The moment Shark set down the bowl of dog food, Sagebear proceeded to hungrily devour the homemade contents.
“Don’t eat too fast now, puppy. I don’t want you to choke.”
Shark now sat on the couch and tried to distract himself with television. He jumped to Netflix as quickly as he could, taking care to avoid the news.
Biting his lip, Shark wondered how long it would take for his father and fiance to return home. Not even Sagebear rubbing her face against his pant leg brought him out of this.
Part of him worried that the fire would be attributed to them, perhaps as a way to gain insurance or something similar.
It didn’t help that the last place he left off on Futurama started with Bender the robot on fire.
Annette could hear Moony sobbing in the hallway, lamenting his most recent assault via hunting knife. Behind her, Ox-Head followed while tilting his head from side to side like an erratic metronome.
“How do all four of you take this almost every day? I’m amazed none of you act even worse than you do now.” Moony didn’t seem to hear her. He continued to whimper, and apparently telling his arm to stay attached to him.
He didn’t even look up to see the two make their way to the kitchen. The entire time, Ox-Head didn’t interrupt his head rhythm.
“…Can I ask you another question, blue lady?”
She couldn’t help but chuckle. “You’re the inquisitive type, aren’t you? Well, go ahead.”
There was some hesitation before he spoke again to her. “I forget your name, but I don’t wanna keep calling you ‘blue lady’, so…”
“My name is Annette. I can write it down somewhere in case you forget again-” Annette stopped when she looked back and saw him shaking his head. “What? What’s with that? Something about that name you don’t like?”
Ox-Head made a quizzical sound. “It doesn’t fit you, s’all. You look more like a…More like a…”
He paused once more. “Can I call you Andromeda instead? You feel like an Andromeda to me.”
Annette was honestly unsure what to tell him over this. “‘Andromeda’, huh? And…What makes you think that would fit better?” She turned to face him better, crossing her arms.
Shrugging, Ox-Head made the sound again. “Something about you makes me think ‘Andromeda’. And…Um…”
Instead of continuing, he just walked ahead of Annette towards their original destination. If she didn’t know how he usually acted, she’d assume he just became shy.
When Dennis and Sinbad finally came home, Shark was feeding Sagebear a homemade dog treat. He looked up at them, with a knowingly somber look on his face.
“So how’d it go? Did you at least get things…kind of sorted out?” Under his arm, Dennis held a manila envelope. Sinbad just joined Sagebear on the floor, and patted the ground in front of him.
“Just gotta deal with some legal troubles, is all,” Dennis began. “There is the matter of inheritance, -your grandparents died in the fire-, but you know how those two were…”
Shark cocked his head in confusion, as Sinbad and Sagebear touched each other’s noses. “So…Grandma and Grandpa are dead, but we get nothing.”
“That’s about it, boy. So…It’s nothing you should worry about.” He held up the envelope as he made his way to their room. “Just make sure I don’t remember this next time I see your Uncle Dudley.”
Shark promised him that he wouldn’t forget, though he still wondered what it really contained.
The sight that greeted Annette in the kitchen was a shocking one. She actually felt herself be startled by the corpse on the table.
Ox-Head appeared not to notice. Rather, he just sat in the corner, seemingly unfazed.
Annette calmed down further, and her shock was replaced by grief and pity. When she got close enough to do so, she reached out and touched his hair.
“You didn’t deserve this, Julian,” she whispered. Annette only wished she could somehow resurrect him, even if this wasn’t the original Julian. Her actions seemed peculiar to Ox-Head.
“How come you feel bad for him? He was just one of a lot of them. Just one of a lot of them!” Annette was about to snap at him for his apparent callousness, when she remembered he probably just didn’t know any better.
“The original was…” She then drew her hand back. “I raised him while he was growing up, and…” Shaking her head, she motioned as a way to indicate it was complicated.
All she got for her explanation was an unsteady-sounding, “oh.” He got up to join her, and his hand wavered over the body. Now Annette was fearful over what he was doing to do.
