I slowed my pace as I walked towards the newly vacated apartment. I’ll admit it was as much due to my desire to turn around as it was to get a better feel of what I was approaching. I paused where another couple of officers in yellow coats were looking over their crime scene investigation equipment. Not really too different from the kind you see on TV, surprisingly enough. But exactly what everything was there for, I couldn’t tell, I don’t watch those shows much. I was more interested in how the cops themselves were dealing with what they’d seen.
Now it helps to judge a situation, based on the fact of what kind of expressions, the people have on their faces. You can tell various things, like you they enjoy their work, have they had a bad day? Are they thinking they might want to rob you? Or do they think they might want to have sex with you. Yeah, like you probably, I tend to prefer number 3.
The closest these gentlemen had to those expressions on their faces, was that they were having a bad day, of the inexplicable kind. You know, when whole sides of peopled faces turn to expressions the other side ignores. Where people speak in hushed tones, or monosyllables or indecipherable shop talk where one person disagrees, but doesn’t offer a rebuttal. None of this made me feel any better.
But, I still went up to the door, went back-to-the-wall to avoid a couple of men in paramedic uniforms, who were pushing a squeaking gurney carrying a demonstrably man-sized bag. At least the shape in the body bag seemed intact. I took a breath, then approached the police officer standing there. He was almost a head taller than me, broader, older, a very dark black, with a thick gut and a double chin. His badge denoted him 6623. I’m sure I’d seen him before at 37 Division.
In fact, I think I remember him from the time I helped Fingers find his niece Cindy. What was that now,? I wondered. A couple years and a few months. The girl had escaped the boring life of the reserve up north to the somewhat more exciting back alleys of the big city. I still shake my head when I think about that. I almost got shot in that little adventure. But hell, Fingers was my friend, so I don’t complain much about his extended family, even if it included a freaking crazy grandfather.
And I don’t have a whole lot of people that I can honestly say are my friends. I’ve tried to keep a low profile these past dozen years or so.
That caused me to twist my mouth a little at the irony. Can’t even get that right these days.
I offered a smile, which the door guarding cop did not return. I looked back at the officer that had brought me, then back at the door guard.
“Hello officer,” I tried in a moderate to light toned voice. “My name is Mr. Smith, I am the building manager. Detective Fingers wanted to see me.”
The men looked at me, in sort of the same way you might like in the dirty countertop, thinking, what, do I clean that clean now? Or do I go watch the game.
“Just a moment,” he told me and consulted his pad. He had a deep voice, unaccented. He brushed it with his big thick fingers, for a while, then looked up at me.
“Okay,” he replied and started tapping it’s glowing surface.”
“You don’t need me to spell that for you,” I wanted to know, surprised.
He looked back up at me.
“You spell your name differently from every other John Smith?”
“No,” I started. I started having sinking feeling in my stomach. “But–never mind. Yeah, it’s like every other John Smith.”
He nodded, finished his entry, turned to the door, and shouted, “Detective, the guy you wanted is here.”
“Who,” I heard the should from within.
“The building manager. John Smith.”
There was a familiar sounding voice of shouted assent, from the apartment ahead. Yes, Detective Speaks-With-Finger’s voice. Although we generally socialized on a less of a professional level, if you take my meaning.
And I note again, this has been, and will stay, even after what I was about to see, a decent apartment building, and in a good part of town to boot. The police don’t show up very often here, certainly not like this. You’d want to live here, even if you aren’t part of the hip west end crowd.
“Yeah,” the voice called out. “Send him in. I’m in the master bedroom.”
The big officer looked past me for a moment at my chaperone, then he waved me in.
“Detective is in the master bedroom,” he told me.
“Yeah, I heard that.” I told him. I didn’t move. It seemed that my feet didn’t want to.
I looked up at him and sort of motioned with my head, included a questioning expression, trying to get a response of what I could expect to see on the other side of the door.
No such luck. Fine I thought. How bad could it really be? I was about to find out.