SHARKEY AND THE JABBERWOCK (Story) by Richard F. Yates

[This is a story I started several years ago, with my old writing group at Washington State University Vancouver, back when I was still working at the Writing Center. (I miss that group. We had a LOT of fun together.) I really loved this story, but in the shuffle and jive of daily life, I lost the inspiration and dropped the tale before I’d concluded it. I’ve decided it’s time to bring Sharkey and Alice and Adam back to life, revise them a bit, and FINISH their story. WARNING: This gets violent—and really weird. There are some bad words and freaky situations in the story that follows, and frankly a GREAT DEAL of nonsense, so if you find silliness and blood offensive, you’ll want to look elsewhere for your entertainment… otherwise, ENJOY! —RFY]

Chapter 1 – “Friday Night”

The overhead light had been torn from the ceiling during the incident, so the first team in the room had grabbed a pair of halogen flood lamps, which were too bright for the small space once they were turned on, while simultaneously creating huge swathes of deep shadow. It made the whole scene look as if it were the inside of some strange cave—or a chamber in Hell. Loveless was new to the force, just out of the academy, and he had to rush out of the room and throw up when he saw the mess on the bed. Jensen and Schitt were twenty-year veterans, and truth be told, they both felt their stomachs turn when the lights first fizzed into life.

And that’s sayin’ something because the Broken Ankle Point P.D. had seen more than its fair share of violent crime. Though there were fewer than a million people in the city, the criminal element that did reside there was particularly energetic. In fact, the International Crime Guild had conferred its coveted “Most Creative Murder of the Year” award to individuals working in Broken Ankle Point on no fewer than three occasions, most recently in 2010 to the notorious “Pussy Fiend,” Jack Dillman, who murdered over two dozen people by shoving live kittens down their throats. Jensen and Schitt had worked that case, had even been closing in on Dillman, when he’d panicked and committed suicide with a lawnmower. But even that hideous mess was tame compared to what they found in this bed, smoking just slightly in the heat of the halogens.

Jensen scratched his bald head while Schitt photographed the blood splashes on the walls and ceiling.

“Hey Jensen,” Loveless called from the hall. Poor kid hadn’t been able to even look through the doorway since the lights came on. “Sharkey’s here,” he said.

“Finally,” Jensen grumbled as a tall figure in a light gray trench coat stepped into the room. His muzzle twitched, lightly, as he sniffed the air. His pointy ears poked up through holes cut in the brim of his hat.

“Hey Shark,” Jensen said. “We got a real mess here. Can’t make much out of it.”

“Forensics get anything yet?” Sharkey asked.

“They think we’re looking at three victims in that soup. Maybe more,” Jensen said.

Sharkey took off his hat and scratched at an ear with his paw. His muzzle twitched again as he sniffed a little closer to the bed.

“What you got, Shark? I know that twitch,” Jensen said. Schitt filed in behind Jensen as they both watched Detective Sharkey work his jaw. He snarled and growled low in his throat.

“What did this,” Sharkey grumbled, “wasn’t human.” It wouldn’t be admissible as evidence unless they found something physical, after all Sharkey couldn’t prove what he’d smelled in court, but Jensen and Schitt knew that Sharkey was never wrong.

“What’a we lookin’ for? Werewolf?” Schitt asked.

“No. This is somethin’ that isn’t even remotely human,” Sharkey said. He shivered. He couldn’t I.D. the smell, but it somehow reminded him of his puppy-hood, of campfire stories and nightmares—but he couldn’t quite put his paws on it. “I’m not sure what it is, but it’s old. Really old. It smells like decay and nightmares,” he said and growled again.

“Nightmares got a smell?” Schitt asked.

“Mine do,” Sharkey said.

Chapter 2 – “Sharkey’s Schlocky Origins”

Detective Sharkey was a good dog. Everyone on the force knew it, but especially Jensen and Schitt, who had worked with Sharkey since he joined the Broken Ankle Point Police Department.

Jensen had actually been on the case, seven years before, when Sharkey was found and adopted by the force. The evil scientist, Dr. Anthony Randall, had just been murdered by Fester McBrooha, a local mob boss. The doctor had apparently sold a faulty doomsday device to McBrooha, and the mobster had taken it personally. Really, it was no civic loss when Randall’s car went boom, but before the Feds swooped in to confiscated all of Dr. Randall’s research and devices, Jensen had discovered Sharkey in the basement of the lab, apparently one of the few experiments that Dr. Randall had conducted that went, somewhat inexplicably, right. Once the Feds had examined all of Dr. Randall’s work (utilizing the expertise of reformed mad scientist, Henry Schloss, the famous Bat Wrangler, who had trained bats to kill television personalities in the 1960s) Dr. Randall was officially, though posthumously, reclassified as a Class Three Mad Scientist: more dangerous for the mistakes he might have made than for his deviousness of character or ability to intentionally cause mayhem. It’s the single most common designation for Mad Scientists registered with the Federal Work Board.

Anyway, despite this rather rough introduction to the force, it soon became apparent that Sharkey could not only speak, but also think (neither is necessary for the other to be true), and also that he didn’t share his former master’s desire for world domination. Jensen, along with Captain Howitzer, helped Sharkey sue for emancipation from Dr. Randall’s estate on the grounds of unique intelligence, and shortly thereafter, Sharkey became the first human/canine hybrid to enroll at the Broken Ankle Point Police Academy (and the third such hybrid to join a police force in the state of Oregon.)

[LOTS more to come from Sharkey! I made it through seventeen chapters on my last draft—and this time, we’re taking it ALL THE WAY! However many chapters that might be… —RFY]