Mind for Murder
By Christina McCann
Sybil Davidson has a genius I. Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys -- this week. She has recently joined Mensa, the name alone serving to conjure up an unlimited array of promising opportunities for frequent interaction with the opposite sex. Those males unwise enough to refuse Sybil's advances have lately been found in various stages of rigor mortis, their genitals neatly removed, only to be found lying next to them neatly tucked into a tastefully garnished, impeccably-fresh sandwich roll. Like Martha Stewart, Sybil Davidson believes that presentation is everything. However, unlike both the Misses Stewart and Davidson, the Detectives Logan and Driscoll know bupkes about presentation or exotic cuisine. Their forte and area of expertise lie in something endemic to all human beings, death. However, in this case, death from unnatural causes, homicide.
"Christ, Marty, how long do ya think this thing has been swimming around?" groused Logan, mouth full. "Used to be that New York had the best water dogs in the world. This thing tastes like crap."
Driscoll, having already tossed his into a nearby trash barrel, replied, "Yeah, nothin's the same anymore. 'Tube steak' my ass. God only knows what they put into these things. Sawdust, snouts, and tails -- enough to turn ya into one of those vegetarian fruitcakes." Arriving at the crime scene, both Detectives Martin Driscoll and Michael Logan discovered that their choice for lunch had indeed been unfortunate.
"Well, looks like someone's invented a new taste treat," muttered Logan. "Hey, Marty, ya think Nathan's might be interested in this one? This sure as hell ain't no Happy Meal."
With the end of a pencil, Driscoll gingerly flipped aside one fold of the now blood-soaked bread. "Holy Mother a God!" he groaned, making a face. "Wouldja look at that? Poor guy lost it all -- his twig and berries. Ouch!"
"I guess fries are extra," cracked Logan, chuckling bitterly. "Oh yeah. Well if you liked that, partner, you're just gonna loooove this. Reminds me a one of those Indian women. You know, the gals with the dots on their foreheads," offered Logan.
"Caste marks. They separate one class of people from the other. Only this one separates the living from the dead," observed Driscoll dryly. "Poor slob. Now who do ya suppose would want to leave someone like this?" he asked, shaking his head.
"I don't know, Marty. Your ex-wife in town?" answered Logan, with a grin. "Ah, this is one for Sex Crimes anyway. Don't know why they called us in the first place. Let those lazy bums figure it out."
"Hey, Mikey, this one's number 197," observed Marty. "Lookie here. Number's written on his chest...probably the poor guy's own blood. See?" he said, pulling back the victim's shirt to expose a bluish-white expanse of chest.
"Swell," groaned Logan. "Wanna bet there'll be a number 198 before this is over?"
Men were being found murdered and mutilated all over town. "Wang-less" as Detective Mike Logan called them, which was, as far as he was concerned, just as good as being dead. Driscoll and Logan, working in conjunction with the NYPD's Special Victim's Unit, had uncovered a wealth of information about the victims, but had discovered precious little about their murderer. It was still unknown whether the perpetrator was male or female. That he or she was deeply disturbed was a given, and the detectives also had hard evidence that this person only targeted extremely successful, well-educated males. Those chosen few who had attended prestigious universities, and had subsequently enjoyed enormous professional success. They included two physicists, a neurosurgeon, three university professors, and a handful of computer wizards. "Eggheads", each and every one, murdered, mutilated, and bearing their killer's bloody brand, 197.
"Soooo...what we got here are a lotta really smart stiffs," sighed Logan, popping the remnants of a three-day old jelly doughnut into his mouth. "Only just not smart enough to stay alive. The perp's M. O. would indicate that it's either a very pissed off woman or a guy, probably gay, who's been dissed one too many times. Most guys who get passed over for a promotion don't go and whack off the boss's johnson. He might beat the hell outta him, even shoot him, but straight guys don't usually go the mutilation route. Me...I'm votin' for a woman."
