Brett Eagle and the Necktie Killer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

An amateur fiction writer logged into a dark web publishing site and discovered his characters were coming to life.

Don Bowers placed two pictures in front of Cedric. One was of a man digging a ditch, the other was of a man talking on a phone at an office desk. Cedric pointed to the ditch digger.

“Okay, Cedric that’s the last of the pictures. Good Job!”

Bowers returned to his office to tally up the results for presentation at the next treatment team meeting. He was the vocational evaluator at New Horizon which served emotionally disturbed adolescents.

He wrote up his report, snapped his shoulder bag shut, and left his office for the day. Now, he was free to pursue his real passion, which was hunkering down in his bar seat at Jake’s and writing fiction on his laptop.

“What’s up, Don?”

Jake had a glass of merlot waiting on him. All the regulars knew to leave the barstool on the corner open for Don. Jake wiped the bar.

“So, is Brett Eagle going to crack the case tonight?”

Don smiled. “Maybe.”

Jake paused from wiping the bar and looked up into space. “I’ll bet it was the parking valet with the bad attitude. He killed the prostitute!”

Don pulled out his laptop. “Maybe.”

As far as Don knew, Jake the bartender was the only fan of his Brett Eagle detective series. The parking valet was a red herring. Soon Jake would know it was the wino who had bludgeoned the prostitute.

It was nearly 10:00 and Don Bowers put the finishing touch on his story:

“Brett Eagle looked across the Center City skyline and saw the neon glow of the Westbury Hotel. He had restored order and put the bad people in jail. The end.”

Don had chills run up and down his arms. He always did when he finished one of his Brett Eagle stories.

He loaded up his laptop, left Jake a generous tip and returned home to his apartment. Before going to bed he booted up his laptop and checked the online site where he published Brett Eagle. He had one like, and it was from Jake.

It was frustrating pouring out his heart and soul, night after night, writing about Brett Eagle, only to receive one acknowledgement.

He was about to drift off when his laptop sputtered and crackled. He leaned up and looked at the screen. A figure in a black robe with a deep voice said, “Tired of not getting the attention you want on other online publishing sites? Come to Veritas.”

Don sat up in bed and watched testimonials for Veritas.

“My romance novels were going nowhere, but when I logged into Veritas, I signed with Random House the next day!”

“Dude. Nobody cared for my story about the indecisive motorist who spent his life in a roundabout until I logged into Veritas. Its streaming on Netflix now.”

This intrigued Don and he logged in immediately.

I want to be on Netflix!  

He started his first work on Veritas. It would be number forty-three of the Brett Eagle series. He took a deep breath and began tapping on the keypad.

“Having solved the wino prostitute mystery, Brett Eagle took a well-deserved break at the Blue Note Spa where a blonde bombshell massaged his aching muscles and dropped grapes into his mouth.”

Don Bowers figured Brett Eagle deserved some pampering after that water boarding scene in book forty-two. Brett Eagle would be up to his eyeballs in shit before his new story was over.

The next morning Don returned to reality and presented his recommendations for Cedric’s treatment plan to the New Horizon staff. The psychologist shrugged and the case manager jotted down notes.

Before dismissing the group, the director announced it was the administrative assistant’s birthday. He brought out a cake and fruit tray. Everyone gathered around and wished Melody a happy birthday.

Don Bowers was holding a paper plate with a piece of cake when the attractive administrative assistant with thick blonde hair approached him and held a grape up to his mouth which he reluctantly accepted. Melody rubbed his shoulder, winked and walked away. He looked around the room and no one seemed to have noticed her odd behavior.

That afternoon Jake the bartender told Don he liked the way the story ended. “I never guessed it was the wino who did it. Brett Eagle always gets his man!”

Don took a sip of wine. “Thanks.”

“So, what are you writing now?”

“I’m calling it Brett Eagle and the Necktie Killer.”

“Great. Can’t wait to start reading.” Jake popped a bottled beer and took it over to one of the regulars.

