Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home





Alcohol Fever

Poisonous Dreams
Venomous Reality
Two Worlds
One Law
One End

"You did what!" I heard him scream. His counterpart repeated his previous sentence once more: "I asked for Jay's help because…" The screamer cut him off right there.

"So let me get this straight, you asked for a detective's help on this, oh yeah, not just a detective, a private detective's help on this… because, because of what?!"

Jerry Gray (the counterpart) tried to complete the sentence, but the guy again cut him off…again… "Don't we have enough detective's down at the precinct? Have you lost your mind? You're bringing a street monkey into a police investigation. What do you think this is? The circus?"
I was tired of standing there with my mouth closed, so, looking down at the floor sideways, I smoothly said:

"With you in it Nicholson, this investigation could well be an elaborate circus act."

He looked at me viciously, like a raptor on the rampage, then turned his head, and asked Jerry who had actually authorized the monkey (me) to enter the crime scene.
"The District Attorney," I answered, without waiting for Jerry to even make an attempt. I continued, "The D.A is pretty unimpressed with your recent failures. City Hall checked up on your case files for the past year and a half, and found that you haven't even completed interrogation of a single case, let alone solve it."

Jerry finally spoke out, "The Chief asked me to bring in some help. So I called Jay."

Nicholson looked as if he was going to explode. His veins seemed as if they were going to pop out of his skin, and start squirting blood all over the place. There was fire in his eyes, and his skin was a desert of dryness. He dropped the half-empty synthetic coffee cup he had been holding into a trashcan, and stormed out of the scene, without saying a word. Jerry took a deep breath, and made a gesture with his hand. I followed him into the house, up the stairs, and into the room where the victim was lying.

The lighting was terrible, so I asked the sergeant to get a few flash lights, and after a short while, he returned. A short-circuit must have caused the bulbs to spark and short out the filament. The well-dressed corpse of a body, as it looked, was lying in the middle of the room, totally motionless. The narrow room had an open window through which a steady breeze blew through; the room had a bed, a dresser, a rather modern looking garments cabinet, a desk on top of which rested a considerable amount of books, a computer, and a closet. I slipped into a pair of protective gloves and walked inside. I looked back, and asked Jerry to install some lights to improve visibility. The body was lying sideways on the ground; I looked at it carefully. The facts began to type themselves into my memory.

Victim: 20-year-old blonde, college-going male. No apparent enemies, therefore, no immediate suspect. According to his mother, no girl friend. Both parents were home when the victim was murdered, if he was murdered. Apparently, the body was discovered prior to dinner, when the mother came up to check on him; immediately called '911' or whatever the emergency number is. The police arrived fifteen minutes after the call.

I looked around the room once more. Everything about it seemed neat; too neat to be a murder, and too obvious to be a suicide. There was a strong, sour smell in the entire room. The forensics came in soon after, and among them, I noticed the presence of an old friend.

"Sarah," I said wonderingly, "Sarah Marco?" She said nothing. I looked even more thoughtfully into her face, crinkled my eyes, and lowered my visage to get a better look.

She half-smiled, lifted her right hand, hauled it back, and swung it hard. My face instantly smacked back and then came to. Suddenly, everything went quiet, the forensics, the cops, everything, everything went dead, as if in sheer suspense of what was going to happen next. Still smiling, she smoothly whispered, "Is that confirmation enough?" and walked away.

I let out a breath of exhaustion, sighed, and smiled all at the same instant.

Jerry walked up to me with one of his "what was that all about?" looks, but as I lifted my hand and prompted him to lay-off, he made no attempt to pursue his curiosity. He stepped back, and answered his cell phone, saying a whole lot of "yes" and "no" and "sure" and "no problem" ande "you got it" and other such similar phrases. But what caught my attention was the sentence he smilingly uttered: "Okay, I got it. Sarah Marco and Jason Chromatic on this case… I'll inform them." He then looked at me, almost smirked, and followed it up with, "No sir, they have no problems working together. Actually they've been working pretty smoothly up to now. Sarah and Jay teaming up will be the best combination in years." I narrowed my eyes, and after he hung up, I said, "Thanks a lot." He smilingly grunted, and I walked back into the victim's room, with agitation smeared all over my face.

