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Wayne M. Smith

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Grad student Chris Nelson predicts an earthquake on the New Madrid Fault. His University advisor stresses no publicity. JQ cheats on seismic retrofits. Locals live in a s..  
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Lady in Red
By Wayne M. Smith
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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This is the beginning of a short story and I need feedback.

Lady in Red


Working the late shift at the Detectives Division on a Friday has it moments.  Like right now, I just received a call from the Highway Division concerning a body of a female found under an overpass 14 miles from the station.  I walk up to the assignment board and put ‘Jane Doe # 666’ in the name section; time/date the call came in; district station; and my name ‘Uric Elf Veld I’.  I know it is a weird name to give to a kid, but my grandfather was from Transylvania in Eastern Europe.  I grabbed my kit and headed down to the desk.

“Hey Sarge, log me out to Jonestown bridge.  It’s a homicide with one body.  That is all I know right now.  Let lefty know where I went would ya?”

“No problem Lieutenant, so who do you think it is the butler with the candlestick in the drawing room?”

“Naw Sarge, it was the bimbo in the laundry with the butcher knife.”  The desk sergeant is a vet of over 30 years and my rabbi when I was a snot-nose recruit.  He has forgotten more about police procedures than anyone in the house has learned, including the chief!

            It took me forty-five minutes to get out to the scene.  Mostly because of the severe storms that have been hammering our area for the last six days.  Several of roads have been under water.  The strange thing about this storm is that the national weather service stated that it should not be here because the conditions were not set up to create this storm.  It was as if it just appeared out of nowhere.  The local news channel just reported that another series of lighting strikes had destroyed another church just east of town.  This is the seventh one since the storm started.  Oh well, that’s the city’s problem not mine!

            In the distance, I can see the kaleidoscope of red and blue lights blinking on and off.  God there must be at least fifty vehicles there.  What is going on?  This is supposed to be a single death not the Manson murders.  There are vehicles from several of the local townships there.  Damn there are at least three Chief of Police cars and the Country Sheriff’s H2 Hummer.  How in the hell does he rate a gas-guzzler like that?  Then a Country Deputy started to wave at me.  I pulled up to her and showed her my shield.  “I am the detective assigned to this crime scene.  What the hell is going on with all these vehicles?”  In a husky low voice she responded, “I do not know sir, but I have been placed in charge of the perimeter.  Could you park your vehicle over on the medium with the other vehicles?”  She pointed to the growing parking lot on the grassy medium.  “No problem Deputy.  No problem what so ever.”  That is when I noticed the three news choppers flying tight circles around the overpass.  “Vultures” was all I could come up with.

            After parking the car, I snatched my kit and camera out of the back and walked over to the sign in board.  I gave the officer my name and badge number then proceeded to the crime scene.  The EMTs, coroner, and CSIs were already grouping into their clicks.  As I walked over to the coroner, I nodded to the VIPs that were in gathered around the Sheriff’s Hummer.  This is going to be a goatfuck if someone doesn’t get this gaggle organized soon.  I can hear Charlie the Coroner talking with the EMTs, “You folks can go home now.  I will take charge of this mess.”  Noticing me walking towards him, he said, “Well it is about time they assigned someone with some balls to take charge.”  Smiling I told Charlie that I was the unlucky one who drew the short straw.  “Well Uric this is one for ‘I don’t believe this shit’ book” as he walked me over to the victim.  Looking at her I initially thought she was painted or stain with something red, then I noticed, she had no skin!  Her skin was skillfully removed from her head to her toes.  Whoever did this left her hair intact and nails.  “Damn Charlie!  What sick son of a bitch did this?”  After recovering from the initial shock, I asked, “Do you know how she did?  Or when?”

“The advance stage of rigor I would say about 10 to 12 hours ago.  I will not know how until I get her back into my shop.”

“Okay, give me a call as soon as possible.  I can see this is going to be big news.”  Charlie nodded and walked off to his assistants trying to untie her from the I-Beams of the overpass.  She was suspended between the two like a cross.  Her long blond hair flowed down her front covering her breasts. 

            Mable, the lead Crime Scene Investigator, walked over to me.  Directly behind her were the VIPs intent on getting to me first.  They look so funny with their huge beer bellies bouncing and juggling like a huge breast, I almost started to laugh. 

            High Sheriff Ash Oles was the spokes-dummy for the group.  In a deep southern drawl, he attempted to enunciate his words so he sounded educated, “Detective. . . Detective, I . . . we need a moment of your time.”  Each word was spread out to the point of causing me to want to fill in the words for him. 

“Yes Sheriff, what can I do for you?”

“Well, ya’ll can kindly tell me and my fellow chiefs what ya’ll plan on doing with this horrendous crime commented here.”  The nasal slang kicked in giving away his true origins around the swampy coastline of North Carolina.

“Well gentlemen, I will proceed with the standard crime scene protocol and will…”

Charlie wheeled the body passed and everyone stopped and stared.

“Uric, I will get that info to you as soon as I can.”

“Thanks, Charlie.”


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Reviewed by D. Wayne Dworsky 5/28/2008
Sounds like it's underway and you have some really interesting material to work with. However, there are a few technical issues with the details. Now, do you want a critical evaluation or just encouragement? Please let me know and I will deliver.


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