Kathleen sifts through the evidence.
There are still hours to go before she can expect the working residents of Sunrise Apartments to return to their homes, and there's no point in turning in the report she already wrote, given what Georgia told her, so she decides to get a bite to eat while she's got an hour to spare.
The place down the street does breakfast all day, and she thinks maybe she'll take a chance on their eggs, even though last time they'd apparently had no idea what she meant by "runny" and gave her cream of wheat sprinkled with sugar instead of proper, buttery grits. Her waitress is bored, seventeen, and cracking loudly on a wad of gum stuck in the corner of her jaw. It doesn't seem to occur to her to write Kathleen's order down, but the food that comes back is perfect, hot and hearty and filling. After the omelet and the home fries, all she needs is a cup of coffee and she'll be ready to roll.
The coffee is like sludge, thick and bitter. She chokes it down for the sake of the caffeine and heads back to work.
She has yet to file any paperwork on this case, so no evidence file has been created. She finds Georgia still buzzing merrily around her John Doe. "Where are his clothes?" she asks, and Georgia smiles and points to a stack of coolers in the corner of the room. The one on top is big and blue, and the only one without a label. She hauls it over to an empty work station and begins to go through it, pulling on a pair of latex gloves from the box on the counter.
She pulls out the clothes she remembers seeing on him, not yet individually bagged as procedure requires; Georgia's been too busy with the body itself. Plain dark crew socks, green silk boxers, and then a khaki t-shirt. The underwear is obviously pricey but all she can glean from it is that he had a thirty-two inch waist and apparently appreciated fine fabrics. Neither the socks nor the shirt looks particularly well-worn or used, and the shirt is still a little rough when she rubs it between her gloved forefinger and thumb; the cotton has not yet softened from repeated washings. She pulls out a pair of jeans, bluish-grey, next. They are expensive-looking, made to appear "distressed" or faded or whatever the proper term is, but they are crisp and new as well. She shakes them out and runs her fingers over the seams, searching for any loose threads, any errant fibers, but there's nothing to find. Even the pockets are pristine, no white imprint of a wallet in any of them, and she supposes it would have been too much to ask for that a body lying on a street in a big city would still have a wallet on it.
The black leather jacket is the last piece of clothing she pulls from the cooler. It is thin and heavy, not yet accustomed to the fit of one person's shoulders, though the supple material drapes easily as she holds it up to scan it and empty its pockets. She finds nothing and finally sets it aside, along with the rest of the clothes. There's a pair of size ten boots at the bottom of the cooler, also new and unscuffed, and inside one is a tiny plastic envelope with a ziploc snap. A tiny silver hoop rests inside. A girlfriend's earring, maybe, because it is definitely too small to be a ring. Maybe a boyfriend's earring; John Doe certainly hadn't had a pierced ear.
She holds the envelope up to the light to try to see it a little better, and Georgia turns, her attention caught by the movement. "Nipple ring," she says, completely matter-of-fact, and Kathleen can't help flinching a little.
"I know," Georgia agrees, continuing to weigh various organs and jot down the results. Kathleen suspects that she's been at this all day, monitoring the organs' dwindling down to several decimal points. She appreciates the attention to detail, and thanks her lucky stars that she can at least count on a pristine chain of evidence even if she's got nothing else. There's nothing else in the cooler and she packs it back up, bagging each item as she goes.
"Do you have that left thumbprint?" she asks when Georgia's done with the latest round of statistics. Georgia just waves her over to the computer and she finds the file and emails the digital image to herself. Hopefully the system will be able to find a match in the database; it's pretty much the only hope she has to hold on to, since soon enough there won't even be a body to bury.
It's getting dark earlier and earlier these days, and by the time she heads back to the apartment complex that evening, it's pitch-black except for the streetlights. The police at the door makes everyone a little nervous, even more so when a cop is talking about the dead body in the back yard, so Kathleen knocks politely rather than insistently, and speaks calmly and reasonably instead of playing the heavy. There's not a lot to learn, and in fact the evening progresses as slowly and frustratingly as she'd feared. There is only one apartment that stands empty, its splintered door a testament to the workings of the fire department.
She steps inside, her boot heels slipping on the remnants of something on the floor. She crouches down and finds scattered grains of salt. There's more by the bedroom window, the one that faces the back of the building, that would have provided a perfect vantage-point for the alley where John Doe was found. She needs to double-check with Ballistics, but her gut is telling her that it wasn't a sniper; every lead is worth pursuing, though, and she works the angles through in her mind, trying to figure out if the laws of physics allow for this possibility.
Standing there by the window, looking down into the deserted alley, she realizes something. John Doe's head had been right next to what she'd dismissed as oil stains. But he was lying in the middle of the alley, at an intersection, at a place where no car could conceivably have parked long enough for such a large stain. That might not be oil. She might have some physical evidence after all.
Still gen, still R-ish.
Word count (today): 1078
Word count (total): 8244 (27.48%)