The Big Hush
(A Dragnet Fan Fiction Story)
By: Kristi N. Zanker
Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, settings, etc. are the property of Mark VII Limited and Universal. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. I, in no way am associated with the owners, creators, or producers of Dragnet. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning: This story contains strong language, adult themes, sexual situations, and a disturbing subject matter.
Sergeant Joe Friday sat at his desk and was silent for a minute before picking up the receiver. His partner, Officer Bill Gannon, had taken Larry Watson to the Interrogation Room for questioning. But the seasoned detective had a hunch that this young boy, only seventeen years old, was not a suspect in this case. Joe lit a Chesterfield. After taking the first drag to calm his nerves, he picked up the phone and dialed Central Receiving Hospital.
“She didn’t tell me!” the sandy blonde-haired boy named Larry cried. He yanked on the collar of his gray polo shirt, as if doing so would provide an answer. His choking sobs had settled down into a quieter weep. “I loved her so much and she didn’t tell me!”
Joe now sat at the table in an Interrogation Room with Bill and Larry. It had been ten minutes since Joe had called to find out the result of sixteen-year-old Shelly Forrester. It had been forty-five minutes since Joe and Bill entered the apartment and found her body, crumpled on the floor in the hallway, her hand still holding the receiver of the telephone. A trail of blood went from the kitchen table to the phone stand in the hallway of her parent’s small apartment. The crime lab was there now, checking for fingerprints and taking more photographs.
“Oh God!” Larry muttered, staring down at the table. “All that blood! There was so much of it! She didn’t even tell me….why didn’t she tell me?” His watery blue eyes pleaded with the two men who sat across from him.
“Are you going to be all right, son?” asked Joe.
“Yes…I’ll…I will be in a minute,” Larry said in between hiccups. He pulled out a white handkerchief from the back pocket of his khaki pants and blew his nose. “I…I think I’m ready now,” he said softly.
His breathing remained quick and intense from the earlier emotional explosion. He was like a child who had fallen off the monkey bars at the playground during recess, silent for a second, and then furious sobs and shuddering would ensue due to the sharp stab of pain that, in mere seconds, would envelope his body.
“Do you want to start from the beginning?” asked Joe and the boy nodded.
He sniffled, dabbed his nose with the handkerchief, crumpled it into his fist and then began. His voice still trembled. As he spoke, Bill jotted down notes into the notepad in front of him.
“We met last year, in Math class. We did the things that other kids do. We liked to go to the diner, bowling, roller skating, bike riding, listen to records, watch television, you know. We would also do our homework together. Shelly had trouble in math a lot, so I helped her out. After going together for five months, I asked her to be my steady and she said yes. I gave her my class ring and we each met our parents. Mine really liked Shelly...said she was a nice girl. Her parents liked me, I think. We didn’t do anything wrong… We really loved one another and talked about getting married after graduation. We thought it was okay to…you know…since we were practically engaged.”
The boy’s face turned three shades of red and he cleared his throat.
“Do I have to…I mean, do you want me to—“ He couldn’t look Bill or Joe in the eye.
“No, son, you don’t have to go into that kind of detail. We understand what happened,” said Joe.
“Well, about a month after we…uh…well, suddenly Shelly didn’t want to go roller skating or bike riding anymore. I didn’t know why, I thought maybe she was getting bored with me. Anyway, her parents went out of town on Saturday morning and I tried to call her to see if she wanted to go to a movie. But the phone was always busy. Sometimes, Shelly likes to talk with her friends, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I called about an hour later and the line was still busy. Well, I rode my bike over to her apartment. Our parents said we couldn’t have a car, even though we have our licenses to drive. So, we ride our bikes everywhere.”
“You’re going off on a tangent, Larry,” said Bill, who stopped writing in his notebook. “We just need you to tell us the events leading to you finding Shelly.”
“Oh, sorry…well, I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. I called her name, still no answer. Then, when I went to turn the knob, I was surprised that the door was open. I went inside and called her name again. As I walked across the living room…I…I saw her there,” tears began again at the vile memory.
