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       The Klumps Mysteries: Season One (Episodes 1 through 7), p.1

           DL Cook
 
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The Klumps Mysteries: Season One (Episodes 1 through 7)
The Klumps Mysteries

  Season One, Episodes One through Seven

  Episode 1, Murder at the Diner

  Episode 2, The Painting

  Episode 3, The Mole

  Episode 4, The Warehouse

  Episode 5, Counting the Bodies

  Episode 6, Travis and Chester

  Episode 7, Follow the Scent

  By DL Cook

  The Klumps Mysteries Season One. Copyright © 2013 by Liza Lopez and Dmitry Nirenberg. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

  The Klumps Mysteries is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, or persons (living or dead), is coincidental.

  [email protected]

  @dlcookauthor (Twitter)

  Episode Summaries

  Episode One – “Murder at the Diner”

  When a body is found behind a diner, inexperienced and hard drinking Police Commissioner Don Klump has his first murder case. He and his team explore the treacherous underbelly of the town.

  Is it the dog walker? The victim's girlfriend? Or someone even closer to him?

  Episode Two – “The Painting”

  When a painting disappears from a local museum, an inebriated Don Klump makes finding it a department priority. The investigation takes an ominous turn when someone kills the curator.

  Who stole the painting? Why? The Klumps brave the seedy world of art to find out.

  Episode Three – “The Mole”

  A suspect is murdered and evidence goes missing. A cop car is damaged. Worst of all, the Klumps suspect one of their own is responsible.

  Is it the forensics assistant? The reporter who is hellbent on bringing down the department? And who is the mysterious woman pulling the strings?

  Episode Four – “The Warehouse”

  Deputy Commissioner Libby Klump makes a gruesome discovery while looking for a lost pet. Meanwhile, Don Klump and the rest of the police department hunt for a killer nurse after the Medical Examiner discovers that poison played a role in a disgraced officer's death. They continue investigating the mole. Don and Libby can't help thinking that these and their prior cases are related.

  Episode Five – “Counting the Bodies”

  The warehouse investigation continues.

  With the crime rate rising faster than gas prices, the Klumps face off with the Town Council about the police budget. Deputy Chalmers must brave Methton alone while ghost-fearing Tom is put in charge of exhuming the body of a suspected murder victim.

  Meanwhile, time runs short for two small girls.

  What can possibly go wrong?

  Episode Six – “Travis and Chester”

  The warehouse investigation hits a snag when the detectives discover the Medical Examiner might be involved.

  In the meantime, Don Klump and his team race to find Travis Quinton, prime suspect in two murders and child kidnapping.

  Episode Seven – “Follow the Scent”

  Libby takes charge of the police department as evidence is destroyed. Her husband and Commissioner is missing and may have been abducted, unless he's lying drunk in a ditch somewhere or with another woman. He better not be.

  Deputies Lucus and Tom close in on the Ice Queen when they discover the identity of her right hand man.

  Episode Eight – “Revelations” COMING January 21, 2014

  The final episode of Season One. Many loose ends are tied, while some are inadvertently (or on purpose???) unraveled. Meh, whatchyou gonna do?

  Libby Klump faces off with the Town Council while an assassin lies in wait.

  The police department scrambles to find their chief before it's too late.

  Don Klump has a battle of wits with his captor.

  Oh dear.

  Episode One

  “Murder at the Diner”

  The phone jarred Police Commissioner Don Mettler-Klump awake. His wife Libby groaned in disapproval and fell back asleep.

  “Hello?” Don's deep voice reverberated in the receiver.

  “Sorry to wake you sir,” a deputy said. “They found a dead corpse by the diner.”

  “What time is it?”

  “Just past 11, sir.”

  “You sure it's dead?” Don rubbed his forehead.

  “Yes sir.”

  “And it's a corpse?”

  “Yep.”

  “Alright. We'll be right over. Call Peggy. I guess we'll need her.”

