Wrigleyville Chapter 3 — Swing And A Miss


Serial cop drama. Check back for a new chapter every week — or maybe sooner.

Here’s Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.


Sullivan awakes with a start, feeling hot and sweaty all over except for the cool wetness of the beer can in his hand.

“What the hell?” he asks himself.

He had been dreaming, and the images stuck with him for longer than the usual few moments upon waking.

In the dream he had been in a big crowd on the street, but he wasn’t working. He was celebrating. All of these people, lots of people were outside Wrigley, and someone shouted “I can’t believe they won the World Series!” He realized that that someone was his son. As he wrapped his brain around seeing his son for the first time in a long time, a smile started to break through the hardened frowns on his face, and then another person emerged from the shadows. His wife.

She smiled lovingly — like the day they were married — and opened her arms. He went to her and his son bear-hugged both of them and the crowd yelled and fireworks went off in the distance and the warm night swirled around him, and he was … happy.

And then he tripped and fell backward. He landed on the sidewalk as the crowd parted. Stunned, he looked around at what he had tripped over. The goat’s head. Blood still spilling from it. The eyes fixed on him. He recoiled and looked up. But his family wasn’t there. There were no fireworks. No celebrating crowd. It was the crime scene from earlier in the night, and all the cops and technicians were looking at him.

That’s when he woke up sweating and alone.

Sullivan takes a big slug from the beer, nearly finishing off three-quarters of a can, and heads off to the shower.

When Jackson gets back to the precinct, voice mails are waiting for him. Preliminary forensics shows that the bulk of the blood in the head did come from a person — type O — and there was enough of it that this does look like a homicide. The earring is platinum with a couple of carats of diamonds. Not cheap and looks custom. Not much on the goat except that the head was severed with a serrated knife. Likely find out more later.

Jackson thinks this thing could be wrapped up quickly with a missing persons hit using the earring and some personal connection to the victim. But some instinct tells him it won’t be that easy.

Just as he’s thinking that Sullivan walks in.

“What you got?” he says. “Missing person killed by boyfriend, bingo bango, right?”

Jackson fills him in.

While CSI tracks the origin of the earring, Jackson and Sullivan send a patrol to canvas around Wrigley for witnesses, and their initial report gives them nothing. They’ll keep checking on delivery drivers etc., but it doesn’t look good. Somebody would have remembered a guy dumping a goat’s head, probably would have even reported it. It looks like the perp chose a very quiet part of the day in a big city and got lucky.

They also hear back from missing persons — nada.

They do a quick search and discover a couple of wholesale meat plants within a few miles of Wrigley. They decide to pay a visit themselves.

In the car, Sullivan says “The goat, the frickin’ goat. I really didn’t want to deal with this goat.”

Both places — one near Lincoln and Racine and the other close to Irving Park and Western — yield nothing but a stink that both Sullivan and Jackson find very difficult to shake after they leave. The companies don’t deal in whole animals and act more as middle men between the processing plants and the restaurants all around the city. They could probably get you a goat head, but nobody had asked for one.

Sitting in the car eating a couple of hot dogs — it was the only thing they could agree to eat — Sullivan says, “Screw that goat chase. Jackson, for once I’d like to hear you go off one of your asinine tangents. What do you think about this Arrieta kid the Cubs have?”

“He ain’t no Chris Sale, I’ll tell you that,” Jackson says, perking up to the idea of getting their minds off what they’ve been dealing with.

“What does Chris Sale have to do with anything?” Sullivan asks. “Just forget it.”

“OK, old man, settle down,” Jackson says smiling wide. “I was just saying you can’t compare the White Sox’s promising young starter to your retread from Baltimore.”

“Retread or not, he’s pitching great,” Sullivan says.

“I’ll give you that,” Jackson says. “He’s just never done it for an extended period of time. I think his career ERA is around 5.”

Jackson’s phone rings, and both men stare coldly at it. He picks it up and listens and nods.

“We might have something,” he says after hanging up.

“We already got something,” Sullivan snaps.

“I know. I know,” Jackson replies. “But it’s another body. A guy this time.”

“Yeah, so?”

“He was holding a baseball card,” Jackson says.


Continue to Chapter 4

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