Millstone – Novel 02 Ch. 04

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The Case of Pure Blue Murder

All Rights Reserved © 2021, Rick Haydn Horst

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to read the first novel in this series: Hanging the Chimney Hook listed as Millstone Novel 01 before you read this one!


Tucker’s Journal

In the past, my regulars would never come to my home, I would go to theirs, and once the sex had ended—without exception—they would give me those subtle indicators of my expected departure with everything but handing me my hat. And while I could slip into the role of the aggressor during sex, I felt reluctant to intrude by hanging about uninvited.

Wade hadn’t merely wanted me to stay, he invited me to live with him and consider it my home, but I felt ambivalent. On one hand, I had lived alone since my emancipation at 15, and the house fire that brought Wade and I together in a more permanent living arrangement had placed me into an uncomfortable, needy position. But on the other hand, part of me felt that if I had to lose everything a thousand times to have Wade in my life, it would probably be worth it.

Wade appealed to me in several ways. He had a handsome face, a fit body, and he looked incredible in a suit, but also, he spoke to me as if he had nothing to hide. He answered my questions with candor, and he asked me about myself in return, rather than just keeping himself the main topic of conversation. That may have come from his detective training or some natural inquisitiveness, but he hadn’t just pretended to know me based on some superficial understanding or rumors, as others had done. He thought for himself and made up his own mind about things. From the moment we met, I felt that he and I were drawn to one another, and we clicked like we belonged.

My going down on Wade the previous evening had broken some of the ice between us, but the next morning, after I pushed the dishes out of the way, I sat naked atop the dining table, preparing to feed Wade another serving of hot breakfast. As it was his first time with me, he needed some instruction, but he proved himself a quick study. On the first round, it hadn’t taken long for Wade to lose his fear of my cyclops. He realized that he had in his grip an amazing new toy that he could play with any time he wanted. He jacked me with both hands sucking down the precum that poured from the gaping hole. He pressed my fat cock to his skin, feeling the heat on his cheeks and inhaling my scent, while leaving a trail of slippery pre on his masculine, cleanly shaven face. It had been over a week since I had cum, so it wouldn’t have mattered what he did, or even if he had used bad technique, his efforts had me on the verge of feeding him a second time within 10 minutes anyway. After giving him a three-second warning, he planted his mouth over the end, and I rewarded him with seven more shots, which he allowed to linger on his tongue and gulped down in earnest.

He pulled his lips from the bulbous head of my oversized meat, resting it in his palms, staring at it with a smile. “Your cock is a lot of fun. It’s beautiful, and delicious, and its size really gives me something to hang onto.”

“I swear,” I said. “One taste, and I’ve become little more than a purveyor of exquisite Crème-du-Moi, haven’t I?”

I loved to hear him laugh, and he had me smiling when I had him cracking up. I sensed we had broken the remains of the ice between us, and he seemed happy in a way that he hadn’t been since I moved in. When he stood to hug me, I wrapped my arms and legs around him and said, “For a while there, I worried that you would be too afraid of my size to touch me. But if this is all we ever do, I want you to know that I’m fine with that, okay? Just so long as I’m with you.”

“You wanna know something?” he asked, squeezing me. “Along with a purveyor of exquisite crème, obviously, I think if we give it some time, you could be something to me that no one has ever been.”

“What’s that?”

He pulled back and stared at me for a moment studying my face, and although I could see he wanted to, he couldn’t say it. He kissed me for several minutes, but we heard the ringer on his phone. Upon noticing who called, he said, “damn,” and sat to answer it, disappointed by the interruption.

The department had scheduled Wade to take the day off, but someone had found a body. “Since Detective Torres transferred to San Diego this week,” he said, “we’re now running two detectives short at the Midtown Precinct.”

“How did that happen?”

“The only officer ready for a detective badge is Albert, and he was to replace Torres, but two weeks ago Jennings quit and moved to Colorado for a chance to fulfill his dream of raising alpacas. None of us could blame him kırıkkale escort really; after all, alpacas are adorable.”

“Sounds like a bad time for him to leave though.”