Rather than insult Julian further, though, he put his hand on his shoulder.
“Sorry that mean jerkass Builder’s been eating you, Andromeda’s friend,” he said. The way he spoke, it sounded like he was forcing the words out. “You, uh…You don’t look like you’d have been mean in life.”
He turned to look at her. “He was nice, right?”
Annette nodded. “Yeah. He was.”
It was lightly snowing when Shark and Sinbad were out walking Sagebear. Sinbad tried to think of a way to bring up the recent deaths of half the Racket family to his fiance.
From the way Shark made weird noises, the feeling was mutual. After being led to the swampy side of town, Sinbad finally thought up an opening.
“So, about all that’s been happening lately-” But he was cut short when Sagebear began barking. Her voice echoed throughout the partially-frozen swamp.
“What is it, girl? Did something wash up here?” Shark didn’t pull on her leash, for fear of hurting her. Sagebear, in response, pulled them toward one of the murky ponds.
At first glance, there didn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Still, Sagebear persisted in her warning barks. Upon closer inspection, there did appear to be something poking out of the swamp.
“Eh, maybe it’s just a dead animal, or something.” Nevertheless, Shark handed the leash to Sinbad, and went to check.
With a healthy dose of caution, edged into the marsh, and bent down to lift the corpse up. As soon as he got a good look at the face, he jumped back with a shout.
“What? What is it, man?”
Shark pointed towards the body. “That’s not a dead animal, Sinbad…” He looked up at him. “That’s Amy!”
It didn’t take long for Dennis and Dudley to arrive on the scene. When he did, Shark was hiding his face in Sagebear’s fur.
Sinbad knew he didn’t want to look calm, as Amy’s legless corpse was fished out of the swamp. He did anyway, but still tried to dispel any suspicion cast upon himself.
“Just for the record, as pissed as I was towards her the last time I saw her,” he said as her body was covered, “I wouldn’t have done all that to her.”
Dennis stood next to them, grimacing at the sight. “As much as I hate to bring it up, Mister Rotter…There might be a chance you’re the prime suspect in all this.”
“Dad!” Shark pulled his face out of Sagebear’s fur upon hearing this. “How can you say that? Sinbad has an alibi!”
Hearing the word ‘alibi’ now piqued Dudley’s attention. “An alibi would be a good thing at this point.”
Shark made eye contact with his uncle as he explained. “Sinbad said he went to go get my Christmas present from the Bistro after hours. He told me that he had one of his co-workers order it online for him.
“Then he went to go get it after the Bistro closed, and then…he brought it home. He wasn’t covered in blood or anything! He just had a shirt and mug with him. I can go home and get them for you! Me and Sinbad can even talk to his co-workers if you’re not convinced!”
“Don’t worry, boy. It checks out, I’d say.” Dennis put a hand up to stop his son from further talking. “But if he didn’t do it, then…”
He looked over to Dudley now. “You thinking what I’m thinking, Dudley?”
“I suppose you mean, ‘someone was involved in this death as well as all the others’, brother.” Dudley stated. “The trouble is, who could possibly do all this and get away with it?”
The Builder cringed as they dragged the heavy burlap sack into a room. Upon entry, they dropped it, resulting in a loud thud.
“Ow! Fuck, that smarts,” they shouted as they grabbed hold of their dislocated shoulder. While trying to pop it back into its socket, they delivered a swift kick to the sack. “What the fuck are your tits made of, lead?”
Knowing who was in the bag, The Builder didn’t wait for an answer. Instead, they surveyed the area for what they asked for.
“Oh, good! Moony made my Bull-gogi dish earlier like I wanted! Perhaps he isn’t that useless after all.” Grabbing their bowl of grilled beef, they sat down and proceeded to feast. “No sense in doing my work on an empty stomach, you know?”
They looked back down at the sack again. “You better be easy to lift once you’re full of stuffing instead of organs,” they said with their mouth full.