CSI: Janitorial Division –The Chopped Liver Killer Dossier
The rain was hitting the pavement with the kind of force you usually reserve for hammering nails or mashing potatoes but not driving nails into mashed potatoes because, hell, even a drugged iguana could do that. Anyway, it was just that kind of evening.
Al the janitor sat at the bar tapping a grime-encrusted fingernail against his shot glass and pondering the role of dog feces in the history of world sanitation and its various customs and hygienic problems. For some, Al had been led to understand by his now long-dead and doughnut and cheese Danish-loving community college instructor in Building Cleaning Maintenance 101, dog feces at certain points in history were not looked down upon but rather revered as instruments of fortune-telling, shelter-building material and occasionally as a form of currency between countries and nations.
Al was conflicted by these thoughts because in his involvement with dog feces, both past and present, it was just another disgusting task he had to endure, usually in the underground parkade of the condominium complex he cleaned and he found it difficult to find anything to revere about these canine droppings. The only positive thing he could say is that his vast experience picking up these turds had given him an uncanny insight into the types of dogs and their dietary habits just by what they left behind. Not just visually but his olfactory senses too were called into play and then the analytical part of his brain kicked in as he ascertained date, time, enzyme production and breakdown, proliferance of flies or likewise discoloration from dried to almost mummified in appearance and proximity to the underground ventilation fans that could hasten such variations in either preservation or decomposition depending on breed of dog (usually determined by fece size and meat or vegetable content), weather conditions and a host of other factors. It even gave him an insight into the psychological make-up of the dog. All of which made him much in demand as a CSI Janitorial Division consulting expert when the police had an especially messy case on their hands. And that was only half of his talents. His thoughts on the chemical breakdown of finger and hand smudges on the stainless steel panels that line many of today’s contemporary and stylish condominium complex elevators was renowned among fellow janitors in a fifty-block radius and one custodian in Istanbul.
It was precisely this kind of expertise that impelled Lt. Tungsten of Homicide Division, 28th Precinct to creep up behind Al the janitor as he sat on his bar stool and whisper in his ear using his hand puppet, Goobly Tungsten Jr. III, the same puppet he used to intimidate and interrogate the vilest of criminals that the city seemed to produce with the same ease as growing lichen upon lichen upon lichen upon moss, “Would both fresh dog feces and smudged fingerprints on the glass lobby doors instantly be construed as the perfect evidence to secure a murderer’s arrest and conviction, if, of course, a dead body had at first been found in the east stairwell of the condo building, the body lying near the rear exit door, a Canadian Tire plastic bag over its head to catch the oozy run-off trickling from the hole in the back of its skull and clutched in its rigor mortised hand two tickets to tonight’s large mouth bass fishing convention at the Holiday Inn at the junction of Truncton and Hwy 3, the overpass offering a wonderful scenic view, especially in the winter if you’re lucky enough to snag a front room. Bass fishing be damned when you’re sitting back with your tootsies on the radiator, sipping a rye and ginger ale, munching Moo Shoo pork-flavoured beef jerky and watching semis navigate the tricky turnoff during a winter white out, just waiting for a jackknife, and a little porno on the TV for a background soundtrack and to add to the enchantment of the evening.”
“That’s a hell’uva build-up but you know that wouldn’t be enough,” Al the janitor replied, completely nonplussed by the hand puppet in his personal space or the voice and body behind it. Even with all the warty afflictions or phlegm-filled smoker’s cough.
“Up for re-election are we, Al?” Tungsten enquired after he’d cleared his throat into a handkerchief and tucked it away in the top of his cowboy boot.
“I have served the Canadian League of Custodial Workers well in my tenure as their monthly scribe and many have commented favorably on both my penmanship and my unique perspective on most cleaning matters. I am appointed, not elected so back by popular demand, you’ve got me for the next four years, yet again. Now what can I do for you, Lt.?”
“Like I said, dog feces, smudged fingerprints, Canadian Tire money and I mean a whole suitcase full of it, dead herring in the air ducts, red herrings in the lobby, fish oil on the carpeting and a whole lot of nothing on the witness end of things. Seems everyone was running their dishwasher or air conditioner or vacuum cleaner at that exact moment when some poor helpless soul was screaming for mercy in the hallway while a ruthless killer hovered over them, wielding, what appears to be from the evidence left behind at the crime scene, a piece of raw liver. But that’s just the coroner’s guess, right now. Me, I’d say it’s the Chopped Liver Killer except something isn’t sitting right but I’m not sure what. Call it a hunch.”
“Could be, Lt., that the liver remnants found were raw and the Chopped Liver Killer follows a whole different M.O. beginning with the fact his liver is cooked. I think we’re looking at a copycat but one, who no doubt, wants to separate himself from the original, to leave his own mark so to speak but still pay homage to the liver fetish.”
“But why leave the bag of Canadian Tire money? I counted it. There was enough there to buy a pack of picture hooks. Maybe even an air freshener, like you hang from the rearview. That’s no small potatoes.”
“It is if you live in P.E.I. They got potatoes there as big as your head or the tumor they took out of my Aunt Edna’s rear end. Anyway, to the point. He’s not in it for the money. He’s driven by other, more ungodly, more degenerate desires that you and I could only begin to understand, perhaps after we drink six packs of Neo-Citran and eat all the chemical debris at the bottom of a bag of ketchup-flavoured potato chips. Then, and only then may we even attempt to probe the depraved depths of this fiendish mind.”
“Okay, if you say so. Think you can help? I’ll even spring for the Neo-Citran. And the potato chips.”
“Yes, but I’m going to need to see those dog feces and any remnants of the liver used as the murder weapon. Also, perhaps I can have some of that Canadian Tire money. I need a new mop head.”