“The Chips are Mine”
Filton Sibley, Detective. Case #234
Copyright 2019, Ric Jonsen
The scene was hard to take.
Not necessarily because a murder had happened in the small West Side Chicago apartment in the past few hours. Not even because the victim had been stabbed, and as stabbings go this was a particularly aggressive one. Blood splatter was everywhere.
The real tragedy was the snacks. The victim was just about ready for an afternoon movie. The classic movie channel was on and the TV still showing the black and white film. The couch looked comfy (probably more comfy without the blood spatter.) And to top it all off, a lovely array of snacks had been lined up neatly in the kitchen: cookies, popcorn, summer sausage, and even a kettle of Eddie’s Home Cooked Potato Chips, one of Chicagoland’s most revered delivered snacks.
Those snacks reminded me I was late for a dinner with my sweetie, but I did love me some Eddie’s chips. Just something about potato chips in a big greasy can delivered to your door by a sweaty man in a truck. Made me hungry for the Randall’s Ribs dinner I knew awaited me soon. Although to be honest, the pooled blood was making it difficult to think about extra barbecue sauce.
“And your name is?” Asked the medical examiner standing up from the body.
“Filton Sibley, CUDD,” I said proudly.
The small balding man blinked. There was an uncomfortable pause before I realized why he was not responding.
“Oh sorry, CUDD is a new division of the Chicago Police Department, stands for Chicago Upper Division Detectives.”
“Great. Sign here…legibly. I’m an old man and I don’t see as well as I used to.” He grimaced and handed me a clipboard with his findings: Murder. Clearly a man who loved his job. I signed myself as witness and officer on scene.
“I hate my job,” he sighed and took the clipboard, leaving as fast as possible.
Being a detective of previously stated newly upper division status, I surveyed the scene for clues.
I checked the rest of the apartment as the late spring sun set through trees and buildings outside the windows facing the city. The guy lived much differently than I did. No ungodly stack of clothes on the floor of his bedroom. No bathroom with mold everywhere. No kitchen with dishes piled up.
He also had a disturbing lack of bills piled everywhere. No usual late notices and utility cutoffs like normal people. No warnings from landlords of eviction. This guy was some sorta goody-two shoes.
My detecting was interrupted by a loud shriek at the door. A red-headed woman was screaming at the top of her lungs. I would say we held her back, but it was just me and Pete Smith, the officer who had been called to the scene and “standing guard” at the door. But I rarely touch people, and Pete was just pretty lazy.
She approached the victim and frantically danced near the body.
“Now miss,” Pete said, “Please don’t touch the body.”
“We are still investigating that ma’am,” I said, half-heartedly hiding the chips with my body in case she saw them and wanted them too. “May I ask when the last time you saw Mister….” I had forgotten his name. I looked to Pete who just shrugged.
“Allen, Trevor Allen” she said. “I think it was maybe this morning. I asked him if he wanted to do something today but he said he had a date.”
“Apparently it was Katherine Hepburn,” Pete said, nodding towards the TV.
“Who is that? I’ll kill her!” The redhead snarled. Pete rolled his eyes.
“So that made you angry, Miss…?”
“I’m Shirley, and…well, yeah. I know he was buying a ring and I thought it was for me, but then he said he had a date so…”
“So,” I began my usual detective wrap-up where I solved the case dramatically in front of the killer, and an audience…even though that audience was just Pete Smith. “You came to see who he was having a “date” with, saw the comfy couch, saw the TV on, not to mention this lovely array of snacks.” I paused and moved in front of the snacks in case either was as hungry as me.
“Then,” I continued grandly, “you killed him in a fit of rage!”
“No, it wasn’t me! I swear!” She started to cry. “He was alive when I left.”
He was alive when I left. The oldest line in the book. Well, actually the oldest line in the book was “No it wasn’t me, I swear!”
“Hey, what’s that?” Pete asked, looking at the coffee table. He reached down and picked up a bloody knife hidden under the body.
“Oh my god!” Shirley screamed. “Someone stabbed him!”
I reached down and picked up something else. I sighed.
“What is it?” Pete asked.
“I rarely miss sausage,” I admitted. I loved sausage. If I die from something other than an evil mad man’s dastardly plot, my family has instructions to say “If only he hadn’t eaten so much sausage” at my funeral.
I looked down at the carpet that started at the living room area, including the part that wasn’t tacked down properly.
“He tripped, dropped the sausage, then fell on the knife,” I said dejected, big reveal thwarted by the facts. “He must have nicked an artery.”
“So no murder,” Pete said.
The sausage in my hand reminded me I was going to be late if I didn’t hoof it to the Gold Coast.
“Get her statement,” I said, and tried to get by Pete quickly into the hallway.
Pete looked out of the door after me. “Hey Filton, whatcha got there?”
I kept walking hiding the can greedily in front of me.
“Under the circumstances I left the sausage, but the chips are mine!”
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