seeps into your soul, taints the good inside of you. I’ll wait for you here, Abe.”
“Your mom is a voodoo priestess, bruh. Of course, she said that. How else would she get you to listen to her?”
“I got your back from here.”
“Jesus,” I muttered as I walked over to the techs gathered around the barrel. Our Medical Examiner, Dr. Abby Robinson, turned to face me. She ran a hand over her black eye and grimaced.
“Wow. Look who’s back,” she said in greeting.
“Yeah. What happened to you? Did you tango with some banjo-picking, toothless redneck out here?”
“They had a prize fight over at Prickly Richards this past weekend. I got a few drinks in me and decided to show ‘em how it’s done.”
“Did you win, Abby?”
“No. Came in second. Still took home five hundred dollars though or would have had I not gambled it all away.”
“Awesome. What do we have here?”
“It’s kind of hard to tell out here in the swamp. I’ll have to get it to the lab, but what I can tell you is this, there are multiple bodies crammed in this barrel. You see that mass there at your feet? Those are all arms, and whoever did this, cut ‘em up and shoved ‘em in the barrel.”
“Hmm,” I muttered, as I took another sip of my coffee. “What about all those barrels?”
“I kinda figure they hold the remaining body parts, Spiers.”
“Okay. Thanks, Abby. Let me know how many bodies we’re talking about, and when you get the DNA results back-if you get any result back.”
“Will do, Spiers. It’s gonna be a couple of days for the DNA, but I’ll let you know how many, what gender, and other pertinent information by close of business tomorrow.”
“Thanks, that’ll get us started.”
I motioned at Tiny, and he crossed himself again.

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