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Blood is Thicker Than Water - and Stains
John didn’t look good. Obviously, I knew his real name wasn’t John, but I usually stuck with John or Jane Doe. For one, it helped things be less personal. For two, it was easier to remember. Sometimes I’d screw things up when I made up a report or had to present something to somebody, but in general, giving all the victims the same name went well for me.
This fellow John didn’t look too good. No dead body looks good, but this John looked especially un-good. Not-good? Bad. He looked bad. Some victims just have a nice, easy, bullet hole in their forehead. Some of them have a couple puffy stab-wounds, or a broken neck. This wasn’t one of those. John was covered in blood. His face was indistinguishable. But you don’t want to know that. His clothes were shredded, and his torso was worse. Cut up hands, cut up arms. Blood all over the place.
I dug out some latex gloves – nope, sorry, they weren’t latex. I forgot. The department had just switched over to a non-latex environment. Like an elementary school. I guess some sucker’s allergic to latex and they decided the rest of us must be, too. Anyway, I whipped on some gloves and stepped inside the front door. The place was dark except for the light above the stairwell where John was lying and the flashlights of the police officers. I flipped on some lights, making the two police officers spin around and glare at me sharply like I was killing the mood or something. There would still be a mangled corpse on the stairs if I turned the lights on.
“Hey, am I okay to head on over there?” I asked the police officers.
The giant, black one grunted, “Yeah.”
The guy honestly scared me a little. Okay, maybe more than a little. Maybe more like two hundred and thirty pounds. I wasn’t afraid of his asp – geez, the guy probably used it as a toothpick. I was afraid of his fists. Yikes. The other police officer was definitely the brains. That could just be me being prejudiced and judging proverbial books by their proverbial covers, but the comparatively little white man had a flashing something in his eyes that wasn’t idiocy or brute violence. Neither of the sons with guns were dead, though, so they weren’t my beeswax. I turned back to John.
First thing’s always stinking first. I had to check John’s pulse…or lack thereof. A bat with no eyes would be able to see that John had lost enough blood that what was left inside of him wouldn’t float a thimble, but I had to check his pulse and ‘x’ that block on my clipboard. I nearly bit through my tongue when someone gasped as I bent over John and put two fingers on his all but non-existent jugular. I straightened up to give the gasper my stink-eye.
She wasn’t gasping; she was crying. I can’t really call her a woman, because she was so young, but ‘young woman’ could serve my purpose. The young woman was watching me with giant, blue, flooding eyes. She had on, incidentally, some very striking green stilettos that contrasted to a mentionable degree with the policemen’s generic policeman shoes and my fuzzy slippers. I could tell by her expression that if you had complimented her striking green stilettos, she would have looked up at you with brimming, confused eyes and sighed desolately, “What?”
I had enough experience with witnesses and family members that I didn’t comment on the shoes. According to my clipboard, however, now was the time to comment on John. More specifically, now was the time to comment briefly on what it looked like John had died from. And now it was time to take pictures.
It’s hard to take pictures in the dark. Somebody was turning off all the lights I had just turned on. Oh, another young woman. The scenario of John’s death was becoming clearer by the second. This new young woman had on nightclothes like John did. That was notable because no one else had nightclothes on. The young woman’s other notable feature was how exceptionally unpleasant she looked. She was far from ugly – this was an unpleasantness of heart. When I scowled at her for turning the lights off, she scowled right back. She scowled ferociously enough that I broke off eye contact and stepped up to the side of the giant, black policeman.
“What’re their stories?” I asked him of the two young women.
For half a moment, I thought he was going to hit me. I don’t know why. He was just scary like that. “The one in the pajamas lives with the victim. The one with the wild shoes won’t tell us what relation she had to the victim, and the one in the pajamas just says that Shoes did it. Of course, Shoes says Pajamas did it…”
Back to pictures. I elbowed Pajamas out of the way and turned the lights back on.
It was, of course, obvious enough what had happened here. I might not be able to spell ‘asphyxiated,’ but I could tell you without a doubt that both the women had done it.
My job isn’t to know that, though. I just had to take some pictures of John, fill out the rest of the clipboard, bag him up, and mop the floor. Then go home and get back to sleep.