DETECTIVE BAINES WAS late to the scene, a reflection of his jaded ways. Instead of raising the police tape around the crime scene he ripped it before stepping through.
Two police cars were parked on the pavement, their contents milling around a body on the ground, the same uniform faces Baines had seen for decades, each as vacant as space itself.
A young male they had said.
Grunting at colleagues, Baines continued munching on his pannini, salad and cheese spilling out the sides of the grease stained paper, sliding onto the pavement. “What’s the story?” he asked, glancing at officer Roberts who stood a few feet from the body figeting with his latex gloves.
Roberts moved closer with a look of disdain missed by Baines as he continued chomping through his late lunch, eyes fixed on the body. “Detective – no obvious sign of death. No wounds. No blunt force trauma. It’s a mystery.”
“There are no mysteries in this line of work,” Baines said, the words muffled by food. Squatting down next to the body he looked over the prostrate body that had collapsed on the pavement a few blocks off the high street. Twenty six and male wasn’t much to work with. Polishing off the rest of the pannini, some mayonaise dripped onto the black hoody of the corpse unnoticed, Baines withered hands scrunching up the wrapping and tossing it aside.
Standing up, Baines continued to assess the body before him, noting the worn in chewing gum orbiting it. Changing position he walked slowly around the body analysing every detail. They were about 5’9″ with a scraggly beard, the face nondescript, a pointy nose jutting over the facial hair, faint pock marks blemishing the forehead and cheeks, the beard likely an attempt to cover up a bad case of acne, although it was Beardjanuary, some bullshit made up month to raise awareness for hipsters.
The face had a tinge of purple. Legs seemed too big for his frame. As if a human MRI scanner Baines worked his way around slowly, studying intently, making a second circuit as Roberts stood by feeling helpless, and the scene was reduced to a hush, no noise infiltrated Baines thought process, something about a dead human being got him in the zone, the more the merrier.
Roberts looked at him as two medics descended squatting next to the body as if they might be able to resurect it. A third medic pushed a rattling trolley over. “One for the M-boys..”
“Aye, that’ll be right.” Baines snorted at the thought of the mortuary crew figuring things out before he did.
“What are you thinking detective?” Roberts asked as the body was tranferred onto the trolley.
“A fashion victim…”
Roberts cocked his head, mulling it over. “Well – true – not the sharpest dresser.”
Roberts always was a bit slow thought Baines. “I wasnae finished. I mean literally. He won’t be the last.”
Roberts was quizzical, arms folded, trying to figure out Baines’ meaning. “Eh?”
“Skinny jeans,” said Baines turning and leaving, stepping over the flailing police tape eyeballing the gathering crowd, wondering how in the hell they’d cope when he retired.