That nietzsche thing, p.1
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       That Nietzsche Thing, p.1
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           Christopher Blankley
That Nietzsche Thing



  Christopher Blankley

  Copyright © 2013 by Christopher Blankley

  other books by Christopher Blankley

  The Cordwainer

  The Bobbies of Bailiwick

  The Bobbies of Bailiwick and the Captive Ocean


  The Raft (The Case of the Barefoot Detective)


  Chapter 1

  The girl was dead and no fooling.

  Back in the day, I was a cop. It’s important that you know that, or little of this crazy story will make any, scratch that, none of this crazy story makes any sense, so you’ll have to bear with me.

  I was a cop, and the girl was most certainly dead.

  How did Dickens put it? Dead as a doornail? Well, she was that and then some. Dead dead. I saw my share of corpses working Homicide, so I knew dead. And she was the genuine article. Dead.

  Got that? Good, because it’ll get important, real quick.

  I was a cop, but that didn’t really mean all that much. I’m not going to pretend like I was a good cop. I wasn’t a bad cop, as in a crooked cop. I was honest. Honest as I could be. What I mean is that I was nobody’s idea of a smart cop. Not by a long shot.

  Right when Geneing was at its height, cities like Seattle were so desperate for warm bodies in uniform they were handing out badges and guns to almost anyone. And it was steady work with a civil service salary. Nothing to sneeze at.

  But it was mostly just cleaning up the corpses. Tagging and bagging. It wasn’t like there was any reason to investigate anything, we always knew the identity of our killer before we ever found a body: Geneing. Nine times out of ten, somebody ended up dead, it was because of Geneing. It didn’t matter if Genies ended up stabbing each other in a fight, or one stepped out into oncoming traffic. It was always Geneing that killed them. Different symptom, same disease.

  You didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes.

  So, it was mostly paperwork. I could do paperwork. And I didn’t mind the blood. Lots of people got sick at the sight of the blood.

  The girl’s death stuck out queer because she’d truly been murdered. A real crime. Sure she was a Genie, and nobody was ruling that out as a cause of death. But somebody had actually gone to the trouble of killing this girl. A few somebodies by the look of the body.

  A real murder was newsworthy. Even back then. Long before I was able to reach the crime scene, the TV trucks were already there. They were like sharks in the water for that sort of stuff. Anything that was a little sensational and could grab a few rating points. And the girl was sensational, alright. Just the stuff for the dinner hour news: young, pretty, dead and thrown in a dumpster. That’s what they called pay dirt.

  By the time I arrived, the uniforms had everything cordoned off the scene with their reams of yellow tape, and the news cameras were rolling beyond the perimeter.

  I was the entirety of Homicide that evening. I’d have to go it alone. Just my luck to accidentally stumble on some real police work.

  I remember buying myself some time, lighting up a Kools. TV always liked that shot, it was always guaranteed to get me on the news: Homicide detective looking stoically down at the victim, methodically tapping out a cigarette. Just like in the movies.

  But for once, I wasn’t doing it for the cameras, I actually needed a moment to collect myself. When I laid eyes on that girl, I had to take a second or two to choke back a throat full of bile. That girl was in a bad way, even for a Genie.

  I’d learn the next day that she’d been kicked around, but good. Her neck was broke and her jaw crashed. She’d been worked over by some sort of giant animal or a group of guys with bats.

  But at the scene, all I could see was the blood and the flesh in amongst the trash bags of the dumpster. She was naked and twisted all to hell. The sight made me regret my chosen profession a little. But it was my job to fish her out of there. And I had to do my job.

  Like I said, I was cop, but that didn’t really mean all that much. I just cleaned up messes. Mostly.

  The next day, the coroner’s report arrived along with a whole rash of shit from my captain. Turns out the girl was rich, or at least from a rich family with connections to the NeoCons in the other Washington.

  The 24/7 news was showing their video in a tight loop with me lighting up and looking down into that dumpster. The Feds went ballistic. White House lit a fire under the FBI, which lit a fire under the chief, who lit a fire under my captain that ended up burning my ass.

  If shit rolls downhill, I found myself in the lee of a valley, because I got my asshole reamed, but good. What kind of idiot was I? Standing over a dead body and smoking like that? Didn’t I know who the dead girl was?

