Igor Wolf had been working in the homicide department for five years. He’d worked his way up from uniform to detective in a little over nine years, and was youngest homicide detective in the department. Apart from being very good at his job, Igor prided himself on his sometimes unique way of solving the crimes he was assigned. Common sense, along with a few tips here and there from informants and some unconventional friends made for a successful investigator.
He cleared his desk this evening, he looked at his watch. As of ten minutes ago, he was officially on vacation. Igor hadn’t had a real vacation in almost five years and he desperately needed some time off. Unfortunately, as he would soon learn, St. Croix would have to wait.
“Wolf!” shouted another officer from across the room. “Captain Hanson wants you at this address, pronto!” The officer handed Igor a note with an address and walked away. Igor sighed and crumpled up the note, “Shit!”
He pulled into the street written on the note and drove toward the last house in the cul de sac. There were at least half a dozen police cars, and he quickly noticed the silver unmarked car belonging to the captain. As he walked into the house, he immediately noticed the upheaval in the living room. He looked down and saw a trail of blood and followed it into the bedroom.
“What do you think?” asked a hoarse voice behind him. Igor turned toward Captain Hanson.
“Well, I think he’s dead.” He stated calmly.
“Your powers of deduction are amazing, Wolf.” Hanson shook his head and pointed toward the victim, then gestured around the room. “What do you think happened?”
“The hell do I know. I just got here.” said Igor, as he walked around the room, careful not to disturb any potential evidence.
“And you better stay here until you find some starting point to all of this.” Hanson began to turn and walk out of the room when Igor grabbed his arm.
“Wait, I’m on vacation as of half an hour ago.”
Hanson smiled and took the toothpick from his mouth. “Your vacation is on hold. The beaches will have to wait.”
“That’s not fair! Igor complained.
“I know, but that’s what you get for being so good at your job.” Hanson patted Igor’s shoulder and left. Sighing heavily, he shook his head. Knowing there was nothing he could do to change the captain’s mind; he began the task of collecting evidence and talking to any possible witnesses. He finally left the scene after three in the morning. Once home, he didn’t even bother to change his clothes, he simply fell on his bed and rolled into the covers. Within five minutes, he was sound asleep.
*tap tap tap*
Igor stirred slightly and moaned into the pillow.
*tap tap tap* “Igor…Igor”
“What?” a muffled voice answered.
“I’m hungry. Get me something to eat.”
“Oh, get something yourself.” said Igor, clearly irritated.
“OW!” Igor sat up and grabbed his head. “Jesus, Fred!” He felt a stinging sensation on his head then looked at his fingers. “I’m bleeding!”
“You’re lucky you weren’t scalped you insensitive bastard! You know damned well I can’t make myself anything to eat with these!” Fred yelled as he held up his paws.
“Oh please, Fred. Like that’s stopped you before.”
“I can’t open that new refrigerator you bought. You leave me no other choice than to wait for you to get home.” Fred’s tail was thrashing side to side, clearly a sign of his displeasure at that moment. “Come on, I want some of that roast beef you made me the other day.” He hopped off the bed and walked to the kitchen, fully expecting Igor to follow him, which he did.
As Fred jumped on the counter, Igor opened the refrigerator and took out a plate of cold roast beef, he’d made at the beginning of the week. Igor was a vegetarian, but somehow, Fred always managed to get him to make roast some sort of animal for him. It was hard saying no to Fred. He could be very persuasive. He set the plate next to Fred and sat down.
“Why are you so late anyway? I thought you’d be getting home early so we can prepare for our vacation.” Fred tore a piece of beef from a larger piece and looked up at Igor.
“Yeah, well I’ve got some bad news.” Said Igor. “Vacation’s are on hold. The captain put me on a case this evening, and it doesn’t look good.”
“You’re kidding,” Fred looked up in disgust, his claws extended as he held his next bite. “Igor, please say this is a joke.” Fred needed a vacation just as bad as Igor, or so he thought.
