A Valentine Murderbyiconisclass©
"So what are you giving your wife?"
"No, I mean what are you getting her for Valentines day?"
"Valen-- Jeez Sarah, you know me. What the fuck do I know about Saint, bleeping, Valentines?"
"He-he, I was just thinking maybe you had a romantic side."
"Is today Valentines day?"
"Yeah, baby, wanna be my Valentine?"
Sarah Carpenter was teasing her partner Alan Swain with her usual sexy banter. They had been partners ever since Sarah ranked Detective just over 2 years ago. Alan, in the department over twenty years, was like a father figure to Sarah even though he was only 5 years her senior; and though he played at denying it, liked having Sarah as his trainee, and then as his regular partner. From their first day together their conversations always contained a significant amount of joshing and sexual innuendo.
"Keep your romance to yourself, if you don't mind. I've got a marriage to protect."
"Like I'm falling all over you."
"You know you want it baby girl."
"You wish you were up for what I got, ol' timer."
Alan was about to retort, but they'd reached their destination and resumed a professional demeanor. Standing outside his car, Alan took a few moments to contemplate their surroundings. Sarah had learned that when it came to murders, Alan was as dedicated and focused a detective as there ever was. From the moment he approached a crime scene his senses were piqued and he would not rule out any oddity as having potential relevance to the situation. His first lesson to Sarah had been to approach the crime scene slowly.
"Ask yourself questions from the moment you're on the scene: 'where did he go?' 'how did he get in?' What means of transportation are available?' 'What windows overlook the scene?' 'Which way is North?'. In short, be aware of the environment as a whole."
Sarah watched her senior partner watch the scene. When he had that focused look about him he was the most sexy man she knew. The first time she'd seen him like that -- seen him in his element -- she was smitten. She would never let on about her secret crush, but at moments like these, just before entering her detective role, she would sneak a secret peek at her hunky partner. And though she laughed at herself for thinking that, Alan really was a hunk: tall, fit, broad-shouldered, full head of hair speckled with a distinctive amount of gray. Sarah pulled her eyes away seconds before thinking jealous thoughts toward Alan's wife, who was a good friend.
Alan finished his scan and the two homicide detectives walked over to the one-story house. This was a working class neighborhood. Each house had a covered front balcony three steps up. Crime scene officers were running in and out of the front door letting the loose screen door slam behind them. Bounding up the stairs in one step, Alan ran right into Janine Elsworth the on site pathologist.
"Sarah! Call off your hounds."
"Good morning to you too Janine." Alan snidely replied.
"Anything interesting?" Sarah asked.
"I'd say!" Janine readjusted her hair and blouse following her collision with Alan. Sarah wondered just how accidental that was. Janine had a reputation around the station and seemed to be propping up her breasts and letting a button slip. It wasn't the first time Sarah had seen Alan draw that reaction from the women around him, but Alan himself never seemed to notice.
Janine gave up teasing Alan and turned her sights on Sarah. But Sarah saw it coming and moved to Alan's other side.
So a frustrated Janine finished smoothing her tight gray skirt over her svelte legs and continued. "I've never seen anything like this. Come in, I'll show you."
Twenty minutes later Alan and Sarah had all the relevant information but had no idea what to make of it. A young Caucasian male lay murdered in the middle of his living room. The victim was identified as 28 year old Sean O'Connor, an unemployed construction worker who worked part time as a male stripper. (Janine, on inspecting the body made note of his unusually large phallus and whispered to Sarah -- not for the first time -- that she might have to give up her vow against necrophilia. "A professional hazard," she'd called it once.) There were no signs of forced entry or violence. There was no evidence of anyone else being with the victim: no extra glasses, no moved chairs, no extra dishes in the sink, no food out. There was nothing of note other than the most unusual cause of death Alan had ever witnessed.
While Janine would write up a coroner's report listing the cause of death as penetration of a sharp object through the heart, the odd thing was the object itself: a golden arrow. Alan held the ambulance team at bay, refusing to let them move the body before he fully contemplated this odd weapon. Not only was it a solid gold arrow, but it wasn't the kind of arrow that could fly. It resembled more a weather vane. In order for it to have penetrated Mr. O'Connor's chest, some degree of force would have been involved. Yet the arrow could not fly and there were no fingerprints on the arrow itself.
