The Dog Ate My Inheritance

by on March 8th, 2015
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A small wet dog shivered under the dumpster. His big brown eyes wide with terror, his long brown and white fur matted tight to his tiny frame. The rain continued to fall hard, lightning lit up the night sky. The dog cowered against the pavement and shivered violently with each clap of thunder. He was too scared to whimper.

He watched for his chance. Then it came. A bright light lit up the alley as the heavy wooden door flew open. The dog darted out from under the dumpster and through the door.

Keith Richardson, a lanky man in his thirties, stood in the doorway with a bag of garbage in one hand and the door in the other. “What the hell was that,” he said.

The dog whimpered from behind him.

“Fine,” he said, “the weather is nasty and I can’t blame you for wanting to be out of the rain.” He looked at the deluge outside. “You stay there, I’ll be right back.” He let go of the door and ran to the dumpster. Then he hefted the bag over the lip and let it drop. “Sounds full,” he said to himself as he grabbed the door, “I should call about that.”

He pulled the door open and jumped inside, pulling it closed behind him. “Good dog,” he said, “now where did you come from?” He bent down and scratched the dog behind one ear.

The dog wagged the stub that was his tail, in fact the whole rear end of the dog wagged.

Keith smiled. “Now that’s the tail that wags the dog.” He carefully removed the tan collar from around the dog’s neck. “Commander,” he said, reading the engraved brass plate that was affixed to the collar.

The dog leaped to his feet and looked around.

“I guess your name is Commander.”

The dog barked once.

Keith knelt next to him and extended his hand.

The dog returned a paw.

Keith grasped Commander’s paw and said, “I’m Keith Richardson, Private Investigator.”

Commander wagged his rear end.

Keith scooped him up in his arms and looked around to make sure no one had seen him formally introduce himself to a dog. “You know what,” he said, “I don’t feel comfortable talking to you. I mean, you’re a dog. What can you say? Do you even understand me?”

The dog licked his own nose.

“I didn’t think so. Let’s just get out of the weather, and get you dried off.” He took Commander up the stairs to his apartment on the second floor.

A large black cat sat on the back of the couch.

“Watch out for Chyna,” he said placing Commander on the floor, “she’s not friendly to strangers.”

The dog immediately began to sniff the furniture and explore his surroundings.

Keith sighed and flopped down on the couch. He had just dozed off, when Commander jumped to his feet and raced toward the door. He then began to whine and scratch at the corner of the door.

“What is it boy? Did Timmy fall down the well again?”

The dog ignored him and continued scratching.

“Okay, okay, I’ll take you out.” Keith stood up, just as the doorbell rang.

Commander jumped back from the door, growling and baring his teeth.

Keith picked up the Colt 1911 that he had sitting on the coffee table, and made his way toward the door. “I know how you feel, Commander, I don’t like visitors at this hour either.”

Commander darted behind his legs.

Keith opened the door.

Two men in dark suits entered the apartment. “You have something of ours,” they said in unison.

Keith looked at the dog, which was firmly wedged between his legs and snarling viciously. “I don’t think so,” he said noticing that the dog’s long fur was splattered with blood.

“The dog,” the two men said.

“This is your dog?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Commander,” said the first man “is very valuable.”

“He has special talents,” said the second man.

Keith snorted. “Right now, he’s my client.”

The men scoffed in unison.

“Look, he’s covered in blood that is not his. He must have been involved in something terrible. I plan to find out what.”

“Maybe,” said the first man, “he found something in the trash.”

“Maybe,” said Keith, “but that is for the police to determine. I’m taking the dog to the station in the morning. Perhaps you would like to come with us?”

The men sighed.

“Very well,” said the first man.

“Good luck,” said the second, as they stepped through the door and disappeared down the hall.

“Something’s up or those two would not have hurt themselves to get here so fast,” Keith said to the dog as the door slammed shut. “We’ll find out in the morning.” He turned out the lights and retired to the bedroom, followed by Commander. “No, you sleep out in the living room.”