Don pulled up the Veritas publishing site and began tapping on the keyboard.

“Brett Eagle was walking down Front Street when his phone rang. It was his boss at headquarters. ‘Eagle! We need you on the west side. The necktie killer has struck again!’ He hopped in his car and put the little blue light on the roof before spinning off.”

The next morning Don was in his office checking email when his phone rang. It was the New Horizons director.

“Hello Don. I need you to go to our west side branch tomorrow. Steve is out sick and there’s a one-year review due Friday.”

“No problem. I’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks.”

When Don entered Jakes that afternoon a group of regulars smiled and waved at him. Harry yelled across the bar, “We like your latest Brett Eagle story, Don!” All the men nodded in agreement.

It took Don aback because none of them had been fans before. He waved and settled into his corner seat. “THANKS, GUYS!” Jake brought him a glass of wine.

“Looks like you’ve got some fans other than me.”

Don smiled. “Yeah, looks like I do.”

He opened the laptop and pulled up Veritas. He was shocked to see he had earned his first red badge indicating a thousand readers were now following his story. He stared at the badge and took a sip of wine. This was very encouraging and he couldn’t wait to continue the story. He began typing.

“Sargent Collins met Brett Eagle as he was exiting his car and escorted him to the crime scene. ‘Looks like the necktie killer has struck again.’ He lifted the yellow crime scene tape so Eagle could enter the alley. He squatted down and pulled the plastic cover off the body of a young woman. There was a necktie around her throat and Eagle got out his magnifying glass and studied the knot.”

“Sargent Collins said, ‘We knew it was him when we saw the half Windsor. That’s his signature knot.’ Eagle lowered the magnifying glass and said, ‘Do you have a lot of women strangled with neckties on the westside, Sargent?’ Sargent Collins didn’t understand the question.”

The next morning, Don Bowers reported to the west branch of New Horizon and was greeted by the caseworker.

“Thanks for giving us a hand, Don. Steve’s out with the flu and one of our residents has his one-year review and we don’t have a current voc eval on him.”

“Glad to help.”

“His name is Windsor Collins.” They walked along a corridor towards the evaluation room. “I’ve got to warn you, Don, this kid has a history of violence. He can be really aggressive.”

“I’ve worked with lots of aggressive kids,” said Don. "They’re usually fine in a one-on-one situation.”

Don stepped into the room and saw a pudgy boy with freckles sitting at the table. “You must be Windsor.” Don extended his hand but the boy made no effort to reciprocate. Instead, he stared at Don’s pale blue tie.

He started the evaluation with the cards which show different work situations. Windsor pointed to the cards showing men in neckties whenever that was an option. When they came to the end, Don said, “Okay, Windsor, that’s the last of the pictures. Good job!”

The pudgy boy screamed and lunged across the table pushing Don backwards in his chair. He clutched Don’s tie and attempted to strangle him.

“HELP!”

Two men wearing New Horizon t-shirts ran into the room and pulled Windsor off him. They restrained the boy and carried him out of the room. The caseworker rushed in.

“What happened?”

Don’s heart was racing as the caseworker helped him get to his feet. "I'm fine. No problem."

That evening at Jake’s, Don wasn’t writing. He was deep in thought. It might just be his imagination, but it seemed like things in the story he was writing were manifesting into reality. He first noticed it when the attractive administrative assistant named Melody put a grape in his mouth and rubbed his shoulder. Just like the girl at the Blue Note Spa massaged Brett Eagle and fed him a grape.

Don decided to conduct an experiment. He pulled up his story and wrote in a scene where Brett Eagle returned to the spa. While he was having his shoulders rubbed, he made a lude comment to the girl. The girl was angry and slapped him.

At work the next day, Melody came into Don’s office.

“Here are the copies you wanted, Don.”

“Thanks, Melody.”

“My eyes are up HERE, Don! I’m sick of the way you leer at me.”

