Failed to Menace

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It was awful, but Harry Sparrow was attracted to a cop. Specifically, Detective J. Winterer, Homicide. She was standing in Harry’s living room, strong legs planted hip distance apart, staring at the body that was sprawled across Harry’s living room floor. The body was a problem. Harry didn’t know how it had gotten there.

   Earlier that afternoon, Harry had come home from a particularly effortless job breaking and entering a house two neighborhoods away. The house’s alarm had been easy. Harry had gotten in and out in eighteen minutes, having found jewelry as well as some unexpected cash. He’d headed home in a good mood, planning to take a bubble bath and maybe call up Lori, the counter girl from Dunkin’ Donuts who had modeled for a power tool catalog.

   Harry unlocked his many locks, fed his cat and went into the living room to see about his plants. Which is when he found a leggy brunette on his floor. No obvious cause of death but obviously dead. She was wearing a shimmering blue dress that had bunched at her hips. She wasn’t wearing panties. Or pubic hair. Harry had had only one girlfriend who religiously shaved herself. Annette. She’d favored white cotton panties and a little-girl act that, in the end, had given Harry the willies. Harry liked women who acted like women. Women who pretended to be little girls made him feel sinister. The dead woman on his floor made him feel worse. After sitting on his old red couch for close to twenty minutes thinking over what to do, Harry went to stash his tools and loot in the specially built compartment behind his bed. Then he went back into the living room and dialed 911. A pair of patrolmen appeared within a few minutes, the detectives a half hour after that.

   "So, uh, Mr. Sparrow?" Detective J. Winterer was squinting at him like Sparrow was a made up name. Harry got that a lot. His kid sister, Ava, got so sick of people questioning her name that she started carrying around a Xerox of her birth certificate. Harry also felt aggrieved when people squinted over his name. In this instance, since the squinter was as gorgeous as she was mean, it could be forgiven.

   "Yes, Detective Winterer?" Harry said, staring at the tiny gap between her front teeth.

   "You’re sure you’ve never seen this lady before?" Detective Winterer motioned at the body.

   "Never, Detective." Harry said, taking his eyes off the gap in her teeth in order to inspect the rest of her. She was still standing in that mean stance, braced on powerful legs and squinting so hard Harry couldn’t even see what color her eyes were. He wondered if she had an eye disorder, then decided it didn’t matter. Her mouth was pretty. Kind of curled up at the edges. Easy to imagine her throwing her head back and laughing like a fat woman. Harry liked women who laughed like fat women. He’d only ever slept with one actual fat woman but now and then he ran into standard sized women who laughed like they tipped the

This would be awful. Awful but sexy. Awful things were often sexy.

scales at two-fifty. He loved that. Harry guessed the cop could laugh like a fat woman. While straddling him. While relentlessly sliding up and down his cock. Maybe wearing the ankle holster Harry figured she wore under her pants. With her piece in it. Loaded. That would be sexy. Awful but sexy. Awful things were often sexy.

   The questions kept coming. How did Harry think the body had gotten into his apartment and why? Harry, of course, didn’t have a clue. What did Harry do for a living? Harry told them part of the truth. That he worked for Thoro-Stats, a small company that created statistics for horseplayers. Harry was one of the guys who reviewed the races at his local track and generated comments on what kind of race each horse had run. Whether the horse had stumbled out of the gate, been fanned four wide, run greenly, run well and kept to the task, or, Harry’s personal favorite, failed to menace.

   The cops were pretty interested in Harry’s involvement in racing. Ninety percent of the population believed that horse racing was fixed, run by crooks, and/or generally disreputable. Harry assured the detectives that his involvement was limited to writing brief commentary about a few races each day and as such, it was unlikely anyone wanted to put a body in his living room — unless some trainer was disgruntled at Harry’s saying his horse had failed to menace.

   "What’s failed to menace?" Detective J. Winterer wanted to know. Her pretty mouth was sneering a little. Harry wanted to stick his cock in it.

   "You know. What it sounds like. Wasn’t a threat to the winner basically."

   "I like that. Failed to menace. So what about you, Sparrow? You menace anyone?" I’d like to menace you, Harry thought.

   "No, I definitely fail to menace."

After a long while, the body was zipped into a bag and taken away. The detectives told Harry not to leave town. Detective Winterer was a few steps in front of Harry as he walked her to the door. He finally got a good look at her ass. It was high and round. It was a Butterball turkey of an ass.

   "Detective Winterer?" Harry ventured. She turned back. Her mouth was slightly open, anticipating grisly details or a confession on Harry’s part.


   "You single?" It just popped out of Harry’s mouth. He hadn’t even known it was coming.

   She squinted so hard her eyes completely disappeared. Harry felt himself getting a hard-on. Over a squinting cop. What next?