Commander whimpered.

Keith put on a stern face and the dog looked up at him with dark sad eyes. “No,” he said.

The dog lay down on the floor outside the bedroom door.

The cat, her tail straight in the air, walked by the dog and jumped up on the bed.

The dog looked up at Keith.

“Fine,” he said, “just don’t hog the covers.”

Commander snuffed and jumped up on the bed. Then he lay down next to the cat.

Keith sighed and closed the door.

***

Morning came early, the sun shone bright through the mini-blinds and all remnants of the storm the night before had long since disappeared.

Keith rolled over and found himself face to face with Commander. “I guess you slept well, last night.”

Commander liked Keith on the nose.

“Yuck,” he shuddered as he sat up on the edge of the bed. “We need to get going. We need to get to the Police Station.”

The dog jumped off the bed and stood politely in front of him.

Keith shook his head. “I have to get dressed first, and then we’ll go.”

Commander sat down on the floor and let out a deep sigh.

“Fine, I’ll hurry.” He looked at the cat. “Cats are so much easier.”

Chyna opened one eye, and then closed it again.

He shrugged and began to pull on his clothes.

***

“So,” said the old cop sitting across the desk from Keith, “you found a dog? Shouldn’t you be at Animal Control?”

“Listen,” said Keith, “Lieutenant, it’s been a long night and I’m tired. This dog is covered in blood, not his own. I think he deserves a little more respect than Animal Control. What if he were a child covered in blood??

Lt. James Lestow looked over the top of his wire rimmed glasses and sighed. “Keith,” he said, “I’m going to level with you. The storm last night brought out all the loonies. My staff is stretched to the max. I don’t have the time or the manpower to devote to a stray dog. So either take it to Animal Control or take it home. Just get it out of my office.”

Keith stood. “Fine, if anyone comes looking for…”

“Animal control,” Lestow interrupted, “tell it to Animal Control.”

Keith sighed and led the dog out of the office. When they reached the street, Commander began barking and ran out to the end of the leash. He pulled so hard on the leash that Keith nearly had to run to keep up with the dog and not choke him. “Where are you going,” he said.

Commander led him to Gas Light Park, a small patch of green in the center of town.

“I’m going to regret this,” Keith said shaking his head.

The dog stopped in a small clearing, where a children’s jungle gym adorned the landscape.

“Okay, we’re here, what now?”

The dog barked once and froze in a point.

“I don’t see anything.”

The dog barked and pointed again.

Keith moved closer; that’s when he saw the large pool of blood. “Oh, I see.”

He looked around and saw the police tape hung in a loose circle around a tree about 50 yards away. As he approached the scene he could see the large blood stain about eye level with a bullet hole in the middle. He frowned and made his way back to the spot Commander indicated.

Something shiny caught his eye. “Well, well, well,” he said kneeling in the grass, “what do we have here.” He carefully picked up the shell casing with his pen. “Nine millimeter,” he said as he placed it in the breast pocket of his flannel shirt. “Fifty yards, one hundred and fifty feet, that is a long shot for any 9 millimeter. The shooter must have been a great shot. “He frowned as he looked around at the beautiful park. “Why didn’t the police find this?” He shook his head. “Come on Commander,” he said to the dog, who was sitting quietly next to him, “let’s see what’s going on at the office.”

Commander jumped to his feet and the two made their way the several blocks to the office of Richardson Investigations.

***

Keith sat in his office pouring through the newspaper and reclining back in the large leather chair behind his cluttered desk.

Commander lay quietly at his feet.

“Rose,” he said into the intercom, “could you come in here, please?”

“I don’t like dogs,” came the reply.

“So,” he sighed, “I have to come out there to talk to you?”

“Yes.”

“I can’t change your mind?”

“No.”

“Fine,” he stood up. “Commander, you stay here.”

