Posts Tagged ‘evidence’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

April 24, 2013

ID Card4

Screening More Pig Shit for Clues

(Episode 43)


            Merlin and Leland unhinged the screen door, while Bill Porter pulled out the lengthy cow stall sprayer hose.  Bill said that he wouldn’t mind in the least helping with a murder investigation; moreover, that he’d never ever participated in one and thought he might enjoy it.  So they had Bill drive the pigs out of the pens.  Then, as Bill shoveled the pens and heaved the muck onto the screens, Merlin sprayed the mud away into a slurry, while Leland scoured the bits of twigs and rocks and other debris left on the screens for evidence.

            “It would be pretty nice if whoever died here were our killer,” Merlin spoke above the rush of the spraying water he was zig-zagging about the screens.

            “Nice.  But I wouldn’t get our hopes up,” Leland answered.  “It doesn’t figure.  If our killer talked her husband Bob into accompanying him on his latest murder/rape – I could see her killing our killer, and maybe even Bob, but when I spoke with them, right before both of them getting shot, they were cooing like two love birds.  And also, why would she ask me who I was working for?” 

            “Okay.  Let’s say it was someone else she killed and had Bob dump the bodies in here.  Why would she want to do that?  Who in the world would Harriet want to kill?  Other than the killer?

            “You mean, besides Bob?”

            “I thought you said they were cooing like love birds.”

            “Yeah, but just recently.”

            Merlin thought about this.  “Okay,” he surmised.  “Then who is a person you or Harriet – or anyone, really – are most likely to want to kill?”

            “Someone who’s trying to kill me!”  Leland laughed.  Because this is the way it almost always was in the law enforcement business.

            Merlin and Leland looked at each other, while thinking this over.


            “Someone was out to kill either her or Bob – or maybe just Bob – and Harriet drilled ‘em,” Merlin said.

            “Maybe so…”  Leland said, as he collected a few items of interest off of the washing screen.  “Hey!  Hold it up there a moment, will you Bill?  And Merlin?”  He held the items in his palm and mulled them over. 

            “Here, it looks like we have a pretty well gnawed on hunk of a black rubber heel.”  Leland held it up.  Two cobbler’s nails stuck out of it.

            “Man, those pigs were hungry.”  Merlin whistled.

            “It was a few days before I realized maybe somebody ought to come over here and look after the stock, since nobody was,” Bill apologized.

            “And here.  Oh, this is interesting,” Leland continued.  “It looks like a portion of a license, or a legal identification of some kind.  No writing.  But it’s got that plasticized holographic twinkle to it when I hold it up to the light.”

            Leland was getting excited.  “Okay.  It looks like we’re going to be out here for some time.   I want to sluice all of the mud in all of these three pens, and go through it carefully before sundown.  Are you two okay with this?”

            “Just let me make a few calls,” Merlin said, setting the hose and stepping away.

            Bill Porter nodded soberly.

            Merlin halted and turned.

            “Wait a minute,” Merlin said.  “Holographic ID.  And Harriet says, “Who are you working for, Leland?” 

            “Yeah,” Leland agreed.  “We may be looking here at the (fecal) remains of some kind of Government Official.”

            “Is there any other kind?”  Merlin chuckled.

            Leland frowned.

            “Or several?”  Bill Porter’s eyes grew wide, taking in the wide expanse of pens.

            “It can’t be ruled out.”

            “What kind of Government official goes missing and nobody knows a thing?”  Merlin asked.

            Leland considered this.  “The worst kind, maybe,”  Leland said.  All of a sudden, everything was moving very fast…   “You two might want to be very careful who you talk to, and how much you say about this for the next while,” he added.  “Just to be safe,” he said grimly.

            Merlin exhaled slowly, between the crack in his two front teeth.

            Bill Porter looked nervous, like a man who was suddenly in over his head, or having qualms anyway.

Photos from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

March 3, 2013
"I leave clues!  Whodathunkit?"

“I leave clues! Whodathunkit?”

Merlin’s Clinic

(Episode 34)


 “Are you going to talk, or are we going to ride like this all the way to the Vet’s?”  Agent Hailey asked.

“I’m just trying to stay out of trouble for a few minutes, so I can concentrate on the matters at hand,” Leland answered, staring ahead down the main street of town as he drove.

“Goodness, you sulk like a little girl,” Agent Hailey said.

Leland stopped the patrol car.

“Why are you trying to bust my balls here?”  He asked.  “I didn’t lose the evidentiary material.  And I didn’t blame you about it.”