“There’s never a good time, and Torres has a family thing in San Diego. He had already waited three months for the transfer to go through. When opportunities come along, you just need to make up your mind and do it when the time comes. I wouldn’t want to spread the detectives so thin by handing this case over to one of the others when they already have cases. I know it’s a week early, but I think I will push the higher-ups to let Albert take the test to make detective as soon as possible. It’s just a matter of procedure anyway; they can’t just hand him a detective badge. I’ve been over the material with him, so I know he’ll pass the test. Besides, if we don’t fill at least one of the positions, I’ll never have a day off. I’m sorry that I can’t drive you to the Jeep dealer.”

“That’s okay; I’ll get a cab. So, where’s the body?”

“The Crypt at Gothwick Cemetery.” He rose from his seat.

“The Crypt?” I hopped from the table and took Wade’s hand. “Well, boyfriend, if that’s where you’re going, we should find you a shirt with a high collar.”

As I figured he would, Wade left dressed in his usual gray suit. His unexpected departure gave me spare time before I could pick up my Jeep, so after I cleaned up from breakfast, I had a quick one-hour workout in the gym on the ground floor. Usually, I worked out with Millstone and Max, but that typically happened early morning during the week, so I saw the same guys every day. That later-morning workout meant I saw a new set of faces with eyes that had not seen me naked in the shower. Millstone warned me that I should expect some curiosity from the other club members when I started living there.

Unlike a lot of guys, even with the increased risk of skin cancer, I never minded getting the pale genes. Being a redhead, my body won’t produce black or brown melanin, so my skin won’t tan; it just burns. And throughout my life, I’ve had to take precautions. I’ve always had indoor jobs, I avoid standing in the sun, and I wear long sleeves during the day. I almost never go without a shirt, but no matter what, I use an awful lot of full spectrum sunblock. That level of caution is sometimes a lot of work, but the effort’s worth it; I have only a few faded freckles, and my skin is evenly pale.

After my workout, I stood at one of the sinks making a careful trim and shave of my auburn beard to maintain its shape. I sauntered into the gang shower that morning, shower bag in hand. The light in the shower made my pumped muscles covered in hairless ivory skin stand out among the eight other guys there with their various depths of sun-kissed and naturally darker skin. To my left, someone was blowing a hot guy against the clear glass wall to the locker room, and over the sound of the water spray, the rhythmic slapping of skin on skin instantly told me someone was getting their bubble pounded off to the right.

When naked, my appearance has invariably attracted a lot of attention, primarily from my cock hanging off me like the underdeveloped thigh of a vestigial twin. For years, I had a shyness about it, but I felt myself rapidly changing, especially after that morning with Wade. His acceptance of me gave me a new sense of lightheartedness. I could feel the eyes on me when I entered, and I took the closest available shower head.

“Hey, you’re Tucker, aren’t you?” asked a guy at the shower beside me, and he sounded strangely enthusiastic.

I smiled a little, put my finger to my lips, and quipped in a loud whisper, “Shhh! That’s my secret identity. So, what gave me away?”

“The combination of the hair color, those envy inducing legs of yours, and that beef baguette you got there. It’s good to finally meet you.” He held his hand out for me to shake and I did.

“You’ve heard of me?”

“Word of you has spread through the police department,” he said. “You have a lot of admirers.”

“Oh? Why is that?”

“We respect you for putting yourself in harm’s way like you did. You got shot and still managed to catch Bo Pecker last Saturday night. Man, that is huge. Between all that, and seeing you in person, I understand why Detective Edgerton talks so much about you at the Midtown Precinct. You’re a unique and amazing man.”

I gave him my thanks, but I stood there showering a bit embarrassed and stunned; I hadn’t really known what to say to any of that or what to do with that information. In my past, it seemed that I only came up in conversation when something bad happened, and I got the blame. Millstone told me that genuineness and a polite manner could take someone pretty far in this world. Was that why my life had changed?

Back in Wade’s quarters, I went commando in a pair of cinnamon-colored low-rise jeans. Max insisted I have several pairs of those in various earthy escort kırıkkale colors. After the previous night, I knew Wade liked to see me in that style. I pulled out a moss green Henley with cream colored Raglan long-sleeves to wear with my favorite rustic Red Wing boots. I gelled my hair, brushed it, donned my sunglasses, and grabbed the antiqued brown leather backpack that Wade gifted me for necessities to keep in the Jeep. I made it to the ground floor just in time for the cab.

