"I want this case Boss!" I said as soon as I entered his office.
He barely looked up as he answered. "No way Frank. You know that`s just not on."
I took another step towards his desk, just to let him know I wasn`t going to let the issue lie that easily. "I`ve got plenty on, I know that, but it can all be put on the boil for a while - just for a bit."
Now he looked up. At least he gave me that. But looking in his eyes I knew that there was no way I was going to win this one.
"Okay, okay." I said, holding my hands up. "But look, I`ve got loads of leave owing...."
"FRANK! Forget it. This isn`t some Hollywood film set. You`re not taking any leave. I can`t afford to let you go at the moment, and I`m not having you chase round like some freelance operator whilst you`re supposed to be relaxing on leave. Here," he tossed a huge buff file across the desk. "No go back to your desk, get on with your other work, and get your teeth into that file. I don`t want to hear another word out of you for the rest of the week, unless it`s for overtime - right here in this office!"
I threw the file on my cluttered desk, then just as unceremoniously threw myself into my chair. I knew there was no way I was going to get much done today. I just couldn`t get the image of that young girl - that dead young girl - out of my mind. She was fifteen, same age as my daughter. Hell, she could have been my daughter! And the worst was, the same thing could still easily happen to my daughter, because no matter what I told her, no matter how careful she may think she was being, sooner or later some bastard would tempt her into trying Space Jelly.
The drug in question had several truly unbelievable properties which set it head and shoulders above other drugs available: Firstly, it was truly non addictive, and this was to prove a major factor against all the complaints lodged by the anti-drugs lobby. Only several hours after being consumed, no trace of the substance could be found in the human body.
Secondly, when dried out it formed a white powder. This in itself was nothing new, but amazingly it would not allow itself to be cut in any way - mix it with another substance and its effects completely disappeared. And yet the taste of the drug was so vile, that almost as though the substance itself knew this, it was possible to mix it with sugary water. When this was done it formed a jelly like substance. The ideal quantities would form a fairly slushy jelly, whilst too much drug would make a solid lump that could not even be cut with a knife. Hence, with colour added, Space Jelly was formed.
And last, but by no means least, were the effects themselves. The single, most noticeable effect the drug caused was an astounding increase in sexual desire. Unlike Amyl Nitrate there was no increase in heart rate or pulse. Neither was blood pressure increased. Basically the stuff was what man had been searching for for years: A pure aphrodisiac, that reduced stress, tension and even violent tendencies. This last property was even more of a bug bear for the anti drugs lot, who had immediately screamed that cases of rape would increase, due to sexually active men craving release. In actual fact, any individual on the drug was so mild and placid, they stood more chance of being mugged themselves than causing a problem to anyone else.
Derived from the sap from a leaf of one of the trees in the Brazilian rain forest, the Chinese had stumbled across the drug whilst continuing their search for a cure to cancer. I still find it amusing to this day to see how quickly the various governments could abruptly end the mass destruction of those rain forests when it suddenly suited them.
So now we called the drug "Ay-o", for no other reason than most people couldn`t properly pronounce the name "Ai-yao", a name that in Chinese meant simply: Love medicine.
But of course the bastards of this world will always find a way to abuse anything, and Ay-o was no exception. The act of plying the opposite sex with Space Jelly to achieve the obvious result was on the increase. The charge of rape almost never held up in court, and even more rarely got that far, mainly because the persons in question (both male and female) had never, once, actually said "no". And as there was no law against asking anyone, even repeatedly, if they wanted a drink, there was little else we could do, except continue our campaign of informing people of the consequences, i.e. the effects, of drinking Space Jelly.
But this case was different. What was more, I was pretty certain I knew what had happened, even though there was no way of proving it, and was equally sure that it was not an isolated incident.
My theory was that someone had plied young Sarah with Space Jelly. They had then (along with several of their friends if forensics were correct) had full intercourse and other sexual activities with the girl. The sex part was fact. The drug part could not be proven as the traces themselves had completely vanished from her body. The fact that she had been beaten to death was evident to even a junior cop, but the assumption that it was because she had made the mistake of telling her abductors her age too late in the proceedings, was purely a guess on my part. It was a nasty business that was not about to simply disappear, but I didn`t want any repeat performances on my patch - whether the boss told me to interfere or not!
I called in a few favours, got some colleagues to clear some of my paperwork and to cover for me, and left the office.
As with any good cop, I had plenty of ears and eyes on the street. Despite this fact, it still took me the rest of the day to find out where Sarah had actually spent her last night. Contrary to official police thinking, she had been seen drinking and dancing in the Mosquito, and not the Pink Elephant half a mile further down the street. How this misinformation had come about I wasn`t sure - it was just another thing that needed looking into.
The Mosquito wasn`t open on a Wednesday, a fact I was quite happy about - it would give me a chance to go snooping around without nosy drunkards and bouncers all over the place. I slipped into the darkened alleyway at the rear of the place and tried several of the fire exit door, just in case. Naturally they were all firm, so I had to resort to more desperate measures and pick the lock at the tradesman's entrance.
It was dark, cold and of course empty inside. There`s something about an empty pub or night-club that always gets me. It`s like the place is physically dead, awaiting the breath of life that only a crowd of drunken noisy customers can breathe into it. It stank of stale beer and cigarette smoke, like all clubs do - there was nothing to distinguish it from any other club.
I had been here several times myself, though not for a long time now. The place had not changed much, and I made my way to the stairs, at the top of which I knew there was a door that led, probably, to the managers office. I had no idea what I was looking for, I was just getting a feel for the case.
At the top of the stairs I paused to pick the lock on the door. The sound of someone coughing on the other side made me freeze for a second, and just as I realised my mistake, a thud knocked me to the floor.