  “Yes sir.”

  Don put the light on and gently shook his wife. “Honey, we have to go. Someone died by the diner.”

  A clump of curly black hair emerged from under the covers. His wife squinted at him. “What time is it?”

  “Eleven something.”

  “I'm not awake yet.”

  “They found a dead body. Police work, my honey pie. Don't come if you don't want. But last case you yelled at me for not waking you.”

  “I never yelled.” She stretched out of bed with a yawn. “And getting the kitten out of the tree was dangerous work. You have allergies.”

  “We gotta keep quiet though,” Don whispered. “Don't want your mom to come with us.”

  There came a knock on the door. “Leeeeee-ber-taaaaaaaaaaaad! You awake? We got a case, let's go!” Marcy's voice could raise the dead.

  Don sighed. “How'd she find out?”

  Libertad dressed. “Coming mom!” To Don she said, “they must've called Tom and he told her.”

  “Stupid Tom.”

  “Don't make fun of my brother.”

  “Okay,” Don rolled his eyes. “Let's go.” The door handle fell out of his hands. He swore.

  “My dad probably borrowed the screws to fix the lawn mower,” Libby explained.

  Don drummed his fingers on the steering wheel in the darkness. “I don't understand why she has to come. And why can't your dad drive her? And what's with the lawn mower? Like he'll ever use it.”

  Libertad snored in reply.

  Marcy stomped out of the house half an hour later, a canvas supermarket bag in the crook of her elbow. She woke her daughter and made her get in the back.

  The flashing lights of a few squad cars and an ambulance greeted them at the scene.

  “What's going on, Lucus?” Don asked.

  “Hey chief. We got a dead body in back of the diner. Looks like Joe McCaliker.”

  “He owns the place, right?”

  “Yes sir.”

  “Peggy here yet?”

  “Came about ten minutes ago.”

  “Alright. This way?”

  “Yeah.”

  Peggy's assistant Duncan took photos. The town's forensics expert rolled toward Don to give her report. “Evening Chief, Deputy Chief.”

  “Hey Peggy. What we got?”

  “Dead male, thirties. Two gun shot wounds. One in the gut, the other in the back of the head. He fell forward after the gut wound. Then the killer shot him point blank from behind. Recovered two shell casings.” She pointed at faint chalk outlines on the concrete. “ID on the vic says it's Joe McCaliker. Probably taking out the trash when it happened.”

  “You check inside yet?” Libertad yawned.

  “No sign of disturbance. Cash still in the register.”

  “So it wasn't a robbery,” Don mused over the body. Libertad helped him put his latex gloves on.

  “Okay people,” Marcy clapped to get everyone's attention. “I know what to do. I watch Dexter. Now the blood spatter pattern over here is indicative of suicide. As you may be aware, w
e have an unusually high suicide rate in this town. I suspect it's the fluoride or microwaves...”

  Peggy Johnson scowled. “Mrs. Klump, please don't disturb the crime scene. Don, she really can't be here. Especially after what happened.” Peggy referred to Marcy's handling of a previous case. The incident ruffled a bigwig's feathers. The Town Council, wrapping up a previous investigation of the police department, passed a sternly worded resolution to fire Marcy. As the politicians controlled the budget, Don did as they wished (though in truth he could've been more direct with her than having Libby make up some lie about there not being enough money to keep her on full time).

  Don sighed and shot his wife a look. Libertad shrugged. Don motioned to Deputy Chalmers. “Lucus, can you please assist Mrs. Klump over there? Help her find clues beyond the yellow tape. Thanks.”

  “Sure thing Don.”

  As Don continued questioning Peggy and examining the evidence, shiny plastic caught Libertad's eye. She stooped to pick it up, revealing her butt crack. “Fermented tofu,” she read the ingredients on the food wrapper before crinkling it into her coat pocket and hoisting up her pants. They immediately rolled down under her small belly pouch.