In route, Wade called, asking me to meet him at the Placid Motel for a second crime scene, and I knew where to find the place. When I first moved to Franklin, I stayed a couple of nights there. At the time, the Placid Motel had a different owner, and was called the Nighty-Knight Motel. It was a quaint little motel with an amusing eyesore out front, a ginormous sign—visible two blocks away—featuring a caricature of a drowsy-looking knight, carrying a droopy lance, mounted on an exhausted horse. It certainly caught the eye on a boulevard lined with businesses that preferred more tasteful signage. However, the motel had mid-century modern style, so when a gay couple bought it from the owner, they changed the name and replaced the sign to something more geometric and less obtrusive, but I liked the old sign; it made me laugh.

Once the dealership finished the paperwork, I signed the receipt to take possession, and they gave me my copies along with the keys. I stood under the awning as they finished detailing the hardtop of my first brand new vehicle, a sarge-green Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. I made a note to myself to get the windows tinted a bit darker over the factory tint as soon as possible.

The Placid Motel sat down the boulevard from the Jeep dealer and only three blocks from the Belcaro on Brie Street where Millstone, Max and I spent the previous evening. Wade gave me my police pass that morning, provided by the department to the agency for when they requested consultation. I pulled mine from my bag, and once I showed it to the officer who stopped incoming traffic to the motel, I hung it around my neck. The motel’s parking lot had a few guests’ vehicles, but also Wade’s SUV, police vehicles, a forensics team, and a fully opened, white delivery van outside the last room, number 20, with lab specialists taking samples of every nook and cranny there and inside that particular motel room.

I parked the Jeep away from the scene like everyone else and left my vehicle with the aroma of leather and new car scents lingering in my nose. So that no one would question me at the scene, I obtained a pair of nitrile gloves as a precaution from one of the forensic techs.

I saw Wade through the open curtain talking with a uniform officer. When he checked his phone for a text message, he glanced out the window and noticed me by the police tape and waved me closer under the covered walkway. He left the room, and we moved down the sidewalk to the corner of the building out of the sun.

“So,” I said, “two in one day at two different locations.”

“It’s rare for Franklin, but it happens. The pathologist is on his way from the other scene, and I called Millstone and Max; they’re on the way too. I thought this crime was separate, but they’re connected. A case of Blue Murder Italian wine was delivered to the club yesterday, and this guy delivered it. I don’t want to repeat myself about the rest, so let’s wait for Millstone.” He craned his neck checking out my vehicle. “Nice Jeep, that’s an appropriate vehicle for a tough man like you.”

“Tough…is that how you see me?”

“You dislocated the shoulders of a really big man after being shot,” he said. “I think that qualifies, but you’re more than just that. There’s far more to you than I realized when we met, and you’re much smarter than you sometimes pretend.”

“But I enjoy pretending; I’m so good at it. When it comes to that, I want you to know that Millstone, Max, Albert, and you will only ever get the real me. And I only appear to be smart. Apart from work and training, all the spare time that I couldn’t use pounding the bubble of some masochist, I spent reading.”

“Well, I can think of far less productive ways to spend your time. But speaking of sex, thank you for this morning, I needed that.”

“I needed it too, and from now on, all my Crème-du-Moi has your name on it.”

Millstone’s Sources

The broader perspective of the two deaths having a link turned this strange circumstance into something much larger, and it had me intrigued, but we needed more information. Edgerton requested that we view the other scene, so after we said goodbye to Albert, I happened to glance down just as we turned to leave, and I noticed something odd about the floor, so I stopped us for a moment. Depending on where you stood, what I saw would become invisible to the eye, due to the rooms limited lighting. They had polished and treated the floor to a shine. And kırıkkale escort bayan while they were a little damaged from having walked on them in our covered shoes, I could almost make out a set of distinctive tennis shoe tread patterns on the floor, a trail of spots, and a light haze where the body lay.

“Albert, walk to the far right, and close the door for a minute.” He closed the door and returned to our side.