“I used the phone in the kitchen to call you. Right away, I noticed the kitchen table. The tablecloth was all a mess and wrinkled, like someone had been lying on it or something. When I went closer, I saw the blood,” he blew his nose once again. “When you told me she…had an abortion, I didn’t even know she was pregnant! Why didn’t she tell me?”
It was back to that first question that neither Bill nor Joe had an answer for. The hospital had informed Joe that the girl had hemorrhaged to death from a botched abortion. They didn’t know if had been self-induced or a “back alley” one. Just then, the phone rang, startling all of them, especially Larry out of his trance.
“Interrogation Room, Friday,” Joe said into the mouthpiece. “You didn’t? I see….so it wasn’t robbery….just had to make sure. No, we haven’t gotten a hold of the girl’s parents yet. They’re on vacation. I called the hotel several times and left a message with the clerk at the front desk.. Okay….how about every wastebasket, did you check those? How about the outside cans…nothing? Okay….okay,” And he hung up.
“We definitely know now that it wasn’t robbery. If someone did come into the apartment, they must’ve been wearing gloves as there are no fingerprints anywhere. The only ones they found were the girl’s and yours, Larry.”
“Oh, well, all I touched was the doorknob to come in and the wall phone in the kitchen.”
“Did you know if Shelly’s friends had said anything?” asked Bill.
“About what?” Larry asked.
“Well, you had said that Shelly didn’t want to go roller skating and such, do you know if her friends hinted anything?”
“No, I didn’t know anything until today. I just can’t understand, if she loved me so much, like she said she did, why didn’t she tell me that she was going to have a baby…our baby,” the boy began to cry again.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. Joe answered it and a man and woman entered the room. “Mom…Dad?” said Larry.
“What is all of this, son?” asked Larry’s father.
The only thing Larry could do at that moment was weep.
It was around eight o’clock when Joe drove out of the parking lot of Parker Center. The rush hour traffic had ceased by then. But Joe couldn’t get Larry or Shelly out of his mind. The boy’s parents had taken him home. Bill and Joe finished up the latest paperwork and finally signed out for the day. They had worked three hours of overtime; a short time compared to others. At least it hadn’t been the entire night. Joe knew about those days too.
How many cases is this now? Joe thought as he lit a cigarette at a stoplight. When the green light surfaced, he stepped on the accelerator and glided down the freeway.
Larry and Shelly’s story had similarities to the findings from three days ago. A nineteen-year-old woman was found by her parents, sitting beneath the wall phone in the kitchen, with blood engulfed around her. By the time the ambulance made it to the hospital, the girl was DOA. And a week ago, a woman was found in her bedroom, lying on her bed with the knitting needle still…. Joe couldn’t think about that anymore. It had been two weeks, since these murders had begun.
It was springtime in Los Angeles, the beginning of May, 1967. A familiar quotation seeped into Joe’s mind. In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love… He remembered that from high school. It was Tennyson who said it. Spring meant happy times, a burst of energy, as everyone welcomed spring from the long, endless days of winter. Spring was even more special if one was in love. That was how he interpreted the quotation. But there was someone who was defying spring and its meaning. For some unexplained reason, they didn’t want people like Larry and Shelly to be happy and in love. Instead, they got a thrill out of snuffing out lives.
After he parked his powder blue 1964 Ford Fairlane, he stubbed out the cigarette butt in the waiting ashtray near the side entrance of the building. Joe then unlocked the side door with his key, and slowly climbed the stairs to the second floor. As he took each step, he tried very hard to wash away the evening’s events, the entire two weeks.
When Joe unlocked the door to his apartment, he was startled at first to find his girlfriend Gracie Adams there, sitting on his couch. Before he could even say hello, the timer on the stovetop buzzed and Gracie got up to retrieve the warmed-over meal in the oven. After setting the plate on the table she scurried across the room to Joe, wrapped her arms around him, and gave him a generous kiss of “hello.”
