The Case Of The Missing Left Feet
The day seems like any other.
Your routines are the same. You get up,check the weather,have breakfast before heading off to work. You interact with your colleagues ,do your job and head back home.
But this isn't any other day.
This is your last one.
On West 14th Street, in the Meatpackers District of New York, twenty eight year old Alison Frazier had just emerged from the shower and was putting on a robe, when the doorbell rang. She was expecting a caller,so, wrapping her blonde hair, turban like,she happily went to the door .Checking the spy-hole first, Alison unlatched the metal security bar bisecting the door frame,turned the key in the lock and opened the door to her own private Hades.
Alison smiled at the visitor, said "Hi" and invited him in, and turning on her heel, she suggested that he follow her through to the small studio living room. As he had been there before, she excused herself to get dressed while he got on with the job in hand. He replied "Sure thing", and walked into the room with his box of tricks, as Alison peeled off for the bedroom. From her small room,she heard music begin to play, as she quickly pulled on a sweatshirt and jeans. But she didn't hear the turn of the door knob, and the three short steps from behind her he took to reach her and apply a chloroform soaked gauze pad across her face to render her senseless.
The visitor laid her carefully on the bed and after slipping on thin rubber gloves and a paper contamination suit took from his case two pairs of handcuffs. He snapped on a pair to each wrist and then to the metal headboard, so she was spread star shaped across the bed. He removed the towel and carefully draped her long blonde hair around her face and shoulders. Then he gently undid the knot on the robe belt and peeled back the gown,incrementally and ritually, to reveal the body, unknown to her, he had seen so many times before. But this was the real thing and her stood in front of her, sweating and hyperventilating. He could feel the beginning of an erection and with reverential grace, filled his hands with her large breasts. He moaned as he worked her nipples between his fingers, and felt them fill and protrude as his penis became engorged. He dropped to his knees, and then slowly, a centimetre at a time, he closed on her vagina. Her freshly showered body gave of a light scented citrus aroma and he inhaled deeply,ramping up is his desire. Then, unzipping his jeans to allow his ramrod penis the freedom it craved, he parted her sex to allow entry. He paused for a moment as she moved slightly and groaned, before slumping back into her dream. His heartbeat was raging and sweat ran from every pore, making his shirt a dishrag. Slowly he entered her and then in an uncontrollable,maniacal passion, thrust himself repeatedly inside her. Each incursion was his payback,he was fucking not just the girl but womanhood and society. All of the rejection he had endured over the years consolidating into this ultimate payback. Didn't they realise what they had done to him?
Then her cell on the night stand played Bach.
He looked around the room shocked and anxiously tried to pinpoint the source. He saw the light from the phone first, flashing on the table by the bedside. Lifting himself off the bed, he grabbed the device and read the screen.
It was Jeb calling.
Stabbing at the buttons he thought about cancelling the call, then deciding to let it go to voicemail. And then he set about his other passion.
A calmness now settled on him and he focused in another place. From the other room, he brought his toolbox into the bedroom and removed the first tray,revealing an assortment of surgical instruments ,bandages, and equipment. Unfolding a large plastic sheet, he laid it under her lower body and extended it out a number of feet onto the carpet. Then he checked her breathing and re-dosed her with chloroform. Taking her left leg in his hand, he applied a tourniquet just above her ankle,using a long strip bandage and a length of rubber tubing. This stopped a bleed out of the tibial artery, the main blood supply to the foot. From the box, he then took a second pair of slightly thicker surgical gloves and pulled them over the first pair. Then he selected a six-inch curved amputation knife and felt the joint at the point where the bottom of the leg at the front, articulates with the ankle. He adjusted the gloves, pulling them tight and prepared himself for the task he had set himself. He placed the scimitar shaped knife with millimetre accuracy above the joint and sliced through the dome of the instep, while supporting the foot with his spare hand. Then making one incisive cut between the navicular and talus bones, and on through to the sole of the foot. He deliberately left a situation that he knew could have been rehabilitated satisfactorily, once the malleoli of the tibia was removed by a saw cut, and after allowing sufficient tissue to be sewn back into a viable stump. Maintaining his medical discipline , he reached into his toolbox and took a bottle of water-based 95% ethanol and quickly swabbed the wound with the antiseptic. Pleasingly, there were no small part slices left or ragged edges to the incision. He sat back on his haunches and admired his surgery for a moment, before wrapping the wound with a wad of bandage. Bizarrely, it was important and intrinsic to him that the surgery and after care was done perfectly. The spare foot, he wrapped in a dressing and placed it in a plastic zipper bag, then storing it in his cool box.
