JC Turnbuckle lay with his head cushioned against a pillow of old arrest reports, a thin trickle of drool puddling and turning the ink into a miniature blue-black pond beneath his cheek. He had been running on adrenalin and caffeine since the call on the diner murder had come in early that morning and found himself drifting into the soothing ether as he waited for the forensic reports to arrive. The little blonde with the nice ass from the county accounting office kept giggling her way into his dreamscape and seemed on the verge of surrendering to his neck-nuzzling advances when the bray of his phone startled him into consciousness. “Damn!”, thought Turnbuckle, as he blotted the spittle from the pile of reports and quickly glanced down to see if his trousers revealed any signs of his amorous dream.
“Detective Turnbuckle”, JC barked into the instrument, a little too stridently. “You got something on the diner shoot?”
Turnbuckle pushed aside the stacks of paper that littered his desk like his own personal recycling center and fumbled for a notepad and his battered Waterman. JC had no issues with technology and knew full well the advantages the vast police data base gave him over the villains in society, but he could not bring himself to relinquish his beloved fountain pen, temperamental
and occasionally messy though it may be. Besides, no one could read his spidery scrawl anyway,
often not even himself.
“Yeah,….OK, good, yeah. What else? You certain? Is that confirmed? Yep, I got that…. Anything else?” The Waterman scratched away as Turnbuckle continued making notes with one hand and fired up his aging laptop with the other. Any lingering vestiges of sleep had swiftly evaporated as the latest information came crackling across the line. “Great! Thanks, Correll, I owe you one! Keep me posted.”
The information from forensics had been solid and clear. Fingerprint analysis had confirmed a match on prints from a coffee cup, silverware and spent shell casings as belonging to one Alton Lee Findley, a minor league problem child of privilege. Though a long time visitor of both local and state hospitality institutions, it seemed that he had never taken up permanent residence with either, owing to the deep pockets of his mother and a family connection with a prominent criminal defense attorney. The randomness and brutality of this particular attack certainly bore all the hallmarks of his past public outrages, and, according to a psychologist’s note in the margins of his file, an incident like the one in the diner this morning was just a matter of time. Findley had been in training for this performance for years.
Turnbuckle perched his glasses onto his hairless forehead and ground his fists into his tired brown eyes. The ghost of his fleeting dream danced across his retina, the brief flutter of blonde hair still hovering on the edge of his consciousness as he picked a slightly splintered clarinet reed from a corner of his desk and sucked it between his teeth. The glow from his computer screen threw colorful light across his face as he carefully scrutinized the youthful visage that stared back at him in mute apathy from the mug shot.
“What a waste”,Turnbuckle inwardly reflected. “ All that privilege, advantage, and this is where it leads. Pretty good looking kid, too, if it weren’t for those lips.”


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