June 2013 CSIFO Fan Fiction Challenge (csiforeveronline dot wetpaint dot com)
Murder at the Zoo; Word length: 1500 words (1475!); Story must include the following prompts: a penguin - a giraffe - an okapi - an iceberg - a shed with an open door
In all his years as a CSI, Grissom didn't think that he'd ever viewed such utter devastation. Setting down his gear by the doorway, he moved into the kitchen, the epicenter of the destruction, shaking his head at the carnage. Insects had already arrived, a host of flies already at work on the remains. The buzz of wings was a counterpoint to the slow drip of various fluids from the counter top, adding to the growing red pool on the floor.
Scattered about the room were bodies, or more accurately, pieces of bodies. Decapitated heads started silently at him from under the kitchen table . . . severed and mangled limbs drooped lifelessly from toppled chairs and barstools . . . eviscerated torsos lay scattered about, guts spilling artlessly over the granite tiles. A couple of the victims sprawled out of an overturned Iceberg Cooler, their necks slashed and shattered. As if that wasn't bad enough, the smashed and shredded remains of one of the dead were splattered about the room.
None of the victims had lived in this home; they had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sighing at the senseless waste, the entomologist continued to explore the scene. The scent of the massacre now filled his nostrils, sickly sweet and cloying, mostly coming from the sticky red pool that surrounded the dead, spreading over the tiled floor. Bits and pieces clung to the cabinets, adding their own odor to the nauseating potpourri.
He could make out puncture wounds on some of the dead, slashing rips and tears on others, and was pretty sure that at least one of the victims had been completely skinned. Amazed that so much could have been done in such a short amount of time, Grissom mentally cataloged the destruction, adding up the pieces that lay scattered about. With a frown, he realized a victim was missing from the carnage, and his eyes darted about, focusing in on the trail of body parts. The perpetrator's clear prints showed in the viscera, leading from the kitchen toward the backdoor of the residence.
Following the path, he noted that while the door was still bolted shut, there was a dog-door, the flap hanging ajar, held open by a folded bit of screen mesh. Cautiously opening the backdoor, he saw the bottom of the screen door was torn. Hairs caught in the ragged mesh, and the way the finely woven metal was bent, showed that this had been the point of entry, while the fluid and other bits along the base made it clear the culprit had left the same way.
Grissom moved cautiously across the backyard, noting the path of viscera becoming less visible as it rubbed off of the killer and onto the rocks and plants that made up the xeriscaping. But the trail lead inexorably toward a small structure tucked into the corner of the yard – a shed with an open door. Drawing in a deep breath, the entomologist carefully peered around the edge of the doorframe. There, standing over the body of the missing victim, was the perpetrator of the atrocity. Looking like he had bathed in the remains of his victims, he was happily ripping the guts out of the small black and white form.
"Oh, Hank . . ." the entomologist groaned as he crouched down next to the incredibly happy, and incredibly filthy, boxer pup. "Sara is going to kill us." Frosting from the destroyed cake liberally splattered the gangly dog's legs and chest, while fruit punch still dripped from his face and ears. The stuffing that he had pulled from the destroyed penguin made him, at first glance, appear to be foaming at the mouth. "She only left a half hour ago . . . how did you do so much damage in that amount of time? And how am I going to fix this?" Grissom knew that he had to bathe the canine and clean up the kitchen before his love returned home, and have some plan in place to salvage the surprise party Sara had been planning for Catherine's daughter, Lindsey. The party the brunette had offered to do for the harried redhead in memory of a long ago comment about when one could chip in on gifts for a co-worker's child. The party that was supposed to begin in five hours.
Rising to his feet, he called the excited puppy to follow him, his brain beginning to spin with ideas on how to salvage the day.
