December 3, 2022

Double Bubble Chapter 1: Danny Quick is Dead

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This entry is part 1 of 14 in the series Double Bubble

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Rated: R

The report says that Danny Quick overdosed on a bottle of pills and was found in a kneeling position leaning against a wall, but it doesn’t mention that he died with his pants around his ankles and a rubber tube tied around his balls. The report doesn’t describe the pink panties draped over his head, the crotch covering his nose, or that his eyes were peering out vacantly between the leg holes.

I only know those details from looking through the various photographs his mother has given me this morning when I got to my office. Talk about awkward.

I had known Danny back in high school, which is to say that I knew of him by reputation only and what I had known about him, I had tried to forget.

Back then, he had still been using his real name, Daniel Piggott, though even that was soon corrupted to Dirty Danny Spigot or just the Spigot if you were pressed for time. I assume he had started school as a normal teenager, but I have nothing to base that on except my assumption that we all start off in life as normal before being corrupted by high school.

The first time I heard his name was after he had been found in the washroom jerking off in a stall. He had left the door open, and it hadn’t taken long for several other kids to take notice and start the teasing and taunting that teenagers are renowned for. Only Danny never stopped. He just kept on keeping on, as they say, and soon was ejaculating all over the stall.

I hadn’t been there or seen it, but the story sped through the halls like a bad cold, and soon everyone was talking about dirty Danny and his small spigot. I guess if you are the kind of guy who can jerk off to completion in public, you are not the kind of guy to, well, um, shrink from notoriety.

Instead of being embarrassed, Danny had leaned into the story and into his newfound reputation for being underendowed and, eventually, for being a premature ejaculator. A quick release. A minute man. It was a strange reputation to revel in, but Danny wore it like a cape and walked the halls with pride.

He and I hadn’t travelled in the same circles or had any friends in common, so I lost track of him after high school. At some point, I had heard that Danny had turned his talent for masturbation into a business and had gone on to star in his own private porn films for the paying masses. Apparently, he had made a lot of money letting women make fun of his equipment while he continued to do what he had always done, jerk off quickly for an audience. Only this audience paid to watch.

Now, I won’t try to tell you that I have never watched porn any more than I would try and tell you that we never landed on the moon, but what I will tell you is that my porn addiction has always run to vanilla. That a guy like Danny could mint a fortune by charging others to do what he had done for free in high school didn’t make any damn sense to me. But then, honestly, nothing makes very much sense to me anymore.

I drop the photos on my desk and look up at his mother.

“I know what you are thinking,” she says.

I seriously doubt she does.

“But Danny was a good boy. Whatever he did with his…his…thing, he didn’t deserve to die like this.”

I nod my head without saying anything. I don’t disagree with her. It’s a very humiliating death, even for a guy who had spent his life being paid to be humiliated. Still, I don’t know what any of this has to do with me.

“Mrs. Piggott,” I say.

“Jean,” she says.

“Jean,” I say. “I’m sorry about Danny. He seemed like a…a decent guy. It’s tragic. And if I were a cop, I’d try and help. But I’m not.”

Her expression changes, almost cold.

“Cops,” she says. Her voice sterile, almost clinical, but I can see she is trying to contain her emotions, keep them at bay. “They don’t believe me. They say Danny was mixed up and gone wrong in the head. They say he killed himself. But I know it was her.”

“Her?” I say, but she isn’t listening.

“I told Danny she was bad news. I warned him. I pleaded with him. But he didn’t listen. He said he was in love.”

She looks up at me, and I can see the tears welling up in the corner of her eyes.

“Love,” she says. “That woman didn’t love him. She used him. And then she killed him.”

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say to that. This conversation has been going for just shy of an hour, and we keep tracking the same topic around the block like a dog chasing a squirrel. I try a different tack.

“I understand how you feel. I’m not a huge fan of the police. In my experience they can often become prisoner’s of the bureaucratic drive to close cases without considering other possibilities. The truth is though, whether it was suicide or this woman, it won’t bring Danny back. I—“

“So I should what,” she says. “I should just turn a blind eye to her murdering my son…to murdering my Danny?”

“It’s—“

“Listen, that…that woman murdered my son. And you expect me to let her get away with it. To profit it from it?”

“Profit?”

She glares at me, her face contorts in rage.

“Yes, profit. Haven’t you been listening?”

Clearly, I haven’t because I have no idea what she is talking about.

“I’m sorry, Jean. It’s a lot to take in all at once. What do you mean she’s going to profit from Danny’s death. You mean his business?”

Her eyes narrow, and she purses her lips like she’s suddenly realized she’s been talking to a moron. I’m not sure whether it is to calm her nerves or her anger, but she closes her eyes and takes a breath so deep her chest swells like she is morphing into the Hulk. Now I’m holding my breath, waiting for the explosion. She wouldn’t be the first person to start yelling and screaming in my office. As a lawyer, I have had my fill of many unhappy clients. But when she opens her eyes again she just stares at me impassively before speaking.

“Danny had a life insurance policy. He bought it six months ago. Maybe you don’t hear so good but I told you that like half an hour ago. About the agent, Frank Corley?”

I have no idea what she is talking about.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Who’s Frank Corley?”

“Jesus Christ. I don’t remember you being this dumb?”

Now I’m even more confused since I have never met this woman before in my life.

“I’m sorry?”

“Save your apologies but try and keep up, why don’tcha?”

I’m still staring at her, mystified. It’s like I have walked into a conversation already in progress and am scrambling to catch up without being murdered myself.