The dog jumped to his feet and wagged his stubby tail.

“No, you have to stay here.”

Commander sat down.

Keith opened the door.

Rose, a beautiful woman with long dark hair sat at a large oak desk, her fingers flying across the computer keyboard.

He stared at the woman. “What on earth are you typing?”

“I’m chatting.”

He frowned. “Chatting? Aren’t we chatting?”

She laughed. “You are so retro Keith.”

He snorted. “So, I’m paying you to gossip?”

“Chat,” she smiled. “Actually, I’m talking to Mac that PI down the street. You know, we’ve worked with him a few times.”

“I know Mac. But why don’t you just call him on the phone?”

“He’s with a client, this is much easier.”

“Rude is what I call it,” he muttered. “So, any news about the dog?”

“Yes, actually, Mac’s client, the one he’s with, has lost a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Commander.”

“Who is his client?”

“Dorian Carter.”

“I don’t know the name.”

“He won a gold medal in the Olympics a few years back.”

Keith shrugged.

“Here’s the good part, his sport was the pentathlon.”

“Okay.”

The computer beeped signaling an incoming message.

Rose looked at the screen. “Huh, it’s from Mac, he wants us to turn on the television.”

Keith moved toward the television sitting on the bookshelf in the corner and turned it on.

Rose sighed as she waved the remote at him.

He sighed.

“Again,” said the reporter on the television, “repeating today’s top story. Chelena Carver, star of the daytime series Young and the Beautiful …. “

“More like Young and Clueless,” said Rose.

Keith glared at her.

“Chelena Carver dead at the age of 23 from an apparent suicide. She’s survived by her husband, Dorian Carver, former Olympic Pent-athlete. He was unavailable for comment.”

“Because he’s at Mac’s office,” Rose said.

“The couple has no children. But are said to have a dog, which is missing, if anyone has seen Commander…” a picture of the dog in Keith’s office appeared on the screen. “Please contact local law enforcement. The dog may be distraught and dangerous.”

“He’s just scared,” said Keith.

“I bet he bit someone, that’s why he’s covered in blood,” said Rose. “My God, he may have some disease.”

“Wait, wait, there’s something about the gun she used.”

“This pistol,” said the man on the television; “is specific to Olympic shooters. In fact, each one is made individually for its owner. It’s engraved with the owner’s name.”

“This one,” said the reporter, “killed Chelena Carver?”

“No, the one that killed her belonged to her husband and is being held by the police. This is a replica.”

“Evidence, in a suicide,” said Keith. “Lestow must suspect something.” He turned to Rose. “Could you….”

“Already doing it,” she paused. “Lt. Lestow is on Line one.”

“I’ll take it in my office.” He turned and made his way to his desk. “Lieutenant,” he said as he picked up the phone, “what gives me the pleasure?”

“Your secretary called me.”

“Oh, that’s right. I had a question for you.”

“Keith, I told you I’m busy, what do you want?”

“What caliber was the bullet that killed Chelena Carver?”

“9 millimeter; it was a 9 millimeter Olympic Pistol engraved with her husband’s name and it was found in her hand.”

“Was she found in Gas Light Park?”

“Yes, she probably didn’t want to mess up the carpet.”

“Did you find the shell casing?”

“No, but this is your standard suicide. Now leave me alone.”

“In a moment, how far can one of those guns shoot accurately?”

“In the right hands, 50 to 100 yards,” the old cop paused. “You found a shell casing?”

“Well…”

“Damn you, you did. Where?”

“By the Jungle Gym.”

“That’s over 50 yards away. But, that’s too far, it can’t be from this shooting.”

“How many people are firing 9 millimeter handguns in a city park?”

Lestow sighed deeply. “I don’t need this. Okay, bring the casing in and we’ll test it.”

“I’ll bring the dog too.”

“The dog? You have to give that dog back to the owner, now that you know who owns it.”

