From the GGPD Files
Size: 8.00 x 5.00 in
Welcome to the Greater Garden Police Department!
And you though the garden was a quiet place…
Called on an accidental heat-death, the best sleuth of the Greater Garden Police Department suspects foul play. Officer Gowoon slogs her way through her investigation, among the low-lifes and beer-smugglers, warding off colleagues mating attempts and keeping a wary eyestalk for those lightning-fast giants roaming the territory. Fortunately, she can count on brawny Zgouish for assistance, but his bad-slogger charm instills fuzzy feeling under her shell…
Soon she finds herself head over shell engulfed in a murky case that could spell the end of her career in the GGPD… and her life.
I didn’t see a thing.”
Melizz’s skin was a riot of wrinkles and folds. Creamy sweat beads dribbled down his body, ending in a sticky puddle. He would have to shift his weight soon.
I shifted myself away from the witness, then opened my scent channels to assess his signed words. I smelled his sweat: neutral, devoid of the tang coming from badly metabolized water.
Liars couldn’t help retaining their water.
Keeping more water inside meant the body’s sweat would be saturated with salts. Droplets with high levels of salt induced an oxidation of the lipid complexes that maintained the skin’s optimal elasticity.
Sweat told a lot about a slogger’s dispositions. I had learned to minimize my own output to better smell others’. This particular skill gave me the best crime solving rate of the GGPD.
Most investigators concentrated on the slime trail.READ MORE
Alas, this case could be a career-stopper. A strong scent of aster pods suffused the crime scene, a bare sun-kissed granite rock, so much that a liar’s sweat could get unnoticed.
I regretted not ordering Zgouish to get rid of the horrid, spiky pods. Those big sun-petaled umbrellas were annoying enough, without having to deal with their pods. Besides being spicy junk food, their scent messed with ambient smells.
But Zgouish was busy interrogating another witness. This one was a first-cycler, not even named yet. He was the one who found the desiccated body. Melizz had sent the olfactive call.
From my position, I could only glimpse a pale, slim eyestalk behind my partner’s squat mass. His sheer size made Zgouish very apt at drawing information. His scarred shell was intimidating.
The witness’ eyestalk was waving up and down, a sign of panic or of an urgent need to shift.
I left Zgouish working the witness and oozed back to the body.
Laframboise does an excellent job of translating the rhythm and feel of the typical murder mystery into the realities of a snail’s eye view. The story is clever and effectively conveys the point of view of the snails and the various limitations and talents available to them.
Originally published in Fiction River 22, (2017) under the direction of John Helfers
Police procedural / humor/ garden fantasy/ snails