   Detective J. Winterer looked Harry up and down. Without a word, she turned and got into the unmarked car with her partner. Harry shrugged to himself, then went into his living room to stare at the spot where the leggy corpse had been. His cat, Flipper, came and rubbed her orange body against his calves.

   Harry wanted to take a bath now, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the body. He wasn’t even worried about being implicated in the body’s demise. Murder wasn’t his bag. He didn’t even own a gun. He just didn’t like a pretty girl ending up dead on his floor with no panties. Just wasn’t right.

   Harry sat on his couch and decided to call up his sometimes-associate McCormick. McCormick was anywhere from thirty to sixty and was so flimsy he was barely there. This made him unobtrusive enough to be an excellent criminal but not good for much else. When McCormick had briefly campaigned to get a date with Harry’s sister, Harry had had to work hard at diplomatically dissuading McCormick from asking Ava out without flat out telling McCormick that he had the personality of a cardboard box and didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell.

"What." McCormick answered his phone like he usually did.

   "It’s Harry."


   "Listen, something weird happened." Harry said. There was just silence.

   "There was a body in my living room." Harry added. Still nothing from McCormick.

"Sparrow, do something," she said. "You started this — do something."

   “Who would put a dead body in my living room, McCormick?"

   "I don’t know, Harry. What the hell is wrong with you?"

   "Somebody put a fucking body in my house," Harry protested. "That’s what’s wrong with me, McCormick. They put a body in my house and locked up after themselves afterwards. You know about anyone having a problem with me, McCormick?"

   "I don’t know nothing, Harry," McCormick said, still sounding pissed about it. "I gotta go. My dinner’s ready." McCormick hung up in Harry’s ear. Harry was just trying to picture McCormick cooking when the doorbell rang. Harry didn’t like doorbells and asked visitors to call on the phone when they were nearby. Not that Harry loved phones. Just they were less intrusive than doorbells. And now the doorbell was squawking. Harry frowned as he walked to the door to look through the peephole. Detective J. Winterer was standing on his stoop. Long straw colored bangs hanging over her eyes.

   Harry opened the door.

   "Detective," he said.

   "Harry Sparrow," she said.

   Harry ushered J. Winterer in.

   "A few more questions." She reached for a notepad in her back pocket. Harry wanted to be her notepad. Snug against that butterball ass of hers.

   "You got priors, Sparrow," she said, squinting again.

   "That’s right."

   "So?" She said, thrusting her bottom lip out.

   "So what?" Harry said. He should have been worried.

   "Come on, Sparrow, who’d you piss off?"

   Harry denied pissing anyone off. They went back and forth with the questions awhile. Harry was standing close to her. He could have just reached over and unzipped her jeans. Shoved his hand down into her panties.

   Eventually, when they’d gone around in circles about his priors and anyone who might be pissed at him and still nothing had been accomplished: Harry asked did she want to grab some dinner. She didn’t. He asked if he could make her some tea then felt like an imbecile. She asked for some scotch. He gave it to her. They sat on the red couch.

   "I thought you’d be voracious," she said after downing her scotch.

   "I beg your pardon?"

   "You’re a suspect in a homicide but you have the balls to ask me out. The way I figured it, the minute I show up here, you throw me down and fuck me hard."

   "I’m a suspect?" Was all Harry could say.

   For an answer, she lunged at him. Dug her hands into his shoulders, threw him backwards so he was sprawled across the couch. Harry thought of all the horrible things cops did to suspects. Toilet plungers up the ass. Skulls bashed in. Et cetera.

   "Move, Sparrow, do something, you started this, do something," she said.

   It wasn’t so much that Harry liked women who bossed him around sexually by inserting things up his ass, biting his cock, spanking him, tying him up and generally torturing him, it’s just that that’s what he’d tended to attract. So he’d figured J. Winterer was like the rest of them. He’d just lie there and let her have her way. This didn’t seem to be what she had in mind, though.

    She was panting slightly. She looked angry as hell. Her cheeks were flushed and Harry could smell her pussy through her jeans. Harry felt inspired then. Inspired like he never had been, not even when swiftly disarming the toughest of alarm systems. He took hold of her hair and pulled her head to him roughly, "You want me to do something to you?" he hissed.

   "Yes," she whispered.

   "Stand up."

   She rose from the couch and stood looking at him.

   "Turn around, bitch," he told her. Harry had never called anyone a bitch and felt a little funny doing it.

   She did as he asked. He told her to take her pants off, slowly. They got stuck on her big beautiful ass and she started yanking at them frenetically.

   "Slower," he ordered.

   She slowed down. Once the pants were at her ankles, Harry allowed her to step out of them. He saw that she wasn’t wearing an ankle holster. Probably just had a gun in the small backpack she’d removed after first coming into Harry’s place.

