A veterinarian discovers a dog that speaks English.
“That was a shocker,” Matt could not make sense of things that happened just the previous day.
“Yeah, Mr. Parker was a nice man. Who could have done this to him?” Clara was as disturbed. Living a few blocks down the road, Mr. Parker was a kind elderly man and could easily befriend anyone. That trait of his was what made it difficult to believe that someone could actually kill him.
“The cops are baffled too.”
“I don’t think they are equipped enough to figure out a murder. For God’s sake, there has been no murder here for the last 25 years. Who do you think is going to be a specialist in handling such a scene? Sheriff Carl?” Clara was stating the obvious but that still didn’t give Matt a peace of mind.
“I only wish I could help,” Matt was still focused on the loss. Besides being a good man, Mr. Parker was a good friend. Clara rubbed Matt’s shoulder but they both knew that nothing much could be done.
“What do we have here? Isn’t that Sherman?” Clara was excited to see a dog at home. She wanted a pet but Matt was hardly interested. Clara couldn’t understand how a veterinarian like him wouldn’t want a pet.
“Yes, it is. And Sherm is going to stay with us for some time,” Matt said. Sherman was Dr. Parker’s Labrador.
“Sherm, hah? Looks like we have a connect here,” Clara was teasing Matt.
“Yeah, yeah, okay. I had no choice.”
“And why would that be?”
“The cops brought him to me. He was sick but okay now.”
“Yeah, those investigating Parker’s murder.”
“There were somethings they shared with me and asked for my help. It is the strangest case that I have ever heard.”
“Sounds like the Zodiac. What’s so strange?”
“Well, Mr. Parker’s house was locked from the inside to start with, there was no one home except him. The cops aren’t able to find the murder weapon nor is there any trace left behind,” Matt was going over the points as he was speaking, “to add to that there is some kind of potassium spray which is making the police dogs sick.”
“Wasn’t Sherman affected?”
“He was. That’s why the cops brought him to me. In fact, they brought two other police dogs as well. Because these mutts are getting sick, they are not able to effectively search the place. So, they will have to do it the good old way.”
“You mean combing the house?”
“Yes, since the dogs can’t help at the moment.”
“Seems like a smart criminal.”
“You calling him Zodiac, aptly fits,” Matt said, “so, Sherm stays here for few days and maybe later can be moved to a pet house.”
“Why can’t we have him as our pet?” Clara protested.
“I am just not comfortable around these things. They are so dumb. I feel ch….”
“How can you love the veterinarian job and yet not love your job subjects?”
“I love them so far as I have to treat them. To take care of them for life is a totally different subject.”
“Arrgghh.” Clara knew where the conversation was headed and stormed into the kitchen. At least she had Sherman for few days.
“Looks like someone is enjoying the company,” Matt was happy to see Clara playing with Sherman.
“Yes, I am. So, how was work?”
“It was work only for two hours, after that I was with the cops?”
“Careful, now. I hope you are not planning to change your profession.”
“Won’t be intentional if I do?”
“What was the matter. Something new on the case?”
“Yes. I didn’t realize that Sherman was in the house on the day of the murder. Surprisingly, did not bark, no one heard any protest, nothing.”
“Well, Sherman was supposed to be there. Where else could he be?”
“At the Warden’s. Parker used to leave him there once in a while. All this while, I thought that Sherm got sick when he got back but he was there.”
“You know, I wish that mutt could talk. He is the only witness.”
“That’s not possible. Anyway, go change. I will get dinner ready.”
“Hmm. What are you looking at you dumb mutt?” Matt took a dig at Sherman as he passed. Not that Sherman cared.
“Mattt..” Clara did.
“Honey, you go to bed. I just have to finish few things,” Matt kissed Clara on the forehead. The workout with Sherman did her a world of good and got her sleepy too. Interestingly, the dog followed Matt downstairs.
“You not sleepy dude?” Matt looked at Sherman as he walked out of the room. Matt got down and settled in his chair in front of his laptop.
“You know I am not a dumb mutt.”
Matt was startled at the voice. He was in terror at the unfamiliar voice and was a bit scared that the killer may have found him out after all. But “mutt” did not add up. He turned.
“Who’s there? Come on Sherm, search.” Matt’s gaze was on the back door as he could see no one around.
“No need to search. There is no one here but us.”
Having found the source, Matt sprung back only to be blocked by the chair, “Sweet Jesus! The dog is possessed.”
“Who is going to possess me?”
“Am I drunk? What’s happening? It must be the sample at the office. I must be hallucinating.”
“Well, if you have completed the diagnosis, can we talk?”
“I don’t know,” Matt was almost yelling, “I don’t remember the last time I had a talk with a dog.”