....a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of… Tennyson’s words echoed through his head as he kissed her back, his arms magnetically circling around her waist and pulling her close. …thoughts of… … thoughts of… His mind became a skipping record, but it was Gracie who pulled away, causing the invisible record needle to scratch.
“I don’t want your dinner to get cold,” she said, as she took his hand and led him into the kitchen. “You look exhausted,” she told him, as he sat down at the table.
“It was a very long day,” he said, picking up his knife and fork to cut up the chicken breast.
“You’ve had quite a few of those lately,” Gracie said as she got a bottle of root beer out of the refrigerator.
What the hell is this? Joe thought irritably, wishing he could have something a lot stronger than root beer.
“Your refrigerator was awful, Joe. Hardly any food in it. So, today after work, I went to the A & P, got a bottle of A & W and then picked up some S & H trading stamps,” she smiled at him.
“You what? You said you went to the A & P and got A & W, oh skip it!” He stabbed at a piece of chicken with his fork.
“No, I just thought of that on the way home and it sounded funny to me. I bought you other stuff too.”
“I hope you got some Crown Royal. You know I’d like that better than root beer,” he scowled at the childish drink in front of him. Gracie didn’t see the look on his face for she had turned to the cupboard to retrieve a glass. Joe sighed; he didn’t mean to sound so harsh just then.
Before she handed him the drink of his choice, she plunked a single ice cube in the glass, swirling it a little.
“Oh, honey, I didn’t mean to sound so cross. Thank you for going grocery shopping for me. It’s been such a hectic week and I haven’t had time to do anything,” he pulled her close to him and gave her waist a squeeze. “Is your book almost filled up?”
“Yes, it is,” Gracie replied, sitting next to him. “A few more and I can redeem the stamps. Would you like to go to the Redemption Center with me and pick out something?”
“Maybe I will,” he said, thinking about the kinds of objects they had there like vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, row boats, phonographs, heating pads, even television sets, among other useful and entertaining items.
“We got a call today around five, just before we were going to leave the room. I wish I had a nickel for every time that happened,” said Joe, circling his spoon into the mashed potatoes. “That’s what took so long.”
“Oh. Well, your day’s over and your with me now. You can relax and take it easy,” she said, giving his arm that rested on the table a gentle pat.
“It feels wonderful to be home, but at the same time, it’s exasperating to know that I have to be back to work in twelve hours.”
“Well, it's Thursday and the weekend is coming up.”
“With my luck, they’ll call us back,” Joe said as he took a sip of Crown Royal.
The burning whiskey rushed to his stomach and he sighed. “Thank you for this dinner, honey. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve just opened a can of soup and ate directly from the can itself. I’d be too damned tired to make anything for dinner. I really appreciate this.”
“It’s no trouble, Joe. Even though I ate two hours ago, I can still sit here and keep you company. Besides, we can have dessert together.”
“What do you have?”
“You’ll see.” When Joe finished his plate, Gracie took it from the table to the sink.
He watched her as she went to the refrigerator and pulled out a glass bowl of chocolate pudding. She retrieved two smaller bowls from the cupboard and began to fill them with the velvety dessert. After that, she covered the larger bowl with tinfoil and then brought out whipped cream. She gave each bowl a decent amount. When the refrigerator door shut, she grabbed the two bowls off the countertop and brought them to the table.
“This is too much. You’re spoiling me,” said Joe, reaching over to give her a kiss on the cheek.
“I don’t mind. You’re the kind of person who needs to be spoiled,” she said, getting up one last time to fill two glasses of tap water.
When the bowls were empty, Gracie took them to the sink. When Joe started to move, she told him to sit there while she did the dishes.
“Do you want any more to drink?” she asked with her back turned to him.
“Oh no, not right now. I think I’ll rest for a minute,” Joe said as he got up from his chair and slowly walked into the living room and then the bedroom. He sat on the bed for a moment and then lay on this back. He hadn’t even put away his badge or the pistol. He removed his I.D. and badge from the front pocket of his gray blazer and tossed them on the nightstand next to him. Carefully, he took the pistol and put in it the drawer. When he felt everything had been taken care of, he turned on his side and fell asleep.
Joe didn’t know what time it was when he opened his eyes. Someone was silently calling his name and telling him to wake up. Oh, go away! His mind shouted. Leave me alone! But the voice continued. “What!? What is it?” he woke up with a start.
“Shhh, Joe, settle down,” Gracie’s soothing voice surrounded him.
“Oh, it’s you.”
“Yes, come on now. Let me help you take off your clothes. You can’t be comfortable in that tie.”
“Oh, hell I was so tired,” he said, as he felt Gracie’s fingers intertwine the knot of the tie to begin the process of removing it. Suddenly, he felt chilled, as he lay on the bed, the covers still tucked in and bedspread smooth underneath him. The room was dark, as Gracie discarded his tie and began to unbutton his shirt.
“What time is it?” He stifled a yawn.
“Don’t worry about that. I’m almost finished, then you can go back to sleep,” she whispered to him, as he sat up for a moment to take off the blazer and button-down shirt.
Internal instincts had other ideas as her hands undid his belt and then the button and zipper. He felt himself becoming very aroused at her touch.
“I need you to—“ she began, as he arched his back a little for her to pull the pants off.
Now, he was very cold in his undershirt and boxers. He reached out to find Gracie in the darkness, and what he felt first felt was her satiny red nightgown. He absolutely loved how it felt and looked on her. If the light had been on, he’d gaze at how the material hugged her shape, accenting all of the right curves. His hands moved up and down her hips and then back up to her waist. The only thing that kept them separated was the cotton material and a seductively thin layer of silk and satin. He pulled her down on top of him and kissed her, parting his lips to invite her welcoming tongue.
To Joe’s surprise, Gracie sat up and he groaned as she took and placed him into her inviting flesh. She gasped as she slowly slid further. He watched as her silhouette in the darkness moved back and forth, slowly at first, getting used to the position. He could see her hands cup her breasts and rub them as she swayed. He removed her hands and began to knead them. They felt so ready as he played with her taut nipples. It was as if they couldn’t wait to be freed from the trappings of a brassiere, slip, clothing, and now a slight covering of silk was in the way. She moaned as he caressed her and sighed when his thumbs ran across her firm nipples, creating a tingling sensation in both of them. In an instant, he had had enough.
His hands pushed the nightgown up and it seemed like an eternity as he waited for Gracie to get rid of the unwanted piece. His eyes were focused now to the dark room, and he could see her nakedness gleam in the moonlight, that streamed through the parted curtains. He pulled her to him, taking a swollen breast into his mouth, sucking, and flicking his tongue over the toughness of the nipple. Joe kissed his way to the other one repeating the pleasing gesture.
Joe knew his body would explode any minute if he didn’t take care of it. Being careful, as to not spoil the moment, he held onto her as he rolled her over onto her back and he smiled at her. He sat up only for a brief second, to do away with his undershirt and boxers. The temperature had steadily risen causing him to break into a sweat.
In his haste and stimulation, he quietly cursed at the boxers that wouldn’t come off when he intended them to. Once they were thrown into the shadows of the room, he positioned himself and began to move rapidly above her. He didn’t want to miss this heavenly second, as he felt his insides progressing to their peak. The flowing juices within responded instantly, causing him to cry out with each embedded crest.
He shuddered, as he hugged Gracie to him, his swift breathing settling down.
Gracie’s hands gently stroked his back, as he kissed her again with their tongues doing the exploring now. As fast as the wonderful sensation arrived, it had dissipated causing more fatigue to battle its way in.
The only words spoken were a murmured “goodnight” to one another, stuck in the spoon position, and finally underneath the covers, as Joe’s hand greedily cupped one of her breasts and the other ran up and down her leg. His hand aimlessly wandered to her middle and remained there until the alarm clock spun to morning and daylight stumbled into the bedroom.
Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker
Continue to Chapter Two
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