Our Holy Overlord of Foul-Mouthed Motivation, Chuck Wendig, has this week suggested (by which I mean he has ordered us at risk of the loss of our immortal souls) to write “1,500 words or so” with another genre mash-up as our seed corn.
Note that there’s a slightly higher word count this week. Note also that this has been done only after I’ve finally gotten some small amount of skill in getting my weekly pieces to actually be “1,000 words or so” instead of “1,000 words or so for really huge values of ‘so’“. Perhaps my ability to hit that goal was a key that Wendig’s inner GLaDOS was waiting for, or maybe he’s just screwing with me. (By which I mean “us”.)
The random number generator kicked out the values of 14 and 18, which gives me the task of doing a mash-up of “Murder Mystery” and “Kaiju“. No sweat! Here’s it is, with extra credit for those who find the Easter Eggs and thanks to Kat for helping me get my Japanese setting correct:
Dial “G” For Gamera
Inspector Noriaki Yuasa came into the break room, his overcoat dripping water all over the cracked linoleum as he hung it up next to the coffee pot. Grabbing a chipped mug, he filled it with caffeine laden sludge before crossing the hallway to the holding rooms.
Through the one-way glass he could see Doctor Saito fidgeting and squirming in the uncomfortable chair. Sitting at the battered steel table he was trying to pretend to read a magazine and occasionally sipping a soda, but he was clearly nervous. Given the circumstances, who wouldn’t be?
As the constant small tremors shook the building, Saito would pause and look around in vain for any way to indicate how strong the shaking was and more importantly, when the next shake was to come. Especially if the temblors were rhythmic and getting stronger.
Yuasa’s assistant, Detective Nobuo Munekawa, came in and silently handed Yuasa a folder. Yuasa flipped it open and quickly scanned the contents, a handful of hastily typed notes and some sort of printouts from the lab equipment downstairs. The detailed scientific results would be critical later when the trial began, but for now Yuasa needed to cut to the chase. It only took a second to find what he needed under “Cause of Death”.
Handing the folder back to Munekawa, Yuasa asked, “Did you read it?”
“Yes, Inspector, I did. It’s just as you thought.”
“What is the status of our other problem tonight?” the Inspector asked.
“The situation has not changed since earlier this evening,” Munekawa said. “The Army continues to track and engage, but the attack has moved away from us and it’s not something we have to worry about right now.”
“Very well. Please observe the interrogation from here and we will review the outcome later.” Yuasa opened the interrogation room door and went in to face Saito.
Saito jerked to his feet, startled, when Yuasa opened the door. Yuasa was tired as he walked to the table and pulled out the chair opposite Saito. As he set his coffee down he motioned for Saito to take his seat again.
Saito sat, but he could not hold his silence. “Do you have any word of my wife? Where is Kasumi? What is happening? Is she hurt? Is our home destroyed? What is happening with the monster?” Only when Yuasa held up his hand as if stopping traffic did Saito stop his stream of questions.
“The destruction is very bad,” Yuasa said. “As I’m sure you know, the beast came out of Tokyo Bay and took flight, landing at Haneda Airport. From there it began to march into Ōta, and there has been very extensive destruction.”
“Why are we here then?” Saito asked, his voice rising in panic. “Aren’t we in danger of being killed by the monster? We have to get away! Can’t you feel that? The ground is shaking and it is getting nearer! We have to run while we can!” Saito started to rise and head toward the door in a rush.
Despite his exhaustion, Yuasa rose just as quickly and put his hand on Saito’s shoulder, stopping him from reaching the door. He pointed back to the chair on the far side of the table and silently indicated that Saito should return to it. Saito slowly did as he was told, all the while looking around wildly at every vibration or shudder of the building.
“I assure you, we are safe here for the moment, Doctor Saito. Before we leave we must first discuss your call to this office earlier this afternoon.”
Saito’s head snapped around to look at Yuasa.
“What of my wife, Kasumi? Is she hurt?”
“Doctor Saito, can you tell me again why you called us?”
“I am concerned about my wife, you idiot. She was at home when the monster started attacking the city and our neighborhood was one of the first to be attacked. She called me in a panic to ask what she should do. While I was talking to her the line went dead. You can only imagine what I have been thinking for the past six hours.”