  “Libby. Come 'ere. That look like a footprint to you?”

  “Yeah.”

  “What is that, mud?”

  “Dog poopers, I think.”

  “Duncan, take a couple of pictures of this. Peggy, you're gonna get a mold, right?”

  “Already on it,” the muscular woman rummaged behind her wheelchair.

  Don stroked his chin. “What we got in the way of witnesses?”

  “Nothing that I know,” Peggy said. “Lucus might have something.”

  Don squinted toward the edge of the parking lot where Marcy gesticulated at Deputy Chalmers. “Alright. I'll ask him later. I think I'm gonna get that book at the library. On police procedure.” Joe's death was the town's first murder to Don's knowledge. People died, naturally. As for the occasional unnatural death, the town's previous coroner, Libby's mother, had ruled them all suicides.

  “Good idea.”

  “Who called this in?” Don asked the sleepy faces around the conference table in the morning.

  “They didn't give their name. It was a man,” Jackie said.

  “You took the call?”

  “Yeah.”

  “Okay.” Don leafed through a children's detective manual Libertad downloaded and printed for him. The library was closed at this hour, and Don just learned that waking the librarian at her home was not the best idea. He rubbed his shoulder where the she hit him with an encyclopedia. He paused, his other finger resting on a key paragraph. “Peggy, can you trace the call?”

  “On it.”

  “They don't have to call you again or anything? And then you have to keep them talking for a while so the trace does its thing? 'Cause I'm sure Marcy will be more than happy to take over phone duties.”

  “No. We should have a record of the number. And I'll have the gun information for you as soon as the new coroner is done with the body.”

  “Great. Libby and I will be at the coroner's. The rest of you canvas for witnesses. Call when you find something.”

  Peggy called en route with the name and address of the caller. Don dropped Libertad off at the Medical Examiner's office and headed to interview one Robert Powell of Sycamore Drive.

  Libertad didn't look forward to meeting the new coroner by herself, but she agreed this would save time. She knocked on the door of the cooled room, suppressing a shudder so as to appear professional.

  “Come in, come in. I'm not doing anything unseemly.”

  Libertad took a deep breath and waddled in. “Are you the new coroner?”

  “Name's Mort Freeman.” A tall man in a lab jacket smiled down at her, his buck teeth pearl white.

  “Deputy Chief Libertad Klump-Mettler. Nice to meet you. Whatchyou eating?”

  “Peanut butter and jelly. Go ahead and help yourself. An extra one's over there.”

  “Thank you,” Libertad brightened. Nothing like a mid morning snack. “It's safe to eat in here?”

  “Yeah, why not?”

  “With the dead body and all...”

  Mort shrugged. The old man seemed experienced enough. He explained about the bullet wounds and angles and a bunch of other complicated stuff. She could usually focus on one thing at a time and the sandwich won out. Libertad made noises as she ate. Mort took these as assent to one of his questions. As a result she was treated to a puppet show of sorts with Joe McCaliker as the star.

  When she left, Libby forgot all about what Mort had told her. Good thing that he gave her a printed report with pictures. The peanut butter and jelly thumbprint next to Mort's signature reminded Libertad of the delicious sandwich she had eaten. She liked Mort.

  A dog barked at Don when a gaunt man answered the door. “Mr. Powell?” Don flashed his badge. The man's eyes widened. “It's okay. Just here to ask a few questions, if you don't mind.”

  Powell muttered something inaudible, stepped out on his porch, and closed the door behind him. His thin, long gray hair streamed behind him as he crossed his arms. His open bathrobe flapped in the wind. Don avoided looking in that direction.

  “You called the police last night, Mr. Powell?”

  “That was supposed to be arnomynous,” he coughed.

  “Apparently it's not. Didn't even have to trick you into it or anything. I actually know a lot about you. On the ride over Peggy sent me some information she gleaned from your Facefriend or Bookface, or whatever the hell it's called. Your dog's name is Dan, for example.”

