The (Re)tired Sheriff

This is a piece of flash fiction I’d left incomplete back in June 2013. I found it yesterday and decided to complete it.


“Why does it always happen to me?”, thought Sparky as he dressed up for his final battle. “Every time I try to catch him, my plan gets washed away”.

Sparky was on the lookout for a dreadful murderer - the infamous Ketchy Red Hands. Ketchy was a sociopath with 7 blood stained murders to his name. His unexpected attacks shook the very fabric of the city. Sadist that he was, he loved to strike when his victims were most joyous. Sparky knew he had to take him down, even if it meant he’d have to wash down every bit of his own self.

His last encounter with Ketchy in the hole - where Ketchy was usually seen after his satanic deeds - didn’t go too well. He fought long and hard and wounded him badly, however, Ketchy still escaped at the last moment. There had been numerous times before when he wasn’t even able to find Ketchy in the hole. Even if he did, he would always get away.

What pinched our brave detective more was his dependence on the state-mandated vehicle, without which, he was as powerless as talcum powder. The laws did not permit him to conduct any investigation outside the hole either.

With these thoughts pumping his adrenaline, Sparky walked bravely towards the hole one more time as Augustana’s I Still Ain’t Over You played in the background.

Out of luck and out of tune
Half a day and night confused
Love may wash away the blues
But I still ain’t over you

“No one takes their nemesis down the first time”, he thought. “Even Batman couldn’t get out of the Lazarus Pit in a single try”, Sparky murmured to himself.

He tried to keep his morale boosted.

He had tried and he had failed, but he just came back stronger every time. This time he knew what to do, he knew just when to strike, he had prepared well.

Ketchy would be caught.

He sat there, waiting. Waiting for him to come by one more time. He ran through his plan one more time:
“As soon as he gets here and the water starts rushing in, I slide through the vents and into the hole. Once there, I scrounge around the place for him. Once I do, I go all in, and this time I catch that bloody son of a ketchup.”

All was set. The beeps went just like they always did - they sounded like the psychedelic tunes of an arcade video game. He knew it was time to roll.

Water came gushing in towards Sparky. He stood his ground, firming his hold, ready to flow any moment now. He could sense it. He shut his eyes and let go of the rails with only his mind to guide him. Floating with the strong current, through the vents, and into the hole, he knew the moment was ripe.
Everything was going according to plan. ‘Well begun, half done’, said Sparky to himself.

Once in the hole, Ketchy stood there staring right at him. Sparky lost track of himself for a second.

“Wait. What?!”

Ketchy looked like he had just witnessed his own death. He was pale, face ashen white. Looking at him even Judge Dredd would have to think twice before pronouncing him guilty in his chilling baritone.

Sparky had no time to waste. He landed one punch and Ketchy was history. Red Hands' bloody insides dripped, leaving muddy stains on the pavement, and soon formed a trail into the drain.

The terribly transient battle left Sparky wounded nonetheless. It didn’t matter so much however, since it was the end of the month.

“Oh, how I love this job.”

The beeps went just like they always did. The game was over.

And in the far distance, Kamla Didi’s shrill voice echoed -

“Wo daag utar gaya, didi. Thoda Ezee lagana pada pehle. Ye surf badal lo, theek se saaf nahi karta hai.”


Theme: A highly romanticized fantasy culminating in an anti-climax.

Alright, if you don’t get it, here it is. Sparky is a detergent. Ketchy is a ketchup stain. The hole is the washing machine. Read the entire piece again, you’ll see it all fits.