“Oh, here we go: “ball buster”, “loser”.  …any other moniker you want to add?”

Leland nodded.  “You’re fingering your weapon.”

“Oh.”  Agent Hailey blushed, drawing her hand away.  “Habit.”

“Uh huh,” Leland said.

They drove the rest of the way to the Vet Clinic in more silence.  Not knowing that all the while, Nancy Gillis, girl reporter, was hidden under the back security shield taking notes of everything.

When they arrived, Merlin was dealing with a scared housecat.

“Best stay out for a minute,” he advised, from beyond the door.

Leland shut the door, as Merlin donned some thick, padded, elbow length leather gloves.  They heard a low, rumbling yeaorrrwwwl!.  Then it was like all hell broke loose inside the closed room, stuff being knocked all over, until finally it was all quiet again.

“There,” Merlin said reappearing.  And he didn’t say anymore.  He shut the door behind himself.  “What have you brought me?”  Merlin’s brows rose.

Leland held out the sample.

“I meant ‘her’,” Merlin smiled, most courteously.  Like Leland, he was another of the single, marriageable men in this small community.  And a new, good-looking woman was like a greased pig dropped ring center at the local rodeo.  Merlin removed his long leather gloves.

“This is Agent Hailey.”  Leland introduced her reluctantly.

“How do you do?” Merlin gave Agent Hailey his most winning smile.   “You can call me ‘Bones’.   He reached to shake hands.

“I’m fine, thanks.” Agent Hailey shook.   “I believe Sheriff Kelly here, has some evidentiary material he thinks you might be able to help us to better define.”

Leland laughed to himself, at Merlin’s quick reassessment.

Merlin turned away to do so, facing up to Leland.  “So!  It’s back to the Private Sector again?”  He smiled.

“I need you to look at this and tell us what you can.  I think it’s probably cow manure fallen from a boot tread.”

Merlin looked at it.  He opened the bag to sniff.  He spit on his thumb and index fingers and reached in and made a quick slurry of it to sniff.  “It’s pig shit,” he said, handing it back, and smiling again at Agent Hailey.

“Can you tell us any more?” Leland asked.

“Possibly,” Merlin said cryptically.  “So where are all the other boxes of evidentiary material you retrieved from the scene?  The government gets all of that, and this is what I get?”

Agent Hailey was about to open her mouth when Leland spoke.  “That’s right.”

“You give the government their hair and tissue samples, their tire treads, and boot tread casts, their spent bullet casings and blood and slugs along with God-Knows-What-Else-including-possible-belly-button-lint-off-of-the-rapist I’d-suppose… that you scoured the area for and found and must have delivered to them in umpteen cardboard evidentiary boxes all nicely sealed in plastic and labeled ‘such and such’ – and me, you handle a little pellet of pig shit?”  Melvin asked.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much the all of it,” Leland responded.

“Do you realize Leland, for even one millisecond, the disrespect with which you employ the Private Sector?”

Leland stared at Melvin blankly.  So did Agent Hailey.

“Well, there it is.”  Melvin shrugged and spread his arms haplessly.  “Nothing to be done about the Bureaucratic Mind, …  the old forms in triplicate lockstep, I suppose.  Except to add that I would guess that the entire resources of the Federal Government brought to bear on your problem have not been able to provide you with the information which you suspect might come from one little cubelette of pig shit, handed to the correct person in the Private Sector.  Am I right?”

“There you go.”  Leland and Agent Hailey both nodded.

“Which! I will take as a concealed compliment, and proceed to do my examination.”

“Okay.”  Both Agent Hailey and Sheriff Leland nodded.

Merlin took the sample into his small lab, mixed a measured amount of it with various reagents, heated it for a specific time, and then placed the concoction into a small laboratory spectrometer which gave him a number which Merlin wrote down on a small scrap of paper.  Then, Leland and Agent Hailey followed Merlin into his office where he sat before his computer.

“Depending upon what the farmers around here feed their pigs, the pigs excrete more or less nitrogen and phosphorus.  Pigs and other domesticated animals around here subtract from the total carrying capacity of the surrounding ecosystem by helping to bury us in all their shit…”  Merlin droned on as he trolled the computer screen.