  Powell glowered. “That's private.”

  “Oh yeah? I guess they make it visible for the police account? I don't know. Libby's pretty analog, and I just visit the news sites, you know? And Netflix. But that's 'cause we don't have a TV.” Don shifted from one foot to the other and cleared his throat. “Sir, would you mind closing your robe?”

  “What is it, against the lar?”

  “Going commando? I don't know. I'll ask around...Uh, anyway, I came by just to ask what exactly you saw last night.”

  “Nothin'”

  “But you called it in. Obviously you saw something.”

  “A body.”

  “Right. What were you doing there, may I ask?”

  “No.”

  “Sorry, uh. That was just a figure of speech. What were you doing there?”

  “Walking my dog.”

  “Behind the diner? It's kind of far from your house, isn't it?”

  “I like to walk.”

  “Fair enough. Kind of a weird place to walk your dog though, no?”

  Powell glared.

  “Did you see anything or anyone suspicious?”

  “No. Just the body.”

  “Did you know Joe McCaliker?”

  “No.”

  “Just one more question. How soon after you found the body did you report it?”

  “Right away.”

  “Okay then. If you think of anything else, please give me a call.” Don handed Powell a piece of paper with his phone number. He'd been meaning to get cards. “I might come back with more questions.”

  The door slammed in his face.

  “Well, thanks for your help,” Don returned to his car.

  Back at the station, Don flipped through the coroner's report. “Says here the time of death is between 9:30 and 10:30 PM last night. Two shots, one in the gut, one in the head. The one in the head killed him.” Don stroked his chin. Libby snored in the chair next to him.

  Don shuffled through the papers on the conference table. Where was that call log? He meant to put it in the folder marked “klews,” but he couldn't find it either.

  He glanced at his “to be filed” pile, a mountain of documents just below the missing persons bulletin board (which Marcy papered over with printouts of inedible recipes). Don shuddered. He'd look in there only if he had to.

  Arthur the janitor clattered in with a broom, singing.


  Don started. He'd concentrated so hard that he dozed off too. He rubbed his eyes and asked Libertad's uncle if he saw a folder called klews.

  “Oh my, you scared me,” Arthur jumped. “Can't say that I have. But I suffer from CRS.” The man swept around dust bunnies and crumpled paper, making sure that the broom's bristles touched nothing but clean floor.

  “What's seearess?”

  “Can't remember.”

  “You can't remember what it means or it means you can't remember?”

  “I can't remember. I'm gonna go get the mop.” He rested the broom against Don's shoulder.

  Don got up and leaned it against the several overflowing garbage cans in the corner. That's where he found his folder. “Stupid Arthur,” he muttered and examined the call log.

  Powell's call came in at 10:57 PM. To the side Peggy added the location. Don recognized it as Powell's address.

  Peggy wheeled herself in.

  “Hey, let me ask you something.”

  “Shoot.”

  “Something about this Powell guy doesn't add up. He walked his dog behind the dumpster. Why? His house is like 30 minutes' walk away from there. Why go there?” Don checked his notes. “Says he called right away, but he called from his house. With his cell phone. Why not call from the scene?”

  Peggy shrugged.

  “He's hiding something.”

  “If he walked home before making the call, his presence at the scene puts him in the window of the time of death.”

  Don tapped his nose. “You're right. Think he did it?”

  “You have anything for motive?”

  “Not yet. Didn't get to that chapter,” Don waved at the papers on the desk. “You have the ballistics?”

  “Yeah. Two 22LR bullets. Very common. From the report the new coroner sent over, looks like the killer used a rifle. Something strange about the bullets though.”

  “Oh yeah?”

  “A sort of film on them. Organic material. If I had to guess I'd say it was peanut butter and jelly.”

  “The killer had a snack when he loaded the gun?”

  “That's my theory,” Peggy said. “So how is the new coroner?”

 
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