Contributor: Gary Clifton

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"Fifth Girl Found Butchered In South Dallas County" the headline blared. Homicide assigned McCoy and Harper the series of brutal murders, all with similar touches of indescribable cruelty and sadism. The bodies showed signs of cannibalism. They lifted a DNA trace on the last kid and damned if they didn't get a hit on Charlie Bob Sneezel, called "Snark", with priors for child molestation.

They should have known better, but before arresting him, they sweated him at his mama's house. Snark, textbook arrogant, squinted his gouch eye and blurted, "Mama always said little girls was dirty."

"But tasty?" McCoy snapped.

Harper, big, tough and never without a nasty cigar recommended they pull of the suspect's head. McCoy, a rather rudderless oaf, thought instant eternity was too much and argued they jail Snark so other prisoners could "entertain" him. Child murderers have a tough time surviving in Texas jails.

The plan went to hell on three wheels. Before making any real confession, the murdering little rodent slithered through a hole in the floor, then ran south on Webbs Chapel. McCoy chased on foot, Harper followed in McCoy's assigned Dodge.

Snark, frantically veered into a convenience store. McCoy followed. Harper roared up. Unfamiliar with the brakes, he crashed through the front and squashed the fugitive beneath the porno book rack like a sidewalk wooly-worm.

"Harper, do you realize there's not enough left for the medical school to even try for parts," McCoy said somberly.

Snark's child raping, butchering career was concluded, but damages were two hundred thousand dollars.

"You know, partner," Harper said later. "A brake job woulda been a lot less paperwork."

"Yeah, but he'll play hell of appealing the sentence," McCoy smiled. "Being as he's more jelly than corpse."

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Clifton, forty years a cop, has an M.S. from Abilene Christian University and has short fiction pieces published or pending on numerous online sites.
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