The Crime Studio
sir.’
    ‘How d’you figure that?’
    Timmy stared up at him like a hooked bream.
    ‘Lemme reconstruct the fashionable events which occurred here,’ said Blince, re-lighting his cigar. ‘It’s the old, old story. The porcupine orders a pizza, which is brought to him by little Timmy, a child of evil masquerading as a pizza boy. Sampling the merchandise, our topsy-turvy friend finds it is fit only for the military and states his intention of expressing dismay to everyone this side of the international dateline. Timmy, I can only imagine the vortex of sick fear and insanity which thundered in your brain like bugs in a drum. Your boss was just about at the end of his tether with your persistent unexplained lateness, verbosity, downright rudeness and threatening aspect, and you could not afford this brand of attention. The victim must have wondered what the world was coming to as he was bound like a hog at the point of a Macky 10 and forced to eat the rest of his funeral dinner, after which he was sublimated by a medley of gunshots. Fearing you’d awake to strobe-lights and the word “surrounded”, you stood on - this chair here - and began to feverishly pry out the ammo in an attempt to confuse the evidence. Guilty as hell, your sins stacked up like vertebrae, you mistook the skitter of a passing rodent for the approach of an innocent neighbour and fled the premises leaving the corpse in the condition we see this evening, jampacked with kitchenware.’
    ‘So why’d he come back, Chief?’ asked Benny, as Blince finished eating the pizza he had roundly condemned.
    ‘Wanna tell him, kid?’ asked Blince, wiping his hands on his shirt. Tears trembled on the brink of Timmy’s eyes. Blince took it as a no. ‘The fact is, Timmy’s scheme was deeply flawed. Paperwork at the pizza house would note a delivery shortly before the time of death. Timmy realised he would have to leave an uneaten pizza on the premises to conceal the shocking facts of the homicide - it had to seem as though the victim had never touched the merchandise Timmy had delivered. But amid the onrushing nightmare he didn’t suspect the cops’d already be on the scene. We’ve broken this case beyond repair.’
    ‘But -’
    ‘Forget it kid, we thought of everything. Tell the boys in the hall, Benny.’
    ‘Right. ’
    ‘This was an airbreathing mammal, kid - it didn’t need a blowhole.’
    The kid was yanked thrashing and squealing from the room.
    ‘Seems to me, Benny,’ said Blince, sitting heavily onto a chair and taking a new cigar from his shirtpocket, ‘that if a guy didn’t have an internal skeleton, then when he died he’d produce no fossil remains, and it’d be impossible to tell how long folk of that nature have been roaming this Earth.’
    Benny did not reply.
    ‘What, am I talkin’ to myself here?’
    ‘Oh, Chief, do I gotta spell it out? Don’t you know what you’ve done?’ Benny was amused and incredulous.
    ‘Well for god’s sake break it to me Benny before my ears explode.’
    ‘It is the plain fact that unless we detect an uneaten pizza here on the premises we cannot support the kid’s return to the crime scene, and subsequently he will never enter a correctional facility and undergo his induction into the underworld.’
    ‘Did I eat the evidence again?’
    ‘You know you ate it Chief. For god’s sake, you even ate the box.’
    ‘I guess I did, at that. Now just simmer down, Benny, simmer down.’ Blince went and poked his head out the door. ‘Hey - they booked the kid yet?’
    The boys in the hall were barely visible through fingerprint dust. ‘Yeah Chief. Van just left.’
    Blince returned to his chair, looking thoughtful. There was a moment’s silence.
    ‘So whatta we do now, Chief?’
    Blince lit the cigar. ‘Send out for pizza, Benny.’

PERFORMANCE
    Billy Panacea, burglar extraordinaire, broke out of the state pen disguised as his mother. The escape occurred during the metalshop open day - Billy unveiled

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