"Could it be an accident? Maybe he had this as a decoration or something and he fell on it?"
"Can't rule it out. If anything, because there can be no other explanation. It's not a standard weapon, nor even a recognizable object. The angle of entry rules out suicide. But even as an accident, how could it happen? No signs of a fall, if anything he fell backwards. There isn't anything similar in the room. There's nothing out of place or a shelf with something missing from it. I hate to say it, but I'm stumped."
A few hours later Alan and Sarah pulled up in front of the Club Alexandro. The victim had been employed as a male stripper for the club which catered to single professional women, older married women and most often bachelorette parties. Homosexuals were also welcome, a point Sarah noted to Alan with a jab of her elbow.
"We're all business in here kiddo," Alan scolded gently, "try and keep your eyes off the merchandise."
They were met by the manager, a burly man named Walters who tried to keep the conversation at the door for a while. Eventually he was convinced that the two were not from the vice department but were concerned only with the murder.
"I want to cooperate," He said leading them to his rather posh office, "but speak off the record. I run a respectable service, but there are a lot of gray areas and I don't need any trouble. Sean was a decent kid. I want to help, but if he did anything wrong, it was against my advice and outside the premises."
"Agreed," Sarah responded casually. They could always send someone else around if there was real trouble.
In Walters' office they sat in deep faux-leather sofas and got what little personal information he had. None of it added to what they already knew or suspected. Regarding their suspicions, Walters admitted that Sean was one of his dancers "rumored" to take money for sexual acts and private parties -- but always off premises.
"He told me that he'd wanted to be an actor and that this being on stage gave him a real rush," Walter volunteered. "I have videos of his stuff if you want to see him less -- um -- stiff."
Sarah, perhaps for fear of embarrassing herself wanted to pass on the suggestion, but Alan -- thorough as ever -- agreed to watch one or two shows. Each clip lasted about eight minutes and was filmed from a security camera above the stage. The boy had rhythm and even Alan could admit that he looked the part of sex toy. Though he never stripped beyond his tight red thong the size of his package was evident and Sarah squirmed uncomfortably in her squeaky seat.
Perhaps in an effort to break the spell of Sean's striptease, Sarah turned to Walters and asked if he'd ever seen a golden arrow as some sort of prop.
Alan picked up on the sudden change in mood and hit the mute button on the remote.
"Something you want to add 'off the record' Walters?"
"Did you say 'golden arrow'?"
"Ring a bell?"
"Oh God... it can't be..."
"Something you lost Walters?"
"No, no... nothing like that."
"C'mon, no mysteries, spit it out."
"Listen, I know what it is. It's kind of a professional hazzard, but there's no way you're gonna believe me."
"The golden arrow belongs to Cupid."
"You know, the Angel Cupid -- oh I knew you'd never believe me. Should have kept my mouth shut."
Alan stared intently at Walters. Sarah knew the look, he smelled the scent of fraud. But Sarah had a thing for the paranormal, as much as it didn't suit her profession. She couldn't resist asking Walters to be more specific.
"We don't know what it is either. Guys in this trade will feel little pricks and every so often these tiny golden arrows will show up. Nobody can figure it out, but if you try and tell anybody they figure you're on drugs. And in this job, that's often the case."
"Our arrow wasn't tiny."
"Like I said they're usually tiny, but Sean came in here with one last week , maybe 5 inches, and was bitching and moaning like a little kid at how much it hurt."
"Can we see it?"
"The arrow. You said he brought it in here."
"Oh yeah. Well we usually melt them down, I mean they're gold and all, but you know, I put that one out in the safe and it might still be there. Stay put, I'll go check."
Alan would not generally let a witness or suspect escape his attention so quickly, but he was happy to have a moment to share something with Sarah. Unfortunately for him, they were not alone for very long.
"I am Cupid."
Alan and Sarah turned around with a jolt. Standing before them was a beautiful young brunette completely nude. She stood calmly, comfortable in her nakedness as well she might be, owning a perfect body, thin waste, well proportioned breasts with nickel-sized nipples. Her black pubic hair was neatly trimmed, and though she was extremely sexy, she radiated a certain modesty, a certain control.
