Feather in the Tar: Envelope

           “Not much blood,” Sergeant Detective Samson shouts through the door after he removes the pink, purple, green, and gold paisley handkerchief from his nose and mouth, and scratches his head.

          Lieutenant Detective Cochran snaps her left latex glove, pulls a surgical mask around her head, and takes a shoe cover out of her kit, a black messenger bag that is strung over her shoulder and around her head. She raises her leg to reach her foot, and the uniform next to her, acting as a hang-on, looks down at her athletic calves. She’s wearing a pair of black Fluvees with a three-inch heel and medium rubber soul. The bottom reads, “Flight from Evil.”

          Lieutenant Cochran enters the hotel room, judiciously choosing her steps away from a direct path, and moves toward the body. A uniform enters with and follows her in the same steps. He’s holding her bag. “Hum.” She murmurs as she bends down to examine the bloated torso for any obvious trauma; the head is missing.

           “Careful,” Samson says, “it could pop.”

           “He.”

           “What Lieutenant?” Samson asks.

           “He, he could pop.” She says sternly. “He may be more swollen than an ex-humpback on a shallow tide, but he’s still a human being.”

           “Yes sir,” Samson answers, “the poor son-of-bitch.”

          Cochran looks around the room, stands and walks toward the bathroom. A wet towel is on the floor; pink lipstick smears across its nap. A hairbrush sits on the sink. She picks it up both, bags both, and hands them to the uniform. She turns towards the bed, and sees a pair of pink stilettos next to it, standing up straight and together, size 7. She bags them.

          She looks across the room and sees blood spray on the wall and the rug. “The head must have landed over there.” She points at it.

          Samson crosses to the secondary stain and leans down to touch it with his gloved hand. “Yep Lieutenant,” he says as he rubs it between his hands and sniffs. “Could be the killers?” Samson takes out a swab case and samples the puddle and then another on the wall.

           “I don’t know,” Cochran says. “There’s not enough blood.” She leans down to the soulless cadaver. “Where’s the M.E.?”

           “He’ll be here in 15 or so; he’s working a shooting in the Mission.”

           “Look at this Samson,” she says, “the wound around the neck is cauterized.” She looks up towards the floor at the door. Samson bends down next to her.

           “What kind of weapon would do that?” he asks, as she rises and walks toward the door. “That probably explains the lack of blood. It’s all still with Mr. Bulgy Briefs.”

          Cochran leans down at the door and lightly touches the dark brown, commercial carpet. “Sams, look here. Is that some kind of foot print?” She points at several impressions on the floor.

           “I can see it, but it’s not a foot or shoe I’ve ever seen. It’s too square.”

          Cochran leans down and sniffs the carpet.

           “Jelly-Jo Coch, what the hell are ya’ doin’? Do you have any idea of what or who has been there, disgusting; your not Sherlock Holmes ya’ know.”

           “Sergeant Samson,” she looks into his amber-browns, “Lieutenant Cochran in the field”, she barks with the voice of command.

           “Yes sir.” He maintains eye contact and salutes with a nod.

          She bends down to smell again. “It smells burnt.” She looks toward the bed and rises up slowly. “Do you have your multi-tool?” He shakes his head yes, and reaches to the scabbard on his belt. “Cut the best print out and bag it.”

           “Yes sir.”

           “Do you see that spot about a foot from the victim?”

           “No Lieutenant, I can’t see it from this angle.” Sampson makes a semi-circle around the near invisible footpath. He bends down on his knees, and opens the long blade. His neighbor, a sword collector and creative anachronism, sharpened it for him last weekend. The blade penetrates the carpet like a salesman in the mouth of $100 hostess. Sampson incises a patch of carpet with footprint. “The mangement is not goin’ ta like this.”

           “They can bill the department. This room could use carpet.” She says, concentrating on the new smear, as she treads to it on her kneecaps.

           “Good luck getting paid,” Sampson says to himself as he drops the patch into an evidence bag.

           “What Sergeant?”

           “Nothing Lieutenant.” He zips the bag and hands it the blue hat.

          Cochran removes an evidence swab and dips it in the wet blotch on the carpet next to the body. She lifts it to her eyes and then sniffs; it’s clear with a slight hint of silicone. It hangs on the tip like viscous glue. She closes the swab case and puts it in her coat pocket. She dips her left fore and index finger into it, and rubs it between them. “Hum?” She takes two more samples for testing.

           “Sorry, it’s a busy night.” Dr. Caracass, the medical examiner, says as he and an assistant enter. “What the hell?” He bends down for a closer look. Cochran is still on her knees. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen one so swollen.” He instructs his aide, “bag the hands, and go get the stretcher and an envelope.”

           “Envelope?” Sampson asks. “You mean bag, right?”

           “Call it what you will Sergeant; he’s not a sack of garlic.”

           “What do you think Doc?” the Lieutenant asks.

           “Hum, I would guess he’s been dead for about 24 hours. I won’t know for sure until we get him back to the lab.”

           “How about the wound on the neck?” She points, touching it with her left pinky.

           “Looks like it’s cauterized, but it’s too rough to have been cut, not much char either. I’ve not seen it before. Any sign of the head?”

           “No.” Cochran shrugs, “trophy?”

          Caracass is indifferent, “I guess you’ll need to find a psycho-massive ego wall.”

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