“Yeah, that’s what I’m asking you,” I said with a slight sigh. I burned up all my willpower trying to maintain my patience. “We don’t even own a cow. I talked to you last night, to tell you I’d be home today. Do you remember that? You didn’t say anything about a cow on the roof.”
“Wait.” Johnny held a hand up to interrupt me while his gears turned. His light brown eyes stared off into the distance. “Yeah, I remember talking to you. I told the guys it was our last night to party. They rushed over…” his expression went blank when he lost his train of thought.
“Alright, I’ll ask them. Who’d you invite?” I helped Johnny keep his balance while he sat down.
“Tully, Puck, and Copper,” he said. He sat back and rested his head against the back of the rocker. He began moving himself back and forth gently. I vowed to punish him when he was sober enough to appreciate it. Tully and Copper were a fine couple of guys, but I shuddered knowing Puck was here. Worse, he was the only one that had cows. I knew I’d end up talking to him during the investigation so I decided to start there. I couldn’t get a good enough look at the cow to check its brand, but I took a picture of it to show Puck.
I checked on Johnny on my way out, he slept fine. I drove the couple of miles down to Puck’s farm. His name was Paul Christian, but an unfortunate accident with cow manure earned him the nickname “Puck.” He seemed determined to live up to the nickname by being as slimy and unsavory as possible. His older sister answered the door and I felt instant relief.
“Kelly, hi!” I said when I saw her.
“Hey Liz, what can I do for you?”
“Are you guys missing a cow by any chance? I found this guy on my roof when I got home this morning.” I showed Kelly the picture on my phone. “Johnny says he invited Puck over last night, thought he might have brought a date,” I said with a smile. Luckily Kelly knew all about how slimy her brother was, she laughed along with me.
“He did get invited, but he didn’t go. I took the message and encouraged him to go hang out with his friends, but he didn’t leave his room all night,” Kelly said with a shrug. “And that’s not one of ours.” She dismissed the cow picture.
“Alright, thanks Kelly. See you later.” I waved and headed back to my car. I got back on the road and headed towards the convenience store where Tully worked. I hoped to find Copper hanging around there too. I pulled into the lot and parked next to Copper’s old orange truck. I went through the door and saw a heavy teen with glasses in a store uniform talking to a lanky redhead across the counter.
“Hey guys, did you guys come over to my place last night?” I asked Tully and Copper. They looked like deer in headlights. “No one’s in trouble yet, but there’s a cow on my roof and I want to know why, so I know who needs to pay to get it down.” They shrugged.
“We don’t know nothin’ ‘bout a cow Mrs. Uh.. Johnny’s Mom,” Copper said. I looked at Tully for confirmation. He nodded.
“We were there till about midnight, but we left when Puck showed up,” Tully said.
“He showed up? His sister told me he didn’t go out all night.” I said. “I can’t believe Kelly lied to me.” I felt annoyance bubbling inside of me, and my fingertips felt the urge to strangle someone.
“Yeah, he showed up, but he was freaking out. I think he was on something, he was talking about his sister being a killer or something,” Tully said.
“Okay. I’m going to head over there and talk to her again. Do me a favor please. If you don’t hear from me in a couple of hours, send the cops over to Puck’s place.” Tully nodded at me. “Bye boys.”
On the way to Puck’s farm I wondered whether Kelly could actually be a killer, then I decided it didn’t matter. I’m just after answers about the cow. If she satisfies my curiosity on that, I’m not going to ask any unnecessary questions. I knocked, and Kelly appeared at the door again, with her white apron covered in blood and red spots flecked across her face.
“Liz, hey! C’mon in,” Kelly waved me in, gesturing me forward with the cleaver in her hand. I held my breath and followed her. I relaxed once I saw the head and assorted cow parts on the table. “Any information about your roof cow?” She asked.
“Maybe. I talked to Tully and Copper, they said Puck showed up around midnight,” I said. Kelly slammed the cleaver into the block and it stayed. She began undoing her apron. “Really?” She went down the hall and knocked on a bedroom door. “PUCK! GOD DAMNIT PUCK YOU’D BETTER BE IN THERE!” She kicked the door open and stormed in. She came back out considerably deflated. “He’s not in there.” She walked toward me and stuck her hand out. “Show me the picture again!” I pulled up the picture on my phone and gave it to her. She immediately burst into tears.
“Puck you big idiot!” she yelled at it and threw my phone down to the ground bawling.
“What the hell is going on?” I asked.
“The cow on your roof is Puck. I have a potion that turns people into cows, but I don’t know how to reverse it.”