"Okay. Let's say it is a woman. She's got a big problem with smart, successful men? Don't most normal women want to get hooked up with guys like that? Maybe she a rape victim, battered wife, somethin' like that. Yeah, partner, I think this is definitely revenge," replied Marty. "Only she's just got a bug up her ass about the smart ones...the ones who've made it. And, whoever's killin' these guys makes a point of, what was that word Olivett used, emasculating 'em, and then doin' that sick-o thing with the weenie bun. Christ, as if killin' 'em wasn't enough, let's toss in a dose a humiliation for good measure. Oh, and what in hell is this...penis envy bullshit Olivett was goin' on about? You ever heard a such crap?"
"Nah. Figure it's just another load a psycho-babble crappola. Although, now that you mention it, there have been more than a few broads who've envied mine," cackled Logan, with a leer.
"Yeah right! You've sharpened your pencil so many times, it's gotta be worn down to the eraser by now," replied Driscoll.
"You're just jealous. I can't help it if you and old Joan-the-Bone are on the outs," said Logan. "Ya know, Marty, I'd hate bein' a woman. All that shit the department put Anita through. Everyone damned well knew that she was passed over for Captain because she doesn't stand up to take a piss. Hey, maybe our perp's like Van Buren -- another really smart woman who's smashed her head against the 'glass ceiling' one too many times. Made her bonkers? So instead of doin' the right thing-like the Lieutenant-and suin' someone's sorry ass, this gal goes off the deep end, and starts takin' her revenge. Doin' things her way. What's that saying? 'A woman's gotta work twice as hard to get half as far'? Maybe this broad's killin' off the competition."
"Well, I feel real sorry for her, if that's the case, but poppin' someone then doin' the slice n' dice routine ain't exactly the way to win friends and influence people. Ya know?" replied Driscoll, grimacing at the bitter taste of his now-cold coffee.
"Yeah. I know. What's really drivin' me nuts about this is that damned number," said Logan, brushing crumbs from the front of his shirt. "One...nine...seven. What in hell does that mean? Is it her address, part of a phone number, a P. O. Box somewhere, 'fuck you' in Morse code? What? Limited editions?" hooted Logan, once more inordinately tickled by his own cleverness. "Luckily, we don't have 196 recent murder/mutilations, so we're not talkin' about 197th in the series. Thank God for small favors. And, besides, all the vics had the same damned number on 'em -- one...nine...seven. That number's real important to the perp -- important enough to leave it on each vic's body. She's sendin' us a message. That's for sure."
"Hey, maybe it's her weight," chuckled Marty, waggling his eyebrows up and down. "Yeah, she's this big, ugly broad who can't get laid, so she's takin' revenge on the male population. Gimme a poke, or I'll cut it off and do it myself! The M. E.'s exam showed no sign of any sexual activity with any of 'em. This is a smart one, I'll give her that. No prints, no signs of forced entry, no witnesses. This chick...if it is a female, and I'm still not convinced of that...does her business very quietly and efficiently."
"One hundred ninety-seven? Ooo-eee, that'd be one big chick. No wonder those poor slobs never had a chance," agreed Mike. "Christ, Marty, why didn't I think of this before? Like you just said, she's smart. So, maybe the number's her I. Q.? Yeah, her I. Q.," repeated Logan excitedly, the idea growing on him the more he thought about it. "Think about it...what do all the vic's have in common?"
"They're wang-less...and...dead?" replied Marty, with a stupid grin. "Oh...and they're all extremely smart, well educated...successful types...probably men with...high I. Q.s.? But is 197 considered high?"
"I don't know, but I'll bet Liz Olivett will. Now there's another smart broad. Ya know, when I was still in uniform, I went out with this really smart chick for awhile. Hey, don't look at me like that. She was. Anyway, wise ass, she belonged to a club for people with high I. Qs. Can't remember the name of it, but you had to take some test to get in. I guess to prove to 'em that yer brain was big enough to join their little group. That you were 'their kind'. You know, that kinda bullshit. Anyway...this babe's brain wasn't the only part of her that was large. Marty, she had the biggest..."
"Mensa," replied Marty, abruptly interrupting yet another of his partner's crude and, probably apocryphal, tales of capture and conquest.
