As promised, when my Facebook Author page reached 200, I wrote a story based upon poll results. Here’s the Evil Item of Clothing story…
“He was shot in both eyes?”, Detective Horne said, incredulously.
“Yes, apparently so, although the killer was a bit off with the left eye – it was slightly off center. Right appears dead on.”, Crime Scene Investigator Carr noted. They found themselves at the scene of a murder – the victim, 25 year old Campbell Smith.
Campbell was known to the police force, as he frequently pressed his luck with the women in town. Perhaps he’d even gone too far a few times, to hear some of the ladies tell it. But it was 1947, decades from the MeToo movement of 70 years in the future. Women knew to stay clear of Campbell, and perhaps he’d crossed the wrong woman this time. Or perhaps it had been a fight over some other illicit thing. The dark alley they stood in was home to many potential crimes, of passion, of power, or of vice. And while the case stayed open for the requisite amount of time, no leads ever panned out, and the death of Campbell Smith was never solved. Carr and Horne, though, kept it somewhat alive over the following decades.
It was 2019, and Whitney Smith had developed a new talent over the past few weeks, one that amused her new husband of just under a month. It seemed that she’d found that the cushions on their couch were just rough enough to pull off a minor miracle.
Whitney and Rodney had moved into the old townhome, which had sat abandoned for a number of years. The neighborhood was coming back – and they were among the first to join the party. An old coal town that had died out amidst the energy crisis of the 1970s, it was now the home to several new families and businesses. All thanks to a tech giant that had opened a new corporate office just a few miles away. Both Whitney and Rodney worked for that company, transfers in from the West Coast, excited to start married life in a new place.
“Are you doing it again?”, Rodney asked, as they sat watching TV. He couldn’t help but notice his wife shifting oddly against her seatback.
“Almost… almost… GOT IT”, she replied. Feeling a sense of freedom, she slipped her arms deftly into her shirt one at a time. She then reached up under her outer garment and emerged with the offending item – her bra. Tossing it across the room, it landed in a pile of its siblings. Rodney just shook his head.
“How many do I have over there?”, she idly asked. He did a quick count.
“Must be Wednesday”, she said with a laugh. Indeed, it was.
Later that week, due to the fact that newlyweds are not flush with money and, thus, bras were not expendable, Whitney walked over to the corner of the room that had become her upper torso undergarment repository. Picking up the pile, and realizing she couldn’t remember the last time she washed a few of these items, she pushed them down into the laundry chute. Older homes had such conveniences, although this was the first time they had decided to make use of it. Coming down to the basement, Whitney opened the chute, to find a surprise.
40 years earlier, Investigator Carr found Detective Horne as the latter pulled a shot glass out from his desk drawer, and a bottle of scotch. It had been 30 years since Campbell Smith’s murder, yet the two cops recalled it as one of the oddest of their career thanks to the twin bullet holes.
“You here to tell me I don’t need this?”, Horne said to Carr.
“On the contrary – given what I’ve been reading about over the past few months, we might both want to take a drink”, Carr replied.
“What ya got?”, Horne said, pouring two shots and placing one across the desk.
“It’s on the Smith case”, Carr began, “I guess I’ve never been able to give it up. Found this crazy idea after reading some newspaper ads.”
“A shot in the dark… well, two shots… is how we got into this mess. Maybe it’ll help us get out. As long as we have two shots of our own.”, Horne said, finishing the sentence and the shot.
“OK, stick with me. This is a bit weird.”
“Go for it”
“OK. So, do you know who Mary Phelps Jacob is?”
“Yeah, not many do. Popular belief would have it that she invented the lady’s brassiere in 1914. However, I’ve uncovered something a bit more… sinister?”, Carr said, with confusion.
“You aren’t sure of your own story?”, Horne asked.
“It’s just too weird. I found it in an old historical text, and I’m still digesting it.”
“Well get it out – especially if it will help us stop talking about this case after this long.”
“OK… OK… so… apparently the brassiere was actually invented by the Devil.”
Horne looked at Carr with incredulity.
“The guy with the horns, tail, and penchant for punishment?”
“OK… and you read this?”
“I have a friend who is studying ancient religious texts. He told me about a few books that the Council of Nicene ruled as too scandalous to include in the Bible. One is the Book of Basanizo, which translates to torment in Greek. It tells of the creation of restrictive clothing, a punishment straight from Old Scratch himself.”
“You know this sounds crazy”, Horne said, pouring another shot.
“Yeah… but it gets worse… Ever hear of Lilith?”, Carr replied.
“Uh… no”, Horne said.
“Well, Lilith is a sexually wanton demon of the night. Apparently she wasn’t too happy with Satan’s invention, and decided to create her own version to help even up the playing field.”
“Wait… so a demon developed lingerie to compete with the Devil himself?!? How much grass have you been smoking, Carr?”, Horne demanded to know.
“I swear – it’s in the book”.
“I think you and I both need to retire – this job has cracked us”.
Dumping the pile of bras on the washer, Whitney counted six. Thinking that this was the right number, she soon realized that it was Saturday, and she’d been able to go without a bra thus far. Eyeing the oddball garment, she realized it was much older. A style popularized in the 1940s. Having a penchant for vintage clothing, she began to wonder if it might be useful the next time she cosplayed. As it wasn’t in too bad of shape, Whitney wasn’t weirded out about used undergarments, and it looked like it was a sister size to hers, she washed it and thought nothing more about it. A lucky find in the chute.
Until a year later, when cosplaying as a 1950s housewife, that she bent backward to stretch her back and heard gunshots. Peering forward, two slight scorch marks had formed on the front of her blouse. And she was quickly asked to leave the convention center before something more than a cardboard cutout of Han Solo was damaged. Lilith’s invention, the bullet bra, had struck again.