   She tried to turn around but he told her not to.

   "Don’t move," he said.

   Harry went into his bedroom closet where his lone tie hung on a hanger. He came back into the living room. J. Winterer looked superb wearing nothing but her white t-shirt. Her pubic hair was brown and sleek, obediently flattened against her pubic bone.

   "Close your eyes," he told her.

   He blindfolded her with the tie. She moaned slightly. Harry reached his hand down between her legs. There was a lake there. Harry shoved her forward toward the armchair, allowing her to prop her hands against the chair as she extended her ass to him. He took his pants off. A low howling sound was coming out of J. Winterer. Harry rubbed his thumbs into the muscles of her ass, feeling their springiness.

   "Please," she implored.

   Harry reminded himself she was a cop. He mustered up all the dislike he’d felt for the cops who had interfered with his livelihood over the years. He entered her so viciously she fell forward and Harry honestly thought his cock might have punctured an internal organ. She wasn’t feeling any pain though. And Harry had apparently

Harry looked down at his cock. It had never been that big. Fucking the law made him huge.

found her sweet spot. Within three point five seconds of Harry’s entering her, her hips were quivering and she was making sounds like a wounded puppy. Harry could feel the inside of her seize up and then she collapsed face first onto the armchair, falling away from Harry and leaving his hard-on exposed.

   Harry was angry that she’d gotten off so quickly. He spanked her. She didn’t move. He spanked her harder. She wiggled a little. He stuck first one, then two unlubricated fingers in her ass. She was coming to life again, her breathing getting heavier. Suddenly, though, without Harry’s permission, she moved forward, dislodging Harry’s fingers and flipping around to face him. She then took off the blindfold and looked from his face to his cock. For a moment, Harry looked down at his cock too. It had never been that big. Fucking the law made him huge.

    She had a frenetic way of sucking unlike anything Harry had ever experienced. He refused to come, though. She went at it close to ten minutes. Harry knew her jaw had to hurt. He didn’t want to give in to her, though. He pushed her back. She looked surprised and wounded. He told her to lie on the floor, face up. He blindfolded her with the tie again and left her there for a few moments while he looked for something to tie her hands. All he could find was the twine he used for binding up his recycling. He knew it would dig into her hands but he thought maybe the pain of it would make her forget that Harry hadn’t come yet. He’d rather hurt her body than her vanity.

   Harry reached down and started binding her hands. Her eyes had rolled back in her head and she was quaking. Maybe coming just from Harry’s tying her up.

   Detective J. Winterer was truly a remarkable girl.

   "What are you going to do to me, Sparrow?" she asked in a greedy voice.

   "You’ll find out," Harry said, even though he wasn’t entirely sure.

   There was a terrible sound then. Almost as bad as the doorbell. Except it was her cell phone. Attached to the belt loop of her black jeans that lay in a heap a few feet away. She sat up abruptly.

   "Untie me," she ordered, "I have to get that."

   "No," Harry said.

   "I’m not joking, Sparrow, untie me or I’ll take you in."

   Harry was insulted. He untied her and removed the blindfold but by now the phone had stopped ringing.

   "Shit," she said, taking the phone off the belt loop and flipping it open. She punched in some numbers. She was still naked waist down. She started talking into the phone. Barking out monosyllabic questions. Grunting replies here and there. She flipped the phone shut, stood up, and started putting her jeans back on.

   "I gotta go," she said without looking at Harry.

   Harry felt exactly horrible. He wanted to ask for her phone number. Her name at least.

   There was no perfunctory kiss on the cheek, not even a glance back. She grunted a goodbye then let herself out.

   Harry sat on the couch. It was only 10 p.m. but he was exhausted. More from not letting himself come than from anything he and Detective Winterer had done. He went straight to bed. As he lay there, thinking of absolutely nothing, the hard-on began to subside.

   Harry slept fine until he was woken by the doorbell. He got up and went to look through the peephole. It was her again, back for more.

   He opened the door, "Hi," he said, staring at her mouth.

   "Harry Sparrow," she said, "you’re under arrest for the murder of Lisa Hubley. You have the right to remain silent…"

   "Who’s Lisa Hubley?" Harry asked.

   "Shut the fuck up," Detective J. Winterer said.

   She cuffed him. Her partner, the little Spanish guy, looked smug. All Harry could think was how he didn’t even know her first name.

Harry had done a little time in the past and he knew the drill. On the outside, he had a few wise guy friends. He was safe in jail and he liked to read. Usually, he could make the time move forward. This time though, all he thought of was that cop and her legs and her ass. He needed to get out. The thing was, they had found his prints on Lisa Hubley. On the inside of her thighs. After Harry had told them he hadn’t touched her. Which he hadn’t.

