Blood Crumbs: Chapter 2Mature

A few minutes later, I carefully maneuvered Bertha into an empty parking space near the front office of The Falls apartment buildings. The landscaping was pretty shoddy with dead grass poking up through the cracks in the broken concrete. A rusting iron gate surrounded an outdoor pool which was drained and covered in preparation for winter. Dead and rotting leaves had accumulated in the center of the cover and been left unattended. The place had a broken down feel.

    Officer Jacob Bowen stood outside the main office with a jacket and a cup in his hand that wafted steam into the air. It was likely hot cocoa rather than coffee as Sandy was not a large city in a very statistically LDS prominent state. Those who were members of the dominant religion were fairly open about their beliefs and coffee was one of the ‘no-no’s. Bowen was definitely a Mormon.

    I gave him a wave. “Hey Bowen. Did I make it before Weston?”

    He smiled and waved back. “From what I’ve heard it sounds like he’s not coming yet. I think he’s just sending one of his lap dogs to do the leering.”

    I grimaced. Some of Weston’s campaign goons were worse than himself.

    “Anyway, they’re all set up over in building J, apartment 303.” He pointed off towards some swings in the distance. “You’ll want to walk straight through that little park and head to the left. Once you hit the swing-set you should be able to see it. Third floor.”

    I thanked him and started trekking over. I realized that I should probably have stopped at a gas station and refilled my coffee before coming. Caffeine was like oxygen for me. If I didn’t get a constant intake, things would start failing in the rickety old vessel of George. The first cog to come loose was usually my patience and I was beginning to get a feeling that I would need it.

    The apartment grounds were bigger than I originally suspected. By the time I made the hike to the pack of officers outside building J, my breath was coming in puffs that sounded a little more strained than I would have preferred.

    “Hey Burton,” Officer Elizabeth Thaton waved me over as I approached. She was multi-tasking as she stood watch to keep overly curious tenants at bay while puffing at her cigarette and chatting with the two crime scene techs.

    Thaton stood at 5’6” with brownish-blonde hair and very forgettable features. She wasn’t ugly by any means, but nor was she too attractive. Plain would be one way to define it, but she loved the term ‘forgettable’. She could tail a suspect for weeks without a misstep.

    “Hey Thaton,” I said as I closed the final steps to the front of the building. “How’s it going in there?”

    “Hard to tell.” She said as she took a pull from her cigarette. “It’s not bad as far as some of the other shit I’ve seen. Jared’s up there doing some of his freaky sci-fi lighting crap right now.”

    “So not very gristly?” I asked in preparation for my gut which was already sensitive after the poor cocktail of stale donuts and rotten coffee.

    “No blood whatsoever. That’s the weird part, but you’ll see for yourself. Sounded like Jared wishes there were buckets full of the stuff the way he’s bitching about it.” She said as she cheerfully exhaled a cloud of smoke. Thaton was definitely not part of Utah’s prominent religion.

    I started up the stairs and she called back after me.

    “Oh, I almost forgot, Chastity told me to tell you that Laura called and left a message at the front desk to call her. She also told me to tell you to answer your damn cell phone so that when your exes call she doesn’t have to play mediator.”

    I let out a loud sigh and Thaton laughed.

    “She was, what, your third wife?”

    I looked back and grinned. “First and third. Apparently we hadn’t gotten enough misery the first go round and wanted to try for seconds.”

    “You people and your marriage.” She said taking another deep drag on her cigarette. “They say I’m weird for enjoying chasing criminals. I say the crazy ones are the women that want to sit at home and shove watermelon-sized midget humans out of their crotches. To me, that shit’s scarier than walking through a crack house at midnight in a bikini made of Coca plants”

    “Oh c’mon don’t be that way.” I said as I moved up the stairs. “Soon you’ll meet the right guy and those happy homemaker genes will kick right in. You’ll be home pumping out babies in no time.”

    She laughed and gave me the finger as I stepped onto the second floor landing. Thaton disappeared from sight as the stairs double backed up towards the third floor. The door to apartment J303 stood closed and crime scene tape had been placed across it.

    I stopped in front of it and took a deep breath to steady my rolling gut; just in case Thaton had skimped out on a few details. Then I crouched under the crime scene tape and stepped into what would likely be the source of my next ulcer.

The End

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