"Alright you guys, I just received a call from PD Headquarters. We have a triple homicide down on 44th Street. We need all the help we can get. All forensics, paramedics and police personnel move out!"

Following Jerry's instructions, the pack began to exit the scene one by one until…

"Miss Marco, you have been asked to remain on this case. The Chief has asked explicitly for you to be involved in this," said Jerry, stopping her on her tracks. She stopped, made way for the others to leave, and said:

"Okay. But I can, in no way, work alone on a case like this. Someone has to be with me to examine the evidence, interview the suspects, you know… I cannot work on this alone."

"Well, I don't think you will feel the least bit lonely with…" She cut him short:

"Wait, wait, is this the joke, where you tell me the dead guy is going to keep me company? Cause you know, if it is, I should probably tell you before you bother yourself, ha ha…"

"No jokes Miss Marco. Jason Chromatic will be on this case with you. And I want no arguments from either one of you. This one comes directly from the D.A," he finished, looking once at me and then her. She nodded, as did I and he left. Oh yeah, before leaving, he leaned towards me, handed me a police badge, whispered, "Good Luck," and walked out.

Awkward silence prevailed after that. Somebody had to break the silence, and I took it upon myself to do it, so just as a conversation starter, I said:

"So how does a fully healthy college kid, who has been
home all day, die in his own room, fully dressed, without any visible cause of death?"

She, without looking at me, said:
"Just call one of the coroners from downstairs. I'll do the rest."

The next thing I knew we, along with the body, were being transported to the Forensics Lab. Sarah didn't speak on the way there and neither did I. After we got to the Lab, the coroner took the body in for the postmortem and physiological analysis, while the rest of the evidence: the clothes, shoes, watch etc. were sent to Sarah Marco's Lab. I followed her there, sat down, and looked at the evidence.

She inspected the clothes, and I examined the shoes. The shoes were an expensive pair of party shoes, black in color, size 7 and a half probably. I placed it under the magnifier, and looked over the catch: the shoes were covered with some sort of powder. At first, I didn't recognize it, but as I looked hard at it, I realized it was glitter, the type they use at birthday parties. I turned the shoe over, and noticed another detail: red fiber residue was stuck between cracks in the sole. I collected samples from both my findings, and sent it to the analysis lab. Sarah was still checking the shirt with an UV Flashlight, for any sort of prints or clues.

"So what did you find," she said, still not looking at me.
"Glitters on the shoes, and red carpet residue on the soles," I replied.
"Does that mean anything?"
"Well, glitter is normally used at parties etc. and as he was fully dressed, lying in front of an open window. It got me thinking, he might have snuck out of the house to go somewhere. Interestingly enough, I asked one of the forensics to check out the tree outside the victim's window. Turns out the torn part of that shirt right there," I pointed to the shirt in her hand, "was hanging by a twig from the tree."

"He was grounded by his parents, right?"

"Yeah, that's what the mother told me. As for the red carpet residue, it must have come from the place he went to. It wasn't from his house, that's what I'm sure of, because the carpet there was blue and definitely not the same material. What have you got?"

"A whole lot of nothing, actually. This shirt has so many stains on it that I don't know where to start," she finally looked at me and said, "these stains must be months old."

"That's where you're wrong. The kid's father is reasonably rich, and according to the neighbors the victim dressed pretty well. No one would wear a stained shirt to a party, especially if you're wearing $500 shoes. Added to that, I checked out his closet he's got a hell lot of designer clothing, all dry cleaned, all expensive. So whatever happened to his shirt, happened during the time he was outside."

Knock! Knock!
"The coroners ready with the body you guys came in with," a man informed us. Sarah thanked him, and we proceeded to the coroner's lab.

The coroner was a rather chubby looking fifty-five-year old gentleman, who went by the name of Hannibal Smith. He wore rectangular shaped glasses, and was overall one of the best coroners of the country. I didn't know him personally, but that's what his file said.
Sarah entered first.

"So what have you got for me Doc?" she asked.

"Us," I corrected her, "what have you got for US?"

"Whatever," she said and looked at the coroner, who without hesitation began his autopsy report.