Don flinched and looked away, yet he wasn’t sure if he’d actually done anything inappropriate to Melody.

Don deleted the scene where Brett Eagle had been rude and replaced it with the charming version of his character.

At work the next day, Melody came into Don’s office.

“Here are the copies you wanted, Don.” Instead of handing them over, she walked around to his side, lifted herself up on the edge of the desk and leaned into him so he could smell her perfume as she placed the copies in front of him.

Don wondered what was happening. It was impossible that his story could alter reality but it certainly seemed to be doing so. It was somewhat disturbing but he couldn’t stop writing the story now. He had nine red Veritas badges.

It was a slow night and Jake was standing behind the bar reading the latest installment of Brett Eagle and The Necktie Killer.

“Sargent Collins spread out all the neckties that had been used by the serial killer and Brett Eagle examined each one carefully. After reviewing the brands, he knew there was only one shop in Center City that sold them.”

Jake lowered his phone and looked at Don. “How did he know that all the ties were only found at one shop?”

Don glanced up from his laptop. “Jake, think about it. Who is Brett Eagle?”

Jake paused and replied, “Brett Eagle is the detective with a flair for fashion!”

“Exactly.” Don returned to his laptop and Jake continued reading.

“Brett Eagle walked into Reed’s Haberdashery on Front Street and spread the neckties out on the countertop. The prissy shop owner stepped out from the back room sipping on hot tea. ‘May I help you?’"

'‘I’m Brett Eagle from Central City homicide. Do you recognize these neckties?’”

“The shop owner put his cup of tea down and removed his reading glasses and wiped them off on his tie. He examined the ties and agreed they were all purchased at his shop. Brett Eagle’s precision perception zeroed in on the haberdasher’s necktie. It was tied in a half Windsor.”

Jake looked up and exclaimed, “It’s the haberdasher! He’s the necktie killer!”

Don smiled and took a sip of wine. “Maybe.”

“Dang it, Don, this just keeps getting better and better.”

A man walked in and had a seat at the nearly empty bar. Jake took his order.

Don was a couple of chapters ahead from where Jake was reading and was about to bring it to a resolution. He sipped the wine and briefly looked off into space. He began typing.

“The prissy haberdasher always wanted to be a woman but knew he would never be one, so he took it out on the ones he found walking the streets of Center City using one of his favorite fashion accessories – silk neckties.”

This wasn’t the end of the story but Don experienced the chills running up and down his arms. He still needed to add the part where Brett Eagle looked across Center City at the neon lights of the Westbury Hotel.

He looked up across the bar and there was a man sitting across from him wearing glasses that were reflecting the bar lights in a manner that prevented Don from seeing his eyes. The man might be staring at him but he couldn’t tell.

Don looked away. He didn’t want to stare at him but he couldn’t help but notice the man was wearing a tie with a half Windsor knot. The man removed his glasses and began wiping them off on the tip of his necktie. Don got Jake’s attention and tilted his head in a motion that brought Jake over.

“Who is that guy?”

Jake glanced over and replied, “No idea. I’ve never seen him before.”

Don stole nervous glances at the man.

“What’s he drinking?”

“Hot tea.”

“I’ll take my tab, Jake.”

Don left a generous tip and exited the bar.

The prissy haberdasher finished his tea and followed out behind him.

The online publishing site called Veritas didn’t charge its users a fee, however, that didn’t mean it was free. There were details in the epic user agreement statement few writers ever read, yet always clicked “agree.”


Submitted: August 05, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Tim Michael. All rights reserved.

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Comments

CreativeMarauder

I love your sense of humor. The "bad fiction" was hilarious.

I liked the ambiguous ending.

Fri, August 5th, 2022 5:22pm

Author
Reply

Thank you!

Fri, August 5th, 2022 6:41pm

zilka.44

That was definitely different. I really did like it. Mixing fantasy and reality.

Wed, August 31st, 2022 2:37am

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