“Ow! What the heck’re you doin back there?”

Jes bucklin u, fer safety!

“To my tail?”

Is fer Safety!

“Well cut it out. Ow!”

Awwwww Gawd Nooooo! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!

“Jeez, Max, calm down. I just asked you not to buckle yourself to my-”

Dat… wuzn’ me, Sly.

Looks like they also sold cups of blue paint.

Sh-she wuz at the praime o’ her laife!

It looks like someones set off a bomb right in the middle of the produce section. There’s mangled fruit spread all the way across the road and juice soaking pitifully into the dust of the road. It looks unsettlingly like my first case, the one that made me. When they’ve been pulverized to this degree, fruit and limbs start to look the same.

Ok, best to shake that line of thought off. “What happened here?”

Y-you should gown on ter great things. Fruit salads. Cold smoothies. Nowt this. Nowt this!

It was a car, pipes up a so tiny its almost inaudible voice. Standing behind the distraught father is a penguin, maybe ten years old.

That was about how old I’d felt the first time I saw the skunk spread across three lanes of traffic.

“Can you tell me what happened here?”

The car came down tha street an it musta been doin like a hundred miles and hour I think and it went whoom! right into the fruit stand and then it that other car and it was wicked cool.

After the skunk, the hit and run cases kept coming, each one more gruesome than the last.

“Kid, don’t talk like that, it’s disgusting.” I get up and take a closer look at the carnage. At least it’s only vegetables, because my brain isn’t liking the eerie similarities to that case. The papers started calling him ‘The Roadkiller.’

I finally caught him–rookie cop, that’s what got me where I am now–by decoding his fake license number.

I’ve got a lot rattling around my head at this point. The farmer sobbing over his mutilated watermelon, the carnage on the road, the fact that judging from the tire tracks somebody dragged all these vegetables, even the whole stand, maybe, out into the middle of the street just to make a bigger mess, and then I see it.

The license plate.

He didn’t even change his code.


I’m still musing when the gas the hit car was leaking catches and the whole thing goes up in fireball. The dog gets thrown clear–lucky he’d gotten out–the chicken screams, and the penguin kid softly says Cooooooool.

Sorry kid, but this aint cool.

This is gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.

The Final Word.


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