“Honey, who is it?” Clara called out from the bedroom.
“No one. I am just practicing a speech.”
“Now, calm down and sit.”
“I don’t believe this. A mutt is asking me to sit down,” Matt was whispering but his fingers could not stop tapping at the desk.
“Look, you need to relax. I can help you with what happened at the house that day.”
For the first time since the unusual encounter moments back, Matt was all ears.
“What can you tell me?”
“I see you people going all over the place on the case. It is just plain and simple. The door was locked from the inside so the person must have been known to my pal.”
“Mr. Parker for you.”
“I remember that day. I was in the kitchen when the bell rang. Friend went to open the door. I could hear pleasantries. It went on for some time. Friend didn’t need me or usually he calls me.”
“Okay, where are we heading?”
“Heading to solve the case. I need your undivided attention much like us staying focused on the stick that you’ll throw.”
“After some time, I heard my bowl being filled with some crunchies. It was not my normal stuff and I came ahead to investigate. Friend had taken the visitor to the room. The crunchies smelled good and I started to dig in. There was something wrong with it and I instantly lost balance.”
“You were drugged, oh. That’s why my medicine took longer time to work on you than the other dogs.”
“Yes, but the point is. It must have been someone whom friend trusted to feed me. That food was not at home. So the person would have got it with him.”
“Oh, that makes sense. And he was acquaintance enough to be shown the room.”
“The room because he was there repair something. I wasn’t fully unconscious and could hear hammer sounds.”
“Hammer? Was that the attack?”
“No, I saw them coming out. I could not move and things were hazy. The attack happened in front of me. He hit with a box in which Parker used to keep his letters. It is there on the desk as soon as you enter the house.”
“Okay, so that is the murder weapon. A blunt object hitting the head. Why didn’t the cops find it?”
“He cleaned the box so it may take some time before the humans find it. If my kind could work in there, we would have found that sooner enough.”
“Now things are falling in place.”
“Not all, though. The killer remains.”
“Yes, that and also how was the door locked from the inside.”
“You see when the killer was done cleaning the box, I heard a vehicle. I think it was a cop. A friend probably. I heard the bell ring multiple times and then the cop peeped in through the window. He saw the carnage and broke the window. I remember seeing him checking something on friend and then immediately spoke into the radio.”
“He didn’t see the killer?”
“That’s where I suspect he went wrong. Instead of searching the house he went out and radioed. That’s when this guy came down and got out from the same window.”
“Oh, damn! That explains everything.”
“No, not yet. Now the glass window had cut both the cop and the killer. So, if you investigate that closer, you will get to see two different blood types.”
“Oh shit. All this while we thought it was the cop’s.”
“If I could breathe freely there, it would be just a matter of minutes before I got the scent of the killer and identified him.”
“No worries on that. DNA test from the window blood samples will do the trick.”
“And be careful!” Sherman cautioned Matt much to his amusement.
“Why… what do you mean?”
“The minute you tell the cops things so much in detail, they may suspect you.”
“No, I will tell them you told me.”
“Not happening. I am not speaking to anyone but you.”
“Then this will be a no-go. No one will believe me. If they do believe then I will be the suspect.”
“You don’t have to make anyone believe. You are working on the case, anyway. Just in the most subtle way make them realize that there may be two different blood stains on the window glass. That would be enough to set the ball rolling.”
“Hmmm… That makes sense. It was obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you were still thinking about a talking mutt.”
“Oh, that, yes. Well, what.. what is this? All dogs can talk?”
“Don’t know. Just developed the ability somewhere early in life. Looks like it was friend’s intention and God granted it. I was his company at home.”
“That also explains Parker always speaking with someone when I was at the door back in the good days.”
“Yes. I repeat again. I will talk to no one but you. I just wanted to get that man for killing my friend.”
“So, the case is settled,” Clara was a bit relieved that the killer was caught.
“Yes. The plumber. Can you believe that? And looks like he came with the motive of killing and not just a spur of the moment act.”
“Yeah, obvious with Sherman being drugged.”
“Cops are still figuring out the motive but I am glad he is behind bars,” Matt allowed himself to sink deep on the couch.
“Me too. So, when is Sherman going to the pet house?”
“Honey, about that…. can we keep Sherm?”
“Oh my sweet Jesus, what has happened to you!” Clara could neither keep her playful taunt nor her excitement down.
“No, he keeps you running around and healthy…”
“And pets in general have a healthy effect on their owners. So all-in-all, you know what I mean?”
“I don’t know what you mean but I will grant you your wish,” Clara ensured that it was known who’s wish it was.
Image Courtesy: AlexanderVlasov @Pixabay