MURDEROUS IRONY Chapter 17: GARDNER AND STRANGLER

CH 17: Gardner and Strangler

Haley enjoyed helping Officer Jennings pick out a pet she always did like matching an animal with a loving human but at times it was hard it felt like she was giving her family away. She felt like a big sister to them, protective that was why Haley became incensed when people disposed of unwanted animals in unconsciously brutal ways not caring what was in store for the discarded pet. Gardner a young black boy went into the pet store several times and had bought lizards, two hamsters, fish, a spider, a bunny practically every animal they had in the store and when he got bored with them he tossed them outside.

The next time he came in with his dad Haley got him interested in a boa constrictor snake he immediately named Strangler and while his father went to pay for the pet Haley whispered to Gardner that he could show off to his buddies and look like a tough guy if he wrapped the snake around him but to make sure his parents weren’t around or they’d make him look foolish and give him shit. So two nights after they had the snake the boy’s parents went out to a movie and he went into the garage and took the snakes’ cage key out of his dad’s tool box and called over two of his best friends.

Although Strangler had been feed for the night and was sluggish Gardner let him out of the cage and wrapped the startled snake around his neck. It is well-known if startled or frightened a snake will tighten its’ grip and that’s just what Strangler did. The more Gardner struggled and scratched at Strangler the harder the snake squeezed and one boy bolted out the door while the other called 911 but it was too late Gardner hadn’t been moving for more than five minutes before the ambulance arrived and his windpipe was crushed. Poor Gardner really didn’t deserve Haley’s wrath.

Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson

GARDNER

As an only child Gardner was extremely spoiled not by his parents because they were broke working minimum wage jobs but his grandparents bought him the world. And the kid knew how to get what he wanted using poverty as a pity card. But the problem was Gardner would play with a toy a few times and become easily bored with it and tossed it out whining for new things. Sometimes his parents managed to take the discarded toys and clothes to shelters for other unfortunate children hoping their son would witness the value of having these items but he didn’t. In school he was a bit of a bully trying to get the attention he lacked at home because his parents worked long shifts but his behavior just made him unpopular except with a few other tough kids. And Gardner was kind of vulgar with girls but it was all an act to look cool in front of his buddies. It was this very behavior that lead to his death.

Police Office Jay Jennings was on duty and first on the scene. Shaking his head he wondered when people would ever learn not to be so careless with dangerous animals. Detectives Buck Dale and Jack Nickels pulled up and when they went upstairs Jay was staring at the snake still wrapped around the boys’ neck. His friend stood outside the bedroom door pale white, shaking looking like he wanted to cry. “Boy go downstairs and sit on the couch we will come to ask you a few questions in a minute” Jack said gently leading the kid to the stairs. “Hi there Officer Jennings, I see you’ve started writing notes and kept the room clear thanks” Buck said. “Yeah so what’s the story Jennings?” Jack asks. “It’s Jay” he replied appreciating not being brushed aside. When these two arrived on the scene they didn’t claim it as their own like all the other detectives Jay ever meet. Animal control just arrived and the three of them got out of their way and went downstairs to talk to the witness. His red eyes betrayed him that he had cried but who could blame the boy? It was a simple case of kids being kids and Gardner’s showing off cost him his life. Not once did they connect Haley with the situation. Really in all account the cat lady, Shiba’s choking, and Gardner’s suffocating were all terrible accidents and for a fleeting second Buck realized it was weird how all three deaths were somewhat animal related but as fast as it flashed into his mind it left. The two detectives were just leaving as the parents showed up. “I’ll take care of this” Officer Jennings said, cops were better trained to handle families in this type of situation. “Thanks Jay” Detective Nickles said. “I guess some cops are pretty competent” Jack said to Buck getting in their car. Jay was thinking that there were some half decent detectives after all.

Farrah had called in an anonymous tip that she believed that Haley killed Shiba but there was no proof at all in fact it wasn’t yet labelled as a murder. She wanted to go talk with the cops but her sisters said it wasn’t wise to bring undue attention to themselves considering what they were doing. The triplets heard about the boy in their science class being crushed to death by his pet boa constrictor snake and Farrah swore Haley had something to do with it as well but her sisters looked at each other and wondered how she came to that conclusion. It wasn’t like Haley wrapped the snake around his neck herself. It wasn’t a big loss because the boy was vulgar but Farrah didn’t like Haley getting away with murder when wasn’t that exactly what she and her sisters were doing? Farrah just held a grudge because she knew Haley killed Shiba yet she couldn’t prove it but it didn’t matter because soon she’d take care of Haley herself. Anyways the next target on the triplets list was a homeless flasher living in a condemned drug house they had to walk past every day. It was yet to be determined how to kill him and who would train them it went hand in hand.