“No, I’m not kidding. I’m not happy about it either, believe me.” Igor stood and wrapped up the plate of roast beef and put it back in the refrigerator. “Come on. I’ve got to get up early. I’ll call mom and tell her our visit is on hold for a bit.” On his way to St. Croix, Igor had planned on leaving Fred with his mother to take care of. Fred loved being at his human grandmother’s house. She spoiled him, much to Igor’s dismay. It often took several weeks to undo the damage his mother did when Fred stayed with her.
“Dammit!” Fred licked his paws and jumped from the counter to the table, then to the floor. As he walked back to the bedroom he had a thought. The sooner Igor’s case was solved, the sooner he’d be in the lap of luxury. He hopped up on the bed and waited for Igor to settle in. “So, if you solve this whodunit our vacation is back on track?”
Igor turned and looked at Fred. “Don’t get any ideas okay? This is going to take more than a day or two, Fred. You should have seen the crime scene. Talk about gross.”
“How gross?” asked Fred.
“Really gross, now please, let me get some sleep. I’ve got to get up early and start talking to friends and relatives of this guy. See if that leads me anywhere.” Igor quickly fell back asleep, leaving Fred to his plotting. He was determined to help find the guilty party. His vacation was at stake!
The following day, Igor woke up early. He decided to go back to the crime scene and have a look around the outside of the home. He’d also found an address book that belonged to the victim and decided he’d call some of the people listed. They might help in finding out who may have had reason to kill the victim, who’s name was Alfred Parsons. As he gathered his things, Fred came running down the hall.
“I’m ready, where to first?” asked Fred.
“Oh no, you are not coming with me.” Igor picked up a messenger bag he usually used when he was on a case and started walking out of the house. “If the captain sees you he’ll have a cow.”
“Come on, he can’t still be angry about his couch.”
“You ruined a brand new Italian leather couch. He didn’t have that thing in his office even half an hour and you tore the back to shreds!” yelled Igor.
“Who the hell pays attention to the back of a couch? It was against the wall!” Fred followed Igor, “That color didn’t match with any of his other stuff, I did him a favor.”
Igor stopped and looked down, “I’ll be sure to let him know of your generosity. You stay here.” As Igor opened the door Fred shot passed him and stood in front of him. “No you don’t. Get inside, Fred.”
“So, where’s the dog?” asked the black and white feline.
“Dog? What dog, where?” Igor looked around, thinking Fred had seen a dog in the yard.
“The dog that was in your victim’s house.”
Igor’s eyebrows shot up in disbelief, “How do you know there’s a dog?”
Fred gestured toward his nose, “The nose knows. I smelled a dog’s scent on your pants. I bet there was a dog in that house and no doubt Mr. Canine Familiaris saw something.”
Igor thought for a moment then made his decision. “You speak dog?”
“Of course! With that, Fred walked toward the car while Igor locked the front door. He would probably regret it, as he had on many other occasions in which Fred offered his assistance, but maybe was on to something. Fred looked like a normal cat on the outside, but on the inside he was a maniacal genius.
After getting confirmation from one of the first officers on the scene, Igor went to the local shelter. Mr. Parsons did indeed have a dog, and he was being looked after at the local shelter. When they arrived at the shelter, Fred slipped into Igor’s messenger bag, with much difficulty.
“Did you get a smaller bag?” asked Fred as he tried to find a comfortable position.
“No, it’s the same bag. Maybe you need to lay off the peanut butter crackers.” Igor closed the flap over his rotund cat and slung the bag’s strap over his shoulder. “Christ, Fred we need to put you on a diet.”
“You do and I’ll find a new place to deposit my hairballs, like your underwear drawer.”
As he walked through the door, Igor noticed the somber looks on the employee’s faces. They seemed upset. He walked toward the front desk and readied his identification.