“Where were you when she called?”
“I was at the hospital where I work, Kawasakikyodo.”
“Why were you not with her at home? The hospital said that you were not scheduled to be on duty today.”
“This is foolishness, we are wasting time! I went to the hospital to assist with casualties when news came of the monster moving toward the city. Why are we talking about me instead of my wife? Why aren’t you trying to find her and help her?”
“I am afraid that your wife is dead, Doctor Saito. I wish that I had better news for you.”
“No, it can’t be!” Saito said, his voice now stressed to the extreme. He put his head down in his hands, then suddenly jerked his head up and confronted Yuasa.
“You have to be wrong, how can you know it’s her? There has to be some mistake! There must be thousands of casualties. Maybe you have the identification wrong. If the monster is reducing Tokyo to rubble, how can you have even gotten to her yet? How can this be happening?”
“We believe our identification process to be accurate, Doctor. Can you again confirm for me your address?”
“How stupid can you people be? I have already given you this information several times! We live at 5 Chome-3-1, apartment #717. I must be taken to see this person you believe to be my wife! I will show you that you are wrong.”
“Does your apartment look down on the Anamori Inari Shrine, Doctor?”
“Yes, but we never should have rented there if it has cost my beloved wife her life. The rent was cheaper because of all of the noise from the airport, but it was close to the hospital and Kasumi loved looking down at the shrine from our balcony. Inspector, why are we discussing this? I must insist that we get to a safe place and I demand that you show me my wife’s body immediately!”
“We will not be going anywhere right now, Doctor. I’m sure that the view from your apartment is fine, but it was too dark to tell when I was there. And your wife’s body is right where you left it, on the kitchen floor. Now, can you tell me why you killed her?”
Saito’s eyes grew wide and his face began to turn crimson. Choking, sputtering sounds began to creep out as he became apoplectic. He struggled to rise to his feet before finally sucking in a huge breath and starting to vent all of his rage as he bellowed.
“How dare you? I heard her on the phone as she was dying, in terror as our home was being crushed around her by a monster! I saw on the television as my neighborhood was destroyed, everything burning and in ruins! I called the police for help and instead of trying to find her when she might be somewhere injured and in pain, you have the nerve to take me away from my work at the hospital helping others and accuse me of murdering her? What do you mean, ‘when I was there’? How can you have been to someplace that no longer exists? When this is done I will see that every one of you will never is employed as a policeman in this country again!”
Inspector Yuasa sat calmly through the diatribe, waiting for Saito to wind down or pass out. When the big threat had been issued, Yuasa calmly asked, “You are an anesthesiologist. Is that correct, Doctor Saito?”
Taken aback by Yuasa’s calm response to his tirade, Saito’s answer was much quieter than his rant. “Yes, I am. What does that…”
“You are familiar with and have access to methohexital sodium. Is that correct, Doctor Saito?”
“Yes, I do.” Saito sat down heavily in his chair, his shoulders slumped.
“A large overdose of barbiturates was responsible for your wife’s death, not the attack of a monster that destroyed ninety percent of your neighborhood. Civilian casualties have actually been very light, although there has been a great deal of property damage. However, your building was largely untouched. Rescue personnel responsible for evacuating your apartment complex found your wife’s body while they were sweeping the area for survivors. They didn’t even know that you had called to report that she had died ‘when the building collapsed’.
“That would be how we found your wife’s body without waiting to dig through debris and rubble to find her,” the Inspector continued. “You were expecting it to take weeks to find her. You were expecting that we would never do an autopsy since she would ‘obviously’ have died in the attack. It would be your bad luck that the monster chose to crush the shrine across the street and left your building untouched.”
Inspector Yuasa waved to Munekawa and the officers waiting on the other side of the glass. As they came in and began to handcuff Doctor Saito, Yuasa rose to leave.
“I hope you have better luck with the jury than you did with the kaiju, Doctor.”
As the stunned murderer was led away, the faint tremors of monstrously huge footsteps and explosions continued in the distance, heading toward downtown Tokyo.