Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters” Part Fourteen
Detective Martindale must love to shout. He does it almost every time I talk to him.
“I said that I have Leslie Ann Wolas at my place. You might want to come out here.”
“Have you got her tied up? I’ll send out a couple Black & Whites to pick her up.”
I could almost hear a little admonition in his voice, “You better not be wasting my time.” It must have been killing him that I called him like this.
“No, Martindale, I think you’d better come out here yourself.”
“Why, did she ask for me?” he asked.
“No, she’s dead.”
“What?” Yelling again. “If you shot her I will hang you myself!”
He was not going to like this.
“Suicide…On my kitchen floor. We had a long talk before she decided to eat her pistol. So…like I said, you might…”
“I’m on my way. Don’t touch anything. Don’t touch her!”
I’d hate to live with him, yelling all the time. He must be like living with a Jack Russell Terrier.
“Don’t touch her?” No problem there. I wasn’t being paid to clean up a mess like that, but I probably will end up scrubbing the floor – and maybe the ceiling too.
Suicides. They all think that their problems end once they pull the trigger or take the pills. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All they’ve done is shift those problems onto everybody they left behind.
It doesn’t take courage to kill yourself. It’s the exact opposite. If they really had courage they would face and attack what or who – ever was tormenting them. Instead they turn on the gas jet or drive the car into the bridge abutment. They leave behind a gory mess for someone else to clean up. That’s not an example of courage in my book.
When she fell back from sitting upright her head went past the edge of the linoleum in the kitchen area and landed on my living room carpeting. The linoleum I might just tear up and replace. No big deal, but the carpeting would never clean up right. There will always be a shadow of her blood and every time I see it I’ll think about…about everything.
The Forensics people showed up first. Martindale probably had to stop and pick up his blood pressure meds.
The neighbors were going to be getting quite a show with the lab boys traipsing back and forth. They are so jaded. They have seen things done to the human body that would make a statue vomit, buy it’s just evidence and samples to them. I wonder what they dream of at night.
By their standards what Leslie Ann did to herself was downright neat as a pin. No muss. No fuss. They chatted among themselves as they took swabs and samples. Just another day at the office
“My wife’s been taking a cooking class at the Community Center. We have been eating nothing but Italian food for two weeks now. I’m getting sick of all the different tomato sauces.”
“Me and my girl are getting into sushi. It took me a while to get past that gag reflex.”
I had to step outside. I lit up a cigarette and took a long pull. I must be getting old or my gore immunity is finally wearing off after these years away from The Job.
The Forensic Techies moved quickly but they never got sloppy or took shortcuts. They worked by the book. After a few initial questions to get my take on what happened they went to work and pretty much ignored me – except when I opened the front door.
“Don’t wander too far, Mr. Ellis. I’m sure the Detective will want to speak with you.”
“I’m just going to step outside for a breath of fresh air.”
The human body, when opened up, smells. Muscles and sphincters also relax and what is in the bowels and bladder is often set free. On my floor. On my carpet. I might move.
I sat down on the front steps. Three steps from my front door down to the sidewalk. A few of my neighbors across the way, newbies, were peeking out their windows at the to do going on – people going in and out of my front door, some of them in uniform with sidearms. Seeing me sitting on my steps with a cigarette in my lips assured them that I wasn’t either a victim or a suspect. I waved to them and their drapes dropped back into place.
Yeah, maybe I should move. Get a place out in the country where all of my close neighbors would have four legs and fur. Who am I kidding? I’m a city boy, born and raised. When I see too many trees in one place I get nervous. I need to hear the sound of sirens racing through the night. I don’t need owls hooting at me. What would I do in the country? Probably go nuts and end up like Leslie Ann, the poor kid.
I was halfway through my second cigarette when I saw Martindale coming down the street. Why did he park his car half a block away? Probably a Fitness Freak with one of those fancy wristwatches that count your steps or something. Even from a distance I didn’t like him.
“Good Afternoon, Detective. Welcome to my humble, if somewhat crowded at the moment, abode.”
“Where is she?”
“Mainly in my kitchen the last time I looked.”