By Patrick M. Tracy
“What’s it look like, Doc?” Alex loved asking that question. Most especially when he knew very well what had gone on. Some crime scenes were “his” in a whole different way. Like this one.
Doc Sandford’s knees cracked as he bent down to take a look. “Well, someone made a mess of this guy, sure as shit.”
“It’s good that you’re up on all the modern terminology, Doc,” Alex quipped.
Sandy Beckford, his partner in Robbery/Homicide, got a good snicker out of it. Alex remembered when she’d have been sick looking at something like this, the unknown victim in an alley next to a dumpster, his face knocked off the rough and dirty way. He liked her better now, those delicate parts of her broken.
“You were a nice girl once, Sandy,” the Doc commented.
“We go back far enough, Doc, you may have been a sweetheart yourself,” she shot back.
“Let’s not, huh? Anyway, it looks like multiple blunt force impacts to the head. I don’t recognize a pattern right off. Something rough and heavy, I’d guess. You can see here that most of the facial bones have been shattered. I’m sure there are multiple skull fractures, as well. Whoever did this must have really blown his fuses.”
“Real psycho, huh?” Alex asked. “Any guess on how many blows, and how many were post mortem?” Of course, he knew the answer. Thirty four blows, twenty one post mortem. He knew the rough, inchoate shouts as the guy knew his cheekbone was broken, as he felt his eyeball explode in the socket. It was good to know the answers, and fun to ask the questions anyway.
“I’m not a profiler, kids. I’d say it looks like there’s a lot of anger here, but the killers are clever these days. They watch too damn many CSI reruns, I think. As far as blows, I won’t be able to tell until I get the blood rinsed off and do some x-rays of the skull. ”
“And no idea about the weapon?” Sandy asked.
“A brick, maybe? Something porous, that would tear at the skin, something heavy enough to do this sort of damage.”
“Well, that’s better than nothing,” Alex told him, forcing a serious frown. Really, it was a hell of a guess. He’d used a rounded stone, granite with some calcite in there for color. It had weighed 3.1 pounds and fit in the hand as nice as a softball. He’d put it under the floorboards of his house as a keepsake. He wouldn’t dig it out and look again. He wasn’t that weak. He’d just be happy it was there. With the meat cleaver from his trip to San Mateo, the .22 Browning from last February, and all the other little mementos.
He and Sandy got back into their dark blue sedan and rode back to the station. “You think we’ll have any luck with this one?” she asked.
Alex shrugged. “Who knows? Doc could find something. Still, a John Doe in that part of town, I don’t think it’s one of our better prospects.”
“Ah, well. Let’s just catch a beer at O’Dells and call it a night, huh? Doc’s not going to have much for us at this hour, and you know that no one saw anything,” she said.
“Beer sounds great. I’m beat.” Alex reached out and massaged her shoulder.
“There you go again with that sexual harassment, you old lech.” The little flash in her eyes told him that, like so many nights, he’d have her. Maybe against the back of the sedan, maybe bent over in a bathroom stall. Too cold yet for pushing her into the grass in a secluded spot in the park, but there’d be time. It would be a shame when it came time for him to kill her. Sandy was a hoot.