“I see what you’re seeing,” said Max.

“I’m not seeing it,” said Albert.

I got him to come around to my other side and bend at the right angle.

“I only see a couple left prints heading toward the door,” I said. “If there were many more than that, I would just view it as a common occurrence, but there’s just a couple.”

“Why is there just a couple?” asked Max.

I pulled out my phone to use the flashlight. I got onto my hands and knees, getting as close to the floor haze as possible. “From these round spots nearby, it looks like…let me check something.” I got up and moved carefully to the bathroom. The room wasn’t exactly lavish but serviceable, like an inexpensive hotel bathroom with a standing shower. The floor wasn’t stone. They covered it with linoleum, and it had a hatchway to give access to a cavity beneath the floor that provided a crawlspace for the plumbing. The towel rack by the shower held two towels and only one of them had been used. Beneath the towels, against the wall, sat a pair of house shoes with a rubber sole. From the glass door alone, I could see what I had suspected, a thick layer of mineral deposits covered the interior and shower head.

Max and Albert stood in the doorway of the bathroom watching me.

“Looks pretty bad, doesn’t it?” asked Albert. “Glad our shower at the Minotaur doesn’t do that.”

“The water supply must come from a different source,” said Max.

“This was a nuclear bunker. It probably comes from deep underground here.”

“Wouldn’t that get contaminated?”

He shrugged. “It was built in the 1950s, so what would they know?”

I turned on the shower. Many of the holes in the shower head had clogged, and it had inadequate pressure. “Okay, here’s a scenario for you,” I said. “Let’s suggest that Barty had company, I’m unsure what happened prior, but they showered—one at a time, I suspect. The guest goes first and dries off (that towel is theirs, so it probably has their DNA on it). During the wait for Barty to shower, the guest gets dressed and lays the case of Blue Murder on the table, scratching it. Barty easily hears them, and before he dries himself, he leaves the bathroom soaking wet, maybe even a little soapy. Watch your feet, fellas, you’re damaging evidence.”—I left the bathroom to illustrate my story—”He confronts the person, they struggle for a moment, and somehow Barty slips on the slick floor or is pushed. He falls, and his head slams onto the granite surface. Seeing that Barty’s out cold, he finishes what he started, he opens the case, either gets interrupted by a third party, or—more likely—he doesn’t find what he’s looking for and leaves. He stepped into the water left on the floor by Barty, and that results in those two left shoe prints. Once the person is gone, the victim lays on the floor out cold, possibly dying. Time passes, the floor and the body dries, and all that’s left is a barely detectable haze of minerals from the water on the otherwise shiny floor. I also see the remains of some bare footprints leaving the bathroom.” I searched for shoe prints around where the body lay. I ran my gloved finger over the floor surface where the body’s back would have prevented the floor from drying quickly. “If the person killed Barty, there would be easily noticeable prints around him, but there are no prints pointed toward or away from the body. And the floor where the body lay is still slightly damp.”

“So,” said Albert, “whoever hammered the stake into Barty’s heart, probably wasn’t the person who opened the case. They would have needed to return after the floor dried, and that seems unlikely.”

“You know what to do, right?” I asked.

Albert nodded. “Get these few pieces bagged and tagged, see if the remaining forensic team can photograph those prints, and take a sample of the mineral residue. I’ll take care of this, you two should go.”

I gave Albert a hug. “See you later, cousin.”

When we left the bedroom, we headed toward the rear of the great room where an officer blocked the exit to the lift. The eyes of the weeping residents followed us, and the one named Genevieve approached us as we passed. “We want to thank you for helping to find who killed Barty, but we have a question,” she said, and as she spoke, I could see the tips of her vampire-like canine teeth.

“I have no answers,” I said. “You’ll need to direct all your questions to Officer Sawyer.” And I pointed back toward the room we left and unconsciously I think I sped up a little.

Down in the darker nightclub, I kept my personal thoughts to myself, and just worked the case while we acted like nothing that we saw seemed the least bit unusual. The moment Max and I left the Vampire Goths’ underground lair, however, we stood under the harsh sun at the fake mausoleum that held the elevator entrance, and I turned to Max saying, “What the fuck was all that?”

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