“You may want to test him too. He led me to the shell casing.”

“This just keeps getting better and better. Fine, bring the dog. Chip can take your statement.”

“The Rookie?”

“Don’t start with me Richardson, it’s been a long day and it’s not even noon yet.”

“Okay, I’ll see you in a few minutes,” said Keith hanging up the phone. “Well, Commander,” he said to the dog, “we get to go back to the police station.”

The dog leapt to his feet and stood quietly at the door.

A foul odor wafted its way from under the desk.

“What the hell is that,” said Keith attempting to breath into his shirt sleeve. He looked under the desk and saw a large brown pile of feces. “Commander,” he said, “Bad dog.”

The dog whimpered and stood by the door.

“We can’t go yet, I have to clean this up.”

The dog sat quietly by the door.

Keith took a few tissues from the box on his desk. “Good thing,” he said, “I keep these here for distraught housewives.” He then knelt on the floor under his desk and carefully picked up the smelly brown mass. He pitched it into the trash can. “I’ll take that out when we get back.” He said grabbing the leash and attaching it to Commander’s collar.

“You going to the police station,” said Rose.

“Yes, we are,” he said.

“I hope you leave that dog there.”

Keith frowned. “Why don’t you like dogs?”

She sighed. “I’m more of a cat person myself.”

He smiled as he and the dog left the office.

***

Keith and Commander arrived at the police station and were greeted by the tall slender Rookie cop.

“L. T. wants to see you,” he said, glancing toward his boss’s office.

“Thank you Chip,” said Keith, “who’s the guy with him?”

The Rookie shrugged.

Keith paused at the door, through the window he saw Lestow sitting behind his large gunmetal gray desk, and a tall muscular man of about thirty sitting across from him. “Let’s do this, Commander.”

The dog wagged his tail, as Keith opened the door.

“Richardson,” said Lestow, “may I present Dorian Carver? You seem to have his dog.”

Keith looked at the dog, which had taken up a position behind him and was growling softly. “If you say so.”

“Come here Commander,” said Carver.

The growl became louder.

“Aw, come on boy.”

The dog didn’t budge and kept growling.

“He’s been through a lot,” said Carver as he reached for the dog.

Commander bit his hand, causing it to bleed.

Carver drew back his hand and positioned it for a backhanded slap.

But Keith took ahold of the hand and twisted it behind the man’s back. “Don’t ever try that again.”

“It’s just a stupid dog,” said Carver, “calm down, Bud.”

“The name is Keith Richardson. Commander is not just a dog, he’s my client.”

“Give me my dog. It’s a very expensive animal.”

Keith snorted. “I don’t think he is your dog. Your wife’s dog, maybe, but not yours.”

“And which crazy client of yours told you that,” said Lestow.

Keith sighed deeply. “No one told me anything. Just look at how he reacts to you, Mr. Carver. If you were his owner, he would run to you, tail wagging. Instead he runs to me looking for protection. He needs protection from you, Mr. Carver. I find that quite odd, don’t you?”

“Okay, fine,” said Carver, “the dog isn’t mine. It belonged to my wife, and it’s all I have to remember her by.”

Keith nodded.

“What’s that smell,” said Lestow.

Carver shook his head.

Keith looked around and located the dog, under the desk, next to a large pile of feces. “Commander,” he said.

The dog clamped his tail tight to his rear end and slunk from under the desk, his ears down.

Carver’s face brightened. “Did he?”

Keith grimaced. “I’m afraid so.”

“Great,” Carver said as he dove under the desk and began to pick through the feces.

Keith and Lestow shrugged at one another.

“That,” said Lestow, “was not the reaction I would have expected.”

Keith tilted his head. “Me either.”

“What is he doing down there?”

Keith bent down to get a better look at the man under the desk. “Huh,” he said, “he seems to be looking for something in the dog poop.”

Lestow shuddered.

