On Patrol by Richard Godwin

The squad car cruised by the kerb. On patrol. The hookers slowed their deals and eyed the driver, who sat eating a burger. Smell of fried onions and sauce.

In the pale twilight you could see him dab at his chin, wiping the splattered juices away.
Laughing Joe stood in the shadows.

I know beneath the face lie wires. They go all the way to his headquarters.

One of the girls sidled up to the van, hand to face, peering in at him.

He chewed lazily, turning his head to look at her.

The window rolled down.

‘Fancy some action, officer?’, she said, leaning her cleavage towards him.

‘Fancy some time in a cell?’

‘Fuck you.’

‘I don’t think so. Get your sorry ass out of here before I bust it.’

‘Just askin.’

‘Well don’t.’

‘Well, who yanked your dick so hard it’s wrapped around your goddam hat? Just on the beat, hah? Me too. Stinks in your friggin van anyway.’

As she walked off, he called after her.

‘Get in.’


‘I said get in.’

‘I thought you said.’

‘Well, maybe I changed my mind.’

‘It’s fifty for mouth, double for more. Got a light?’

She stepped in as he drove away, pulling the unlit cigarette from her fingers and crunching it into fine powder.

One of the other hookers ran after the van swearing.

‘Why didn’t you stop her?’

The others stared dumbly at her.

‘That’s the bastard who’s been cutting girls up.’

Laughing Joe sniggered where he stood submerged in shadows.

He’s the cop who kills for kicks. His bosses are watching him, enjoying it

The car sped around a corner and stopped.

The hooker looked around.

Disused parking lot, smell of industry and crime. Two gas works loomed at her like prisons.

‘Money first’, she said.

‘I want to see what I’m getting.’

‘Not until I get the money.’

‘I could arrest you for importuning.’

‘You want action.’

‘No money till you show.’

She got out and walked a few yards.

Behind her the thud of the heavy door swinging shut.

She turned and saw him stand looking at her.

‘You think I’m stupid?’, he said.

‘Take me back.’

She walked towards the car and felt a heavy hand on her shoulder.

He swung her around and wrenching her dress from her, pulling down her skirt as if it was a sweet wrapper, removed from his pocket a long knife and hacked her through her crutch, sending a shower of blood upwards into the night air.

No sound escaped her lips, until the shock subsided and as she fell with a high-pitched whine he removed her heart, pulling it dripping from her body and holding it up before her face as she collapsed like a bag of rubbish onto the ground.

The car idled off leisurely as a picnic party returning from a trip.

Back on the street the girls hustled, while Laughing Joe waited.

His head is unreal, they made him as part of their plan

The car returned later that evening.

He slowed to look at the women on parade.

The street was a line of skirts and bids, the offers of flesh for cash the language he knew well.

He radioed a message to the station, his movement a slow self-cuffing of his desire, like the twisted smile upon his face. His anonymous presence was like a copy of the officer you see on every street, a product of a service which makes law out of order.

The papers strewn on the passenger seat told him he had no food and would need to go in search of other nourishment.

Somehow recently, his massacres had not satisfied some inner craving the police academy had trained him to use while on the beat, and these women were awakening a hunger in him which surprised him with its intensity.

He eyed the women, noticing one he had not seen before.

Her movements were somehow connecting him to parts of his own experience he remembered like a taste of some forgotten nourishment.

The woman was walking towards him.

Swagger and need, the crowned heads on money loomed out of the night air like a promise of reward.

She leaned on the open window.

As he spoke, Laughing Joe sneaked into the back. He lay out of sight listening.
The girl got in and the van drove her away.

The same routine ensued. She wanted to smoke, he wouldn’t let her. Out she got. He watched her walk and as he was about to get out after her, Joe reached around his head and slicing with blade so artfully prepared like razor time at the pig house, severed his carotid artery showering the windscreen with fresh paint from the robot, loosening his slack muscle and flesh like a roll of old clothing and peeled away his head, which rolled like a lump of rubber, bouncing against the seat and staring dumbly upwards at the ceiling of the police vehicle.

The girl stood with her back turned.

His neck pumped blood onto the ceiling while the radio blasted away some request to attend to a scene of a crime.

The workers like mindless dolls

Behind her the car pulled away.

The hooker turned, seeing only the fading taillights, cursing him for leaving her there.
But he was piecemeal to Joe, who drove in his blood, leaving the van to run into the lake.
When they dredged him up they spent hours looking for his head.

Now when a car went by, the girls knew not to get in.

Joe stood waiting in the shadows, waiting for the next one.

I am a produced playwright and my stories have been published at many
vibrant magazines.
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Paul D. Brazill said...

Dark and very well done. Not Dixon of Dock green, eh?

Richard Godwin said...

Very funny Paul. Although, come to think of it.

Jen said...

Sucks to walk a beat, on either side it seems.

Keith Buckley said...

"like razor time at the pig house" will stick with me for a lonnnnnng time. Thanks!

Miss Alister said...

Spicier than mustard, Mr. Godwin! I dig the killer pace through smells of fried onions and sauce and industry and crime; smooth lines of skirts and bids and sweet wrappers; enhancing Joe’s flavor with italics; and Horror doing the tango with Matter of fact—police radios talking to a neck pumping blood to a cruiser ceiling. Hot stuff : )

Nicole E. Hirschi aka CJT said...

I agree, very dark but also very entertaining. You paced this well and left a little bit of mystery with it. A great read!

Bill Baber said...

dark and sinister-like a good of this sort should be.

Joyce said...

Very dark and very creepy. Great suspense. This is terrific.

Bruce Harris said...

Your words paint a gritty picture. Good stuff!

matt arnold said...

Cool story.

I have to admit to being confused by the set up on the first read. Squad car is driving by '..cruised...on patrol' but then the hookers eye the driver eating a burger as though the car is parked, then laughing joe is standing in the shadows. I took joe to be the cop/driver at first and this error stayed w/ me. So as I got into the story, I wasn't able to picture it as you intended.

I think the use of 'cruised by' is what seems inconsistent to me w/ the rest. perhaps also 'on patrol' as that puts motion in my head too.

But I did re-read it, more carefully, and will say it is a well crafted story, for sure. In my head, if I change the first sentance to 'The squad car sat parked by the kerb. On stakeout' then the intended image of the killer cop in the car, and laughing joe watching from the shadows is triggered and I can fully appreciate the story.

Anyway, just my two cents, maybe it is just me........m