I don`t remember passing out, but when I came to it was obvious that my attacker had not stopped at the one hit. My lips were swollen, as were both my eyes. My entire face hurt, I guessed my nose had been bleeding, though it was so numb now that I couldn`t tell if they`d broken it. My arms ached like they`d been repeatedly thumped, and there was an aching in my stomach which suggested they`d given me a hefty kick in the balls. All in all I`d felt a lot better.
"Back with us eh, copper?" A voice asked from somewhere in front of me.
"You the brave fucker who hit me from behind?" I asked.
"Bravery and stupidity are separated by a very fine line, copper. I`ve been told to treat you as quite a dangerous animal. I wasn`t taking any chances."
I sat up straight, slowly, and found I had been slumped in a simple high backed chair. I raised my hand to check my nose, but winced painfully at the movement. I decided I didn`t care enough if my nose was broken or not to move my arm again. If it was broken, there was nothing I could do anyway. I coughed weakly, but this caused a spasm of pain in my stomach. I was a mess.
"Took no chances with me did you?" I commented.
"I don`t like dangerous animals!" He replied.
"Well you did a fucking good impersonation of one."
I hadn`t realised how close he was. I heard two steps then felt his fist smash into my face again. My head snapped back and one of my front teeth chipped, sending a sharp wave of pain through my skull. I took a deep breath and sat up straight, struggling to open my eyes fully to see him.
He was a big guy - gorilla type - not just bouncer build, but, as the holster and weapon across his chest confirmed, more of a bodyguard. But a bodyguard to whom I wondered?
He saw the fact that I was ignoring the pain, and nodded understandingly. "They told me you were good, fast. I didn`t think you`d fall for that trick you know, but when you did... well, I wasn`t about to give you another chance now was I? I must admit though," He started to pace up and down, eyeing me coolly, "I would have fancied a chance against you, just you and me, one to one."
"Would have been close." I said, but this clearly didn`t impress him, and he took another two steps forward and hit me again. If my nose hadn`t been broken before, it was now. Fresh blood streamed down over my mouth and stars danced in front of my eyes.
I decided I`d given him enough chances now. I also decided that I wasn`t going to kill him as I`d originally planned. He`d evidently enjoyed the beating he`d given me, and payback time was rapidly approaching. I wasn`t going to end his suffering as quickly as I should.
"So," he said, walking across to a table in the corner of the room. "Know what this is?" He produced a pint glass full of lime green liquid. "We can do this one of two ways. Either you decide to enjoy your last moments and have a little accidental overdose with Ay-o, where hopefully the coroner will deduce that you fell down some stairs or something, or I`ll just beat you to death, sling your worthless body in the river, and we`ll all take our chances with the coroners verdict. I know which one I`ll enjoy most! What`s your answer?"
I mumbled something incoherent, my head hung low, and he took a step closer.
"Lets do it the easy way," he continued. "Fancy seeing heaven?" And he offered me the glass.
"Heaven`s closed today." I mumbled.
"What?" Another step.
I struck him hard, murderously hard, straight in the solar plexus. "I said I`ll see you in Hell!" I yelled.
He hit the floor before the glass did, eyes bulging, a complete loss of control of all of his limbs. One hand was out to the side, fingers slightly curled, and I felt no remorse as I stamped heavily on the hand, hearing the fingers shatter and break beneath my foot. He went to scream, but I dropped to my knees and slammed a hand into his throat, cutting off any noise. His good hand went to his neck, and grabbing it, I quickly dislocated his thumb and first two fingers, before punching him squarely in the face to even the score on the broken nose stakes.
Satisfied that he was no longer any threat, I relieved him of his gun and left the room – But not before delivering a swift rib-shattering kick. Someone had known I was going to be here today, and when I kicked in the door to the managers office, gun held out in front of me, I was only mildly surprised to see my boss sat between two other men. They were editing a film, or to be more precise, they were extracting all the evidence from the video footage that they had played any part in the murder of young Sarah. When this was complete, I had no doubt that the video would be on sale within a very exclusive market.
The three men looked at me with open mouths, none of them knowing what to make of my beaten, dishevelled look, or the gun I pointed at their faces. From the corner of the room a movement caught my eye. I glanced round and saw a young woman sat in an easy chair. She was beautiful and blonde, and was dressed in only a long tee shirt. When she smiled at me sweetly I noticed the empty glass by her side, and realised this woman did not understand the fate that awaited her.
"They wont help me," she said, her hand moving down between her legs. "Will you help me?"
Right then it would have taken a full gallon of Ay-o to enable me to help her, but one of the men regained his composure and made a rush for me. I had aimed for his knee, but the bullet went low and passed straight through his shin. The effect was the same, and he fell to the floor, screaming for a full minute before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out.
The guy to the left of my boss was white with fear. He went to say something, stammered, wet himself, then fainted, leaving just me, my boss and a very sexually frustrated young woman.
"She wasn`t your daughter!" He said, coming straight out with it.
"She was the daughter of my wife - ex wife - and the sister of my daughter. Besides which she was someone's child - young and relatively innocent."
"Look Frank. Things went wrong. It wasn`t supposed to happen like it did. Don`t go and do anything stupid yourself!"
Well, things do go wrong. And despite that last bit of advice from my boss, things still went wrong anyway. I shot him in the groin, exactly as I meant to. I hadn`t planned on the fucker bleeding to death before he made it to the hospital though, and that mistake cost me my job.
I wasn`t exactly unhappy at having to leave though, and nowadays I`ve just about convinced myself that I would have left anyway - a man can only take so much horror in his life.
But I am happy now, and my beautiful wife often talks about the day a strange man burst into the room, looking as though he`d come fresh from Hell, and saved her from a fate that many women cannot even contemplate.