"I'm sorry...ah...Detective Logan? That information is of course privileged and, hence, unavailable. I'm quite certain that even you can appreciate that our membership would take a very dim view indeed of having such personal data bandied about. When our people are selected for membership, they are assured of a measure of confidentiality. You are surely aware that Mensa is one of the few organizations in the world offering an exclusive environment of enrichment, stimulation, and challenge, required by the very gifted. Bearing that in mind, such a breach would be simply unconscionable."
"Well, I'm sorry...ah...Ms...ah...Shuttleworth? You see, we have about a dozen men presently occupying prime real estate in the City Morgue who, if they were able, would inform you that this information may be vital to discovering who might have put them there. Unfortunately, in this untidy world of ours, even the...ah...very gifted...are not above suspicion or the law. Now I'm assuming that even you are a bright enough spark to understand the wording of a subpoena? Let me assure you, Ms. Shuttleworth, that we will be back here in a half-hour with just such a document for your perusal. But since Detective Driscoll and I would simply hate to disrupt such an exclusive environment of enrichment, stimulation, and challenge, perhaps you might simply wish to give us access to the information we require...now. Then we can be on our way, and you can get back to the business of being brilliant. It's entirely up to you, Ms. Shuttleworth," said Mike Logan, flashing his brightest, demented-jack-o-lantern, grin.
An hour and a half later, the two detectives were back at their desks, sifting through a very long computer print out, searching for the magic number -- 197. "Bingo!" crowed Logan, quickly highlighting one entry in yellow, as his partner did the same -- again...and again...and again.
"Swell...we got forty-eight people with the same numbers," groaned Driscoll, scrubbing at his tired eyes with a balled-up fist. Ripping the list in two, he added, "Here, pal, you take half...even-steven. It'll go faster that way."
"Aw, hell. Hey, why don't we divvy this up with Sex Crimes?" suggested Logan. "They're not holdin' up their end of things on this case, that's for damned sure." Noting the look of exasperation and impatience on Driscoll's narrow, Irish mug, Logan groaned, "Ah, to hell with 'em. As usual, if we want somethin' done right, we gotta do it ourselves."
By that evening, the detectives had eliminated a dozen members, those no longer living in the United States or simply no longer living. Added to that number, were the names of four victims, each bearing the unmistakable imprint of the perpetrator, now being referred to by some of the more blatantly chauvinistic cop house wags as, "Wanda Weiner".
Arriving back at the Two-seven well past the end of his shift, Driscoll dashed into the john, bladder bursting from too much coffee, and too few opportunities that day to relieve himself of it. He found his partner already there, damp-faced and weary. "Well, boy-o, I've got fifteen possibles left on my list. How about you?" asked Marty, already unzipped and sighing with relief at a nearby urinal.
"Eleven on mine, partner," replied Mike, poking at the dark pouches under his large, mud green eyes. Dragging his fingers through his thick mop of dark hair, then to an itch in the middle of his back, unfortunately, just out of reach, he eventually gave up, and moved down to his crotch for a good, long, reflective scratch. "All women too," he said. Ya know, Marty, I had no idea that there were so many smart broads out there."
"That's probably because you generally prefer females with I. Q.s the same size as their bras," sniped Driscoll, washing his hands. "Well, put yer coat back on...and get yer hands off yer willy, Einstein. It's gonna be a looong night."
That "looong" night, and the following day, found the two detectives systematically eliminating each name on their combined lists. One by one, reason was found to safely dismiss all but three -- two men and a woman.
David Stahl, a noted Egyptologist with two dozen scholarly works to his credit, and a double amputee since a terrorist explosion in Israel had unceremoniously severed both legs above the knee, narrowed the list to two. This left a fellow bearing the unlikely name of Wolfgang Bliss, and a woman, Sybil Davidson.
Wolf Bliss designed women's lingerie. A cross dresser, he enjoyed wearing his own creations, claiming that there was nothing nicer than the feel of silk next to one's skin. When Detectives Driscoll and Logan called on him at his Soho loft, they were met by the flamboyant gender bender, extravagantly coifed, resplendent in a two-piece, mauve and gray, shot silk lounging costume. He had recently sold its twin to Sarah Ferguson, and counted among his clientele of both genders, an impressive array of the rich and famous. It was widely rumored that his designs were particularly favored by a certain devilishly handsome, dark-haired, actor/bachelor/man-about-town, particularly well known for his macho portrayal of a police detective on a popular television series. Wolf Bliss liked to think that he was the only one who knew for certain that this man preferred silk panties to plaid neckties.
