Still acting as if somebody had hit the mute button, the “what the fuck” question bouncing around Burke and Powell’s head was almost audible. They finally stood up and extended manikin-like hands until the firm grip from Slaughter seemed to flip their respective switches back to “on.”
In a shock-like state, Burke finally said “you have to forgive us. You aren’t exactly what we were expecting.”
Detective Slaughter smiled and said “yes, I sort of got that impression.”
Her reputation had preceded her but it had never even been an afterthought to Burke and Powell, that the “relentless, tough as nails, no bullshit, take no prisoners, juggernaut, pit-bull with balls the size of Texas,” would be a woman.
Captain Meade was standing behind the two-way mirror, having a good laugh at Burke and Powell’s reaction. He had intentionally let them incorrectly assume that detective Slaughter was a man. In this largely male-dominated field, it was easy to get caught up in the “good ole boys’ club” mentality. As he headed back to his office, he adjusted his belt and with a gratified smile, said “hopefully, lesson learned.”
Detective Slaughter had spent the last five years heading up the Unsolved Cold Case Task Force and as Captain Meade said, had never left one unsolved. Even cases that had been pending for more than twenty years, were no match for Slaughter.
Before she became a cold case investigator, she was an agent whose identity was so deeply undercover that most of the department didn’t even know she existed. Her entire previous life had, for all intents and purposes, been wiped out of every official database.
She was almost six feet tall and had unusually long hair that had obviously stolen a little thunder from a blonde. It seemed to dance on her hips with precise rhythm as she walked. Perfectly arched eyebrows framed a flawless, heart-shaped face and her mesmerizing eyes were captivating, yet disturbingly unnerving. It was as if something was going on behind them like an ominous, unscripted plot about to unfold.
She reportedly had an IQ of 165, which begged two questions. 1. Was it true? and 2. If it was true, why was she working as a homicide detective pulling in 60k a year, when she could be running a major corporation making ten times that amount?
Burke and Powell had many questions and the first was asked by Burke, who was relying heavily on the understanding that she, like most women, found him irresistibly charming. “Murphy is an unusual name for a woman. Can I ask where you got it?”
Slaughter impatiently said “where did you get your name?” Burke, fumbling for his words said “from my parents, I guess.” Slaughter said “hmm” and hoped that Burke would take the hint but he didn’t.
He said “fair enough. Forget the name. Just tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you want to become a homicide detective? I know what made me….”
Clearly annoyed, Slaughter cut him off in mid-sentence, leaned forward, looked at him with a dead stare and said “Detective Burke. We’re not here to have a meet and greet. We’re not here to learn each others’ life stories or the origin of our names. We’re not here to have a moment where a lasting friendship is forged. We’re not here to do the thing where you pretend to be interested and I pretend to believe you. We’re here to catch a killer so let’s try to stay focused. Can you get over yourself long enough to do that?”
Burke felt he had been metaphorically castrated in front of his partner and the tightening of his lips and reddening of his face reflected his indignation. He liked women but he had already decided that he didn’t like this one and had it not been for the request of Captain Meade to include her in the case, he was sure he would have upended the desk in a fit of rage, accompanied with a loud “go fuck yourself.”
While Burke texted Powell the words “her highness, the uppity, fucking bitch,” Slaughter opened a file and began reading about the first victim.
He was a Danish man in his late forties, named Larz Østergaard. His business required him to make frequent trips to the states. He was a computer program salesman who specialized in helping newspapers setup online websites.
He had been found in his hotel room, laying across the bottom of the bed in a pool of coagulated blood. His left ear had been punctured with an ice pick. Nine hundred dollars in cash was on the dresser and he was still wearing his gold necklace.
His friends and business associates in the states seemed to think highly of him and had no knowledge of any threats or enemies. Whoever killed him, was apparently let into the room as there was no evidence of a break-in. The front desk was able to pin-point when he last used the key card but could offer no information as to when the door was opened from inside the room.
Slaughter immediately noticed the lack of crime scene photos and asked why they weren’t in the file. Detective Powell took the file and said “I don’t know. They should be in there. Maybe they got misplaced.”
“If that’s the case, that’s pretty sloppy work, detective,” Slaughter said. Now, she had stirred Powell’s ire and before he exploded, Captain Meade opened the door and asked how things were going. Burke and Powell were like two little boys who had almost been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They snapped to attention and in unison, said “fine.”
Detective Slaughter said “actually Captain Meade, I think we need to take the night to re-group and then re-visit this tomorrow with a new approach and different attitudes. If we’re going to continue to have to whip them out and measure them every day, you’re going to continue to have a couple of sore losers on your hands.”
To be continued___________________