Warning: the following contains coarse language, sexual innuendo, depressing content and altiloquence. Reader discretion is advised. Please also note, the author takes no responsibility for forensic, medical or police-procedural accuracy.
Yes, I live that close to the corner of Drug Deal and Hooker Heaven. Cops get paid shit, and when you’re called at 3 in the morning to eyeball blood and gore, it’s convenient to be close to the action.
Edwards lives in the area, too, although mostly because he’s a sorner and this is where is his current victim domiciliates. Though he’d been with Bob now for over three months—a diuturnity for Edwards—so it was either love or the fact that the 300-pound biker kept his fridge stocked with Bud and cooked like a 1950s housewife. Complete with the Jell-O moulds. Edwards liked things that jiggled. Maybe that’s why he was still with Bob.
I decided to walk to the crime scene. It would take less time than having to find a parking spot where it was safe to leave my car without it getting jacked. Sad that in this part of town my 1997 Chevy is more valuable than me. Besides, anyone walking on 42nd at 3 a.m. was probably packing. And I was.
I made it to her before Edwards. The crime scene guys were already gone—they lived in the suburbs and finished real quick when they were down here—just Sally Enright, the ME, was still there. Though judging by her stance—crossed arms, hip thrust out to one side, foot tapping out a rapid tattoo—she was none too happy to be kept waiting. Beside a dumpster, no less.
She saw me. The foot sped up. “There you are, you pompous breviped. What the fuck took you so long?”
“Thank heaven for small mercies. You couldn’t find my tits with the lights on.”
“You may not be well endowed, Sally, but my desire for you is immarcessible.”
“Right back at you, witling.”
I gestured to the vic. “What’s her story?”
“I can’t give you much more than you already know—female, youngish, probably suffocated then dumped in the trash, TOD within the last six hours. No ID.”
I put on a pair of latex gloves and climbed into the rusted metal bin. The stench of rotting food and piss filled my nostrils as I waded into the filth. Some of the trash was in an assortment of colored plastic bags, some of it was just strewn loosely about in various stages of decay. Good thing I hadn’t dressed for the occasion, I thought as I tossed a milk carton out of my path.
From what I could see, neither had the vic. She was wearing some sort of flimsy silk dress that barely covered her ass and was held up with thin spaghetti straps. Either the crime scene guys or Enright had flipped her over onto her back, her eyes staring forever at the stars, arms and legs akimbo, feet bare.
I crouched close to the body and picked up her fingers, examining the nails—clean. “No sign of a struggle,” I called out to Enright. “Probably knew her attacker.”
“Or was too high to notice.” Edwards poked his head over the side of the trash bin barely holding on to it with his gloved fingertips. “Like I said, drug related.”
“No clear evidence of drug use—no track marks,” I argued.
He shrugged. “So she took a pill. Maybe she injected between her toes. Come on, man, look at her. She ain’t no soccer mom.”
I could have pointed out that even soccer moms were known to shoot up. I should have torn a strip off of him for staying on the other side of the dumpster, passing down his judgment on the victim from on high. But I’d long since learned that a policy of pauciloquy was best with Edwards. With his unfailing arrogance, it was wasted breath. And it was far more satisfying just to prove him wrong.
Turning my back on him, I bent down to gently press her eyes closed. As my hand trailed over her mouth, I noticed the bright pink plastic clinging to her lips like a kiss.
To be continued…
Stay tuned for “Open and Shut” part 3.