"Uh...Wolfgang Bliss?" asked Mike Logan, stumbling over not only the unusual name, but the unconventional appearance of its owner. At the same time, glancing over his shoulder at his wide-eyed partner, he added, "I'm Detective Logan. This is my partner, Detective Driscoll...NYPD. We were wondering if we could...uh...come in, and talk with you about a coupla things?"
"Oh dear. Am I in some kind of trouble, boys?" asked Bliss, nervously fingering a bit of lace trim on the pocket of his pajamas. "Is it those silly parking tickets? I can write you a check immediately," he offered.
"Uh, no...we're from...um...Homicide," replied Logan. "This doesn't concern yer parkin' tickets. No fear there, pal. That's not our department."
Eyes wide with horror, Wolfgang Bliss clutched his throat, then hissed in a dramatic stage whisper, "Homicide? Oh, dear God!" It took the two Detectives several minutes to drag Mr. Bliss back into the apartment, another five to heave and manipulate his large, flaccid body, made all the more unmanageable by its slippery, silken covering, onto a velvet sofa.
"Homicide my ass," cracked Logan. "Jesus, just getting' this homo in-side could give ya a hernia. What a fruit loop."
"Ah, Mikey, it takes all kinds," replied Driscoll, standing over the recumbent Mr. Bliss, hands on hips. "Ya know, these guys who like to wear women's clothes aren't always homosexual. In fact, I had a neighbor once who was a very happily married guy. Even had a coupla kids. Only thing was, he liked wearin' a bra and panties once in awhile. His missus knew, but I guess she figured, ah, what the hell. No harm in it really. They used to go shoppin' together for their lingerie at Bloomies. Weird. But it worked for them. What do ya suppose makes 'em like this?" he asked, shaking his head in wonder. "I mean, is someone actually born wantin' to wear ladies skivvies?"
"Don't ask me, man," said Logan, returning from the kitchen with a glass of water. "I'm a Fruit of the Loom guy myself. Well, give him a shake, partner, and let's get on with it. If Snow White here is our killer, then I'll trade in my tightie whities for somethin' from Victoria's Secret."
"Nah," countered Marty," giving his partner the once-over. "I see you as more of a Fredericks of Hollywood kinda guy. Yeah, somethin' in a nice, leopard-print thong."
It is half past eight on a crisp November evening when Detectives Mike Logan and Marty Driscoll encounter a young man stumbling, exhausted, sweating and disheveled, down the steps of an elegant brownstone. With shaking hands, he unlocks the door to his late-model BMW, slides into the driver's seat, hurriedly jams the key into the ignition, and with gears screaming in protest, roars off into the night.
"Jesus. Where in hell do ya suppose he was goin' like a bat outta hell?" asked Driscoll. "Maybe we shoulda stopped him. Did you get his license number?"
"Yep," replied Logan, stuffing his tattered notepad back into his coat pocket. "If there's anything fishy goin' on with this Davidson broad, we'll haul Mr. Beemer's ass in for questioning. No problem," he said, with a shrug.
"He was sure as hell in a hurry to get outta here. Weird," observed Driscoll. "He looked like somethin' had chewed him up then spit him back out again. Like he'd had a close encounter with a meat grinder."
"Well, let's find out who's who and what's what here. There's a big steak somewhere with my name on it, and besides, my feet are killin' me," groused Logan. "I just wanna go home."
Both detectives were momentarily startled when the door suddenly flew open, and a petite, good-looking, blonde came hurtling, full-tilt, towards them. "Oh, gosh I'm so sorry," she said, nose to nose with Driscoll. Back pedaling up two steps, with Marty's assistance, she was able to regain her equilibrium.
"By any chance, were you looking for me?" she asked warmly, at the same time casting a practiced, openly appreciative eye over both men.
"Uh...well...yeah. If you're Miss Davidson," replied Driscoll, suddenly feeling unaccountably warm beneath his battered, beige raincoat.