Carver sat up and glared at the dog. “There’s nothing here,” he said, “don’t you dare hold out on me.” He reached for the dog, which bit him again. “I’ll shake it out of you, or have it surgically removed.”

The dog retreated to the other side of the desk.

Carver made a move toward the dog, and Keith stopped him with a foot on his injured hand.

“What are you talking about?” Keith said putting pressure on his foot.

Carver gulped. “Um, did the dog use the bathroom today?”

Keith tilted his head toward the desk.

“No, I mean somewhere else.”

“Outside, maybe,” Keith lied, “why?”

“Great, do you know where?”

“No, I wasn’t paying attention.”

Carver sighed. “Now, I’m a dead man.”

Keith released the man’s hand and he stood up.

“It’s like this; the dog has been on a special diet, high in carbon.”

Keith frowned.

Carver took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the feces from his hands. “Since I’m dead anyway, I’ll tell you.” He looked at the dog. “Commander was involved in smuggling diamonds into the country.”

Keith snorted. “You mean you were involved in smuggling.”

“Whatever. Anyway, it’s a good plan, you see. We travel to Kenya, and feed the diamonds to the dog. Then we fly home and when nature takes its course, we get our diamonds. Customs never checks a dog’s gut.”

“That explains the lack of house training.”

“Now, the diamonds are gone and the boss is going to kill me.”

“Like you killed Chelena?”

“I didn’t kill her, I loved her.”

Keith opened his mouth, but closed it when the phone rang.

Lestow answered the phone, said a couple of words and thanked the caller. He turned to Carver. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience,” he said, “you’re free to go, Mr. Carver.”

Carver shrugged. “Okay, can I have my dog?”

“No,” said Lestow, “he’s a criminal involved in smuggling.”

The man opened his mouth.

“By your own admission.”

He closed it.

“Commander will remain in police custody and then be placed up for adoption to a family who will love him and not use him for criminal endeavors.”

Carver sighed and scrambled out the door.

Keith watched him leave. “Are you or the Rookie going to take Commander? Or are you going to turn him over to Animal Control?”

Lestow shook his head. “You can keep him; you are a former Police Officer and one of our greatest assets.”

Keith’s mouth fell open.

“I’ll have Animal Control draw up adoption papers later for you.”

He nodded. “But, why?”

“There’s no evidence of a crime, only that guy’s confession.”

“What about the diamonds?”

Lestow smiled. “Once my kid swallowed a penny, it came out the next day. I assume the diamonds were expelled earlier, outside.”

Keith nodded remembering the accident under his desk.

“I figure Dorian Carver has a lot of explaining to do when whoever hired him gets wind of this.”

“Why did you cut him loose?”

“Ballistics, nothing matched. Someone else killed Chelena Carver.”

Keith nodded. “Come one Commander, we’re going home.”

The dog jumped up and stood by his side.

“Thank you Lieutenant,” he said.

The old cop nodded as the two left the office.

***

Keith sat in his office with the door closed. Commander lay under the desk.

“Hey, Boss,” said Rose through the intercom.

“Yes, Rose.”

“Agents Smith and Jones are here to see you.”

He smiled. “Send them in.”

Moments later two men in black suits walked through the door.

Keith snorted. “This is a first; you didn’t just barge in on me.”

“No,” said the first man, “we’re here for the dog.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, he’s in Police custody.”

“Has he left any ‘presents’?”

The men looked at one another and nodded. “You will let us know if you find any, right,” they said in unison.

“Don’t I always?”

The men laughed. “Thank you, Mr. Richardson, your country appreciates your work,” they said in unison as they left the room.

Keith sighed and looked under the desk where Commander lay contently. “I hope you’re out of diamonds,” he said as he picked up a large pile of feces, the brown landscape dotted with sparkling shards. “Tomorrow we start house training.”

He placed the feces into a large glass jar, already half full of the same stuff.

The End.


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