Author: John Weagly
Conrad Lee answered the knock at his hotel room door to find a policeman with bulbous eyes and a puffy throat.
“Good evening, sir,” the cop said. “Did you call in a noise complaint?” His Innsmouth PD nametag said he was Officer Obed. He shifted from foot to foot, causing his hip to flash in the hallway light.
“Yes. Hours ago.”
“Sorry, sir. Busy night, full moon and all. What sort ‘a noise?”
“Uh-huh.” Obed wrote something down in a small notebook.
“I’m sound asleep,” Conrad said. “I hear a noise like a choir of cats being drowned in a bucket of turpentine. I look out my window to see a bunch of kooks standing on the beach, screeching at the sea.”
Obed twitched at the word ‘kooks.’ “Uh-huh.”
“I wanted to get away from the stress of the city. I came to your quaint, little fishing village to take in calm ocean breezes, maybe enjoy some quality seafood.”
“Innsmouth is a good place for that.” Obed said. “‘Come for the calamari – stay to become calamari!’”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, sir. Town joke. That’s all.”
“I came here for peace and quiet.” Conrad said. “Not for dusk-till-dawn beachfront chanting by a bunch of crazies!”
Obed tensed at the word ‘crazies.’ “Uh-Huh.”
“Hour after hour of ‘Coo-thoo-loo’ and ‘Foo-taa-gen’ and some guy name ‘Riley.’ And a whole lot of ‘Eee-Ah! – Eee-Ah! – Eee-Ah!’”
“Uh-huh,” Obed said.
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Uh-Huh,” Obed said. He made a note. “Eee. Ah.”
“I expect you to earn whatever this fish-stick of a town pays you and go down to that beach and disband those crackpots.”
Obed stiffened at the word ‘crackpots.’ “Yes, sir.” As he turned to leave, light again reflected off of his hip.
“Hold on a sec,” Conrad said. “What is that?”
“What is what, sir?”
“On your hip. That’s not a gun or a baton.”
Obed turned back, pulling an eight-inch golden blade encrusted with jewels and carved with strange symbols. “Ceremonial dagger,” he said. “Standard issue, here in Innsmouth.”
“Standard issue?” Conrad said, surprised.
“Uh-huh. We all carry ‘em. Never know when we’ll have a chance to use ‘em.”
Conrad shook his head in disgust. “This whole town must be made up of loonies!”
A croak came out of Officer Obed’s throat. “I don’t appreciate these derogatory names you keep using to describe our townspeople.”
Conrad’s face turned red. “You don’t appreciate…” he stammered. “I don’t appreciate your tone! My tourist dollars help pay your salary.” His eyes narrowed. “I think maybe I should come down to your office and speak to your supervisor.”
With a throaty grunt, Obed slammed his dagger into Conrad Lee’s stomach. The tourist died with a shocked look on his face and a splatter of blood on hotel carpet.
“Never know when we’ll find a good sacrifice,” Innsmouth’s finest said. “I expect my supervisor will give me a raise.”
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