"Well, you're in luck there. I am one in the same. Sybil Davidson," she chirped, extending her hand to Driscoll. "And you are?"
"Mart...uh...Detective Driscoll...NYPD...uh...Yew Nork...uh..." he stammered, face growing hotter with each mangled syllable.
Tactfully, pushing his befuddled partner aside, Logan introduced himself. "Mike Logan here. Detective Logan. Miss Davidson, we were wondering if we could talk with you about a coupla things? Won't take a minute."
"Well, Detective Logan, I was just going out -- meeting some friends for dinner -- but...well...I suppose I could spare a few moments. Please, come in," she said, unlocking the door and stepping inside. "Um...just let me phone the restaurant to let them know that I'll be a little late."
"Fine. Good idea," agreed Logan, taking stock of his surroundings. Tasteful, expensive furnishings, everything obviously selected with care. The evidence all round of a discerning, cultured eye and, from the wall-to-ceiling fitted bookcases bulging with books of all kinds, an intelligent, well-educated, curious mind as well. Even the air smelled different -- something, an odor that Logan was at a loss to precisely describe, but which he found oddly appealing. Maybe this is what wealth smelled like, he thought.
Whistling softly through his teeth, Driscoll rolled his eyes and whispered, "Wow...this is some joint. Veeery nice, very nice indeed."
"No kiddin', pal. And our Ms. Sybil Davidson ain't exactly chopped liver either," hissed Logan, dramatically punctuating his words with a dramatic waggle of his dark eyebrows. "Makes Cindy Crawford look like somethin' the cat coughed up. Man-oh-man, I could get real used to this."
"Well, Detectives, please sit down," she said, returning to the living room, gracefully curling up in a soft, fawn-colored, suede chair. "Now, how can I help you?"
It occurred to Logan that she moved like a cat. Long-limbed, lithe, sinuous, poised, intensely sensual without any hint of cheap, overt sexiness. Two words immediately sprang into Logan's mind: Class Act. While at the same time, he could feel the unmistakable stirrings of something a bit less cerebral.
However, Sybil Davidson was focusing her large, liquid amber eyes on the bright blue ones belonging to Marty Driscoll. The detective appeared to be hypnotized as, like a snake charmer, she held him, caressed him, undressed, then fucked him, with nothing more than the force and heat of her unflinching gaze. Driscoll was too utterly captivated to feel embarrassed, much less fully realize what had hit him.
Mike Logan, on the other hand, was feeling decidedly left out. Quite unused to being ignored by members of the opposite sex, he was beginning to resent the obvious erotic energy that was being transmitted like a laser beam to and through his partner. "Um...Ms. Davidson...do you think we could get on with this?" he asked, more peevishly than he'd intended. "I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than sit around here all night with a coupla cops." This last remark was aimed in his partner's direction with enough venom and volume to temporarily return Marty to his senses.
Slowly releasing Driscoll, she turned to Logan and purred, "Why, of course, Detective Logan. I'm sorry. You and Detective Driscoll surely have better things to do with your time that spend the night here...with me."
Mike Logan was now in danger. As swiftly as flicking a switch, Sybil Davidson trained her considerable, irresistible, sexual energy on Logan, the air between them almost visibly vibrating. Already aroused, he at once recognized, and was at last able to put a name to, the odor in the room. It was lust, pure, unadulterated, lust. The air was redolent with it -- reeked of it. And, to Logan's amazement and delight, this stunning young woman was offering herself...to both of them...now.
But it was the loud, insistent ringing of a telephone that broke the spell. That served as a wake-up call of sorts to two of New York's finest. Reminded them that they had a job to do. That engaging in group sex with a possible suspect was not it. Anyway, Logan was a firm believer in the old saying about three being a crowd, especially in matters of romance. Feeling suddenly exhausted, as though he'd been drained dry, Detective Logan reluctantly launched into his professional spiel, aided and abetted by his partner, at last returned to his senses, but feeling oddly deflated and similarly weary.
Although Miss Davidson was the very picture of cooperation, answering each question with intelligence and care, she did so with a cool, almost impatient detachment that confused and bewildered both men. The moment had obviously passed as far as she was concerned. Mike Logan wondered if it might be re-created at another time, even went so far as to entertain hopes in that direction. He knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he wanted to get closer to Sybil Davidson. However, first he needed to safely eliminate her as a possible suspect, then his partner as a possible competitor.