“Frank Corley’s the agent who sold Danny the insurance policy. He works in the same building as me. That’s how I know about the policy. What’d ya think, Danny was going to tell me himself?”

I nod at her as if I understand anything she has said so far. I don’t.

“So Frank told you about the policy. But you were telling me about this woman, what’s her name?”

“Christina,” she says, spitting out the name like she has just taken a sip of sour milk. “And I was saying that I ran into Frank in the elevator. And he says to me, he says, Danny and this woman were in to see him about a policy. He says that Danny wanted to make sure that this woman was taken care of on account of anything happening to him. So you see? You see what I mean? She murdered my Danny for the money.”

Talking to this woman is giving me a fucking headache. The leaps of logic and non-sequiturs are mind-numbing.

“Jean, I don’t get it. Just because there’s an insurance policy doesn’t mean she murdered him. You’re suggesting—”

She glares at me. “I’m not suggesting anything. I’m telling you that’s what happened. Danny is dead and now she gets the money. I know it was her.”

I have to suppress a laugh because this woman is clearly crazy. Now I can see why Danny was off the deep end too. The idea is so cliche it’s ridiculous. If her son hadn’t just killed himself, I’d smile politely and push her out of my office. I’m a bottom feeder, but I don’t truck with the tin-foil hat brigade.

“You think this woman killed Danny in order to claim his life insurance?”

I try to check my sarcasm but I miss the mark. She flinches and frowns again.

“You don’t believe me? You’re just like those fucking cops. I don’t even know why I bothered coming here. I—“

Her voice is rising and I cut her off before she can get a full head of steam.

“I’m sorry Jean I—“

“It’s Mrs Piggott, thank you.”

She starts collecting herself and stands up. I do the same.

“You know, Danny always thought highly of you. Me, I was never so sure. I told him a real friend wouldn’t just abandon him. But he wouldn’t listen. I told him you distanced yourself from him cause you thought you were so much better. But you weren’t better. I told Danny you were no good. But he always defended you, tried to tell me I got you wrong. He always said you were a good egg. He’s a good egg he’d say. And I’d nod and keep my thoughts to myself. But I knew. I knew you were nothing but a piece of shit. And now here I am in your office telling you someone murdered him, murdered my Danny, and you got shit for brains and still the same attitude.”

“Mrs Piggott—“

“Don’t Mrs Piggott me. This whore killed my Danny and now she is going to get rich. If that don’t bother you any, well, I guess that’s between you and him.”

She casts her eyes heavenwards and takes a slight small step back as though lightning might strike me down right there.

“Listen,” I say. “Danny seemed like a nice guy but I think you have me mistaken with someone else. He and I were never friends. And I never knew him before high school. You and I have never met before.”

“What’re you talking about. Of course we’ve met before. You think I’m crazy? I wouldn’t go around making up lies.”

“Mrs. Piggott,” I say. “I think you’ve confused me for someone else. I only knew Danny from high school. I don’t even think we—“

“So that’s your game, is it?”

“Game?”

She looks around my office, surveying the environment. I have no doubt she’s formed the same impression of me that I had long ago formed about myself.

“You don’t want to help me,” she says, “just say so. But don’t be telling me I’m crazy. Trying to gaslight me with your lies. Danny always said you were a good egg. He’s a good egg he’d say. So don’t go on pretending like I’m crazy. I’m not crazy.”

She’s muttering to herself as she moves towards the door. I wonder vaguely whether the death of her son has knocked some kind of screw loose or whether she was always this crazy. I try and smile and to soften my voice.

“I’m sorry about the loss of your son, Mrs. Piggott. Truly I am. If I thought I could help I would. But this isn’t my area of expertise. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

She turns to look back at me. I can’t make out her expression. I’m out of practice reading people but I swear she’s smirking. It could just be my imagination. She takes a step forward again, and her eyes are cold and clear.

“You go over there and talk to her. Ask her about Danny. Ask her about the policy. You’ll see. She can’t help herself. You’ll see and then you’ll do what’s right.”

She turns on her heel and puts her hand on the door. “Danny always said you were a good egg. He’s a good egg he’d say. Now’s your chance to prove it.”

“But the cops,” I say. “They—“

“Cops won’t even talk to her. Say I’m crazy. Say it was a suicide. Say that he was off in the head. But I know better. I know she killed him. You go over there and talk to her. You’ll see I’m not crazy.”

She pulls the door open and starts to leave. I don’t want to take on this case, but I also don’t know how to make this woman understand. And honestly, there’s something about it that raises my curiosity. I’m like the fucking proverbial cat, but I’m hoping for a different outcome.

I rub my eyes, trying to clear my head. I really must have shit for brains.

“Ok,” I say. “I’ll go talk to her. Where do I find this, what’s her name?”

She pauses and turns towards me again.

“I told you, her name’s Christina. Christina Holt. She has a flower shop on Bank Street next to the futon store. You go see her. You go see the woman who murdered my son.”

She leaves without another word. And I find myself wondering what the hell I have gotten myself into. I’m no cop. I’m not even a private investigator. I’m just a two-bit ambulance chaser with last year’s fashion sense. Still, I know I’m going to go see this woman if for no other reason than I’m genuinely curious about her. Not because I think she murdered Danny. That’s ridiculous. No, I want to meet the woman who was dating the guy who jerked off for a living. I want to meet the woman who was dating Danny Quick.

So I grab my hat and jacket, lock my door, and head for the street. It’s a nice day for a walk. And I can’t see much harm in talking to her.

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