Police Captain Norris Dunnless achieved his position more because of his privileged family’s influence than by ability. The fact that whenever Dunnless proclaimed a case unsolvable, and within hours Inspector Edgar Harper solved it, was probably the source of friction between them. The tensions weren’t entirely the fault of Dunnless. Harper probably didn’t need to rub Dunnless’ nose in it quite so vigorously.
“You see, Cap’n,” explained Harper as officers held their noses beside the sewage drain. “There’s no sign of forced entry. There’s water on the floor in the upstairs bathroom. Wet footprints lead to the secured jewelry case. There’s water inside the jewelry case.”
“So?” grunted Captain Dunnless. “The thief took a shower to insure he wouldn’t leave fingerprints.”
Harper sighed, “I hardly think so, sir. More footprints lead downstairs to another bathroom. We believe the thief was surprised by the unexpected return of Mrs. Leadbelly. She witnessed a figure entering the bathroom, but when Mrs. Leadbelly followed, the thief was gone. There are no exits from the bathroom.”
“Sounds like another unsolvable one,” proclaimed Dunnless.
“Not so,” intoned Harper. “I believe we are dealing with a Water Elemental.”
“A Water Elemental, sir. A creature entirely composed of water yet able to assume a solid enough form to manipulate objects.” He pointed to a pipe which dumped into the sewage of a water reclamation pool. “That is where the thief escaped from the Leadbelly’s toilet.”
Dunnless turned purple. “A water elemental? Poppycock! Have you lost your mind, man?”
“I can prove it, sir. You see, the creature could only come here. We arrived quickly so it must still be present. Now if you’ve studied your mythology you’d know water elementals despise a particular word. It’s utterance incites an immediate attack.”
“Enough of this mythological claptrap, Harper! Not another word.”
“I’ll write the word down then, sir.” Harper handed Dunnless a slip of paper.
Heedless, Dunnless read it aloud. “Ipswitch? Gads Harper, you…”
A massive column of sewage suddenly rose up from the pool. It maneuvered like a living thing, taking aim. Unerringly, it crashed down upon Dunnless, soaking the captain yet leaving everyone else untouched. Dunnless’ crisp uniform became coated with the stench of unmentionable, slimy bits. He glared at Harper. “I suppose you rather enjoyed that.”
“No sir,” smirked Harper, “But it did ‘wet’ my appetite for more.”
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Look here for the original prompt and a link to a bevy of terrific stories! https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/sunday-photo-fiction-april-10th-2016/