“Good morning,” he opened his wallet which had his badge and photo identification. “I’m detective Wolf. I’m looking for a dog that was brought here by one of our officers last night.” The young woman nodded and went into a back room. When she came back, she was followed by another woman.
“Detective, I’m Holly Golding. Is there something I can help you with?”
“I hope so. Last night one of our officers brought a dog in, he’d belonged to a crime victim, and I wanted to see…” he was interrupted by Holly.
“Yes, I know the dog. He belonged to Mr. Parsons. Well, actually he was being fostered. It’s such a shame. Mr. Parsons was such a nice man and a wonderful volunteer.” She walked around the desk and motioned to Igor to follow her. “Coconut has been so hard to place. We had him brought in from our sister shelter in Miami.” As they walked through the building they went through several doors until finally they reached a larger room with many cages. There were at least fifty cages, all with two or three dogs to a cage. It was obvious the shelter was overcrowded. Fred peeked through a small hole on the side of the bag and looked at the dogs. He thanked the big tuna in the sky he was safely inside the bag. Igor and Holly walked to the last cage in the row. It was empty.
“Where is he?” asked Igor
“Coco, come on boy. You have a visitor.” Holly spoke in a high pitched voice as she clapped her hands and blew little kisses. Igor turned and looked at her. He briefly wondered if she may have been on some kind of medication. “There you are my little sweetie.” Hiding behind a wall, out came Coconut, the one hundred and fifteen pound Rottweiler. Igor took a step back.
“That’s Coconut?” Igor expected something smaller, something he didn’t feel compelled to put a saddle on.
“Oh he’s a wonderful dog, quite friendly. You know, detective he’d be a wonderful companion.” Holly knew that with Mr. Parsons gone, she would have to find another foster home for Coco. She knew Igor came to ask about the former volunteer, but there was always time to talk about a rescue. “Have you ever thought of fostering a dog, or adopting?
“No, I can’t, really.” Igor felt Fred moving inside the bag.
“He’s no trouble. He’s very well trained. He was surrender. The former owners lost their home and they couldn’t take him to their new apartment because of a no pet’s policy. Do you have your own home?”
“Yes, I do but…”
“That’s wonderful. He would make a fantastic guard dog as well.” Holly had a feeling with a little more convincing; Coco might find a new daddy.
“I really can’t, I work a lot of long hours.” Igor looked at Coconut, who was sitting in the cage, eyeing the bag.
“He’s quite smart. He can entertain himself for hours,” said Holly.
“I have a cat,” said Igor.
“Oh he loves cats,” said Holly excitedly.
“With the right seasoning, I’m sure he does.” Igor felt the strap on the bag begin to tear slightly. Just as he felt it might tear off, Holly excused herself.
“I’ll get a leash and you can walk him. You’ll see he’s wonderful.” Holly practically skipped out of the room, leaving Igor standing in front of the cage. At that moment, Fred popped his head out of the messenger bag.
“I can’t breathe in here,” he sniffed, “Ugh, I can’t breathe out here either.” Fred sniffed a bit more and looked into Coco’s cage. “That’s him. That’s the dog I smelled on your pants.” Coco stood and walked toward the door of the cage and sniffed, then barked. For a few moments the cat and the dog went back and forth, meowing and barking. “He says he saw the guy that killed the old man. We have to get him out of here.”
“Are you sure? I mean is he…safe?” asked Igor warily. Fred snorted. Igor could never figure out how he did this, but Fred managed.
“What are you afraid of Igor, that he’s going to chew your toe off or something?” Fred knew Igor secretly feared having his toes chewed off in his sleep. Apparently it had something to do with a childhood camping trip gone awry.
“Ha ha. All right, but he’s your responsibility.” Igor shook his head. Here he was, in the middle of an animal shelter actually thinking about bringing home a pet Rottweiler for his cat. Which was fine with Fred, since in his short conversation with Coco, he’d found out the dog knew how to open all kinds of refrigerators.
To be continued…