Satisfied and self-impressed that the blood loss had been minimal, he then folded up the plastic sheeting, removed the handcuffs along with the knife, and stowed them in his toolbox.
Then he sat beside her on the edge of the bed, her head in his lap, gently caressing her face, a tear filling a corner of his eye. After a few seconds, he put his left forearm under her chin, lifted her head away from her chest, stretching her vertebrae, and then snapped her head sharply to the right, dislocating her spine instantly at C4. Kissing her gently on the cheek, he laid her head on the pillow and pulled the duvet across her slack body.
He wanted to make her comfortable.
As he left the bedroom a ginger cat with its back arched , rubbed around the doorframe and looking up at him meowed. He knelt down and stroked along its back. Straightening up, he smiled down at the animal before taking his foot, placing it above its neck and crushing it.
Scanning the room, and making sure everything was in its place before leaving, he removed the plastic gloves and suit covering, placed them in his toolbox and took the two flights of stairs of the apartment building down onto the street.
In the precinct house on West 16th Street, the refreshment situation was causing resentment. Since City Hall had stopped allowing the facility of a coffee percolator in the squad room and had installed a vending machine in the hallway, Detective Dino Pianza wasn't happy. Something about scalding coffee and heath and safety, they said.
He said bullshit.
All he knew was he was spending a small fortune on a rubbish substance labelled coffee but tasted of everything but. He couldn't do the job without his fix, and often the robot didn't function anyway. It was as he stood next to it, kicking its front panel in exasperation , when a shout through the open squad room door from a colleague , made him walk back into the maelstrom of a busy detective's room, empty handed.
"Hey, Dino, take line one will ya, for Christ's sake" yelled detective Shelly Brook, as she attempted to field two calls at once.
Her fake blonde hair, cut short, like straw stalks, fell across her eyes as the fifty-year-old policewoman wrestled with one phone under her capacious chin and another in her hand.
The room was like a market place, colourful, noisy and full of stale body odour. And it was August in the City with only a couple of ancient AC units cranking along in the room fighting the ninety-degree heat and steaming humidity.
Muttering under his breath, the short, thick-set Italian, sidled across to his desk, weaving between the melange of people passing through the office and punched the button for line one.
"Pianza here" he said wearily.
The call came from the Emergency Control Centre and was about a body found in an apartment on West 14th.
"Yeah, yeah, right, let me get a pen" he said, reaching for a biro and pad.
For the next few minutes,he took down the bare, clipped, non-emotional essentials that pass between the control room and the detectives when detailing a dead body and its situation. But on this occasion, the operative put in a caveat. She warned this was a real messy one.
"Okay, thanks for that. Its only a couple of streets away, we will be right around" Pianza sighed, grabbing his jacket from the back of the chair and making his way to the glass cube in the corner, from where Lieutenant Gill Nelson earned his living.
Tapping on the door, he said "Sorry boss, just got a call, there's a dead girl been found around the corner in an apartment on 14th. Shall i go on my own or what?"
He pulled a questioning face and rocked his head from side to side slowly.
The lieutenant looked up from his paperwork at the anxious detective. The tall, lean man with neatly trimmed prematurely grey hair, was by most people's standards , handsome, with sharp clear blue-grey eyes and a Mediterranean tone to his skin. A dark strawberry mark filled the lobe of his right ear. His father was from farming stock in the mid-west and his mother had Italian bloodlines. Gill had just had his fortieth birthday and completed two years as a gold shield lieutenant. Consequently, he knew he needed a big fish to be landed to reach the next level quickly. Ideally, one that brought plenty of publicity and media exposure.
This was to be the biggest fish ever.
"Ah, why don't you pick up Zabrofski on the way out" said the boss ,looking past Pianza and across the expanse of the room behind him.
"He's uptown on a lead on the Bronx case, remember?"