"Aren't you supposed to be a little baby boy?"
"I have no regular human form. I take my form from the imagination of my viewers, from something that causes them to feel love. Most humans love babies, so we most often appear as such. But with just the two of you in the room I sensed a mutual desire to see a naked woman."
"Um, Sarah? Is there something you want to tell me?" Alan raised an eyebrow.
"I um, I don't know where she got this. I'm as heterosexual as they come."
"Sarah is bisexual, Alan, but she doesn't know it, or won't admit it to herself."
"How do you know our names?"
"I'm Cupid remember? I was there when you met your wife, Carolyn, Alan."
"And what about me!" Sarah burst out. "I'm over 35, what are you waiting for!"
"Sarah!" Alan shouted out, then whispered, "compose yourself."
"So, Cupid," he continued,"if I'm to believe you are who you are, explain the murder to me."
"A sad development, and it has us all concerned. The Cupid division operates at the boundary between spiritual and physical existence. We operate in the sphere of Love which is the connector between mundane and divine. We shoot our golden arrows from the realm of Heaven, but they land in the realm of Earth. The physical product of our shot is generally the act of Love.
"Increasingly, however, we are experiencing short circuits. We're not certain about what's going on, but our operating theory is as follows."
Cupid had begun pacing the room as she lectured and now sat down on Walters' desk. Alan couldn't help but stare at her open vagina and thus he noticed her pierced clit. Soon he caught himself wondering if Sarah liked such sexual piercings as much as he did, and scolded himself for even beginning to buy this ridiculous story. It took more will power than he would have liked to bring his attention back to Cupid's explanation.
"We think that in the context of male and female strippers there is a lot of misplaced emotion. Love gets sent out in increasing degrees to subjects in no position to accept it. Sean had been engaging in increasing numbers of sexual encounters without realizing that some of his female clients were actually in love with him. We suspect that these false shots of Love which need to convert to something physical are turning into golden arrows. We haven't seen this sort of thing since before the Renaissance when women would fall passionately in love with and often have sexual relations with men whom they could not marry because of pre-arranged marriages.
"If you have any questions, you'd better get rid of Walters or he'll think you're talking to yourselves."
As Cupid said it, Walters entered the room all flustered. "I'm sorry guys," he was saying, "I looked everywhere but couldn't find it. I know you think I'm nuts, but I swear its true."
"Walters," Alan asked waving his hand to indicate that the arrow was no longer an issue, "do you see anybody else in this room?"
"What? Uh, no. Why?"
"Look at your desk, Walters." Sarah prodded.
Walters approached his desk where the female cupid still sat. He looked at his desk which meant his head was in the bosom of this sexual goddess. If he were male, and she were there, Alan was sure he'd have shown some reaction. But Walters turned back to the two detectives and admitted he couldn't see anything wrong.
Alan, showing more desperation than usual, just blurted out: "Walters! You're staring at a cunt and you want me to believe you don't see anything unusual?!"
"He can't see me," Cupid chuckled, "and if he could, I'd be male."
"What cunt? What are you talking about?" Walter kept mumbling.
"You two deserve an Oscar." Alan applauded, then turning to Sarah and grabbing her arm none too gently, declared, "let's get outta here. I gotta talk to you in the car."
Sarah's head was spinning. Here she was being dragged violently toward their car by her usually calm and collected colleague. Just a moment ago she was experiencing a supernatural event and had her sexual identity thrown into question. What was going on? She wondered.
Alan practically threw Sarah into the passenger seat of their unmarked cruiser. When he saw how close he came to slamming her head on the door frame he managed to calm himself down, but only a little. Getting into the car he took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. Sarah just stared at him as if she didn't recognize him.
"Sarah, tell me straight. Are you in on it?"
"In on what?"
Alan looked at her searchingly. "We're partners. Partners have to trust each other absolutely. I can't trust you if you've teamed up to pull my leg like this. I can understand some horsing around, but you quit it now and tell me. Are you in on it?"
Sarah spoke slowly and carefully. "Alan. I don't know what you're going on about. So why don't YOU give ME an explanation."
"Must be Carolyn," Alan said to no one in particular and put the car into gear. Sarah sat there staring at him as they pulled into traffic but then settled back into her seat and stared ahead. Alan, she knew, would tell her everything when he was ready.
