The Boston U. Med School was only a few blocks away and that was my next stop. On the second floor of the Talbott Building was the Forensics Lab for the Boston Police Department. Typically, our forensics guys would bring their evidence bags here and let the University guys in the white lab coats perform their black magic. Today, I was on my own and I am sure that was more than evident as I wandered down the green and white checkerboard linoleum hallway, checking door after door for the lab. Finally, I came to the door with FORENSICS gold-leafed on the frosted glass window.
When you opened that door, it was like taking a trip back to high school chemistry class. All those beakers and glass tubes, microscopes and that insidious chemical smell that you had in Mr. Jones' Chemistry Class multiplied by a factor of a hundred. Instead of pimply faced students trying to get a passing grade, you had teachers and grad students analyzing the daylights out of stuff scraped off the seedy side of life.
I returned the welcome first offered me by Dr. William deJong, Professor of Forensics at BU. We undereducated cops referred to this tall, skinny, spectacled egghead as The Professor. Ironically, the Professor always wanted to be a police detective.
"Do you have something for us today, Lieutenant?"
"Yes, I do. Doc Brewster thinks we have a poisoning on our hands and I was wondering if any of these samples could have done the trick."
"That shouldn't be too difficult. Let me see what you've got." He motioned for a couple of the technicians to come over and take the samples. "Craig and Terry, run me a full analysis on these."
"How long, Prof?"
"Oh, give the boys maybe two hours. Do you want me to call it in?"
"I best call you. I'll be in and out all day."
"Well, yes. Can you get strychnine poisoning just by touching the stuff?"
"No, Lieutenant, you have to ingest it somehow. I suppose if you had some on your fingers and kept bringing your fingers to your mouth, but I kind of doubt it."
"No problem. By the way who tasted the hemlock?"
"Oh, Mother of God, Father Collins baptized my kids. Jesus."
"Yea. This will be all over the news by tonight."