Trails And Leads

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Trails and Leads


        Mitch Flanagan was in his car, parked in front of the Coroner's office.  He sipped stale, cold coffee out of a paper cup, carefully; he didn't want to spill it on his white shirt.  He grimaced at the harsh bitter taste but he needed the caffeine.  He'd bought the coffee at a drive through the day before, and it had been sitting in his car.  He unbuckled his seat-belt and got out.  He had an appointment.


        Jay, the Coroner, knew him by name these days; he greeted him when he came in, and didn't even ask what he wanted.  He just took him back to look at the bodies.


        They weren't pretty.  A hundred twenty miles an hour into a brick wall never is.  The guy's head, or as many pieces of it as they'd been able to find anyway, was in a plastic bag next to the rest of the corpse.


        The woman's body was relatively intact; she'd been smashed pretty badly when the car crumpled, and had a lot of lacerations and broken bones, but other than a missing foot she was still in one piece.


        "Same pattern as the other ones, Mitch." said the coroner.  "Adrenaline elevated way past anything like a sane level, even for the, uh, situation."


        "So, Jay." said Mitch. "That's not the whole pattern.  Tell me the sick part." He didn't want to hear it, but each and every one of these deaths had a sick sexual twist somewhere.


        The coroner grimaced.  "She was giving him head, but, evidently about ten seconds before they crashed, she bit it off and swallowed it whole."


        "Yep," said Mitch.  "That's what I heard."


        "So why the hell did you make me say that?" Jay asked, in an irritated tone of voice.  He ran a hand through his hair.  "I swear to God, Mitch.  I hate these little interviews of yours."


        "'Cause I have to ask these questions," replied Mitch.  "First, how big was the piece she bit off?"


        The coroner pointed miserably at a plastic baggie next to her body. "The whole thing, including half the scrotum.  And he was hung pretty heavy, too."


        "She swallowed this whole," said Mitch, looking at the bag.  The coroner was right, the guy had been hung like a horse.  "Isn't that a bit more than people can normally swallow without a gag reflex?"


        Jay nodded.  "Sure is, by a factor of about five."


        "And you're absolutely sure it was before the crash, not at the moment of impact?  I mean, ten seconds - how can you tell ten seconds?" Mitch was writing this down.  Here he paused and looked up at the coroner.  The guy was clearly miserable.


        "She'd swallowed it, and it had time to get into her esophagus. That would take at least ten seconds. I guarantee she wasn't alive for even two seconds after the crash, so it had to be before.  Also, the impact on her head wouldn't produce a biting motion - it was lateral instead of vertical."

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