Heat Check

Editor’s note: this is another piece I wrote in the late summer of 2015 for my blog at sportsballchic.com. My orginal idea was to tell a story about the peculiar way large, faceless institutions tend to promote the most selfish and dishonest people ahead of their more sociable, and in most cases far more deserving co-workers. This naturally drew me towards police work and my hometown of Detroit Michigan were we spend an afternoon on the job with Cal Newsome – a man who can’t seem to stop falling upward.

 

From the outside street, the run down, two-storey home sure didn’t look all that impressive. The front wooden façade had been painted over numerous times and then not at all for at least a decade; leaving the building a beaten, dirty grey, except for periodic splashes of color where the topcoat had peeled away. Furthering the portrait of dilapidation, the entire house itself appeared to be leaning a few degrees to the left and was accompanied by a clearly rotting front porch step. Finally, the outside structure was done up in federal-style architecture, marking it as one of the oldest buildings in all of Corktown. Avoiding overgrown weeds and jagged cracks in the concrete, Cal Newsome carefully tiptoed up the uneven walkway in a desperate attempt to avoid scuffing up his new Oxfords.

“Wow, this place must’ve been pretty swanky… like a hundred and twenty years ago. Sure looks like Ray let the old joint go, it’s a fucking rat trap now” he called ahead to his partner.

Anita merely laughed and said “wait till you get inside tiger.”

Nothing his partner had implied however, could have prepared Cal for the display of opulence he found on the other side of the front door. Marble floor tiles, intricate light fixtures and polished hardwood trimmings quickly reminded him that they were in fact, in the home of an extremely wealthy drug dealer. Cal paused for a moment despite himself, unable to reconcile the beautiful modern home before him with the busted up monstrosity he’d just entered from the street. Rounding the foyer, he figured that just the living-room furniture in sight was worth more than twenty grand alone, and whoever bought it had impeccable taste. As his partner continued on into the kitchen, Cal drifted over towards the magnificent black-leather couch over by the fireplace.

“Anita, did you say that Forensics had swept the living room already?”

“Yeah, why?” she called back.

“Oh, nothing” he replied, sliding down into the soft leather seat. “I just wanted to make sure I could examine the room for evidence without potentially damaging the crime scene. Jesus, this guy sure had some serious paper huh? There’s crap in this living-room you sure can’t buy on a Detective’s salary.”

“Yeah, but a fat lotta good it did him last night. Mitchell’s body was found in the kitchen, not the living room. Could you please at least pretend this is a homicide investigation and get the fuck in here Cal” she snapped angrily.

Sighing softly, Cal pulled himself up out of the comfy chair and walked towards the kitchen. It wasn’t that he minded Anita so much most of the time; he’d only recently been promoted to Detective and she’d already kept him from being written up at least once by their superiors. She was often friendly, she shared the paperwork well and they’d even gone out for drinks after work a couple of times. What she lacked however, was even a modicum of patience for what she described as Cal’s “rookie nonsense.” Even the slightest mistake on his part seemed to transform his partner into a demonic rage-beast he’d not so affectionately nicknamed Commandant Jackson. Not that he’d ever said as much to her face; Cal wasn’t the kind of fool to stick his head in a dragon’s mouth.

“So, what exactly are we doing here Anita? The body is gone, Forensics has swept the house and we’re only supposed to be back-up on this case. Why does our fine city want four detectives working the robbery and murder of the second biggest shit-heel in town?”

Rolling her eyes skyward, Anita replied “sweet lord Newsome, how did you ever get out of Patrol asking dumb ass questions like that? I know Detroit is desperate for cops but damn Blondie, you’re murder police now!”

Cal winced silently; it was never a good sign when she started calling him Blondie.

“We’re here to look for anything the primary investigators and the lab boys missed. According to Raglan one of the neighbors reported five shots fired and Forensics pulled three bullets out of Mitchell and two out of the kitchen wall. They only found four casings however and Jerry doesn’t have a damn clue what the point of entry was yet, except that it wasn’t the front door” she concluded.

“So we’re looking for… a bullet casing” Cal sighed in exasperation. “Did they at least get any prints?”

“Just some partials from the kitchen, that’s why we’re going to recheck all the possible points of entry very, very carefully” Anita replied. “If the perp left partials in the kitchen, he probably left a big fat juicy one going in or coming out. We both know that Ragland is lazy and Jerry’s so old he’s practically fucking blind. If we find out how the killer got inside, the case probably closes itself before he retires.”

Nodding, he asked “so how does Ragland know the guy didn’t come through the front door, or the one behind the kitchen that leads to the patio?”

Anita cracked a wry grin and said “now you’re thinking like a homicide detective, but actually I was here last night and again this morning on interview duty; it checks out. Apparently both doors were still locked when they found Mitchell and according to multiple known associates, the paranoid bastard never gave anyone else a key.”

“Unreal, so we’re probably looking for a window entry then” was all Cal could manage in reply. He’d read the preliminary notes before going home the night before, but hadn’t bothered to check out the updates today because they were only supposed to be back-up on this case. This entire racket about locked doors with only one key was definitely news to him.

If his partner had noticed that Cal didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, she wasn’t letting him in on the secret. She calmly continued, “Yeah, Ragland figures the murderer went out the same way he came in and I’m inclined to think he’s right. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time either. Forensics is going to start hauling secondary evidence out of here by tomorrow morning at the latest.”

Anita’s large brown eyes narrowed and her jaw clenched slightly as she stared across the room at him. Cal knew that expression; it meant that she thought there was a bone someplace in this house and now, he was going to spend a long day on his hands and knees searching a dead crime scene to find it. There was little point in arguing about it though, unless he wanted to come face to face with Commandant Jackson again. “Well, I guess we’d better do some police work then” he said.