"Oh yeah, thought he was back, you had better go with Shelly then,you are bound to need the both of you. Ring me once you have done the prelim". the lieutenant said gruffly, turning back to his desk indicating the conversation was over.
Shelly was still on the phone giving someone grief. Next to the instrument was a plastic beaker of coffee and a box of Dunkin Doughnuts. Shelly, was a widow of some fourteen stone and somebody you didn't upset. On the upside, and behind a granite facade, she was a warm-hearted, dedicated detective who had given everything to the job since losing her husband in a work related accident a few years back. Her two twenty-something daughters had nested elsewhere, leaving the family home a cavern of sadness and memories that Shelly spent as little time in as possible.
Pianza tapped her on the shoulder as he went past saying "Hey Shell', the boss want's us on 14th Street , there's a dead one in an apartment.
"I'm on the phone, Pianza, or are you blind as well as Italian" she shouted out across the room while finishing the call quickly and grabbing her coat.
The apartment block was next to a Catholic church and above a deli, just before the junction with Hudson street. They found it easily enough, as there were four black and whites, an ambulance and a mortuary van at the curb. Rotating lights flashed like the red carpet on Oscar's night.
The entrance was sealed off and a number of uniforms fronted the door.
Pianza and Shelly exited their car, crossed the sidewalk and showed their shields to the uniform, who let them through to the stairwell, explaining the apartment was on the second floor.
A bevy of assorted specialist plied their trade. White paper suited forensic officers moved through and around the doorway of the apartment checking for prints and fabric fibres, while further in could be seen the coroner's staff, waiting for the detectives before they could deal with their end of the business. Police photographers clicked away at all angles.
Pianza called out to the lead police sergeant, talking to one of the paramedics and stepped into the hallway of the flat.
"Hey, Al, what do we have here?"
He looked up at the sergeants face as he turned to him and knew this was going to be bad news. When a hardened, veteran New York police officer was ashen faced and short on words, this wasn't going to be a run of the mill homicide.
The sergeant just shook his head, pulled a grim face, and pointed to the bedroom.
A forensic officer gave them anti- contamination suits, overshoes and face masks before they moved to the scene of the crime. On the way through the sergeant gave them the few background facts they had.
Shelly, Pianza and the sergeant stood at the foot of the bed and stared,unable to speak for a number of seconds. They exchanged looks before revisiting the horror in front of them.
Because of the current high temperatures and lack of air conditioning in the bedroom, the body had began to bloat already. Flies filled the room, attracted by the decomposing corpse and the all-pervading stench.
Shelly gagged and turned away holding her face mask tight to her face .
The room was unremarkable.About ten by twelve, with a queen sized bed and nightstand, a utilitarian set of waist-high drawers with a small plasma TV set on top,and a glass jewellery tray for trinkets, lay alongside. A sash window was set in one wall and a pair of cheap,cream floor length curtains dressed it; the counterpane on the bed, had, prior to the incident,matched them for colour.
The coroner, a veteran Scotsman going by the name of McVey was inspecting the body, but turned towards the policemen and nodded a greeting, before continuing.
Clearing her throat, Shelly said, almost in a whisper. “ How has this panned out Al?”
“Her mother found her; she has a key. Apparently, she comes over on Tuesday’s to visit and helps out by doing some of her washing before her daughter gets home or rather got home. Must have happened last evening as she spoke with the Super about 5pm yesterday”.
“What’s with the bandage?” Pianza said, almost afraid to ask, pointing at the leg.
The sergeant looked at McVey,who grimaced back, and then, pulled back the blood-stained covering.
This time, both Shelly and Pianza felt nauseous and walked towards the window.
After a few moments, Shelly said. “ Was that the cause of death?”
“No, the killer used a tourniquet, so little bleed out. McVey said,” Whoever did this knew what they were doing. The surgery is, technically,first class. She actually died of a dislocated neck, which severed the spinal cord, Look.” He said, while macabrely articulating the head from side to side like a limp doll. “
“Subject to further checks back at the ranch, I would say she has been dead for around twelve hours to fourteen hours.Full rigor has set, but I need to check the liver temperature etc.”
Pianza turned to Shelly. “ I am ringing this into Nelson, now!”
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