“Did we bring everything he asked for?”
“Juggling balls, water balloons, and the complete DVD set of Cirque du Soleil. What a clown.”
“Don’t forget he’s the only clown we’ve ever been able to turn. We finally have evidence against Ben Ursa for racketeering, and if juggling balls will keep Pierot happy that’s what he gets.”
Bailey snorted. “I still don’t believe it, a mobster running a circus.”
“It makes a certain amount of sense. Lots of cash in, lots of cash out, and who questions a few shady characters standing around the edges of a midway.” Gray looked at his watch. “Come on, lets get this check-in done, I have places to be tonight.”
As they got within sight of the cabin door they both knew something was wrong. Without speaking Bailey put down the sack he had been carrying and they both drew their guns. They snuck up to either side of the open door. At a nod they entered quietly. And saw it.
It was a body - horribly mangled. A man would have to be insane to do that to someone. Their witness was lying face up, blood trickling over his clown makeup. Gray swore, this had been his case longer than anyone’s and he could see it slipping away. Bailey took out his phone to call it in.
Soon the area was full of sirens and vehicles. Gray and Bailey sat on the front porch while the forensics guys inside did their thing. That’s when they heard a sound in the brush at the edge of the clearing. Gray put a hand to the gun at his side and called out “Who’s there?” Then the last person they expected to see came out of the woods.
It was Pierot, their witness, bruised and battered, but certainly still alive. Bailey paced urgently while the doctors checked out their star witness, and when he was finally seated on the porch with a blanket around his shoulders and coffee in his hand, Bailey sat next to him and stared. “You need to tell us what happened. Who is that inside?”
Pierot gulped, and huddled smaller underneath his blanket. “That’s Charlie, he’s a friend. We had been working on an act together before all of this. I snuck out to a phone a week ago and called him.”
“Why is he here? Why is he in your makeup? And how did you get away?” Gray asked.
“That was the act – when you see a clown you don’t really see them, you see the makeup. So we were going to wear each other’s faces and then do a reveal. We were still working out the particulars but he came out and brought his makeup so he could learn my face. We had just finished, and I took a short walk to give him some time to prepare himself. He was going to do one of my classic bits for me, to see how it looked. But when I came back, there was so much blood…”
“Did you hear anything? See anything?”
“No, I walked down to the lake and back. The wind was up, I didn’t hear anything.”
“We’ll have to move you somewhere else, with a constant guard. And when we say no contacting anyone from your life…”
“God no! I’ll be quiet as a mouse. Just keep me safe.”
They put Pierot in the back of a squad car and were getting ready to leave when the forensics specialist waved them over.
“This case is weird, man. A human didn’t do this, these are claw marks.”
Gray slumped. “Then this isn’t connected with our case? It was just some random, hellish accident?”
“I don’t know man, but I found this in one of the wounds.”
It was an oddly shaped ring – with small stars on it. The stars looked like they were in a pattern, but Gray couldn’t place it. Bailey looked at the ring and began to laugh. He was laughing so hard he doubled over. Gray looked at him afraid that the strain of working this case had finally snapped his partner.
Bailey wiped his eyes and said “We’ve got him. Oh that bastard, thinks he’s so clever but we’ve got him now.”
Gray looked from the ring in his gloved hand to his partner and back. “I don’t get it.”
“Have you ever seen Ursa’s circus? Do you know the act it’s famous for?”
“Sure the trained bears. But what does that have to do with…”
“All of the bears wear a gold ring on one of their claws. A ring with the constellation Ursa Major.”
“Wait, you mean this is from one of those bears?”
Bailey grinned. “I bet forensics can confirm the claw marks, and when we serve a warrant for the bear cage we’ll find the animal that did it. We’ve got Ursa now and there’s a new charge on the list. Bearing a false witness.”
@@@This is my entry for week 5 of LJ Idol - the topic is “bearing false witness”. I hope you enjoyed my version of a shaggy dog story. I will post a link to the poll once it is up on Sunday@@@