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It Was the Wurst of Times

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Carstairs risked a look over his shoulder. The pack was now only a few yards behind him. He put his head down and sprinted. If he could just make it to the car he might get out of this alive. A pine cone went flying and he landed heavily on his side. Some ribs felt broken. "Oh God," he moaned, covering his face with his free hand. Then they were upon him.


Sgt Freiday flipped the notebook shut. "Nothing more to see here," he remarked, motioning to the two patrolmen to load the corpse into the back of the van. He turned to find himself nose to nose with Smalchick Chomosh, the private detective. He sighed. "What is it this time, Mr. Chomosh?"

Chomosh stared at him expressionlessly for a moment, then pointed with his cane at a small white fleck on the path. "What do you make of that?" he asked.

Freiday squinted. "It's a piece of bread. Left over from a picnic." He looked back at Chomosh in irritation.

Chomosh pursed his lips. "It is a fragment of a bun," he said, "a Sunbeam hot dog bun, to be precise."


Three days later, Freiday still had no theory. In desperation, he visited the Sunbeam factory. When he arrived the place seemed deserted. He prowled around, then climbed the fence. He was in old man Sunbeam's office when he heard the baying. He went outside and cocked his head to listen. There it was again. Louder. He walked to the fence and climbed back over. The sound had seemed to come from somewhere out here. As he approached his cruiser he saw some small pale objects in the grass. They moved back and forth restlessly, growling. The light was dim, but they looked like ... hot dogs! He reached in his pocket for his keys, but found only a hole in the bottom of the pocket. The baying came again, and the hot dogs surged forwards. He ran back towards the fence, but he never made it.


"I have solved the case," Chomosh announced. "The murders were committed by a pack of wild dogs." He unveiled one of his famous who-done-it paintings with a flourish. Sgt. Freidey was shown sprawled on his back. A vicious weiner worried his throat; another had its snout buried in his belly.

The mayor snorted. "Ridiculous! I never sausage nonsense!"

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