Half way to Alan's house he began to open up.
"Are you bi? I hate to be blunt or to embarrass you, but you should know it's cool with me. I won't hassle you about it and I don't want you to feel awkward around me."
"Thank you. I ... I don't know. I admire beautiful women and did something a little risqué in college, but I never gave it much thought. Recently, though, I mean... I've been without a boyfriend for nearly two years and Janine has been hitting on me heavily to go out with her. She's definitely bi and wants a partner. Picking up guys at bars isn't all it's cut out to be, it can be pretty scary if you're alone. I've been thinking about it yes, but I also fear being sad like Janine."
"Janine comes across as pretty strong and self assured... maybe too self assured."
"C'mon Alan. You're too astute to buy that front. She's pretty desperate."
"Desperate enough to go to Club Alexandro?"
"Donno. I think the club is geared more to parties and less to walk ins."
"Well she was there."
"She was? When? How do you know?"
"I didn't see her."
"You were watching the naked man right?"
"Well, um -- oh come on, I caught you checking out Cupid's cunt!"
"And a nice one she had. Do you fantasize about pierced labias?"
"No, why, was her's pierced?"
"Indeed it was, but if she were a figment of our combined imaginations you would know that right?"
"I fantasize about a lot of things."
"Well, so do I. Please tell me you don't still think Cupid was an Angel in human form?"
"Explain it differently."
"Okay, but inside. I want you there when I ask Carolyn why she was at the Club Alexandro with Janine."
"She was, and I have a funny feeling that you're as much a victim of this plot as I am."
"What plot, the murder?"
"There was no murder Sarah. Janine and Carolyn put this together to get us into bed."
The car practically shook from Sarah's scream. Alan couldn't control himself any longer and let out a laugh.
"Let's go inside."
Two hours later Sarah rolled off the bed and strolled into the bathroom to pee. As she closed the door she looked back into the room where Alan lay, his bare ass facing the ceiling. Carolyn was asleep too, her lovely breasts uncovered. As she peed, Sarah gave some thoughts to what had transpired over the last several hours and how things were going to be from now on.
When Alan and Sarah entered the Swain home, they found Carolyn in the kitchen and she seemed genuinely surprised to see both of them there. Hostess that she was, she wouldn't let Alan talk until she had served coffee and cake in the living room; and while making the coffee, she'd taken an opportunity to whisper to Sarah that she was glad she was here. Sarah had the uncomfortable feeling that she was about to witness a confrontation.
Once they were seated on the sofas in the living room, the confrontation was quick to come.
"Carolyn," Alan began," why didn't you just tell me that you're a lesbian?"
Carolyn placed her coffee down carefully, but Sarah choked on hers.
"Alan, honey.... I'm not a lesbian."
"Are you having an affair with Janine?"
"No, I wouldn't call it an affair, we've made love, yes."
"But you're not a lesbian?"
"Alan? Can I say my piece?"
An awkward silence filled the room and Sarah stood quickly suggesting that she should leave. But Carolyn turned to her and asked her to stay.
"I feel more comfortable with another woman here. If you don't mind.
"Alan, I'm a very sexual woman, and we married each other partly because you were also a very sexual man. Recently, Sarah, things have been a bit slow in the bedroom. Alan said it was stress, and I believe him. But at a department gathering a year or so ago I got to talking with Janine. It was clear to me from the beginning that she wanted to get into Alan's pants, and I asked her outright if they were having an affair. When she answered 'I wish', I knew I had nothing to worry about in that department, but then I got worried that Alan wasn't interested in sex anymore. Suddenly I did a turn around and got to wondering why Alan wouldn't go after a babe like Janine.
"I began talking to Janine about it and then one thing led to another and we made love for the first time about 3 months ago. Well then I was in this awkward position of going from suspecting my husband of cheating to cheating on my husband. I felt awful, but I couldn't resist the pull of another woman's nectar. Finally I confronted Janine and we hatched this plan.
"I knew that Alan fantasized about being with another woman. We wanted to give Alan the idea that he could have you and I together without it coming directly from us. Janine said she suspected you could be convinced to mess around with Alan if you knew it was okay with me. She thought you might even think of going bi."