Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Blackbird 1 – #youlikeit

By @MonicaPrelooker

3. crime scene

Gillian got in the car, saying as back in the old days when they worked together, “Morning, hun. Give me the short tour.”

“Roger Johnson, junior at RC High,” said Banks, giving her a folder with the first pictures from the crime scene.

“That’s money.”

Banks nodded as he drove away from the federal building. “Yep. Last night he was at the Theatre District with some friends. He went out of the bar for a smoke and ended up dead in the side alley.”

“So he was already of age?”

“C’mon, Reg, the Inquisition was over a couple of years ago, y’know?”

“I see, fake IDs.”

“That’s my girl. He was hit with a blunt object from behind, then stabbed about a dozen times, but he still had his wallet, with all his money and credit cards, as well as his car keys.”

“So it wasn’t about robbing him. Connor knew the boy, and looks like he wasn’t much of a charmer. Let me call T, she’ll find out who this boy really was.”

“Oh yeah, your little hacker will dig out all his dirty secrets.”

The alley was still roped off, so they had to make their way past TV crews, reporters and people trying to peep on something morbid to comment on over lunch. It was but a narrow dead-end passage way between old buildings, one-hundred yards long. Garbage overflowed the metallic containers against the wall on the right, one near the access, one near the end of it. It was just like any other alley—wet, grim, stinky.

The Crime Lab Unit was still working, but they gave Gillian and Banks room as soon as they reached the end of the alley. They all stayed around anyway. Banks and Gillian had been partners for eight years, and they used to have the best rate of solved cases of the whole PD. Back then, they were the watch-and-learn team for green shots. So the older Lab techs wouldn’t miss the chance of seeing them in action together again, after six years. And the younger techs had heard so much about them, that they wanted to see if what they’d been told was nearly close to being true.

Banks and Gillian stood side by side at the spot where the body had been and opened the folder to study and compare the pictures with the scene.

Banks started to think aloud as they used to do. “So you’re a quarterback, Connor-big, out for a bender with your buddies and your fake ID. You come to the alley to smoke and…” They looked up and around. “You wouldn’t come this far into the alley at night.”

“Not for just a smoke,” Gillian said. “This side must be pretty dark. Did he go out of the bar alone?”

“That’s what his friends say.”

They walked back to the corner slowly, still looking up. Gillian pointed at a door. “There, a camera.” She produced her phone and made a call. “Kurt, take on T’s search and tell’er we need the feeds from any cameras in this alley and around. And keep the music down, *********

Banks spun around and turned a picture upside down. “He fell facing that wall,” he said, pointing at the end of the alley.

“So he was coming from the street and somebody hit him from behind. In the head?”

“And behind his knees.”

Gillian arched her eyebrows. “We’re talking about a team here.”

Banks nodded, studying the place. “One to lure him, one to knock him down.”

“Or more. Head, then legs. He didn’t have time to turn around.”

“Or he’d be alive.”


They went back to the spot where the body was found, put on latex gloves and started to inspect the area.

“Jeez… Three…?” Banks muttered.

“At least. And all of them smaller than him—which means nothing, since the boy was huge. We need the autopsy report.”

“Let Riley take his time. We have about a dozen people to interview, counting the boy’s family and his friends.”

Gillian smirked. Banks snorted.

“So you’re leaving me all alone to listen to them ramble in tears about what a nice, bighearted boy he was, how he cared for others and how everybody loved him,” he grumbled.

“Hey, I already did my share of interviews back in our days.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry. Forgot you’re elite now.”

“Bite me.”

“Name the day, hun.”

“C’mon, Bob, you’re a sergeant, don’t you have a detective smart enough to help you with that?”

“Taylor’s okay, but you know he’s still a little green.”


Banks looked up at her, disgusted. “C’mon, Reg, he’s hardly thirty.”


“That’s fifteen years younger than you!”

“Then pray I don’t catch you checking an under-forty rear.”

“Hey, I’m a married man!”

“Oh, yeah, my bad. By the way, how old is Carmen? Isn’t she thirty-five? Isn’t that twelve years younger than you, old perv?”

Banks didn’t answer and Gillian gifted him with her best mocking smile.

Then he pointed at the metallic container at the end of the alley. “Here. Footprints.”

“And now you’re a bloodhound.”

“Oh, shut up and call a tech to take a model of this.”

“Still missing me, Belly-Banks?” she taunted, waving at one of the Lab techs waiting a few yards away, swallowing giggles at their banter. “Let’s see, what’s so special about that footprint?”

“You mean, other than the fact that it’s got dry blood?”

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
2 Likes 5 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.

By clicking Sign Up, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House's
Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.