“Hey Reynolds, you’ve won the investigator lottery again!” said Slater as he slapped a file down on my desk. My eyes traced a line from my cluttered desk to his pear shaped body and followed the egg stains on his cheap tie up to his fat grinning face. “Congratulations buddy!”
As I smiled I felt phlegm form a smouldering ball in my chest and grip the inside of my scalded lungs, felt blood rising to my cheeks as the filth caught in my throat. “Gee, thanks” I grunted through clenched teeth. I coughed and spluttered, my face going crimson as I rummaged in my pocket for a handkerchief to hack up into.
“Hey, are you ok?”
Paper police never seemed to fail to ask questions which had obvious answers. There were always so many of these people as well, more and more of them as time went by. It’s like the damned desk jockeys were breeding in a cupboard somewhere. I guffawed into my snot-rag as the thought entered my head. Slater laid a hand on my shoulder.
I hacked up one more time before screwing up the handkerchief and stuffing it into my pocket. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You don’t look too good; maybe you should see a doctor or something?”
Just go and see a doctor. Yeah, right.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. Just a cold is all.”
“Well, if you say so. Let me know if you need anything ok?”
I looked up, nodded and smiled at him. “Yeah, thanks man.”
As he walked away I picked up the foolscap folder and opened it, laying out the first couple of pages on my desk. There was a photo of a young woman, sprawled over the floorboards of a dusty loft, her ribcage spread open so her flanks were laid out either side of her like a butterfly fillet. Her heart had been removed.
Yup, murder all right; open and shut case.
Being on homicide as long as I’d been had given me a dark sense of humour.
I took the summary report from the front of the folder and leaned back in my chair as I scanned the details. Thank fuck I was retiring soon. No more damned paperwork, just junk food and liquor; like a regular day at work but without all the bullshit that goes with it.
I wondered who they’d choose to replace me. Would it be some green gilled noob, wet behind the ears, looking to make a difference? Nah; word had gotten out homicide was no picnic. They’d have trouble finding time to wait for somebody new to take the throne from us old bastards; hell, you could even say they were running out of heir. Nah, they’d probably choose some youngster from within my department, loitering on the fringes, waiting for a shot at the detective shield.
I sighed, closed the folder and heaved myself out of my chair. Time to haul ass and head to the murder scene and see if forensics had missed anything; damned vultures picking over bones with their tweezers for every scrap and morsel of evidence, ghouls tagging and bagging for their macabre collection.
Hell, if I was in luck when I arrived there’d still be birds in the attic for me to annoy with patronising questions and a few puns.