I had to swerve to avoid spilling my coffee on the forensic guy as he rushed out of the crime scene to vomit in the ditch full of broken glass and mummified trash. Either the guy was still green or this was a really bad day to show up with a hangover. In the rush, I forgot to take out the diaphragm and my underwear was getting uncomfortable. The cup was hot in my hand.
The medical examiner barely looked up from her clipboard, her graying Afro obscured under a police issue shower cap.
“Morning, Carol. How was the date?”
I tried to buy time to come up with an answer by sipping on the coffee, still too hot to really drink. Martha looked over her glasses at me.
“That bad, huh?”
The place smelled like a million dead rats. Everything looked grayish, the house had been vacant so long.
“You need a shower cap,” she said pulling one out of her bag. I was suddenly aware of the state of my hair.
“Well at least I won’t get blond jokes anymore.”
I put on a pair of disposable gloves and stooped over the corpse partly hidden under plastic cover.
“What have we got?”
The smell of blood was overwhelming. And there was the chicken meat smell of fresh corpses. And the smell of wet hair.
“Same age group. Twenty-two or three. We won’t know for sure until we get a positive ID.”
The victim’s wrist was very thin and her skin was still fresh and smooth. Dark and beautiful.
I thought I grew up to be decently inclusive, color blind practically, but last night when it was time to actually sleep with a dark skinned man, a loving man I did not deserve, I took more Scotch than I should have to help me go through with it. And as the puss from the diaphragm ran down my thigh and I fought back the sick in my throat, I realized what I was beneath the veneer.
“Bitch,” I said.
“No, not her.” I stood up, and immediately felt the blood draining out of my head, the floor a ski slope under my feet.
“I was talking… about myself.”
A cold chill gripped my body and liquid squeezed through the goosebumps.
“Are you alright?”
“Seriously, your eyes look like rotten fruit. What the hell?”
“Nothing. I just…”
I looked at the corpse. So young. So still. Martha spoke down at it.
“Same M.O. Same African-American victim. Same brutal rape. Fifteen stab wounds. Sign of anger, like the others. Three makes a serial.”
“It gets worse. The two previous sperm samples, they were from the same individual, big surprise, but both had the C282Y gene mutation, cause of hereditary hemochromatosis, most commonly found in Scandinavians and related Europeans.”
“Meaning the perp is probably white.”
“And probably race motivated. You gotta get this bastard before the media gets wise or it’s gonna be a fuckin’ circus.”
“I can’t do this.”
(Composing this piece was previously discussed under the heading “300 words“.)