Reuben chomped on a crispy chicken back at the kitchen table when Deputy Nancy smoldered in through the back door, coughing smoke.
“Tanning again, Nanc?”
“These are flash burns!” The deputy dented her waist with the oven door handle. “Bog fog was thick. Smashed a boulder. Patrol car’s toast.”
“Another one?” Reuben threw his half-eaten back, missed the trashcan, then whipped his fake cherry curls starboard. “I wish you’d learn how to drive.”
She lifted her splashed face from the kitchen faucet and blinked at him. “Don’t bitch. Someone around here has to work.”
“You raped and killed another man, didn’t you?” Armed with a broken wing, Reuben swam to her in his salmon flip-flops. “I am this close to telling your husband!”
“Oh God, Reuben. Don’t destroy out little adulterous love nest. No. I’ll do anything. Anything!”
He matched her singsong mockery, “Of course you’ll do anything. You’re a psycho killer.” Then he gnawed a breast. “Okay. Who was he?”
Turning away, “The mayor.”
“Fug! Did you at least rob him?”
“What? I’m no thief! Besides, after I ran over him four times, the bog monster came up and gobbled him.”
“The bog monster again?” He shook a leg at her. “I am this close to exposing you to internal affairs.”
“Already did that, Mr. This Close. Three cops proposed to me.”
Deputy Nancy compressed wet paper towels against her scarlet face, then lowered the mask into the sink. “Any chicken left?”
“My God, I should have researched you before I gave up my ghost hunting career,” Reuben growled, texting. “You’re so ate up!”
“Right. Can’t you go back to work at Hardee’s?”
“With this?” He untied his ochre ribbon, revealing a seven-ten split scar on his forehead. “Remember braking for that toddler, and me flying through the windshield? I’m gutter balls, baby! Finito!” He handed her his phone. “There. I texted your husband everything: rapes, murders, that alleged bog monster you raised from a tadpole, your execrable driving.”
“That’s not my husband’s number, so.”
Reuben’s shawl dropped. “Stop lying to me! Now call your office and explain that someone car-jacked your ass. Just don’t stand there. Well?”
Deputy Nancy checked her watch, straightened her badge, drew her gun, and riddled Reuben’s wig so it spun around twice, which sent him squealing to the front door, where he whirled to her and parted his locks. “You’ll hear from my psychoanalyst!” Opening the door brought him face-to-face with the bog monster. He squealed again, and was rapidly devoured, mostly.
Separated by twenty feet of uncomfortable living space, Deputy Nancy and the bog monster regarded each other altruistically, collusively, and with other telling adverbs, until the creature nodded, sort of, then slugged lugubriously into Reuben’s sparkling moonlit dune buggy.
Vroom! Screech! Rrrrrrrrrr-clank-rrrrrrrrrr-clack-clack-clack-clack…
The Deputy stood chuckling at a dark window, chomping a thigh and watching the bog monster stop the buggy under a street light, signal with Reuben’s severed right arm to make a left turn, then turn right.
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