The two Violent Crimes men settled on their heels as they squatted at the head of the covered body to pull back the edge of the sheet. Exposed was the mutilated head of the dead man, one sightless eye staring up at the dismal sky, the other one missing altogether. Two distinct, dark bullet holes centered amidst the gore, at the epicenter of the remnants of the misshapen skull, which looked more like a moldy gourd forgotten beneath the autumn leaves than it did a human skull.
The taller of the two men frowned and furrowed his brows in thought, "Two bullets, small caliber, close range. Any brass?"
The other man lifted the tarp and scanned the wet pavement around the body for shell casings. After a moment, he let the tarp fall and he looked at the taller man with a quick shake of his head, "None."
"All right. Well, he was shot and killed right here, on this spot. He wasn't dumped here, that's for sure. Blood splatter surrounding the head would be the direct result of the bullets impacting the flesh."
The smaller man nodded, "I agree. He was done here."
The taller man stood and wiped his hands on his slacks, "But why? Who was he? Why was he killed like this when there are so many other, less violent ways to commit murder?"
The smaller man shook his head, "I don't understand the violence. Is it some sort of message?"
From behind them, on the car, Roarke said, "Yes it is. The message is: this guy is more than a little bit dead. Can we get him outta here now, before word gets out?"
The tall man removed the tarp from the victim's legs too, "What happened to his legs, Detective?"
Roarke pointed to a puddled up area just a few feet from the corpse, "There's some fresh rubber on the asphalt next to you fellows. I'm guessing Mr. Man here was struck by a very angry car before he was kissed good night."
"Hmmm. Any witnesses?"
"Are you serious? This part of town here is the indigent capital of the hemisphere. There were probably a hundred witnesses. Unfortunately, they're all gone now, a bunch of disenfranchised winos on the run from civilization. We'll never get 'em now, they're hiding under another rock by this time."
"And no cameras of any kind?"
One of the beat cops snorted, "Not in this part of town."
The smaller Violent Crimes guy sighed, "We need to catch a break."