Judge Dredd - Skinny Muldoon
by Mike Donaldson (2001)

His eyes are too close together. His forehead is a little low. His smile is on the insincere side of his face. Funnily enough he'd been pulled by the judges five times in the last week and he still stank of the lubrication they use to search your colon. They hadn't found anything. Well, nothing unusual.

Skinny Muldoon leaves his apartment at around eight o' clock. He kisses his mother goodbye and promises not to be out too long. She's watching the 57 inch vid-screen he'd bought her out of his earnings as a tweezer down at Resyk. He loves his dear old mother.

At around this time April Tulumpa leaves her apartment across the hall. She works as an aortic dancer down the Queen of Hearts. Tonight, she's accompanied by Graham - a seven foot python concealed under her rain coat. Graham is a clone grown by an illegal gene-jock who lives in the ducting above April's apartment. The judges may want to question him later.

Muldoon hails a robocab in the block plaza. The driver is a large, over-familiar model with an odour of stale oil. As Muldoon climbs into the vehicle he's accosted by April. April explains that she's really late for her gig and would he like to get the next cab and let her travel in this one. A careless flash of her cleavage under an extravagant feather boa is all that is needed to persuade Muldoon to relent. April has a python between her breasts.

Luckily for Muldoon another robocab arrives almost immediately. The driver is an exact duplicate of the previous model. It could almost be the same driver. The disturbing thought that some factory churns out deliberately defective droids to conform to some age old taxi driving stereotype briefly occupies Muldoon's thoughts. But before he can step into the waiting cab he is once again interrupted.

The couple behind him are in their late forties. They are decked out in designer rubber-ware as befits a couple of ageing swingers on the Mega-City S/M scene. Tony and his wife, Shirley, are desperate to get to the Hellfire Club in Sector 17. They explain that they don't want to wait around too long as they often attract the attention of the local juves. Last week Shirley's handbag was snatched and, given the contents, she couldn't call the judges. Muldoon decides to let them have the cab. It's a warm night.

Yet another robocab arrives hot on the heels of the last one. The driver is identical to the previous two. Muldoon does not have time to consider this as he scrambles into the back of the cab before anyone else arrives. There is a brief exchange of words. Muldoon tells the driver to head to Resyk. The driver points out the public gallery will be closed by now and if his passenger is seeking visceral thrills he should check out the Merchant Power's retrospective down the multiplex. Muldoon points out that he's a supervisor at Resyk and he's late for work.

At this point in our narrative we switch our attention to a certain Judge Dredd. He's straddling his Lawmaster in an observation bay not far away. He's watching a live feed direct from a camera hidden in Muldoon's robocab. Judge Dredd is not a happy man. A succession of idiots nearly ruined his carefully staged surveillance operation. Chained to the holding post on the East Plaza are two middle-aged perverts arrested on a public lewdness charge, a dancer without an entertainment license and a dead python called Graham.

In a more libertarian age civil liberties groups may have questioned the senior Judge's right to place an innocent man under intensive surveillance on the grounds that he has an 'insincere' smile. But not today. Not in Mega-City one and definitely not on Dredd's patch.

Dredd's suspicions are about to be borne out. He's checked the Resyk work logs and discovered that Skinny Muldoon's shift ended seven hours ago. His next shift starts tomorrow morning. The real clincher comes, however, when Muldoon asks the cab to wait for him outside. Dredd powers up his bike.

Now, some people would say that if Muldoon were a smart man he would have spotted the feathers from April's boa on the back seat of the cab. At this point his best course of action would have been to climb out and head home as fast as his legs could carry him. This would, have course, meant pissing Dredd off still further. Not wise.

As it happens the mean mutha that knocks Muldoon to the ground as he exits Resyk in a hurry still has a modicum of good humour. He searches the suspected creep's bag and finds a pair of fresh kidneys wrapped in foil, stopping only to quip (and I can't do the voice);

'I assume they're not for breakfast, pal?'

Dredd dismisses the robocab and kindly offers to drive the unfortunate kidney thief home. Back at Muldoon's apartment his mother is still watching her favourite shows on cable. On closer inspection 'mother' turns out to be a badly cobbled together collection of stolen organs looking a little like a human mixed grill. There's probably a really interesting back history to extract from the unfortunate perp. A heart-rending story of abuse, death and human tragedy. Dredd calls the psych-boys and heads off for a burger.

Later that week some spy-in-the-sky footage is edited together with the robocab material to make a thirty second item on 'Mega-City's Dumbest Perps'. Later still Muldoon, whilst still cubed, stars in a Tri-V commercial for 'Mother's Own Mock-Pork Sausages'.

Meanwhile, Judge Dredd has just spotted a juve with an English accent. He's got to be up to something...