  I didn’t, and for once it actually mattered. Suddenly, for the first time in years, people were paying attention to how I did my job. I wasn’t used to that.

  The girl’s name was Vivian Montavez. Her dad had been a senator once-upon-a-time, but what he was now was the guy who’d came up with the so-called Latin Strategy, the plan that had changed the NeoCons from a bunch of dumb-fuck, backbench, old-school-tie radicals into the dominant political movement in both local and federal politics.

  Turns out old Edgar Montavez was the guy who’d brought the Hispanic vote into the NeoCon tent, whole and complete. And by the 2050s, the Hispanic vote was all that decided elections. That made old Edgar big. President Cassidy basically owed the guy his job.

  Edgar Montavez’s daughter showing up dead in dumpster on my watch was seriously bad news.

  See, the NeoCons weren’t much more than a single issue outfit: they were the party that said it was really ready to finally get serious about drugs in America. Not like the namby-pamby, hippie-dippy, dope-smoking Progs.

  The NeoCons were going to get something done about Geneing, The Latinos heard this and turned out at the polls. After all, they were dying in droves, just like the rest of us. Black, white, brown, Christian, Jew, Geneing didn’t give a shit. Immigration policy, voting rights, minimum wages laws be damned, the Latinos were ready for the government to crack down hard on the Gene pushers, or whoever was putting their kids in coffins. And they voted for whoever promised to get it done.

  To have one of the NeoCons’ own succumb to the plague, show up dead in dumpster, reeking of genetically-modified endocrines...that shit was bad.

  So, I got down to business. I didn’t have to be told to do it. Very quickly, any evidence that Vivian Montavez had died in that back alley got conveniently lost or stolen. I knew how to do my job. I knew how to sweep something like that under one big-ass, motherfucking rug. I knew how to play the game. I changed names on death certificates and falsified reports. Vivian Montavez vanished, replaced by just another Jane Doe. A Gene Genie. One of a million.

  Whatever, it didn’t really matter. The girl was dead, after all. Dead and no coming back. I doubted she’d care what name was on her toe-tag when she slid into the furnace. The senator would never claim her body. She was too hot to touch. She’d burn with the rest of them, the dozens upon dozens of corpses Homicide cleaned up weekly, incinerated en masse in the Morgue’s regular Wednesday-night fry. All the better to hide the evidence. Once the body was gone, so was Vivian.

  Or so I thought. But I’d miscalculated something. The agitating from DC kept shaking our quiet little tree, right up until the girl’s body went missing. Then, holy hell broke loose.

  And I sat right in the middle of it.

  It’s hard to say what exactly happened. No, scratch that, I know exactly what happened, but I’m not going to tell you at this point because you’d call me a fool. At the time, when the girl’s body vanished from the Morgue,
I had no more fucking idea what was happening than you do now.

  Of course, the powers-that-be screamed conspiracy. The Progs had snatched the girl’s corpse before we could incinerate the evidence. That didn’t seem likely to me, but whatever, it was a working theory.

  The Feds came down on the situation like a ton of bricks. The FBI found some pretext for having jurisdiction in the case, I can’t remember what. Next thing we know, it’s like Mogadishu in downtown Seattle. Black semi-trailers rolling in, and armed SWAT storming the Town Hall. We were suddenly a city under siege. They sent everybody but Seal Team Six. And I bet they had them on standby, sitting on a carrier off the coast.

  The FBI brought in one of their new “Response Units.” Nice name for an occupying army. They setup Ops right in front of the Town Hall, blocking off Sixth Avenue. The semi-trailers transformed like Voltron into a sprawling complex of communications, logistics and command. Everywhere men in dark suits were talking into headsets, as IT geeks tapped away at consoles. It was a thing of beauty to watch, like watching a well-executed, synchronized drill team go through its routine.

  Everywhere, people were toting iron. Men in body armor, sporting FBI in big yellow letters, carrying assault rifles and submachine guns. If they planned to shoot dead everyone in Seattle and sort the corpses, they were ready. Otherwise I didn’t see the need for all the guns. It made everyone tetchy, as you can imagine. But the NeoCons did nothing in half measures. To them, everything was a war.

  This was when my life really started to get complicated. This was when I met Constantine.

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