After fifteen minutes of elaborate techno-babble, we came out of the coroner's and walked back towards Sarah's lab, when suddenly someone came forward to talk…

"Sarah! Wait up," he said. He came jogging ahead, said "hi", and then engaged himself in a romantic gesture with her. I tried to look the other way, but my eyes kept going their way. Finally they split up (thank god!), and she confirmed a date with him, scheduled for the next day, surprisingly, by looking at me. Then the guy left. Sarah and I started walking again.

"I see your social life has taken its toll," I said.

"I moved on. We all do," she said with a touch of indifference.

I didn't say anything, just nodded, slightly and walked ahead…

"I think I'll check out the crime scene again. You coming?" I finally spoke out.

"You go right ahead, I'll run a thorough scan on the recovered evidence," she told me.

I agreed with her, got out of the Forensics Crime Lab, got into my car, and drove off. After about ten minutes, I
reached the house, and began patrolling its perimeter. I walked around, with my inventory case hanging by my left shoulder and with a flashlight in my right hand. I looked around. There was nothing. I walked on further, and reached the area exactly outside the victim's window. I raised my flashlight and focused it on the bottom end of the outline of the window, and noticed two distinct strands of something. I ordered the officers
in charge of the crime scene to fetch me a ladder, and when they did, I climbed up and identified the strands to be nothing more than markings of rust ladder marks. That wasn't much of a discovery, but the fact that the Robson's didn't have a ladder to begin with, kind of got me on a different rail, from the one I had been riding on.
"Where did you come from?" I asked the rust marks, and carved out a sample for testing. I climbed down from the ladder, and answered my ringing cell-phone. It was Sarah.

She informed me, that she had found alcohol all over the victim's shirt, and in his hair. When I informed her about the rust markings, she quickly followed up with, "Rust markings? I found some on his trousers. Vertical markings, right?" I concurred, and told her to call the victim's parents at their hotel, and ask them, where their son could have gone, and why he was grounded in the first place. I also asked her to contact MSN, and check out the victim's e-mails; then I hung up the phone, and knelt down to pick up a piece of cloth lying just under the window. It was a white handkerchief actually, and had the initials 'R.F' embroidered onto it. I put it inside a plastic poly-bag, walked around for a while, and then answered my phone, again.

"Well that was quick, what have you got for me," I said.

"The parents grounded him because of his behavioral disorders, and there was one party that he severely wished to attend," she said, "some guy's birthday party."

"Does this guy have a name?"

"Yuri Cross, a rich kid, lives at 55th Sunset Street."

I thanked her, put the rust sample, and the handkerchief, into my bag, got into my car, and drove off towards Sunset Street. I reached the house after a while, and walked up to the front porch, when suddenly the door flung open, and a couple, a blonde girl & a jock to be precise, tottered out in a way, which could even have convinced a seven year old, that they were heavily drunk. I walked in, and was immediately hit by a burst of loud rock music, and the smell of what it seemed like, a thousand types of alcohol mixed together.

About twelve or thirteen teenagers were dancing in the relatively large living room. As I walked past them, a tall, fat, African-American bozo put his frying-pan sized palm on my chest, and said, "Where do you think you are going?"

"Inside," I told him. He didn't move, so I leaned forward, and whispered in his ear, "If you don't let me through in the next ten seconds, I'll make sure, you spend the rest of your nine lives in a prison cell, with no toilet inside." He turned his head, and I showed him my (newly received) Police badge. He looked at it thoughtfully for a second or two, nodded his head, and moved aside, making way for me to get in. I walked past him, and bumped into a girl, who accidentally spilled some of her drink, down onto the carpet. I apologized, and looked down, and noticed something, which made my mind race faster than a speeding bullet… the carpet was red, and thick, and was covered with the same glitter, I found on the victim's shoes. I smiled faintly, dug out the cell-phone
from my pocket, and answered it.

Sarah had news for me, "Is that Metallica I hear in the background? Anyways, I checked out the victim's e-mails for the past ten days nothing. There's nothing that has even the slightest possibility of being related to this. But I found some encrypted messages, which the C.G(s) [computer geeks] are working on at the moment. What have you got?"

to be continued

By Mehzeb Rahman Chowdhury






home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star