Nancy meanwhile had slipped out of the patrol car and was overhearing as much as was possible with her ear pressed to the clinics thin window panes, thankful that Merlin worked with all of the blinds closed.  She took notes, writing phonetically any of the words she was unacquainted with, for further clarification later.  While Merlin continued…

“…the most toxic elements of which are phosphorus and nitrogen.  So!  The Bureau of Ecology runs a contest in which each pig farmer submits a shit sample to see who of them is feeding their animals diets which produce the least phosphorus and nitrogen waste in their shit.  Which isn’t really as easy as it sounds.  Every pig is a little different.  So the farmer has to really know their animals.  The Bureau gives them informational brochures to get them started, and then the farmers take it from there.  The winning farmer gets 500 Eco Credits, which can be spent on all sorts of things, such as clearing away a swath of forest which has been hindering him, or draining a damp portion of the pasture, or shoring up a creek bank.  And if you go on their website you can see how the various farms around here stack up – who is in the running and who isn’t.  So, let’s do that.”

Merlin brought up the website on his computer.  And there was quite a long list of farms.  Merlin looked at the number in his hand and went down the list.  “Well, our boot does not work at one of the better farms.  It looks like he falls in somewhere right around here…”  Merlin selected out 3 farms with competing pigs.

Looking closer, Merlin remarked, “Hmmmm.  This is interesting.  Bob Weeds is in here.  Usually, he doesn’t play.  Says it’s because he doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Government.  Which is understandable.”  Merlin glanced at Leland.  “Except that he seems to have changed his mind.  And he’s doing pretty well.  Each of these past three months his farm has risen in the stats, which is unusual.  Usually it’s only the competitive ones near the top which continue to improve and grab the credits.”

“Why do you think Bob would be doing better?”  Leland asked.

“Knowing Bob, I would say it’s because someone has been giving him help.” Merlin nodded.

“I think maybe we ought to see who that someone might be,” Leland said.  “What do you think, Agent Hailey?”

“I think that’s a good idea, Sheriff Leland,” Agent Hailey replied.

Leland and Merlin made a little more small talk, and then Leland and Agent Hailey left.  This gave Nancy Gillis just enough time to run back to the Sheriff’s SUV and jump back in the clamshell, shutting it softly behind her.

Photo plucked from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

March 2, 2013


This Jail is Getting Too Small

(Episode 33)

Sheriff Leland was pacing.  Agent Hailey was on the phones.  Ruth was making busy in the outer office, after informing Leland with great relief, for no reason that Leland could figure that, “The bodies are still there!”  And Ramey was whining in the jail:  “When am I going to get out of here?!!!…”  Sheriff Leland spun.

“It’s no use.” Agent Hailey hung up.  “No one knows anything.  For about a week there we were getting good information.  And now, I swear, it’s as if they have lost all the samples.”  She looked both dejected and embarrassed.  “I’m sorry, Leland.  The FBI is usually a very tightly run organization.  I guess you just have to believe me about that.  But I just have no idea where all our evidence is, or who has it, or why we don’t know.  Trust me, this isn’t how it usually works.”

Leland shook his head and rubbed his temples. “It’s not your fault,” he said.

“I know that,” Agent Hailey replied.

Leland looked at her; tossed up his hands.  “Fine.  So where does this put us?”

“Ruth?”  Leland called.  “Could you go back there and ferret around a little through all of those empty evidence lockers and see what we might have left, if anything, from that serial killer crime scene investigation.”

“Sure!” Ruth called from right beside him.  She was glad to be escaping the vicinity.

“Sorry I snapped at you there, Leland,” Agent Hailey said.

“You’re the least of my worries,” Leland laughed.

Agent Hailey huffed.

“I’m sorry!”  Leland swore.  “I just meant that you’re not my problem.”

When Ruth returned, it was with a small baggie in hand.  “I found this one thing,” she said.  “I would suppose, the plastic seal got caught in a crack so that the baggie didn’t empty into the shipping box.”

Sheriff Leland held it up against the fluorescents and looked it over.  “It looks like manure.  A small piece which has fallen out of a boot tread, is my guess.”

“I think that’s a good one.  Seeing as we’re surrounded here by dairy farmers.”  Ruth chuckled slightly.

Leland frowned.  “Well, maybe we can glean a little more out of this one than what first meets the eye.”

“Let me go!  What about my patients?”  Ramey called from the back cell.

“Trust me, you’re patients are not gonna want their dental work performed by a practicing transvestite,” Ruth shouted back at him.

“They might!  If they are in pain…”

Leland tucked the baggie in his jacket pocket and hooked a nod at Agent Hailey.  “You wanna come?”

“No.  I think I’ll just sit here like a little girl and sulk.  And then maybe shoot myself with my revolver.”

Leland just didn’t seem able to win today.

But when he strode out of the office, Agent Hailey smiled and followed.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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