Two weeks passed. Then three. Harry jerked off a few times a day but it didn’t help. Just minutes afterward he’d have a hard-on again.

One morning Jamison, the big white C.O., came and got Harry. He was being released. As Jamison walked Harry down the corridor, Harry felt dizzy. The three-week hard-on had taken its toll. He’d lost his appetite and he couldn’t remember anything. He barely took it in when the assistant D.A told Harry how his old pal McCormick had framed him by leaving that leggy brunette on his floor. Some kind of revenge thing. Over Harry’s sister. Harry hadn’t realized McCormick cared that deeply about dating his sister. Maybe he’d have tried a little harder to get Ava to at least give McCormick the time of day. Instead, he’d evidently pissed his pal off. And, as a result, fucked a cop and spent three weeks in jail with a hard-on.

   "How’d you figure it out?" Harry asked Mr. Lawrence, the A.D.A.

   "Apparently one of the detectives found some evidence in your house. Incriminating McCormick."

   "Which detective?" Harry asked.

   "Female. Whatshername," said the A.D.A.

   "Winterer," Harry said.

   "Right" said the A.D.A., not particularly interested.

   Harry would show J. Winterer his appreciation. Tie her up and strip her and shove her onto her stomach. Bury his face between the muscled cheeks of her ass. Eventually, he’d penetrate her and stay there forever, his cock buried up to her uterus.

   Harry went home. His sister Ava had been looking after his cat, oblivious to the fact that Harry was in jail because McCormick had wanted a date with her. That was the way things went sometimes. Especially in Harry’s life.

   The cat was fine. Ava had even done the dishes Harry had left in the sink three weeks earlier.

   Harry reached for the phone, planning to call his sister and thank her. Maybe even tell her about McCormick. Instead he found himself dialing the precinct number. J. Winterer’s phone went to voicemail, though.


“You know what you can do for me,” Harry said, trying to sound like he was going to take her to the nearest closet.

Finally, the fifth time Harry tried J. Winterer, she picked up. Her voice had ice in it and she said she couldn’t talk. More of the same the next day. Harry was paralyzed now. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t work. He lay on the bed with his cock so hard it could have drilled a hole in the ceiling.

   After hours of this, Harry got up and put his pants on. Went out and walked to the precinct.

   Harry entered the precinct. Told the desk sergeant he was there to see J. Winterer. The cop told Harry to have a seat. It was twenty minutes before J. finally deigned to come get Harry.

   She looked good. Stronger than ever. The straw colored bangs almost down to her nose. Harry wanted to trim them. He wanted to trim every hair on her body. Maybe soap her up and shave her too. Head to toe. So she was nothing but skin and the muscles beneath. A big strong fuck machine to liberate his painfully distended cock.

   By the looks of it J. Winterer had no plans for Harry’s cock. She ushered him over to a desk surrounded by other desks and cops. Cops as far as the eye could see. Harry sat down opposite her. He stared at her mouth.

   "Whadya looking at? Lose something over here?" she asked.

   "Nice to see you too," Harry said.

   "I’m in the middle of a shitstorm, what can I do for you?"

   "You know what you can do for me," Harry said, trying to sound like he was gonna take her to the nearest closet and ram his distended unlubricated cock up her ass till it bled out her eyes.

   "We got your pal McCormick locked up, and nobody’s gonna be snooping into just how it is you’re associated with a known criminal. Be happy, Harry. Count your goddamned blessings."

   "You coming over later?" Harry asked.

   "No Harry, I’m not."

   "Why not?"

   "You’re a nice guy, Harry." She said it like an insult.

   "What, and that’s bad?"

   She looked right at him for the first time in the conversation. She smiled a little. "Harry, let’s just say you failed to menace."

   So that was it. She’d wanted him because she thought he’d killed someone. That’s what got her off. And Harry was just a garden-variety burglar. Never hurt anybody. Had even rescued an injured fucking pigeon once.

   Harry suddenly wondered what the hell he was doing in a police station.

   He got up from the chair. Detective J. Winterer looked at him for a second, not registering anything.

   "Have a nice day," Harry said. He turned and walked away.

   Harry went home, got out the power tool catalog and jerked off vigorously over Lori, the Dunkin’ Donuts counter girl who held a Sawzall reciprocating saw between her legs suggestively. Then he went into the bathroom and took a bubble bath. As he began mentally planning his next job, a mansion upstate, Harry realized he never did find out what the "J" stood for.

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Maggie Estep has published five books, most recently Gargantuan, the second in a series of "horse noir" novels. She is an obsessive bike rider, lives in Brooklyn, and likes to hang out at racetracks, cheering on longshots. Her website is

©2004 Maggie Estep