The Murder Fever December 6, 2012

A CORPSE WAITED. She had done it before, staring into unseeing eyes. She sucked in a deep breath, while Rush finished his thought, then punched off the radio; turned off the car’s air conditioner and then its engine. Exhaling and opening the door she was immediately hit by the early summer heat and humidity. The incessant buzz of insects in the low-lying flood plane provided the only sounds.

The old dilapidated, once white, wood frame house sat back from the dirt road amidst untamed greenery. The high grass was prairie-wild, the bushes and shrubs had not been trimmed in decades. The storm-broken trees, some of which hunched menacingly over the rotted wood shingled roof, were hung with dense leafy tentacles of Virginia Creeper.

The time of day and all the greenery made the place look almost cheery. She thought, I can only imagine what this place looks like in the dead of winter…

The uniformed officers nodded, thinking a collective ‘Wow!’, but said nothing, as she approached wearing one of her severely tailored black double-breasted, skirted business suits, white collared shirt, man’s black tie and black leather high heels.

Traversing carefully the stepping stones, set for a man-sized stride, she made it to the porch, and then adjusted the weight in the middle of the ba

ck. Looking inside, beyond the yellow crime scene tape, Helen Atkins forced her eyes to search the contorted body on the floor, a young woman with tan skin, like her own, possibly Latina or even Asian, no shoes, bare legs, panties ripped, skirt in disarray…who wears mini-skirts these days

Helen Atkins, of French, Vietnamese and American lineage, graduate of Wellesley and George Town Law School, at thirty-two had become Dallas County District Attorney, William T. Atherton’s top prosecutor. It had been her idea to stay with sex crimes rather than playing the political game and taking the higher profile capital murder cases; except now…

Helen closed her eyes and shook her head side to side, then raised her voice, “Is anyone going to tell me why I am here?”

Out of a room farther inside Dallas Homicide Investigator Jim Jamison walked forward, then stood on his side of the body.

“B’cause you’re the D.A.’s B-B-F-S-C and when we catch the bastard that did this and I bring his sorry ass to you to prosecute… you’ll be able to tell the jury about this first hand!”

“I don’t prosecute murder cases.”

“You did,” Jamison said, thinking of the Marquis case and the possible out-come of the upcoming election.

“A one-time thing, you know that.”

- – - – - -

Okay, okay, got it. You’ve got a body dump. But even a sick-o wouldn’t do it in a place that smells like this, so if she was sexually assaulted, it wasn’t here.

All that being said, it still doesn’t answer my question. Helen sensed Jamison’s disquiet; they had been friends a long time. She also sensed a formality in his voice, but continued, “I don’t do windows and I don’t do crime scenes, so why am I here?”

“There are always exceptions.” Jamison raised the evidence bag, holding the buff colored card, till he could sight over it into Helen’s eyes. “Look familiar? It says, Helen Atkins, Assistant District Attorney.”

“So-oh?” Helen said slowly.

“There’s a date on it and,” Jamison flipped his wrist so the back of the card was facing Helen, “a phone number and⎯”

Helen nodded, “Mine?”

Jamison held up his free hand like a stop sign… “the letter G and the numeral two. So no, it’s not your number; not, unless you’re staying in Michael Grant’s guest-room number two.”


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