The rain fell lazily to splash against the concrete, it was the worst weather to open a murder case. It made the man’s blood lighter and much more fluid than what Julia was used to seeing. The man’s suit was soaked, taking the color to a much deeper blue, almost black, than the darker blue which must have been the original color. The victim looked middle aged, slightly overweight. He was white, probably a broker or some business type. He still had on some rich person watch, and his rich shoes. He lay on his stomach, head twisted to the left and limbs spread out, his throat was cut wide open and blood had pooled around it. Julia crouched down and looked at the man. Clean shaven, with a distinct look of horror splatted on his face. She brushed some water off her brow then stood back up and looked over at her partner, Ethan Belman. She shook her head and walked over to him.
“Poor bastard. Throat open wide but all his jewelry and materials of note are still there. This wasn’t a mugging gone wrong.”
Ethan nodded and shrugged, rain drizzling down his face, “So planned, clearly a meditated murder, right? I mean, a guy dressed like that doesn’t come into an alley like this on his walk home.”
“Yeah... Maybe he saw a pretty girl?”
“Or guy. Doubtful though. I am guessing he was talking to a pal and they took this path. Murderer must be someone he knew then.”
“Maybe. It’s a shame it’s raining, again. Damn rain washes away a lot of evidence and makes time of death hard on scene. Gonna have to wait for forensics to do their scans. Any witnesses?”
“None. How bad is the guy?” Ethan nodded at it, not exactly looking at the corpse and using Julia as a barrier.
Julia smirked, “He’s bad. I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s probably best you stay over here, pal.”
“Yeah, probably right.” “Oh, don’t be so anxious!” Julia then shouted over Ethan’s shoulder to the police officers at the end of the alley, “Hey! We are good, you can come do your shit now!” Julia pulled out a cigarette and rested it on her lips.
Ethan sighed, “Come on. I thought you quit?”
Julia shrugged and lit her cigarette, “I thought you could look at blood.” Ethan scowled and turned to walk to the car. Julia took a deep drag and watched the smoke be pelted by the rain as it left her lungs and exited her mouth. She should quit. At forty-two years keeping up this habit was a bad way to die. She took another deep drag, enjoying the dull numb feeling that spread across her body. She tossed the rest away, reluctantly. She looked at the body one last time, puzzled as to how a man dressed like that earned a gruesome death like this. Julia walked away, nodding hellos to the police officers who came in to clean up the sight and take their pictures. She then crossed the road, waving to a car who stopped to let her by, and stepped into the car with Ethan.
“Debbies?” Julia asked, a slight hint of delight in her voice.
“Can’t we have to go back to HQ, you know, to rendezvous. Also, I need a cup of coffee.” She laughed,
“You always need coffee. You can get one at Debbies!”
“Yeah, but not a free cup! And I drink it cause I never sleep. I don’t know how you don’t need it.”
“I don’t know, maybe there’s just something about staring at screens and button pushing all day that I just don’t find quite as exhausting as most. Maybe I am a saint.” She joked as she started the car. It purred softly as the electric engine clicked and came to life.
A female automated voice spoke up over the stereo system, “Hello Miss Mayfair and Mister Belman. Where are we going today?”
“Hello. Take us back to the precinct.”
“Yes, Miss Mayfair. Taking you back to .... “ Julia leaned back as the car put itself into drive and drove itself neatly and carefully onto the road. The engine purred softly, competing with the soft hum of fans in the computers and the soft buzz of voices coming from the police scanner.
Ethan flicked his phone off and the soft blue light it had been emitting disappeared as the hologram screen shut off, then he slid the slim piece of plastic of his phone, with all its technology and that looked more like a credit card slide than a phone, back into his pocket. He cleared his throat, “Kate says hey, and that we should both retire.” He chuckled, “That woman never stops worrying.”
Julia cracked open her eye and had a wry smirk on her mouth, “Why was she worrying? Should would be able to hear your scream across the city if blood ever touched you.”
“Oh, ha ha. It isn’t that bad. It’s just a small phobia. So, what next?” “I guess file our reports, check the cameras, then do some scans of any people we can see in the tape that fit into the window of the murder.”
“So a clear cut case, despite the mysterious case?”
“Ethan, this is 2083, we are glorified button pressers,” Julia waved her arms in a mocking royal way.
Ethan chuckled, “Yeah, at least we can save lives and not just do that stupid psychic work that has become so popular.”
Julia barked out laughter, “That fake shit, I am surprised it is so popular. You’d think people would pick up on pocket brainwave scanners but I guess people’s progression is slower than the pace of technology.”
“Someone’s feeling preachy tonight.”
“Ha, now don’t even get me started on politics.”
“Oh, please. You love politics. That’s half the reason you’re still single. Name me one date you’ve been on that you didn’t mention your disdain for the president and current political issues in the first ten minutes.”
“That one time! With.... What was his name... TIM!”
“Juls, that was eight years ago when we were doing traffic maintenance.”
“That long ago? Shit, time flies.”
“Pardon me, Miss Mayfair and Mister Belman, but we will be arriving in sixty seconds.” The female voice spoke and was immediately followed by the slow decrease in speed that was felt by both passengers.
Ethan sighed then looked at Julia, “Work time.” Julia smirked, “No rest for the weary.”
“Or wicked.” Ethan beamed. He waited for a moment, “Oh, come on! Cage the Elephant? That hit rock band back in the early 00’s?”
“Sorry, dude, I’m not some ancient iPod thing.” Julia shrugged then got out of the car and went to the elevator, Ethan trailing behind.
“You know, you shold really do your music history!”
“I ain’t a music person, Ethan. Don’t have the time.”
“Everyone has time for music!”
“Not when we have murders to solve!”
“Ha, like we actually do anything.”
“We can pretend. Keeps us sane, pretending.” Julia smirked, yet again. The two got up to the level of their offices and said their hellos. They talked to their friends briefly about the case they just got and were told of a case that their friends got and were soon to close, with brief thanks to scanners. They both soon got to their conjoined desk and flipped on their holographic computers with a small flick of fingers. The looked at each other.
Ethan reached into his pocket, “Heads or tails?”
“Shoulda known,” he flipped the quarter, caught it and set it on the table. It was heads, he swore under his breath, “Shit. Right, what do you want to do? Paper work or-”
“Cameras. You can start on the report.” Julia blew him a kiss and Ethan gave a sarcastic, snarky, laugh.
She turned to her computer and began typing on the keyboard projected onto the table. Within seconds she was looking at security camera footage of the entrance and exit of the alley that their victim was murdered in. She could hear Ethan grumbling across the table as he angrily typed on the table, his fingers rattling on the wood.
Julia drowned him out by concentrating on her work. She opened the footage side by side and poured over it. She started at the time of her and Ethan’s arrival and started going backwards.
She gasped; for in that footage that she saw, not even twenty minutes before the first responders arrived on the scene, their victim had walked down the alley alone.