Grissom slipped his arms around Sara's waist, hugging her against him as they watched Lindsey and her friends play a mad game of tag in their backyard with Greg, Nick and Hank. The decorations and games that the brunette had brought home a few hours before had transformed the area into a fantasy zoo for the youngsters to explore and enjoy. Brass, Catherine and Warrick were lounging by the refreshment table, the redhead eyeing the melting concoction of ice cream, sherbert and other sundae goodies as if debating having another serving. And standing guard over a table piled high with gifts still waiting to be opened, were the five foot tall stuffed giraffe and a two foot version of its cousin, the okapi, that Grissom had been picking up when Sara left their home to get the finishing touches for the young girl's surprise tenth birthday party.
"Pretty pleased with yourself, aren't you," Sara murmured knowingly, turning her head to smirk at the man, who was trying his best to maintain an innocent faུade. "You are sooo lucky I love you and that mutt as much as I do," she added with a chuckle, nudging him playfully in the ribs.
"Hey, now, I did get everything cleaned up, acquired an appropriate substitute for the cake, and replaced all the prizes for the games, as I promised. I think I have a right to be pleased with myself!"
Grissom had just finished mopping the kitchen floor when he heard the front door open. Taking a deep breath, he glanced around, making sure that nothing was out of place. Then he turned to face the music.
"Griss! The toys are perfect, Lindsey will love them. I got all the games and decorations, so we can get those set up in a little while, and the sandwiches will be ready for pickup an hour before everyone's due to arrive." Bubbling with excitement, Sara sailed into the kitchen, her eyes dancing as she continued. "Do you think Hank will behave himself with so many people over?"
Before he could answer, her eyes fell on the counter where the large sheet cake had once sat. Confusion crossed her face as she glanced around, trying to figure out where he could possibly have hidden the dessert, then a frown appeared as she saw the empty cooler and couldn't spy the bag that had been filled with a variety of small stuffed animals to be used as prizes. "Gil? Where . . . ? What . . . ?"
Sparing a fast glance at the canine that was straining to get to his mistress from where he was tethered just outside the door, Grissom smiled tentatively. "There's been a, um, small glitch, Honey. But I have everything under control, new prizes are waiting to be picked up, everything's cleaned, and I have a plan for a special dessert that I promise you the kids will love." His hands rubbed up and down the stunned woman's arms, trying to keep her calm.
"A glitch?!" she whispered, trying to grasp how the cake that she'd taken such care in describing to the baker and been so proud of, that the animals she'd picked out, had gone missing. "What happened?"
Holding her close, he told her all about his morning and his plans, pulling out his camera to show her exactly what their pup had done. After the tears and laughter had ended, they then set to work, making sure that this time, the canine was securely closed into the cool shed.
"Yes, you did fix everything your–" Sara giggled at his raised eyebrow. "Alright, our dog did. But where on earth did you ever find the recipe for that 'Zoo' dessert?"
Laughing, he quietly told her all about a long ago trip to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Rosemead, California and The World Famous Farrell's Zoo®. "And who doesn't love ice cream?" he finished, pleased with the delighted look on her face. Kissing her temple, he nodded to the yard where the tag game seemed to be ending, with Greg flat on his back under a panting boxer and surrounded by the giggling girls, while Nick was bent nearly in half, trying to catch his breath while laughing at his friend at the same time. "I think it's time to rescue the boys and open the presents," Grissom murmured, leading the laughing woman back toward their friends and family.
AN: If you never had the pleasure of visiting a Farrell's, a few of them still exist in California, and there is news of them making a comeback. The one in Rosemead really did exist, and I had the pleasure of attending many a party there, as well as visiting with friends during my college years. The Zoo was not only full of sundae deliciousness, it had loads of small plastic animals to make your own memory zoo with. Here is how this yummy treat is described in their menu (and you can make it for more folks if needed!)
The World Famous Farrell's Zoo® Serves 1-10
Every creation except the keeper. So huge it takes two strong Servers to deliver it to your table. Their knees sag under FOUR flavors of our famous ice cream. THREE fruit flavor sherbets, FOUR delicious toppings, whipped cream, cherries, and bananas.