The smell of a naked woman knocked Detective Tish off his chair. He got up from the floor and adjusted his tie. “How can I help you?” Detective Tish asked as he sat back down.
“My clothes are gone. They have been stolen,” the naked woman said as she looked around Detective Tish’s office.
“Are you sure?”
“Okay.” Detective Tish looked straight at the naked woman’s breasts. She sat down in front of Detective Tish’s desk and didn’t cross her legs. She took a cigarette out of who knows where and lit it. “Please find my clothes. You have to find my clothes.” The cigarette smoke curled up towards the florescent lights.
Detective Tish did not have to find her clothes. It was simple. He wanted to see this beautiful naked woman naked as long as possible. But the naked woman had come to him to find her clothes. If he found her clothes, she would not be naked anymore. Darn, Detective Tish thought, darn. His gaze dropped from the naked woman’s breasts down to the place between her legs. He started to scribble a striped sweater in the margin of his notepad. “Are you cold?”
The naked woman blew smoke out of the corner of her mouth. “No.”
It had been a long time since Detective Tish had sat in the passenger side of a moving car. He was always driving himself to his mother’s house, to the track, to the scene of a crime, alone. But he sat to the right of the naked woman in her car as they sped down a road. She was a reckless driver, tailgating and running over traffic cones whenever she saw one. And she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.
“You should buckle up,” Detective Tish said as he tightened his grip on the door handle.
The naked woman reached behind her seat without taking her eyes off the road and grabbed a Jell‑O cup. She ripped the top off while steering with her knees. “You want one?”
“What flavor is that?”
“I don’t like how they leave marks on me.”
“But they could save your life. Especially the way you drive.” The naked woman didn’t have a spoon so she started to lick the orange Jell‑O. “Where are we going?”
“To my place.”
“Okay.” Detective Tish liked the sound of that, but wished that he had been the one to suggest going to the naked woman’s place. Now she might think that he didn’t want to find her clothes, or worse, that he didn’t know how to find them.
When they arrived at the naked woman’s apartment, she opened the door and walked in. She dropped the key on the floor, walked over to a large window and sat on its sill, smoking another cigarette. Detective Tish looked around the apartment and saw that there wasn’t anything in it.
“Do you have a chair? I want to ask you some questions about what happened to your clothes.”
“You’re the detective. There’s a chair in the kitchen.” Detective Tish walked into the kitchen and walked out with a small wooden chair. He placed it near the window, sat down and pulled out his notepad.
“Where did you keep your clothes? Before they were stolen?
The naked woman took a drag on her cigarette and noticed something through the window. “It was probably my ex-husband.”
“What makes you think that?”
“We divorced about a year ago. When we first met, he gave my clothes more compliments than he gave me, and on our first date, he gave me a bunch of hay instead of flowers.”
Detective Tish crossed out a note he had written on his notepad. “He gave you a bunch of hay on your first date?”
The naked woman finished her cigarette, opened the window and tossed the butt out onto the street below. She leaned out and breathed in the fresh air. It was cold outside and Detective Tish was getting cold. He could hear men yelling and cars honking. The naked woman leaned further out of the window, so far that Detective Tish thought she might fall out, but she popped her head back inside. “I remember it like it was yesterday. He took me to a farm. He talked about the animals and the dress I was wearing. He said I was wearing a nice dress.” The naked woman closed the window and sat back down on the sill. “A pig caught his eye and he wondered what it would look like in a polka dot bikini. It was very sweet.”
“The thought of a pig in a polka dot bikini was sweet, or was the moment sweet?”
“All of it. It was all so sweet. We got married and moved into a nice house. I remember seeing a goat strut by our kitchen window wearing a nice evening gown with him chasing after, or a bunch of chickens posing in a coop wearing striped bikinis and it would make me smile. It made him so happy. He would fall asleep at night smiling brightly telling me that he felt like a kid who takes his mother’s clothes and puts them on animals that aren’t meant to wear panty hose.”
“Why did you divorce him?”
The naked woman’s gaze went back to something out on the street below. “He changed. His thoughts of dressing farm animals in women’s clothing, they became a little too… intense.” Detective Tish had been taking notes, but he was now drawing a pig wearing a bikini. “He stopped going to work, he stopped eating and he stopped showering. He stayed up all hours of the night thinking about what outfit to put on which animal. I tried to be supportive, I even tried to understand what he was doing. He held a fashion show in our backyard.” The naked woman started to cry. “He made a catwalk in the middle of our backyard and set up lights and he pumped in loud music and he ran around in his bathrobe taking picture of all the animals he had dressed up. He even had cardboard cutouts of photographers and people in the crowd.”
Detective Tish didn’t want to find the naked woman’s clothes but he did want to meet a man who chases after a goat wearing an evening dress. He got up from his chair to hand the naked woman his handkerchief and saw what she saw out of the window. A piano had fallen from an apartment above and landed on a hot dog cart on the street below. The hot dog vendor was looking up at Detective Tish, like he was the one who destroyed his hot dog cart.
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