"Well, Detectives, if that's all, I really must be going. If there's anything further, please feel free to contact me, but I do think I've told you everything I can," she said, leading both men toward the door. "In any case, here's my card. If either of you need anything more, just call," she added, giving each man, in turn, a long, lingering, look, filled with something that both Driscoll and Logan immediately identified as promise.
Sybil Davidson has a genius I. Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys...this bleak December day. Alone at last, she sits at her tasteful, Louis Quatorze dressing table, damp hair wrapped in a luxuriously thick towel, silk robe artfully draped around her smooth, lithe, fragrant body. Like Martha Stewart, Sybil Davidson believes that presentation is everything, even in one's private moments. She writes in an expensive, leather-bound journal, one which serves to record not only each day's activities, but also contains a running tally of those members of the male sex who have belied their supposed brilliance by refusing the advances of a woman far more intelligent than they. A magnificent, successful woman, despite her father's bitter disappointment that she had not been born a boy. Despite her beautiful face and body which, for most of her life, have negated, or at the very least, overshadowed her brain in most male minds. Sybil Davidson may not have been born with a penis, but she has possessed thousands, and will possess and control thousands more...one way or the other.
Sybil glances up from her writing to admire her reflection in the mirror. Smiling, she feels satisfied knowing that there is no man, no, not one, who can resist her. A true woman of the world, she has lived, and loved, and murdered in at least five different languages. That she prefers those with Intelligence Quotients which equal, or even exceed, her own is merely personal preference. A completely arbitrary decision, she now realizes, for all men are there only to serve her needs, to meet her exacting demands. It seems only reasonable to her that all members, of what she firmly believes to be the weaker sex, should be given the opportunity to submit...or die. The choice is always theirs, the pleasure always hers, no matter the choice. As it is, Sybil feels she owes a certain measure of gratitude to the two, incredibly thick-witted, unimaginative swine she now thinks of as Dumb and Dumber. Men far too stupid and inferior to recognize a thrilling ménage á trois when it was being so generously offered to them. However, their unsophisticated boorishness has spurred Sybil's desire to become a bit more egalitarian in future.
Chuckling softly to herself, she returns to her journal. Carefully leafing through its pages, she finds the beginning of her Life List. Much like a devoted bird watcher, train spotter, or inveterate collector of one thing or another, Sybil Davidson has kept meticulous track of those men she has murdered. With surname always listed first, each has been assigned a number, along with a colorfully detailed description of the victim's appearance, curriculum vitae, as well as any and all additional information Sybil considers pertinent. She loves reading it, this irrefutable confirmation of her power and genius, all there in black and white. But for Sybil Davidson, this bizarre diary, complete with its macabre inventory, is far more than a mere Brag Book. It represents erotica at its finest, titillation and arousal throbbing within each thick, creamy page. Each word fills her with a delicious hunger, a howling emptiness that must be satisfied at all cost.
Sybil stands for a moment, just long enough to allow her robe to fall in a silken puddle around her feet. Pulling the towel from her head, she shakes out her hair, feeling its soft weight against her shoulders. Her breasts are so beautiful, she thinks, openly admiring their size and youthful tilt. Cupping them with both hands, she hefts one then the other, while at the same time, rubbing her nipples with the soft pads of each thumb, sending an exquisite message, an always-kept promise, to her cunt. With her breath coming in shorter and shorter gasps, she sits again, legs spread wide to welcome the expert attentions of her own fingers. But something has distracted Sybil Davidson, some nagging matter, almost forgotten, that keeps her from completely giving way to the pleasure she so richly deserves. Unused to leaving loose ends dangling, she feels vaguely annoyed at the interruption, at this tiny reminder of her fallibility. Deftly paging through the journal, she finds her "To Do" list, which instantly reminds her of what it is that has been bothering her. Smiling now, despite the momentary inconvenience, she begins to slowly, sensually, trace the letters of two names across the silken skin of her inner thigh, while, at the same time copying them in her book: