Detective Bowman climbed out of an unmarked Caprice and appeared to shrug his jacket into a more comfortable position and straightened his tie. Confident his sidearm was secure; he sauntered over to Officer Wills.
“Officer, make this good or make this brief: My curried beef is getting cold and my beer is getting warm.”
Wills grinned. “You’ll have to settle for good, Bo. Why don’t you come into the lobby and see for yourself?”
Bowman shrugged and waved Wills ahead, “…damn curry gives me gas anyway I guess.”
He’d been called to the downtown Marriot. He expected the humidity from the massive water feature in the lobby. He expected the plush furnishings and the soothing instrumental background music. He did not expect to see a man in his early twenties dressed like Tweety-bird.
“Hey Wills,” he tapped the officer’s shoulder. “Don’t tell me you called me here to referee a mascot’s convention…”
“Furry orgy gone wrong?”
Wills smiled broadly, “Just go talk to the canary, see if you can get him to sing.”
“Aight, I’ll bite.” Bowman walked over to the young man in the Tweety suit. His Bieber bangs were plastered to his forehead with sweat and his eyes were wide and haunted, like he’d seen something he couldn’t have…or maybe something he shouldn’t have.
“I’m Detective Mike Bowman. How are you doing tonight?”
“Another cop! Look, you’ve gotta find John! We think he may have been 1-8-7’d!”
Bowman grinned and shook his head as he pulled a pen and notepad from the breast pocket of his coat. “Son, the force retired radio code three years ago, and I believe anthimeria is a misdemeanor in this precinct so let’s leave nouns nouns, shall we? Now, why do you think your friend has been murdered?”
“Wile E.’s gonna eat him, if he hasn’t already!”
“I see. Son are you aware of the criminal penalties for filing a false report?”
Tweety threw his wings in the air and rolled his eyes.
“Start talking, and tell it straight from the beginning,” Bowman said firmly. He sighed and thought about his dinner. The kid breathlessly plunged into his story.
“My friends and grew up on Looney Tunes,” he began.
Bowman raised an eyebrow in warning, “Son don’t play me for a fool. When I said the beginning…”
“Just listen and you’ll understand! We came to Tampa for a convention. We were in our room watching the Bugs Bunny show dressed in costume for the show later this evening. A roadrunner episode came on that we’d never seen before. Halfway through, Wile E. Coyote ordered something from ACME. It was a trans-dimensional hole. Normally the roadrunner runs right past stuff like that and the coyote falls for it every time.”
As he spoke, he’d been looking down at his toes, across the lobby to the shimmering sheet of water cascading dramatically down the face of a stone wall, or even up at the giant crystal chandelier overhead – anything to avoid eye contact. He looked up, straight into Bowman’s eyes.
“This time was different. When Wile E. Coyote went to place the portal, he tripped and it flew straight at us. The screen went black. I thought Larry had tripped on the power cord again. This is the freaky part,” he paused, “You’re not going to fucking believe me anyway, what’s the use?”
“Try me. We’ll go from there.”
“A werewolf climbed out of the screen. Well, we think it was Wile E. Coyote, but it sure as hell looked like a werewolf!”
Bowman sighed and clicked his pen closed. He returned the pad and pen to his pocket and whistled for Wills. “Officer Wills! Take this fine young man into custody and charge him with filing a false report. I want a tox screen and…”
“Just go up to our room and see for yourself! John was dressed like the roadrunner. When the coyote climbed out of the screen, everybody started freaking out. The coyote chased john around the room and when John ran past the TV it just …sucked him in!”
“Fine. Lead the way, Tweety. I warn you, though. You’re courting felony charges right now.”
The room was a mess of overturned furniture and empty pizza boxes. The TV was indeed playing Looney tunes.
Detective Bowman turned about expectantly. He was about to direct Tweety out of the room when his phone chimed with a text message. He flipped it out and read: There must always be a Roadrunner. He glanced to the TV screen to see the coyote holding a white sign that said the same. Wile E. Coyote nodded slowly and then turned and trotted off into the sunset.